Saturday, January 30, 2010

Even my lip gloss is tough

Yes, I wear lip gloss to the garage. Mascara too. I do my hair and take time to decide on what I feel like wearing. I have several pairs of what I call “workout earrings.” I also shave my legs daily and put on self tanner in the winter even though I never wear shorts. Oh, I think I just heard a few of you gasp! But I’m also covered in bruises, have seriously calloused hands and scars on my fanny from Tabata sit-ups.

Does putting on make up before a workout give me the label “high maintenance?” Maybe. I do believe it means that my appearance is important to me. But I don’t think it indicates that I have “insecurities” to “cover up.” I only wish that applying cosmetics could remove any insecurity a woman has!

Over the years during my time spent in gyms, I’ve heard all of the comments that some women make about girls like me. “I can’t believe she bothers putting on make-up to work out!” My gut reaction to that statement is “Why do you care?”

I’ve also heard the ever-popular, “I don’t have time to get ready before I go to the gym. Must be nice.” Well, I am calling BS on that one. It’s all about setting priorities. I have 2 little girls to get off to school and places to be in the morning as well. I choose to make the time. We all have time to do the things we want to do. Just be honest and say that you don’t care – or that is isn’t important to you, which is fine with me. I applaud your choice. So, please don’t criticize mine.

Girly-girls are just as tough as anyone else. Do not doubt that for an instant. I would also warn you to not make assumptions about her athletic ability based on her appearance. That girl standing in the corner with the perfect lip gloss just might kick your ass in today’s WOD. And watch out, there are a lot of us hard working girly-girls darkening the doors of CrossFit boxes everywhere.

Do not assume that I care less about my workout because I care about how I look when I walk in the door. I’ve never had a poor WOD time because I was having a good hair day. And my lip gloss never slows me down. I can assure you that. At the same time, I would never suggest that my make-up free counter parts are not ass-kickers as well.

So why do I bother? When I look good, I feel good. And when I feel good, I perform well. But the simplest answer is. . . It’s who I am.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Poker-faced? Not hardly.

There are people in this world that can shield their emotions and thoughts from everyone. You never quite know what they are thinking. How they’re feeling, where their mind is at. I would NOT be one of those people.

I’ve been told by my closest friends, and my mother, that they know how I’m feeling by hearing the first words out of my mouth, or seeing my face. I just choose to live my life like an open book. I’m very generous with sharing my thoughts, maybe too much sometimes. I’m one of those people that can’t keep it all in. Not enough space in my crazy head to hold in the things I need to say.

The down side to this quality of mine is that I frequently get asked “What’s wrong?” And if I say “Nothing,” well, they almost always know that I am lying. So what I really need to say is “Yes, something is terribly wrong, but I am not ready to tell you right now.” Just give me a few minutes, I can’t keep quiet for long.

The positive side, I will never get an ulcer. I don’t hide what I think. Everyone knows where they stand with me, good or bad. It’s kind of a liberating feeling. I get to be exactly who I am, because, even if I wanted to, I can’t pretend otherwise.

If I am sad, you will know. I don’t project to the world that everything is perfect when it’s not. If I am happy, you will know it, because I will want you to share it with me. I guess if you want to be in my life, you’ll have to take me for who I am. And if you don’t, you’ll probably hear about it.

Do you hold your cards close, or lay them out on the table?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I, Client, take you, Coach

The relationship that a client shares with a trainer is very special. It’s imperative for the two to mesh in a similar way that you would in any other relationship. You have to believe that your trainer has your best interests at heart. You have to trust them. You have to know that they will protect you from injury, the best they can. You depend on them for emotional support and lean on them to get you through physical adversity. They should build your self esteem and praise your accomplishments. Is this a lot to ask of someone? Yes. Is it too much to expect? No.

But as with any person you meet, you may or may not find this connection with your trainer. This is why you need to evaluate how you feel about that person, following your first session. We just admire some people more than others. Everyone has specific personality traits or physical characteristics that will either appeal to you -- or emphatically will not. I strongly believe that it is a requirement to like him or her as a person – as much as you value their knowledge of fitness. We want to please people that we like. We seek their approval. We will try just that much harder for someone who we value.

Under the guidance of a good trainer, you will reach your potential. How this is accomplished, depends entirely on how you respond to their coaching style. It’s my opinion that the best trainers find the balance between tough and kind. They are as motivating as demanding. Some days they need to be uncompromising to get the best performance out of you. They also know when to bend down, and put their hands on your shoulders, and give you the encouraging words you need to hear.

Finding true fitness is a journey that requires a skilled partner to lead you. There are a lot of amazing trainers and coaches. But there are an overwhelming number of unremarkable ones as well. You’re paying this person -- you better be getting what you need from them. Find someone who wants to not only work for you, but with you. At the same time, it needs to be said, that training is a two-way street. You will get out of it, exactly what you choose to put in. Don’t waste your time or money if you don’t want to make the effort.

The bottom line is. . . If you’re serious about training, then you need to find a relationship with a coach that seriously works. And if you’re relationship with your coach isn’t working, find a new one. This isn’t marriage – you don’t need to “work at it.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fly by the seat of your panties. . . or not

My daughter came home from school one day -- walked in the door and said, “Mom, I think I am wearing your underwear.” She then proceeded to pull up her shirt to reveal what appeared to be several yards of white cotton spilling out of the top of her jeans. Let me just say, that these we’re not my sexy undies. These were sleeping undies, and every woman understands the difference. Anyway. . . I say to her, “Didn’t those feel funny when you put them on this morning?” She said, “Well, they did, but I didn’t feel like changing, so I just wore them anyway.” My daughter is a fine example of someone who flies by the seat of her pants -- or more specifically, her Mother’s panties.

