Breathing is Key!

Since the time you were in your Mother’s belly, breathing is key. Without oxygen your brain, lungs and body would not have developed. Now that you are grown up and have learned a lifetime of skills, habits, and behaviors it can be easy to forget about your breath. Think about it – you breathe even when you are not focused on it. This is a good thing and it allows you to breathe while you sleep, involuntarily. Just like your heart beats, your breath continues.

Stopping to take a breath

However, throughout different times in my life I was reminded just how important it is to not just breathe, but to breathe deeply. If you have ever experienced a panic attack, hyperventilated, or choked on something you know how wonderful it feels to be able to draw air down deep into your lungs. As we go through life we can forget how to breathe deeply. Have you ever heard someone talk about shallow breathing or describe someone as a chest breather? That is when you only allow the top part of your lungs to expand. You probably don’t realize you are doing it but you are doing yourself a big disservice but not breathing fully.

When I have a headache or am working out I have learned to go deep inside myself when it gets hard. What does this mean? I connect with my body, listen and give it what it needs – more oxygen. As much as it is important to breathe in it is just as important to dispel all the stale air. Try it. Next time you are anxious, nervous, working out or stressed take a deep breath in for the count of 4 seconds. If you can, hold it for 7 to 8 seconds then let it out for 4 seconds. Do that 3 times and check in with yourself. How do you feel? Let me know in the comments. When you don’t know what to do, remember that breathing is key! 

Listen to your Body

Listen to your Body

I will be the first person to tell you, “You Can Do This!” I will also be the first person to say if anything doesn’t feel right to STOP immediately. Over the past 10 years when I first found out I was pregnant until now I have found that I have become much more in tune with my being and now fully embrace how important it is to listen to your body. This doesn’t just apply to exercise but eating as well. 

Your Body Speaks to You

I have become a more intuitive eater over the last 8 months. This means listening to my body and giving it what it needs. I’m not talking about giving in to emotional cravings. (That will be another post). That is completely different, and yes, sometimes you need to give yourself permission to do that. What I am talking about is a feeling deep down that you need to eat a certain food. 

I will give you an example. This summer when we were vacationing in Colorado I got a really bad headache as soon as we got off the plane in Denver. I have been there before and know all too well how my body responds to high altitudes. It just doesn’t like it. This comes from living at sea level year round. I had hydrated really well the day before flying and continued to drink lots of water. I even had himalayan salt to help balance my electrolytes. The next day I still had a pounding headache and were planning to go even higher up in the mountains. It was so bad that I asked my husband if he would stop and see if I could get some portable oxygen.

We decided that we would stop for lunch and then go to the sporting goods store in search of oxygen. It was hard for me to admit that I might need it since I am physically fit. On the way to lunch I saw a natural grocery store and wanted to pop in and get a couple specialty items in case I couldn’t find them later. When I walked in the store I saw some bananas and I was drawn to them. The voice inside my head said, “Kerry, what are you doing? You don’t eat bananas!” They usually taste really good but I feel bad in about an hour. I moved on and did my shopping. I headed to the register and there were the bananas – again – calling to me. This time I thought, “maybe the kids will eat some bananas.” Duh! When was I going to listen to my intuition?

Are You Listening to your Body?

Well, I got in the car and they were just calling to me. Sometimes you have to hit me over the head until I listen. With my head still pounding I finally said, “I think I should just eat a banana.” It was like magic. About 30 seconds after I ate the banana my headache completely disappeared. I was shocked but it didn’t surprise me. It just confirmed to me how smart our bodies are and how they know what we need. The trick is learning to listen. Now when something comes up in my body I ask myself, “Where am I now? What do I need?” and I wait for the answer. Do I make mistakes? Yes and I move on and learn from it. Remember that it is much easier to give yourself a tune up than to wait until you break down completely. Be proactive in your approach to your health and mindful of what you eat. 

What about Exercise?

The few times I have been hurt while exercising it was because I ignored the signs my body was giving me. I brushed them aside. Now I know that knot in my muscle won’t just go away on its own. It is my body compensating for a bigger issue. I stop what I am doing, see if I can figure out what is going on. If I can’t I get professional help sooner rather than later when damage has occurred. I hope this helps those of you who are working on your health and fitness or even just getting through life. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Post your comments below.

