Find Yourself Attractive

This was originally posted on 02/11/2013. But, I’m still in the Dominican Republic without Internet access, so please give this a fresh read until I have some new material for you.

Have you ever had the “naked at school” dream? Have you ever felt insecure about how you looked when leaving the house? We all have insecurities. We’ve been programmed (read: socialized) that way. All of this talk about insecurity is making me question things. What do you love about your (physical) self? I mean, just for a minute, one vain minute, look in the mirror and celebrate what you love about your reflection. Often, in class, when you hear me attempting to deflect self-doubt, I’m refuting use of the word ‘can’t’. But, we all know that self-doubt comes in many forms. Body image insecurities have kept people from joining gyms due to their fear of being judged by others. Let’s just clear the air. Everyone judges. It’s a part of human survival instinct to see someone/something and judge if it is a threat. In this modern age of stereotypes and conditioning, our judgments have taken an ugly turn. We all judge as we all are judged. The sooner we accept that concept, the sooner we’ll be comfortable in our own skin and just say, “fuck it, I don’t care what people think!” My challenge to you, this week, is to celebrate your soul as well as your physical vessel. Encourage your friends to do the same. We all have different levels of insecurities, some may need more of a boost than others. Before you begin any fitness program, a positive foundation built on what you love about your body, will take you much further than any sort of “I hate [fill in the blank] about my body” workout program.

I was recently featured in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The conversation was about men posing for boudoir photographs. When asked my opinion on why so many men are apprehensive about being nude in front of a camera, I spoke about people’s (men’s) fear of exposure. Naked, on a wall, in a gallery ripe for the judgment of the public. That sounds like a 3-D version of the naked at school dream! No matter how you gender-identify, does the thought scare you? Don’t let it. We are all judged and we all judge. Be comfortable in your own beautiful skin and never let anyone convince you that a fit lifestyle is a bad thing. I can’t speak for others. But, I love my life and I want to feel good as long as I live it. Let’s not workout because of some false “fountain of youth” promise, let’s not workout because of something about our bodies that we “hate”, let’s not do this for reasons of vanity. Let’s do this because we want energy for the entire day without energy drinks. Let’s do this because our bodies were never meant to be sedentary. Let’s do this because society should never dictate our leisure activities. Let’s do this because insecurities should never be the driving force in our life. Let’s stop talking about this and… Giddyup! Make it a great day!

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10 Things I Love About You

This week, I’m asking you to do the work. You just have an assignment to complete.

Write a love letter to your body.

Step 1: Get naked. Don’t make a big deal out of it. You do this before every shower.
Step 2: Using a dry erase marker, write 10 things you love about your body on the bathroom (or other) mirror. This is not a time to restrain your sense of vanity. Focus on everything that you love about your body (and mind) on an aesthetic and kinesthetic level. Is there something that your body can do that you love or appreciate? Write that down as well.
Step 3: Challenge your friends to do the same.
Step 4: Repeat as often as needed.

Why? Because most people can spend 30 seconds talking non-stop about what displeases them about their bodies. When was the last time that you honored your gift and said thank you for the ability to think, move, fuck, etc.?

What if you don’t make it to 10 things you love about your vessel? (Spoiler: A lot of people don’t make it to 10.) Keep trying. Keep digging. Keep loving. Share your reflections on the experience (but not your actual list – that’s personal) in the comments below.

Activism versus Reactivism [Action versus Awareness]

Do you remember that time that GoDaddy upset a lot of people by making light of puppy mills? (I’ve posted the ad below for reference.) Well, the ad made its way to the internet before it was supposed to air (during the SuperBowl) and lots of people found the ad so offensive* that GoDaddy pulled the ad and issued an apology. This week’s post (a tad later due to the holiday weekend and the elusive spirit animal known as sleep) is about the fallacy of activism delivered from the comfort of your pajamas.

*“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.” -Stephen Fry

Activism [ak-tuh-viz-uh m] noun – The doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.

