13 years ago I flipped an SUV five times, for two and a half complete rotations, while driving about 80mph on what we call the Interstate in Florida. A ladder fell off a truck in front of me, and at 18 years old I had basically zero defensive driving strategies.
I jerked the wheel, flipped the car, landed in oncoming traffic, flew in a helicopter, regained active memory about 8 hours later and within 36 hours was told to go home because I was fine.
I may have had a mandatory follow up of some kind. I don't really know. I was living with my parents, just started college, and generally had life to still learn about. I never went to any follow up. No one told me I was supposed to
7 years ago I was training MMA, as I've done literally my entire life major-injury free, and out of nowhere some really great contact was made from my opponent between his shoulder and my rib cage as he grabbed both my legs and we headed toward the floor. We stayed glued as we made impact with the mat and I instantly felt as if I were actually dying.
A noise came out of my mouth as I attempted to take in air for what felt like way, way too long. Before I could even breathe again I made peace with the idea that I'd be leaving in stretcher while that noise continued to come from my mouth all the way to the hospital.
Within 3 minutes and with the entire gym totally alarmed, I was able to breathe okay again, and within about 10 minutes I was able to walk it off.
I went to my doctor a few days later to get things checked out. Without a single xray I was declared to have strained a muscle and was diagnosed physical therapy. I didn't go because it hurt too badly, and I was too tired and in too much pain to do anything else.
12 months ago, I'd been pursuing safe and sane strength training for just about five years. Being aware of my previous back injury, I'd take things slowly and stay in tune with my body and never ever over-do it if I could control it.
Sometimes my back would "go out" and I'd be laid up for a few days before returning to almost normal. In the past two or so years I'd realized that I'm always in some degree of back pain, but didn't think anything of it out of the ordinary "I lived an active life and now I'm getting old" kind of stuff.
One morning in January 2016, I woke up at 5am, went to the gym, started teaching a lifting class feeling just fine. Halfway through the class I was feeling quite stiff and by noon for the first time in my life, I couldn't walk.
I went to the walk in clinic that night and explained my worry and surprise. I was told to go straight to the emergency room. From there, I got lots of pain killers and referred to an orthopedic doctor.
It turns out over my past traumas in the last decade and a half, I've broken some tiny bones in my back called pars which then compromised the structural integrity of my spine, which results in the bigger breaking of more and more pars, which ultimately led to a vertebrae slipping, which ultimately led to three vertebrae slipping, which ultimately led to them breaking, discs dying and nerves compressing.
Fast forward to now. It's been a roller coaster of a year. I spent some of it in a wheelchair between epidural injections, episodes of being able to lead an active life only to be put right back in my place by whatever was happening to my back.
I spent much of this year in an identity crisis. I JUST worked with myself to shift my paradigm from life and fitness being about what I look like to being about what I could do. But now I couldn't even do ANYTHING! I couldn't lift, I couldn't walk, most days I can't even put my socks on.
I'm so so so tired of being limited physically. I cannot even attempt to put into words the torture that takes place when you want to move your body and cannot. When you need to teach a two day workshop but can't stand. When you fear you might miss your plane because you were walking just fine two minutes ago when you were dropped at the gate but now you can't. When you wonder what people around you would do if you could scream loud enough to communicate the amount of pain happening from your head to your toes.
I am so lucky to be in the position where I can reverse this.
I felt like I hit the jackpot in December when I went in for my most recent epidural and the doctor got to see an update of what was going on in there. I then became a candiate for surgery.
Here's what my lower spine looks like now, next to an xray of a healthy lower spine:
Mine's on the left. Could you tell?
The black areas mean there's gas in there now instead of bone/cartlidge.
So anyway, a week from today I'm going under. Ready for the gorey details?
They're gonna cut me open in the front, clean out some dead gunk, put some titanium cages in where my discs should be with some bone graft material in them.
Then they'll flip me over, cut me open in the back, and rebuild some of the spinal structure with screws.
Then they'll sew me up. Over the next 12 months, my spine will grow some of its own bone matter to help keep things together and in place.
