Discipline

Resolute

Howdy Partner, A new year is about to happen, and when a year is new everyone feels like they are too.  In celebration of that newness a lot of folks make resolutions.  The top 5 resolutions are: 1) To lose weight, 2) Getting organized, 3) Spend less, save more, 4) Enjoy life to the fullest, and 5) Staying fit and healthy.  (If you want to read 6-10 follow the link at the end of this blog)  My biggest concern is that staying fit and healthy is number 5… though spending more time with family is number 10, which I am sure has to do with the fact that resolutions come a week after Christmas and other winter holidays that push family time as the thing to do.

My second biggest concern is that while 45% of the US population makes New Year's Resolutions only 8% are successful while 24% of peeps who make resolutions never succeed and fail on their resolutions each year.  Then you have age as a factor with younger folks being more successful than older (over 50) folks.  Maybe as we age we have had too many failures around resolutions/goals so it is easier to get discouraged and give up than when we are young and still have a few shreds of hope.  :)  It seems that resolutions aren't really effective when you look at all of these stats.  Is there a point then?  Shall we just stop and let it all go?

Well, not so fast.  Resolution, or goal setting has success.  It is a fact that someone without goals never reaches their goals 100% of the time.  So setting a goal gives you a chance to reach them.  Direction leads you somewhere, at least, and usually leads you in the direction you desire.  So, giving up on goal setting may not be he way to avoid failing, instead changing the goals we set or how we set them could be the answer.

Inspiration is a beautiful thing.  Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something (Webster's Dictionary).  If we feel inspired we are more likely to act.  Your goals need to be inspired and inspirational… and the steps you take to reach them need to be inspired and inspirational as well.  So instead of losing weight this year, what is your inspiration?  Is it to wear certain brands, run a number of miles, do jumping jacks for a number of minutes, get your blood pressure down to a certain number, or feel good?  Maybe your inspiration is something else.  When your goals have meaning, a meaning you have thought out and delineated you may have a better chance of actually sticking to the steps necessary to reach them.  You may also do well to be honest, at least with yourself, about why you really want to reach a certain goal.  Know this:  whatever reason you have for setting a goal is valid.  Period.

When you put your heart into what you want to change, why you want to change it and what you will do to make it so… or rather, when you commit to a goal you no longer view it as something you can get out of.  You are in it.  You are dedicated.  You set up your world so that your goal is priority.  Maybe you have friends that encourage and hold you accountable, maybe you hire someone to help you reach your goals, maybe you stop making excuses.  However it is done, it is doable when you commit to it.

Good luck figuring out the direction you want your life to take in 2013.  It is yours to create, this future you dream of.  It starts with you, your vision, your motivation, your inspiration.

xo

a

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

Success!

Aloha! The rain is coming down on Maui on my last night here.  It is appropriate since I will be heading into the rain of the Pacific North West.  The cruel truth is that rain here is warm and tropical, in Seattle it is cold and brutal.  My trip has been a fantastic journey, travel and food and working out and meeting awesome people.  However, I am very excited to come home.  I miss my bed, my things, a closet, a room without spiders and geckos.  Though the gecko is a spiritual creature according to Hawaiian lore, I am ok with not sharing space as much as I do right now.  Tonight, I picked up the sheets (to check for creatures) then lifted my pillow only to find a baby gecko that wasn't in a very safe place.  I put him outside only to see another baby on the other side of the room.  It is like they are gremlins; multiplying with water after midnight.

I also miss my work.  I was in college when I decided that I wanted to become a rowing coach.  It was my sophomore year and I was participating in National Team Testing.  I was new to sports and barely called myself an athlete, but I was good and I knew that much.  I was also good at describing the rowing stroke to my teammates and I loved helping.  I, after all, was a peer counselor in High School and an RA in college.  At the time I decided to become a coach I had a rather socially challenged Head Coach that needed a lot of assisting.  I filled the role of translator when I could.  It was then that I realized coaching was an option.  I thought the thought and then put it away.  I still had to finish school.  After graduating and picking up a coaching job almost immediately I was enthralled by the Olympics.  It was 1996 and cycling was being shown quite a bit.  I knew that I needed to find another sport to do alongside rowing and cycling seemed to fit.  It looked like it was mentally and physically grueling (a requirement for me) and I liked the way it shaped the body (another requirement).  I also sent into the universe ad dream of being able to work out for a living at the same time I was helping others.  I thought I would have to become an Olympic athlete (and I worked on that) or be a professional athlete in order to do so.  Turns out I was wrong with the means by which but dead on with bringing my dream to fruition.  Working out for a living is doable and exciting and literally a dream come true.

Because I love what I do it is hard to pull myself away from it.  So taking vacation becomes a challenge.  I do need space away from the daily grind in order to gain some perspective, stay fresh and study up.  However, it is a joy to come back to what I absolutely love to do day in and day out.  The music, the people, the love.  I am lucky because I worked my ass off for years.  When I began this journey I made $5300 annually for my first collegiate coaching gig.  I got a raise the next year to $5700.  Loving what you do and doing what you love means you may have to wait for the financial reward, but it is worth it.  No amount of money would stop me from teaching/coaching and training.  I always ask myself this question:  If I were to win the lotto would I stop working.  The answer has never been 'no' when it comes to my work with motivation and health & well-being.  When you would do what you do for free you know you have struck it rich!  That is what I would call success.

