Much Like Rompers, Our Culture Is Embracing Job Changes and Here Is Why

Foreword:   I by no means have researched or solicited stats or professional opinions. It is my own speculation, but I challenge you to disagree! (I am THAT confident in this post).

Back in the day, it was not unusual to have conversations that started with a leading question: “If you were to have a different job than the one you have today, what would it be?” And people would talk and fantasize about all the jobs they could do if it was not for feeling financially strapped or for fear of the unknown or for the fear of starting all over again. Today though, that mindset has shifted significantly. People are not just fantasizing and daydreaming, they are making new realities and lives for themselves. I have conversations like this regularly with friends who have indeed made a big career change or are considering it. (Please note, by “big career change” I do not mean switching from working at Whole Foods to Trader Joe’s or from being a Project Manager to a Scrum Master. I mean like holy- shit- am –I- really- doing -this kinds of switches. Giving up working in finance to sell skincare. Or giving up working as an engineer to be a teacher). With that in mind, the question though that I often think about is: compared to ten, twenty years ago, WHY? Why are we as a society and culture finally embracing and encouraging drastic career changes?

One underlying reason is social media and technology, which has many layers and reasons within itself. Technology has replaced the need to either physically be in the office or in person to get shit done. Back in the day, we had big old clunky desktop computers that we could not access unless we parked our asses at our desks where said computers were lodged. If we had to work late, we were at the office.  If we had work to do for an external client, we often had to be onsite wherever that client was. If we had early calls to make, we had to be in the office. Work was just very office centric.

If we wanted to sell something, it was either old school door- to- door (think Tupperware or Mary Kay makeover parties) or we had to sell from a store. Today, there is a robust virtual presence which enables us to do so much more from really anywhere.

My point is that we have many more liberties thanks to technology in which we can conduct business or work.  What this means is that people are growing out of the traditional working environment. It is inspiring us to discover different ways to work and it also for many of us, is reminding us that more customary desirable jobs used to be in offices, are now well, less desirable. I also recognize as I am beginning my journey of promoting ketones, I do not need much to do that.  I do most of it from my phone in fact. I could be at the pool, at the beach, in Santa Barbara for the day and it will not hinder my business. This is proving to be very enticing indeed, and I completely understand the draw people have to being entrepreneurs and not necessarily being confined to an office.

Social media in itself is an, albeit obvious, reason why people are switching careers. It is far easier to spread our message to the world. Not everything is word of mouth anymore or expensive marketing. We have access to get things out there way faster than we used to be able to. For those who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s (and earlier), remember when we actually MAILED hand written letters to friends? We did not have text messages and long distance calling was expensive (and obviously we had no concept of Facebook or Instagram). Today, you can put a message out with just a few clicks on your phone and reach thousands of people. This makes it so much more expedient for people to market themselves or their businesses. Plus, they get instant feedback which can be the encouragement someone needs to consider changing careers.

Social media also entices people for more than just a marketing perspective. It is enabling us to connect with people we may not know or otherwise have access to. This means we have so much more of an awareness of what other people are up to. Remember your fellow college graduate who worked in finance? Well guess what, you saw her post that she quit Wall Street to become a chef. We see virtually firsthand more and more people who are actually making career changes. Plus another popular trend (that I hope is here to stay) are all the inspiring messages and memes people are posting. All of this is almost like propaganda at its finest (and I mean that in the most positive way. Seriously). It is feeding our souls and minds with ideas, inspiration, and encouragement to stop ignoring those gut feelings of being unsatisfied. Back in the day, it was not as common to hear of people switching careers. People tended to just suck it up and ride it out until they could retire. To deviate was intimidating but today we are inundated with stories of people doing it- and being successful but more importantly, happy. It nourishes ideas and thoughts that people have that had it been twenty, thirty years ago, they would have squashed instantaneously.

On a different note, we no longer live in a world where we are so tied to a job because of things like pensions. They just do not really exist anymore. I am sure all you twenty something’s who have been in the workforce for a few years have virtually no concept of a pension nor are depending on ever seeing one come to fruition. People stayed at the same company for thirty, forty years because they had those pensions. Their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  The light at the end of the tunnel. They had a very real financial benefit to stay put. With that not being a current reality, people are more likely to switch companies and even careers. There is a sense of freedom that the world is our oyster and it opens our eyes to possibilities. People’s relationships with companies are different. Without the incentive to retire well from there, it has become more common for people to make career changes.

And I get it. It is really hard financially to walk away from a stable job and a stable income to follow our hearts. But it can be done because of how different our world and cultures are today

Another reason I truly believe that is attributing to people following their hearts and their passion is the exposure to all the different possibilities that are out there. I remember career day when I was in high school, and it featured the usual stars: an accountant, a teacher, a doctor, a finance guy and a police officer. All fine and respectable jobs of course.  But what about all the other careers that are out there? What about Yoga Instructors? Life Coaches? Business Analysts? Architects? It is not that they did not exist (I mean come on, I am not THAT old!) There was just much less exposure. Networking was much more in person and by chance.

Today though, there is just so much more exposure due to social media and the internet. People have more information at their fingertips at any given moment. (Not like when I was 16 having to do any kind of research on microfiche. Don’t know it? Google it!)  It is why people more so today than yesterday are switching jobs. They are reassessing career decision they made as 21 year olds because they have had more exposure to the crazy wonderful breadth of professions and opportunities out here.

