Thursday, December 1, 2016

Let Go of ALL or NOTHING

Extremistan is not a happy place to live. Read this for some good advice on finding moderation.

Many people think that in order to benefit from something, they have to go all-in. The problem with this is that, for most people, the opposite of going all-in is going, well, all-out. Going all-out is about much more than the extra calories consumed. Going all out can lead to some pretty destructive eating behaviors and habits. Behaviors and habits that can be really hard to break, like eating until you are absolutely stuffed, or eating anything in front of you simply because it’s there.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pursuing Happiness

This post is quite the homage, and I think a good life goal would be to be the sort of person who has things like this written about them.

But also it's got great, concrete advice about HOW to work toward being that relentlessly positive person.
It starts with presence. According to studies, 46.9% of your waking hours is spent thinking about what isn’t going on in that particular moment. For instance, as you walk down the street, your mind often goes to future conversations or past events instead of focusing on the present.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ten Good Commandments

Number one is THE reason I am the fit person I am.

1. Thou shalt feel the love
It’s impossible to sustain something you hate long term, so don’t concern yourself with what is the better calorie burner or muscle builder, but instead experiment with a variety of things. Embrace that which feeds your fitness soul and eschew others. If it is fun and enjoyable you will want to keep doing it.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Be positive! I SAID BE POSITIVE.

People’s reactions to perceived unhappiness, especially in women & young people, are interesting. Those reactions are often very intense. Strangers & acquaintances alike feel compelled to chastise me for not being grateful for my life, or to remind me that my situation could be worse, or that I’m beautiful & should therefore go through life gifting the world with my permanently bared teeth.
It’s worse online, where Instagram & Facebook often feel overrun by positivity pushers who replace fitspo with memes that demand I never feel bad or self-conscious or anything less than 100% pure gratitude for every single experience of my day. Everything is a gift, the positivity pressure tells me, so say thank you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Up and Down

Jenny Lawson is one of my favorite writers. Book, blog, anything, everything.

This post is on living with depression. If you've ever had it, read this.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Self-Care For The Depressed

Yes to everything written here, from one who's been there:
Self-care includes a lot of adult-ing, and activities you want to put off indefinitely. Self-care sometimes means making tough decisions which you fear others will judge. Self-care involves asking for help; it involves vulnerability; it involves being painfully honest with yourself and your loved ones about what you need.
I am reconstructing my ideas about what it means to take radically good care of myself. I am making it a priority, to the detriment of other priorities, because I have to come the realization that my life depends on it. I will tell the truth about my present self-care, even though I have zero assurances I am getting it right. Because a) getting it right is not the point (but God, do I love to get things right), and b) the other thing nobody tells you about self-care is that it’s nearly impossible to know if you’re doing it right, until months later when you either find yourself feeling better or shittier.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Food Is Fuel

Informative AND entertaining reading:
When you refer to food as fuel it does NOT mean that you dismiss all the things that food is and does. It does not mean that you see fuel as the only story about food. Rather, it’s a way of communicating food to people who desire simplification of eating in a way that they can relate to and follow.
Hang on; we’re going to get all science-y on your ass.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

On Self-Care

I love this phrase: socially exhausted.
I’m not going to call myself an introvert because I find the term has become overly popular lately, with online quizzes that label anyone who doesn’t want to put pants on sometimes or likes to relax quietly after a night out as introverted. If I had to put a name to it, I might call myself “socially exhaustible.” I can function in social situations, even enjoy myself, but getting to know new people or spending time in crowds or groups drains me pretty quickly. I love the people I love and draw strength and joy from them, and I do genuinely like learning more about new friends, but I need some regular and intentional me-time if I want to continue functioning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Coveted Work-Life Balance

Pete Dupuis is in the world of fitness business consulting, a father, and a damn good writer. This post is specific to his experience, but the lessons relate to just about anyone.

Finding balance in my own personal and professional life is not a finite game. Due to the constantly changing circumstances of my life, there will never be a moment where I can say that I’ve found the permanent recipe for work-life balance. Instead, I can only tell you what has worked for me in the past, and you can go ahead and cherry-pick the ideas that bring value to your search for balance.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Smartypants Womenfolk

A bunch of really smart women sound off about current trends in strength training, and it's all gold.

Go read it, maybe you'll find a new genius to follow!

Without further ado, I have asked some incredibly amazing female health and fitness professionals to discuss what fitness trend they dislike. While on any other occasion, I would have made sure that I represented an equal amount of males and females, the fact that females were completely excluded from the article made me want to give women as much exposure as possible. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Goals Evolve

This post is written specifically about how training goals evolve, but I think it's true of how ANY area evolves. Read it a second time while thinking about nutrition, or your job, or even the state of your house.

I found it great food for thought because it feels very accurate and applicable in my own life. In the performance realm, I hope it helps me to stop judging aesthetic goals as superficial, and performance goals as worthy, which I've found myself doing lately. Yet neither goal is be-all and end-all, and without the former I myself would never have discovered the latter...thus making all of it worthy.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Short-Circuit Your Feedback Loop

I'm currently reading Mark Manson's stellar book, and this post is a direct excerpt from a section definitely spoke to me. (I highly recommend the entire book, there are links to do so in his post.)

Back in Grandpa’s day, he would feel like shit and think to himself, “Gee whiz, I sure do feel like a cow turd today. But hey, I guess that’s just life. Back to shoveling hay.”
But now? Now if you feel like shit for even five minutes, you’re bombarded with 350 images of people totally happy and having amazing fucking lives, and it’s impossible to not feel like there’s something wrong with you.
It’s this last part that gets us into trouble. We feel bad about feeling bad. We feel guilty for feeling guilty. We get angry about getting angry. We get anxious about feeling anxious. What is wrong with me?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Stop the Struggling

Nia lays out my past life in a nutshell. Maybe yours, too.
The all or nothing approach isn’t just flawed — it’s dangerous. The “all” end can lead to obsession (some may binge eat, develop disordered eating habits, use exercise as punishment, etc.), shame and guilt (from being unable to sustain such a rigid methodology), and of course dissatisfaction from never reaching one’s goals. The “nothing” end is, well, where you don’t do a damn thing; you don’t work out regularly or make consistent smart food choices. Since you’re not “doing the plan perfectly” you decide not to do anything.
I can't say I've got her solution down pat, but I can say I believe it IS the solution, and I'm striving for it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Losing Your Mind Over Nothingness

Oh man, does this description of her mental spiral sound familiar to me...
So, I let a situation that is completely irrelevant to me, out of my control, and 100% not my business, absolutely destroy my day. Oops.
I obsessed over it. I talked it through with my bestie. I ate approximately one bazillion chocolate-covered almonds for dinner. I might have done a little bit of crying.
I tried to take my mind off of it, but I kept choosing to replay everything in my head over and over again.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Calorie Counting: Maybe Don't

Depending on who you are, calorie counting may be a No Good Very Bad idea for you.

For me it was temporarily okay, to learn where I was & where I should be, and how to pick the right foods for my workout needs...but I continued to do it for YEARS because I am exactly & precisely reason #3 that you will read in this post.

If you are also a high-achieving perfectionist, and you feel you need to count calories in order to get your eating in order, then my recommendation is that you put a defined TIMELINE in place before you even begin. Go ahead & log calories for X days or X weeks, using the info to make smart nutrition decisions, and then once you reach that point, STOP.

