General Reflections

Don’t Believe the Hype or the Memes

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Dont Believe the HypeI came across this posting on FB the other day –and it came at the right time. I have been dealing with a deep tissue tear in my back and just feeling a general fatigue and lack of motivation for some of my workouts. So, after reading this – I gave myself a pep talk and said -take a break from the workouts that aren’t bringing me joy and do something else for a while. Read it and see if it helps you too…

 

Don’t believe the memes, don’t take the inspirational posts as gospel, don’t destroy your body to save face:

Take a rest day. Take a week off, or a month, or even half a year. Do something besides lifting, find a new hobby for a while, or volunteer somewhere to help the less fortunate. Do something to make the world a better place, and not just yourself.

Or:

Have fun for once! You don’t HAVE to go hard in the gym every day. Some of the most miserable people I’ve ever met are people who make lifting their entire life, and for what? A $10 trophy? A jug of protein and a shirt that doesn’t fit right? Is all that really worth neglecting your kids over, blowing out your knees, missing big life events or losing your job?

The reality is that most lifters will never make a liveable income solely off lifting, and to treat a hobby in a way that overtakes your life is just about the worst thing you can do for your livelihood. There is no pension at the end of your lifting career. Lifting should be FUN. If you aren’t having fun with it, why are you doing it? So your friend doesn’t send you a T-Nation article that says you’re a ween for not wanting to max every day? Who cares.

If you’re burnt out, spend a few weeks doing Bodybuilding work, or take up hiking for a few weeks. Experiment with new movements, or become a cardio bunny. Put on an extra 5-10lbs. Who. Freaking. Cares. It’s your money, your time, and your body. Do what you like with it.

I will tell you this: I bet that taking some time off will help you rekindle that fire under your butt that you had when you first got into all this. Lifting will be there when you’re ready to go again, and 200lbs will always be 200lbs.

~Brandon Morrison

Random Things On My Mind

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What's On My Mind

Let’s Get Our Kids Outside More

As a follow up to my previous post, I came across this article: Why You Need More Dirt in Your Life. The very first paragraph tells a huge story: “It’s estimated that children now spend less time outside than the average prisoner. This could have devastating effects: Kids need to be exposed to the microbes in the soil to build up their defenses against diseases that may attack them later. But it’s not just children, Paul Bogard explains in his new book, The Ground Beneath Us. The EPA estimates that the average American adult now spends 93 percent of their life indoors. As we retreat indoors, more and more of the earth is disappearing, with an estimated quarter of a million acres paved or repaved in the United States each year.” 

Kids are spending less time outside than prisoners!! It’s not uncommon to read about how little recess time kids are getting during their school day, but with the amount of homework kids are being sent home with -many kids simply do not even have enough time after school either. And on top of that, add in the technology addiction so many families are dealing with now.  What a recipe for disaster in more ways than we even know about.  I’m not sure what the solution is —  but putting an emphasis and importance on getting your kiddos outside should be at the top of all parents’ lists. It starts at home.

Know When to Take a Knee

Even though I’m in damn good shape, I have to continually remind myself that it’s OK to scale. I’ve been taking [Solidcore] for some time now and it continually screws with my head. What happens is that when I do scale during the 50 minute class, I am hard on myself afterwards. As I was driving back from class this morning, I started to beat myself up about scaling a few moves. Then, I purposefully thought about how far I have come since I first tried this type of hard workout. And reminded myself, scaling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else taking the class. They aren’t me. They aren’t built like me. They don’t have the same challenges. They have their own.  I’m sure it won’t be the last time thoughts like these creep up, but like any other skill – practice makes better. I have to make a conscious effort to switch the filter that I am using.

Why You Should Never Feel Bad About Modifying Your Workouts

Things Happen For a Reason

As a few of you know, I am currently enjoying downtime from working full time. I have a few clients that I am consulting with, but nothing that is taking up all my working hours. What you probably don’t know, because I don’t really talk about it, is that my son just hit his teen years and is having some challenges. I am told that the issues he’s dealing with are very common, but nonetheless are very challenging to handle as parents. We want to help him the best we can — but as I am finding out, there are some things he either needs to grow out of and will come as he matures and there are other things he needs guidance now more than ever. A dear friend told me yesterday that perhaps this break in my employment is the opportunity that is needed to help guide him and be there for him more. Her words “He needs you”. And now I have some time to be there for him –give him more structure, spend more time just being around him. This break happened because this is the time he needs someone there for him most.