Reactivism [ree-ak-tuh-viz-uh m] noun – A term that I created (at least I’ve never heard/read anyone else use this term) to describe those that react to a long-practiced injustice with words (hashtags, comments via social media, YouTube posts, etc.) and inefficient efforts that don’t actually do anything to generate change against the injustice in question. No vigorous action or involvement takes place with Reactivists. Hashtag activism is often in the category of reactivism. Creating a hashtag that goes viral will generate a lot of conversations and even some t-shirts. But, will there be change? (Hint: Conversations do not equal change.)

For at least the past decade, I’ve been saying, “If you’re doing nothing to make a change, you’ve lost all rights to complain.” I first started saying this in relationship to people that lament about their job or working conditions. My suggestion to resign was met with, “I can’t do that. It’s not that simple.” My immediate response was, “Then shut the fuck up about it, that’s pretty simple.” In other words, tell it to the wall. No one wants to read your comments, status updates, whining in the workplace, lament at lunch, or bitching over brunch if (and here’s the important part) you aren’t doing anything to make a change.

The concept of action over talk still applies to bigger problems that expand beyond workplace strife or relationship boredom. Sometimes, animal lovers are reminded that we live in a capitalist society wherein people have seized the opportunity to breed and sell puppies to make a living. When that happens, they can choose to become activists and do something about puppy mills or they can become reactivists and type angry words to let the world know how they feel. During the GoDaddy kerfuffle I wondered aloud, to anyone that would listen, what are all of these offended people doing to actually shut down puppy mills? People were offended, so fucking what. What did those offended reactivists do to elicit change? Did any of them contact the parent companies of pet stores that stock their cages via puppy mills? Did any of the offended reactivists start volunteering at the SPCA to get some mutts adopted? Probably not. Do I have the answer as to how puppy mills can be stopped? Sort of, but you wouldn’t like my answer. Stop dog shows for a start. Think about the conversations about breeds and temperament of dogs. Those conversations are often sparked based on the popularity of a certain breed, breed popularity is often associated with the winners/strong performers of dog shows. What if we all made efforts to stop caring about the breed of dogs? “Oh, but, Jet we have to talk about breed to make sure that the dog is the right dog for the family! I mean, you know about those crazy pit bulls!” That’s funny, every pit bull I’ve met has licked my face and let me rub their belly. They all had one thing in common, a sane owner. Stop blaming the breed’s temperament, especially if you don’t know anything about dog training. *tangent end* I don’t have the answers as to how we can eliminate puppy mills in a capitalist society. As long as people choose to use their money to buy specifically what they want, there will be an opportunity to provide the specific breed they seek. That’s the world we live in. Because I understand that, GoDaddy’s ad didn’t bother me.

It’s worth mentioning that I’m not an activist. I don’t go out in the world trying to make tangible changes. But, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried in the past. I started Meetup group in San Diego a few years back in an effort to change the world. The goal was to have like-minded people come together and share their ideas on how they could change the world on any scale (small or large). We would then discuss those ideas and agree on ways to fine tune them so that the ideas leaned more towards altruism than self-serving. Within that group we would assign random accountability partners that would make sure that the person to whom they’ve been assigned was actually following through on action items to implement their idea for change in the world. We had two successful meetings before a shrew infiltrated our group and criticized our plans and process. She kept insisting that “this isn’t how you change the world.” She went on to protest that everything we were suggesting was insufficient to effect global change. When asked how we could change the world, she had no specific answer, only more criticism of our attempts. I asked that she never return. It was after that that I moved away from San Diego and returned to school. I never re-started the group. I’m not an activist, I’ve never lobbied for anything in Washington, I’ve never called my local Congress woman. I want to make changes in the world, but much like personal training, I’m only willing to help those that are willing to help themselves (more about that later). While I’m not a reactivist, this blog post actually makes me a reactivist by the definition I laid out above. (Hello, self-awareness.)

