Motivational Personal Development Strength Training

Building Muscle, Building Confidence

I’ve been weaning myself off of the barbell for a few months. I decided to change up my training and depart from the go-big or go-home approach. I’ve gone from high weight/ low repetitions to high reps/ lower weight. I cap my weight increases and change my tempo for a greater challenge. I’m exploring how this feels and listening to my body. Sometimes in a large class I feel a little bit on the outside because my goals might be different, not going for a personal record. But then I remember that everyone’s goals are different all the time. So I just do my thing. One reason I’m backing off the big weight is it does a number on my central nervous system. I’d like to minimize fatigue and brain fog. It’s been a stressful few months, and while I have lots of strategies and mechanisms for copying with stress, my reserves are low. A good strategy for me is to minimize extra fatigue from compound exercises like deadlifts. However, the personal records are important too, and I’m happy I have them. I’ve been reflecting on the value of the p.r. One of the greatest take-aways from the deadlift and rack pulls specifically is the byproduct of self-belief. Yes, fat loss, gaining strength, and feeling good are also amazing byproducts, but the unexpected result is self-belief. The surprise of this discovered confidence makes it even more of a gem.

I’m a pretty confident person about most things, but most things I do, I do all the time. When it comes to the weight room, for the first year especially, most of it was new and most of it came with the thought, “I can’t do that.” I think many of us would agree that so quickly for all of us this initial thought becomes, “I can do that.” How exciting and empowering to have this new narrative. Honestly, sometimes we wonder if we will ever be able to get through the warm up without stopping, or do a one minute plank, wall sits, or bear crawls, let alone any weight lifting. But we do and we believe in ourselves a little more with each success.

When we start thinking about our own #s, setting goals and accomplishing them, in some way we are rewiring our brains for self-belief. By setting our sights on something that seems out of reach and then achieving that, we boost our confidence and this carries over into other parts of our lives. What else in my life would I like to achieve? What goals can I set? How do I prioritize my routine to get there? What are the steps I need to take? Once you apply the structure, the discipline, and the process to get there- Boom! You reach new p.r.s in your life. For me the barbell is a reminder of all the things I never thought I could do, but actually can. Coincidentally, barbells are not in our routine this month. I’m glad I didn’t have to quit cold turkey, and had self directed through the weaning process, but I look at them fondly with memories of my personal records. Fortunately for me on my last rack pull p.r. of 300#, my workout buddy, Michelle asked if she could take my picture. I’m glad she did, and like Bogart to Bergman in Casablanca , I can say, “We’ll always have Paris.”

Cultivating your self-belief is a wonderful byproduct of attending a gym. What would you like to accomplish that you never thought you could, because you know what? I bet you can!

Personal Development

Stress and the Missing Sock

I am missing one of my favorite socks and now I’m late for work. It’s walking Wednesday which means I pack my tennis shoes and extra socks for my lunch break walk. For some reason my sock drawer is empty, and I can only find one sock in the dryer. And so it begins- I spend way too long looking for a match, and I still need to pack a bag for the gym; and I need to get dressed for work; and where is the lid to my glass lunch container? and what did I do with my keys? which purse was I using last week? and where’s my water bottle? We’ve all been there, right? Then we’re hitting every red light on the way to work, coupled with the plague of summer traffic, which is four cars at every stop sign and people driving 20 in a 50 taking pictures of the cormorants on the float. I’m breezing into the office at 8:59 heart pounding, with only a, “Sorry I wasn’t here sooner, but I couldn’t find my sock.” This is what stress looks like.

This is as bad as it gets for me- mini earthquakes over socks and stoplights sneakily eroding my sanity until about 20 minutes into the frenzy and I say, “Ah ha! I’m onto you, Stress. I’m listening.” I am grateful for stress. It sends a loud and clear message that I am off track and need to realign myself. It is time to strategize and turn this around. Thank goodness for stress to send up the s.o.s. smoke signals before I spiral off the edge in my unmatched socks.