Ok so I feel as if I am only scratching the surface. I am sure if I were to either dig more within or actually research online, any one of these points could be a blog post in itself.  So having said that, I want to leave you with only one more reason why people are making career changes as above all else, it is the most inspiring.

I truly believe as a society, we are becoming more spiritual and I mean this in the purest form. When I say spiritual, I think of it as like we are taking better care of ourselves when it comes to our mind and mental health. Not just physically. Remember walking past that little tiny section in Barnes and Noble for “Self Help”? It would be embarrassing to be caught perusing that. Weren’t those books for all the weirdos who just couldn’t get their shit together? Today though, whether we realize it or not, we often browse the self-help section, figuratively speaking of course. We are meditating more, taking yoga classes (ok well everyone but me is taking yoga). We go to healers. We go to therapy. We go to shamans. We talk about our feelings. We find all these incredible people and mediums who are not just telling us how to “cope’ with stress and suck it up; stay at those jobs we do not like. They are teaching us to follow our hearts and find our purpose in life. They are encouraging us to make changes, and let go of what we know. Move towards the unknown and trust. We give up foods that are bad for us. We give up relationships that are toxic. We now give up careers and jobs that we find our hearts are no longer in.

 

I Bet You Have Done CrossFit to Justin Bieber and Didn’t Even Know It

I recently had a conversation with one of the coaches where I do CrossFit about music. He wanted to do an experiment where he did not play any music during class. I want to say I encouraged this idea, but well, I did not.  I have been in class once or twice without music and bitched the entire time. I suggested perhaps he phase it out once the workout starts to see if anyone even notices. Much to my chagrin, the Great Music Experiment never happened (which, if it had, this blog may have been written very differently. Not to point any fingers, Ricky!)

Anyways, working out often is synonymous with music. We cannot workout without music, or more specifically without the right music. I agree with this… to a degree. There are tons of articles out there in regards to the benefits of listening to music: how the beat of music can match the cadence of your heartbeat. Or how the right tempo or song can boost your effort: the faster the beat the faster you move.

In my own experience, music does matter to me when I am working out solo. With running, I need music that gets me hyped up the same way it does when I am home procrastinating on putting laundry away. I blast Spotify to get me moving because for some reason, the idea of moving around my room putting items in the closet and drawers without music sounds like pure torture. There is something with music that gets me motivated.  When I think about kickboxing, I would not want to be punching a bag with a sappy Celine Dion song playing. Hearing “My heart will go on” are not the most inspiring words to give a swift left hook to the bag. When I take cycling classes, I strongly believe in the concept of “shared energy” which music is a big attributing factor. It gets people excited, nostalgic even when an old favorite comes on, and gets people to pump those legs harder.

Yet, when it comes to my steady favorite, CrossFit, I want to ask, how important is music to the workout? I may notice what is playing during the strength portion because there tends to be sets with rest in between. However, when it comes to the workout portion, I notice what is playing for maybe the first ten seconds, but after that, I could not tell you if it was Justin Bieber playing or Metallica. (And for the record, if you are rolling your eyes at the Bieber reference, I defy you to deny that he actually has talent). At any rate, I am curious, who else experiences this in CrossFit or am I on my own lonely planet? What other workouts do you feel music is more of a supporting role than a lead?

The more I think about this topic of how important is music to working out, particularly CrossFit, I come up with question after question. I could attempt to answer them, which I have contemplated the reasons within the confines of my own brain, but it brings me deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. So in the spirit of interaction, I am deliberately leaving much of this open ended. I would LOVE to get feedback from all of you as to your thoughts and perspectives.

Let’s start with the obvious: why? Why do I not notice what is playing? I mean, I am aware something is playing, and I am fairly certain if the music stopped, I would notice (mainly because I would hear my breathing coming through in full force). So what is it about CrossFit that is different than other workouts? Like cycling, it’s shared energy, yet it does not seem that music is the driving force. So if it is not what creates energy, what does? As I ask that, I suppose the answer is fairly obvious. With cycling for example again, it is instructor lead. They drive the pace and the intensity. For the most part, you are pushing yourself just as hard as the person next to you. Sure, you may require less resistance on the bike than the next, but generally speaking, people are moving at similar speeds. (It is not like driving 50 on a highway with someone coming up next to you going 80).

Perhaps with CrossFit, it generates a different kind of energy.  It generates a sense of competition WHICH IS A GOOD THING. It could be competition with the clock, competition with fellow athletes or competition with ourselves.  In all instances, I believe, as is the case with me, perhaps I am more focused on other variables. I am focusing on keeping good form. I am focusing on mentally pushing through some difficult reps. I am focusing on not burning out too fast and losing my lead on the person next to me. Are these valid reasons why music really does become background noise?

Is it that with CrossFit, it is not about just getting a workout or burning calories?  Is it that it is so varied, you do not get into a rhythm like other sports? If I compare it running, I tend to want to get to a steady running pace and stick with it. I also recognize though there are all sorts of training to do with running, from intervals to sprints. For all you avid runners, I am curious, does music, particularly what music is playing, factor into how well you train?

The funny thing is, I know a lot of coaches who put a lot of time into playlists for classes. I am wondering though, is it necessary? Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to yell out “what the hell are we listening to?” I’ve worked out to music that sounded more suited for the bedroom (and I voiced that complaint). But again, in looking back, I really only think part of the class I am even aware of what is playing. There comes a point, as I said usually within seconds of when the clock starts, that what is on that playlist does not even matter, at least not consciously.  On the flip side though, does it somehow impact us even if we are not cognizant of what we are hearing?

