Short and long term goals in fitness, knitting (and life)

Believe it or not, I am a knitter. (I know, I don’t look like a knitter. But what does a knitter look like?)

I knit for the same reason I exercise; it relieves stress, it’s a productive use of my time, it teaches me new things and it’s introduced me to many new friends; friends I might not have met otherwise.

There are a lot of similarities between knitting and fitness. I’ve blogged at length about them before here. But one of the most important elements the two have in common is the need for both short and long term goals.

Short term goals hold your interest for a few days or weeks at best. Not too much investment. Easy to forget about once attained. In contrast, long term goals require you to look beyond the immediate and see the bigger picture. More investment, more stops and starts, more satisfaction when you reach them.

My current short and long term goals?


Short term: socks, always socks. I’m currently working on a wild-stripey pair for my 9-year old daughter. Knitting socks for kids has to be about the shortest term project out there. You cast on, knit while watching an episode of House and presto, it’s time to turn the heel. Four to 6 evenings of television and they’re done. Almost instant satisfaction (unless, of course, your child then refuses to wear them because they’re either too pretty or too itchy to come in contact with their foot…).

Long term: a beautiful, flowing, drapey cardigan for me. Garments don’t always have to be long term projects (I’ve knit a chunky weight vest on 6 mm needles in a weekend), but this one is knit in sport-weight yarn (very thin) on 4 mm needles (moderately small) and has a very large, overlapping collar and extension PLUS long sleeves. I’m hoping it will be done in time to wear as an evening cover up come summer… Here’s what it’s supposed to look like

This is what mine looks like right now; still a fair ways to go…


Short term: consistently get to the weight room 3 times a week, yoga and spinning once or twice. Showing up is all that matters for my short term goals. I’ve been tweeting (and will continue to tweet) my #PROOF pics just to stay accountable and motivated.

Long term: other than my super long term goal to do unassisted pull-ups (it occurs to me that if I was being consistent, this would be a short term goal; funny how short terms goals can turn into long term goals, isn’t it?), I don’t really have any. I’m not training for any particular event. I’m not trying to drop weight or body fat (not to say that I wouldn’t love to be a bit leaner, but I’m not really concentrating on it these days).

I think I just added another action item to my short term fitness goal list: identify a long term fitness goal!

I’m keeping my long and short term life goals to myself (for now). Suffice it to say, we’re  all works in progress!

What are your current short and long term fitness goals?

What other areas in your life do you set goals for?


Monday Motivation: A guest post from ‘down under’

This week, a friend of mine agreed to write a guest post about what motivates her to eat well and exercise daily.  Meet Samantha Trenerry! Sam lives in Australia, with her son Cadel and husband Phil. She’s super fit (CrossFit will do that for you!), a fabulous mama, and a knitter too (I met her first on Ravelry and we bonded over exercise and yarn!).

Hello fellow fitknitchick fans!

I am an Aussie stay at home mama to 4-year-old Cadel and am married to Phil who is a shift worker. Cadel’s story is a blog post in itself, so I am going to do my best to sum him up in a paragraph. Cadel is a sweet, loving, cheeky little boy, he is the light of my life and I am incredibly lucky to be his mama. Cadel lives with Spastic Quadriplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy so debilitating that he needs help with all aspects of daily living, he is also severely impaired intellectually. Cadel is in a wheelchair and unlike the average 4 year old Cadel cannot take himself to the toilet, fix himself a snack, feed himself, sit himself up or move from one activity to the next without our help. We build therapeutic activities into each day and he visits regularly with a team of therapists at our local disability service. Medically he has a lot going on too, but the main condition he has that affects his daily life is an acute form of Epilepsy, despite being on 4 different medications he has dozens of visible seizures each day and has many more we cannot see. Our days are busy, and although they are filed with fun and laughter they can be draining both physically and emotionally for all 3 of us.

Tamara asked me to talk about what motivates me to lead a healthy lifestyle, and the first big motivator for me is the most obvious, my family! Phil works outside the home as a Police Officer and I care of the little guy, when Phil is home we share the role taking care of Cadel. This gives us both time to work out and a little time to chill out too. The three us make a great team! Knowing that Cadel and Phil are relying on me is all the motivation I need. I want to eat right so I have the energy to power through my day and still have a bit left in the tank for a workout. I want to workout so I can get the 45kg wheelchair in and out of the car on my own and so I can lift Cadel up and down all day without a second thought. Let’s face it, strong, healthy people are far more useful, and I want to know that I will be strong enough to take care of Cadel for a long time to come. Having a child who is disabled also motivates me because it makes me realize how lucky I am to have a fully functioning body, it would be a shame to waste it sitting on the couch all day with a big bag of chips, I want to make the most of it!