The missing sock is a symptom of a bigger issue-a busy schedule. I’ve been traveling, visiting three states and another country in the last 2 weeks. The laundry from the suitcase is washed and dried but not folded and put away. It’s summer. The days are jam-packed full of fun. It’s not supposed to be stressful. But, well, it is when the little routines get off track and you can’t find your favorite sock.
We tend to have strategies for handling big stress; family emergencies, work issues, or health scares, but the little stuff can be just as dangerous when left unattended. The more we experience stress the more susceptible we are to illness, fatigue, weight gain, troubled sleep, and fuzzy brain. So as soon as I see the s.o.s. smoke signal I do the following:

1. Breathe. I take a deep breath and get centered. (Try this now. Doesn’t that feel good?)

2. Identify. I look at my circumstances and surroundings and identify the stressors.

3. Assess. I decide if I can change the circumstances or if I can work on my reaction to them.

4. Gauge. On a scale of 1-10 how big are the stressors? Most often I find they are 5 or below. That’s not too bad in the scheme of things. This perspective alone helps mitigate the stress.

5. Affirm. I assure myself I can handle this. A quick affirmation keeps me calm and confident instead of self-critical and overwhelmed.

6. Write it down. I make list of what I need to address. I prioritize these in order of most pressing or easiest to handle, and then feel good about meeting them head on.

7. Relax. I keep doing the things I love and find relaxing: walk, read, garden, stretch, exercise, cook, visit with friends. These moments fuel me and are important to maintain. I try to not make a habit of giving up what feels good because I feel bad.

8. Plan. Time management allows for the unexpected while handling what’s already on my plate. A well planned day is like a well loaded dishwasher: you can fit more in, even the oddly shaped things, if you start with some order.

9. Put away the laundry. As tempting as it is to skip the mundane tasks to go do exciting things, the mini earthquake of a missing sock isn’t worth it. Honestly, at first I just bought more socks. Then I set aside a reserve stash of walking socks. These short term solutions just prolonged the inevitable.

Whatever it is that starts a stress spiral for you, try to meet that head on as soon as you see the s.o.s. You’ll start to see the small signs if you look for them and listen, and you’ll be grateful for this too. Stress has a way of showing up just when we need it to help us realign, reprioritize, and regroup to relax.

Motivational Personal Development

How Do You Make the World More Beautiful?

One of the joys of living in a region where we have all of the seasons is experiencing the many moments of beauty that emerge, the sudden splendors that come but pass quickly in their time – the ruby blaze of autumn leaves; the diamond sparkle of fresh snowflakes; and the gilded petals of the forsythia as they are awakened by the lengthening days of spring. With our summer sun there are more moments coming and going at a rapid pace. This week our lupine are blossoming with their plumes of lavender and pinks. I am always reminded by these purple spires of the children’s book, Miss Rumphius. She is tasked with one instruction: you must do something to make the world more beautiful. Of course she chooses to travel and plant beautiful flowers, and the book’s illustrations could be sketches of the Maine countryside. The lupine are a very literal beauty, and I am grateful to witness this each year. When I see them, I am reminded to do my part to bring beauty to the world.
Literal beauty is only one kind of beautiful. I think beauty can not only be how something or someone looks, but also a state of mind that comes from harmony within ourselves. I think this comes naturally as part of a self-care routine. When we prioritize ourselves by eating well, drinking water, working out, and getting rest, we radiate beauty and wellness. When we are loving ourselves this way, beauty shines out from us and our actions like a beacon. When we are taking care of our needs, we are able to create the space to bring beauty into the world.
This weekend I thought about my to-do list and how to spend my time in a meaningful way. The most important thing to me was to be of service to others. This was how I could make the world more beautiful. My parents have just arrived to their summer home, and I decided my time would be best used helping them get their garden going. It was a great joy to share this moment as summer emerges, turning over the earth and planting their flowers. I’m fortunate that my folks have always set an example for me of being generous with their time and helping others, and by trying to make the world a little bit better by contributing. Even this weekend my dad said to me, “ The only things you can take with you when your time here is done, is what you have given away.” Digging in the earth this weekend was much more than adding a splash of color to the yard. It was about adding beauty through the gift of time and service. What is your Beauty? Are you taking care of yourself in a way that brings you harmony so that you can radiate beauty? Are there actions you can take that bring beauty to the world in a way that is meaningful for you?

