What I Am Thankful For This November

It is November, and if you are living in the United States or Canada it is a month of Thanksgiving!  I got to thinking that it was so strange that we celebrate this here and not everywhere, and that we don’t practice our attitude of gratitude every day.  So, no matter where you’re from and no matter what day it is I think you and I should practice our gratefulness all the time!  So, I want to list Five Things I Am Thankful For Every Day!

  • I am so thankful for my grandmother who is my biggest supporter.  I always know that no matter what I am going through, that she always will love me and support me.  She always listens to me and helps me through all of my problems.  Since my grandfather died, her and I have always had each other and she has pushed me to be an overachiever.  When I was younger, she used to make me study all the time and now I’m hoping to be successful with the values that she instilled in me.
  • I am incredibly grateful for my health.  I made my blog, Maxed Out Muscles, after having a Crohn’s Disease flareup in April.  I recovered in May, and it has officially been six months since I was sick!  I am hoping to go for a year, and eventually succeed in being symptom free for the rest of my life.
  • I am thankful for the feedback from all of my friends on this site.  All of you who I didn’t know, I am so grateful that you have lent your support and commentary on my posts.  I am so thankful that we have had discussions and interviews.  I hope to give you good content, and I hope to read more great replies! 🙂
  • I am happy for my weight lifting results.  They are modest but they add up over time.  I know that when I look back to my starting point, it is a day and night difference.  So without a doubt, I say to you time after time that consistency is the number one thing involved in seeing weight lifting results.  ..and perhaps results in any field.
  • I’m thankful for how this year has gone!  This is the number one thing, and possibly the most basic.  It isn’t possible for me to be thankful for this year without all of the things I mentioned above, but this year has been so important to me.  Without seeing the long term results and consequences of my choices this year, I am so grateful for all of the experience I’ve gained.  I would say that in this year alone, I have made more decisions and stuck to them than in any other year of my life.  I have grounded myself in some core values, and chose a direction for my life and have so far, consistently, stuck to it!

I can only hope that every thing I am going through leads me to more results and success.  However, whether I’m successful or not I am thankful for who I am becoming because of these things.

I hope you have too many blessings too count and that you have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A Thanksgiving Turkey!

Also, Feel free to comment below what you are thankful for this year!  Or, if you would like to, reblog this post and write 5 Things You Are Thankful For This Year!  I am really excited to read all of your great responses.

You are your own worst enemy…

The Fit Pin-Up gives great advice and personal experience.

Lipstick and Life Lessons

On any kind of journey, be it fitness, weight loss, self discovery, you name it, we’re faced with obstacles.  One of the biggest obstacles that I see on a regular basis – not only in myself, but in everyone who I come across – is the trouble of excuses.

The trouble with excuses is that they come too easily and it is all your fault. 

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Sleep is such a wonderful thing!

Mike from Ground Pounder Fitness makes an excellent point on the importance of sleep. I try to sleep eight hours every night. Admittedly, that can be difficult when I have a lot to accomplish in a day…

..but that poses an important question:

Are your daily struggles more important than your health?

Do you give up on your health in order to achieve a goal? and is it worth it?

Do you put yourself first?

If you take good care of yourself, I’m guessing you get adequate sleep..right?

Join the conversation! 🙂

Ground Pounder Fitness

I never knew how much of a difference adequate sleep made in one’s life until I had to live a summer of sleep depravity and now have gotten back on track of getting 8+ hours of sleep per night.  I functioned all summer on about 4.5 to 5 hours and maybe 6 on the weekends.  I made it through, hit all my workouts, and basically survived.  But, I did deal with a few lingering issues that I just couldn’t shake…muscles more sore than normal, a few minor injuries that didn’t want to heal as they should and some days I would be in a total state of disarray.  But, now I’ve been forcing myself to get at least 8 hrs of sleep a night.  This has been going on for about 3 weeks now and I can tell such a difference!  My workouts have been more energized, my strength and…

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Will drinking Protein Powder help with weight loss?

Unequivocally, yes! 🙂 Protein powder will help you lose weight as long as you are using it to for proper macronutrient intake within your calorie deficit.

Alex Rinaldo

I didn’t realize how many people were under the assumption that drinking protein powder would help them lose weight until one of my clients asked me about protein powder last week…

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A Belated Monthly Progress Report

Today is the day!  I stress this sentiment every day.  Every day is the day to make progress and record results.  Every day is another day to be the best that you can be!  To read one of my best posts that stresses that sentiment, click here.

Now, I’d like to share with you some results I have made in the gym!  I haven’t done this in a couple of months, and I was intending to make a monthly progress report.  However, the journey of a natural lifter requires perseverance and results do not always come every month.  Without further ado, I give you my (semi) monthly lifting report:

This is what I could lift 3 months ago!