I wish an instruction manual came with both my kids. Scotty and I are trying to do what we think is best – which I guess is all anyone can ask of us but I gotta tell you, parenting is hard.

What a Teenage Boy Needs Most from his Mom

Be Inspired

No Bullshit

 

 

Nature Can Help Put Things In Perspective

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My long term work contract ended about two weeks ago and this is the first time in a very long time, I’m not employed. It’s unfamiliar and strange to not have something to get up and go to each morning (even if that means working from home). People have been telling me to enjoy it — relax and just go with the flow. It’s amazing how hard that is for me. The first week was nice, but now that I’m heading into the third week, my mind is starting to go deep. Lot’s of thinking about what I am going to do next. More like – what do I want to do next. I’m lucky that I’m not dead broke (yet) and we have health insurance. I suppose that gives me a bit more breathing room and freedom, but at times I certainly don’t feel that way.

Never Have Enough NatureI grew up with a mom who worked all the time –and I mean ALL THE TIME. There was, and based on my Mom’s current schedule, still is NO DOWN TIME with her. Even entertaining the thought of being home for a bit is uncomfortable. So, I’ve been living in a state of being uncomfortable which is well, uncomfortable. To help, I’ve been exercising and walking Trooper. I have always been told when you are feeling stressed or out of sorts, head outdoors. There is something calming and grounding about surrounding yourself with Nature. So, it goes without saying I’ve been doing my fair share of visiting Mother Nature lately for sure.

And as an added benefit, spring in Virginia is absolutely gorgeous. I’m lucky to live within walking distance to a really cool park, the W&OD trail. It’s the perfect place to walk Trooper, and soak up all the signs of spring. Even the smells are amazing.

I’m not saying that my walks are solving my problems, but they are certainly helping put things in perspective and are making me just feel better. So, my advice is if you are feeling like there is a big weight on your shoulders or just stressed, take time to get outside. Take your shoes off and walk around in some fresh cut grass, head to a park and swing, or heck, just garden.

As Thoreau said, “We need the tonic of Wilderness. We can never have enough nature.

Here’s a taste of how gorgeous Virginia is in the spring…

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Reading Should Be Without Rules

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Reading Without RulesAbout a year and half ago, I decided to start reading before I went to bed every night. I had long given up reading anything more than a magazine or a quick web article and realized I missed having some quiet, yet productive time each day. I don’t really have any sort of rules about what I read — and when I don’t feel like starting something new, I reread one of my favorite Outlander books. (I love them!)  I prefer reading books that help me escape into new worlds and experience different lives – Escape Fiction. Some people think that we shouldn’t read to escape reality. I’m not on board with that — sometimes a great story is the only thing that helps you hold on. Recently, I came across this quote:

“reading books is a waste of time if you don’t let them change you. If books really are “portals” then they should leave you somewhere you weren’t when you finish them. Somewhere enlightened.”  

My take: Read because you want to — no rules, no parameters. Read because you love it, you enjoy a story, relate to characters, it helps you cope with whatever is going on in your life, you love reading the written word. READ with no rules! I think reading changes you whether you are cognizant of it or not.

And turns out it’s healthy for you:

I loved this recent article about President Obama, who said reading helped him survive the White House.

“…talked about the indispensable role that books have played during his presidency and throughout his life — from his peripatetic and sometimes lonely boyhood, when “these worlds that were portable” provided companionship, to his youth when they helped him to figure out who he was, what he thought and what was important.”

When Breath Becomes Air

 

I just finished a book that has stayed with me, When Breath Becomes Air. It’s a non-fiction autobiographical book written by Paul Kalanithi, about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It’s a quick read that packs a powerful punch. Sad, poignant, introspective — all words to describe it. I went back and reread parts after I was done because I wanted to feel the feelings again after reading the closing chapter which was written by his wife, Lucy.

Help! The Digital World is Taking Over Our Lives

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I rarely watch videos from start to end when they are more than a few min long, but the other day this one: Simon Sinek speaking about Millennials in the workplace of today, caught my attention and has really stuck with me. I have had to learn how to manage millennials and work with them in my day to day life. They are definitely a different generation than the GenX I am a part of.

Simon brings up so many good points about why they are the way they are — but his points don’t only apply to the Millennial generation. So many of us are addicted to our devices. We don’t leave home without them, we sit down at the table with them right beside us, we bring them to meetings – we are attached to these devices night and day. I remember having to sit for Jury Duty and the first thing I thought –WTF I can’t bring my phone or iPad while I wait? What am I going to do?? (I ended up running into an old friend and we chatted the time away and I wasn’t chosen so I got to leave early – so it all worked out.)