Do you remember that time that everyone wore clown noses for poor kids? May 21st was Red Nose Day. I bought one of those noses from Walgreens. Basically, I paid a dollar for something (that doesn’t really fit on my big nose) so that 50 cents would go to “a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun”.  Based on a quick search it looks like over $100,000,000 was raised this year. I think that’s great. But, after the money is dispersed to help these kids, then what? (I want to be clear, I’m not criticizing Red Nose Day. I support Red Nose Day. I’m just suggesting that more can be done.) When I lived in San Diego I was a volunteer tutor for the Monarch School. “The mission of the Monarch School is to educate students impacted by homelessness and to help them develop hope for a future with the necessary skills and experiences for personal success.” In the spirit of doing more, we can give 50 cents to poor kids or teach them how to be successful. We can give them a fish or teach them how to fish. When I was there, six years ago, there were only two schools of its kind in the country. Why aren’t there more? With an estimated 1.6 million homeless children in the United States why isn’t there more action to elicit change?

Do you remember that time that people dumped buckets of icy water on their head in lieu of donating money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)? When given the option of donating money for ALS research or dumping an ice bucket on their head, so many people chose the latter that the trend went viral. “Fuck you, Lou Gehrig! I’d rather get this ice shower than donate money for research!” I know, a lot of money was raised for ALS research. But, did you ever survey friends that were doing the “ice bucket challenge”? How many of them had even heard of Lou Gehrig? How many of them had seen examples of how the disease manifests? How many reactivists did it because they were following a trend? How many people actually got involved by volunteering to help those living with ALS when their bank accounts didn’t offer the convenience of a donation? “Jet, come on! These ice showers were creating awareness!” In a society that has an attention span as long as 140 characters and about six months of pop culture happenings, that awareness won’t last. Try talking about the ice bucket challenge in ten years. You’ll get the same looks I get when I quote Chappelle’s show. Some people in the room get it, others think I’m weird.

It’s worth mentioning that the attention span of some people has been referenced in regards to the length of my posts. “That post was soooo long, I couldn’t read it.” It’s been suggested that I break up the density of words with pictures and other visual distractions. It’s been suggested that I write less. Fuck that. Read more, read faster, or both. I’m not going to water down my content because of short attention spans.

Do you remember that time that social media actually fueled a tangible revolution in Egypt? There are some instances when we see the benefits of social media. When typewritten words actually evolve into action and that action is the catalyst for change, that’s activism (root word act).

Do you remember that time that people changed their Facebook profile pictures to cartoon characters in order to “create awareness” about child abuse? Yes, that happened and it was just as pointless (read: stupid) as it sounds. The concept of creating awareness should not be confused with eliciting change. I actually got into a comment thread dispute with this one dude because he couldn’t answer a simple question. How will changing my profile picture stop children from being abused? I doubt that any child stopped being abused because someone had Mickey Mouse as their profile picture. Expecting any real world events to change or stop due to your profile picture is reactivism defined (read: ineffective).

Some would argue that the concept of control is a fallacy. But, there are some things that you can control. We have control over more than we realize. Have you ever heard the story about the person that was afraid to workout in a gym setting because they were concerned about judgment (of their lack of strength) from their peers? You read that right, some people have a fear of lifting weights due to physical weakness. How do you overcome physical weakness? You guessed it, lifting weights. Activism can also apply to the work that we do in the mirror to dismantle body image issues. It’s hard to go out and tackle world changes if you’re not confident in your own skin.