I have absolutely no idea what my life will look like 7 days from this very second. But I feel prepared for anything.
What other choice do I have?
I had been taught my whole life that if someone doesn’t agree with you or if someone no longer serves you a purpose- then f*** ‘em (and sometimes cut them off).
I didn’t realize until right now that I had actually done that to my former self.
The Fit2point0 Leadership Team is writing this week about times in our lives where we did something badass and surprised ourselves.
I thought back to a rope climb.
I could do about a pullup and a half and had NEVER climbed a rope in my entire life. But for some reason, that rope was calling my name. So I practiced every day. I figured out how to make the rope climb work for me. I worked it until one day I just kept going, didn’t look down and made it to the top.
Flashback to today. I wondered to myself if this was something I'd like to celebrate.
I immediately thought “No. That was during a time when I hated myself and over trained because I didn’t like my body.”
So why do I have so much disdain for my prior me?
I use this timeframe in my life as a basis of comparison to where I am now. It was 4 years ago to be exact. I will sometimes show “before” and “afters” of myself between that time and now to show that weight on the scale does not dictates ones health, strength or happiness because when I was at my smallest I was the most miserable me there ever was.
My initial feelings when I think about her or see pictures of her are largely based in pity. I feel bad for her. I know how hard she was struggling to love herself, or to just feel good, or to feel like she was enough.
Does the fact that when I look back at old pictures of myself and feel bad for that person invalidate a few of the awesome things that person did during that time?
Self love, appreciation and gratitude for me TODAY? I got that, it’s nailed down. But I guess I have some shame I haven’t yet dug up about 5 Years Ago Me.
Logically, this doesn’t make much sense to me. Everything that am able to do today- skill set, opportunities or otherwise- is obviously a direct result of my prior experiences.
And if I'm working hard to be a better person with each passing day, then why am I pissed off at prior me for not being what I am now?
This rope climbing experience was something I did that was really really cool at the time. Hell, I couldn’t do it now, that’s for sure. And I didn’t have any bad feelings about the rope climb in and of itself.
It was all good feels- things like “I’m going to get strong enough to do this” and not “If I don’t get strong enough to do this I am worthless”. This rope climb didn’t decide my self worth- it was just something cool I wanted to do. And I did it.
I have been re-examining a lot about myself lately and how I got to here. I have learned the hard way that like minded does not mean same minded- and that we can love, appreciate and respect individuals who don’t see eye to eye with us on 100% of all things.
To open myself up to others even though they don’t agree with me on some things is probably the hardest exercise I’ve ever taken on in my adult life thus far. It requires vulnerability and that’s pretty scary.
But I remember everything Brene Brown has said about vulnerability- how it’s the only catalyst for courage, how it’s the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. And she’s not just saying these pinterest-worthy quotes, she has real studied social scientific data to back up these claims.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation and change. It’s also the birthplace of joy, faith and connection. To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that.” - Dr. Brene Brown
Am I trying to innovate? Yup.
Am I working toward change? Absolutely.
Tools that’ll help get me there: creativity, joy, faith and connection.
It’s time for me to open up to my past self. To be vulnerable and to let her in. She was worthy, even if she didn’t know it at the time.
She will be my biggest challenge yet.
Here she is, climbing that rope:
Consistency is ANY goal that relates to performing a task or habit a certain # of times (frequency) over a designated time period. If you can't nail your consistency goals 90% of the time, it's time to re-assess and change them by either reducing the frequency or breaking down the task into a lower barrier task.
"Consistency is the key to success!".
Cool. Okay thanks. So... what does that mean exactly?
Consistency is important in reaching a goal because quality work + time = results. So how do we ensure that we are doing ENOUGH quality work in the RIGHT time frame? The answer to that is BE CONSISTENT.
At face value, we might assume that means:
"Do this thing every single day and you will succeed at it".
Hold on... if I did all the things I want to succeed at every single day, I'd never sleep. Plus, that's a lot of pressure for someone. If right off the bat we assume that doing something every day is the only way to be considered "consistent" then we're already setting ourselves up to fail. That's not how sustainable habit change works.
