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!

Advertisements

Better Sleep, Focused Boning

I’m taking a two-week trip to the Dominican Republic this month. I’ll be without internet and won’t have time for new content. For the month of July, I’ll be re-posting some old blogs. This one was originally posted in January 2013. The title has been changed and a few other tweaks to keep your attention.

I hope that you slept well last night. I hope that you woke up refreshed this morning. I hope that you haven’t been frustrated by insomnia or anxiety keeping you awake. When I was a young boy, my mother taught me a simple lesson when it came to sleep. At the age of 4-ish, I walked into the living room and told her, “Mama, I can’t sleep!” She looked me in the eye and smiled sweetly. She pulled me close and whispered, “Do you know why you can’t sleep?” I shook my head ‘no’, in response. She said, “because you’re in here talking to me, now take yo ass in there and go to sleep.” My mother has always been the matter-of-fact type. I’ve always been a pragmatist, even at that age, so her words made complete and total sense. I just walked into the bedroom and went to sleep! Having trouble waking up in the morning? Do you hate mornings? Go to sleep! I know, I know, you’re not a kid. It’s easier said than done. “I have to look at these pics of kittens dancing with puppies on the interwebs!” “I have to check this one last email.” “Wait, let me just finish this episode of The Daily Show, my DVR is getting full!” Friends, go to sleep.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve gotten in the habit of no phone allowed in my bedroom. Bedrooms are for two things, sleeping and boning. TVs, Laptops, iPads, iPhones, Droids, and those sort of things are the antithesis of rest. “Oh, I have mine set to shut off at Blank o’ clock! I only reach for it first thing in the morning!” Go to sleep, shut off the electronics and just sleep. Get in touch with your imagination again. Have dreams about tomorrow morning’s run, ride, or weight workout. My challenge to you is to try it for a few days. If you rest easier, great! If you can’t rest because your phone’s not at your side, find a support group. If you’re already sleeping soundly and getting up early with no problem, you’re doin’ it right! I look forward to seeing you all with bright eyes and able bodies sooner than later.

The [Fitness] Mistake I See Every Year

Good Morning! For those of you that celebrate (read: eat and cook lots of things you wouldn’t eat or cook otherwise-honestly, whoTF cooks an entire Turkey in June) this day, have a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m not going to begin a rant about antiquated pseudo-holidays with a muddled history. That one sentence mini-rant was enough. (See what I did there?) Just know that one day a year will never be enough to express proper gratitude for the people and experiences in your life.

Now, after reading that appetizing title, I’m sure you’re salivating for the big reveal. What’s the mistake that so many people make every year (every goddamned year)!? It’s a mistake that manifests many times throughout the year. But, the day after Thanksgiving kicks this mistake into high gear. The mistake is guilt. ‘Tis the season to eat all of the things. Eat everything that you want from apples to artichokes, kale to kumquats, and pies to pussy & poutine (separately or risk one weird mess). *insert Dave Chappelle’s Rick James* “ENJOY YO SELF!”

Meme

When you celebrate (without breaking any laws or jaws) own your pleasure. Guilty guilt is stupid fucking guilt. Dude, you ate a whole pie. Take your favorite book into the library (read: the shitter) and work it out. No guilt.

Here’s where the guilt of enjoying food turns into a fitness mistake. Everyone is quick to claim no regrets, but most people won’t acknowledge the actions they’ve taken out of guilt. I often coach the day after Thanksgiving and there are times when I turn people away. One year, I taught four consecutive exercise classes (because other’s called in sick-I’m not THAT crazy). There were a few people that I turned away for fear of over training. When I asked them why they were trying to workout in a second consecutive high intensity class their answers were both alarming and amusing. All of them expressed some form of guilt around how much they’d eaten on Thursday. They were trying to work it all off by working out twice as hard. WTF!? Yeah, exercise doesn’t work that way. While it may be true that working out more (or with greater intensity) may burn more calories. That doesn’t change the fact that you ate an entire mixing bowl of monkey hips and grits. You run a higher risk of injuring yourself after the most sedentary day of the year, eating, drinking, sitting, talking shit, taking shits, competing with your siblings to see who unbuckles the belt (or finishes the third helping) first, and other gluttonous adventures that you may hold as esteemed traditions.

I often talk to clients about the importance of rest and consistency. If you miss a workout day, don’t guilt yourself into a double workout the following day only to be stuck and stiff in bed the day after. If you miss a day, just stay consistent with the other days of the week. If you consistently miss the same day, change your workout schedule. The same idea applies to the national day of gluttony. Don’t guilt yourself into working harder than you normally would. I’ll be coaching today and tomorrow. I hope that people will be kind to their bodies by not over training. I hope that people will be kind to their spirit and avoid guilt.

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy! Even though you may feel your abdomen distend, no one has ever gotten fatter due to one meal. [If any sexist family member says, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”, just punch them in their pie hole.] I’m not going to suggest moderation. You’re an adult, you know not to force feed yourself. Your only takeaway from this post should be that guilt tends to be a catalyst for bad decisions. Own your choices, eat that slice of pie, pick up your training on your next scheduled training day without compensating for guilt.