Do you remember that time when internet reactivists were outraged by body shaming? Well, it happens every goddamned day. What are they doing to elicit change? Well, here’s one stellar example. A man was dancing at a concert and others made fun of him because of his weight. The internet caught wind of it and decided to throw a dance party in his honor. Another rare example of social media doing some good. That’s activism… for that one dude. What about a more significant effort to elicit change against societal body shaming? As I mentioned above, I want to make changes in the world, but I’m only willing to help those that are willing to help themselves. Frustrated with the repeat occurrences of body shaming, I made an effort to elicit change. I came up with an idea to help change the conversations (and hopefully confidence levels) surrounding our bodies. I’ve posted about it before. I wrote, “It’s time that we talk about what we love about our bodies and the gratitude we have for our abilities (which comes from our bodies). Let’s change the conversation from Body Shaming to Body Faming. I’ve started a community art project called BodyFaming.com The way it will work is that people will submit anonymous (faceless) selfies with words of love, gratitude, and beauty about their own bodies. Take pride in your body, no matter the size.” The site has been active for almost two years now. I’ve had exactly two submissions. Perhaps I need a celebrity on a megaphone to make the site popular. Where’s Oprah when you need her!? As I mentioned, every goddamned day internet reactivists are lamenting on body shaming. But, what’s being done to fight back and take action? When I tell people about BodyFaming.com the response is always a bright and cheery, “that’s a great idea” or “I’m totally going to submit a photo”. After 100 of those responses, I’ve had exactly two submissions. When expressing my frustration for the lack of response, my friend reminded me that “people would rather complain than be creatively proactive about subverting the norms they hate”. That’s unfortunately true.

Takeaways If you don’t remember shit else…

~A hashtag is only a start, it is not the change itself. If you truly believe that #BlackLivesMatter then why haven’t you protested black-on-black crime with the same vigor as the recent deaths at the hands of police?
~This blog post isn’t intended to provide an instruction manual for activism. There are times when I try to make changes in the world, that’s just because I get tired of hearing myself complain.
~Use your intelligence to determine the difference between writing letters to empowered decision makers (read: not your like-minded friends on Facebook that will click ‘Like’ and keystroke your ego), pragmatic protests with specific and clear goals (think Selma), and the potential dangers of ochlocracy (looting and burning your own neighborhood only happens in crowds, think for yourself).
~This post is not an attempt to make change in the world, only to challenge the way you think. Before you consider yourself an activist (of any sort) ask yourself how much vigorous action you’ve taken versus the amount of typing you’ve done. Get up, get out, and do something. Are you living and breathing your cause or just posting something when you’re offended?
~Figure out the difference between starting/perpetuating conversations and taking (nonviolent) action as a catalyst for change. What are you doing to proactively elicit change in the world? If you’re doing nothing, stop complaining.

Touchy Touchy: Respecting Personal Space As A Fitness Professional

“Get your fucking hands off of me!” Those are the seven angry words that you never want to hear as a trainer. Truthfully, you don’t want to hear those words… ever. It’s a very real possibility that someone may think those words instead of making their frustration heard. In such an event, you’ve no doubt crossed a line and the person on the receiving end feels uncomfortable or threatened in some way. (More on that in a moment.) Respecting personal space starts with kinesthetic awareness. Knowing where your body is in relation to the space around you is important to the people around you. Are you standing too close? “Back up, Sucka! Give me three feet!” It’s also important to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. To be more specific, put yourself in her shoes. This week’s blog post is about male-on-female hands-on training. Fitness professionals have different approaches to coaching. In my ten years in the business, I’ve made it a point to focus on my verbal cueing and demonstrative skills in order to avoid excessively touching female clients. You may be thinking, “Oh! I bet this dude had some sexual harassment charges filed against him! I bet that’s why he’s afraid to touch the ladies.” False. On the contrary, I’ve never had to defend myself against such accusations because I’ve never done anything to make a client think those seven angry words. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never done anything with my hands to make a female client feel threatened. The word threatened has a lot of weight to it. But, when I asked a few females about their thoughts on male fitness professionals (group classes or personal sessions) placing hands on them, the word came up more than once.

This topic came up during a recent photo shoot, I was being photographed with a client for an advertisement. I was instructed to “put your hands on her as if you’re correcting her form.” I replied, “I wouldn’t do that in a real session!” The photographer also wanted me to “get closer to her because I’m going to crop this vertically.” Again, I protested.

It’s worth mentioning… The photographer in question is a good friend of mine and she is very aware that all of the poses were “portrait pretend time” and that there are many trainers that don’t get all Handsy McHanderson.