This is what I could lift 3 months ago!

Legs:

I can now easily rep out 225(102 kg) on squats!  I am really proud of that and I can quickly becoming strong enough to do 275 as a one rep max.  I am hoping to achieve that weight soon so I can set my next SMART GOAL for 315.

I don’t quite know the weight conversion but I can now max out all of the leg machines and I am using the leg press where I typically throw on a lot of plates.  Today I put 360 lbs(163 kg) on the leg press and went for reps.  I had a good time working my legs this Sunday afternoon and I am happy to share those results!

Back and Biceps:

As I’ve said some new personal records on leg day, I also set some new records on back and bicep day.

Yesterday was my back and bicep day, and I managed to lift heavier on my deadlift than ever before!  I did 315 lbs(142 kg) for EIGHT reps.  I didn’t attempt to go higher because usually I can only do three reps at that weight.  I was tremendously proud and surprised that I could do so much more!  (ALSO, A LITTLE DISCLAIMER:  I count deadlifts as a main workout on back day because they work every muscle on your posterior chain.  You could count them as a leg workout or a back workout, or even a shoulder workout because they work almost every muscle in your body)

I immediately went on to do bent over rows and knocked out 185 lbs fairly easily.  I did some shoulder presses with 55 lb dumb bells and managed to get about six good reps.

Keep in mine that the bicep work I am about to talk about is all dumbbell work and not with a barbell as in the picture above.  My barbell curls are about 80 lbs now.  When I went on to my biceps, I managed to get about eight strict curls on each arm with 40 lbs.  When I did restricted curls, I only aimed for 30 lbs and did them nice and slow to get really feel that burn! 🙂

Chest and Triceps:

Here is where we hit all my plateaus!  I am only getting slightly stronger in this group, but some of my reps are feeling less forced so I am assuming that I am near the end of this long plateau.  I am only at 185 lbs (83 kg) on bench press and struggling to get four reps, and that’s where I’ve been for months now.

I am under the impression that it’s an easy fix, though!  I feel like I have neglected some tricep work and that is why my bench press and (other) tricep related exercises are lacking.  I have been hitting them hard and, as I said, the reps feel less forced.  I am almost to the point of maxing out my local gym’s chest fly machine and I feel that, when my triceps catch up, I’ll be able to do a lot more weight in all my other chest-tricep exercises.

Conclusion:

I’ve been training hard, and sometimes I don’t see huge results while other times I see remarkable results!  As I’ve said in the past, consistency is key.  Just remember, if you work out hard for a long time you may not see the results you want…

..but if you don’t work out at all, you will see NO results!  Keep moving forward and have some MAXED OUT MUSCLES!

maxed out muscles

A Newbie’s Guide to Using Weighted Vest

This is really cool! What do you think about weighted vests?

Currently, I personally don’t see the need for it because my own body weight seems to be enough.

However, it seems like they’d be useful for weighted dips and weighted chin-ups. Do you have any experience with weighted vests?
-Christian

BET TO BE FIT

Weighted Vest Guide

If you want to get serious about fitness training, consider an adjustable weighted vest. This article gives you an idea of what a weighted vest is, what they can do for you, what exercises are improved by wearing one and what to consider when choosing one.

What are weighted vests? They’re like sleeveless shirts with pockets into which you can place heavy plates, making the vest steadily heavier with each extra plate. Typically the weight added ranges from 5 to 30 pounds and is increased in increments between these.

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Colitis and Kids

Obviously we should listen to our doctors who are very well educated, but first and foremost you must have common sense!

I have been overcoming Crohn’s Disease for five years, and was told my case was so severe that diet wouldn’t help. I took that advice with a grain of salt, literally, as I dropped my fatty fast food intake and ate completely clean.

I noticed that my symptoms went away when I tried using the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is my “clean” approach. Rather than worry about what was acceptable, I cut out all grains and dairy and only ate meat and vegetables and fruit for two months.

I lost 20 pounds and felt healthier than ever! Obviously the diet worked for me, but I realize that there are mixed results among different people.

…and whether you have an auto-immune disease or you are by all means healthy, you aren’t immune to suffering from poor choices. It’s very likely that having a poor diet will not promote the best version of yourself.

Common knowledge dictates that by eating a clean, healthy diet you will function better, feel healthier, and think more clearly.

Today, I want to know what your thoughts are on an approach to auto-immune disorders and a lot of the diseases that affect first world countries:

Is IBD on the rise because of processed and fast foods?

Are you feeling your best due to a great diet? Or are you lethargic and ill due to a poor diet?

What choices will you make to live a healthier lifestyle today?

