Wednesday, January 4, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons.....

Together we decided to shut down our old blog and begin a new one.  It was a new beginning for our public face to the world.  For the last few years we shared our transformation from an unhealthy lifestyle to a very healthy, and happy one.   We had achieved our fitness goals.  Some had been modified along the way to be more realistic, but we, together, did it.   During that period we shared our struggles, our ways of staying motivated, and let you peak into our personal lives.  We received 99% positive feedback and requests for more.   That when we decided to change our blog focus from not just fitness, but to more of our lives.  Open up a bit more about who we are and at the same time use it as a catalyst to force us into more adventures.

We shut down the old blog on October 1, 2016 and posted our first message on our new blog on October 5, 2016.  Our goal is to have a blog post once a week.  Sometimes more, sometimes less, but on average, once a week.  Our second post was on October 8, 2016 and our third on October 15, 2016.  Then.


What happened?  We didn't just get a batch of lemons dumped on us...we got hit by a semi full of lemons.

October 22..about 10:30 AM Sam's cell rang.  Caller ID showed the call was from his brother.  He answered and I could immediately tell something was wrong.  I won't go into the details of exactly what happened in that moment, but what Sam was told was that his parents were both killed in a car accident.  It was an accident.  An out of the blue moment that could happen anytime.  No one was at  fault.  No one did anything wrong.  It just happened.   That almost made it worse.  I think we would have liked to have someone to blame.

Suddenly everything changed.  I can't even describe the feelings.  Sadness, despair, anger, lost.  The hardest for me was that I didn't know how to help.  Sam needed to process this and work through it.  There is no right or wrong way for this, but I felt shut out.  It hurt because I didn't know how to help and it was hurting me too.  I was also lost.   Funeral arrangements, wills to deal with, lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, and lots of confused and lost friends.   Sam's parents were good, fun, simple people.  They didn't have much.  I can't imagine going through something like this with a family that doesn't get along, or an estate that is large.  Fortunately, we had neither problem.  Sam's family is great.  They all pulled together.

Where it got hard for us was after the funeral.  The holidays were upon us and there was no joy in the house at all.  We slipped..ok we completely fell, off of our fitness and personal relationship wagon.  We weren't fighting,  but we weren't us...and it hurt, and it sucked.   We talked about it, but it didn't matter.  So how do you pull yourself out of a rut like this?   I think everyone does it differently.  Fortunately for us, Sam has an amazing sister that refused to let the family drift into darkness.  She forced Thanksgiving together, then she planned Christmas together.  She kept talking about how "mom and dad would have wanted us to be together".   OK.  Fine.  We'll do Christmas together, then we can go our separate ways.  That was my plan.

Boy was I wrong.  We arrived at Sam's sister's house on the 23rd of December and she had hatched a scheme for us to celebrate with "mom and dad" that I could not have imagined.  On December 24th, she told us to pack an overnight bag for a big surprise.   I wasn't in the mood for a surprise, but I knew better than to we packed our bag and waited for a van to pick us up at the door.  About 5:00 pm the van arrived, we all piled in, and drove to the airport.  My mind was racing.  Where could we possibly be going for an overnight trip on Christmas?

At the airport we got our tickets.  We were all headed to Albuquerque, NM.  Why?  I had no idea.  After a fairly short plane ride, then car ride to a hotel, then checking in and a quick dinner, she informed us that we had to be up at 4:30 AM.  I couldn't believe it.  4:30 on Christmas day.  There was grumbling, be she was in such an excited mood, that everyone agreed.  4:30, Christmas day, hotel lobby.  Not a soul around but us.  Suddenly two big limos pull up and we are all instructed to climb in.  I have to admit that curiosity got the best of me.   The limos drove for about an hour until we got to a hot air balloon facility.  At that moment Jill, Sam's sister, filled us in on the rest.  She had arranged to have hot air balloons take us up that morning and we were to spread the ashes of Sam's parents from the hot air balloon on the ground below.  Sam's parents went on a hot air balloon ride on their wedding day, their 25th anniversary an their 50th anniversary.  It was perfect.  There was suddenly light and happiness that hadn't been there since the accident.

Up, up and away we went.  At the right moment Sam and his brother opened the urns and said something very personal that I won't share, held the urns over the side of the hot air balloon basket and turn them upside down.  At the same moment a gust of wind came up and blew some of the ashes right back at us in the basket.  There was screaming and laughter and pure fun for a long time.  His parents would have so enjoyed it.  When we landed the hot air balloon operators had champagne and breakfast waiting for us.  It was pure magic, and created a new Christmas memory I will never forget.  Jill single handily turned that pile of lemons into sunshine and rainbows, and brought everyone back to where they needed to be.