I can go on more about this, but I suppose I should ask a telling question that will either validate or disclaim this blog post. For those who CrossFit, can you name a song you heard while you were last getting your sweat on?

 

*In lieu of not yet having a trademark to put on my blog, consider this a small Public Service Announcement. I am all for sharing my writing (in fact I am flattered!) Please just give credit where credit is due. Thank you.

 

To All You Creatures of Habit: Go Towards The Unexpected

 

A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine was raving to me about a product, keto/os, she had been trying and was 100% sold on. She had all this sudden energy and new found excitement and lust for life. She was so smitten with it that I naturally wanted to try it. I barely needed any other information because hello? Who wouldn’t want more energy? I got my ketone samples a few days later and within a few days, I completely and utterly understood why she was elated over ketones. I too was hooked.

My friend gently nudged me about how I would be perfect to promote. She told me I embody health and fitness. I love CrossFit and I love working out and she was positive that it would be a natural step for me to take. I was hesitant to say the least primarily because I do not consider myself to be the sales type AT ALL. If anything, it is nothing I ever envisioned myself doing. Yet, something about the proposition was appealing to me. I could not deny that she was right about my passion, and let’s be honest. Any chance I get to talk about it, I gladly do whether it is in a meeting at work, bumping into a friend or chatting after a workout  with my fellow athletes. When she pointed out that is it not a sales thing when it is something that is an authentic part of my life, I knew she was quite right. It’s a lifestyle I am completely on board with and essentially really all I am doing is sharing that with others. She’s a smart woman who I trust (and for the record, the only person I would trust to lead me on this journey) and so I signed up. I got myself samples and well, here I am, just a few weeks later. I am not the top promoter by any means (YET!) , but I definitely am an improved version of myself.  And here is why.

It’s like this crazy confidence booster.  The primary way that I have been generating hype and interest is by posting on social media. I have had quite a few unexpected people reach out to me asking, “OK, Missy, I am intrigued. What are these ketones you are taking?” It is gratifying to me and a testament to my character, to my integrity that friends and acquaintances (even family!) trust and respect me enough to know that if I am raving and posting relentlessly about anything, it is because I completely believe in it. I am not trying to scam anyone or stimulate interest on something that I think is mediocre. I have had people reach out to me who I haven’t exchanged a single word with in years. I am humbled knowing that they trust me. I am humbled that they are not shying away from reaching out to me. I am humbled knowing that they do not view me as like an annoying infomercial on social media. One woman in particular, who I have not seen in two years, even told me that she reads my blog posts and gets inspired (in addition to wanting to learn more about ketones). Total bonus. It really fills my heart with this new warmth and bliss knowing I am having an impact on others.

Similarly, for those who have tried keto/os (the product I am promoting) l I have received so many messages telling me how much they are loving it. They are experiencing the same things I am that are almost hard to describe. They are full of energy, full of excitement and vigor. They are feeling stronger when they workout and are just overall feeling recharged.  It is so gratifying for me to know that I am playing a part in sharing this with people and guiding them to embrace this lifestyle. It’s filling a void I suppose I had without even knowing it. I have always been passionate about health and fitness and I always derive enjoyment whenever people talk to me about it or ask me about my experiences or for advice. With ketones, it harnesses those same emotions and qualities, but it is on a whole different level. People are taking my recommendation on a product that sounds like it is too good to be true (spoiler alert, it is that good! And there is nothing fantastical about it.  It is as real as it gets). Our bodies are sacred and I completely understand why people are cautious about what they put into them. So along with their own research and my little humble opinion, they are deciding to try it. And I thank everyone who has. I thank them because it is truly the highest form of flattery.

Another really rewarding aspect of this new journey is all these people I am getting to know that I would probably not otherwise have crossed paths with. I am meeting so many other women (albeit virtually) who are promoting for keto/os and every day I find myself absolutely inspired and awestruck by them. (For the record, there are plenty of men who are also part of the keto/os family). It is really special and unique to be promoting for something along with all these other women who are so completely and utterly vested in. We chat all the time about the importance of being positive, manifesting our intentions and what we want from the universe. I realize it sounds really cheesy and like I am in a hippie time warp and maybe it is and maybe I am. For me though, it is nurturing this part of me that clearly is shouting to be heard. We share information on ketones,  we seek advice, we share successes (and failures).  Through it all, it’s like there is this understood and agreed upon no-negativity policy. Sure we vent about frustrations but we do not spend much time in those lows. We learn, we encourage and we move on. We all live in different places across the country (Kentucy, New Mexico, New jersey to name a few..) and we all lead very different lives. We all also have our own different angles and spin on how we promote ketones. Yet we all have this common ground and respect. It is the most unique “work” environment I have ever been in. Perhaps I am in a bit of a euphoria because I do not look at this like a job (and yes I am not solely supporting myself on promoting). But it is like a dream work environment where EVERYONE seems to be on the same page. It is not something that happens everywhere, and I am no fool to ever take it for granted.

I am a total creature of habit, which can be good but it also can be limiting. Promoting is something that is so far out of my comfort zone and completely out of my norm, yet in this short time, it is already opening my eyes to things I would not have been receptive to otherwise. It is reminding me that it is ok to go after things even if they seem to defy my norm.  (If you read my blog last week, this nicely ties together. Link here). It is reminding me to trust. Trust myself. Trust the universe. Trust that things happen for a reason. I have no idea where promoting ketones will take me. I have no idea if it is my end game. I have no idea if it is short term or long term. And all of that is ok. Right now, it is in my life for a reason and I am going to get the most out of it. The most important aspect in all of this is that it is something I am not doing on my own. I get to share it with all of you and so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for going along with me.