If you've been doing it right (with the goal of learning how to eat right for your body), then you will have built the habits necessary to continuing eating to your needs, and you'll hopefully have learned how to gauge that based on your body's feedback, NOT simply on what the little calorie-tallying charts tell you.

Here's where I am today:

Every now and then, when I start to feel terrible (low energy, poor sleep, etc), I realize I am probably not eating enough, so I count calories for a few days to see where I am. Invariably, I find that I am about 500 calories south of where I should probably be - so with that info, I STOP COUNTING and start making a conscious effort to add more calories. Soon enough, I feel strong & badass again.

Every now and then, when I start to feel like clothes aren't fitting right and maybe I'm a little fluffier than I want to be...I DO NOT start counting calories. I merely pay better attention to what I'm eating, and I realize that I probably should stop buying chips & pizza for a while, until my usual good habits are back in charge and most of my intake is en pointe. Then I can buy chips & pizza again, and they remain "sometimes foods" until I get out of whack again.

And my friend, listen to this: I am not bouncing back & forth between these options on a weekly basis. The first happens 1-2 times per YEAR. The second, again 1-2 times per YEAR.

This is a life worth living, far more enjoyable than tallying every calorie every day for the rest of your miserable life.

And you can get there, I know you can - if I can do it, ANYONE can do it. I believe in you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Steps Toward Normal

A continuation of her prior post, which I shared last month:
It is so important to note that my unhealthy lifestyle was not the cause of my problems, it was just a symptom of a larger issue, not being true to myself and not living an authentic life. I think this is the case with most people who adopt unhealthy eating and workout patterns. A larger issue or stressor is causing them to use exercise and nutrition in a negative manner to control whatever they are feeling powerless over. Like an injury, unless you address the root cause of the problem, you will never find a permanent solution, and will likely experience one setback after another. I eventually recognized this, and made loving my authentic self and living my life openly a huge priority. After all, doing so was a choice. This is when all aspects of my life changed for the better, including my workouts and nutrition.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stop Trying To Have It All

My version of this is a constant struggle for me, and I suspect it's true for most of us.
What’s changed is not our inability to manage our time or “balance our lives” between work and play. What’s changed is that we have more opportunities for work and play than ever before — more interests, more awareness of every potential experience we’re passing up. In short, we have more opportunity cost.
And we’re made aware of this in a terribly connected way each day. Every person who decides to sacrifice their dating life to advance their career is now bombarded constantly by the rambunctious sex lives of their friends and strangers. Every person who sacrifices their career prospects to dedicate more time and energy to their family is now bombarded with the material successes of the most exceptional people around them at all times. Every person who decides to take a thankless but necessary role in society is now constantly drowned in inane stories of the famous and beautiful.
So how do we respond to this new, overly-connected culture? How do we manage our FOMO?
You CAN and SHOULD read it all:

Monday, September 19, 2016

People Are Medicine

There is something to this, I feel the truth in my soul:

If social isolation and betrayal (especially by people very close to you) facilitate and even trigger addiction, then healing and building meaningful relationships (complete with the requisite vulnerability) might be a partial “cure” for addiction. 
What a beautiful idea: people are medicine.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ignore the Guy in the Next Lane

Life lessons:

The truth is that those in the habit of comparing themselves to others will never get to a point where they are content. Even if they look around and see that they have more money, a better job, a bigger house, or more talented kids than everybody in their neighborhood, there will always be somebody who has more. The constant comparison and fighting to be “the top” only leads to a lifetime of disappointment, criticizing others, and bitterness. There is no “top”.
Is there a better way? I think so.
Here are 4 tips for focusing on the best possible YOU...
All here:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Turning The Dial

This simple advice is spot-the-fuck-ON as far as nutrition goes.
...start where you are, then dial UP certain things and dial DOWN other things. These dials aren’t based on an arbitrary list of “good” or “bad” foods. Instead they are based on objective characteristics of different foods, and what you want to achieve.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Stop It With The Shaming

This girl. She's a fucking genius, and you should read everything she writes. I've probably told you that before.

If you carry shame like I do, you know what a cunning, baffling, and powerful force it can be. Positive affirmations and glittery memes on Facebook urging us to “be authentic” and to “love ourselves” might bolster us for a minute, but they don’t—they can’t—help us overcome shame.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

You Cannot Control Your Way to Freedom


We want to be organized.
We want to be disciplined.
We want to be that person that worked for something, and then got it.
We want to be achievers, the people who don’t just talk about change, but make change.
We want to be the people that take care of ourselves
We want to be rockstars. (figuratively speaking of course, I’m not sure I could personally handle groupies).
And we assume that controlling our food intake is a sign that we are that person.

Friday, August 26, 2016

PWO Grub

Something kinda boring but possibly important: what to eat after your workout?

For me, I'm usually only doing one workout per day, and I alternate lifting & running days, so I don't need to focus hard on immediate recovery. Plus, I typically do my workouts so that a normal meal happens shortly afterward; lift, then eat lunch; run, then eat supper. I have the occasional protein shake or bar as snacks or "tide me over" type meals, but not as PWO recovery. Normal food can do that, ya dig?

I don't really think it needs to be as complicated as much of the health/fitness world thinks. Especially when most of the supplement-happy advice comes from...the businesses that happen to sell said supplements. If you're doing two-a-days and intensely training for some BHAG, well, MAYBE you need to delve further into the details, if real food doesn't seem to be working.

But if you're just a normal person getting your 30-60 minutes per day at an enjoyable level (which is where MOST OF US SHOULD BE) then keep it simple: real food for real health.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Body Shaming: Never Ever Okay

Erin Brown is the kind of woman I want to be. So much of what she writes feels like a punch to the gut, a light shone on my dark past, and a warm bear hug - sometimes all at once. She is brilliant, articulate, and I will read anything she writes. I recommend you do the same.

Shaming someone based on assumptions we make from our perception of them does nothing at all to encourage healthy choices. That remains the same, regardless of the size of the person on whose body we are commenting. While we are not expected to know what someone is going through, we can offer compassion by not judging, not offering commentary and not making their appearance our business. 
To live in a world where women are regarded as people and not decoration, we need to stop making comments on other women’s appearance as though it is our right to do so. We’ll be doing each other a favor.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Avoiding the Ugly

I am sad to say this was pretty much my life for far too long:
Side effects from this one-size-fits all fad diet and brutal workout schedule may include guilt, shame, self-loathing, decreased self-esteem, spending obscene amounts of time working out and thinking about food, decreased energy levels, binge eating, obsessive habits, and other undesirable consequences.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

One Story, Among Many

How one woman got her mental shit together and learned to focus on her health, and enjoy fitness, not just try to "fix" her appearance.

Your triggers may differ, your process may differ, your end result can be the same.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Everything NAILED

This post covers everything I typically rant about in a thorough, well-written, non-profanity-filled*, manner:
An Introduction To Female Fitness as We Know It
When it comes to attaining a svelte, athletic, and powerful physique, while simply feeling confident and healthy, women have to overcome a massive barrage of mental and physical hurdles. Unfortunately, in today’s physical society, including our fitness industry, women and young females are incessantly pressured or shamed into feeling like they should work out, or diet, solely to change their appearance. That they should strive to become a smaller, skinnier, more ‘’feminine,’’ and subservient version of their current self. Though that may seem a bit rash, this is the harsh reality that we need to start facing in order to make a market difference for the future.
In women’s-focused fitness marketing, you will generally hear or see the words – “diet”, “shrink”, “lose”, “tone”, “sculpt”, “calories”, “detox”, etc. However, rarely do you hear/see the words “stronger” and “fitter”, “adding muscle”, and “gaining confidence”. 

