Read this over and over and over again

Please read this over and over and over again. This great article was originally posted on October 28 by Dr. John Rusin.  The full article link is below.

THE DANGERS OF TODAY’S FEMALE FITNESS INDUSTRY

No, the fitness industry isn’t perfect. But there are some downright shameful and disgraceful aspects of fitness based marketing that needs to be brought to the forefront. Nothing may be more dangerous than the popularization of female fitness based marketing that largely preys on the insecurities and the mis-information this population has been getting force fed in the main stream media for close to a decade.

It’s one thing to be ignorant to scientific facts of exercise and training, but it’s an entirely different story when false and societally detrimental ideas are starting to overtake the sound principles that should be guiding our industry. Here’s how we stop the BS in the female fitness industry and create a foundation for women, young to old, when aspiring to achieve health and wellness from coach Meghan Callaway.


HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW…

1. The new age of self-proclaimed female fitness experts lack overall credibility, yet continue to spew out misleading, insulting, and often dangerous information to the masses, most of which is geared towards taking advantage of misinformed women.

2. Lets quit treating female clients like delicate little flowers that are only capable of executing sets of 100 with pink dumbbells as toning resistance. This notion is incredibly insulting. Women are strong and have unlimited physical potential that deserves to be tapped into. Toning is for printers, not strength training.

3. Don’t be ignorant to the use of photoshop and professional full body makeup art. The idea of comparing yourself on an even playing field to a Women’s Health cover is dangerous. There are truly no natural images of females out there anymore. So take this for what it is, a false marketing ploy at best.

4. Food and exercise are meant to be enjoyed. Focusing on food and cardio as a form of punishment can create a slippery slope of health sociology.  If your diet or training program isn’t sustainable for the long run, then your priorities need to be reevaluated.  Less treadmill death marches and more social and emotional engagement.

5. Being viewed as a popular and successful female athlete has become largely dependent on how well females do at selling themselves as sex symbols.  With less correlation to on-field performance, and more towards half naked Instagram shots, our future population of female athletes are being negatively influenced at younger and younger ages.

I encourage you to read the full article HERE

Read and repeat – take it in. – TRUE Strength

Advertisements

H.A.L.T.

SSA_HaltIt happened again…

Mid, very strenuous workout I had to shake off the tears.

It was a mix of thinking of my mom and a mix of the message the workout instructor was screaming at us.  Let me explain… she was screaming over the pounding music in a spin class – encouraging us to push harder, let go and even “get pissed” at times. Her music sound track was planned out to give us a killer workout AND a message.  She weaved her message into our class which boiled down to letting go of regrets, sadness, and self doubt and negative talk. It does us no good she kept saying.

As she encouraged us to let go of baggage I felt my legs peddling faster, my mind focusing and letting go of the constant dialog… the constant “to-do” list, constant disorded battles, the constant second guessing.  Just as I felt my legs flying I also felt the tears welling.  I was thinking of my mom, I was feeling the release of the disorder’s control (even though temporarily), I just felt a release.

Shaking off the tears I focused, pedaled faster.  I realized some of excessive exercise is simply me running away from feeling.  Even though I was pedaling faster, I was focused on feeling the emotions and release… not just running away.

As she encouraged us to leave the baggage behind and to treat ourselves with kindness and care she said… never be too H.A.L.T. 

Never be too:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

She said… a little H.A.L.T. is good… keeps your fire burning – but if you’re too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired you can’t function to the best of your ability and you can’t be the person you’ve been destined to be.  For me – if I’m too H.A.L.T. I can’t be the wife, mother, professional, woman, role model or citizen I need … I strive to be.

This can be a very literal thing… don’t let yourself function in a constant state of hunger, don’t hold on to anger, don’t let yourself wallow in loneliness, and don’t try to get through barely rested.  In the abstract… have a hunger for life – don’t starve yourself from adventure and life; anger can keep you motivated but too much can crush you; you don’t need someone necessarily next to you every minute to not be lonely – instead find comfort and camaraderie in yourself and with others who lift you up; and if you’re tired of what you’re doing… change it!

As I type this I know I am often functioning too H.A.L.T. but I can change and I can continue to dedicate myself to getting healthier.

Join me – TRUE Strength 

Practicing non-violence against yourself

Yesterday I took my first real yoga class.  I’ve done a class here or there in the past but never with the intention of really trying yoga.  It was more because the instructor was a friend and it sounded nice to do for a class.