How the Holidays Remind me of Our Wedding Day

For those of you who are married you might recall people telling you as your wedding day approached how fast that day goes by and remember their advice, “to stop and take it all in.” Sound familiar? Well, I feel the same way about the holidays. This is how the holidays remind me of our wedding day.

There is so much preparation, planning, rushing around, checking lists, checking them again. It’s a lot. I wanted everything to go a certain way, had high expectations of greatness while keeping costs within my spending plan (I don’t like the word budget). So much pressure to plan a spectacular event that will be remembered fondly for years to come. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

The only difference between planning our wedding and planning a Christmas for 2 young children is that now I have my husband’s full participation. Sorry but what guy really wants to be truly involved in all the details of planning a wedding? Looking back there are many little things that really don’t matter at the end of the day. The most important part of either event is bringing our friends and family together and spending time with them. Period.

Don’t get me wrong… I could not have pulled our holidays together without my husband. He is a super Dad and works his butt off to make this all work. I really appreciate all of his help and the thought that he puts into the holidays. The difference is that just before Thanksgiving this year I vowed to make me and my family a priority. To really take it all in. OBSERVE, RELAX, ENJOY & have FUN! The hoidays are not quite over so here is my advice to you. Just do it and let me know how it feels.

OBSERVE – be fully present in every moment. Notice what is going on around you like you are making a movie in your mind. Take in the smiles, laughter, tears and hug a lot.

RELAX – take time to lay around in your pajamas and do the dishes later. Just stare at the fire or your tree. Take a nap, snuggle with your kids, your spouse, your dog. Get those huggles in! A huggle is a cross between a hug and a snuggle. You will love it – I promise.

ENJOY – spend time with friends and family. Really stop what you’re doing and go meet someone just to catch up in person. LIsten to your favorite music and dance to it. You get the point.

HAVE FUN – laugh and play with your kids. Get out that board game or card game that you never make time to play. Your kids will remember these moments more than any present you can buy them. Take the long way home to look at the lights in the neighborhood.

Wishing you a Happy New Year full of fun, laughter and joy!

P.S. I don’t think it is a coincidence that holiday bells look like wedding bells.

Who Says You Don’t Need Math in Real Life?

When our daughter and second child was born I decided to create some new family traditions, especially for Christmas which is my favorite holiday. What does this have to do with math in real life? I am getting to that. Be patient – I type slow.

After much thought, the tradition I came up with was to trace the kids’ hands on felt, cut them out, write their names and the year with glitter and glue them on our tree skirt. Simple, right? You can imagine how cute their tiny hands looked that first year. I was very proud of myself for this keepsake tradition and imagined that several years had passed and they were home visiting from college. Of course, they were admiring all of their sweet hand cutouts on the trees skirt and saying what a loving, creative and thoughtful Mother I was?

Well, back to reality and the present, 6 years after I cut out that first handprint…

I recently got out the tree skirt after helping the kids pick out their felt and glitter for this year. Much to my surprise and dismay, I discovered that the tree skirt was missing some handprints. “Oh well, I’ll just fake last year’s,” I thought. But no, we were missing 4 years worth! How could this happen? How was I going to make that many sets of hands for both kids? They would never be the correct size. I started to think of a solution and wondering if I should pour a glass of wine instead. Just kidding. I can do this!

Our kids grow about 2 inches a year according to the pediatrician, or I’m not feeding them properly. So 2 inches a year times 4 years equals 8 inches. If child A is 48 inches tall now that means they were 40 inches 4 years ago. 48 divided by 40 equals 1.2. I know my math isn’t the best but isn’t that 20% growth in 4 years? All I have to do is take 20% divide by 4 to figure out how much bigger to make their hands each year. I did the calculations and got 5%. Common sense tells me that I should think about feeding them more.

My brain tells me to just take this year’s hand and make another one 5% smailler. How exactly am I going to do that? That is easier said than done. If you have a brilliant solution please post it in the comments. For now, I’ve decided to take their handprint from this year and photocopy it at 95%, 90%, 85% and 80%, trace them and cut them out. Whew!