I ask these questions (similar to the questions I asked before in my JTC On Dieting post) because there is certainly a mind-body connection. To pursue your goal of being the best version of yourself and and to improve daily…diet must be one of your first steps on a long road to self development.

Every WIN Moment

inflammatory-bowel-disease-kids

I just saw a billboard from Crohn’s and Colitis Canada that stated Colitis is on the rise among Canadian children.  As a mother of two young children, and a Naturopathic Doctor, this latest “disease on the rise” in Canadian children saddens me.

With reports of autism, allergies and obesity on the rise in paediatric populations, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (i.e. Crohn’s and Colitis) is another preventable illness that is compromising the health of our youth.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada states that diet is not a cause of the condition, although it notes certain foods can aggravate symptoms.  However, after years of working with children and adults with IBD I have seen first hand that eating a high frequency of certain foods can certainly start people of all ages down the path of chronic gut irritation, inflammation and injury.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I recommend taking a therapeutic approach to nutrition for kids with…

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Letter To You From Your Older Self

Dear Me,

Keep having fun, but also keep working hard! Don’t be so wrapped up in your work that you never relax. On another note, don’t be complacent and never get any work done.

Always find a balance and work hard at being the best version of yourself! You know you can’t be Mr. Joe Cool, and never let anything bug you. You also know you aren’t always going to be a go-getter, and have the world in the palm of your hands. Seek a balance of the two, and better yourself because your own life’s journey is unique to you.

You will make mistakes and fall down; that’s a part of life. Making mistakes is the fun part! If everything were easy and you had no challenges, you’d never change. Adversity and challenges are obstacles, and overcoming obstacles develops character. Develop your character and become the best version of yourself.

The best version of “you” will be a version of you that overcame hardship; a version of you that sought adversity and became a victor. Keep fighting, and you will eventually find yourself. Do it from a standpoint of..

..pursuing your life’s ambition, YOUR PASSION! It may be cliche to say “Follow your heart,” or “Find your passion,” but do that and you will be much happier with your life. 

Also, it may be highly presumptuous to write some “life-advice” letter considering I still have a long adventure ahead of me…

But remember! I’m your older self, and I am writing this letter to you.

Sincerely,

Maxed Out Muscles

p.s.

Lift hard and dream big; set smart goals for yourself and achieve them.

  
..image courtesy of theredish.com

The Value of Perseverance

This is a great post! I’ve noticed that the road to success is full of bumps and twists(and I’m just getting started), and perseverance is possibly the greatest common denominator among everyone who has succeeded in living their dreams.

The Life and Times of Ben Weinberg

“The road to the top is paved with obstacles but the view is worth the struggle.”

Perseverance: Noun. Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. (Source: Webster Dictionary)

One of my favorite words in the English language recently is the one I just listed above along with the definition. Perseverance. The innate will to finish what you started, and to become successful despite all of the obstacles thrown at you. Life can be pretty difficult to deal with sometimes and it’s hard to remain committed to your goals, hopes, and dreams. I’m writing you to tell you, dear reader, that despite the long odds, and struggles that you may encounter in your life, you have to push on each and every day to make it one step closer to becoming successful and making those dreams come true. It won’t happen overnight and there will be setbacks…

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Saraswati Says Put Your Heart Into Your Work

“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts.  This is the secret of success.”

Above is a great quote I found by renowned and deceased Hindu teacher Sivananda Saraswati.  This rung so true to me as I thought about the past few months, and what I’ve noticed.

While I can’t say anything from long term experience, I can say that in these past few months that I’ve been working harder at everything I’ve been involved in!  And I’ve honestly felt more successful!  As I said in another recent post(click here to read “Climb To The Top And Do Not Look Back Down”) I haven’t fully defined myself as successful, but I am much better off than I was six months ago!

..and you can be too!

I’ve had real conversations with you guys about my own struggles with complacency and how I didn’t enjoy certain parts of my life, but I kept pushing(click here to read “The Key To Climbing To The Top And Why You Should Do It Today”).  Since I’ve had my ups and downs, I know that I’ve grown a lot and I am maturing.  I know that I will be successful! 

..and I know that I’m already very close.

I’m getting so much healthier, stronger, and leaner as I continue to go all out in the gym.  I continue to learn more about nutrition.  I’ve learned a lot about blogging, creating content, writing, distributing, and networking.  I’ve also learned some humility from working a job I didn’t like, along with patience.

..and I don’t tell you these things to brag!  I tell you this because the only way I can explain these thoughts of mine is through my experiences.  So I say to you today..

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..go for what you want and pursue your passion!  Work hard!  As Saraswati says “put your heart, mind, and soul into your work”, and all you lifters work hard so you can have maxed out muscles!