After breakfast we went straight to the airport and flew home.  We spent the rest of Christmas together, as a family, at our house.  We were just together with no expectations.  

So, where does that leave us now?  Sam and I decided to take the rest of the year off from the blog to discuss what we wanted to do next.  With our personal lives, with the blog, with everything.  Here's where we landed.  We are going to continue with the blog because it is ours, together.  It keeps us accountable and we have a lot of fun doing it.  We have a new Christmas tradition.  Looks like hot air balloon rides will be substituting for presents and chocolates, which suites me just fine.

We will be back soon, but please feel free to share your own personal stories.  Thanks for being our friends.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Workout & Diet Plan, Gym Rant (And More Rant), and Things To Be Excited About

Weekly health schedule - I didn’t have any idea how to take the things I wanted to say this week and put them into a single cohesive topic, so I’m going to touch on several different things that have been bouncing around my head for a while.

We often get asked to share our workout and diet schedules with those of you that want to follow our routines exactly.  The problem with that is that no two people are alike.  What works for us, may not work for you.  In fact, I’m going to just state that what works for us will NOT work for you.  Sammy and I don’t follow the exact same diet or workout schedule.  We have some overarching rules we apply, but the details have been tailored for reach one of us purely by trial and error.  Sammy loves beet salads.  I can honestly say that if I had to each a beet salad as part of my daily or weekly diet, I would not last a single week.   One of the reasons IIFYM works is that it doesn’t impose food restrictions.  It imposes macro and calorie guidelines.  Did you see what I did there?  Guidelines!  Everyone is different.  It’s a starting point, not an end all be all.

Instead of prescribing my exact workout routine, I’ll share what both Sammy and I do every week at a very high level.

Sunday right after waking up – Fasted cardio.  For me that is usually a 30 minute swim.  For Sammy, it’s usually a 30 minute run.  Sammy varies her cardio more than me, so she will also bike, row (if it’s raining) or if she’s really sluggish, she’ll start with a walk and work up from there.

Sunday breakfast – This is usually more of a brunch.  We sleep in more on Sundays and by the  time we get our cardio done, it’s usually mid to late morning.  We’ll make eggs and some sort of protein along with a fruit.  I like bananas, Sammy goes for the berries.  Always with our macros in mind.

Sunday after breakfast is when I sit down and map out the week.  we create our workout schedule, plan our diet, make our shopping list and deciding on our cheat day depending on what’s going on that week. 

The rest of Sunday – not much, honestly.  Other than doing the fasted cardio, I usually do house work, grocery shopping etc.  Sunday is not a cheat day usually, because we like to go out on either Friday or  Saturday, so they become our cheat day.  If I’m feeling extra energetic, I will do a quick HIIT workout.

Monday -  Fasted cardio in the AM 30 minutes.   HIIT in mid/late afternoon – 30 minutes.  Weight training sometime during the day – 30/45 minutes chest and triceps.

Tuesday – Fasted cardio in the AM for 30 minutes.  HIIT in the mid/late afternoon – 30 minutes.

Wednesday – Fasted cardio in the AM for 30 minutes.  HIIT in the mid/late afternoon – 30 minutes.  Weight training sometime during the day – 30/45 minutes biceps and back .

Thursday – Fasted cardio in the AM for 30 minutes.  HIIT in the mid/late afternoon – 30 minutes.

Friday – Fasted cardio in the AM for 30 minutes.  HIIT in the mid/late afternoon- 30 minutes.  Weight training sometime during the day – 30/45 minutes shoulders and legs.

Saturday – Fasted cardio in the AM for 30 minutes.  HIIT in the mid/late afternoon – 30 minutes.

What you can see here is I don’t kill myself working out for hours.  4 days of the week it’s only an hour.  That’s all it takes.  Diet is 80% of what it takes to look and feel good.

I have a protein shake each day.  Usually for breakfast, but no set schedule.  My diet really is following the macro guidelines and target calorie count.  I also avoid "diet" anything foods.  They are poison.