*But it's still good, really:

Saturday, August 6, 2016

You Are Not In Competition With Your Past Self

Oh, beloved Neghar, how do you so eloquently speak to my very SOUL?

Used to. As if somehow my younger, once stronger self was in competition with my present self.
Used to. As if today I am less worthy and less of an athlete because I can’t do what I did in the past.
Used to is just another sneaky way in which my inner critic uses shame and unworthiness to spur some sort of misguided ambition.
But it doesn’t really work that way, does it? Shame doesn’t inspire us to work harder or smarter. It simply keeps us feeling small.
Quick read, go enjoy it:


THIS is why I get upset by fitspiration-type encouragement instructing me not to worry about comparing myself to others, but rather to my past self.

This is utter fucking bullshit.

My past self has done some amazing things that today's self is not capable of. And when I take in the highlights ONLY (the effortless 50k, the Boston-qualifying marathon, the 25 ring pull-ups, the 5-pounds-from-bodyweight bench press, the 265# deadlift, the 162 snatches in 5 minutes) I inconveniently forget the very important tidbit that all of these happened at very different times, NOT ALL AT ONCE.

The time of my BQ marathon, I probably could've deadlifted half my current max. The day I did 25x4 ring pulls, I wouldn't have been capable of 25k without massive struggle and pain. The day I killed All The Snatches, I hadn't run more than 3 miles in months.

But that's consistently FORGOTTEN when I look back. My internal voice never points this very important fact out to me. Ever.

So, basically, in her viewpoint...all I can do is fail, compared to my past.

Yet given constantly-changing circumstances in my training, my home, my job(s), my health, my mental state, why on earth do I think that I should continue to improve in ALL areas of my strength and NEVER see decreases? I am not actually Wonder Woman, despite all desire to the contrary. I am a normal human, who will progress, and regress, depending on countless factors, many of which are out of my control.

As long as I am doing my best effort with the body I have TODAY, then whatever I "used to" be capable of is irrelevant.

Here's the competition and comparison you (and I)  can & should choose: what does IDEAL you choose to do today?

Do that. Don't do what s/he would not. Don't judge yourself on the outcome, merely choose the process that Ideal You would choose.

Make only that effort.

Many tomorrows in the future, you will be able to look back and see that each day, you did what you wanted & needed to do, and you will find immense satisfaction in yourself. And again on that future day, you can choose to do what Ideal You would do THAT DAY, without judgment.

It's that simple.

And that hard.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Why Weight-Loss Programs Almost NEVER Work

Beth Clayton (formerly Wittig) is so very smart, so very real, and she writes SO beautifully. She writes directly to your soul.

May I just say something? You are probably an emotional eater, especially if you are reading this. I know because I’m an emotional eater. I know because most people I have ever come in to contact with are emotional eaters.
I’m here to tell you a secret…it has almost nothing to do with food.
You want to get real with emotional eating? It’s time to get real with your life. It’s time to get real with how you communicate with yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. You’re not broken. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to look inward instead of outward. Emotions don’t have to be “bad”, even the painful ones, even the uncomfortable ones. They are sign posts. You just need to start to read their language.
Read it all:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Kids & Specialization

Dearest parents, your child will be best off if you assume that your little one is NOT the next sports superstar, and you let him/her lead a normal, well-rounded childhood.

I know it's hard not to put all your belief in your precious darling, but not one person has ever claimed parenting to be easy. Hard decisions are daily, are they not?

Dr. James Andrews, who has performed countless career-saving surgeries on top-level athletes and is perhaps the most famed sports surgeon on the planet, was recently quoted in the Orlando Sentinel as saying, “Don’t treat 6- and 7-year-old kids like they’re professional athletes. They’re not ready for that level of high-intensity training.”
He extended that message for youth athletes at older ages, pleading for time off between seasons and within sports to help curb the rash of injuries incurred by young athletes.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

On Movement

One of my faves, Krista Scott-Dixon, lays out why we move...and it isn't to whittle a six-pack.
As humans, we move our bodies to express our wants, needs, emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Ultimately, how well we move — and how much we move — determines how well we engage with the world and establish our larger purpose in life.
If you move well, you also think, feel, and live well.
As someone who was initially motivated to move by aesthetic reasons, but quicly transitioned to enjoying the movement itself, I wholeheartedly endorse everything she says here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

You Are More Than Your Body (Fat)

Neghar, bless her smart heart, has a great post here:

In the last few years, I’ve had the extreme pleasure of fully regaining my worthiness and completely detaching it from my physique. A number of these universal truths contributed to that process.
I want to share five mindset shifts that helped me in my process, and that you might find helpful as well, whether you’ve just begun your journey to body acceptance, or you’re well on the way.

Great stuff:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Three Big Rocks

Three simple, vital reminders on sleep, training, and recovery - a quick read, and maybe a very timely refresher:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How To: MED

Two good posts regarding Minimum Effective Dose training, something I struggle with.

If you, too, want to do more more more all the time, please read & absorb the lessons shared here:

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Cover Girl Lays Bare

This is heartbreaking. I suspect just about any model could have written this sad story.

Due to the stimulants of nicotine and caffeine, and the gnawing hunger pains, I rarely slept. Even when I tried to lie down I was jacked up and restless, barely able to shut my eyes. So I took pills to sleep. What a gnarly existence. So many vicious cycles they're impossible to trace. I slept about an hour a night. But sometimes I was so tired from partying, jet lag and an utter lack of nutrition, that I'd stay asleep for 15 hours straight. As you can see, insecurity and the endless desire to look perfect were the only consistent things in my life.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Fitspiration Takedown

Fitspiration is one of those many things that means well (I hope) but encourages unhealthy extremes and bullshit thinking and actually reinforces the same shit that society tells us: it's all about how you look. It's not how you feel each day, not the little daily-life things that get easier, not the energy you have to play tag with your kids.

No, those things aren't enough. You must beat yourself to a pulp to look like the cover of the magazine, only it's a fitness magazine, so, you know, it's better.


The fitness industry—from gyms to clothing manufacturers—collectively produces more propaganda than North Korea, a lot of it just as crazy.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Of Course You're Tired

Read at the end of six straight overbooked months. I've needed to read this since about halfway through, but better late than never.

...the truth is, we’re all tired. Every single one of us. By a certain age, we are all nothing more than an army of broken hearts and aching souls, desperately searching for fulfillment. We want more but we’re too tired to ask for it. We’re sick of where we are but we are too scared to begin again. We need to take risks but we’re afraid to watch it all come crashing down around us. After all, we’re not sure how many times we will be able to start over.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

On Vulnerability

Vulnerability is especially on topic for me lately, as I feel very too much so open to all the feels and all the emotions and lay my heart bare on a daily basis.

But Dallas claims it will make me stronger, and he's a genius, so.