 

 

I went to Wegmans earlier this week and after watching this video, I stood in line and purposely left my phone at my side but what did I see all around me? Everyone else was on their phones waiting for their lane to checkout. Sinek is so spot on – we are losing the moments of connection, the moments that lead to an idea, innovation. We are so busy looking down at our phones, we miss out on all the opportunities to connect with others – known and unknown.  We need to look up more. I’m not in the camp that devices are evil – but they have all but taken over our lives. We are rarely disconnected, our kids are viewing celebrity lives through filtered lenses, heck, we see our own community through filters.  It does affect people –good and bad.

I wonder how hard it would be for all of us to do a digital cleanse? Maybe it would do us all good especially now that Trump will be in office soon and with him, comes a lot of propaganda, fake news and sensationalism.

Have you done a digital cleanse? Let me know —

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Do Not Confuse Motion with Progress

There’s No Escaping Getting Older

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Carrie Fisher quoteAs if hearing about George Michael’s passing wasn’t enough, now Carrie Fisher has died too. If you grew up in the 80’s, like I did, you have noticed that many of our childhood heroes and iconic figures are dying. Nancy Reagan, Prince, Bowie, Ali to name a few. I wonder if this is the beginning of our generation starting to feel old…

Carrie Fisher was Princess Leia in Star Wars- and if you know my family, Scotty’s favorite thing is STAR WARS. Beyond that, she was an author, comedienne and lent her voice to help to remove the stigma of mental illness- sharing that she was bi-polar.  It’s no secret she had led a pretty hard life  — and it eventually catches up to you, I guess.

It’s another reason why taking care of ourselves is so important. We aren’t spring chickens anymore. We can’t pass for kids in our 20s. We are getting old.  Just last night, Scott and I hit up the new MGM Casino at the National Harbor for his birthday. As we were walking into the casino, with our IDs ready for inspection, what happens? The security guard says – Ma’am you can go on through. No ID check, no humor me and look at the damn thing, nothing and he added a Ma’am to boot. What’s next?  Reading glasses!!!??

I realize there is no escaping getting older, so why do I, like so many others. fear it or live in constant denial that it’s happening? I don’t have an answer, but here are some articles to read for insight…

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Be Inspired

Just Enjoy Today

Parenting: Does It Ever Get Easier?

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It’s no secret that I’m not the tallest person — I’m around 5’3. Scotty, my husband, is 6’3. I figured when we had kids that they would most likely be taller than me. So, while it’s not a surprise that HB is now taller – there is a milestone moment in parenting when it hits you  – your baby is now grown up. I had that moment recently and my super tall husband had to point it out —

Parenting: It Never Gets EasierWe were shopping at a local sports store and I couldn’t reach something –so I asked HB to get it for me and sure enough, she reached up and got it with no problem. It was not a noticeable moment for me – do you know how many times I have to ask someone to get something for me? I can’t count that high — short people are used to asking for help.  But Scotty – well he strolled by and asked “Did you just ask HB to get something up high for you?”  That was the moment when I realized it had happened. My first born child is growing up. Can we make time stop?

As much as I love who she is now, I wish I had that time back when she was a baby. I would have been less nervous with her and enjoyed the time more. Life really does happen so quickly and before you know it – they are up and grown and your roles change. Circle of life, I suppose. Parenting – it never gets easy – what’s hard just changes.

Other thoughts around Parenting

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Laugh

Scotty posted this to my Facebook wall recently to let me know I’m not alone. I was once asked by a friend, “Does your husband know you are moving out?” after he saw my car.

Be Inspired

Challenging Times Lead to Empowering Lessons

Kindness Benefits the Mind and Body

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It should go without saying, but it’s more important than ever to look for ways to help each other out in our own neighborhoods and globally. Look for ways to lift each other up when possible -even if its simply a kind word and approach things with the best intentions. And, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that most people in our lives try to act with the best intentions even if they annoy us. And above all — BE KIND. Kindness Matters always. 

Health Benefits of Kindness

Kindness Benefits the Mind and BodyDid you know there is scientific research that proves being kind and generous is actually good for your health? When you do something that makes you feel good, your body makes Oxytocin, which then releases nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels and reduces your blood pressure!

Research has also shown a link between being kind and your body releasing dopamine, which helps with your mood and aids in giving you a sense of euphoria and eases anxiety.