What are your passions?  Are you living them?  Are you going after your dreams???  Why or why not?

xo

a

Keep On Moving

Howdy There! So the wheels may have come off during this holiday weekend.  You may have found yourself sitting in front of an empty pint container of ice cream or you may be eating more leftovers than you need to.  Studies show that you eat more in a group setting than when you are alone.  Soooo it is no wonder why we gorge ourselves during the holidays with all of the family and parties and groups of people munching away on food.  We often overdo it and then the guilt sets in.  We feel derailed from our normal workout/eating routine and we are faced with a big decision:  Stay off the tracks and off-road it for a while or get back on the rails and back to your life, your health, and your fitness.

One, two, or three days (or more) of crazy eating doesn't actually set you back, what sets you back is how you think about it.  Get over the fact that you are human, make decisions based on emotion and that you sometimes don't keep your goals at the forefront.  Get back to where you were, just do it, don't talk about it.  Move on and let the past go.  Sounds simple doesn't it?  It is.  We make things more complicated than necessary.  Usually the complication is the judgement.  Imagine your fitness goals without judgement.  Imagine your holiday feast and the next day's workout without judgement?  Imagine not letting your past dictate your future.  Imagine being absolutely supportive of the choices you make.  Imagine trusting yourself to do what is best for you.

When you trust, support and let go the ego doesn't have a lot of room to eat away at you.  You are able to make choices out of love instead of guilt.  You are able to let go of not doing something "right" and just doing what you would prefer.  When ego isn't in charge happiness has a way of surfacing and life has a way of falling into place.  So, have your cake (and mashed potatoes) and eat it too, then get on the next bike, or treadmill, or open road, or yoga mat and keep on keeping on.  You will be fine.

xo

a

ReConditioner

Hello there! There are many ways to look at a situation.  You can look at it from the perspective that it is happening to you.  You can look at it as if it is happening around you.  You can also look at it as happening inside you.  Even still you can look at it as if it isn't happening at all… that it is all imaginary.  I tend to look at it in all ways, going through one to the next pretty quickly.  When I am faced with a stressful (my perception) situation I feel victimized for a very short time and then quickly move to what I can control.  It is hard to stay the course when so many things seem to be thrown at you to knock you off course.

Our minds are tricky things.  Thoughts zoom by at the speed of light.  It seems to be impossible to slow them down let alone to stop them altogether.  Often we have thoughts that stem from feelings arising and we immediately believe that everything that is happening for us is true or has to be true.  We are conditioned beings, we have been taught that one thing means another, we have associations that at some point were created not inherent.  In order to free ourselves from the conditioning we have to allow the feelings and thoughts to exist (they are rather persistent) and look at them with curiosity instead of giving them our complete trust.  When you can let go of what you have always believed to be true about a feeling or a thought you can start recreating your life and undoing the conditioning that may be doing you in.

All of this is easier said than done.  There will be things that push you where you feel weakest.  You will be in the middle of a bad week and something will come along to show you just how not bad it really was in comparison.  You will find yourself in a place where you look around and recognize barely anything, where nothing makes sense, where you feel a bit lost.  You will find yourself off track.  It is hard to not panic in these situations, it is hard not to find something, someone else to hold responsible for it.  Personal responsibility isn't something you can pick and choose to have.  You either practice it or you don't.  If you can move through the series of feelings and thoughts that keep you stuck and twisting in the wind you just might see the blessing in it.  You are being given another opportunity to create the world, the life, you claim you want.

Much love,

xo

a

The X-Files

Hello!! I was discussing relationships with a friend when I realized that many people believe that when they are left by someone they love they have been wronged.  Most of us have been heartbroken before.  Some of us may be going through it right now.  Either way, heartbreak is universal.  So often after being crushed by an unrequited love, we try to find fault with the person that left us.  They were this way or that way; they weren't open because they are damaged and cannot open up; they suck.  Often I hear people say that at some point the person that left them will realize what a mistake they made and want to come back.  Why in the hell would you want someone back who didn't want you, so much so that they high-tailed it out of your life?  Not the lover I would be looking to the universe for.

Being left hurts.  Relationships ending hurt.  Change hurts.  I gotta tell you that the person that left you isn't the bad guy.  They didn't do anything to you that you didn't give them permission to do.  They don't want you and that is ok.  They will find someone else who they work better with and they will be fine.  You, your healing is understanding that good relationships don't end.  True love doesn't die and the person that left you left you better off.  You are now free to find that person who isn't leaving, loves you the way you want to be loved and makes sense on many levels.

When we are reeling from pain from loss we tend to want to pin the reason for the pain on other people.  No one makes you feel anything.  You decide to put one emotion or another on whatever the situation is.  No one decides for you to feel one way or another so no one is hurting you, when it comes down to it.  I know that this is a difficult concept because we are a culture that sues over coffee being hot.  The truth is the sooner you realize that you choose your feelings based on your beliefs the sooner you can believe something that doesn't make you feel or act like a victim.

So, no, your ex isn't going to be miserable without you.  Your ex is your ex because they didn't want to be your present.  Your ex is not the same with you that they will be with their one.  Your pain, is real and self-inflicted.  When you take ownership over the ideas you have around being left you can spend less time in the blaming phase and more time in the information/growth gathering phase.

xo

a

Eat This

Helloooooo! Here is a quote from Freelee Frugivore:  (http://www.facebook.com/freeleeVegan)

"I had someone say to me yesterday --> "But compared to most people I am REALLY healthy!"…Do you really want to compare yourself to 'most people' ? Remember most people already have (or are heading for) Obesity, Cancer, Heart disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis and other life-threatening (but preventable) dis-eases. If you want to compare yourself to others then compare yourself to those who are not only dis-ease free but looking, feeling and performing at their best. In this way comparing yourself to others is a positive as it can help you step up and OWN your health responsibility instead of letting apathy and excuses rule your World."