The second big motivator for me is that I have found a sport I LOVE. If there is one piece of advice I can give you it is to keep trying different activities until you find something you really want to do. If you want to make a lifelong commitment to exercising you need to be enthusiastic about what you are doing or it will become a chore, and soon after it will become just another failed exercise program. I do CrossFit, it makes sense for me because it challenges me physically and mentally, I am able to set goals for myself and I leave every session knowing I have nothing left to give. I have also made some wonderful friends at the gym, they inspire me, push me to reach my goals and they make working out fun.

Other than my family and the sport I love, I find motivation the same way everyone else does, I want to look in the mirror and feel good about what I see, I want to set a good example for Cadel and for the other children in my life, I want my husband to think I am still as hot as I was the day he married me and I don’t want to see the number on the scales go up unless I know it is because I am getting stronger!

Having said all that I have to confess that I have a downfall, and I am sure it is one many of you share, FOOD! I bet a lot of you fail in that area at times for exactly the same reason I do, I forget about myself! I manage to eat a healthy breakfast every day and dinner is usually something wholesome too, but I can be hopeless during the day unless I really plan for it. This is something I am working really hard on, but on really busy days, especially when we have a lot of appointments to get to, I find myself hungry at 3pm and suddenly realize the last thing I ate was my oats for breakfast. I am getting better, and I have Tamara to thank for introducing me to clean eating and some wonderful websites that inspire me with tasty recipes. I have a lot of work to do though, and if there is one thing I want to achieve in 2012 it is to make planning my own meals a habit every single day. Let’s make that something we work on together okay? I am getting back on track after the holiday madness with a sugar free February, with the exception of one (portion controlled!) treat on a Saturday, if you care to join me let me know via Tamara’s comments!

So that’s a bit about me, my life has a little extra drama, but I am still able to make my own health a priority. I hope you have found something in my story that helps inspire you to do the same. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!

WIP Wednesday; lots of irons in the fire

Ever have one of those days (or weeks or months, who am I kidding?), where things just seem to pile up no matter how much time you spend trying to clear the decks? Where every task you complete is met by two or three more that needed to be finished yesterday? Where you never get to feel a sense of accomplishment because there’s so darned much left to accomplish?

Today, I’m taking time to breathe and celebrate my works in progress (or WIP’s, as we knitters like to call them). Please click on the box below to hear me ramble for a few minutes (about 5). For those of you short on time, the highlights are listed below!

Happy WIP Wednesday!

  • I’ve started a new daily vitamin regime, GNC’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak for Women (Canadian website here), to help boost my immune system and give my mid-winter energy a boost (I’ll let you know how it’s working in a few weeks).
  • I’m reading a great book, Working Out Sucks (which is a bit of a mis-leading title), written by Chuck Runyon, CEO and Founder of Anytime Fitness. Book review coming soon.
  • My quest for the unassisted pull up is progressing well; 10, 8 and 8 on my last attempt.
  • I’ve stalled a bit on my burpees challenge, due to a ‘twingy’ rear deltoid. I’m up to 33 (only 7 more days to go, thank goodness), and although I haven’t been doing them everyday, I keep adding one for every day that passes so I’ll be finishing off with 40 on January 31st.
  • The 30 Day No Sugar challenge is still going well. The first two weeks were ‘better’ than the last, but only because I decided that I wanted wine and dessert at a weekend dinner party (and then again, the following night out with family for dinner). Not really craving it the way I used to, so all in all, it’s been a good thing
  • I’m about a third of the way done knitting a sweater for myself; it’s knit top-down, so I can customize the fit as I go. The pattern is Irish Coffee and I’m knitting it in a luscious pink merino. Yum!
  • I’ve been busy writing fitness content for a couple other websites.
  • A few secret projects have been taking up any time I have left (I’ll tell you just as soon as I can).
  • And this Friday is yet ANOTHER Pro-D Day!

P.S. Did you see my pull up band picture on Shape’s website? Check out all the trainers and their favorite pieces of exercise equipment!

When you’re super busy with work, family and life, how do you de-stress?

Kreativ Blogger nomination!

After a busy morning of training clients, grocery shopping, a parent-teacher meeting and a quick workout (18 burpees plus pushups today, along with pull ups, bench press and rows), I came home to make myself a cup of coffee and spend some time online before the afternoon school pickup.

Imagine my surprise, when I found a comment on my ‘About me’ page nominating me for a Kreativ Blogger award!

The nomination came from fellow blogger (and frequent commenter here), carrieruben, who wrote “Hi, Tamara. I nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I really enjoy your blog and wanted to share it with others.” Thanks so much Carrie! If you haven’t discovered her blog, go there right now (but come right back, please?).