Is every-other day considered consistent? Maybe every M/W/F? Maybe once a week? What really is consistency anyway?
Here's how we deconstruct the idea of consistency:
Frequency over time period.
So a consistency goal might look like any of the following:
So how do we set a realistic consistency goal?
I train my Body Positive Fitness Alliance Affiliated Professionals to help their clients become consistent with a habit that will help them reach a goal with the following question:
What frequency (aka how many times in a given time period) do you think you can manage to nail 90% of the time?
For example, if I'm signing up a new client at Surf City Fit Club, I'll ask them the above question with regards to how many times per week they envision being able to joyfully attend.
The cool thing about consistency goals is that (and this might sound a bit oxymoronic), they can change quite often!
If every Sunday I wanted to set a different frequency goals for my workouts for the week ahead, that's totally fine! Each week in my life looks different than the last week in my life, but I'm making it a priority to workout AT ALL, and I'm defining the 90% likelihood of frequency I'll be able to hit for that designated time period, so this consistency goal is legit.
I could even argue that setting a goal one Sunday to not workout at all that week is consistent. Why? Because I'm consciously choosing to take that week off of working out (maybe life is very busy that week or maybe I'm nursing an injury or I'm ill)- and so that gives me a frequency of ZERO for that time period.
Now here's the key-
If you set a consistency goal and DON'T nail it 90% of the time then it is time to re-assess your goal. This is going to set you on the path toward sustainable habits. At this point, you have two options:
A) Reduce your frequency goal to fit better within your lifestyle
B) Break down the task to something smaller and try your consistency goal again.
The choice is yours.
With regards to "A", if you have a goal sometimes it is best to start with a frequency of ONE over a time period. Starting with a frequency of ONE is a very low barrier way to begin a habit. From there, we adjust the time period.
"I will ________ ONE TIME over the course of [whatever time period you're 90% certain you can make this happen in]."
Regarding "B", perhaps your "Go for a run after work every Tuesday and Thursday" isn't getting nailed 90% of the time and so it is time to re-assess this goal. Can we break down the task into a smaller task? Can we change it to "I will put on my gym sneakers after work every Tuesday and Thursday"?
If you can then nail that smaller task 90% of the time over a period of time, then the transition into the actual running part will be much lower barrier than it was before in your attempt to start this habit cold turkey.
In my interactive manual What Do I Do At The Gym? I purposely avoid telling the reader how many times per week they should do their workouts- but I give them the tools to set their own consistency goals based on their lifestyle. A great fitness habit is one that fits into your lifestyle easily- not one that requires a revamp of your lifestyle altogether.
Do you workout? Why?
Are you considering beginning a fitness routine? Why is that?
Functional fitness is a buzzword nowadays which apparently can meaning anything from training to flip 300lb tires to training to swing a heavy and long mace around your head for ten minutes at a time. But how should we define if one is "functionally fit"?
Technology has made our lives easier and thus led to our generally sedentary lifestyles. I train individuals to help them enhance their quality of life through strength, empowerment, better health and longevity.
Here are three tests one can do to check to see how truly functionally fit they are in comparison to our majority sedentary population. These tests can also serve as goals or benchmarks in your fitness journey from sedentary to strong- so be sure to take an initial assessment and compare where you're at after being active for awhile!
1. Sit down onto a chair and stand up with no hands
Chair arms were designed for convenience. When we utilize them hundreds of times a day, we're neglecting our body's need to use our lower body in a natural strength capacity.
If you've never done this or had the ability to do this, start seated. Ensure your feet are flat on the ground and that your heels are aligned underneath your knees. The width of your knees is totally your preference. It's going to feel weird to think about doing this for the first time and you're definitely going to psych out- just know it is all in your head.
Drive with your hips in a diagonal line upwards until you are standing (check out this video for a more detailed idea of what I mean). For first few attempts you might need to employ the arm rests as a spot check, but before long you'll be doing this with ease. This is how your body was designed to stand up from a seated position, and every single time you do it, you're gaining strength in your lower body, abs and back.