I cannot tell you how often I hear this same thing and how often I reply in the same manner.  We compare ourselves to the worst and see how we are doing better…. instead of comparing ourselves to our ideals and deciding where we still need work.  It is like we are afraid of working for something.  We are too used to doing a lot of nothing so that doing more than others is doing something and needs to be praised to high heaven.  What you are doing may not actually be enough.  Just so you know, you may need to step it up and move to another level of health & well-being.

Stop making excuses.  Stop piling drugs on top of issues and find out what caused the issue to begin with.  Stop saying you love the food that actually could be making you sick, itchy, inflamed, achy, tired, grumpy, fat, lethargic, sad, hyperactive, etc.  Think about it.  If milk is making you ill, causing your joints to hurt, you lungs to have mucus, your body to age, your tummy to hurt, how the hell can you love it?  Really, continuing to use that which causes us harm is not necessarily what most of us wants.  Please take a moment to look at what you are doing to your health and decide what is more important, how the taste is good or if it is really food.

xo

a

Over and Over and Over

Howdy!!! Do you have anything that you can't let go of?  Thoughts that you hang on to?  Something happens with your friend and you feel not so yummy… so you go over and over and over what you said or what they said.  Maybe work sucked and you cannot get the feeling that you are going to get reprimanded out of your head.  Whether it has happened (past) or could happen (future) it is now, in this moment, imaginary.  It only exists in your head and in that way can morph any which way you choose it to.

When we obsess about an incident or an issue we often place ourselves as innocent bystanders.  We use language that keeps us victimized, such as, "it won't stop" or "I can't get it out of my head."  The real deal is you are choosing to focus on the tape that you have recorded and keep replaying it.  You choose what you replay.  You are also choosing to let it be true.  You are not a victim to your thoughts or emotions.  You may not do something consciously, but that doesn't mean you aren't in charge.  When you take ownership you are able to look at what you are doing with the power to change it if you would like to.  You aren't just sitting there subject to torturous thoughts.  You can choose to observe them, with a detached attitude, one that allows for information to be gathered.  Or you can choose to use your power to override those obsessive thoughts and tape over the recording.  After all, repeating thoughts isn't in and of itself the issue.  When the thought isn't desired a problem arises.  Replacing it with one that you would like to manifest is another way to let go and get going.

When you work on intentional thinking you begin to see the doorway that takes you from where you are to where you want to be.  Allowing yourself to be ruled by the endless chatter is laziness at its best.  To put the work into managing your mind, managing you internal world, managing you… well, that would leave you no time to obsess over someone else's feelings or issues with you.  They aren't your feelings, your issues and, when you do your work, you come to realize they are not about you to begin with.  Take some time, listen to the tape, rewind and erase if needed or replay it with a different attitude altogether.  The choice is always yours.

xo

a

Body Talk

Howdy Dooodee, How connected to your body are you?  How important do you think it is to be connected to you body?  Would you know what it was saying to you if it needed help?  Have you in the past?

Whether it be disease, infection, exhaustion, allergies or any other ailment, our bodies try to speak to us on a regular basis.  The big issue isn't that we don't hear it, it is that we think it means other that what it does.  We have normalized so many things that are actually signals that something is wrong.  Do you have extra weight (you know what I mean, no muscle definition and a nice layer or not so nice layer of fat over our body), do you have watery eyes, itchy or dry skin, do you have mood swings, do you get tired during the day even if you slept well, do you have feelings of rage, does your breath smell or do you have any other body odor.  How about your sleep, your joints, your muscles.  What are some of the excuses you make for feeling less than great?  Why do you make them?

We look around us, at all of the people eating like sh*t and we say, "everyone ages, everyone feels bad, everyone blah blah blah."  Who is everyone?  Are you talking about people who actually eat as much fresh food as they can, exercise regularly, have some sort of personal development practice for their soul, and are happy?  Or are you talking about most of the people who eat and live pretty crappy?  We believe when we only drink a few times a week, eat sweets once or twice a day and move our bodies 2-3 times at most a week that we should be FINE!  "My goodness" we say, "what is the deal, I work out, I eat good food, yet my body just doesn't cooperate."  Hmm...I hear about people eating good food all the time, yet I know people aren't eating good food, it may taste good, but it isn't healthy or what your body is wanting.  We lie about what we do to ourselves, on all levels.  What about your thoughts.  Are you thinking thoughts that support your health and well-being?  Do you know what kind of thoughts are supportive your self?  

On top of it, we believe that doing any more than what we already do is "extreme."   What if our bodies actually needed to be taken care of 90% better than we take care of them to actually function normally?  What if we don't know what "normal" is because we are all sick?  What if the secret to feeling great all of the time was never touching drugs, meditating in some way and eating foods that have high vibrations?  Would you do it?  What if it brought you to a place where you were rarely tired, never achy, always energetic, positive, completely trim, super strong and generally happy?  Would you put in the work to take care of yourself or would you grab that drink that tastes so good because it tastes so good?  At some point we will have to cease blaming our taste buds for our lack of cherishing our bodies/temples.

Look, I love yummy tasting things as much as the next chick.  I love my sweets.  I find them in the form of bananas, grapes and whatever fruit I can get my hands on.  I get the feeling of letting go of what you have been doing around your health ad well-being.  However, when you know what is at stake, your health, there really isn't any excuse to not take care, all of the time.  If you don't take care, someone else could possibly be burdened to do so for you.  I believe having compassion for the world includes taking the best care of yourself that you can so that no one else will have to… not that it won't happen, but to minimize the chances is a loving thing to do.

xo

a

Work And Wait For It

Hello, How long have you abused you?  How long have you taken drugs, eaten like sh*t, lived a sedentary (or close to it) life, thought jacked up thoughts about yourself and everyone else, judged everything, allowed others to take advantage or taken advantage of others?  Are your firm, muscular.  Do you have quick reflexes?  Are you alert?  Do you sweat daily?  Do you have any addictions?  If you can say yes to any of the above questions you have work to do.  The work isn't temporary; it will take some time to undo what you have done so well and so consistently.