Decisions, decisions. How do you make yours? How we answer this question, and what it says about who we are, sets us apart as individuals.

Some people are driven by logic. It this type of analytical process that guides them. They look at a situation and determine the pros and cons. They think about what comes next, and the effects of their choices. They lead with their head. Some people are driven by emotion. They do what “feels” right -- right now. They live in the moment. They throw caution to the wind, and decide to deal with the possible fallout some other time. They lead with their heart.

Very simply, “thinking” is logical and “feeling” is emotional. Are you a thinker or a feeler? Maybe we’re all a little of both. I do believe, however, that we lean more one direction than the other in most circumstances. Is either better or worse? I guess it depends. I do think that perhaps, the logical person might miss out on experiences because they over-analyze everything. But along the same lines, the emotional person might have regrets based on snap decisions that felt right at the time. Potential positives and negatives to both.

When you look at your life, what has dictated your decision making -- emotion or logic? If you know me, you already know how I answered.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What did she say?

I have been accused of having a trucker mouth, once or twice.

One day, Sophia was sitting at the counter while I was making dinner and having a very profanity-free conversation when she decides to give me options for “other” words to use in place of “swear” words when I am angry. I find this humorous on a few levels, but the one that is at the forefront is that that my children obviously “do as I say and not as I do.” This, in this particular scenario is a very good thing. I have really good kids. Anyone who knows them will attest to this. They do not get in to trouble at school for swearing on the playground.

So, here is what I think about profanity. . . There is nothing quite like a well placed expletive to make your point. Of course, I am acutely aware of knowing my audience before I do this. Wait, that’s not always true. Sometimes these words slip out of my mouth before I even realize it. This may be due to issues with self-control, of which I have little. Okay, I try to be aware of my audience before I let “them” fly.

And I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily proud of my use of obscene language, but I’m not quite ashamed either. I think too much has been made of “bad” words. They are just words. Just adjectives. We give them the power they hold. If society didn’t make such a big deal out of them, they wouldn’t be such a big deal. Is an F-bomb going to permanently scar anyone? I think not. I think our behavior is far more damaging than our language.

I also do not believe that my occasional (okay, often) use of profane words reflects my intellectual identity. I believe that it indicates that I am a person of unbridled passion. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But it’s not that I don’t have the vocabulary to support using alternate language. I choose to keep these words in my verbal arsenal. I will concede however, that there is a time and place for bad language. When I am really angry? Yes. When the cat pukes on the floor and I step in it. Yes. After a missed lift? A resounding YES. You get my point.

I will leave you with this final thought. . . What is offensive to some, is simply colorful to others. And who really f*#king cares anyway?

The Channel Keeps Changing

Most nights, I roll over at some point, open my eyes and look at the clock. I am always hoping that it’s somewhere near morning when this happens, because I know that once my mind realizes it’s awake, I won’t be dozing back off any time soon.

I suffer from “thinks-too-much-syndrome.” I’m certain it’s not an actual condition, but for me it’s quite real. My mind bounces from topic to topic, sometimes faster than I can keep track of the thoughts. And if the constant stream of thoughts isn’t enough, I’ll start playing a song in the background, which unfortunately is always on repeat.

What do I think about? It varies from night to night. Sometimes I am thinking of all the things I need to do today. Or all of the things I didn’t do yesterday. Sometimes I will recall something from my past. On certain nights, I can do all this simultaneously. I’m nothing, if not a good multi-tasker. Last night I was replaying a conversation with a friend. I am sure that everyone does this. You question what you said, and how you said it. You realize that once you say something, you can’t retract your words. Or more important, you can’t go back and say the things you wish you had. But knowing this doesn’t stop me from trying. I get to play both people.

As I lay there wishing I could turn off my head – while carrying on this part real, part imaginary dialogue – it occurs to me that conversations are like verbal minefields. You step around topics that you don’t want to address. Or more honestly, are afraid to talk about. We avoid the uncomfortable because if we can avoid it long enough, we convince ourselves that it might go away. But just like a landmine, it’s still there, even if you don’t acknowledge it. You can try to walk gingerly past the bombs in your life, but one day, when you’re not paying attention, you’ll step right in the middle of one. It’s then when you’re forced to deal with whatever “it” is.

Well, at least that’s what I tell myself at 3:07 am.

Click. Just like that, the channel in my head changes and I start wondering how painful today’s CrossFit WOD will be. And my song is stuck on the chorus.

Does my butt look big?

Flaws. It’s what most of us see when we scrutinize ourselves in a mirror. How we view ourselves is an interesting thing. Often, we choose to focus on the negatives. I don’t like my legs. I pretty much never have, but I’ve been told numerous times, that I am lucky to have strong, muscular legs. I have had a hard time seeing the good in these “lucky” legs of mine – visually speaking. And my legs are just the beginning of the lengthy list of what I consider to be my “flaws.”

I have a friend who refers to her backside as the “butternut.” She’s not complimenting herself when she says this. But what I see, is a beautiful, strong, CrossFit athlete that manages to get her “butternut” across the finish line, more often than not, ahead of anyone else.

What I find very interesting, however, is our inability to view ourselves the way we’re viewed by others. . . especially, those close to us. Why can’t we love ourselves despite our flaws, the way those that love us do? I don’t pick apart my friend. I don’t see her flaws. As her friend, I explain to her that she’s perfect -- just the way she is. I do this, not to make her “feel” better – but because that is the way I SEE her.

We all have flaws. Some are literal, some are perceived. But most are invisible to those that KNOW who we are. Let’s all try to look at ourselves through the eyes of someone who loves us. We might be happier with what we see.

Flawed, but loved. . .