From standing, lead with your hips back downward to sit down.
Congrats, you've just eliminated the need for assistive technology for one of the most basic movements- sitting down and standing up, aka the squat.
2. Lie down onto the ground and stand back up with no hands
Everyone is going to perform this one differently due to the differences in body types.
How easy does it sound? Give it a shot. I did this video challenge in my private facebook group and then I posted a solution video. Check it out:
3. Do #2, but while holding something in your hands
Once you're feeling safe and confident every which way upside down and backwards with #2, now grab something with two hands and give it a shot.
How does it feel? Psyched out all over again, huh? That's normal, just keep practicing and make sure your environment is safe from all obstructions.
How heavy can you go?
Your initial assessment metric will be your starting point. Can you do it with a 5lb dumbbell? An 8kg kettlebell?
Keep training in your fitness regimen. How much weight can you do this with six to eight weeks from today?
There are many places we can go from here such as:
Can you do #3 while holding something overhead?
Can you do #1 while holding something heavy in both hands?
Can you do #2 using just one foot ("pistol" style)?
and on and on and on.
The point is, you don't have to use pushups or jumping jacks to display or test your strength, mobility and truly functional fitness. Just move your body in ways it was designed to move, without assistive technology.
And if your goal is training for general strength and quality of life, these three test/benchmarks/goals are great guides to see where you've come from and where you're going.
Join the facebook group to talk about these challenges with a fun and supportive community of folks- and even post videos of your attempts!
See you there.
Want to get strong through fitness or by going to the gym but aren't sure where to start? I created www.whatdoidoatthegym.com to help you with that. Check it out.
Kai Hibbard was a contestant on The Biggest Loser Season 3. If you don’t know her by now, she’s famous in my world for being the first and one of the only to ever speak out against the abusive and unhealthy practices which take place during the filming of the show which are then perpetuated by the airing and popularization of the show itself.
The Biggest Loser sensationalizes all the things we at Fit2point0 and the Body Positive Fitness Alliance work hard to combat- things like leaving a workout feeling more terrible than when you began it, trying to ignite change through shame and suffering and portraying overweight people as “less than” people who are thinner, among other things. You can read all about her experience via a first hand account Kai wrote here.
To summarize in her own words, "I was the person who, in the very first interview after I got off the show, said ‘Hey guys, this is the worst possible thing you can do to your body and mental health’.”
In 2007, it was kind of a radical idea to speak out against popular “fitness” practices, as damaging as the research proves they are. But now almost 10 years later, a huge shift has taken place and the world is becoming more ready for Fit2point0 by the day.
Michele: Alright, Kai. It's time for New Year's Resolutions. The Biggest Loser is infamous for providing "inspiration" to people who are desperate to be smaller. What can we tell people who find that show motivating? How can we stop the cycle before it begins?
Kai: This false paradigm of ‘health’ where you need to beat the hell out of yourself to make any progress is a myth made up by the diet industry to keep you buying into things. The more you fail, the more you have to start again and continue to buy their products.
Take a deep look at why we find this inspirational. Have we internalized something from society or our past that helps us find people being abused ‘motivating’?
Someone said to me once ‘If animals were treated the same way as humans are treated on that television show, the show would’ve been cancelled a long time ago’.
So I’d encourage them to look at why they feel people being treated that way is motivational.
Find some body positive role models to follow- they’re easy to find nowadays. Become a discerning consumer of everything.
M: I totally agree and I think that’s kind of how we got to here. In the 90’s we got the internet which became a flood of information for people really quickly. At that time, discerning if the information out there was right or true wasn’t really a concern just yet. That was the era of “If it’s on the internet it must be true”. Well, it only took about 10 years for people to realize that there’s good and bad information out there and now consumers are getting smarter.
You’re seeing brands step up and stop assuming everyone is stupid and acknowleding our intellectuality because we are smart enough to appreciate that.
People are realizing it’s up to us to determine what’s good information.