I have to remind many of my clients that it took them many years to get where they are and it will take 'some' time to get to a place that they have possibly never been or haven't been to in a long time.  In all honesty, it is amazing how quick our bodies, hearts and minds are when it comes to recovery.  A smoker can smoke for 20 years and undo a huge portion of the damage by quitting for less than a year.  Our bodies want desperately to be healthy, feel great and carry us to and fro.  As soon as we show a sign of wanting to actually care for them (our bodies), they work overtime trying to rid themselves, you, of the mess that had been compounded for years.  Think about it like a neighborhood that just keeps getting dumped on.  After years of neglect all sorts of mayhem sets in.  Critter infestations, rot, mold, mildew.  To clean up a neighborhood would take a lot more time than a week, or two.  The manpower and patience alone would be intense.  Cranes may be needed, teams of folks might volunteer to assist.  All in all it would not be an overnight fix.  It could be months before the smell of old, mildewed materials is lifted.

Our bodies are the same way.  We need to give more than two weeks, one month, 6 months to heal the damage we have done.  We have to get it out of our heads that we should feel better after a few days of ridding our daily intake of allergy causing, inflammatory substances.  You have to understand that we are a very complex system.  Our bodies cannot always get rid of the "poison" we ingest in the form of 'food, medicine and libation.  It may be a long process to get ourselves back to a point before we began the slow and methodical destruction of our bodies.  So next time you want to see immediate results from a quickie cleanse/diet/exercise routine ask yourself those same questions I asked you.  How long have you abuse you?  How long?  How long?

xo

a

What's Good???

Good morning! It is Tuesday!!  :) This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Beauty.

Naps.

Discipline.

Sweat.

Pushing Past Limits.  

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

Food for thought:

We spend a lot of time making excuses for why we do not do what we know we need to in order to reach our goals, to take care of ourselves, to live an awesome life.  We allow ourselves to do less than our best because we feel it is too hard to always make the effort to do better.  We cheat ourselves when we turn a blind eye to our less than ideal behavior.  Pay attention and hold yourself accountable.  Own your choices fully so you can fully choose what is best for you.     

"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ~Aristotle

"If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self."  ~Napoleon Hill

Have you made any excuses today?

xo

a

Ready All, Row!

"On the water, nobody can hear you scream."  ~Unknown Hiya,

When I was in college I began my rowing career.  I went to an introductory meeting after seeing a flyer.  I had been told by a sophomore that I could row without any prior experience.  She has done it and thought that it would be perfect for me after I told her that I was looking for a sport to do.  I knew that there would be something that would work for me though I was not a basketball, volley, or any other ball player.  I was tall and athletic but with no real direction to my athletic endeavors.  So, I joined the rowing team… the crew, and my career began.

By my sophomore year I had shown enough promise that I was really in a league of my own.  In the United States, at the time, in order to get noticed by the US Rowing National Team you needed to pull certain numbers on the erg (Concept II Indoor Rower).  Each month you were required to do an erg test (2000 meters during the sprint season and 5000 meters during the fall season).  Your coach would send in the scores and, fingers crossed, you might get the attention of a National Team coach.  I began sending scores in during my sophomore year.  I remember wanting coaching and not getting any (my head coach was pretty unfortunate in lots of ways).  I did my testing on my own that year.  I felt pretty alone in  it and after the summer I stopped sending my scores in and let the dream of making the team dwindle.

After I graduated I became a rowing coach.  It was fantastic.  I was so excited and ready to start molding champions.  I did just that.  I was wildly successful, especially in my early years.  I also kept rowing for myself.  One day I was approached by a coach who'd been training National Team Athlete Cindy Brooks.  She offered to coach me for free.  She said she saw potential and, if I was game, would train me.  YES!  Of course I would train and be coached!  Yippeeee!!!  I was pumped.  I didn't have a boat that was mine (I worked at Wesleyan and was paid $5300/year to coach the novices) but could use the Head Coach's boat to train in.  I had been rowing in it regularly anyway.  I would also be rowing in a double with Cindy and Cindy owned a few boats, so I was covered, for the most part.

I trained for some time and ultimately had to stop due to lack of support financially.  My numbers were great and always getting better, my dedication was unwavering, but I had to choose.  Make $ or lose $.  I was offered a coaching job at Rutgers University out of the blue.  I would be making more money than I had ever made at that time and, due to feeling overwhelmed with bills and barely evading eviction, I jumped at the offer and gave up the dream of competing on the National Level for my country.

Every time I watch the Olympics I think a little about my journey to train 4-6 hours every day.  Waking up and rowing for 3 hours, lifting for 2 or so and eating more calories daily than most people need to eat over several days.  I remember being told that I could have two out of three of these things: job-rowing-relationship, but not all three.  I had to pick.  I think about how important the ego is to get you to a point where you can compete on such a high level.  I think about love; loving something so much that you give yourself over to it completely.  I think about how lucky I am to know how that feels.

I hope you enjoy the Olympics for what it is, in my opinion:  a display of love-pure, true and unrelenting.

xo

a

"Real athletes row.  Everyone else just plays games."  ~Unknown

Working Out!