Showing your friends and family only the parts of your life where you have it all together is like letting those people look at a book’s cover or maybe flip through it, but not letting them actually read the book… and then wondering why they don’t understand the story line. We are all too good at keeping a distance between us and others. We hide the ugly parts, the sorrows the fears. Especially the fears. We wear “emotional armor” in an attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt if someone rejects or hurts us. We keep our vulnerability to a minimum in order to prevent others from hurting us, but in doing so, we maintain an extra space between us and them. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fitness Industry: Do Work, Son

EFF YES. So much potential to change lives, so many instances of poor execution.

"Part of why people are anxious about exercising is because we are supposed to be sexy and physically perfect when we do it. We see images of women in tiny shorts and crop tops and this makes people feel inadequate," Adams says. "Research shows that the more we are exposed to images of physical perfection, the more depressed and angry we get. This doesn't motivate; it makes us feel worse and we want to hide."
At the other end of the spectrum, we're bombarded with unflattering pictures of fat people and 'public health' messages about how they're going to die untimely deaths. And as numerous failed anti-obesity advertising campaigns highlight, fear and shame don't help people make healthy decisions in the long term.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Radical Vanity

When a woman sees herself as ugly, fat, stupid, bad, unlikeable, incompetent, or unworthy, what she’s seeing isn’t the truth; it’s just the cognitive distortion she’s been practicing and refining her whole life.
That’s the key, though: Your self-image is the product of practice and refinement. It’s not something you’re stuck with.
It’s something you’re constantly creating. It’s based on what you train your mind to pay attention to, what you do and say, and how you choose to receive information about yourself. This means that your negative self-image, though encouraged at every turn, is something that you are actually doing to yourself. Surviving it requires Radical Vanity.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

You Are Not A Giraffe

A fascinating discussion of anxiety from an evolutionary perspective.
On any given day, most of your choices as a giraffe—like what to eat or where to sleep or when to avoid a predator—make an immediate impact on your life. You live in what researchers call an Immediate Return Environment because your actions deliver immediate benefits. Your life is strongly oriented toward the present moment.
Now, let’s flip the script and pretend you are one of the humans vacationing on safari. Unlike the giraffe, humans live in what researchers call a Delayed Return Environment.
Most of the choices you make today will not benefit you immediately. If you do a good job at work today, you’ll get a paycheck in a few weeks. If you save money now, you’ll have enough for retirement later. Many aspects of modern society are designed to delay rewards until some point in the future.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Universe & You

I do love the idea that the Universe is working for you, you just have to ask, you need to vibrate at a higher level, you have to put out what you want to receive, etc. It reinforces my childish desire to love everything and believe the best of everyone, always, and good things will result.

But then, dammit, you learn too much about the universe and you understand that such talk is no different than the usual religious dogma about a supreme being that knows all.

Then you have to ask yourself, what if there is NOTHING out there caring about you?


Then I guess the only power "out there" that can change your life is actually inside me.

And, if the power is inside me, doesn't that mean I hold the reins to the life I want?

Isn't that BETTER than relying on some hopeful "out there" being or spirit or wave of light?

What are you so fucking worried about? 
You are here now. Eventually, you will be gone. You have but a nanosecond on the universal clock to do whatever it is you’re going to do. When that time is gone, it’s gone. Forever. 
That means that although what you do doesn’t matter to the universe, it should matter one hell of a lot to YOU. 
In fact, it should matter to you more than it currently does. If you knew how small you are and how short a time you have to do what you can, you wouldn’t waste time watching five fucking hours of TV a day. You wouldn’t waste time doing a job you hate. You wouldn’t waste the little time you have dealing with assholes, feeling sorry for yourself, or being timid about the things you’d really like to do.

Why do we waste so much of our precious, limited energy on such bullshit? Don't get me wrong: I do it too. I spend at least 90% of my time fetal-ed up in crippling angst about shit that Does. Not. Matter. But at least I'm aware, and at least I'm at 10%.

Join me in the battle to get to 100%. Let's go fly our own fucks.

Monday, June 6, 2016

One For The Males To Read

A post about the endless ways, big & small, that men try to control women. And it's written by a man.

She doesn’t owe you a smile, a wave, her phone number, a date, a second date, a kiss, a blowjob or a fuck. It doesn’t matter if you complimented her, bought her drinks, took her to dinner, gave her a ride or made her a mix tape. She doesn’t owe you shit.
Stop turning a blind eye. Believe what women say, and admit that rape culture is a real thing. I know some people call bullshit on that term, but after reading the comments in this piece what the hell else would you call it?

There are some powerful stories in this post.

Men, go read them. No matter what. Do it. Fucking DO IT.

Women, go read them if you are mentally okay with stories of men overpowering women for no reason but that they can. If you have trauma you are still coping with, please don't read. You don't need any more of this shit. (Well, none of us do, but those of us strong enough may need some more reasons to fight.)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Athlete + Injury = Despair

I have been in these sad-sack shoes far too many times in my life, and I'm not remotely the world-class athlete Amelia is.

Muscles heal. Bones grow. It’s the mental part of injury that haunts us – that keeps us awake at night. It’s the demons and the voices in the head – the fear that we’ll “never get back” to where we once were, or we “threw away all that hard work and training” or that we were in the “best shape of our lives” and now can only sit by as first-row spectators to watch as we lose our muscle, our endurance, our speed, our V02Max, and, at the core of it, our sense of self and our confidence.
And, if you really, truly, love your sport, what eats at you day and night is the overwhelming sense of losing a part of yourself. You mourn those missed opportunities. Toeing that start line. The joy of a hard training session and the feeling of accomplished soreness. You feel…lost. A ship without an anchor. Or fries without ketchup.

Side note: I actually met her when we were crewing BK out at Tahoe, and she was a chatty, friendly soul whose boyfriend was also racing. I had no idea who she was, but in talking with us she merely said her "background is in adventure racing" which cracks me up to this day. Modest, much?! She was on the motherfucking cover of Runner's World at that very moment!! She is the World's Toughest Mudder!

Anyway, this is a good read about how to deal when your life seems to crash down because you can't [insert your beloved hobby here].

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Screw the Aging Process

Nailed it:
People tend to resort to the “sexy” fitness and diet trends because they promise quick results that not only go against the science of strength training and nutrition but also are not sustainable. The “unsexy” takes some effort and planning; it’s so much easier to take a diet pill, make a shake, or follow a juice cleanse (even if it doesn’t work in the long run!) instead of to prepare a healthy meal with real foods and follow a regular exercise routine that includes strength training and some high intensity interval conditioning. People say they “don’t have time,” and don’t want to put forth the effort.
I encourage you to avoid focusing on the pictures of this super-fit woman, which are irrelevant to the actual content of the post. Sure, she looks amazing, but the whole point is that she's healthy as fuck - which is entirely achievable for all of us.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Biggest Loser Baloney

Kelly Coffey writes amazing things.

You should read them all.

Here's a good one to start with:

I believe I've touted her before, but if not that's my monstrous oversight...go immerse yourself in the wonder that is she:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Evolution of YOU

I just finished reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, which I highly recommend. Delightful explanations of all things scienc-y, from impossibly small molecules to the impossibly large universe, and everything in between. It's 478 devourable pages, I promise you.

I marked two passages for preservation, rereading, and reinforcement.