Here’s some good info on Why Being Kind is Good for your Health to drive the point home even more…

On a related note, I do not share much related to religion here, however, this was a story and a lesson about kindness and support that should resonate with us all, especially now as we are seeing an increase in hate crimes and mean spirited politics…

 

“Let me tell you the secret of Judaism. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others; then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is “Judaism 101”.”

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No Mediocre

Fitness is Rented and Needs to Be Paid Every Day

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Where have I been? What’s been going on? I wish I could share some exciting details or news, but the truth is I have been lacking inspiration and motivation the past few weeks. Maybe it’s the election results, or the change of seasons- whatever it is, it’s been affecting me big time.

Fitness is RentedNow that the holiday season is here, most of us will be out socializing a lot more than usual. I get invited to a ton of Holiday Parties and Happy Hours in December and if I’m not careful, I start to slip back into old eating habits. I’m sure I’m not alone.  Last week, during one of my Body By Wayne training sessions, I was bitching about how hard the workout was (something I do regularly). I asked Wayne why it’s so hard to stay lean and healthy. How come there isn’t a pill I can take to keep this way? I workout all the damn time –hard workouts, that challenge me in many different ways, but yet each time I go, it’s a mental and physical challenge once again.  It’s not freakin’ fair, but the truth is — Fitness is rented. You have to pay that rent each and every day. And if it’s important to you, then you will do it.

What keeps me motivated to stay fit?

Here’s some insight into how I think…

  1. I have seen far too many older people become immobile and unable to take care of their most basic needs without help. For some, it wasn’t something under their control, but for the vast majority – if they moved their bodies and paid a bit more attention to their overall health when they were younger, they wouldn’t be that way.  When I start to lament about having to workout, I remember this.
  2. When Scotty was sick with colon cancer, we spent every other Tues at Georgetown Hospital getting his chemo. I saw and met a lot of very sick people. Exercising is one of the best ways to prevent many cancers — and it’s an hour of of my day.  One friggin hour! And if you can’t do a full workout – then just go for a walk. MOVE YOUR BODY. I remember our time getting Scotty well and the people I met. 
  3. I live in the suburbs and I am seeing more and more, people my age ignoring their health. We are at the cusp of “no, we aren’t old” and “no, we aren’t young” and so many of take little time to take care of ourselves. We know how important it is – but tend to get wrapped up in everything else. I remind myself how important it is to take time for myself to take care of myself. Not only for my own well-being, but as a good role model for my kids.

After thinking about those three important things, how can I really not go and workout? Those aren’t trivial reasons and I have no real excuse to skip. Not to mention that I love the feeling I have after a good workout and the great people I have met through my fitness journey. Hopefully, the insight I shared will help motivate you to stop waiting and begin…

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Determination is your responsiblity

Election in America: Pulling up the Bootstraps

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Election in America: Pulling up the BootstrapsToday I am choosing Happiness. I am willing to accept the outcome (like I have a choice or anything) and will be figuring out how I help. For me, it was important to take time yesterday to feel what I was feeling. I am seeking to learn about the perspective of those that voted for Trump. I want to understand – really I do. One of the most shocking things to me about the election was the realization that I didn’t even know how a huge number of people were feeling in this country. I like to think I am a caring, smart, well-read person, so for me not to even know the disillusionment and anger that a huge percentage of people are feeling — it rocks me to my core.

I didn’t spend my time yesterday insulting anyone. I spent my time thinking about what happened and seeking clarity on what exactly happened. If you don’t understand what caused this outcome, than you can’t do much to fix it.

I am finding it difficult to understand some Trump supporters reasoning’s though. When asked about how they reconcile Trump being ok with having the KKK support him, I’ve read that “it’s a Democrat conspiracy”, even when presented with a tweet from David Duke himself. It seems that some of his supporters are fine with simply ignoring some of the dirtier aspects of their candidate while magnifying those of HRC.  I am truly trying to understand because I don’t.

However, I did read a really well thought out post yesterday from Alex Young that put some perspective around this whole thing for me and suggested a coherent game plan that we all need to get behind…

I am concerned about what Trump’s win says about us a country. We are really broken — and yes, we are America and will pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and fight against injustice. It’s in our blood. I trust in the great document that we live and die by created by our founding fathers. It has stood the test of time. But, this is a big shift in our country and a wake up call for each and every one of us. Yes, politicians come and go. Yes, I woke up today and have the same responsibilities to my family as I did Monday.  But, none of us should forget we have a responsibility to our country and to each of its citizens. We can’t grow and prosper without taking care of one another. And that’s what I am going to focus on.

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