Be More

Life update: I have a day and a half left of my internship, start my new “real” job on Monday, and my tan is approximately at 7% of last years. Office life probs.

This summer has come with a lot of reflecting and looking ahead. I’ve struggled to find the “why” behind my discontent- why do I feel the need to constantly “be productive”? Not saying that this is a bad thing- I LIKE being productive and feeling busy. The issue I’m currently running into is…what am I training for? What do I have to be productive towards?

I read a blog post from one my favorites the other day, and she summed it up perfectly: “I am a do-er, not a perfectionist”. I am not one to nit pick on every single little detail, but am I am one that loves to look at the big picture. That involves creating training schedules that don’t account for stretching and foam rolling (or sleep), and always feeling AMAZING after a yoga class but never making the time to go.

My entire life I have been an athlete, and I have been fortunate enough to train hard and to travel the continent and excel in a high-performance setting. And as positive as I tried to be throughout the ordeal, breaking my foot scared the crap out of me. It’s been six months, and it still makes me angry and it still makes me sad that I didn’t get the opportunity to perform at my peak, as this season was by the far the best I have ever felt with my diving. I spent the rest of the winter doing rehab and competing on painkillers, spent all spring recovering and then training for Nationals. After a perfectly average, nothing outstanding Nationals performance, I’ve spent the whole summer working out to feel “back in shape”. I was/am convinced that my physical conditioning after the broken foot was the worst it’s been in years (which I completely understand comes with the territory of injury). I am not a dainty athlete- my strength in diving has always been my power over my technique or “rip” (entering the water without a splash). To have that taken away felt like a much bigger blow than it needed to be because that certain injury took away everything I was “good” at. I had to rely on the things I wasn’t as good at to get me through and I couldn’t stand it.

This summer, I have been getting up at 5:30am and working out before I had to go to the office, or would go straight to the gym from work if I didn’t make it before 8am. I don’t even have a meet to train for yet, as next years nationals haven’t been posted but I am assuming my next competition will be between December and February. And honestly? I am back “in-shape” at this point. I can squat, I can run, I’m doing just fine. And yet, the discontent remains. That burn is still there, lingering, from when I felt “out of shape”.

I am not training to be in shape anymore- I am training out of fear of feeling weak. It’s not always positive and it’s not always fun, and I’ve complained to my Dad about not wanting to become a cookie-cutter health blogger because I am not someone who goes to gym to do Pinterest workouts and writes running playlists (I will write about food however, 10/10 times). I want to be a force of nature. I want to be a hurricane of an athlete- strong and fierce, not weak and afraid.

I want to push myself, in every way possible. I want to surpass my standard of feeling “in shape”. I want to attempt harder dives, and lift heavier, and run further. I want to do more and be more and really see what I can do- what I’m capable of as an athlete. I am feeling that motivation to train harder, smarter, and to pay more attention to my nutrition and recovery.

Another quote from that same favorite blogger sealed the deal for me today: “You have to do decide who are to be, and just be it”. You cannot wait for Monday or next season or when you lose ten pounds to declare you are “starting”. This is life- you have already started. If you want to do something, train for something, be something, just go be it.

With that in mind, I’m on a mission. To do more and be morestay tuned.


Weekly Recap Two

Week two is officially over, and while it started SO STRONG things sort of took a nose dive towards the end of the week :( I definitely had a better handle on what the week would look like in general, so it was less of a shock to the system! My body is starting to recognize the early mornings, and even today after staying out last night I was wide awake at 6:15am (110% fell back asleep though- I’m not THAT eager to hop out of bed).

Compared to last week? This week was probably a solid B.

Like I mentioned, the week started on like four near perfect days! I was getting up even earlier as practice had been moved up a half hour, so I could work out then train a little 6:30ish-8am. Planning outfits ahead of time made life way easier- from work clothes to work out clothes to finally just keeping three different pairs of shoes in my car.

Friday morning was a bit of a speed bump for me, but I don’t regret it at all. I (intentionally) slept in Friday morning and worked out at around 6pm that day. Thursday night I had been caught in a massive storm driving home from my second job at 10pm and it took me twice as long to get home- and four times as anxious. I needed the little extra rest. Even though the gym is way busier at 6pm compared to 6am, I found a squat rack just fine and made it through my workout no issue!