I’m grateful for my female friends over the years. I’ve always had more female friends than male. It’s because of their countless stories of Coach McHanderson the personal trainer or group exercise instructor getting touchy feely with them that has made me very aware of what/where/why I touch my female clients. There are many ways of correcting a client’s form or to get them to accomplish a specific movement. Going back to my point on putting yourself in her shoes, training to become stronger and sweating through the process is a vulnerable time for anyone. So, this is for the male trainers. Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. If you’re trusting your fitness goals in the hands of a stranger the last thing you want to worry about is stranger danger. Enjoy this PSA from the 1980’s to get the understanding of what it means to engage with a creeper.

Gentlemen, imagine that one of those creepy fuckers was your personal trainer. Imagine that they’ve asked you to tuck your pelvis under and engage your core as they stood over you in plank position. Imagine that they said it with their hands and grabbed both of your hips in the process. That wouldn’t feel great and you’d probably be bothered by the interaction. So, try to consider that when you place your hands on your female clients.

It’s worth mentioning… This blog is not about creating a PSA to tell all male trainers to never touch female clients. That’s not what this is about. This post is about being empathetic to the feelings of female clients. Furthermore, I’m not suggesting that female clients are the only clients with feelings or triggers. I’m not here to suggest that females are sensitive and need special handling. Unfortunately, women/womyn deal with a lot of harassment on the street. They often choose their gym because they feel like it’s a safe place free from comments, staring, and of course unwelcome touching. Walk in her shoes for a moment through this video:

After watching the video, before you begin questioning which one of those comments was/wasn’t harassment, think critically about to whom the men chose to speak. “Jet, that guy only said, HI! How was that harassment?” Well, why didn’t he say HI to everyone? Now, let’s bring this back to a gym setting. Have you ever watched a group fitness instructor using his hands to correct the form of people in the class? Have you noticed that all of them were females that had a similar look to them? Why didn’t he say HI to everyone with bad form? For the dudes reading this, don’t be that guy.

Have you ever wondered why there are gyms that are exclusive to women/womyn? Imagine that street walking scenario with fewer, tighter, sweatier clothes on. If you have access to some online forum, ask the question “Ladies, what makes you feel uncomfortable at the gym?” Delete all of the male responses and pay attention to the general theme (hint: objectification). I’m just saying, don’t take my word for it. Ask the women/womyn in your life about Coach McHanderson and the comments from the Numbnuts Gallery. In a similar online forum, a female commented that unwanted comments in a gym are worse than a bar because she doesn’t expect it at the gym. Again, we all want a safe place to get stronger and improve our overall fitness. Why do so many women/womyn LOVE going to the gyms in the Castro or SoMa ? Phrases like, “I don’t have to worry about that shit.” or “People leave me alone.” come to mind. Circling back to the street harassment video, what educated guess can you make (context clues are different from assumptions) about all of the males in that video? None of them were gay and none of them were females.

It’s worth mentioning… I’ve spent time with some females that identify as male and I’ve listened to a rare few of them catcall. It’s very rare and I may have only seen it twice in two decades. But, it’s heart-breaking that someone’s idea of male identification is being that sort of jackass.

Let’s loop back to the T word. I’ve heard some women/womyn talk about feeling threatened due to whom those overused hands belonged. When I asked a female about how she felt when her form had hands-on correction by a female coach there was often an indifferent response; when asked about gay male instructors the same response was conveyed. I found that interesting. So, when a female or a gay male places their hands on your body to correct your form you feel (for lack of a better word) safe. However, a well-meaning heterosexual male can use the same hand placement and you feel threatened? One could argue that there’s more to that assertion than I’m qualified to unpack in this blog post (read: I’m not a Psychologist.) Nevertheless, I will plug this anecdote in your brain’s soil to grow and flower some new thoughts. I once dated a female with implants. They were great and everyone wanted to touch them. She and I dated at a time when I still practiced/believed in monogamy. So, I wasn’t keen on the idea of other men touching her breasts. (I was a prude back then.) She would still come home with stories about how she let some dude feel her up “but, he was gay” she would explain in defense. “Oh, okay! Perhaps I’ll find a lesbian to rub my cock!” I would argue. [I never found a lesbian to help me win that argument.] What makes one set of hands safer than another? That’s rhetorical food for discussion at your next cocktail party. Are gay men or straight women/womyn safe just because they’re not actively pursuing you? Are all straight men a threat because of the dark cloud of rape culture? Fuck, I hope no one views me as a threat. If my heterosexuality (or the harassment she’s received from assholes on the street) marks me as a threat then no matter what I do with my hands, I’ve already lost. And that’s precisely why I don’t give anyone any reason to view me as a threat.

