On Being Full-Out

Today we are going to talk about being “full-out,” which is not to be confused with “Full House.” Because in real life, going full-out means being balls-to-the-wall and, as my spin instructor this morning said, “not bullshitting it.” (I wanted to make that the title of this post, but I thought my mom might be offended by the swear word. Gotta clean it up around the parents.)

On “Full House,” however, full-out means several things:

  • Starving yourself and then spending 100 hours on the Stairmaster and subsequently passing out at Family Gym Day (DJ, you little delinquent).
  • Having to miss a family vacation due to “fog.”
  • Raising your twins while living in your deceased sister’s husband’s house with his own three children and one creepy non-uncle who has a thing for “wood chucks that chuck wood.”

So let’s stick to real life, OK? It’s more relevant.

Growing up in a dance studio, we used the term “full-out” a lot. You could either mark your routine, which is basically half-assing it and being lazy and doing things that will certainly not help you on competition day — or you could, obviously, perform full-out in the rehearsal studio, just like you would on stage. Guess which one is more helpful when you’re going for the platinum medal?

This is a photo taken after my very first dance recital, during which I performed a glowing tap routine to "Doe A Deer" from "The Sound of Music." I performed full-out onstage and got flowers after the show. My brother Ryan cried because "the sun was in his eyes." Really though, he probably just didn't want his picture taken next to such a superstar as myself. Cute perm, Mom. Cool socks, Ry. What a great family photo. Someone get me a frame.

This applies to real life. You see where I’m going with this right? This is not a story about my current inability to plié and grande jeté.

Real life. Fitness. Running. Go.

I’d consider this to be my first week “back” from the stomach-flu-that-turned-into-a-Crohn’s-flare-up saga. Am I truly “back?” No. Last night marked another major milestone though: I slept through the night! There was no 1 AM night sweat wakeup and no 3 AM mad dash for the bathroom. All was calm in Ali’s bed. Psyched!

Overall I’ve still got the nagging hip pain and the knee aches that come and go, and there are still times when my stomach alternates between feeling sweetly settled and in a complete state of disarray. But I’m convinced I’m on the upswing — and I’m convinced that has as much to do with the steroids as it does with my mentality.

After spending a ton of time in bed and not working over the past few weeks, it was easy to fall into a routine, even once my health started to improve. I had gotten really accustomed to staying in bed, and it was a wonderful place! The gym? Central Park? They’ll still be there when I feel like returning.

But this week, I forced myself to get back into it — slowly. I didn’t want to run too much on account of the knee and hip, so I did a good amount of cross training.

This is my spin bike. I'm not sure if it's adjusted correctly, and I prefer clip-in shoes.

I did a Chisel class on Monday, in an attempt to get those “weak glutes” toned up. I did a spin class Tuesday, and then had two fantastically stop-free runs on Wednesday and Thursday. I find the more time I spend circling the Reservoir and the Bridle Path, the happier I am.

Oh this is nice. Cherry blossoms, you smell funky, but I like you.

Last night I even forced myself into a yoga class at my beloved Crunch Gym.

And I mean, I don’t mean to brag, as Third Grade Ali would say, but I did go full-out in class last night. Usually I’m a major yoga slacker, if I even make it to class in the first place. I really didn’t even want to go last night, but then I remembered how my left side has been hurting lately, and I thought about how good a nice stretch would feel. I do enjoy yoga — except chair pose, which is loosely translated to arjdndrasankasa uriktava — and always leave on that breezy yoga high people talk about.

Breezy yoga high = picture of Park Avenue flowers. In my head, those things go together.

The yoga instructor, whose real name is Carl and whose yoga name is maybe something like Crouching Tiger Hidden Bow Pose, always offers variations on each pose. He shows us how to make it easier or more difficult, and often times I stick with the one-step-up-from-basic option. I don’t always attempt the binds or the arm balances or the tripod headstands, because I don’t want to fall and potentially injure myself (by myself I mean all the people around me who would be crushed when I fall on them).

But last night I was all, “You know what? I showed up to class today. I may as well make the most of it, right?”

And so I bow posed and I binded. When we had the option of doing backbend hip lift plow pose something or going into wheel pose, I became a human wheel. I went for it.

And crow pose — that scary-looking one where you balance up on your forearms — I held that for a solid 30 seconds.

Is that not impressive?

Dang it. I felt good about it.

Usually I’m wobbly and I fall, but Instructor Carl The Great taught me to shift my focus forward instead of down by my feet, and boom! Balance was achieved.

This week, as much as I’m trying to be in tune with my body and how it’s feeling so as not to push it too hard right away, it has felt really good getting back into my sweat routine. I’d like to be running more, but in the meantime, I’m loving doing these other things.

I could have slept in this morning, but instead I went to a spin class. Every time the instructor — Ben T. — said to turn up the resistance, I turned it way up. I again had that same mentality (uh, especially after he demanded that we “not bullshit this morning”) that I showed up, I may as well push myself.

And now I must say, I feel pretty dang good. I’ve got a few days of drugs cruising through my system, I’m foam rolling, I’m icing and I feel like I’m making a decent effort to take care of myself and not overdo it. Hard two-a-day workouts? Yeah, I miss them. But this is the smart move right now. I’m sure my body will thank me eventually. Maybe. Probably not.

