You Do Not Have to be Ellen DeGeneres to Be Inspiring

Foreward: Guys for the record, I adore Ellen.

With my recent “little” changes in life (i.e. leaving a corporate job to start my own business), I am constantly humbled by the support I am receiving. I know I have said it like a thousand times but it needs to be said. Not to toot my own horn but to remind us ALL of a few really key, mind blowing things. Ok mind blowing may be an exaggeration. Let’s say reverberating then.

Someone I have come to know through Facebook sent me a very endearing message. While this is not someone I have met in “real life”, I do believe in the power of connecting with people even if it’s in cyber space somewhere.  Anyways, he reached out to me today to tell me this:

Doesn’t mean much to you but I’m proud of you. Happy to see you chasing your dreams. Honored to call you a friend.

Ok so first things first… I do not think we should EVER diminish the value that our words have on someone else. We under estimate the power or impact we can have on someone else just by taking 4.3 seconds to type a genuine message. (Which also is the case with messages that are mean spirited. Pick your words carefully).

When we speak from the heart, the message is heard loud and clear. If I just got a generic message like “good luck in your endeavors” then yeah perhaps I would not have thought much of it. For anyone to take the time, even if it takes 4.3 seconds to do, it’s still 4.3 seconds that someone took to send love and support. Which I don’t care who you are, like me, you need it.

Which also leads me to my next point.  When you have news, share it. I know for many of us, we are private (as am I with certain topics and details). But it’s like there’s this idea of shared energy or something. When you are excited, happy, unstoppable, that is what you are putting out there and so that is what you get back. Energy is infectious and when you have things happening, I say share share share! The love and support you will receive in return will only manifest your dreams and ideas that much faster. I can tell you the more people I share my plans and accomplishments and hopes and desires with, the more open I feel. And so it is no wonder I am getting validation from the most unexpected people telling ME I am an inspiration.

Which leads me to my next point. I have to say, being told I am inspiring has a whole lot of pressure attached to it. Knowing I am a person of interest (guys I am kidding. My ego is not that big)… Seriously though, knowing that my choices and actions are inspiring anyone humbles me like nothing I have ever experienced. The pressure kicks in because I do have fears which are scary to be exposing. Like what if I do not pass my Personal Training certification after posting about it for 3 months?  Or what if I launch a business that that flops? How is that inspiring?

The thing is though, I do have those thoughts for like a split second (which yeah happens more than just from time to time), I have to remind myself that like the idea of shared energy, if I keep fearing it, I am putting it out to the universe that I will fail. Which is NOT an option. So I instead shift my thinking to I WILL  pass my certification (which will not just happen by luck. I will be putting in the time studying and getting prepared). My coaching business will be successful, fulfilling, magical and inspiring. It is all about mindset. There is no room for negative thinking.

I also am realizing from my friend’s message today that the idea of being inspiring is not about being perfect. Being inspiring means being real. It’s being honest. It’s being human. It’s ok to have triumphs and it is also ok to fall. Nobody is perfect and being inspired by anyone that is seemingly perfect is just disappointment waiting to happen. I am not pretending that I know exactly what I am doing. I know what I may do today. I do not even know literally what I am doing tomorrow. This is why I am inspiring people. I am truly taking a road to a destination that is somewhat lucid yet there is literally no playbook or road map to get me there. I am trusting in myself and timing and the universe to guide me. I put on my big girl pants every day (well except the days I need my neighbor to come over and kill a water bug for me) and I just do.  That is why people find me to be inspiring.

And another thing about that. We all have the ability to do what I am doing. I am no different than you. In fact, I am probably very much like you. It took me years and a whole lot of stress and anxiety to get to a point where I accepted that I needed to make a change in a really big way. It is just getting to that point that is separating me from you or anyone else. As my niece would say, I am being brave. You can too.

 

 

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Does Anything Good Come From Getting on a Scale?

When it comes to weighing myself, I either do it obsessively or I do not do it at all. When I am in the former mode, I’ll weigh myself when I wake up. I’ll weigh myself a half later after I drink water. I’ll weigh myself after I workout. I’ll weigh myself after I have a BM (oh don’t act appalled, you know what I mean and I bet you do it too!) I will weigh myself every single day. I become completely obsessed with it to the point of being unhealthy.

At some point though what usually happens is even after the pounds start coming off, the scale starts going back up. I become more obsessed and neurotic. It is ridiculous, especially when the reality is muscle weighs more than pounds. Still the actual number tends to haunt me. Forever.