Meals were so on point, to a point, this week. Monday-Thursday I was killing it- mixing up my salads, doing overnight oats, having more snacks on hand (aka the jar of peanut butter in my trunk next to all the shoes). Wednesday I had a planned lunch out with a friend so I didn’t even have to worry about anything that day! This week would have been a solid A with the early mornings and the better meal prep, but then Friday and Saturday happened. Friday I skipped my lunch of salad, sweet potato, and a granola bar, because it was our VP’s birthday and I had cake for lunch (honestly I don’t regret this decision much at all- go to Target RIGHT NOW and buy a cake. Best cake of all time). After seeing Jurassic World Friday night (GO SEE THAT WITH YOUR CAKE) I didn’t have much prepped so Saturday, which meant I was stupid hangry the majority of the day. I bought breakfast and lunch out between practice and work and on my lunch break, but the low quality of a chicken sandwich or a bagel left me so unsatisfied and hungry again an hour and a half later. 

Lesson of the week: PROTEIN with breakfast is your best friend. I couldn’t believe I difference I felt in the mornings when I included protein versus not. Yeah I might have looked like a bro with my protein powder in a shaker cup with water, but it was totally worth it.

Highlight of the week: was my coach telling me at practice on Saturday that I was looking really in shape- he knows my goals for the summer include a lot more strength training and just general “working out” so it was nice to hear after months of feeling “out of shape”!

Fun Fact of the week is that I started an additional Instagram account for the blog/meal prepping! I don’t post very often (yet), but it was created in order to help keep me accountable in regards to my meal prepping goals, and once the fall rolls around I’m hoping it will just be more of an extension of the blog!

Follow me on Instagram now @laurenelysecan

Weekly Recap One

So this summer, like last summer, and probably a dozen more times in my life, I put as many things on my plate as I could possibly handle. It’s like in diving when we say “heave and believe” (or another fond saying that rhymes with “___ it and chuck it”), I’m sort of just throwing myself into the process and hoping I come out alright on the other side.

My internship started June 1st (!!!!) and I went back to retail part time on June 2nd. Sounds innocent enough, until it sinks that I’m working 63 hours a week with a 20-45 minute commute. Uhhh. Whoops.

Anyways, this blog isn’t to complain because I’m excited for everything thats going on, but I think I’m going to throw together a post every week to evaluate how I did in regards to workouts and meal prepping! Every Sunday this summer I’ll be writing about how the past week went, getting into detail about how committed I am to get back in shape- lifting heavy and running 3 miles like it’s nothing. I’m a big believer in you don’t find time you MAKE time, so even though I am never at home and don’t have a day off scheduled till July 3rd, I’m determined to make this summer one of the best yet.

This weeks result? Probably a B-

I am SO proud of myself in regards to the past week because I got up between 5:30am and 6am to get my workout done every single day (Monday through Saturday, six days total, Sunday rest day). My new lifting schedule calls for three days a week, so I lifted Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday (I held off Friday because I wasn’t sure if a friend was going to join me or not). Tip for planning weekend workouts: Check summer hours! I got there for my Saturday lift at 6:30am only to find out the gym wasn’t open till 7 :( I ended up doing my whole warm up and jump circuit outside, which in retrospect was kind of nice, so that way I could be starting my squat set right at 7, BUT STILL. I ran Tuesday and Thursday, although Thursday I was running late and only made it through 25 minutes, and Friday I did the Stairmaster and some light lifting. Right now my schedule revolves around getting in the shower at 7:10am, stretching and foam rolling with the team while they get ready for practice 7:30-8am, doing hair and make-up, then walking out the door to drive to the office at 8:15am

Where I struggled a little bit this week was meal prepping. It’s actually a little comical, I’ve given up my normal lunch bag for a cooler I keep in the trunk of my car. I did a great job with cooking chicken, asparagus, baking blueberry oatmeal protein muffins, and washing/chopping raw veggies on Sunday. The only thing is I didn’t get around to was the sweet potatoes and zucchini, very aware I had no time to cook them during the week. Only one day did I not pack enough food and had to buy a meal out (Tuesday night, first day back at retail when I left the house at 6am and got back at 11pm), which is a bonus as I’m trying to not buy anything fast food this summer (not that I did much anyways, but I was guilty of picking up a granola bar instead of having one in my bag some days- I did stop for a Quest bar when I got gas on day as well!). The truth is I really just got bored with my food choices- while I was so excited to have cooked plenty on Sunday, by the time Thursday and Friday rolled around I was so bored of chicken, carrots, apples/bananas, and lame salads (read: greens, asparagus, and dressing) that I wasn’t looking forward to anything I packed. Thank goodness for that Quest bar on Saturday between practice and work at 10 or I would have been losing my mind!

Goals for next week: more variety in my meal prepping, and pick out CLOTHES for the whole week. The most annoying thing when I was getting ready for bed every night was having to pick out a gym outfit and an office outfit. I’m sure I could plan all of those out in advance as well, just like my food, and it would save me a world of annoyances.