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Need to Always Explain Why?

 

I have recently been struck with a realization that we find ourselves feeling like we need to justify gaps in our own lives to other people. Similarly, we feel compelled to explain “why” to people when really, it just is not their concern. It is like if we deviate from a plan or from what other people expect of us (even what we expect of ourselves), we feel like we need to rationalize it. I do believe though that our culture, our society, has the capacity to overcome this.

I know, you are thinking, “Tell me more, Missy.” I was having a conversation recently with a friend who is looking for her next career move. She took some time off from her last job, and so I asked her, “What will you tell companies if they ask why there is a gap in your resume?” She said simply, “I will tell them I took some personal time. The end.”  I pondered this for a moment as my brain usually wants more concrete answers. As we chatted more, I fully understood and agreed with her point. Why does she owe anyone an explanation? We are so used to always having to tell people a story when in actuality, it is not any of their business. For someone who is smart, accomplished, competent, likeable, savvy, why does she owe to anyone to explain a mere gap on her resume? Because  the truth is, LIFE happened. And specifically what that means, well that is really nobody’s business.

Throughout my career, I have always been cognizant of not having a gap on my resume. The truth is, I took some time off to do short term jobs a few years after college (and working my first real job in finance) because well frankly, I was 25 years old. I was unsure what I wanted to do.  I was young. I was disenchanted. And I wanted time to figure out where to go and what to do next. But no way in hell was I going to tell any potential employer that. I was far too worried they would view me as someone who was not motivated or ambitious or worse yet, a total flaky scatterbrain. Instead, I stretched the truth a tad and said that I worked for a family business for a year.

I remember going to interviews with my standard story. “I was living in Pittsburgh and I really wanted to move back home to New Jersey. The timing worked out as our family business was in need of some extra help.” That always satisfied the interviewer, and I did get a “real’ job once again when I was ready.

Looking back, as this was probably around 2004, maybe at that time, it was still expected that no gap go unexplained. Today though, I would like to think that our culture has changed.  I do believe there is a higher acceptance of understanding that just because someone went off course does not mean they have less to offer. I wonder if I were to interview for a job tomorrow with a revised resume that does not reflect a year of working at a family business (and oh my, instead has a gap!) that I could be blunt and just say, “Well I was 25. I was not really loving my job anymore.  My boyfriend moved to West Virginia. I didn’t want to be in Pittsburgh anymore and so I moved back home.”  I would  be surprised if at this point in my life  that my 25 year old self would really work against me. I have a few years (ok fine shut up, more than a decade) of experience since then that would more than make up for it.

What if I actually gave no explanation of the gap and simply said, “I took some personal time off. The end.” Would anyone would even blink an eye? And really why should  it matter if someone takes time off at 25 or 35 or 55? People have their reasons, which there is no limit to what those reasons could be. It is their reasons, their stories. Why should getting a job depend on them providing personal details to a complete stranger? People’s character and ambition should speak for themselves and overcome a gap.

And it isn’t  just jobs where we have this expectation of having to explain ourselves. It goes beyond that. Look at dating.  How many times have you felt (or heard friends express) the dread of having to explain why you haven’t dated in FOREVER? Why do we feel compelled to rationalize our single lives? Maybe instead of blaming it on long work hours or the city you live in is just the WORST for dating., you simply just say, “It just hasn’t happened yet.”  That is the truth and so is saying, “Because I am awesome and have yet to meet someone as awesome as I am.” You get my point. We have such a tendency to feel like less of a person when we feel as if we fall short of expectations, and that simply should not be the case.

The gaps and “need’ to explain go on and on. Why did you take time off before going to college? Why did you wait 5 years after you got married before you had a baby? Why did you wait 4 years before you had your second baby? Why did you wait so long to get married?

The reality is people feel compelled to explain themselves or their situation because of the fear of being judged. And another reality is that, we all want to know “why” because we actually do want to judge, bad or good. We want to know WHY because we are trying to assess if there is something shady that we must uncover. Did you not work for a year because you nobody wanted to hire you? Have you not dated in a while because you are bat shit crazy?  Did you not go to the happy hour because you are trying to make some kind of statement?  My point is it all feels very cynical. We make judgments and assumptions based on very little information.

And the ironic thing is, often when we have these gaps or chose to go against the grain, contrary to popular belief, we come back from them as better humans. We often learn so much about ourselves and about others that we never would  have gained had we stayed on a straight path. We gain knowledge and insight, even if the gap or break we took was due to something tragic or sad, we come back stronger and better. I encourage people to stop viewing gaps as something damaging. Start looking at them with respect and admiration.  Start appreciating what they can do for a person, for a soul. There is something to be said for life experience when we deviate from the expected.

 

Through the Eyes of a Judge: 6 Tips and Tricks for Making Your Next CrossFit Competition Gratifying

 

I had a blast this weekend judging at the BattleGround CrossFit competition in San Pedro (despite the dreadful farmer’s tan I am now sporting).  As a judge (and even a spectator), I got to see the good, the bad and the ugly. I witnessed inspiring moments as well as cringe worthy ones. For those who have competed before or intend to compete for the first time, I want to share them with you. (As a side note, competing is something all of you should consider at some point for the sheer experience of it.  It is like nothing else you will do). When you do compete, I want you to have the best experience doing it. It is not always about winning and for most of you, it is going to be about getting out of your comfort zone to really shock and amaze yourselves.