For the first, some perspective on how fleeting your life is:

If you imagine the 4,500-billion-odd years of Earth's history compressed into a normal earthly day, then life begins very early, about 4 a.m., with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 p.m. trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 p.m. plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow.
Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scene just before 11 p.m. and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minutes and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. Throughout this greatly speeded-up day continents slide about and bang together at a clip that seems positively reckless. Mountains rise and melt away, ocean basins come and go, ice sheets advance and withdraw. And throughout the whole, about three times every minute, somewhere on the planet there is a flash-bulb pop of light marking the impact of a Manson-sized meteor or one even larger. It's a wonder that anything at all can survive in such a pummeled and unsettled environment. In fact, not many things do for long.

And the second, an illustration of how incredibly rare you are:
Go back just eight generations to about the time that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born, and already there are over 250 people on whose timely couplings your existence depends. Continue further, to the time of Shakespeare and the Mayflower Pilgrims, and you have no fewer than 16,384 ancestors earnestly exchanging genetic material in a way that would, eventually and miraculously, result in you.
At twenty generations ago, the number of people procreating on your behalf has risen to 1,048,576. Five generations before that, and there are no fewer than 35,554,432 men and women on whose devoted couplings your existence depends. By thirty generations, your total number of forebears - remember, these aren't cousins and aunts and other incidental relatives but only parents and parents of parents in a line leading ineluctably to you - is over one billion (1,073,741,824 to be precise).

You, my sweet pea, are one in a billion, for real.

Do not let those years of creating you be wasted. You have only the briefest of moments on this planet, and you are obligated to your past to do one thing: life the life YOU want to live.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


This TEDx Talk by Beth Clayton was deeply penetrating for me.

I don't have a specific childhood memory that smashed me flat, but I most certainly can pull up numerous tiny deaths that chipped away at my self-esteem & confidence, and I can instantly feel all the feels today, despite 30 years between them & me.

Take 11 minutes to see if you connect as well:

After watching it, I wanted to spend a retreat weekend thinking about the things I want, and how badly, and how to get them. And so I did, solo, in my home, constantly running through thoughts as I went about my chores, my reading, my journaling.

Friday, May 13, 2016

How to Be Immortal

I'm not yet 40, but damned if I'm not striving to reach the mindset early:
This recognition generally ruins culture for you, since culture is built around the game of a meaningful search for eternal truths, timeless values and changeless habits of prowess. And, it goes without saying, transcendence of the unpleasantly transient.
Time, of course, is the merciless slaughterer of all these infinitely qualified anchors of the meaning of life. Wait long enough, and every truth will crumble. Wait long enough, and every value will dissolve into moral ambiguity. Wait long enough, and every habit will decay, first into ritual, then into farce. Wait long enough, and every slain demon will rise again.
And then you will be free.

For bonus fun: thoughts conveyed with math!

Confession: I had trouble following parts of this, but maybe that's because I was trying to read it while waiting for accounting software to process my instructions. Switching from right to left and back is not so easy for some brains (mine). Anyway: still enjoyable.

Monday, May 9, 2016

One Size: Nonsense

As a not-fat, but also not-thin, woman myself, and one who doesn't "have curves in all the right places," I thoroughly enjoyed this article.

Thought-provoking stuff.
As consumers, we naturally know a good deal more of obesity as a narrative than we do of its actual scientific and social ramifications. Daily we're fed the message that "fat is bad," so it makes sense that we'd look at plus-sized people as bad too. Of course, it doesn't actually make sense if you take a step back and really think about it. But few are going to bother with true critical thought. And that apathy is the foundation upon which bias is built.
We know we're not supposed to be bullies though (another buzzword still bouncing around the zeitgeist) so we no longer point and laugh at the fat girl, at least not as willingly. Fat Monica for example, would never fly today because she's a cruel caricature defined only by her love of full-fat mayonnaise and inability to get laid. Mocking or rejecting a woman because of her size would be mean, and we're not mean. Now, we're concerned. She's not funny or gross — she's unhealthy

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Oh, Those Hormones

The battle between "only calories matter" and "only hormones matter" has gone on far too long.

As always, it's more complicated than either option.

Here's some good, simplified information to clarify it for you:

There is no denying a fundamental law: a calorie deficit needs to exist in order for your metabolism to dip into stored energy. But how you get there—how you create that deficit and how you play with your metabolism day after day to keep it from adapting and slowing down, not to mention manage cravings, energy, and appetite surges that can occur when you blindly cut calories—that has everything to do with hormones.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

You Cannot Be Quantified

This post is a moderated take on the "quantified self" trend.

We, as a society, are awash in data. In 2013, we as a collective whole had produced 90% of all of the data ever produced in the 2 years prior. I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is not at 99% with a bunch of trailing zeros.
Of course the health and fitness industry is aware of this and producing items to take advantage of the trend, allowing you the humble user to track all sorts of things, from steps per day to blood oxygen levels, and then compare them over days, weeks, and months. This is typically lumped under the banner of “quantified self.” Suddenly, it’s all about what we can measure and objectify.

I myself just got out of it a year or two ago. I was all over calorie tracking, both input & output, and seeking to measure every component of my health. For YEARS.

I have glorious spreadsheets planning and tracking and evaluating workouts, nutrition, sleep, time nature, averages, conditional formatting, you name it. I basically did, manually, what these magical little wearables can give you via the cloud in an instant.

In a word: exhausting.

Initially it was helpful stuff, giving me a whole-life viewpoint of places I needed to improve. I learned that time in nature is a HUGE factor for me. So is social time. So is complete downtime.

But eventually, it turned into seeking perfection, finding failures (which I can now see were "failures"), and unending spiral of frustration, until I simply walked away entirely, to save my sanity.

Now, what about you? If a device on your wrist or an app on your phone encourages you to move more, or rest more, or eat better, whichever nudge you need - then that's great! Use it!

But when it becomes a rabbit hole of obsession, tracking and measuring and evaluating and frustrating...knock it off. Throw it all out and just live. You can't keep increasing your steps and your sleep and perfecting your nutrition forever. You have to level off at a place that is easy, healthy, and sustainable, and simply stay there. And you'll get there by putting the proper habits into place.

These wearables are tools you can use to build healthy habits, but once you have the healthy habits in place, you simply don't need the tools any longer. Pass them along to someone who does.

Keep this perspective, and avoid the rabbit hole, my friend.

Friday, April 29, 2016

High Stress -> Poor Results

I mean, how many times do we need it reinforced?

"Daily" seems to be about right for me...

Most people only look at the training performed in the gym or on the track when assessing levels of fatigue. However, the body doesn’t differentiate between mental, emotional, or physical stress. As far as the systems of the body are concerned, stress is stress.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Financial Fun

Off my usual topics, but something I am intimately familiar with: the mindset of personal finances.

This isn't a how-to-save post, but a "find your WHY" post:

And it's highly accurate, my own experience tells me. I label my various savings accounts for specifics (vehicle, vacation) that keeps it practical (new tires, no problem, tap the savings account) but also ensures I don't mindlessly blow money on daily Americanos, so that I have ample funds stashed for this summer's mountain vacation.

But for some people, a daily Americano will light up their life, because travel isn't all that important to them, or because they have perfectly-placed friends ensuring free vacation lodgings, or whatever.

On the other hand, I don't need enough funds for a trip to Europe, so instead I will spend a lot of my money on my personal trainer, who is vital to my daily happiness.
The point is to know what you're working your ass off FOR, adjust your spending habits accordingly, and ignore what everyone else is doing.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Shame on...Almost Everyone

Dallas Hartwig is a genius, yo. And I just discovered he has his own blog, which I am currently devouring.