Gym Rant – I go to the weightlifting area of the gym 3 days a week and I see the same annoying thing happen every single day.  People judging each other, talking behind each other’s backs and generally disrespecting each other.  If that person you are judging is in the gym, they should be applauded and encourage.  They should be made to feel welcome.  You have no idea what their story is.  Maybe their form isn’t perfect due to an injury…maybe their weight isn’t ideal due to a health condition…maybe they can’t lift much due to…..whatever.   So let’s stop the judging.  They are trying to better themselves.  Let’s make them feel welcome.

Even more gym rant. - Guys, most if all the women there do not want you ogling them, trying to pick them up or watching them work out.   When Sammy doesn’t want to go to the gym to work out because she feels uncomfortable, it makes me furious.  Guys, don’t be creepy.  Seriously.

Some thing to be excited about – We finally booked our winter vacation trip.  9 days in Cancun in February.  Just the 2 of us for more than a week!   I’m sooooo looking forward to it.   I find it beneficial to have something to look ahead for.  Keeping committed to a healthy lifestyle can be hard work at times, but these rewards help me stay motivated.   Bring on the SUN!!!!!

And lastly, something for you all to be excited about.  Starting with the next blog post, we will be including  one of our tried and true recipes in every post.  Something to look forward to next time will be our healthy pancake recipe!

Comment below to let us know what you think and what other things you’d like us to blog about.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Where It All Began, and What's Next

This blog started as a way to track our exercise and weight loss progress.   We thought it would be a good way to track our process and stay accountable.  In the beginning it was exactly that.  We had a few people follow our progress and ask some questions.  But, for the most part, the amount of readers was minimal.  This was OK with us because we treated it as more of a diary about fitness than anything else.

Funny thing happened along the way.  As we made progress on our goals we gained readers, and as we extended our topics into food, recipes and our relationship our reader count exploded.  We were, and continued to be amazed.  The most comments we received happened after we published our "sex for weight loss" game.  We never could have dreamed at the response.  We really struggled with even doing the original post on that, but in hind site it is what changed everything!

It has been nearly two years since we started the blog and we are on the move.  We learned, with you, about IIFYM dieting, HIIT training, weight training, cooking and most importantly evolving as a couple.  We hit our original weight loss goals.  Sam now weighs less than when he graduated high school, and I am wishing 5 pounds or my high school graduation weight.  We both are more fit than we have ever been in our lives.  The blog continues to make us be accountable to our goals and each other.

So what's next?  After much deliberation, we have decided to shut the old blog down and start anew.  Why?  Simple.  We are in a different place now that we were then.  We are fit.  We are healthy.  We are closer than ever.  Our goal then was simply to lose weight and get healthy.  Our goals now are to experience life more as we stay healthy.   Will we still follow IIFYM?  Yes!  Will we still do HIIT training and weight training?  Yes.  Will we still play the "sex for ...." (fill in the blank) game.  Yes, we both LOVE it!  We will still blog about weight loss, diet, exercise and our relationship.  YES, by all means YES!!!!

But we are expanding.  We are going to get more personal.  We will share our travels, our problems and our successes.  This is now going to be about all that we do, not just exercise and diet.  We are excited to share it with you.

So as of Oct 1, the original Sam and Sammy Get Fit blog is shut down.  We are starting Sam Sammy On the Go as a new venture.  We expect to find new readers, new friends and new experiences.  We are excited to hear from all of you and excited for the future.  Come along for the ride!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

After we decided to shut down our website and move to this blogging site we started to have concerns about some of the most popular or important discussions and questions being lost.  Instead of just copying everything here, we thought it best to take the good stuff and put in a FAQ.  Always excited to hear from you all on any of it.

Are your names really Sam and Sammy?  No.  My name is Sam, but my wife's middle name is Samantha.  I've called her Sammy from the first day I met her.   No one calls her by her first name.

How old are you and how many kids do you have?  I am 54 and Sammy is 51.  We have two daughters, ages 24 and 23, and one boy, age 21.  