Howdy! "I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing."  ~Marsha Doble

I work out several times a day.  This daily practice is a part of a dream realized.  Movement keeps me going and I appreciate it every day.  There have been times in my life where I had a hard time motivating to go to the gym.  The most recent time was after about a year of living in Seattle.  My nephew had passed away the year before and I was feeling unmotivated.  I was coaching rowing at Lake Union Crew and my wake up time was 4:30am.  I normally get up with very little effort, but during this time I was actually tempted to hit snooze again and again.  Finally, I went to a doctor who discovered that I was so low in Vitamin D that I needed a prescription to get it to a safe range.  I remember feeling soooo much better in a short time and haven't really been stuck in a rut since.

There were times, in the past, where I would walk into the gym, lift some weights, talk to some folks, lift more and leave.  I could spend 45 minutes in the gym and get 20 minutes of work in.  Seriously.  I saw this woman in a gym today doing just that.  I was working with a client in a small fitness center when a woman came in and got on the treadmill.  After about 7 minutes she got off, grabbed some water and slowly returned to the treadmill.  She started it, then stopped to play with her iPod.  She spent another 3 minutes on the treadmill then left.  All of this was done with the guise that serious effort to work out had been made.  It was a beautiful dance.

It dawned on me that she was not unusual.  She was me, in the past, and lots of folks right now.  She would say she had worked out today.  She would say that she went to the gym.  You know what, going isn't enough.  10 low impact, interrupted minutes isn't actually a workout.  I know that many fitness mags and 'experts' say that any movement is good and that is fine.  I am a proponent of actually working out, of getting your heart rate up, of sweating, of showing up instead of just being there.  We all could use a little kick in the ass when it comes to getting our workout done.  Stop making excuses and bringing distractions.  You get out of your workouts what you put into them.

If you are finding that you are lacking motivation it would be helpful to ask to get your Vitamin D checked.  It makes a huge difference if you have been living with a Vitamin D Deficiency.

"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."  ~Edward Stanley

xo

a

On Your Mark

"I am too positive to be doubtful.  Too optimistic to be fearful.  And too determined to be defeated."  ~vandon Yeehaw!

I LOVE winning.  It's true.  The other truth is that everybody does!  Ok, not everyone but most.  As an instructor and coach I am not competing in the same way I do as a rower, runner, Words With Friends player.  Instead I compete to get my athletes as fit as I can get them.  To bring them to health and wellbeing in the best way for them.  I become their biggest fan, their resolve when they have none, and their answers when they are questioning.  I find fulfillment in the work that I do and for that I am grateful.

I haven't competed in a race or event that wasn't connected to supporting a client in quite some time.  So I haven't actually tapped into my own personal desire to compete for Aina in a while.  Basically I haven't had to be in that place that I put my riders, clients, athletes in and then coach them through.  I hadn't had the opportunity to compete with me for me.  Until recently when I joined The LAB - A Crossfit Gym on Eastlake.  I am not doing anything that is amazing, just small workouts of the day (WODs) when I show up… but compete I am.  Because my schedule is packed with teaching and training I don't get to the gym as much as I would like.  The two times that I have had the opportunity to compete I have had the fastest time overall completing the workout that was assigned.  Can I tell you how fantastic that feels??  It is GREAT!  Seriously.  I love competing and I love seeing the hard work that I do pay off in a way that I enjoy.  One of the many benefits of being fit is being able to swing a kettlebell until the cows come home. :)  Yep.

Now, just because I compete doesn't mean I have to win or that I get upset when I don't.  I am a coach, and a very good one, and I understand perspective.  Prior to that I was an athlete that was new to competing.   In my freshman year of college I lost a huge race as a part of a team that had, up to that point,  won everything.  I was devastated.  I sobbed for hours on the floor in my dorm room while my then boyfriend grew ever exhausted with me not getting ready for a date we had.  I felt overcome with sorrow for the work I put in only to lose by less than a second in the Championship.  It was so hard because I had never experienced that kind of loss before.  The loss of a race.  The loss as an athlete.  It was a very important experience, one that I grew tired of quickly and realized shortly after the final tears fell that I was taking things way too seriously.  It was a game.  It was FUN, right?  I needed to see how seriously I took it, how important it was/is for me.  I figured out that I didn't need to be devastated by a supposed loss.  I learned that it was during those time when most of my information was gathered to lead me to amazing future successes.  I learned that the how in dealing with anything matters more than what the anything is.  I also learned that the toughest competition is within… moving to a stronger place within yourself.  Doing more than the day before.  Pushing through no matter what.

I know people who get afraid of competing, who think it is negative because they feel that it puts others down, or leaves others out.  There is nothing wrong with loving being first in something.  It feels good.

I believe that we often don't compete because we don't want to lose not because we don't want to win.  Are you not competing because you are afraid of the work it takes to be great or because you don't think you ever could be?

xo

a

 

"I'm not in competition with anybody but myself.  My goal is to beat my last performance." ~Celine Dion

First Spartan Race Down!

Howdy!

I am home after over 12 hours of being away racing in my first obstacle course race.  I am tired, scratched up, and sore.  I am also very happy.  It was fun and ridiculous and easy and hard.  There were parts that were absolutely doable and others that were, well, let's say that I had a 30 second moment where I told myself that I was going to have to really dig deep and just deal with the temporary pain I was in.  I am glad the pep talk worked.  It usually does at this point in my life.  My client and I finished and spent the remaining hours we were together discussing the parts we loved, hated and loved to hate.