Here he writes up a great post about how subtle tidbits of body-shaming are used to promote just about anything & everything, and it made me rage-y to recognize how pathetically often these tactics are used - and accepted.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Low Carb Danger Signs

I recognize a lot of my old struggles in this post about low-carb eating:

Additionally, a lot of "Paleo didn't work for me!" stuff I've read lately seems to be completely misleading and should actually be called "Low-carb didn't work for me!"

Tangent: It pisses me off that Paleo is automatically translated as "low-carb." it may start there, but every GOOD source will tell you that if you're active, add carbs; if it's intense add A LOT. People seem to ignore that immensely important detail, along with this one: you have to figure out what works FOR YOU, precious snowflake.

For me, low-carb worked for a while, and then it completely didn't, although it took me a long time to realize it. I now eat significantly more carbs than I used to: I consume roughly 250g per day as a minimum, and on deadlift day I typically justify an extra 100g beyond that, because moar deadliftz yo. (Also, because potato chips are delicious.)

If low-carb doesn't seem to be working for you, if you're experiencing the sort of symptoms Stefani shared, try adding quality carbs back into your diet (and even some junk carbs, if the rest of your diet is en pointe). I predict that, like me, you will realize how much better you feel with more carbs.

If you do well without carbs, hey, congrats! But do keep these tidbits in your back pocket, because nothing lasts forever.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Deadlift or Die

I have fallen in love with deadlifts this winter.

They used to frustrate me to no end, because I just didn't make much progress, and I couldn't understand why. This winter, I finally found my perfect stance & grip, and I have enjoyed painless progression ever since.

And while they can't outpace my deep bro-love of bench or pulls, there is something completely primal about picking up seriously heavy weight. It makes you want to scream a giant "FUCK YEAH, BITCHEZ" every time.

Or that might just be me, I guess.

Anyway, go read this if you are interested in getting started, or improving, or can't quite figure out why you have pain (you shouldn't have pain).

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Eating Disorder, or Disordered Eating?

I've often wondered if the difference was a matter of severity or what. Turns out, it's a matter of fitting into the precise definition of an eating disorder, or no.

Stefani lays it out:

This helps me understand that I did not technically have an eating disorder. But if the definitions expanded just an inch, then yes I did. In fact, I had every symptom she lists as disordered eating.

If only people were better about recognizing these borderline issues as a real problem, I think we could make things a lot easier for those who aren't technically fitting the definitions. I was not a borderline mess, I was a legit hot fucking mess. I needed help. I did not know how to ask for it, because I was not anorexic or bulimic, the only two eating disorders I understood.

Please educate yourself, and your loved ones, and maybe help prevent future hot messes from floundering for years.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Social Media Rants

Last week I set a habit to keep my phone in another room during Reading Time (if I am on the couch with my book, it's Reading Time). I love getting lost in a good book, but I had found I was grabbing my phone now & then to look at something legit (What does the Salt Lake City library look like? Where in Alaska was John Muir?) and then losing endless buckets of time down the rabbit hole of various social media apps.

By throwing away my phone during that time, which is about an hour each night if life is going well, I have learned how much time I was wasting, and how much I don't miss it. I like seeing details of my friends' lives, but most of the time, that's not what I'm getting. What I'm getting is truly fucking obnoxious bullshit: political and religious rants, not-funny memes, endlessly shared links for no discernible reason, crap I would never choose to see, but is cluttering up my view. And that's AFTER I have his all the obvious weirdos, narcissistic jerks, and relentless ranters.

But mostly, the fitness posts make me want to scream. I follow many fitness peeps on IG, via my employer account, that makes me want to reach through the phone and punch them. There's a dude who constantly posts his crazy yoga poses that are unrealistic for 99.99999% of people to even consider, which frankly makes them completely pointless - but he likely thinks he's being inspiring.

One woman in particular steadily shows vacation pictures and selfies professing perfection, even if they explicitly say shit like "I have such awful bags under my eyes!" (while standing so that we can see the lights of The Big City behind her) or "It's so hard to share a 'before' picture!" (that displays better abs than me at my smallest) or mindless quotes about loving the simple things in life as she stands on a beach in paradise. I am positive she means well, but she has absolutely NO FUCKING CLUE that she comes off horribly narcissistic because she has absolutely NO FUCKING CLUE how far removed her life is from the masses.

I can practically track the change in my mindset when I see these kinds of things. I have a critical eye that sees the bullshit, yet I feel myself asking why HE can bend so easily, why SHE has such wealth, why didn't I get the kinds of genes that mean six-pack abs? LIFE IS SO UNFAIR, YO.

And yet, fuck that, I love my life, when my mind is on straight. The problem is that these sorts of things incessantly warp your view, your thoughts, your beliefs, until you are a changed, miserable-by-comparison person.


And don't be part of the problem!

This Girls Gone Strong post is a far more moderated take on social media. It asks the right questions to help ensure your life is enhanced by social media, not worsened. It is intelligent and well thought-out, unlike my rant above.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Making Your Bed Is Stupid

Recently I watched a video about making your bed, and it was basically touted as the solution to all your woes.

Well, I call bullshit.

I never make my bed, and here's why: it absolutely doesn't fucking matter.
  • Other things can give you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning. Like, make coffee before you've had coffee, or cook up a big breakfast. BOOM, you rock.
  •  Your bed should not be used for anything but sleeping & sex, so why should it look pretty? You only see it when you're about to crawl in or out. You want pretty, look at a flower.
  •  When I leave my bed in the morning, my husband is still sleeping in it; I'm pretty sure HE wouldn't think it important for me to make it. 
  • Also, we don't even share blankets, because I like to be tucked in like a child, and also I overheat easily. How does one make such a bed? Why WOULD one?
Does all that mean I'm destined to be a failure in life, Admiral?

No, but it might mean I never have bedbugs or stupid allergies from the wee critters who try to live in my sheets.


Just another reason you must not let people convince you that one simple thing will change your life.

It's not that easy.

MANY simple things will change your life, sure, but there is no silver bullet.

(Unless you're being hunted by a werewolf, I guess. In that case, you surely don't have time to make your bed.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

That Post-Goal Slump

Hitting a huge dive in motivation after achieving something awesome is pretty damned common.

Here's a great perspective on why you're in it, and how to climb out.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Burpees Aren't Universally Hated?

This article explains how burpees can be beneficial, and you'll note that nowhere does it say they should be used as a tool to beat people into the ground. THAT is why burpees have gotten such a bad rap, from being forced to do endless burpees when already exhausted. Okay, but you're a grown-ass adult, no one can force you to do them. Here's why you should, though:

I used to teach group fitness classes at my old job, and at most we would do 45-60s of burpees before a break, or at the tail end of class. They were encouraged to dial back the intensity if they needed to, or ramp it up with pushups and jumps if they were feeling super BA that day. But never did I insist they be "all out" - where's the joy in making your friends cry?

A few times I had them do a "100 burpees" class. It sounded daunting when I would announce it, but it was never as badly as they expected, because it was over the course of 25 minutes, which means 4 burpees a minute, which means you actually rest more than you work. I have often used this as a hotel room workout as well. Zero equipment required (maybe a towel for your sweat), very little space required, and you don't have to deal with any other people. Win win win!