K: It’s super boring to hear about what it takes to be healthy on a day to day basis.
M: Exactly like ‘ok how do you sell this?’
K: Well it doesn’t help when you have trainers like Jillian Michaels who are worth millions and doing the exact opposite of what the evidence states that a reasonable professional should do.
I’m baffled that I’m still being vilified for saying the same thing in interviews. The knowledge is out there, it’s just about accepting it.
M: There are a lot of trainers who have been in the industry a long time and are smart people. There is evidence that says that shaming and belittling does not work to motivate someone to create long term change. These trainers are smart enough to take a stand and say “No. There is a better way and I’m willing to change for the better”.
K: One of the biggest things that happens in the fitness industry that is no longer being ignored is that people often dismiss mental and psychological health for physical health. Evidence shows that psychological health is just as important as physical health. Ignoring that has been determintal to peoples’ health overall. Getting that out into the world is going to make a huge difference.
M: Right, like you can herd a bunch of people and make them feel like animals- make them vomit and bleed during their workouts, so their body fat percentage goes down. But what happened to them psychologically and emotionally while they were in your care? Did they grow more healthy or did they become more damaged?
M: So what would you say to someone who feels ready to take the next step in bettering their health? What would you suggest they do?
K: Turn off your TV. You’re being innundated with unrealistic images that have the tendency to make you feel like where you are, because it is so far from where you want to be, is a bad place.
Deep down, most people know that they have the power and ability to choose what their life is going to look like. However, there’s a big feeling of powerlessness when we internalize messages we’re fed about our worth.
I think the first step is shutting out all of those outside messages and taking stock of what’s inside you. From there, move your body for pleasure and nourishment. Think of moving as a way of caring for yourself- not a way to punish yourself or get to your next goal.
The people who are the most successful at this are the ones who find something to do that they love.
While my son’s father is in love with Crossfit and finds his movement there, it’s not something I enjoy or can sustain. It makes me feel awkward and right now I’d rather lift and swim.
If it makes you feel good, you’re going to keep doing it. Don’t worry about if it’s hard enough or burns enough calories. Find something that’s FUN and go from there.
If you think about what you eat and how you move as a way to care for yourself instead of a way to restrict yourself you’re going to approach it in a much healthier manner that will help you sustain it for a long time.
Even with food- someone told me recently that ‘there are physical health foods and there are mental health foods’. I went four years without eating a potato- that didn’t make me feel good.
M: Same- if I never eat another butternut squash for the rest of my life I’ll be happy.
K: I can relate to that. This year I had a potato. Normally I would’ve been racked with guilt and stress because what I’ve been through has conditioned me to believe that there’s “good” and “bad” foods and “clean” and “dirty”. So I look at it like “This potato is a mental health food. Eating it makes me freaking happy”.
Just take some steps every day to look at your body as your friend.
M: Okay but what about all the messages we are inundated with that tell us change is quick and results should come fast? That if we can subscribe to something that’s extreme enough that we can “turn our lives” around in a very short period?
How can we help people realize that the process is long term and the journey is not always linear?
K: :The best way that I can personally demonstrate that is by being up front about where I am today, ten years after being on The Biggest Loser. There are people out there who are suffering mentally and physically as a consequence of putting the message out there that quick fixes are everything. There are former contestants who are in very bad shape as a result of participating in this show.
I was so sick and dehydrated at my season finale.
The truth is, whatever problems someone has at 265lbs, they’re still going to have at 125lbs. It’s hard to believe because society has conditioned us to think that being thin is the end all be all. A producer told me at the end of my finale that they understood I was totally beat to shit, but because I was thin, I should be grateful.
M: You’re so lucky you’re smart. There are so many people out there who have bad experiences and turn them around to be super helpful. Every single trainer in the BPFA space with me has been to hell and back. We’ve been over-training, undereating and thinking we were doing the right thing. We’ve all crashed and burned and now we’re here.
K: If I were smart, I probably wouldn’t have gone on a weight loss reality show in the first place.
M: Well yeah but you and I would’ve never gotten to here if we didn’t go through that.