In final news, I booked it to the office this morning with a massive massive suitcase in tow containing everything I don’t want to move to my new apartment and would rather stash at my mom and dad’s house until they move someday (hopefully never) and make me take it all back. I haven’t seen my family since Christmas and I miss them. My love for them has always been evident:

My dad was an "accontant" and my brother was "a little pest." I was such a pleasant child. So kind. So polite. SO HONEST. You may also notice that my handwriting was improving at this point, and that I liked to make the number "2" look very fancy.

I’m kind of hoping that I can do some data entry or something for my dad tomorrow, because apparently that’s what I used to do for him (the “accontant”) and I brought in some serious cash. Dad, I’ve upped my charge, but we can discuss. It’s negotiable.

8 BUCKS?! I would love that right now. Do you know what I can get with $8? Half a lunch in NYC!

Back to my point, because I think I was on my way to making one…

Be full-out. I firmly believe that getting out the door, getting into the gym or just getting out of bed are the hardest parts of the day. Once you get going, go all out. Be fearless and ruthless and don’t just show up — really show up.

[I just stepped down from my perky motivational soapbox.]

I wish you all a fabulous Friday, a wonderful weekend and a lot of good sweat and delicious eating.

TELL ME SOMETHING YOU’VE DONE FULL-OUT LATELY: Come on, you knew I’d want to know, right? Did you push it as hard as you could right from the start line to the finish? Did you suck it up and do your dishes that had piled up and out of your sink and onto your stove, even though you really just wanted them to stay dirty forever or become magically washed on their own? Or maybe you realigned your priorities so you could maximize friend and family time rather than Facebook time. Share it. Brag your little hearts out.



44 Responses

  1. It was kind of forced upon me, but when I was laid off, I went full out in devoting myself to a career change. I probably could have found a similar position that paid better, but instead I went the slightly scary, but hopefully more fulfilling route and started over in online PR/social media. I am feelin’ good about the decision!

    Also, I just got a living social deal for Crunch. Can we PLEASE do a class of some sort together? I won’t do it unless there’s peer pressure.

  2. Nice job in crow pose! I went full out in my longest run ever of 16 miles today! Followed by some full out recovery fueling – sushi and ginger hard apple cider. Are you still selling the I heart sweat t-shirts? I only saw the men’s shirt for sale on the website.

  3. I almost spit out my coffee on bullet number 3 up there. I never thought Joey was creepy before, but now that you mention it… ew. haha. Can we have another sweatpants night and alternate between watching Friends, Full House and The Soup?

    Full out: YES. I swim full out sprints these days and I swear it’s just as tiring and ass kicking as a tempo run

  4. I went full-out last night on a container of oatmeal-raisin cookies and pinot noir. i heated a few of those babies up in the microwave (the cookies) while watching a movie, and then before I knew it, the wine and cookies were all gone. Full-out right there. Hit the spot.
    And I LOVED Full House!! I used to be jealous of DJ and Stephanie’s room! Uncle Joey was a little creepy.

  5. Honestly, this week I’ve gone full out on a step back week. Like yourself, I’ve cross trained more than normal (spin, pilates Reformer, weights) but feel better already. This weekend I’m looking forward to my first “long run” at my new goal long run pace.

  6. I love your bravery for trying the ever-dangerous crow pose! I used to look at the instructor like “yeah whatever” and just sit there, but it is so much more fun to try! Soon you will try – and hold – side crow! I held it a solid 2 seconds on my left but didn’t get close on my right. But promise me you won’t be doing that “hot yoga” BS – because you should EARN your sweat, not just sit there and sweat right?!

  7. I went full out during the CrossFit open. i went till I almost puked. And then I cried. Because it hurt.

    When I did high school dance team, there was a girl that always marked the double pirouette by doing her passe but just clapping to get the timing. And then during the competition she was on auto pilot because of nerves and ended up marking it in front of the judges. She cried and didn’t make the all-state team.

  8. i’m full out completing 100 miles for the month of march. so far i am at 92, so i have tomorrow to haul in 8 more (unless i go crazy & run again after work).

    i also full out did the dishes this morning, swept the floors & cleaned up the apartment. BOOM.

  9. I love that this is all about going “full-out”. Right now, I’m trying to full-out move on with my life and it is probably the most painful full-out thing I’ve ever done, trumping even running college dance team national routines back to back to back. I’d really like to half ass it, but in the end, it won’t get me a platinum in the competition of life…

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  10. The recital picture is amazing! My first costume was a sparkly rain jacket and we danced to singing in the rain. I really wish I could still fit in that coat because I would definitley wear it. I went full-out on my 7 miler last night! I am still trying to find my way around the Park better, but I did find the Resevoir, which I consider a success.

  11. Your mom and I almost share a birthday! (I’m June 6). Totally noteworthy, right?

    I went all out at the DC half marathon two weeks ago, and it felt pretty incredible. I may or may not have cried when I crossed the finish line. No shame.