Anyways folks, happy Sunday! Thanks for slogging through the long first week recap. If you have any great tips for meal prepping, comment below and I will take them to heart! I’m off to work from 10am-6pm today, and then it’s grocery shopping, cooking, and hopefully a load of laundry until I face plant into bed (ideally around 10:30pm- we’ll see!)

Sunday Quote

Surviving Training Camp

Training Camp Update! Happy January where all we do is eat sleep and dive! My days have been starting at 6:30am when I roll out of bed for coffee and yogurt, doing a quick assessment of which parts of body hurt today (hint, it’s all of them).

This three week training cycle is by far the hardest and most rewarding part of the year. Right now Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday, we’re pulling five hours a day with a two and a half hour morning and afternoon practice (yes, even Saturdays), with weights on Tuesday and Thursday to make those six hour days. A note to my readers who are not college athletes six weeks before their championship- do NOT work out 32 hours a week. You will hate it and kill yourself and blame the blog and that’d be awkward. Our coach has become fond of saying he is going to “bury” us. Considering last year the theme was “rock bottom,” and I’m assuming burying is below that, sooo wish me luck as we head into the second half of this camp.

Training cycles have a natural progression to them, and every cycle has it’s peak. That peak might be a race, a week of heavy lifting, or 3 weeks of training camp. Whatever your challenge may look like, here are some tips I use to ensure success! (In this case, success is surviving)

1. CALORIES. Now is not the time to cut back on calories to “make up” for holiday eating. The definition of a calorie is NOT a bad thing- it’s the amount of energy a food can give you. By fueling your body with QUALITY calories, not crap calories, your body will be able to withstand more than you ever believed possible. Do not starve your body or take things away from it. Feed it like you love it.

2. WATER. Chug chug chug. I try to drink a water bottle per practice, which is 32 ounces. Clearly that’s a lot for two and a half hours (especially since we don’t sweat much being in the pool), so I only make it about half the time but having the goal reminds to take a few sips after almost every dive. Obviously the morning is reserved for coffee, but over breakfast and lunch I’m constantly reaching for my water bottle to try and hit more than two bottles a day. Your body doesn’t even function right if it’s dehydrated- who cares if you have to pee constantly. Chugging water gets rid of my headaches, helps me make it through six hours of practice a day, and allows to be a functioning, social human being when I’m not at the pool.

3. SLEEP. My alarm goes off at 6:30am every day, and I have no shame being passed-out asleep by 10pm. You need sleep to recover; to excel, to think straight, to keep improving. I don’t care how “uncool” it makes me seem, if I’m up till 11pm I get massively grumpy and can often be seen gazing off into the distance at the pool dreaming of a second or third cup of coffee… Sleep has become a massive priority in my life right now. I fell asleep last night hanging out with a friend, and bless his soul he plugged my phone in, made sure my alarms were set, and turned off my lights before he left. Best friends let you sleep, 100% of the time.

3. FOAM ROLL. It’s so painful but hurts so good. We keep a foam roller in our living room (athlete probs) and have them scattered around the pool deck and the weight room. Roll every chance you get! By rolling you’re loosening up those tight muscles, getting rid of lactic acid and increasing circulation to promote recovery. Plus it’s like a massage and who can turn that down?? An alternative to foam rolling is getting a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball, and leaning against it on a wall- great for those tricky muscle knots around your shoulder blades as well as your pectorals (chest), neck, and traps. I went to a pet store and got an oversize tennis ball that works perfectly- I just can’t lean too hard or it squeaks :)

4. HEAT. It’s flipping cold outside, no one wants to ice unnecessarily (if you have an injury or have been told by a trainer to ice, please do so. I’m just a random voice on the internet). I turn to my heating pad during winter training camp, always. I sit on it, wrap it around my legs (quads, hamstrings, calfs, it all hurts). I lay on it, moving it from my upper back to my lower back. In between practices, when I’m not eating, you’ll often see me (blogging! yay!) sitting on my computer moving the heating pad to a different part of my body every twenty minutes.

I couldn’t tell you what day of the week or month it is, but I can say it’s time for me to go back to the pool! What are your best recovery tips for those hellish weeks??

2015 Grind

I love planning. I’m a big planner, making to-do lists, brainstorming activities. Every September at the beginning of the school year (and the college season), we dig deep to find those goals that will push us to better than we were before. Every May at the beginning of the summer, we do the same, and of course January 1st is the classic time to kick off new challenges.