Sometimes it’s tough being such a loving, creative and thoughtful Mom. Haha. Don’t tell my kids! They will never know. They also do not need to know that their father saw the look on my face after cutting out just the paper hands and finished all 3 sets of the felt hands and wrote the years in glitter glue. Moral of the story – stay in school and pay attention in Math class. Better lesson is not to procrastinate. Happy Holidays! Whatever you celebrate I hope you enjoy this time with your friends and family.

Hands on Christmas tree skirt

My Personal Message from Tony Robbins

 

Good morning, everyone. I just wanted to check in with you and share an experience that I had recently. I recently started meditating about a week or so ago on a daily basis. And I had used meditation before. I have 2 children and when I found out I was pregnant I decided that I didn’t want drugs no matter what. I knew it was going to be a challenge but I wanted to figure out how to have natural childbirth without drugs. So that led me to discover, luckily, Hypnobirthing. So I used hypnosis and meditation for 2 natural childbirths with my children so I didn’t have any drugs. But I have fallen out of the practice of meditating until recently someone encouraged me to meditate and I’ve been hearing the results that they’ve been getting. I just really wanted to pick it up again because I really feel more balanced when I meditate on a regular basis.

I’ve been meditating daily for about a week. So at night before I go to bed I listen to a guided meditation. The other night I listened to my meditation and I woke up in the morning thinking, “Oh, I have to remember this dream.” Now I recently went in December to Date with Destiny which is 6 days and 6 nights pretty much with Tony Robbins. It was a wonderful experience. It was my first experience with Tony Robbins other than seeing him on TV or a little bit on Facebook. But in my dream that I knew I had to remember it was a group setting, there was about 10 of us or so in a house and this is all in my dream so keep that in mind.  We were all in a house. I don’t know if we were living together or working together but we were there for a conference or to learn from Tony. But Tony was there and had an assistant that seemed to be his son or somebody very close to him that was travelling with him. So there was me and 10 others.

There was this one guy that was there in the house that he and I just did not get along in this dream. We just butt heads and brought out the worst in each other. It was just a really bad vibe between us. Tony pulled me aside and he said, “Kerry, this is your opportunity. You really need to work this out. Tomorrow you’re gonna do it. There is a conflict going on, I’m not sure what is going on with you and this guy so you need to work it out. Tomorrow is your day.”

So I went to bed and came back the next day to the house and the guy was there and I am all ready, all fired up and I’m gonna fix this because Tony says I can do it and I’m gonna do it. Well, the guy that you know he and I had been butting heads and just was horrible energy between us was being nice as can be. You know it’s not my fault, how am I going to fix this? I was thinking to myself, “How am I going to fix this,Tony? There is no conflict.” Everything is great, everything is wonderful. He is acting like we are best friends. I am not sure what is going on. Everything is going well. So I didn’t feel comfortable resolving this conflict that now all of a sudden was gone.

Well, next thing I knew I’m walking around the house and Tony Robbins he has his laptop case thrown over his shoulder and his assistant is behind him, and he is headed towards the door. And he’s like, “That’s it!”, so and so or whoever his assistant was, “We’re out of here!!” I said. “Wait, Tony, Wait! I know I haven’t resolved this. I’m trying to figure this out! What’s the issue? I’m trying to figure this out. Am I avoiding the situation?  What’s going on? Have I been avoiding this? Am I ignoring the issue?” and he looked at me and he said, “NO, you’re FEEDING the issue and I’m out of here. I don’t have time for this crap.” And that to me was a very important message.

I woke up and I thought, wow, I have to remember that word feeding. I have to remember, you’re feeding the issue, Kerry.  And it made me think, what am I feeding? What are YOU feeding? You might want to look at that yourself in your life. Are you feeding your fear, which I tend to do. Are you feeding your emotions?, are you feeding your face? Are you? There’s a lot of things that you could be feeding and are you feeding positive things? or negativity? So, really I just wanted to share that message with you because for me I think it was very important and it’s something that I need to look at. Think about what are you feeding and is it something that is going to NOURISH you? Have a great day!

