Preparing for Success

by Cate on March 8, 2011

When it comes to meeting any goal head-on, whether it be health, fitness or otherwise, you absolutely, positively have to be prepared going in.  If not, you are just setting yourself up for failure.  Guaranteed.  How can you succeed if you don’t have the proper tools?

The difference between the impossible and the possible
lies in a person’s determination.
– Tommy Lasorda

Since I started my massive “Cate overhaul” over a year ago, I’ve had friends ask me how they can get started.  What I have been doing is not rocket science.  I armed myself with the best tools possible for what I wanted to achieve and committed to it.  I have given this nearly everything that I can, and then some, and have reaped the rewards because of it.  But it’s nothing special.  You can do it just as easily. As long as your going-in position is all about preparedness.  How could you possibly succeed otherwise?

A good beginning makes a good end.
– English Proverb

Love RykaYou have GOT to have a good pair of sneakers. It doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune on them either. Truth be told, my go-to Zumba sneakers are a pair of $15 Danskin sneakers from Wal-Mart, which The Neighbor Husband calls my “lunchlady sneakers.” Hey, they do the job.  So do these Rykas. I heart Ryka, a brand made for women by women. They mold to your feet like no other. Whatever your exercise routine is, make sure you get the proper sneakers for your activity. I have a few pairs I swap out, but have a soft spot for Ryka. In fact, I am still hanging on to my favorite pair, even though the holes in them mean my feet automatically get wet when it’s raining outside. Just can’t give them up.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude
from achieving his goal, nothing on earth can help the man
with the wrong attitude”
– Thomas Jefferson

Gym BagIf you are heading out of the house for your work-outs, get thyself a gym bag. Again, it’s not about how much you spend. Five Below has some great Nike ones. Mine comes from TJ Maxx and was a whopping twelve bucks. Fifteen months later, even though I’ve grown tired of the design, it’s still going strong and is washable, a huge plus in my opinion. I keep my gym membership cards in the zippered pocket, as well as my iPod headphones, a few dollars and a couple granola bars, so the bag is ready when I am.

What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that’s another matter.
– Peter F. Drucker

KettlebellWhatever your work-out of choice is, make sure you have the proper equipment before embarking on a new program. If you don’t, there will always be an excuse. Whether you need kettlebells (my newest obsession), resistance bands or a jump-rope, arm yourself with the necessities.

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
– Beverly Sills

Water at the ReadyHydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Whether you’re on Weight Watchers, visiting Curves or a gym rat, the refrain is very commonplace … drink water, drink water, drink water. You are supposed to drink half your weight in water ounces a day. And that is if you’re not working out. Are you drinking enough? And if you’re working out, it should be even more. My Spin instructor said 40 ounces of water for 40 minutes of spin. And get yourself a refillable water bottle. Please. Enough of the disposable bottles. It kills me to see a garbage bin filled with them at the gym. First, they should be recycling them, and second, so much unnecessary waste. I’ve gone through a bunch of reusable sports bottles to find my favorite. These are from Costco. They were $18 for a package of three (although they have gone on sale for $15/set before). They are BPA-free and completely and positively leak-proof. They have a clip so you can attach them to your gym bag. Nick even takes one to school every day. Love them.

“You only ever grow as a human being if you’re
outside your comfort zone.”
– Percy Cerutty

Pantry PreparednessI can’t say enough about pantry preparedness. If you have junk in your kitchen, as committed to your goal as you might be, the temptation will occasionally win and you will eat it. Stock your pantry with items that are good for you, and it will be so much easier to stay on track. I promise you that, if nothing else. Be good to yourself.

“Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”
– Liane Cardes

KIND Granola BarsWhen stocking your pantry, also make sure to arm yourself with grab-and-go snacks. The key is to eliminate all possible excuses. I keep a few of these KIND granola bars in my gym bag, my work bag, my desk drawer, my purse and the car, so that when I’m stuck somewhere and hunger strikes, I’m still able to stay on track.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage
to lose sight of the shore.
– Andre Gide

VitaminVitamins and supplements are an upcoming topic for Eat. Live. Be. in a few weeks, so I won’t delve into it too much, but along with feeding your body with food, make sure you’re taking proper vitamins. Decide what is important for you, your body, your goals and be consistent with it.

Nothing will work unless you do.
– John Wooden

New AquisitionWhatever “eating program,” you’re on, be ready to commit to it. If you’re on Weight Watchers, get the cookbooks, their magazine and some of the frozen meals they recommend. If you’re on South Beach, scope out good recipe websites (Kalyn’s Kitchen is a great one, for example). If you’re a clean eater like me, grab this semi-new cookbook and subscribe to their magazine.

“If you believe in yourself, have dedication and pride
and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high,
but so are the rewards.”
– Paul “Bear” Bryant, the Late, great coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team

It doesn’t matter what exercise or health regime you follow, the key is to set yourself up for success from the beginning. Take away all the excuses you can possibly have. With the right tools, anything is possible.

Oh, and before I forget, I totally screwed up the Eat. Live. Be. topic for yesterday.  Forgive me.  I *thought* expert advice sounded a bit familiar.  Yesterday’s topic should have been our “required reading.”  Oops.  Shooting for covering that later this week.  Yesterday was also our regular monthly check-in, which Sarah reminded me of.  Now two months in … I’m at 8.75 pounds lost since we embarked on Eat. Live. Be.  My loss has slowed down a bit over the past few weeks, which is why I’ve spent a bit of time retooling my work-out regime.  Once your body gets used to a work-out routine, it doesn’t count so much as “exercise” and your body thinks it’s the norm.  Gotta love that … NOT!  So in the last two weeks, I’ve shuffled my cardio work-outs a bit, added more gym time, and added Spin, Pilates, walking and a daily set of 500 sit-ups.  So far, so good.

One more thing before I go…

I’m co-hosting an upcoming class in the Web’s first-ever virtual cooking school, Cooking Connections, and I would love for all of you to participate!  Here’s what you need to know:

When: Wednesday, March 9, at 1 p.m. ET

Where: TheMotherhood – here is the link to the page where the class will be held:

And here is the registration page for all Cooking Connections classes:

The class I am co-hosting is called “Sweet Treats,” and it is hosted by Julie Mastbrook (Mommie Cooks, and Kristen Doyle (Dine and Dish,  We all will be sharing our best resources for finding sweets; sweet snack suggestions and recipes for when we’re craving just a taste of sugar; and dessert recipes with kid-friendly instructions and cleanup, so your children can help you whip up delicious creations!

The class is sponsored by ConAgra and hosted by TheMotherhood.

Project 365
March 8, 2011, Photo #65

Good fatTen bucks at Target. Never enough Brazil nuts for me, but a great price for mixed nuts, and a frequent “good fats” snack for me (and the kids).

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

The Neighbor Husband March 9, 2011 at 12:24 am

Speaking of lunchlady sneakers. Are most now wearing crocs???? Just curious :) Truth be told, Cate has MANY MANY pairs of sneakers.


Joanne March 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

These are some awesome awesome tips! Being a runner, especially, having good sneakers is KEY. Unfortunately, in that case it does kind of pay to spend a little extra on a pair. And I ALWAYS keep a gym bag ready to run out the door at a moment’s notice. Sometimes it’s the only way I’ll get out of the house on time!


Sarah Caron March 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

I’ve promised myself that once I hit 10 pounds lost, I will buy a new pair of sneakers. I haven’t bought sneakers in years and years, but have discovered that some of my old pairs (I have many) don’t fit well, particularly around my arch. So I don’t wear those anymore. Hoping to buy a new pair in a few weeks.


Ramona March 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

A good pair of shoes is all the difference in any sport.


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