I’ve been searching for something… something different… something maybe kinder on my body…. something.

I’ve also been talking a lot with my counselor that I’m seeing that I’m healthier and stronger but I don’t feel comfortable feeling so thick.  **NOW remember – this is a disordered perception but the question came out… well maybe it’s time to change something.

Ever heard this?  “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Well… yes – time for a change.  

I’ve been doing CrossFit for over six years now.  As my story on TRUE Strength has shared – I’ve been a competitive athlete and no just focus on having fun and working hard. I don’t think I have a desire to stop CrossFitting but I do have a desire to challenge myself in different ways and try new things.

This was a hot power yoga.  I enjoyed the sweat and the challenge of a brand new routine, method and flow.  I was physically challenged and mentally challenged. I am not very good at quieting my mind but can see how in yoga it’s not just an aspect of the practice but is a principle of the practice. The importance of feeling the breath and whatever is released within when you do the moves is a challenge.  As I’ve shared, a large part of my disorder is an ability to NOT feel and block out feelings, needs, or desires.  Yoga may just help open that guarded door.

I enjoyed that I wasn’t competing with anyone else… which was surprising because I like the competition side of CrossFit.

But above all of this, the thing that stuck with me was a comment the instructor made.

She said…

“Yoga is about the practice of non-violence against yourself.”  

WOW.  

What is my disorder if not violence against myself? 

The instructor encouraged us to try different poses and binds but said… if it doesn’t feel right … don’t do it. “In yoga… pain NO gain.”  Coming from a workout like CrossFit where you train yourself to not feel pain and to just push through this was so refreshing AND uncomfortable!

At the end of class I’m learning that it is typical to have several minutes just being still on the floor.  Someone more experienced in yoga could tell you the name for what we did but I can tell you that afterwards I found it almost sad that it took someone else telling me and leaving me with no other option than to lay down and be still to actually do this.  It wasn’t like I could get up and fold laundry… I had to just BE.  My body felt heavy with satisfaction and almost as if I blended with the floor.

As I lay there all of a sudden my eyes welled up and I cried.  I was thinking of my mom.  Thinking about how she wasn’t very kind to herself until much later in life. She always ran herself ragged, she did everything for everyone else… and herself was left folding laundry.

Let’s all try to practice non-violence against ourselves.  No matter our struggles or if we are battling a disorder or not… non-violence… be kind to ourselves. 

TRUE Strength

the STRENGTH in “but…”

Say what you mean and mean what you say… 

The past couple of days have been jammed packed with work, family and personal life events keeping me away from writing and with all of these crazy busy days I was overwhelmed with the question of what to write about today… BUT I must share the STRENGTH in the word… “BUT…”

Such a little word… with so much power… three little letters… BIG responses 

How many times have you heard someone say… or said yourself… “I don’t mean to sound mean, but…” followed by something sounding very mean indeed??

I hear this all the time…

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but…”

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but…”

“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

And I literally JUST heard a woman say over the phone… “I don’t want to alarm you, but… grandpa is having chest pains.”

WOW… As soon as I heard the first part of the sentence I WAS ALARMED… and I don’t even know this woman!

The word “but” is extremely common throughout our day to day interactions… it carries a lot of weight and can be used as a protective language device to say something you know will hurt someone or may be inappropriate while asking for forgiveness as you say it.  A free pass in a way… BUT…

But – it’s not!  Perhaps I’m just extra sensitive and pay more attention than I should.  However (hehehe… I wanted to type “but”) as a result of being hyper-sensitive to this word I also try to observe others when they hear (or say) the word.  There is a very slight change in their demeanor and body language, slight, but enough to see it when watching for a reaction.  Depending on what “but…” is preceded by I’ve witnessed people put up defensive walls, shut down, loose interest, get angry, become alarmed, or completely tune out.  I feel the person speaking looses creditably when they rely on “but…” as a crutch or as a way of saying a something difficult in a back-handed way.

As soon as someone has this gut reaction they will go into: flight, fight, or shut down mode and the conversation has lost all potential.  You may have had great words to say, great thoughts, ideas, suggestions… the person you’re talking to will have the “but” on their mind which will place barriers and walls up all over.  I’ve found this to be true in both professional and personal life.