Competition Isn’t Always About Finishing

Every year around February the CrossFit Open starts. It is 5 weeks of competing against any and every CrossFitter in the world who wants to compete. The reason they do it is to find the best athletes to go to the CrossFit Games that you see on TV where they compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth.” I do it just to see how I do compared to the year before, gauge my personal progress and to see how I stack up against my friends at my box (gym). I cannot believe that this year is my 5th CF Open competition. When I first did it I had no idea what it even was but my coach said I should do it, and he believed in me so I did too.

This past Friday was the second week of 5 workouts, and it was a TOUGH one. I thought the week before was bad because I had to snatch a 35-lbs. dumbbell over my head with 1 arm but this past week I had to do lunges with two 35-lbs. dumbbells and that was just the beginning. Here is a picture of the workout:

CrossFit Open 17.2 workout

Sure the lunges were enough to make me want to throw up a little in my mouth but I felt quite confident that I could use pure will and determination to get through them. I even thought that I might be able to do them quickly so I wouldn’t have to hold the dumbbells on my shoulders as long. I had visions of giving my brothers piggy back rides up the stairs and knew my short legs could take it. Next exercise… toes-to-bar… I could do that too. If I needed to break it up into smaller sets to preserve my grip strength then that is how I would approach them. Cleans with the dumbbells, ok, I can do those. Don’t get me wrong they sucked. My strategy here was to get all 8 as soon as possible and jot down my time for the tie breaker. MORE lunges next, fine! Toes-to-bar and cleans – check!

Now this is where I knew I was going to be in trouble both mentally and physically. To go into a workout where I am pretty confident I can do everything is great but when I go into a workout facing a movement that I did for 1 rep a year ago in the CF Open and haven’t even attempted since is a whole other ball game. Let me restate that… going into a workout when I know deep down in my soul that I am not going to get a bar muscle up this year. Not even one, not even close. That can mess with your head and crush you before the clock even starts.

So what did I do? I had 2 choices. I could stop trying and proceed to cheer on my friends in the same heat, basically quit OR I could keep on going to see what happened. This is the point in the workout where my plan fell into place. You see, I knew on this night that it wasn’t going to happen for me. Not only was I NOT going to finish but I was going to get to the point where I couldn’t continue because I couldn’t do the movement. It sucks to be all pumped up with adrenaline, the crowd cheering and to look at the clock with 6 more minutes and 22 seconds left and know all you have left in you is failed attempts.

Remember that plan I mentioned? Since I knew this would happen I pushed as hard as I could and went as fast as I could on the first part of the workout without draining my tank down to empty just in case. I didn’t put the weights down on rep 6 or 7 to rest like suggested so I wouldn’t have to do an extra rep when I picked them back up. I sucked it up and did all 8 reps in a row because I knew the only thing that would save me in this workout was that tie breaker time. In the event two or more athletes tie with the same number of reps completed they would look at who got to this part of the workout the fastest and that person would get more points. I kept going for the rest of the workout, and I got some chest-to-bar pull-ups while trying to get a bar muscle up. When I got done I was happy with my performance. For me this was about not losing it half way through the workout or feeling bad about myself. I was healthy, I did my best and worked my butt off. My plan worked for this week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Here is the video of my first round of lunges with the 35-lbs dumbbells and the toes-to-bar.

Kerry Marraffino CrossFit Open 17.2

 

My Beginning to a New Healthy Me

Many of you have been following my blog and have seen my results. I am proud of where I am today. However, I have yet to share what I was like when I started doing CrossFit so you can see how far I have come. Part of this is because I don’t like seeing my old self, and I’ve been too chicken to post it but I think it is important to share this with you. This wasn’t the beginning of my journey because I had already lost 25 lbs. of baby weight on my own. I was still breastfeeding and was very sleep deprived. The week before this video I started a new job and had to go back into an office environment again.

Much to my embarrassment, I have a video that shows me about 1 month after I started CrossFit. Not quite the beginning but close enough to show you that I actually am human and very similar to you. When you watch the video you will see me in the black shorts and teal sports bra. My hair is shorter because I had just donated my hair to Locks of Love.