I'm no expert, but if you can find a way to make a tough exercise fun, you should try doing it that way, not the way that makes you want to cry and punch unicorns.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What's Wrong With The Fitness Industry?

A lot, yo.

Here is a fantabulous rant about various aspects of it.

Strap in, it's a long one - but worth it.

The narcissistic atmosphere of the fitness industry and the focus on the aesthetic has combined with our lack of understanding of human psychology and motivation to destroy our ability to improve people’s health and fitness.
WE ARE DRIVING THEM AWAY. People want to belong to the group. To do what everyone else is doing. We live in a culture that loves to believe in individuality and that everyone is unique. Unfortunately, this is just not true. People actually want to fit in, not stand out, and be a part of the group. That is basic human behavior.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What If?

Oh man, my eyeballs produced tears of recognition as I read this...profound.

...But sometimes, they have a really hard time BELIEVING that it can happen for them, so they start hiding, settling, lose steam. They have ten thousand examples why they can’t lose weight, how people don’t love them, how they are outsiders, unworthy, unloveable, unsuccessful, that they are broken or defective in some way. They have evidence for their stories, and it feels pretty damn air-tight to them. When we try to dis-prove the theory, it just doesn’t really shift things for them. Again, it FEELS so real. Why bother when you are going to fail anyway? 
So, what do you do when the story feels too real?

Missing from the blog post, but in her newsletter (so, duh, SIGN UP!), the ending clincher that hit me full-stop:
It may be time to somersault into the inconceivable.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

No More Girly Fitness Bullshit

Jessi Kneeland is a woman after my own heart.

This comprehensive takedown of the awful crap spouted constantly in women's "fitness" magazines, and online versions of the same, is fantastic fun.

And, more importantly: it's highly accurate.

I see lots of moves being performed wrong, explained wrong, and attributed to the wrong muscles. I see a tragic lack of understanding of anatomy and kinesiology being demonstrated by anyone who says an exercise will “tone up those inner thighs” or “melt those love handles.” I see a complete disregard for the principle of Specific Adaptation, and progressive overload. Because these girls have enviable bodies and are being regarded as “experts” and “gurus” however, they are helping this inaccurate information become even deeper embedded into pop fitness culture.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Yeah, but WHY?

Neghar drops some knowledge bombs about her switch from leanness to easy comfort:
I was hustling to be lean… because I was hustling to be lean. 
I wasn’t competing.  I wasn’t even modeling at that point. I just needed—desperately—to be lean. There was no other reason, or no real reason, anyway.
Why did I need to be so lean? Why was my body fat the main focus of my entire life? Why did I struggle, and hustle, and cry when the scale showed a one-pound gain?

Read it all, and ask yourself for your own WHY:

I've said it before, and I'll say it until I die: no one who matters cares how lean you are.

Go live your life, darling.

Friday, April 1, 2016

How To Eat Cake Again

Let Them Eat Cake: My Weight Restoration Story

This is fantastic reading for anyone who is tired of the diet cycle, and wondering if they dare to get off. My experience has been true to this one.
Let me tell you what happens when you finally get skinny: You still can’t eat cake.
You still can’t eat cake. You still can’t wear crop tops. You still can’t skip yoga without feeling guilty. You still can’t order the cheesy pasta. You still can’t enjoy pizza. You still can’t fuck the love of your life without self-judgment. And — did I mention this? — you still can’t eat cake.
You spend all this time and energy being hypervigilant so that one day, you can cross the “UGW” finish line into ease, into relaxation, into normalcy. But that day never comes because no matter how far you run, the course ahead of you grows longer or, at least, the obstacles along the way change.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

So Much More Than Beauty

I dearly wish I had grown up this way:
The things is, in terms of importance, being physically attractive lagged WAY behind being funny, smart, hard-working, brave, creative, and about a thousand other qualities in my book. I actually regarded “beautiful” as a pretty lousy compliment, almost a back-handed insult. It seemed to me that you would only compliment someone’s appearance if they didn’t have many inner riches, and my mother was clearly bursting at the seams with inner riches. I could have complimented my mom all day, and “beautiful” never would have come up. There were simply too many other, more important, things to compliment.

This entire post is an incredible tribute to a mother who raised her daughter to believe beauty was unimportant.

Please read it, especially if you are a parent, most especially if you have a daughter. Teach her that everything else about HER is much more vital than her outer shell.

Monday, March 28, 2016

How to Love Your Big Legs (or Booty, or Stomach, or Whatever)

I have always had people become extremely uncomfortable with the size of my legs and derriere.  This led to me having somewhat of a complex about them. I would dream of having smaller legs that people would stop looking at. I’d look in the mirror and cry that they were so B I G!
Sound familiar? Read how my girl Holea got over that nonsense.

I'm on the same path. Not there yet, not every day, but I'm certain it's the rightest path.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Celebrity =/= Expert

This is an open letter which slams Tracy Anderson to the floor.

But please, read it and hold in your mind any other celebrity fitness trainer you pay attention to. They might have a similar letter coming their way.

Money makes people say stupid, stupid shit.

Fame makes the rest of us believe it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Habit Support

This post discusses a key thing to keep in mind when setting yourself up for habit success, particularly with new habits:

Once you hear it, the idea sounds ridiculously simple. It's a matter of accepting that your motivation will occasionally plummet, and that that's okay. If you can predict the obstacles you'll face during those times, you can help your future lazy self to be healthier and more successful.

How To Stick With Good Habits

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sleep: My Preciousssss

Whole9 lists Nutrition as the most important factor to health, and Sleep as second.

As a sensitive person who has documented this shit out of the effects of both of these, I can tell you they are 100% correct.

Sleep has become my number one priority over work, friends, family, my financials, running, TV, even my beloved lifting.

Without enough quality sleep, I fall apart, and QUICKLY. It first leads to impatience & crankiness & guilt for being that way. It then leads to poor workout performance in addition to under-recovering from workouts, which leads to injury. Allathat leads right down the narrow dark alley to depression.

Now, you might not be a Sensitive Sally like I am, quick to feel all of these effects. You might think your 6-7, occasionally 8 hours is more than enough; you're getting shit done, even if some days you're crazy tired and inhaling caffeine like it's the elixir of life.

But here's the question: do you want to get by, or do you want to feel #totesamazing?

Why not see if you can get to the latter - what have you got to lose, besides perhaps some reality TV time?

From someone who knows, consider this: if you were to make a commitment to spending 4 weeks optimizing your sleep, I truly predict you will start to feel like Superhero Sally.

Set yourself up for true success by following the few specific, simple tips in each of these posts (these are like a 10-minute read, just do it): 

Try it, and tell me about it in a month. 

I look forward to seeing your new cape.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Empathy: Double-Edged Sword

This article is about parenting, but as a highly empathic person, this rings true for all areas of life.

As their children’s depressive symptoms increased, so did empathetic parents’ inflammatory markers. The findings were consistent with previous research showing that caregivers of people with chronic illness develop chronic inflammation and elevated stress hormones over time.
Why is this? Empathy requires us to push our own feelings aside to focus on someone else’s, an effort linked to increased stress and higher inflammation. Empathetic parents may also be more willing to sacrifice their own health for their children’s sake, forgoing things like sleep, exercise, and other activities that could mitigate the stress of caregiving.