As this was my first obstacle course crazy ass race, and because they don't tell you the course ahead of time, I went into it with an open mind and no fear.  What is the point of worrying about something you cannot control?  It couldn't be that bad after all.  Everyone was welcome to enter the race so it would have to be doable for everyone on some level.  I expected there to be challenges.  I expected there to be parts that were brutal and other parts that were simply fun.  I am happy to say that all of my expectations were met.  What I was most appreciative of was the teamwork among the participants.  Literally everyone was on everyone's side.  It wasn't a competition, it was play time for adults!  It was about pushing yourself and giving a hand to anyone who needed the help.

One of the "treats" on the course was a barbed wire hill of mud.  This wasn't a slight incline.  On this hill were ropes places strategically down to the beginning because you wouldn't be able to get up it without the rope.  By that I mean, your ass was grass if you didn't use the rope to pull yourself up.  People actually began to slide down, which was scary and dangerous due to the people and the barbed wire behind them.  The wire was around 16 inches above the mud which meant that there were a lot of people with a lot of holes and scratches in their clothing (and skin). I saw lots of hair hanging from the wire.  Pretty funny if you ask me.  It took me 10-15 minutes to climb this big ass hill, I would say (and that was actually pretty fast).  It was absolutely ridiculous!  It was during this hill that I questioned the meaning of life and my point on the hill.  Once I was at the top and went around to help my client I saw the amazing amount of support that was being given.  There were hundreds of people and everyone cheered, pushed people up in front of them, pulled people up from behind and simply encouraged with words.  It was a coaching heaven.  I felt elated to be a part of such a love fest.

By the time we finished we had completed 23 obstacles, my client accomplished a goal that was set over a brunch 5 months prior, and we went through more mud than we had ever seen in one place.  Besides the mud there was fire, cargo netting to climb, spears to throw,  walls of varying heights, barbed wire that just wouldn't end, ropes to climb, posts to balance on, nets to go under, slides to slide down and much more stupidity.

I cannot wait to do it again.

xo

a

Rinse, Repeat

Hello, hello ;) Is there anything in your life that you keep repeating… over and over and over and over?  You fail to pay a bill, the same bill, each month?  You get into the same relationship, over and over and over?  You put yourself in a situation that isn't healthy again and again?  What is the friggin deal?

Life is about learning.  I know that I am someone who has taken years and years to learn certain things.  Others, not so much.  The areas that I have had to work on have been getting back to folks, returning calls, emails, etc.  I have made amazing progress and there is still so much more to do.  I remember reading evaluations from Wesleyan Women's Novice Team (I was the coach there for years) and the common thread was "Does not return emails/phone calls in a timely manner."  I remember, after 3 years of coaching there and receiving similar evaluations the entire time, finally embracing the fact that I needed to make a concerted effort in this area.  The problem is I had to work at it… and work it is for me.

When you aren't a natural at something everything about it seems foreign.  It is easy to fall back into how you did it before because it is how you did it the longest and it is what you are most comfortable doing, regardless of the repercussions.  In order to actually change your way of doing something (that wasn't working anyway and in need of change) you have to do the things that you do around it differently.  For example, I have had to set up various bill reminders and I do most of my bill pay online.  Simple is simple.  I hate paper and mail.  I would rather run 15 miles a day than open my mail.  Yep.  Seriously.  So when I get mail it piles up, fast.  Even with all of the 'paperless' billing they still send stupid crap.  See, what a judgmental statement about mail!  At any rate, I have had to change my mind about mail and bills as well.  It isn't something to be avoided because the avoidance leads to more discomfort than looking directly at it does.  I am certain that a lot of my issues around bills comes from the fact that I had very little money for a very long time and really no way to pay everything, so avoidance was a way to stay sane.  Since that is not the case anymore, old behaviors have to shift as well.

What area are you struggling with changing?  Where do you find yourself repeating a 'lesson' over and over yet feel like you still aren't 'getting' it?

You will continue to fall into the same situations over and over until you begin to change how you look at them, react to them and what you learn from them.  There are infinite layers to all of this stuff we call life and living.  There isn't an 'end' so let go of that idea.  Once you move past one issue another one will spring up that was being blocked by the recently departed one.  Life is about uncovering who and why until you can get to the business of being… and then we go over it again.

xo

a

Excuses

Why hello there! "Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.  Never excuse yourself."  ~Henry Ward Beecher

How many times have you said any or all of the following:

I can't because I am tired.

I don't have any time.

I am too busy.

I am not thin enough.

I am not strong enough.

I don't have enough money.

I don't have enough friends.

I don't feel like it.

I can't.

That is impossible.

There isn't enough _______.

"I attribute my success to this:  I never gave or took an excuse.  ~Florence Nightingale

We make excuses for ourselves because it is more comfortable than risking, than coming out of our safe little jacked up cocoon and actually seeing what we are capable of.  We say that we are too busy, too tired, not skilled, not rich etc. when the real situation is we have all the tools we need to do whatever we want.  First, we have to stop making excuses.  We have to stop allowing ourselves to get out of something because we may have to work at it.  When you allow yourself to be responsible for what you do and what you decide not to do you realize just how truly capable you are.

We choose to live where it is comfortable, even if we are unhappy.  The unhappy place may be safer than pushing the edges of the box you've constructive to live in.

What can you choose to own right now?  What will you stop making excuses around?

It is easier than you think.  When you hear yourself giving a reason around your behavior simply stop and do what your highest self would do.  Period.  No excuses.

xo

a

"Pessimism is an excuse for not trying and a guarantee for personal failure."  Bill Clinton

ps, I LOVE music, as you must know and I LOVE Alanis Morissette.  Here are the lyrics to a fantastic and appropriately titled (for this post) song.