And so then I stop weighing myself altogether. For a year. Until the day comes that I cannot avoid the scale anymore because well, the nurse who is taking my vitals for my annual check-up does not give me an opt- out option.

This is what happened this past Friday. I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office and closed my eyes telling myself I am better off not knowing. I hopped off but at the last second, I snuck a peek. Ok, my number was the same it was last year, if not a pound less. Which I deducted an extra  ound for clothes (and another few pounds for my incredible personality). So really, I was about 4 pounds less than last year.

I realized that not knowing is not bliss. It is just straight up denial, good or bad. I always have goals when it comes to health and fitness. Sometimes it is to learn a new skill at CrossFit. Sometimes it is to train for a race. Sometimes it is to lose x number of pounds. Not knowing my weight really does not coincide with having goals. There sometimes is a correlation to what we weigh and what our fitness goals are. I know in the past, I have improved in gymnastics stuff when I have dropped a few pounds (it is a lot easier to move my weight around a bar for pull ups or do Hand Stand Push Ups when I am carrying a few less lb’s).  With a race, the number is a reflection of the work I am putting I and a way to make sure that I am not putting in extra miles only to reverse that grueling work with the wrong food choices. ((I have a love hate relationship with running fyi).

Look, I saw my number and miraculously I was not traumatized. If anything, I am encouraged. I do go more off of how I look and subtle changes in my body whether it is getting leaner or building muscle. Those are the results I really strive for, far more than any number. If I am being totally honest, I still have plenty of work to do.

And I am realistic about what all that work will result in. I am not expecting to get down to 9% body fat or something ridiculous like that. I do not want to have the most restrictive diet that I am a hangry bitch all the time (that would not be good for my business). I just want to lose a few (maybe 5-10) pounds of fat, and I do not think that is out of the realm of possibility.

If this post speaks to you, then I encourage you to first and foremost be honest with yourself, which is probably the hardest and most uncomfortable step in a healthy journey. Far harder than the lifestyle changes you will make as a result of it. We all want to think we eat healthy and perfect. We all want to think we crush it in every work out. We all want to think we only drink alcohol moderately. We think we eat an “average” amount of carbs (when in actuality we are on an all carb diet yet cannot understand why we are not losing weight).

That’s where I am at. I am being realistic with myself. I am not about to go on some crazy restricted bodybuilder diet.  I will probably call in a favor from a nutritionist I know (good thing I have one in the family) to see how I can make tweaks to my eating. I also intend to incorporate some extra workouts (I will have that luxury of being on my own schedule in T-2 days!) That might just be a few extra minutes of abs a day or a few extra squats or a few miles of running.

I have to do what works for me and aligns with my goals. Everyone has to do what makes sense for them. It is why there’s a big shift from “dieting” to “lifestyle”.  You want to be able to sustain whatever changes you implement. We are all individuals, with different bodies, with different histories that we all need to be mindful and respectful of.

What works for one person may not work for someone else. Just because the man lifting weights next to you has gone on a high fat and low protein diet with intense weightlifting cycles does not mean that is what you need to do to bulk up. Or just because your neighbor is counting her macros and losing weight, that does not mean you have to. Or just because you go hit the stairs at a park and see someone climbing them 6 times, does not mean that is what you need to do to reach your goal.

So be honest with yourself with what your goals are. Get a realistic plan to reach them. Be open to tweaking and changing as you go. Yes, weigh yourself but do not let that be the only benchmark of your success. And if you need some help figuring this out, come talk to me. This is where I see myself helping people in my future business. (ahh yes slid in that last minute #shamelessplug).

Being on a New Journey Gives New Perspective: 8 Liberating Lessons

I thought moving across country would be the biggest change of my life, but that is peanuts compared to taking the most gigantic leap of faith ever to pursue a new career. These last few months have been full of more highs than lows. I may be a little too excited as my colleagues told me, “You are so happy, it’s actually annoying.” It all is reminding me though of how important it is to do the following to truly reach a place of change and happiness.

  1. Be honest with yourself.Know what your skills are and know when you feel like you are “faking” it. It’s cool to do that short term. I have done it, but it has left me feeling a bit like an imposter though. Like I could be an Implementation Analyst or an Associate Director but at what point are people going to realize I am not meant for these jobs?  It is not that I am incapable of them. It is just that it is not where my heart is. When those feelings became harder to ignore, that’s when you know something has to change.
  2. If something peaks your interest, no matter what it is, investigate it. It may lead you to something you want to do or it may be part of an elimination tactic. Either way, it is to your benefit to at least learn more about something before ruling it or out or pursuing it.I know I have met health coaches of different sorts over the years, and every time, something inside me lit up like oh maybe I want to do that. But of course, as you know by now, I ignored that for years. And here I am, almost two decades into my “career” that I finally feel ready to acknowledge them.
  1. We worry so much about going into financial debt to pursue a dream that instead we go into emotional debt. (C­­heesy I know but stay with me here). We fear the financial and believe me, I COMPLETELY understand that.  We stay at a job or a career because the thought of either spending money on more schooling (or to get a business going) or taking a pay cut stresses us out more than the possibility of what we could have. We keep our cushy job or paycheck, but slowly, our mental state and happiness deteriorates. We check in each day to a job physically, but mentally we are checked out. It just is not sustainable. At some point, when we are ready, the fear of the unknown actually becomes enticing and freeing. Honor that.

    4.You are never going to be 100% ready to make a transition
    . I am certain if I waited for that to happen, I would never be able to leave my current job or company. The decision to leave may be the hardest pill to swallow, but once that decision has been made, it is liberating. You actually can devote 100% of your time and efforts to pursuing what your heart desires.5. We are greeted with opportunities that seem to make no sense or do not fit in to what our “plan is” yet they seem like they are meant for us to take. It is often hard to accept these opportunities and for many of us, we don’t. We have no idea what we are missing out on. When I joined Pruvit, it did not make any “sense” to me rationally at all at the time, but emotionally or mentally, I knew it was something I should be doing. I had no experience doing any kind of community based marketing nor did I even think I would be any good at it. Yet, I just felt a strong attraction to it. And so when I decided to pursue it, despite how challenging it has been, I have not doubted that it is part of my journey.And really, what “plan” did I have that even made sense anymore? I was at a point in my career where I maybe could have stayed at it and been successful, but then again, to my 1st point earlier, how long would I really be able to fake it and sustain it?

    So yeah, signing up to be an Independent Promoter on the outside seemed ridiculous or crazy, but in actuality it has been another one of my best decisions ever. It is guiding me to my ultimate destiny of coaching.

    6. When it comes to who you surround yourself with, know there is a difference between those who want to help you and those who want to sabotage you.


    I realize that may sound extreme so let me explain. I do not mean that people will deliberately try to kill your spark or idea. I just mean that people often react based on their own fears. Many people come from a place of practicality where your plan seems outrageous (and nothing they would ever do). So they may advise you against it or give you all the reasons why you should not pursue your plan.

    Versus people who believe in you and your talents and your dreams and they whole heartedly support you. They want you to find that passion and happiness. Many of them have walked in your shoes before and will even advise you on how to prepare for your journey. I have gotten far more of this type of reaction than the former, fortunately.

    You want to find the people who give you reasons and guidance to follow your dreams and not those who will find every argument for why you should not. (Maybe this is what all the kids mean by finding your tribe).

  1. No matter what job we have, we learn transferable skills. They may show themselves in different forms or different scenarios, but the skills are the same. Learning how to communicate whether it is with peers or subordinates, those are the same skills you need for clients or customers or patients. Time management, project management, analysis, coaching. They are all transferrable.
  2. If you are passionate about something, TALK ABOUT IT. I feel like ever since it has been announced that I will be leaving my job, I have had more conversations about my passion and business ideas than ever before. I used to always worry that if I talked too much about it, I would put my job at jeopardy. People would see me light up and realize that was missing when I talked about work. And there is truth in that, but the reality is, people can still do a job and have interests elsewhere. The point is though, we should be proud of the many facets we have. Our jobs do not always define us so we do not need to downplay our interests.The unexpected thing is, I actually feel more bonded to many people than I did before because it’s like I am being far more authentic. People are learning more about me and likewise, I am learning about them. How many times do we get on calls or join meetings with people and we know virtually nothing about them? We do not know that a woman is a 17 year cancer survivor. Or that another woman started a walking club in the basement of an office which lead to one of its members losing 100 lbs.

 

For me, realizing all these important lessons over the last few months has been the validation I have needed. It is so easy to get comfortable or just content in life. And maybe that is ok. Maybe for some that is enough. For me though, it no longer is. I am grateful for everything that has led me to this moment as it has given me such new perspective, and I am humbled to be able to share that with you.

 

7 Rookie Mistakes CrossFitters are Guilty Of

I am coming up on my 6 year CrossFitversary and one thing I know for sure is that I have not perfected it. At all. I know there are so many tips and tricks out there for how to have optimal workouts that do not even necessarily have to do with actually learning the “how” in movements and skills. I am sharing with you 7 common rookie mistakes that we all have made or will make at some point. Let’s change that shall we?

 

  1. CrossFit should never get “easier”.

You may improve at a skill like pull-ups or double unders. You may be able to increase the load you lift, but that does not mean CrossFit gets “easier”. It means YOU get STRONGER, and so you need to always be scaling your workouts UP and challenging yourself.

  1. Ditch those running shoes when you walk into a box.

You would not wear weight lifting shoes to go running so why would you wear running shoes to lift weights? They just are not constructed to be meant for what happens inside a box. I have seen people come in running shoes that I am convinced would actually fly them to the moon.

I found this article (which I recommend reading in full for more details) http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/heres-why-you-should-never-lift-heavy-running-shoes.

There is a key point made in the article, “Running shoes and weightlifting shoes are on opposite ends of the footwear spectrum, and those differences impact your performance. The most basic—and most important, when it comes to lifting—is that running shoes are cushiony, while lifting shoes are hard.”

  1. Not taking advantage of an extra few minutes to stretch.

I see this often and it makes me a little nutty. Athletes arrive a few minutes early to a class, and just sit around or socialize. Stop that! Stretch and work on mobility. Even those 2 or 3 minutes of stretching can make a world of difference (and your body will thank you and even perform better).

 

  1. Focusing on going heavy instead of moving well.

Guys (and girls) I get it, your egos may suffer a bit at the beginning. A guy at 180 pounds may be lifting less than a 120 pound female.  And that might hurt a bit. IT IS OK. That will pass. You’ll get stronger faster if you actually take the time to learn how to do movements correctly.

And for those who have been doing this CrossFit thing longer, you are not exempt from this reminder. I always say it is better to go lighter and have good form than go heavy and look like an a-hole.

  1. Mtyh: The strongest CrossFitters are those who have been doing it the longest.

Newbies sometimes think that the number of years someone has been doing CrossFit automatically puts them at the same level as others with the same tenure. For instance, everyone at the 1 year mark should be able to do strict pull-ups, handstand push ups, and Fran under 5 minutes.

Years doing CrossFit is the not the defining factor for how strong someone might be. This would be fake news.

Yes, years may equate to being more proficient or have better form, but it is not universal. In fact, so many people when they start, unlike my point in #4, focus so much on going heavy that they end up hitting a plateau. Because their form is no bueno they aren’t going to get any stronger. And often leads to injury (take it from me) which sidelines people, setting them back a bit.

My point is this. When you start CrossFit, do not worry about how long you’ve been doing it or how long your boxmates have.  Or what you “should” be able to do. Everyone has different time frames and all you should do is focus on yours. That is how you will keep kicking ass. And if you do feel like you are not where you want to be, then use that to light a fire under your ass to set and hit some goals.

 

  1. “It looks easy on paper.”

 

If you ever say this, then it is likely you are going to eat those words. Even basic movements on paper might look easy peasy until you try to do them for time or max reps. Here is a workout I did a few months back that on paper, a lot of people underestimated how hard it would be because the weights were not heavy (and by not heavy, cleans in particular, were scaled downed significantly compared to the weights that they typically are for RX workouts).

 

Seven Rounds For Time:

15 Kettlebell Swings 1.5 pood/1 pood
15 Power Cleans 95#/65#
15 Box Jumps 24”/20”

 

When you go to a box that has solid programming, you learn to TRUST it. In a workout like the one above, there was a method behind it. While the weight was light (and box jumps low), it still was a lot of volume.

 

And when you do have those rare days that are really as easy as they are on paper, trust that it is part of a plan. We all need days where we do not go all out, and it will show in good programming. They make allowances for that to help us recover (and most likely get our money’s worth the next day).

 

  1. ­­­Always CrossFit with the same people.

When you find the people who really push you to workout, yes, they are going to 100 percent keep you coming back. I get that. I mean I am loyal to my 6 am peops because we just have an established vibe and support system happening.

And I get that people often pick a consistent class time based on logistics and schedule. For shits and giggles though, every now and then, try a different class. Or if you are always in the same class and you tend to pair off with the same person, try mixing it up. Share a rack with someone different. Do a partner workout with the person you spend the least amount of time with.

You may be surprised and learn something new from someone different or find you push yourself harder. Maybe you always workout with someone at your same level. Maybe though you could workout with someone who is stronger or faster than you. You will be surprised at how that energy will push YOU to do that much more.

Mix it up.  Get out of your routine and comfort zone with who you workout with. As CrossFitters we might be beasts, but we won’t bite.

 

Ok my CrossFit friends. Change perspective a bit, because really that is all that these 7 are asking of you. And go get it.