The nomination requires me to:

  • Display the award image on my blog (done!)
  • Acknowledge the nominator (done!)
  • List 10 things about myself that readers probably don’t already know (hmm, since I tend to be an over-sharer, this might be difficult.)
  • Pass the award along by nominating six other blogs you enjoy reading (I read a lot of blogs; now to narrow it down…)

What a great way to show other writers that you appreciate their blogging efforts (and introduce your readers to even more diverse content!).

So here goes, ten things you probably don’t know about me;

  1. I’m very particular about bananas. They have to be perfectly ripe for me to eat them. Too hard or too mushy and they make me gag. There are a lot of frozen bananas in my freezer.
  2. I’m a connoisseur of hugs. I hate it when people don’t hug back. Half hugs (or pats on the back) drive me crazy. My husband is a bad hugger; we’re working on it.
  3. Balloons terrify me. Actually, it’s not the balloons themselves, it’s balloons in the hands of my children, who love to pop them when I’m not expecting it. I startle very easily!
  4. When I was a child, my grandmother nicknamed me ‘Tammy’. She told my mother that ‘Tamara’ was too big a name for a little girl. No one calls me ‘Tammy’ anymore and I’m okay with that. (Please don’t make me regret telling you this.)
  5. My right foot is bigger than my left foot. This causes me no end of difficulty when I’m ordering shoes online. My new Fluevog boots had to go back. Boo hoo!
  6. I have Reynaud’s Syndrome. This means that I can’t go out in the cold for very long without losing all sensation in my fingers from the first big knuckle down. It also makes it very hard to knit.
  7. Every three months I pick up a shipment of 90 boxes of Viagra at the pharmacy. No, not for my husband. My daughter has pulmonary hypertension and takes it 4 times daily to keep her blood pressure in check.
  8. In high school, I dreamed of being a lawyer. Probably because I like to talk. A lot.
  9. I have three children who also like to talk. A lot. My mother calls this ‘pay back’.
  10. Someday, I would love to write a book. I’m sure you’ve already guessed this, as many (most?) bloggers aspire to do the same.

My nominations for the Kreativ Blogger award are;

  1. Happy Mums At Home. I love Happy Mums at Home because she motivates me to be kinder to myself. I need that reminder daily! We bonded over giving up chocolate for a month.
  2. Pam-a-ram-a ding dong. This blog cracks me up. No higher praise than that. I also love that she has a PhD and decided to stay home and raise her 4 children.
  3. Fit Food Junkie. A new twitter find. Fit Food Junkie blogs about food (not junk food, be warned!), fitness and clean eating. Her recipes are yummy looking, she has 3 kids (like me!) and lives nearby. Hoping to meet her soon!
  4. Knitted Bliss. Always an inspiration for new knitting patterns, she is as lovely as the photographs on her blog!
  5. Healthy Ashley. I’ve been reading this blog for about a year now. For the last few months, the author has been documenting her return to running and biking after a horrendous cycling accident. Full of motivation and positive messages.

And I would love to add a 6th; genomicbrain, but there’s only a single post there as of yet (honey, get off the couch and update your blog!).

Tell me about your favourite blogs!

The great pull up experiment

I’ve always admired women who can do pull ups. (I admire men who can do them too, just not as much ;)).I don’t know very many. Do you?

Being able to do not one, but a respectable number of full range of motion, unassisted pull ups has been my goal for as long as I can remember.

Although I’ve spent lots of time at the lat pull down machine and done many sets of TRX inverted rows, I’ve yet to be able to perform even a single unassisted pull up. I’ve been managing short, ‘cheater’ sets (of 4 or 5) by placing a foot against the wall to support some of my body weight. The only problem with this position is that is leads to too much ‘away from the wall’ movement of the body. Consequently, I never really work the muscles I need to strengthen to be able to do an unassisted pull up.

A few weeks ago, I ordered a pull up band from Muscle Up Canada. When looped around the chin up bar, the band gives you just enough support to be able to pull your chin up and over the bar. They come in 4 different widths; I have the 2nd smallest one and it suits my needs perfectly.

Check out the band (and me!) in action below.

I’m curious to see how long it will be before I can ditch the band and go solo. I’m guessing maybe a couple of months, but thought I’d post my progress here, so you can all follow along (and join in with me, if you’d like!).

To date, I’ve done two back workouts, incorporating pull ups early in the training session and alternating with dumbbell chest presses. My results?

Workout 1; 8/4/4

Workout 2; 8/8/5

Progress already!


Workout 3 (straight sets); 9/6/5

Can you do a pull up?

If I practice twice a week, how long do you think it will take me to be able to perform 3, unassisted pull ups?