  1. Have a game plan. This seems obvious, yet not everyone goes into a competition prepared. For most competitions, the movements and workouts are announced before the big day. Prior to the competition, ideally you have time to do a test run or at a minimum, practice the movements. Have a plan for how you want to execute. You may consider planning how you want to break up reps or which movements you want to move faster through to compensate for another movement that you anticipate being harder to push through. For teams you want to know who is doing what to make it as flawless as possible. Athletes tend to feel more prepared and confident going in when they know what their part is.

    I had the honor of judging one of the RX teams as well as a few scaled teams, one in particular which is most memorable.  I was equally impressed by both despite that the RX  team had competed before while the scaled team was competing for the first time.  Both teams stayed in step with their mates, and nobody dominated or took over. They went in assured (even considering they were nervous!) and walked away feeling triumphant. It was beautiful to see.

    On the contrary, I judged a team who was well, to put it bluntly, a hot mess. They had no game plan and their communication was atrocious. They barely knew what the workout was (which is also indicative of a lack of preparation or simply not listening to the organizers go over in detail the workouts prior to the first heat). I have yet to see a team ever (in my times judging as well as competing) where “winging it” worked out well. Granted, competitions are whatever you make of it and for some, they may not care how they get it done as long as they do get it done. I would say though you will enjoy competing more if you feel prepared and have a plan.

 

  1. Communicate with your teammates! I cannot stress this point enough. Of all the teams I judged, the ones that inspired me the most were the ones who communicated well with each other. They had a plan going in and performed like a true team. They knew who was doing what and they did not stumble. They also encouraged each other before and during. They were respectful towards each other and communicated calmly. It really made a difference in how they executed. It also built team camaraderie because they could trust one another.

    Something else that you may not consider until game day is that competitions are quite noisy with music, spectators, announcers, etc. When verbal communication is not an option, you will need to rely on body signals or head nods to communicate to your team. Equally important though is that you need to establish in advance what physical cues to look for. The Hot Mess Team, for example, had none of that. They barely looked at each other which made their transitions sloppy. They lost a bit of time and got many no reps.  They also got to the end of the workout where it was a team relay of a 200 meter run followed by 5 burpees (each person had to do this before the next went). When it came time to do this, they all were standing around not knowing what to do or who was going.  I had to shout, “GO!” before someone finally made a move.

    Lack of communication leads to a higher level of stress and poor output, which is the opposite of what you want when competing. Pay attention to your teammates both verbally and visually. Know when someone needs help or when someone needs a word of encouragement to keep going. Know when to go.

 

  1. Communicate with your judge! Before each heat, I prefer having a moment to talk with the athletes. I like to tell them my counting scheme. For example, trying to count someone else’s double- unders is one of the hardest things to do when judging. There is also no way to count each one out loud and keep up with what rep they are on. I would count out loud by10’s. I would tell the athletes this before they started so that they did not lose focus or worry that I was daydreaming and not counting.  They appreciated this and thanked me for it.

    Some of the teams and individual competitors even told me ahead what their game plan was which makes it easier to judge. For example, the RX team told me that the male was doing all the bar muscle ups and then the female would start on the snatches. This made it more efficient for them (and me) as I knew who to look at for reps (and it did not cost them time waiting on me).

    On the contrary, the Hot Mess Team, as they showed up at the last minute before starting the workout, missed the opportunity to know my game plan in terms of counting. This lead to them asking me a million questions as I was judging which as a judge is absolutely annoying and distracting.  I am pretty sure this cost them extra reps because it took my attention away from counting. Had they communicated with me ahead of time, we also would have been more in sync and they would have a more fluid time competing. (This team was my least favorite to judge… can you tell?)

    Bottom line on this point, just like you should communicate with your teammates, you will want to communicate with your judges.

 judge.jpg

  1. ALWAYS set properly before executing. In competitions, nerves (and often inexperience) results in athletes going for a movement, particularly barbell lifts, before even setting properly. And quite often, that leads to failed movements (aka the dreaded NO REP!). If they do manage to hit it, it’s ugggggggly (and cringe worthy as that is typically when injuries happen). One of the workouts in the BattleGrounds was a clean ladder where the teams had 4 minutes to get as many lifts as possible, with each athlete being able to attempt 2 before tagging in the next athlete. I saw athletes running from platform to platform going right into lifts and those were the ones that often failed. Setting up is so key! When I watched the more seasoned athletes, they all took those few extra seconds to set up and they executed beautifully. (Haste makes waste guys!) And I get it, everyone feels the pressure of the clock and every second matters. It is better though to take that extra 3 seconds to set and get that rep than not and fail (which means less points).

 

  1. Stay calm and composed. Similar to setting properly, it is so important to not let your nerves take over. Quite a few of the no reps I had to make were because athletes lost focus, like on double -unders. Those are just a tricky movement to begin with and they are one of the easiest to flub on. One you get out of rhythm it causes frustration (and continual fails). Athletes got in their own heads and instead of taking that extra second to regain composure (much like setting properly on barbell lifts), they would trip themselves up.

    Losing composure also happened when athletes were so determined to go fast, they ended up inadvertently cheating movements (and getting no reps). I even saw athletes start scanning their neighboring competitors to see how far ahead or far behind they are.  This resulted in them losing focus and slowing down.