EXCUSES BY ALANIS MORISSETTE

Why no one will help me 

I am too dumb I am too smart 

They'll not understand me 

I am lonely 

They'll hate me 

And there is not enough time 

It's too hard to help me 

And god wants me to work 

No resting no lazy 

 

These excuses how they served me so well 

They've kept me safe 

They've kept me stuck 

They've kept me locked in my own cell 

 

I'm too far from home 

It takes far too much energy 

And I cannot afford to 

No one will ever see me 

 

These excuses how they served me so well 

They've kept me safe 

They've kept me stuck

They've kept me locked in my own cell 

 

These excuses how they're so familiar 

They've kept me blocked 

They've kept me small 

They've kept me safe inside my shell 

 

Bringing this into the light 

Shakes their foundation 

And it clears my sight 

Now my imagination 

Is the only thing that limits 

The bar and its rise to the heights 

 

No one can have it all see 

I have to they want me to 

And I can't let them down 

I'll never be happy 

 

These excuses how they served me so well 

They've kept me safe 

They’ve kept me stuck

They’ve kept me locked in my own cell 

 

These excuses how they're so familiar 

They've kept me blocked

They've kept me small 

They've kept me safe inside my shell

 

"To Teach is To Learn Twice Over" ~Joseph Joubert

"By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand."  ~Latin Proverb Happy Weekend!!!  It is Friday and I wanted to wish you well for the weekend.  I also wanted to tell you a brief story about someone I adore.  He is a man who I met at the YMCA over 2 years ago.  He was sitting on a bench outside of a group x room waiting for someone.  I sat down next to him and asked him how he was.  We struck up a conversation right away.  He told me how he spent the summers in Idaho studying Wolves.  I called him a renaissance man.  His wife was an instructor there and they would both soon become two of my dearest friends.

In the fall of 2011 he found out that he was going to be moving for grad school and then leaving the country for a few months to research Snow Leopards (there is a lot more to this story than I am giving you… I will save it for another time).  He decided that it was time to really get in shape and wanted to work with me.

I have been working people out, training their minds and bodies since 1996.  Some people are open to doing what I need them to in order to reach their goals and others, well, let's just say that I earn my living.  Now my friend was a completely different story.  He was ready to make some big changes.  He was open to digging into himself.  He was so articulate around his journey to fitness.  He communicated every nuance of his change to me during our stair workouts or HIIT sessions.  He did everything I asked without hesitation.  Watching his mind and body grow and change was like watching magic before my eyes.

I am blessed with doing what I love every single day and I never take it for granted.  I have been successful over the years and am steadily moving forward in my own personal growth and career.  Along the way I have had help with my forward progress.  Mr. WolfSnowLeopard propelled me forward in ways that I can barely express.  The teacher/student relationship is fluid, with each person playing both roles.  Through him being an amazingly open and ready pupil I became the best teacher that I believe I ever had up to that point.  I have always learned from those who have allowed me to teach but he was an exception; we were both ready to rise to another level of self understanding, dedication, growth and awesomeness.

So I want to thank Mr. WolfSnowLeopard for brightening my light.  I also want to thank all of my other students, clients, riders, and athletes for allowing me to be a part of their journey.  Let's keep shining!

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."  ~Ben Sweetland

"The true aim of every one who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinions, but to kindle minds."  ~F.W. Robertson

(Good Luck Mr. WSLMan!  Rock on in Tajikistan!!!)

xo

a

Coaching

"I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou We all have people who motivate us, encourage us, inspire us to change for the better. One of those people for me was/is Heather Smith.

I was a rower in college. I LOVED my time as a collegiate athlete and have to credit Heather, my novice rowing coach, with instilling in me a love of rowing, coaching, and athletics in general. I remember when I joined the rowing team and was told that we would be running 3 miles on one of the first actual training days. I immediately became nervous because I hadn't run 3 miles before. I didn't do a sport in high school due to the fact that I had gone to 3 different high schools in 3 different states. There wasn't much consistency and, though I did very well in school, I didn't enjoy it. I was excited to go to college for several reasons, one of which was athletics. I began training for my sport (I didn't know what sport it would be, but I knew that I would find it) the year before I went to college… actually it was more like the summer before. That summer prior to college I joined the local YMCA and began running 2 miles a day. I thought I was doing great at around 12 minute miles… and I was, for the beginning. So when I heard, during that first rowing practice, that I had 3 miles to run I thought, "Dammit! one more stinking mile than I had ever done!" I finished the 3 miles by bringing up the rear and by walking here and there… but I finished. My coach was encouraging the whole way. She would run ahead to talk to the lead pack and then slow down to talk to the ones having a hard time, like myself. I remember being amazed at how she never seemed out of breath.

I remember when we did hills a month or so later and Heather ran past me saying, "your butt is looking good!" It made me feel GREAT! My body was changing and I hadn't even thought about it really. I was rowing because I was enjoying every detail, every moment, everything. My body getting toned was just a by-product. Heather was always there, cheering us on, keeping us focused, and pushing our limits. We did what she told us because we knew she had a clear vision and, well, we won… everything. Besides, how can you complain about working hard when your coach barks orders at you while she is doing pull ups using only her fingers? At that point you will do whatever she says because she is badass! Seriously. I mean, what an example! She was (and still is) a Goddess!

A couple more months passed. We did stairs and I was in the lead. She looked at me. She congratulated me and I felt great. I was feeling good about being a competitor and getting better. I didn't know what it all meant but I loved it and kept going.