We did this workout called MURPH as a team of 4 people. We each took turns doing our reps until it was the next person’s turn. If you watch closely you will see that I am pacing as I wait for it to be my turn. I am fidgeting with my water bottle. On the inside I am freaking out because I don’t know if I will be able to do my part and contribute to my team. I am really worried about being able to keep up. I still feel this way when I work out as part of a team. I would rather go solo and know that I am the only one affected by my performance. I don’t like to let my teammate down and am still working on this.

Here is the video. Please watch it and then continue reading. 

It took a deep determination for me to commit to doing 1 to 3 CrossFit workouts a week. If I didn’t get all 3 workouts in I accepted it and moved on with a new focus for the next week. As I improved and saw the benefits of working out it was much easier to get them all in and I looked forward to going and learning new skills.

On Memorial Day 5/30/16 I redid this same workout. However, this time I did the workout by myself. I no longer needed to divide it up among 4 people because I could do it all on my own. Was it easy? No, it was very hard but I finished in 59 mins and 39 seconds.

This is MURPH:

Run 1 Mile

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Squats

Run 1 mile

I hope that sharing this video and story shows you that you can do this too. I am no different than you. Let me know where you are in your fitness and how I can help.

Life is Too Short to Wait

Life is too shortI am probably going to catch some flack for this post OR you might learn something and thank me later. I hope for the second option! I have been lucky enough to do a lot of traveling on my own starting when I was 16 years old. I have been to about 46 amazing countries. Travel in itself, if you do it right, requires some flexibility, creativity and rolling with the flow.

Maybe being in distant lands is where I have learned this not-so-common knowledge that I am about to teach you. Maybe it’s because I had to share the bathroom with 3 brothers. I’m not really sure at what point I made a very simple realization. It is the following:

YOU CAN GO A LOT MORE FUN PLACES IF YOU GET READY IN 5 MINUTES.

What?!! That’s impossible you say… Really? Ladies, I am talking to you. Let me break it down for you. You are grown WOMEN. You are beautiful and confident and don’t care what people think. Ok, maybe you do but this isn’t PROM. There is no need to make him wait in the hopes of possibly getting something spectacular later. You don’t need to build the anticipation, make him pay his dues and suffer through your Father and brothers as they test him and try to break him before you make it down the stairs. There are no games to play. If you’re married don’t take so long getting ready that your husband is asleep on the couch and doesn’t feel like going by the time you appear.

You can get ready in 5 minutes and walk out the door destined for FUN & ADVENTURE. 

OR you can waste time primping. Here’s a test. Have you ever told your super fun, bigger than life girlfriend who you admire because she lives by the seat of her pants that “No, you can’t go to the art festival now because you just got up and need to get ready?.” Well, guess what? She is off having fun and you are still curling your eyelashes.

Don’t get me wrong. I can spend a good 20 minutes in the shower and trust me I do because sometimes it is the only alone time that I get. I can exfoliate with the best of them and emerge from a steamy bathroom feeling softer than a baby’s bottom with fabulously shiny hair. 

You know when I have the most fun? Those days where I am given an opportunity to do something amazing and I go for it. I can get ready in 5 minutes and you can too. Throw your hair in a bun, brush your teeth, shower so fast you barely got wet but smell good. Toss on something comfortable, put on a little eyeliner and mascara. Always save the lip gloss application for the car because your date thinks it’s hot. Then get on with your FUN. CARRY ON! – please… repeat after me. There is no more saying, “Oh, I wish I could …”

Try it and report back.

 

Is This Really Me?!

Kerry and Gaby wallball

 

I have a somewhat funny story to share about this photo. The title reads, “Is this really me?!”

Let me explain…I had been doing CrossFit about 8 months when I participated in my first CrossFit Open Competition. Keep in mind I quit gymnastics when I was 11 because I didn’t want to compete. Ha! That sounds funny to me now. Anyway, every time they posted the workout for the week I would sweat in anticipation and excitement just praying that I would be able to do at least 1 rep of the first movement so I wasn’t disqualified. I had finally made it to week 4 and then passed week 5. I got lucky in that they didn’t start any of the workouts with double unders.