A message to male fitness professionals: Just to reiterate, this blog is not about you changing your touchy/feely habits. You’re an adult. Do what you do. But, it would benefit your coaching skills if you were to improve your verbal cues. Use positive coaching phrases telling your clients what they should do and what they should feel. Avoid speaking at length as to what they should not be doing. The brain has trouble processing words like not and don’t. Where’s the first place that everyone looks when you exclaim “Don’t look down!”? I often hear trainers lament on how they told the class to not do something three times and most people still did that thing. Another way to step up your coaching skills is to improve your demonstrative skills. Being able to execute the exercise is one thing, making sure that all of those viewing you have an ideal vantage point is another. Ideally make sure that they are gathered round in a semi-circle no more than three deep so that everyone can see you complete the movement. The demonstrating doesn’t need to stop there. I often stand next to someone that I’m correcting and do the following: “Right now I’m seeing this *mimic their bad form* and I need to see this *demonstrate the correct form*.” In doing that, I’m sure to use “I” statements and not sound accusatory/judgmental (again this should be a safe place to get stronger). It’s also important that many people may not have a high level of kinesthetic awareness. So, if I tell someone to move their hips and they respond by moving their feet, it doesn’t mean that they have less than stellar intelligence, it may just mean that they’re visual learners. The third and most important way to keep from being Coach Creepy is to ask for permission/approval or at the very least let them know it’s about to happen. There may come a time when teaching a class and things are moving fast and you have to correct form in less than 10 seconds. Saying things like, “I’m going to adjust your form” or “may I adjust you” will go a long way in the memory of that experience. You can also ask the class to raise their hands at the beginning of class if they do not want to be touched in any way. “If there is anyone in the class that does not want hands-on correction, please speak up now and I’ll find other ways to correct your form.” Everything written in this message to male fitness professionals goes for straight and gay alike. I’m sorry, homosexuality is not a license to be handsy with women.

It’s worth mentioning… There are times when I absolutely touch my clients. It’s often after I’ve had to repeat myself. It’s always after we’ve built up enough of a rapport for them to understand that I’m correcting their form in the most professional way possible.

Takeaways [If you don’t remember shit else from this post…]
I am not against touching clients. I touch clients. I use light touches from fingertips on neutral areas that involve more bone than flesh. (read: pelvis instead of booty cheek) I am against disrespecting the personal space of others.

Hands are hands. There should be no multi-tiered standard for straight men, gay men, straight women/womyn, and gay women/womyn. On the giving end, respect all bodies and individual preferences. On the receiving end, demand the same respect/treatment from everyone.

Coaches should use words and other teaching skills before relying on touch as a first resort. When touch is about/needs to happen, coaches should ask for permission. There’s a person under that flesh.

Have You Started To Love Your Body Yet?

“How does it affect you?” It was a simple question that changed the way I thought (about everyone else). Some years ago, I was blathering on about how that person over there was doing that one thing that was annoying me. My GFATT (Girl Friend At The Time), asked the question that stopped me in my tracks. I don’t remember what I was complaining about. But, I do recall that I was in the habit of expressing (misdirected) anger through criticism of others. That was about a decade ago. I make better use of my energy these days. I still hear her voice in my head, repeating the simple question. I hear it when I make an unnecessary judgment. I hear it when others judge people.