In February of my freshman year the rowing team had an indoor rowing event. We raced on the rowing machines (we call them 'ergs' for 2000 meters. Basically for a rower 2000 meters is death. It sucks. You lose sleep over having to do a 2000 meter piece, an erg test, as they are commonly called. Well, during this event we had to do TWO erg tests!!! One for the "heats" and then you get placed into the "finals." All the women, varsity and novice compete as a group and the same with the men. Somehow I ended up in the Grand Final… the only novice that did. Being a novice and new to sports in general I took a nap after my heat and basically didn't think about it. I was relaxed because I didn't know I was supposed to be nervous. Heather knew that I would probably need a little encouragement because I didn't really grasp how awesome it was that I was in the grand final. She came over to me after I woke and said, "All of the varsity girls are saying that you won't do well… that experience always wins." Well, I have never had a shortage of ego and was shocked at their complete disregard of me as a true competitor. I got on the erg, in the middle of 7 other varsity women and sat ready. Just as the coxswain said, "ready all, row!" LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out' played through my head, "Don't call it a comeback, unh, I been here for years, rocking my peers, puttin' suckers in fear…" I pushed all the way to the lead, all of the women not in the grand final and all of the guys were standing around us, screaming my name! It was awesome and I won! I won.

Heather pushed me to be more than I knew I could be in rowing. She also showed me how to be a completely present and solid coach. She saw something great and made it better. After that year I knew that rowing, sports, and coaching would be in my future somehow. Each day I get clearer and clearer on my future in sport, athletics, and motivation. It is a beautiful journey.

Who has motivated you? Pushed you? Seen more in you at some point than you have? How have you risen to their fantastic expectations? Who are you encouraging and shining light on?

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself." ~Galileo Galilei

xo

a

(No) Limits

"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space." ~William Shakespeare I took my first Hot Yoga class today and nearly passed out. It was awesome. There was a point where I said to myself, "just go for it! So what you pass out, someone will take care of you. Yogis are generally helpful, right?" At any rate, it got me thinking about limits and how many of us are afraid to even tempt them. What is stopping you?

What is the worst that could happen if you hit a limitation? What is the fear? Failure? Death? Dishonor? Self discovery? Whatever the "reasons" for not pushing yourself I am certain that the benefit far outweighs the risk. If you don't believe me, try it. Try going beyond the point of where you think you can. Instead of turning and running, push longer, try for more, open yourself to the unknown. Then do it again. There is a wealth of information to be given and received when you are working through your own perceived limitations.

Pushing past perceived physical limits advances you in more areas than physical ability alone. When you are at the point where you don't know if your body will actually continue your mind expands and you learn about what makes you tick. You begin to see habits that keep you from moving forward in other areas of your life. You may notice that you decide you aren't able before you try. Or you may be given a glimpse of possibility (which really is all there is). Possibility is rather amazing, especially when you see that possibility in yourself. That experience of having faith enough to risk doesn't only apply to physical experiences, it applies to just about everything else as well.

Physical training can be a safe and effective way to gain discipline, courage, and strength in all the areas of life that call for you to be disciplined, courageous, and strong. So what will you do to prove that limitations are what you make them, so make them a thing of the past. Instead maybe you can approach a difficult thing with, "Let's do this!" or "It will be what it is." Or "I am about to make this yoga class my b*tch! Woohoo!!! Or any other approach that encourages you to go for more. :)

"Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin

xo a

Be Your Own Master

Good Thursday to you! What if the only thing you were supposed to be great at was being you? My sister has said many times, "the only work you have here in this life is you… you are your work." I have found this to be sooo true in sooo many ways (in every way actually). However, I have seen this concept totally and completely irritate, confound and simply piss others off. Most people have no desire to master themselves. It is "too hard" to pay attention to everything that we do, some have said. I have also heard, "It is impossible to be aware of everything we do." To that I say, well, if that is what you believe then that will be your reality. However, have you ever tried? Do you know what it is like to spend most of your time mastering your thoughts, your behaviors, yourself? True power comes when you are your own master.

You are born into this world knowing what you want immediately and not doubting that it is yours to be had. You are connected to the world you prefer in a way that is somewhat unshakeable at first.  You spend an amazing amount of time working on shaping your world.  Learning how to talk so that you can get more of what you would like.  We have all heard children talk about how they see the world and we sometimes consider their viewpoints "magical" due to the fact that they don't always correspond to the views we have of the world. We also have felt a sense of loss at the fact that we don't seem to have that "magical" thinking anymore. Well we do have magical thinking, it is our birthright and all it takes is being your own master mind.

We spend years working on mastering this or that or the other… but balk at the idea of mastering ourselves. Most people will spend 8 or 9 hours straight working for someone, typing on the computer, watching TV or talking to friends/family; yet spending the same amount of time practicing how to make what we believe in a reality is "too hard." The reality of being intentional about our thoughts, shaping them around our ideals and not letting them go despite the appearance of things on the outside is not something that most people are waking up at 7am to do. When we were young we saw what we wanted to see and our worlds conformed for us. I am always amazed at the saying of "God takes care of fools and babies." I think I understand that the fools and the babies have magical thinking in common… they believe that the world is their to support them and so it does. I don't see anything foolish about that.

What if you spent a period of time daily where you were intentional with your thoughts. See what it is like to be relentless in your discipline around only allowing thoughts that supported your ideals about everything. For example, I have what some say is 'parking karma.' This means that I always get the best, or nearly the best, parking spot when I am out and about. I see the world in this way (around this subject): There is a spot for me when I need it. It is the only thought I allow in when it comes to parking.

"Every appearance in the visible world tends to produce a corresponding form in the mind which observes it, and this can only be prevented by holding the thought of TRUTH."  (Truth being what you would prefer to be such as parking spots, health, abundance). ~Wallace Wattles

Have fun playing with your own personal magic!!!

xo

a