All tagged strengths perspective

Is Your Workout, "Working?"

Is your workout "working?"

A client came to me once saying that her workout didn't "work." She twisted her hair around her fingers, obviously nervous to say so.

"I love the feeling I'm getting during our sessions & in my own gym time," she said. "I feel stronger. I push myself harder, and I love feeling accomplished. I can lift more weight. I'm having fun. But it's just not...working."

Of course, because I am a fan of questions more than most other things, I asked what she meant.

(I'm sure you can guess the answer. I like to hear people share their thoughts out loud.)

We put so much pressure on fitness programs to end in fat loss, but is that the only answer? Does a lack of dramatic fat loss REALLY mean your program isn't working?

How to Know You're Making Progress (A Letter From (and to) My 16-Year-Old Self)

This is a note from my journal one week into my senior year of high school.

This is one of the times that journaling really tugs at your heartstrings. If you don’t have a regular journaling practice, I’d encourage you to start, even if it’s just one line in your planner or on your phone about how you felt that day, and this is why: you gift yourself the opportunity to witness your growth in real time.

Grit: A Reward You May Not Have Considered

Honing our crafts takes reps under the bar, after all. To learn where we thrive under the pressure and where we cower in fear, we need to set out on the path.

When looking into some research on perseverence and change, I found that the highest performers work on their weaknesses the most. Seems obvious, no?

But it's the last thing most of us want to do.

We want to avoid them, find ways around them, out-muscle our weaknesses with our strengths.

Embrace the suck (you've heard it before, and I'm here to tell you again) (+ a workout!)

The bench press has taught me what God has been showing me basically my entire life: the dreamers, the doers, the problem solvers, the hippies – we aren’t meant for a life of mundane. We aren’t meant to uphold the status quo, to go with the flow, or do what someone tells us to do just for the sake of doing it. We’re meant to change the world, one step at a time, and to do that, we’ve gotta get in the mud and find out where the pain is and why it hurts. Embracing the suck means more than just acknowledging that it’s shitty; it’s loving every second of it, knowing that it’s useful.

Ultimately, our lives are up to us. We get to choose to be glad for even the things we hate, and we get to choose to make them better, if that’s how we’re so called. The iron can teach us that, and, if we look, so will the rest of life.

Transferable life skills: 4 steps to setting up for the barbell back squat (step 0: ignore the people throwing chalk in the gym like Lebron James).

Ah, the squat.

It’s humbled everyone out there, in one way or another.

We’ve all seen videos of huge dudes with 58 plates loaded on a bent bar amping themselves up, Lebron-ing some chalk around, and looking like their heads are gonna explode somehow go down and come back up with those hundreds of pounds.

An impressive feat, to be sure, but also unlikely to be any of our goals here in real life (cool party trick, though); it’s far more likely to cause a bunch of anxiety surrounding what is, at the bottom of everything, a fundamental movement pattern for life.

We look at the bar, we remember the intimidating videos, we remember that we’re new – that we’re in the conscious incompetence or conscious competence stage of learning – and instantly feel that, because we aren’t yet masters, we’re unworthy. We talk ourselves out of great things every day, team, because of this feeling, and, a lot of times, overcoming this in bigger, more impactful areas of life starts with giving ourselves a smaller victory to build momentum: overcoming this in the gym (or on the yoga mat, or deep in meditation, or if we somehow find ourselves on a treadmill, fill in the blank.).

We’ve cultivated awareness, we’ve gotten our breath under us, we’ve accepted our situation, and here, in the barbell squat, we have our first challenge.

So! I’m gonna walk you through it, from a form perspective, step by step. Because if some meathead dude can do it, so can you (also, hello to any meathead dudes that may be reading this, and sorry you’re on the back burner rn.).

#WonderWomanLoading

I say, “I lift heavy shit” all the time, and it’s true. But I don’t just mean a physical external load. We’ve all overcome quite a few things to get to where we are, and it’s all heavy. Having the mentality that we aren’t teeny tiny mice who are here by chance, but as a consequence of our strength, changes everything. We get to choose to take up the space we’re allotted and then create more. In the gym, in our relationships, in life. #WonderWomanLoading is the motto ‘round these parts.

One of my favorite Richard Branson quotes is, “if an opportunity knocks, and you don’t know the answer, take it and figure it out.” Coming from a person who went from big box gym environment to corporate wellness environment to now working for herself, all with very little clue to what she was doing at the beginning of each endeavor (and zero formal preparation for one of those transitions), I can assure you, you got this. It may be uncomfortable, and it may get weird, but it will all work for your good. There are very few things in life that are un-figure-out-able.

We get to create our lives through our choices, and we are more powerful than we realize.

I’d love to share with you an exercise I do at the beginning of every year. Writing these things down and remembering that any change starts from a place of love, inspiration, and excitement (rather than hate, blame, and dread of “having” to change this thing we hate…hey man, we’ve all been there and seen how well *that* worked, ::coughcough:: not at all) helps us remember why we got started in the first place. Even though we’re 10 days in, if you haven’t done so already, sit down, write these questions on a piece of paper, set a timer for 15m, and free write/type your answers to find your magic:

1.       What do I do well? What, in particular, went well in [2016]?

2.       Where do I have room for improvement? What do I want more of in my life (feelings or things)?

3.       Why are these improvements important to me? What will I feel or do better by accomplishing this? How will it affect my daily life and routine?

4.       What has been standing in my way of getting this done before now? Why is now different?

5.       What am I willing to give up to achieve this goal? What am I unwilling to sacrifice?

6.       How can I capitalize on my strengths (#1) to achieve the [peace/magic/stability/joy…answer from #3] and make 2017 the year of actual, sustainable change?

Struggles + Strengths are Two Sides of the Same Coin.

Examining our struggles in light of our talents, dreams, values, hopes, and capacities forces us to consider our positive qualities and where overcoming the struggle is possible. We aren’t dismissing the struggle, but reminding ourselves who’s boss (spoiler: it’s you.).

Remember a couple weeks ago when we examined our core values? If growth and courage are two of them (I find they are, most of the time…and they certainly are in fitness and nutrition goals- that’s sort of the point once we get beyond vanity, isn’t it? ;) ), it’s important to cultivate this culture of learning – trying, failing, examining what worked and what didn’t, rework the plan, and coming back stronger. If failure isn’t an option, neither is growth.