“She is too old to be wearing THAT! I mean come on!” How does it affect you?
“Is he really wearing THOSE pants!?” How does it affect you?
“Is that a man or a woman?” How does it affect you?
“Are you really going to eat THAT?” How does it affect you?
“I hear that they have one of those open marriages!” How does it affect you?

“Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? Controversy.” -Prince

How does it affect you? *spoiler alert* It. Does. Not. None of our judgments of other people’s habits, fashions, lifestyles, sexual orientations, dietary choices, etc. are worth the mental effort. I care if other people smoke, litter, or jaywalk. Those are just a few examples of things that have an indirect effect on my life. But, I have three challenges for you.

First, acknowledge your judgments. Yes, I am judging that person. What insecurity of mine am I using as a weapon with which to judge this person? Perhaps the judgment you make on others is a subconscious judgment you’ve made on yourself. Are you unhappy with your body? Acknowledge that if you find yourself criticizing someone else’s body.

Second, ask yourself the question. How does it affect you? If it doesn’t, then remind yourself that your energy could be focused on much more positive things. Try focusing the energy of judgment on yourself. No, that does not mean that you should judge/criticize yourself in lieu of strangers. It means that you can take that energy and uplift yourself.

Third, uplift others. Find the (aesthetic) good in others. As I walk through any crowd, I find it easier (read: less stressful) to seek the positive in everyone’s appearance and/or disposition. I’m usually the smiling face that’s swimming up stream thinking about what I like about the people I see. I’m not going to type any false sunshine and claim that *insert mocking tone* “I find everyone beautiful in their own special way”. While I can find something that makes me smile in every soul and on every body, there are times that I meet a donkey (read: jack ass) and I choose to keep my distance. Sometimes, I meet someone that has a penis growing out of his forehead *untrue story*. When that happens I remind myself in rhyme, “if I can’t think of anything nice to SAY sometimes it’s best to look AWAY”.

“Have you started to love your body yet?” It’s a question that I ask potential clients. I make it a policy to only accept clients that are focused on long-term fitness, self-love, rehabilitation, and training to be prepared for anything. The saying goes, “workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.” I’m not sure who said it. But, in my experience, I’ve never seen success come from a negative motivator. Will you run faster if a dog is chasing you? No doubt. Should you imagine that a dog is chasing you every time you go for a run? Please don’t. You’ll hate running faster than it will take you to finish a mile. Love your body, love your effort, love your motivation.

The most beautiful people I’ve ever seen were naked. Every so often, I find myself in a “clothing optional” environment. In those environments, I see self- love whenever someone sheds their clothes. The nudists realize that nothing on their body will affect the eye of the beholder. How will it affect them? The nudist gives zero fucks. In that apathy, I see beauty. The most attractive person is the person that finds themselves attractive. I’d like to re-type that, “The most attractive person is the person that finds themselves attractive.” You can’t just say, “I know I look good, Honey!” No, you must live, breathe, and embody self-love. Have you ever met a confident human with a strong will and positive self-esteem? If you have, then you know what I mean. That human is s-e-x-y. Not because of hair color, fashion sense, height, weight, muscular definition, or any other aesthetic. Nope. That human is attractive because they have no self-doubt. They hear the phrase “clothing optional” and rejoice in the freedom of nudity. The nudists are those humans that don’t concern themselves with the judgments of others. Now, before you assume that all of these nudists, to whom I refer, fit into some societal standard of beauty check yourself. The majority of the naked people that I’ve seen at these resorts would never be asked to grace the cover of a magazine. However, they were the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen because they found themselves attractive enough to not be concerned by the opinion of others.

The never-nudes were the odd balls. Walking through a group of naked people with your clothes on highlights your insecurities. There are many places you can visit with clothing requirements. Why make the journey to a place (that’s not easy to find) just to leave your clothes on? One person even wore a sweater… in August. This person wore a goddamned sweater! How did it affect me? It didn’t. I just found it confusing. Being beautiful begins (and ends) with self-love. Have you started to love your body yet? Have you taken the time to celebrate your naked and lovely body in the mirror? Well, maybe it’s time that you found yourself sexy. Just a thought.