Oh happy day! I had completed all 5 workouts without being knocked out. Mission accomplished! You gotta set goals if you want to get anywhere, right? Sometimes that goal needs to be don’t suck completely and if you do just don’t give up. In the meantime, people at the gym kept talking about a photo of me that they really liked. Of course, I wanted to see it and scoured our gym’s Facebook page and website looking for a photo of me. I DIDN’T SEE IT. What were they talking about? Was I crazy?, were they just messing with me?

I’d forget about the picture then someone would mention it again and how great it was. Really??? What was I missing? I searched again and nothing. I had clicked on this picture several times and even clicked that I liked it. I had no idea it was me though. I thought it was an amazing photo of my friend from the gym and thought to myself, “Wow, she is amazing and has come a long way from where she started.” I asked the photographer about the photo and she assured it existed.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think it was ME. What’s my point? Well, I had worked so hard to get where I was that I didn’t recognize myself when I was there. Read that again. Have you ever done that? I didn’t even think the woman in the picture looked remotely like me. Wow, right? So my epiphany for you is:

  • When you think you could do better but you’re doing your best – YOU ARE!
  • When you think if only you looked good – YOU DO!
  • When you think if only you’d do better – YOU DO, YOU ARE AND YOU WILL!

This is when I learned to celebrate both the little and big accomplishments. Some people say that their reward is when they meet their ultimate goal. I say the heck with that because it all counts! You know why? Because I didn’t give up!

It is happening right now my friends. Please don’t ever give up. 

P.S. This photo has become one of my favorites. It was taken during the CrossFit Open 12.4 workout by Aludra Photography. I remember that workout well and was so glad that there were only 4 or 5 people in the gym when I did it. It had the dreaded double unders in it but I wasn’t worried about those. I knew my goal was to get through 150 wallballs. I didn’t do it but I came close. I got 148 reps with 12 misses (no reps).

 

 

 

I Was a Woman Before I Became a Mom

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!  

I recently posted this meme that says, “I was a Woman before I became a Mom.”

The men don’t get it and that is why it’s important. They think, duh, don’t you have to be a woman to be a mom?! The ladies know exactly what I’m talking about. I will explain it for the men. When you become a Mom your role and responsibilities change and as a result you can lose yourself in your relationship. This can be different for different women but it may be:


1. You don’t make time for yourself like you used to because you feel guilty.
2. Maybe you don’t feel as sexy or desirable as you did before.
3. You’re tired and don’t think you should have to schedule time for fun.


Guys, this is where you come in! Yay! ?
Help your wife, girlfriend, mother of your children by letting her know how beautiful, amazing, sexy and hot she is. If you think she already knows then you need to step up your game because she probably doesn’t know or maybe she doesn’t fully believe it. TELL her how beautiful she is, buy some new lingerie for her without expectations (when she’s ready she will put it on for you), rub her shoulders, kiss her neck, hug her longer than usual, spend some time just talking or being together. If she used to paint but doesn’t any more go to a wine and painting event together. Slow down and enjoy her. Get to know her all over again. If you won’t let her have breakfast in bed because she might drop some crumbs, get over it and surprise her with breakfast in bed. Basically, pretend you are dating! ? Have FUN and try something new for the woman you love. ❤️❤️❤️

Being of Mother is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Growing a life inside of me and giving it birth is truly a miracle.The first time my kids called me Mom just lit up my heart. I wanted to pour all of my energy into their little lives and nurturing a family. I think most women feel this way. Sometimes though we forget that we still need to be ourselves and the woman that we were before they came along. How else will our children learn how to fully live life? I make taking care of myself a priority through exercise and healthy eating. More recently, I am getting back in the habit of taking time for myself and doing mini-facials, painting my nails and just being with me. I am also enjoying spending time with my husband just the two of us talking about our dreams like we used to do before we got married. It’s not easy balancing it all, and I am far from perfect. I believe it is important to take a deep breath and refocus when I find myself getting overwhelmed. Many of you might feel this way too that is why I am sharing this. You are not alone and I want you to remember this especially when you are doubting yourself, YOU ARE A GREAT MOM AND YOU ARE DOING AN AWESOME JOB!