What motivated you to "get fit", and how did you do it?  Sammy here :)  This is a more complicated question to answer than I thought it would be.  I guess it was a perfect storm of events.  Getting older isn't a picnic, especially when you've let your health take a back seat to raising kids, having a career, taking care of family and everything else that takes up your life.  I'd been not happy about my weight, yes weight, for several years, but wasn't motivated enough to actually do anything about it.  I got a real wake up call when I went to my doctor for my annual, OMG I hate this exam, checkup.  Everything was fine, right up until the doctor told me I was at risk of type two diabetes.  SMACK!  I suddenly realized I was one of those people.  I went out to the car and cried.  Not just a little cry.  Full blown, sobbing, wailing, snot coming out of my nose cry.   That was the moment.   I went home, talked to Sam, cried some more and he agreed to "get fit" with me.  Neither one of us knew what that even meant, but we were determined.    I went back to my doctor for help.  Not only is she a doctor, but she is a certified nutritionist and, an elite athlete.  Talk about intimidating.  She was great though.   She introduced me to macro counting (IIFYM), interval training and proper weight goals.   The weight goal target hit me hard.  Her view of ideal weight goes back to if you were fit in high school, and if so, what was your weight then.  Her target if you were a fit high schooler is that you should never weigh more than 15-20% more than you did when you graduated high school.  There are exceptions like heath conditions or extreme body changes like bodybuilders might see.   Those are exceptions though.  For me it meant losing over 50 pounds.   Another good cry, but determination.  

What are your top fitness tips?  Our lists are different so we both answered this one with our top 5.
1.  Fasted Cardio - Studios have shown that 30 minutes of cardio before eating, every morning equates to 90 minutes of cardio in the evening.
2.  Diet.  Diet.  Diet.  IIFYM.  Cheat Day.  80 percent of fitness is having the proper diet.  Macro counting for me is great.  I still get to enjoy foods I love, but now I eat in the right proportion and portions.  We still have a cheat day once a week, but we don't go crazy.  It doesn't feel like punishment to eat well because I'm not really deprived.
3.  HIIT training every day.  My misguided view of fitness told me I had to work out hours every day and eat nothing but rice and chicken to be fit, but that isn't true.   High intensity interval training only takes 20-30 minutes a day and is extremely variable so you don't get bored.  
4.  Weight lifting.  Sorry ladies, but this is important, especially as we grow older.  Bone density, menopause side effects, flexibility, etc all depend on strength.  Not to mention muscle bumps metabolism.  Just like HIIT training though, this is a spending 30-40 minutes every other day in the gym, not hours
5.  Exercise and meal planning is more important than make up and hair.  Anyone that thinks they can't find time to be fit should really look at the time they spend messing with their hair, putting on makeup, taking off makeup and worrying about their clothes.   I think a fit women in workout clothes with no makeup and short hair is way more attractive than a non fit woman fresh out of the salon.   

1.  Consistency, both in diet and exercise.
2.  Setting goals.  If I'm chasing something I stay consistent. 
3.  IIFYM.  Macro counting works.  It just does.
4.  Beer (any alcohol) makes you fat.  I reserve my beer for my cheat days and instead of drinking 6 I have 1 or 2.   Having a single glass of wine with dinner is ok, but stop at 1.  
5.  Cooking from scratch.  If you cook from scratch and not a box, or package you'll always eat well.  Just leave the sugar in the cupboard.

Who came up with fitness for sex challenge?  Sammy.  Yep, that was me.  It isn't just about sex, it's about a goal.  It's about fun.  It's about spicy up things for us.  It's about being passionate again.  The usual follow on question is, do we still play the game?  We do, but we've had to change the rules a bit since we both hit our weight goals.    

What is the fitness for sex challenge and how did it start?  I wanted some sort of motivation to keep moving forward with my fitness goals, and I wanted Sam to feel the same way.   I also wanted to spice up our marriage.  To be blunt, we were in a rut and with the kids no longer at home, we couldn't really pretend we were too busy anymore.   So in a nutshell here are the rules to the game.

1.  Set your target weight goal.  For me this was 18% over my high school weight.  Why 18% instead of 20?  Just because it came to a round number.  
2.  Weigh yourself, every day.   
3.  For every 2 pounds lost you get a 20 minute back rub, or foot massage, or neck rub as a reward from your spouse. 
4.  For every 3 pounds you get to pick a sex date with your spouse.  This means you get to do something sexual you want.  If you lose 6 pounds that would mean you'd have 2 sex dates and 3 massages.  
5.  Your spouse does not get to ask you your weight.  This is on the honor system.
6.  If your weight goes up, the scales are not reset.  you have to get back down to 2-3 pounds under your most recent "award" weight to get your next reward.
7.  Neither partner can ask for something that makes the other uncomfortable.
8.  Either partner can have a day where they aren't in the mood, so the reward may have to wait a day.  I strongly suggest you don't wait though.   Unless you are sick, back rubs and sex are always good things.
9.  Once you have achieved half of your weight loss goal, the rules change to 1 pound lost gets you a massage and 2 pounds lost gets a sex date.
10.  Once you achieve your goal weight, feel free to change the rules to stay motivated.   Our new goals have more to doing extra HIIT sessions, or a PR on an exercise, or just staying consistent. 
11.  The game is just a game.  If you want to have sex more often, by all means!