It's a nice reminder to attend to your own health first.

Monday, March 14, 2016

More Talk on Comparisons

Some may be able to successfully use comparisons to motivate, incentivize, create some ass-kicking achievements.

Some may not:

And sometimes you may be in one camp, sometimes in the other.

The key is to recognize your mindset at this moment, and go forth intelligently.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Let's Bulk. Or Not. Whatever.

Lifting heavy weights may or may not make you bulky; as in almost all things, it depends entirely on your body type.

Regardless of your body's propensity, I hope that reading this article is likely to make you want to lift weights for the sheer awesomeness of it:

I can tell you that I used to look at a friend's defined, larger arms and think they were unfeminine...but once I started lifting, I began to be jealous of her arms.

I can now celebrate my own big arms, my wide lats, my ski-jump traps.

Yet despite such celebration, I actually don't give a rat's ass whether my muscles are big or small - because the size is simply a visual representation of my strength, which is my most precious possession.

I care primarily that my muscles are strong, and they can look however my genes will make them look.

That freedom from appearance-driven results has been a paradigm shift for women who have discovered heavy lifting may or may not lead to bulk muscles, but definitely leads to confidence, pride, strength, and health.

Join us!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Seek Health, Receive Broken Bone

One woman's search for health results in an eating disorder, an exercise disorder, and a broken leg.

My fellow overachievers and perfectionists, this is our future if we don't get perspective:

We must exercise with intelligence, we must eat enough to fuel our lives, and we must put leanness in a lower category than our long-term health.


Zero arguments allowed.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Resilience: The Game-Changer

This is something I know to be true: I am not resilient. I do not bounce back. I do not brush things off. I do not move on quickly.

I've always wished I could, because my way is fairly miserable.

This post tells me that maybe we can learn resilience.
Human beings are capable of worry and rumination: we can take a minor thing, blow it up in our heads, run through it over and over, and drive ourselves crazy until we feel like that minor thing is the biggest thing that ever happened. In a sense, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Frame adversity as a challenge, and you become more flexible and able to deal with it, move on, learn from it, and grow. Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

High Achievers & Exercise: A Dangerous Combo

Stefani drops some knowledge bombs again:

I used to overexercise, big time. Two-a-days were common: a run at lunch, then lifting weights with a friend after work. Maybe even a long marathon training run on Saturday morning, followed by a date in the weight room.

It was fun, and it felt good. I was never at the level of those who talk about 6-hour days of group fitness plus their OWN workout, no, but it was quite a lot.

For a while, it was fine; I felt great, I dropped fat, I was having the time of my LIFE feeling and looking so good.

Until I wasn't.

Slowly I fell backward, until I reached a point where I was constantly tired and incapable of completing my marathon training runs, diagnosably depressed, and stuck in a loooong cycle of restriction & binge-eating.

The above post by Stefani aptly describes the physical mess I made for myself, and it's been a long road to recovery.

Now, during my busy work season (six 10-hour workdays), getting in three sessions of lifting per week is perfectly possible, but anything beyond that feels like effort I can't produce. Sometimes I log a running date with friends & my dogs, but it's only for the social aspect; the run itself is not something I crave.

Yet I often feel like it's not enough, I should be doing more, why can't I squeeze in something on my off days?

Because I can't.

I mean, sure, on paper, in theory, I have room for a workout; just pop down to my own basement and play with a kettlebell or bike for a while or do some yoga...but most days, I have no room in my BRAIN when I finally get home from a draining day, 12 hours after I left.

And I have to tell myself regularly: that's okay.

Once spring arrives, and tax season ends, and my brain calms down again, my running will ramp up without reducing my lifting, and I will be capable of 6 days of [smart] exercise per week. But in the meantime, I'm just plain not, unless I want to smash into a brick wall of exhaustion and depression again. (Spoiler alert: I don't.)

This is what I've had to learn: I am driven to do more, better, farther, heavier, always, at any cost, because I'm an Achiever with a capital A. But despite my brain's desires, my body will usually not be able to pay the cost of those achievements, so I have to scale back to less. But the result of backing off is a capable, resilient body; one that feels good and still lets me do MOST of what I want.

I'm still learning, and my capability changes, sometimes unexpectedly. But one of the key things I've learned is that mental stress changes my capacity dramatically.

Wherever you are on the exercise spectrum, you have mental stress (job, finances, spouse, kids, bad hair days), and that has much the same effect on your body as a hard workout (though without the strengthened muscles, sadly), and you need to take that into account when deciding how much more physical stress to add in the form of exercise.

Sure, many people aren't doing anything at all, but those people probably aren't reading this. You are probably closer to the end of doing too much. Even if you think it doesn't apply: if you feel like what you do isn't enough, really EXAMINE that idea.

Enough for what? For who? We often judge ourselves harshly by comparing to the topmost achievers. But what they're doing is irrelevant.

What are your goals, honestly & truly, right now, during this season of your life?

Regularly beating yourself to a sore pulp feels good, it floods you with endorphins, and it feels like you're really accomplishing something when your muscles ache and your joints creak as you crawl out of bed...but few of us have goals demanding that level of exercise. Harsh workouts are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the goal of lifelong health.

Exercise should be enjoyable and provide you with strength and energy and stress release. If that isn't what it's doing for you, you need to make a change, and it's a lot easier to do it before you are FORCED to do it by a body battling back at you.

Find your capacity for awesome, and then celebrate your achievements with the world. (Hint: "the world" includes you.)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Do what you can

On today's run, I struggled.

I took a walk break only 5 minutes out, because it was just too hard. I decided to run 5/walk 2, even though I should be able to do more - but okay, maybe not, not after the weeks I've had. I guess I can adjust my expectations for today.

After two rounds of 5/2, I didn't even want to run 5 minutes, so I readjusted, again. I dialed it WAAAY back, running just 1 minute, then walking 1 minute, and repeat. That was so much easier on the brain - I only had to run for 1 little minute, not enough time for it to get tough.

For a couple stretches I let myself be disappointed. The internal dialogue point out that I have run marathons, and 50Ks, and I've even won a 5K & a 10K, and yet today I literally can't even run ONE kilometer without a walk break?

Man, don't I suck.

But no, eventually I was able to argue: I don't suck. None of ^that^ is relevant to today, 2 months into tax season after barely running for three months, the day after learning one of my bestest friends is moving across the country, after a solid month spent fighting the depths of depression.

In light of those facts...I kicked ass today, merely by going out and doing something.

I thought of a quote that I love, and often use on myself and on other people:

And I added some extra thoughts as I walked along:

Start where you are.
Start where you are RIGHT THIS MOMENT. Not where you were 5 years ago, 1 year ago, last week, not even this morning. Just now.

Use what you have.
Not what you once had. Not what you think you need. Not what you desperately want.

Do what you can.
Only that, and no more. Maybe less.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Being Big - And Loving It

I aspire to have this mentality. Erin Brown is my idol. I recently acquired her book and can't wait to dive in.
Since I let go of my own damaging self-talk, I have found so many things to love and celebrate about my body at every size. But here is what I enjoy about being big:
It feels rebellious.
Having spent so much time and energy in the past beating myself up for being big, loving my bigness feels like a revolution. There are so many ways women are asked to be small, that being proud of being “big” feels wonderfully radical. It’s a tiny victory in a lifetime of feeling shame over my size.