Motivational Personal Development

What is Your Awesome?

This week I have the pleasure of visiting my niece and nephew during my trip to Colorado. My time with them consists of doing things they love and watching them be awesome. We play tetherball, ride bikes, read stories, make slime, and there’s soccer and flag football games too. Both of them have something they are awesome at doing, and their joy and excitement around that is contagious.
Yesterday I took them to their school fair, complete with sack races and a dunk tank. I love seeing them in their world and having them share it with me. Sven, a circus arts performer, was my highlight at the fair. I’m always impressed when someone can do these amazing stunts and entertain an audience with humor and wit, with a peppering of philosophy. Sven climbed towers, balanced on giant spheres, and juggled fire. It was meant to impress the kids, but I was riveted. This man was “doing his awesome.” I realized as he set up to do his final tight rope walk that he was not just entertaining us, he was not an exhibitionist, he was simply exceptional at his art and inviting us in to his passion. His mission was not to inspire us to become circus artists, but to inspire us to be awesome at something we love.
As he began his walk across the tight rope, he looked out at us and said just what I was thinking, “Boys and girls, I know I make this look easy, but this is hard. I’ve been doing this for 28 years and I’m really good. But I’m not here to inspire you to become jugglers. I’m here to excite you to find something you love and be awesome at that. Then go out and share that with the world. That’s the world I want to live in, where people are awesome at different things and they share that with each other.”
Today was my turn to share my awesome with the kids. We went on a full day expedition in the mountains. There was so much joy between us as we laughed and learned, and sang and summited. This is the world I want to live in, just like Sven, where people share their awesome with each other and bring joy not only for themselves but to each other by sharing it…

What is your awesome?

Personal Development Uncategorized

I Won The Lottery, and So Did You

What do you mean I won the lottery, Hunter?

That’s what I thought until I decided to not sleep ALL night and watch a one hour speech by Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway who’s net worth is 73.5 Billion Dollars.

In his presentation, he was asked the question, “What is your take on Social Security and the Welfare System?”

His answer really takes everyone’s best interest into account, and that’s why I wanted to share this with you today.


NOTE: These aren’t his exact quotes – just as I remember

When he was asked this question in front of over a hundred high school students, he replied with this answer:

“Well first things first, we all won the lottery… when I was born I had a 1 in 50 chance to be born in the United States, and I was fortunate enough to be born here. You guys have also won the lottery, so you’re already ahead of the game.”

That statement right there was a big eye opener to me in itself. Yes, I’m grateful that I live in this country, but when you really get to the numbers (1 in 50) although I’m sure the numbers have changed since when he was born, it really makes an impact.

He continues…

“Imagine if, 24 hours before you were born, a genie came to you and said, “you’re about to be born in 24 hours, and you can create the world however you want it.”

“What’s the catch?”, you’d say.

The genie would reply back, “Here’s the catch… you don’t know if you’re going to be male or female, white or black, smart or stupid, healthy or have a crippling disease, what country you’re to be born in, or if you’re born rich or poor.””

This reply to the question Warren Buffet asked is about the best answer I think he could have given. Obviously, everyone’s interpretation on this is different, but it does really take into perspective everyone elses positions.

Personally, I don’t get caught up in all of the politics that go into social security and welfare, but I am aware that a lot of people complain about it.

It impacts my life in that my mother is very ill and does have a very deadly disease that she was born with. Luckily, it’s not as severe as it could be, but the medical bills aren’t cheap. She worked her entire life as a nurse and helped thousands of people, and she didn’t stop until her doctors told her she had to.

However, a lot of people abuse the system too, and it is FAR from perfect. Warren Buffett acknowledges this but claims that it is constantly improving.

I’m not going to get into this debate, but I really just wanted to share Warren Buffett’s viewpoint on this because it really made me appreciate what I have a little bit more. I hope it did the same for you.

You can watch the full interview below: