Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Ah, you should know this is going to be good, with a title like that!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck 

The point is, most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given. We give a fuck about the rude gas station attendant who gave us too many nickels. We give a fuck when a show we liked was canceled on TV. We give a fuck when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend. We give a fuck when it’s raining and we were supposed to go jogging in the morning.
Fucks given everywhere. Strewn about like seeds in mother-fucking spring time. And for what purpose? For what reason? Convenience? Easy comforts? A pat on the fucking back maybe?
This is the problem, my friend.
Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.
Indeed, the ability to reserve our fucks for only the most fuckworthy of situations would surely make life a hell of a lot easier. Failure would be less terrifying. Rejection less painful. Unpleasant necessities more pleasant and the unsavory shit sandwiches a little bit more savory. I mean, if we could only give a few less fucks, or a few more consciously-directed fucks, then life would feel pretty fucking easy.

So much goodness in here, and so much well-placed swearing. The kind of shit I would write if I were about 8,000,000 times better at writing. Truly: the BEST.

>>> <<<

The first time I came across this site, I DEVOURED it. I highly recommend doing the same.

Start here (after enjoying the above post):

Friday, January 16, 2015

Your Body Is a Miracle, and You're Missing It

I just stumbled across this blog and have fallen in LURVE. I have yet to read everything she's written, but this one is really speaking to screaming at me.

Step Away From The Mirror… Your Body Is a Miracle, and You’re Missing It

The body is, and always has been, a miracle. We follow the calls of nature to mate, we grow life inside us, we know when we need to fuel and when we need to release, we can mirror and bond with each other intuitively, and our brains can heal our bodies with placebos. We are incredible, but we forget all of that awesome stuff when we place our value and focus on our “exteriors” (aka physiques).
If I had focused on how the exterior of my favorite book looked on the shelf, I would have never gotten to dive into the world of magic and heroinism that has helped me to better understand myself and the nature of being truly alive.  
That would have been a travesty, and my life would have been far less rich.
The same can be said of our bodies. If we focus solely on how they look from the outside, we are missing out on the opportunity to love and grateful for the magic and joy of our insides. (After all, when you start a fitness routine, your physique might improve, but so too might your bone density, your blood pressure, your cholesterol, and your resting heart rate, right?)
I think appreciating your body for all of its complex internal magic and awesomeness is a great way to re-shape the dialogue you have with yourself.
Clicky to read the rest and browse through everything else:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

1000 words & $0.02

So simple when we see it like this, and yet so hard to comprehend that it also applies to us.

Only the innards of these fruits truly matter, and the same is true of you

Your loved ones care about who you are inside, not your shape, or size, or imperfections (real or perceived).

Today, right now, this very second, exactly as you are: you are loved, and you are lovable, and you are absolutely glorious.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

So, You Wanna Be A Badass?

Well, the first thing you need to know: it won’t happen today, nor tomorrow, nor next week. Depending on where you’re starting from, it might not even be next year.

But it will happen, provided you commit to it, and work toward it daily. 

Take it from someone who started from scratch – that’s me. 

This is the story of my badassery, and I am hoping that it will help you.

I grew up as an unathletic, wimpy, uncoordinated bookworm. Just a typical weak girl, who wasn’t interested in being strong anyway. My flexed arm hang didn’t even last a recordable second: literally, zero exaggeration, you couldn’t have hit the stop button fast enough after hitting the start button. I once read three books on a Sunday as a pre-teen, and Mr King’s 1000-page rambling novels were no match for my voracious eyes. I was a straight-A student and received a bachelor’s degree 1.5 years ahead of everyone else I graduated high school with. Being super-smart was my thing. I didn’t watch a single game of any kind at college, and I certainly didn’t participate in any sports myself – a laughable suggestion.

Yet today, at age 36, I am absolutely addicted to lifting & running. I hope to bench my bodyweight soon, have just started working toward a single-arm chin-up, and plan to do 6900 pull-ups this year, enough to equate to a MILLION pounds. I also regularly get up at 5am (or earlier) on Saturdays to run for an hour or two with pals, and hardly even blink at running in a -30F windchill.

How in the hell did this happen?

The answer is, as it always is in any success story: little by little.

I didn’t wake up one morning and run a 50k or do 15 pull-ups. Or even 1 pull-up. 

I woke up one morning at age 29 and decided to do SOMETHING, because I was the fattest I’d ever been, and very tired of hating my body. 

I started with a daily 10-minute “toning” class at the work gym: the kind where you do lunges, and curl & press 3-lb weights, still in your work clothes. It was the biggest step outside my comfort zone that I could handle.

Eventually, it became part of my normal routine, and soon I added a 10-minute yoga class…yep, still in work clothes.

A few months later, I graduated to the 30-minute yoga class, the one where you actually change, in a locker room, in front of other people. SO far outside my comfort zone. Until, soon enough, it wasn’t; it became my norm, and in fact yoga became quite enjoyable.

Although I could tell I was getting stronger, my body didn’t change much, and I still didn't like it. I signed up for a 5k with a coworker, accountability that would force me to stick to a couch-to-5k plan. 4 months later, we ran our 5k without walking, and we felt like champions! That coworker is now one of my besties.

I tried new classes at the work gym, because cool coworkers were teaching them, and had a lot of fun. I got downright addicted to a tough strength training class, because it was taught by a woman who became a bestie, and her class became our main hangout time, and man, did we have great times sweating and getting stronger.

Still running, I graduated to 10ks. Oh my goodness, I could run for an hour without walking! Me!

Then I developed problems with my knee when running, so that fun strength class was all I did. And whoa, what’s this now? I missed running a whole lot more than I ever could have predicted. After seeing a seven different doctors who couldn’t fix me, I took a GIANT flying leap outside my comfort zone to work with a personal trainer (me? using a personal trainer? he’s watching my every move, how awkward!).

He got me running again, and I did a half marathon, easily. Then I did a full marathon, where I qualified for Boston. In my first marathon!

Then, surprisingly, my beloved running began to take second place to lifting with that fantastic trainer. Oh, man, I’m gonna do a pull-up! Me, the little weak girl! Then: I shall do many pull-ups. And oh, wow, the barbell, man. Now THAT is some fun stuff. Do you know how STRONG you can get if you work at it? 

I fell in love with coaching others to run, when we did a couch-to-5k plan at the work gym. Soon enough I became I certified Group Fitness Instructor in order to help change the lives of others, the way these others had done for me. Me, now the "expert"! I lead couch-to-5k groups & teach strength training, and OH MAN do I freaking love it.

I also fell in love with trail-running. Nature + movement + quiet = bliss. Oh hey, do you know what trail runners do? They run ULTRA-marathons. So in addition to a couple more marathons, I did a few 50ks. That’s 31 miles! What the?

I don’t love it all, though; I did a kickboxing class once. Once. I completely hated it and never went back. Do you know how much coordination that takes? That’s also why I’m not going to Zumba, or step aerobics, or even Olympic weightlifting. They’re not for me. I’ll go for a bike ride, but no serious distance. And there will be no swimming for this kitty cat – thanks, but no. And listen, I have friends that run ONE HUNDRED MILES - yes, ALL AT ONCE - and I have a bestie who's a freaking beast at them. But I don’t have a desire to do that; 50k is the limit I’m interested in training for, and even that's pushing it. Too much running means too little time for lifting.

Who knew?

Who would have guessed a former bookwormy weakling would take to lifting & running like a duck to water? Who would have known that getting a personal trainer “just to get me running again” would turn into a 5-year (& counting) cherished relationship with him, no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity in my life? I even work part-time as an admin at his gym (dream job: work there full-time), and the other trainers are some of my very favorite people. Who expected me to be the sort of person who has her own squat rack in the basement, and a pull-up bar in the pantry doorway, and gymnastic rings in the garage (for even more pull-ups)?

No one knew any of that, nor could possibly have predicted any of it - not even me.

Especially not me. I didn't anticipate any of this when I took that first step.

And I'm still not done evolving. I love running, and I have run a lot of races, but I don’t care about racing anymore. And road races? Barf; you might as well ask me to swim. I just wanna run in the woods with my pals. I want to lift heavy, have felt the pull of competition, and I have some hardcore goals, but I’m not interested in competing right now. I've dialed back on tracking some of my data, compared to a time when I obsessively tracked every number possible and built some beautiful spreadsheets to do so. Things change, and they will keep changing, and all for the better.

Oh, and the best evolution of all? What I look like prompted the first step of this journey. (I spent wasted a whole lot of this time caring a LOT about how I looked, and getting leaner, and then getting fatter, and being miserable about it, but allathat is another post for another time.) Back to now, and the best part. Now what I look like is completely irrelevant to the reason I do all this. What I feel like is what matters.

And if you haven't already figured this out: I feel awesome.

I just plain enjoy every bit of it. I enjoy running in the woods with my friends, I enjoy knocking out pull-ups, I am addicted to benching, and I love working with my trainer. These aren't things I make myself do. They are things I crave on a daily basis, in order to live, in order to thrive.

The above story covers a timespan of seven years. The change is dramatic, but the progress was little by little, baby step by baby step, day by day - as it always is.

The whole point of the above rambling is for you to understand the process: I kept trying stuff until I found stuff I LOVED, and it became my passion, and a natural, necessary part of my daily life. And so I did a lot of it, and thus I got better at it, and naturally I loved it even more. On and on and on, in a beautiful upward spiral, until it became a delightful source of fulfillment.

THAT is the secret of my badassery.

I am positive the same process will work for anyone, because there was absolutely nothing special about me when I started this journey: no talent, no innate athleticism, no adolescent background of former strength to return to.

So…back to you, and where you are, and where you can start. If you want to be a badass, then your next step is to start trying things. Try anything. Try everything.

Force yourself outside your comfort zone as far as you can manage today. It doesn’t have to be a huge leap, it just needs to be a change. Remember, my journey started with a 10-minute class in my work clothes.

Take that first step. Once that's easy, take another step.

Start saying “yes” to new things, until you are sure that you want to say “no” to them. Pretty soon you will find yourself zeroing in on the things that you love. And soon after that, you won’t simply be saying “yes” – you’ll be saying "ABSOLUTELY!"

I promise you that finding your source of daily enjoyment will fuel consistency, will fuel results, will fuel your own upward spiral in your own journey.

In a simple matter of time, you too will be truly, madly, deeply BADASS. 

All the progress I’ve made toward becoming the strong person I am today can be found in this very simple quote:

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal.

My strength lies solely in my tenacity.

–Louis Pasteur

Go forth, find your fun, get tenacious, and let me know how it goes.

I'll be over here doing pull-ups.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nutrition Made Simple

If you’re easily overwhelmed by recipes and just plain don’t know what on earth to eat, here is a non-cook’s guide to making two healthy meals a day in less than 30 minutes - from a fellow non-cook:

In the morning, you need like 5 minutes: put a hunk of meat in the slow cooker (it can be frozen and it can be any meat: whole chicken, package of chops, beef roast, your choice – just make sure it’s enough to have leftovers). Shake on some spices (whatever you like, and if you’re clueless then buy a jar of combined spices a la Tastefully Simple [sorry that’s my only example, that’s all I’ve got in my pantry since I work there]). Turn it on low, and go about your day. I’ve left meat in there for 24 hours – it will be ready when you are, and no, your house won’t burn down.

When you get home, you will need maybe 20 minutes for your side – try not to drool over how amazing the meat smells. Dice an onion & garlic (or open up that spice shaker again) into a pan with olive oil. While those get started, chop at least two kinds of veggies (cauliflower, carrots, beets, bok choy, try something new, buy what’s on sale, anything!) and then sauté that all until it’s done (again, make enough for leftovers). Hot tip for extra bonus flavor: chop up a slice of bacon into that mess. MMMM.

Serve with your meat. Enjoy a perfectly healthy, super easy, delicious meal. Package up leftovers into meal-size containers, and eat it again for lunch at work tomorrow.


If you care EVEN MORE for simplicity than you do for variety: on the weekend, slow-cook much more of that meat and roast a lot more of those veg in the oven, then package up into meals, and you’re set. That’s what I do, along with a half hour or so spent chopping up raw veggies for a daily salad, to which I add avocado & balsamic vinegar, sided with a “convenience protein” such as an Applegate beef hot dog w/ mustard.

Bottom line: unless you truly enjoy the challenge of cooking from scratch, make it as easy as possible on yourself to stick to sweeping changes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Forget Your Weight

I had a cool moment this weekend. I weighed myself for the first time in about a year, expecting 145-150. For the past few months, I have been assuming I'm more like 150, and so I set my 2015 pull-ups goal based on that weight (6,667 pulls = ONE MEELLION pounds over the course of 2015) - but the scale showed me I was only 141.

That's not the cool part. The cool part is that I didn't have ANY emotional reaction whatsoever. Nothing.

This was my train of thought, in totality:

"Really? Huh, I wonder if that's right. Surprising. I guess then I'll have to do more pull-ups to hit a million pounds. Well, first I really should check whether that's accurate. I'll hop on another scale before I finalize that pull-ups goal."

That's it. I went on with my life. Zero emotion, good or bad, just the mental note to verify so that I make sure to hit a million pounds of pull-ups.

Whether 141, or 150, it's just a number, just a simple fact. It doesn't actually MEAN anything. (Of course it doesn't!)

Except then yesterday I had a REALLY COOL moment because that number DOES mean something else: "zOMG WAIT. If I weigh 141, then I'm only 6 pounds away from benching my bodyweight! YEAH BITCHEZ!!"


Anyway, four years ago, my scale absolutely determined my emotion. I lived and died by that damn number. There were days I'd approach the pull-up bar thinking about how my weight was up and so these were going to be harder, or fewer - and BOOM they were harder and fewer. And I damn well know that my weight increase of 8 ounces didn't have a thing to do with it.

So to get here, not caring what I weigh, zero emotion relative to the's incredible. And a much better, healthier, happier way to live.

Today I read a fantabulous post by the wise Jen Comas Keck about the very same thing: your scale is a pretty stupid pointless thing to own.

The Scale: Not Worth Its Weight

Who the hell cares what I weigh?  
Do my friends care what I weigh? My loved ones? The people at the DMV? No, no, and no.

People that love you care about two things: your health, and happiness, neither of which should require a scale to tell you, so why do so many of us put so much emphasis, day in and day out, on what is ultimately an insignificant number?
Read it all. And throw out that stupid scale.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

If Your Body Could Talk...

...this is TOTALLY what it would say!

We need to talk…

Hey you!
Put down that device and listen up. I have something to say and I need your complete attention.
This is your body speaking. Remember me? I’m the one that keeps you alive. I’m the one that makes it all happen for you. I’m the one that learns your world. I’m the ultimate source of your creativity and yes, your intelligence. But I’m getting really tired of the way you’ve been treating me lately. In fact, I think it’s time to call this for what it is: an abusive relationship.

And on & on. So good.

Go read:

I've heard many references to Exuberant Animal, but never checked it out. So glad I finally did, so sorry I didn't do it sooner.