    It is so important to stay composed and stay focused on what YOU are doing.

 

  1. Give yourselves time to prepare. When the announcer says “athletes in Heat 4, please go to the field”, GO! As awesome and tirelessly as the volunteers work to get everything set up, there will always be unexpected snafus. Sometimes the bars may not have the right weight on them (as sometimes people’s lanes get reassigned at the last minute). There was a team (ok fine, it was the Hot Mess Team) who showed up late and almost did not have the chance to get the right weight for the women’s bar. They were close to having to contemplate snatching 95 pounds instead of 75. Showing up promptly gives athletes a chance to check their equipment, do a few warm ups even, and get themselves situated on the right bar on the rig. For us shorter athletes, we want to ensure we can reach the bar to do pull-ups. Similarly, for the taller athletes, there were cases where they were assigned to a lower bar and had the chance to move to a higher bar for muscle-ups.

    We all are used to working out at our respective boxes which means we are familiar with the equipment and set ups. At competitions, even though you are doing the same movements you have done before, there will be an element of unfamiliarity and discomfort initially. Give yourself time to get to comfortable before you hear that buzzer to start.

 

These are all really easy and practical guidelines to follow when competing. Follow them and you will have a much better experience competing. So go get after it (and let me know how it goes!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For Fiction ‘Big Little Lies’ Holds Powerful Truths

 

If you have not watched Big Little Lies, stop right here. It is simply not to be missed (and this post will have spoiler alerts).

Big Little Lies is so cleverly told; it vacillates between what is real and what is perceived. It shows the characters in positive light as well as negative. It leaves you changing your opinion of them more times than can be counted. It gets into a lot of really serious, heavy topics that keeps you transfixed, hypnotized, stunned and reflecting for days and weeks to come. There are a few prevalent themes that I fervently and impatiently want to dive right into.

 

Judgment

I believe the writers want us, its captivated audience, to pass judgment regularly and shamelessly only to be essentially corrected to the point that we feel a tad bit guilty. It starts within minutes of the first episode. We are (briefly) led to believe that these first graders’ mothers are catty, rich women with nothing better to do than gossip and start drama. Ok, so sure, this is true to a degree, but the main characters (Celeste, Madeline, Jane, Bonnie and Renata,) are so much more than that. Sure, they live in an affluent town where almost everyone lives in houses with views that we could only dream about. It also does not help the façade given that the entire cast looks like they are out of a J. Crew catalog. Yet, they show us time and time again they have real problems: domestic abuse, ex-husbands and unresolved issues, infidelity, rape, struggling to balance work and parenthood, to name a few. It is a blatant reminder of how much judgment we often pass when firstly, it’s quite frankly none of our business and secondly, we do so without even knowing the full or real story. Not all things are as they seem.

 

Judgment and Abuse

It is deliberate that the show takes place in Monterey. It is not set there simply because of the views, the money or how much it is thriving. It is to demonstrate that abuse can happen anywhere.  It does not discriminate financially or demographically. Big Little Lies proves that women who stay in abusive relationships do so not just because they do not have the money to leave. Women (and men) stay out of some sort of fear and/or manipulation. It might be fear of not being financially supported. It may be the fear of being found and harmed.  It may be the fear of taking children away from their fathers (albeit even though they are abusers) and how damaging that can be to the children. It may be fear of public shame. Whatever it is, their reasons are valid. And from the outside it is easy for any of us to say “but just leave!” and question how they could stay, how could they leave their families in danger, how can they leave the general public in danger because they are “letting” these abusive monsters, these loose cannons out in the world?

 

That is what this show wants us to do: to question, to judge. They want us to look at Celeste and find ourselves bewildered that a woman of her stature, of her beauty, of her intelligence could be in such an insanely unhealthy marriage. The writers and producers want us to judge Jane and wonder, how could she never have reported her assaulter?  How could she not prevent him from assaulting other women? Would she really find him after all those years in San Luis Obispo, and would she seek revenge? Would we blame her if she did? If she is so haunted by him (she sleeps with a gun under her pillow), how come she never sought therapy?

 

Judgment and Bullying

It was so heartbreaking to see sweet little Amabella time and time again sad, bruised and isolated. What a horrible thing for anyone to go through, let alone an innocent 6 year old. Imagine being parents, fully aware their child is being bullied and feeling totally helpless. (Although, it can be argued that her parents could have pulled her out of school to stop her from being bullied. It can be argued that in doing so, it may solve their problem, but it is likely the bully will just find a different innocent victim).  I know I had moments of being appalled at how malicious Renata and her husband acted, how inappropriate Gordon was to Jane in threatening her with a restraining order. It is easy for any of us to feel disgusted by how this harrowing abuse brought out the worst in people, but it is not our place really to judge how Amabella’s parents  or Jane acted.  Regardless if you agree with what they did or what they said, you cannot deny they were doing what they thought best to protect their child.  And it is easy for anyone who is not in that situation to feel they know how best to handle it.

 

Forgiveness and Uniting

The power of forgiveness is something we often lose sight of. Often we are too stubborn to grant it. But my god, being angry will suck the energy right out of us. It brings the worst out in us, and it blinds us to doing really what is right.

 

Renata and Jane, even after trading nasty insults and almost having an eye poked out, they even managed to put their differences aside. They came together because their love for their children was the most important thing in the world.