  12. Thank you for this. I was just sitting here looking out the window thinking uuuugh, I need to get out there in the rain and get my run in…… but that’s the hardest part, just getting out there. I’ll think of you as I go full out!

  13. Full-out-ness is totally underrated. I’m trying my hand at cross training twice a week when I’m not running or resting. I’ve learning to enjoy the bike and this morning I set that thing on “interval mode,” turned up my music, and sweated my arm hairs off. It felt so good.

  14. YOU GOT PAID 8 DOLLARS AS AN 8 YEAR OLD?! I feel incredibly ripped off right now. My poor dad used to get awful migraines and he would pay us (my brother and I) to gently press on his temples for 15 minutes. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH HE PAID US FOR 15 MINUTES?! A QUARTER. A QUARTER!

  15. I used to love Full House. I remember that episode- silly Deej thought she was fat and her friends wouldn’t like her so she spent 45 minutes on a stepper and fainted Then Danny talked to her and all was ok again. Love it how simple life was in the Tanner household!

    I haven’t been going full out on things lately but I think I might after reading this- I actually love that exhausted feeling after a tough workout, I must try and do it more! 🙂

    Have a fab weekend!

  16. You wrote about going to your Dad’s office on the wonderful day of my fifth birthday. A big, big day for me. Also my first day of kindergarten. I was so special, I got to wear the birthday crown on the first day of school!!!

  17. I love your journals. I have a 7 year old daughter and a 3 year old son (born October 17th too by the way!) and I know she would journal him as “little pest” as well. When we get her school journals at the end of each semester my husband and I just laugh and laugh 🙂

    I’m glad you’re on the mend and going balls to the wall, but do keep posting the journals too. So heartwarming.

    1. Oh, and the only thing I’ve done “full out” this week is attack a jar of Nutella like it’s nobody’s business!

  18. 30 seconds in Crow? DANG! I consider it a win if I get .34 seconds before both feet are back on the ground, where feet below.

    Tempo workout on Wednesday where I thought I was going to combust from heat. My pace might have been off but I was fighting all the way to the end.

    Nashville Half Marathon costume? A country music half marathon demands that I dress up in red white and blue, right? Debating where I add sparkles at this point …

  19. First of all – I think my outfit would actually be LESS offensive if I was wearing your leotard.

    Secondly, you might have called me a little pest, but I used to tell people that I had a pet sister named Alison. HA!

  20. I have been really unmotivated lately and tired. Each day this week i had plans at night. i always wanted to cancel them and hang out with the couch but i made it. i have not gotten to blog pretty much all week too and today i started my day with it. I have also forced myself to get up and exercise. sure i wake up at 330 and can’t fall back asleep and have felt crappy but i got my jillian michaels dvd in all the same. hope you r feeling better and have a great weekend in NH 🙂

  21. Last night’s workout. Yasoo 800’s after work. I had NO desire to get out there – it was windy, cold and I was exhausted from work. But I sucked it up and pushed hard. It may be because it was freezing and I figured the faster I ran, the sooner I’d be in my warm bed, but whatevs. I was so happy I did it anyway. No regrets.

  22. I love this message! And I NEED to commit to some yoga. My legs are so tight from running, it’s ridiculous. I’d say I went full out on my 7 miler this AM (dreadmill, no less!) and ran it in 62 mins, which is fast for me! have a great weekend!

  23. Last night I attacked a half-gallon of ice cream. Full-out. I pushed my own limit, and even when I wanted to throw in the spoon, I hung on. I have plans to push it even further tonight.

  24. I worked with my personal trainer this morning (aren’t I special =P), and I feel like I went 90% out. I’ve had better sessions.

    To be honest, I think I’ve got to go full out on improving my diet. I’ve been lazy and it’s biting me in the butt. More veggies – more fruit – more whole grains! I love all of that but have been lazy. It’s easier to sub in a salt lick…I mean ramen some days. No MOAH!

  25. great post! last week, I finally got it over with and started writing my Bachelor thesis! I work on it every.single.day. figured it wouldn’t write it by itself 🙂

  26. Just remember yoga is a practice. It’s good to challenge yourself. Congrats on your crow pose!!! If you ever come to Chicago, try CorePower Yoga’s Yoga Sculpt class. You’d love it. Weight and yoga. Best of all worlds.

  27. Soulcycle — because if I’m paying $32, I better go full out.

    Maybe you call it Feller-out? Kind of similar to full-out?

    PS – love the dance recital photo. First dance recital, I did a “ballet” routine to “Georgette the Poodle” — the teacher told us to sing this one part really “loud and proud” — I sang it so loud and proud my face was turning red and my mom is cracking up on the video. I’ve taken directions very literally since a young age (I was 3 at the time). Yeah, don’t ask why this ballet had singing in it – it was Alabama. There’s a lot I can’t explain about Alabama.

    Glad you’re feeling better!

  28. Love it! Last night in my bar method class during a moment where I thought my quad would rip off my thigh bone, I almost took my normal break for a few seconds. Then I remembered why I’m taking the class (and really, that I’m paying an absurd amount for it) so I need to go full out! I felt so much better after pushing myself and my quad is happily still attached to my leg 🙂

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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