There are plenty of things I’m looking forward to this year- goals included. What a better (and cliched) way to kick off 2015 on the blog by looking at some of the things I intend to work towards this year?

Graduating with two degrees this May. After five years of college, I’ll be walking across the stage at Carver Hawkeye Arena with a Bachelors of Science in Recreation and Sport Management, and a Bachelors of Art in Ethics and Public Policy from the University of Iowa. I was not one of those people who knew what they wanted to do their whole lives, and I transitioned majors and classes and professors while finding out what I loved. While technically this a goal, I only have one class left for each degree so 99% of the work is done!

Top 8 at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Zone D Championships. Top 8 make the championship finals at Big Tens, and while top 18 make finals at Zones top 8 is still the goal. In my college career, I have come 9th on every event possible- my sophomore year on platform, and my junior year on 1m and 3m on back-to-back days. It sucks and it stings to be 9th. I’m ready. That’s what I’ve been working towards for two years now. There are only three months left in my collegiate athletic career (eek!!) and I want to finish to the best of my ability.

Get a real world pull up your big girl panties kinda job. While my college career might be ending soon, I’m still looking to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials. To do so means job hunting in the Iowa area for a bit- like REAL job hunting, not just a part-time summer job kind of gig. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I’ve been told both of those emotions are normal.

Extra- FINISH a Tough Mudder! A close friend of mine did a few of them this year and I obsessed at how cool they sounded. While I contemplating doing one in October, I choose to hold off and take the summer of 2015 to train for it (also won’t interfere with the diving season!). While I haven’t selected a date or location yet, I’m all giddy at the thought of it. I’m also looking at the Spartan Race series or the Warrior Dash just to make sure I’m selecting a race date that’s a good location and not too far away. Who knows maybe I’ll get in more than one event even :)

Leave a link to your posts about your 2015 goals! Happy January 1st my loves I hope everyone started the year on a strong note!

Four Steps to a Holiday Workout

Every year I come home with good intentions- to maintain eating mostly healthy, I say I’m going to stretch out, and I always say I am going to go to the gym. Every year I do alright, but nothing like my schedule back at school. (3 hours a week at home versus 20 hours a week at school still somehow seems like such a chore). In addition…I absolutely cannot stand working out at home. I’ve done yoga DVD’s at home before but that’s about it- I’m the kind of girl that needs to go to the gym. If this is not you, and have the self discipline to work out at home, CONGRATS I seriously consider you a more evolved level of human.

Step One- Find Gym Clothes

Probably only one outfit, dug out of the bottom of your suitcase, wrinkled (but who cares it’s gym clothes right?) This may seem like he easiest step, but packing in advance means you’re already setting up a significant commitment! Do you bring home one shirt? Two? How often do you INTEND to work out versus how often will you in reality and do you want to bring all that home?? And don’t forget shoes, but pay attention. True story- when I came home for a weekend in November I brought two left shoes home, and didn’t notice until I got to the gym locker room! Thanks goodness my mother has extra shoes in the car…

Step Two- Plan Your Workout

I’m on my own there- no strength coach, no team mates, not even anything to train for (besides burning off holiday cookies). I typically end up doing about 20 minutes of cardio and then lifting, the catch being I only really lift legs and do core work because I CANNOT do a pull up despite nearly seven years of weight training, heck. Any day now would be great.

Step Three- Fight Your Way Around

Holy crap it’s the holidays what is everyone doing here. Don’t you not workout over the holidays? Wait, why am I working out on Christmas Eve?? OH AN EMPTY SQUAT RACK RUN. 

Step Four- Don’t Stress the Heck Out

I like to get my workouts in over the holidays in short and sweet bursts. I do cardio intervals on the elliptical like a mad woman, lift heavy weights, and take short breaks. If a squat rack doesn’t open up (why are there 200 cardio machines and only three squat racks?!) I’ll improvise on free weights. If I forget my headphones I’ll skip the cardio and do extra core, and I always skip foam rolling to do it at home (foam rollers at the gym freak me out). Basically, when I’m at home in December, I don’t give a crap how my workout goes. It’s a miracle I’m even there! Even though I’m always dying to do something over the holidays I’m not going to skip out on Christmas morning cinnamon buns or post-dinner drinks for the sake of a workout. With that being said, I also don’t have “Holiday pants” set aside or ONLY eat cookies for days upon days. If, or when, you work out over the holidays, make it efficient. The time is meant to be spent with friends and family, not sweaty strangers judging your lifting form.

This post was brought to you by Chicago O’Hare free airport Wifi, a 4:40am alarm clock, and Starbucks.