 

So many of us hold grudges, some more extreme than others.  Some grudges are petty and some are founded. It is like once that grudge has been formed, all reality becomes distorted. There is no coming back from it. That is, until something tragic happens. In those harrowing, sobering moments of reality, it is like we forget why we were so angry or why we hated someone so much. It is like all traces of why we held onto so much hatred and anger just vanishes because there is something so much more important at stake.

 

In the story of Big Little Lies, it sadly took someone’s death to unite five women (and their men who supported them).  In just a few short moments, there was a sudden undeniable realization by Jane that Perry was the one who had assaulted her more than 6 years ago. Her reaction, the change in her supporting grip on Madeline became so jarring that both Madeline and Celeste (and I would say Perry) all knew it to be true. As Perry lunged for Celeste, all the women around her, including Renata, instinctively knew they had to protect her. They sensed danger and without any hesitation, they all fought for Celeste. Bonnie, who saw Celeste struggling to get away from Perry earlier, also without a doubt knew something was strikingly amiss.

 

All their drama, all their differences were gone. The scene of Perry’s murder, seeing Bonnie come running desperately to stop him, instantly bound all of those women and their families together.  In one short moment, it erased their history and showed just how powerful and magnificent people can be. I watched that scene probably a dozen times because I was truly struck by how amazing people can be and that feeling of renewed faith in humanity overcame how disgusted I was by how evil the world can also be (as seen in Perry).

To me, the best example that so beautifully ties all these themes together was in the scene of Celeste confronting her son, Max, about bullying Amabella.  There are people in the world who may never change, they may always be dark and troubled (I have met one or two in my life).  But we want to have faith and hope that people as whole, especially children, can be rehabilitated. I do not believe Max bullied Amabella because he is an evil troubled soul. He was a highly misguided child who grew up in a home where he heard, if not saw, his father beat up his mother, slamming her against walls, kicking her and throwing things at her. He then saw his father shower his mother with affection, and he saw his mother accept that affection with seemingly sincerity. He was learning that to show love to a woman (or to a girl) is to be mean, to belittle her, to bully her. To threaten her. And she will still love you. Because that’s what adults do.

 

Celeste freed Max of this as did all of the other women and their children. They showed love and forgiveness and it overcame any judgment. For as tragic and serious as many of the storylines are, I still walked away from this show feeling hopeful and renewed. Watching all the women and children on the beach, while I am not oblivious to their struggles or pain, felt ironically uplifting. I want to believe that for as fundamentally messed up that this world is, that there are good people in it. That there are people who struggle but can come together. I want to believe that when we encounter unprecedented situations, we will do the right thing.

 

 

 

 

 

As Much as I Love Being Injected With Cat Dander, Time to Battle Allergies Differently

Allergies will get me every time. I fight them every day (with nasal spray, an inhaler and prescription drugs. I am like a superhero, Allergy Girl!). I fight them every month with good old allergy shots (I have lost count of how many times I have had a tube of cat dander injected into my arm). While this may sound like complaints, I recognize that I am fortunate that allergies are my biggest chronic health issue (knock on wood). Having said that, you should know I am allergic to virtually all environmental things plus household things like mold and dust mites as well as a few foods. I sniffle so much that I don’t even notice that I do it anymore. So it is not surprising that if I could, I would prefer banishing allergy fighting from my every day super hero battles.

When a friend recommended I call a Natural Allergy Healer, I did so with few questions asked. I looked up the site and saw some verbiage about Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination (BIE). I also read reviews of people who had been treated by her and were raving about how she was able to cure allergies that modern medicine could not.  While part of me is skeptical of something that is based on Eastern knowledge and non- traditional medicine, I figured I have nothing to lose (and a whole lot to gain).

I am two sessions into BIE and while I still have a few more to go, I am fascinated by it and feeling optimistic.  I have been wanting to rave about what BIE is but have been unable to do it any justice in my explanation. So I turned to my bestie, google, and am excited to be able to share with you what I am learning.

Before even starting the BIE treatment (definition on BIE coming later), my healer  first had to establish what I am allergic to and then decide which ones of those she could focus on first. To do this, she performed muscle testing. You are wondering, “What is muscle testing?” Amy B. Scher, Author and Energy Healer, explains it well on her blog .

Muscle Testing: Getting Answers From the Subconscious Mind

Much research has revealed the power of our subconscious minds. The                   subconscious mind is like a human computer, recording everything that has happened in our lives. Through my studies, I have come to believe the subconscious mind knows exactly what is going on with us, and how we can heal from it.

What is Muscle Testing (aka applied kinesiology)?

The body has within it and surrounding it an electrical network or grid, which is pure energy. Because energy runs through the muscles in your body, if anything impacts your electrical system that does not maintain or enhance your body’s balance, your muscles will virtually “short circuit” or weaken (don’t worry, only temporarily). Things that might have an impact on your electrical system are thoughts and emotions, foods, and other substances.

Using your muscles, we can find what events or emotions “weaken” or “strengthen” your body. This process is called applied kinesiology, but often referred to as “muscle testing.” It’s simply a really cool way we can ask your body questions and get clear answers – like a telephone to the subconscious mind.