K: Exactly. I don’t want my time spent there to be for nothing. I’m all about making something decent come of something that’s ridiculous.
M: Think about all the people we hear from daily who are able to change their lives without having to go through the shit because we already went through it first.
K: I love it, and I find that they come at the right moment too. Sometimes I feel discouraged and then I’ll get a message from someone who was trying to emulate the disorder on The Biggest Loser and then they found my facebook page. That’s totally worth it.
M: There are people who have tried the resolution thing year after year and feel like failures for not “getting it right”. What do you say to them to help set them up for success in 2016?
K: If you’re making resolutions, one of them should be to keep your list updated and refreshed throughout the year.
Realize that life changes and flows and the best resolution you can make is to allow for flexibility in your resolutions. Keep the list updated and be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend!
M: So basically, to summarize: don’t be arbitrary. Be intentional by being flexible in your goals in the way that life is flexible. Strive for progress over perfection and be kind to yourself.
M: I like it.
Do you have a goal of getting strong or even just starting to utilize your gym membership? I created an interactive manual called What Do I Do At The Gym? to help ANYONE walk in the gym a beginner and walk out a badass. Check it out.
.... or maybe you're a fitness trainer? Do you like what you've read here? Are you wondering how to get more involved in this side of the fitness industry? Join our facebook group of professionals and attend our Body Positive Fitness Alliance Affiliated Professionals Workshop. See you there!
Your kid's making a list and you're checking it for the first time...
As you scan through the list, it's pretty typical to start:
1. Hot item toy this year which is highly marketed and my kid will forget about by this time next year. Got it.
2. Item specialized to their interests (sports, art, music, etc). Check.
3. Personal activity and fitness tracker, or its more common Kleenex'd name, Fitbit. Hmmmm.
If your child or preteen is requesting a Fitbit for Christmas (or, honestly, any time of year), this isn't necessarily cause for alarm, but it is definitely something that should raise a few questions on our parent radar before going ahead and grabbing one up for them.
Opinions on whether or not kids should have and wear Fitbits range from Yes! Encourage those kiddos to move! to Those things are a breeding ground for exercise and food related disorder!.
YOU know your child best. And as of right now, you might not be too sure where you and your child fall on the spectrum of possible outcomes from them owning a Fitbit.
Here are three things to consider before encouraging your child to strap a step counter to their wrist:
1. Fitbits, in essence, are corrective devices.
Just like the gym is a corrective device. Our bodies were designed to move for hours upon hours a day. The reason gyms and Fitbits exist is because our technologically equipped lifestyles allow for us to survive without having to do so. We invest in these corrective devices and methods to get our bodies back to moving like they were designed for.
How's your child's movement in general? Do they bounce off the walls like a crazy person? Do you wonder daily "how they get all this energy"?
If the answer is "yes", you essentially have nothing to worry about. They're moving their bodies and listening to their energy cues on when to expand it and when to save it.
However, "real life" creeps up on us quick, especially spending 6 hours per day in a classroom. So those kiddos are going to need some extra proactive habits engrained in them through way of example and adult encouragement.
Does your family value healthy amounts of physical activity? Do you lead by example by having a healthy relationship with activity? Do you guys go on outings together where movement is encouraged and/or necessary? These are the habits that will set your children up for maybe not ever needing a corrective device of their own as they come into adulthood.
2. Why do they want one?
Do all their friends have one? Do you have one? Do you talk about your "steps" a lot in front of your child? Do they have body image issues, perhaps feel 'fat', and think that getting in more steps per day can help combat that (this starts as young as 5 years old, by the way)?
Open a dialogue with your child about the why behind their request. Some kids might be at a defensive age for such a sensitive subject. Is there an adult, a coach, an auntie or uncle, an older cousin who perhaps you can employ to take part in a dialogue with them about why they think they want one?
Do some research as their parent or primary caretaker. Do you believe your child has a body image issue? Is there a professional you can speak with about this to better equip you to help them through it? Here's a great list of resources for you to peruse if you believe your child might be suffering from body image issues.