I challenge you to check yourself and think about if you have a “but” habit!  

Of course there are times and places when the word “but” is absolutely appropriate.  I did a little research on grammatical use of the word “but” which is called a “conjunction”.

A little Grammar 101:

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are made up of two or more simple sentences combined using a conjunction such as and,or or but. They are made up of more than one independent clause joined together with a co-ordinating conjunction.

For example:

“The sun was setting in the west and the moon was just rising.”

Each clause can stand alone as a sentence.

For example:

“The sun was setting in the west. The moon was just rising.”

Every clause is like a sentence with a subject and a verb. A coordinating conjunction goes in the middle of the sentence, it is the word that joins the two clauses together, the most common are (and, or, but)

For example:

  • I walked to the shops, but my husband drove.
  • I might watch the film, or I might visit my friends.
  • My friend enjoyed the film, but she didn’t like the actor
Read more about conjunctions and compound sentences HERE

the STRENGTH in real talks

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

We’ve all had these conversations…

“Hi!”

“Hi, great to see you!”

“Yea, you too… what have you been up to?”

“Oh, you know, just keeping busy.  You?”

“Same, really busy, but that’s a good thing.”

“Great seeing you!”

“You too, we should get together sometime.”

“Yea, for sure! Have a great day.”

I certainly find value and reason for the less than deep conversations.  I’d rather someone chit chat than stand silent and awkward and I truly feel the art of conversation is a difficult task to master.  I envy those who posses the skill of gab, I can chat someone up, but it doesn’t mean I’m always completely comfortable or excited to have small talk.  This ability to small talk is vital for networking and what makes one person’s chit chat superior to another’s is the ability to do it with genuine interest (even if that interest isn’t all that deep).  I’m sure we’ve all talked to someone who looks above or beyond you as you talk because they are constantly looking for who else is walking in or who is more important.  This behavior is one of my biggest pet peeves!  Learning this skill is a huge key to developing professionally and personally… but more on that later! 

Over the weekend I was blessed to experience the rare feeling of being surrounded by real conversation… some conversations were filled with words, some laughs, and some silence.  They were real.

I was in the presence of a select few people who, when I am around them, I feel complete and completely comfortable.  Comfortable enough to share any and everything… and comfortable enough to be silent.  I’m still amazed by the three instances I felt this overwhelming sense… with my mom, my husband, and a fairly new friend.

Those of you who know me, know I have an incredible relationship with my mom.  She is my ultimate supporter and I am her biggest fan.  She knows what I’m thinking or feeling without me saying a word.  She’s also the source of almost all my wisdom and is quoted here often!

My husband, has been so patient with me… he has allowed me to open up in my own time and provided the unwavering loyalty, trust and faith in me and our relationship that has provided the TRUE Strength to break down walls and protections.

The third is the muse for this post.  A friend who I’ve only known for about a year is one of those treasured friends who without explanation I feel as if I’ve known her all my life.  Her presence is uplifting and true.  She is kind and gentle and strong all at the same time.  When we talk… I know she hears me and I believe she feels the same when she speaks.

This friend is the kind who, with them, there are no filters, no boundaries – just REAL TALK.  As we were talking… surrounded by about 20 other friends at a loud party, there was no fluff, no need for chit chat.  One question opened the door for real, raw emotions and real talks.  I know neither of us planned on sharing what we did; and I know, I would not change what we shared for the world. I don’t think we all get very many chances to have friendships like these… when you find them… hold on to them and treasure them.  Show that person how much you appreciate and respect them.

A few lessons learned from this interaction:

  • Trust your gut feeling about people… sometimes the feeling is a warning voice – listen! AND sometimes it’s a warm, familiar feeling – listen to that one too and embrace it
  • True friends can fill your evening with conversation and complete silence… both just as rewarding and comfortable
  • Real talks can happen every day… or once every few months… if you’ve connected with someone you don’t need to punch a time clock and log hours of conversation
  • With real talks come real emotions… if you’re like me… that can mean tears… with no warning!  THE TRICK… CLEAR YOUR THROAT!!!  You physically cannot cry when you clear your throat… you’re welcome
The truth is… you don’t have to have an amazing, earth shattering connection with someone to have real talks… give it a try… take your conversations to a real level… perhaps start with yourself.  When was the last time you had an honest conversation internally?  May be some great things underneath the surface that you’re not giving yourself credit for!