My healer used a muscle testing method where I would sit on a chair, with my legs uncrossed. She would have me touch my thumb to my pinky on my right hand. Then, she would hand me a vile with an allergen in it which, with my left hand, I would hold against my right forearm. She would say something to the effect of “strong, stay closed, weak open”.  Essentially, if she could detach my fingers (this being “weak”), then it would indicate an allergy. If my fingers stayed closed, that’s the “strong”, indicated not allergic.  Ok, I fully realize this sounds a bit fictious or that perhaps someone could easily control themselves whether their fingers stayed open or closed, but trust me, I fully believe muscle testing is the real deal. I would tell myself desperately DO NOT let her open your fingers, but it would fail vile after vile. For the record, I tested allergic to the same things that my traditional allergy doctor verified (and then some) through skin testing. She identified a multitude of allergens like trees, grass, flowers, weather smog, mold, and the list goes on and on.

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My healer had to then figure out from all those allergens, which she should treat me for first. It would be too much on my body to do them all in one go. If you can allow yourself to accept the theory of kinesiology, it really is not so crazy. Substitute in the definition  cited earlier  “allergens” for “events or emotions”, and that’s what she did. Doing the same muscle testing, she would have me hold viles of what I tested positive on to my arm, and she would ask my body (yes you read that right, she asked my body), “Is it for Missy’s higher good if I treat her for <insert allergen>? Weak for yes, strong for no.”  She went through different combinations and in my first session, she whittled it down to treating me for grasses (about 40 different varieties).

After she figured out what to treat, she started the BIE itself.

(Taken from Back to Wellness):

What is BIE?

Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination is a simple, natural new approach that enables one’s body to recognize sensitivities or intolerances, assisting in recovery from associated allergy-like symptoms, without the use of needles or drugs.

How does BIE work?

A lightweight state-of-the-art device is used to transmit a low electronic frequency directly onto various acupuncture points (without the use of needles) on the body to stimulate and clear any blockages in energy known as stressors. During this procedure the client is exposed to the frequencies of the substances they are intolerant or sensitive to (not the actual substances themselves). While the blockages are clearing, the body’s cells can adapt to recognize the stressing frequency. When this non-invasive and painless procedure is complete, the body will hopefully no longer see the sensitivity or intolerance as a threat when exposed to it, therefore no longer producing any adverse reactions.

BIE is completely pain free and non-invasive, and it is super quick might I add (a few minutes tops).  The only thing I had to following the session was to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.

Truth be told, I was not totally convinced after my first session that BIE had worked. The first few days after, LA had horrendous winds which always aggravate my allergies. I was congested, had a headache and constantly carrying a tissue. By the end of the second week, I was noticing a slight decrease in symptoms. I also conducted my very official verification of how bad allergies are by texting a few of my friends who usually suffer allergies the same times I do.  One had responded that hers had been horrible, and I was pleasantly surprised that I would not describe mine as such. Maybe there is something to be said for BIE…

Two weeks after my first session, I went back for my second BIE treatment. She went through the same muscle testing and guess what! When she retested me for grasses (which is what she treated me for in my first session), my fingers amazingly did not open.  She went through the same exercise of determining what to treat me for and my body decided on weeds, a few household allergens, histamine, smog, and wind and barometric pressure. (Yes even weather can be allergens!) While I was there, I asked if she could test me to see if I am allergic to lip gloss. The few times I wear it, I end up with the most dried out, blotchy looking lips ever. They are painful and ugly so I generally go all natural. I was astounded that she was able to test me with the tube of lip gloss itself and yes, she confirmed I am allergic. While I am prioritizing it low, I am adding it to my list of allergens I want to banish.

I completely buy into what all the cited references say about BIE and muscle testing. I personally believe in BIE  because I believe in energy. Energy in the world, energy in others and energy in ourselves.  One of my life guiding principles is making decisions based on energy. I pick up on the energy of other people and I pick up on the energy of the universe which often tells me what I should or should not do when faced with a tough decision. So to me, it is not that farfetched to believe that we have energy within our bodies that can easily be off-balance (and can just as easily be restored).

I also have gone the traditional Western route for treating allergies for years and years. I am by no means saying that medication and shots do not work. Plenty of people reap full benefit of those treatments and can ultimately be allergy free (and treatment free). I simply am not one of those people. When you get allergy shots (which is your own customized concoction that your doctor puts together based on what you are allergic to), your doctor slowly and gradually increases the dosage of allergens in each injection. The idea is you slowly build a tolerance to them which makes you progressively less sensitive to them. Everyone who gets shots responds differently. The duration of the “build- up” period can vary in the dosage and frequency. Following the build- up period starts the “maintenance” period, where ideally has an end date, and patients no longer need treatment.

To put this in perspective, I had to reach twice the average dosage in the build- up period to even start maintenance. I have had consultations with my doctor and he has said I will most likely never be free of allergy shots. I have been on maintenance about 3 years, which for me means that I am going for two shots every 3-4 weeks. (I do not want to say the shots are horrible but they are by no means pain free. So like I said earlier, after countless shots, I would not mind never having them again).

Even with shots, I am still sensitive to allergies. If it rains or the wind blows, I am sneezing up a storm. My bathroom looks like a pharmacy. I have to puff on my inhaler prior to exercise. And even while my health insurance covers most of the cost of shots and my allergy treatments,  I have still contributed my fair share to their expenses.

Given all those reasons, I have no strong argument to NOT try BIE. Even the cost of BIE is minimal considering if it alleviates allergies, then it alleviates the ongoing cost I am paying to live semi harmoniously with all my pesky allergens. I also simply relish the idea of being able to be outside in nature, WHICH I LOVE, whenever I want.

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I have another session scheduled in two weeks and I will report back! If you are intrigued and live in LA specifically, I highly recommend the healer I have been going to in Studio City. You can find her info here.