What are the type of sex dates you suggest?  This is really a personal thing that we can't answer for you, but we can share some we have picked.

1.  In the morning
2.  Surprise wake up sex
3.  Pick a different room in the house
4.  In the shower
5.  In the ocean
6.  Whip cream can used for foreplay
7.  In someone else's house
8.  On a boat
9.  On a hike
10. In the car
11.  Different positions (check this site out)
12.  On the beach
13.  Immediately after working out...really sweaty
14.  Over lunch
15.  On the kitchen table (put a blanket down first!)

Have you always been comfortable discussing sex?  No, absolutely not!  The sex challenge game really changed that for us.  The first few times we made a reward request, it was awkward.  But now is just as exciting to find out what each of us will pick.  We actually talk about it now!  In turn, I feel like we can talk to others too.  Sex should be fun.  Sure, it's intimate, but at this stage of our lives we should just enjoy it and not make it such a taboo thing.

What are your best sex tips (this is really a compilation of suggestions that work for us based on questions we've been asked)?  

1.  Don't ever do something your significant other is uncomfortable with.  
2.  Keep breath strips by the bed on each nightstand.  This makes morning sex and surprise wake up sex so much better.
3.  Keep lube close at hand.  Ladies, let's be honest.  You can't always be as wet as you'd like to be.  It's not embarrassing, it's not a problem, it's just the way it is.  As we get older, the problem gets worse.  So don't worry about, just have lube at the ready.  KY is available everywhere!  Use it and have fun with it.
4.  Try different positions.  This gets more fun and easier the closer you are to your ideal weight.
5.  Go back to having oral stimulation/sex.   Yep!  I said it.  For us, we stopped doing this after our first was born.  I don't know why, but I think it had to do with how we felt about our bodies, how sex had become routine and less frequent.  When we were younger we did this all the time.  Oral stimulation feels amazing, both for men and women.  It's natural.  It's not disgusting.  Get over yourself and make each other feel great!
6.  Dress sexy.  Sammy here.  I don't think I wore lingerie for over 15 years before getting back into fitness.  I didn't feel sexy in it.  I didn't like the way I looked.  When I was close to my goal weight, Sam got me a $500 gift certificate to Victoria's secret.  I had never, ever shopped there.  I was embarrassed walking into the store.  But when I walked out I had new bras, panties, lingerie.  I feel sexy wearing it.  I know it turns Sam on.  I'm proud of my body and I like showing it off to him.  Dressing sexy can be done without lingerie as well.  You want to turn your man on, walk up to him with one of his shirts on with nothing underneath.  Some days go bra-less and make sure he knows it!  
7.  Rub up against each other.  Guys, touch her butt!  Ladies, rub your chest into him when you walk by!
8.  Stop pecking each other instead of kissing each other.  When you were dating, did you just peck on the lips when saying goodbye?  Get back to full contact kissing!
9.  Touch each other all the time.
10.  Cook together.  Cooking can be so sexy together.  You're close together, you're passing each other.  It can be very sensual!

What are your marriage do's and don'ts?

1.  Don't use the toilet in front of each other.  Seriously.  Respect privacy and have some dignity.
2.  Do shower together.  You may feel better after you lose some weight, but make this a goal.
3.  Don't burp or fart around each other.  If you can hold it in the company of others, you can hold it around each other.  
4.  Do compliment each other.
5.  Do touch each other. 
6.  Do kiss and make out.  It doesn't always have to lead to sex, but it usually will!
7.  Don't criticize.  This is your life partner.  Have some respect.
8.  Do laugh together
9.  Do cuddle
10.  Do spend time alone.
11.  Don't pull away when he/she touches you.  Lean in!
12.  Do eat together and feed each other.
13.  Do be spontaneous.  Experiment and have fun.
14.  Do exercise together and discuss your progress.  Be proud and support of each other.
15.  Don't put your extended family ahead of each other.  There will be temporary exceptions.
16.  Do put your partner's needs and desires ahead of yours half the time.
17.  Do talk to each other.  Turn the TV off.  Put the phone down.  Be together.
18.  Do spend time apart.  Have your own friends and social circles.
19.  Don't tolerate friends that don't support your signifiant other.  They are poison.
20.  Don't make excuses for not eating well, exercising well, being together, being intimate.

Please let us know if you have other questions you want us to answer!