Let's make sure we're not playing into the notion that exercise is a penance for our body fat and/or the foods that we choose to eat. It's my personal and professional opinion that we can NEVER be too careful here.
So if that means being an asshole parent for saying "no" to the Fitbit while you address one or more of the concerns listed above, call me at 714-696-9FIT and I'll tell you to your gorgeous face CONGRATULATIONS for being a part of the stinking solution, you beautiful asshole parent, you. If your child is young enough, I'll pretend to be Santa and tell your kiddo that my Elves are fresh out of Fitbit parts this year- but eat some veggies and have a dance party every once in awhile and fill that list up with fun toys instead!
3. With great data comes great responsibility
You've had the open dialogue. Your kid is a body image superstar. They're comfortable in the skin they're in, they love moving around constantly. They don't obsess over what other people think of them. They enjoy partaking in family activity outings. You're 99.9% sure you're not projecting your own food and exercise related issues onto them.
They just want DATA! And who can blame them? Data is rad.
Maybe they wonder how many steps it takes them to walk to and from school. Maybe they wonder if they can hit EXACTLY 10,000 steps in one day without going one over or under (I was that kind of data kid, so I get it). I don't know. Kids are weird.
Your kid still wants one, and you're pretty sure they've got a good mindset around it.
Very cool- get them a Fitbit. But the parenting about the Fitbit should not stop there.
Monitor their usage. As you may know, it is easy for anyone to become obsessive and compulsive about technology (smartphone compulsions, anyone?) especially when our society allows us to be predisposed to body image issues- so this Fitbit thing is like a double whammy risk that a lot of us take ourselves when we strap one on. I'm looking at myself here, marching in place in the living room before bedtime (gotta get my steps!).
Let's choose to break the cycle with our kids in all the ways. Including the obsessive and compulsive step counting ways.
If at any time you sense this device is causing your child any sort of stress, please address it with them (or employ that cool older helper in your kids life to have the convo).
The thing is, kids can't really articulate stress well. Shoot, adults have a hard time talking about what's making them tick. So it's our responsibility as adults in their lives to observe and decide when something is a stressor for them. We cannot wait for them to come to us, because by then there is more damage done than necessary.
- they talk about their step count a few to multiple times per day
- they're constantly double tapping the band to check their step count, even without mentioning it
- they become visibly upset when/if they forget a day wearing their Fitbit
If any of these situations arise or if you sense the Fitbit is causing your child stress in another way, use prudent parenting to determine your next best steps looking out for your kiddo's physical, mental and emotional health.
Parenting is hard. Parenting does not get easier this time of year. I totally get it.
No matter what you decide, communication, awareness and openness will be key to ensuring your child has the most positive possible experience surrounding the Fitbit request.
You got this.
How many times have you heard "I'll go to the gym once I lose a few pounds" or "I want to go lift weights but I need to get back in shape first".
We've all heard this from at least one of our friends, family members, or maybe we've even said it ourselves.
Fitness professionals hear it regularly. Unfortunately, the majority of fitness professionals would dismiss a statement like this as an excuse, or even worse, assume we're just lazy because we said this.
The Fit2point0 mentality, however, is that there is no such thing as an "excuse" and that something that presents itself as an "excuse" is truly just a barrier for that individual and has a much deeper root than laziness. The good trainers and coaches out there have the empathy it takes to help an individual work through that barrier in creative and caring ways.
Here's what I'll tell you I think it means when someone says this:
"I am wanting to get strong and gain fitness, but something is keeping me from doing so."
So, we gotta work on what what something is. Tell me if this resonates with you, because it's somewhere I've been, personally:
"I am a little self conscious and intimidated about going to the gym in my current (physical, strength, aesthetic) shape, although I know that going to the gym is probably the most logical first step to gaining strength and becoming fit."
I'm not trying to project onto you, but if you do feel that way, I'm here to help you break down that (or any) barriers standing between you and your most (mentally, emotionally and physically) fit self.
Here are a few ways to break down your barrier of being intimidated or anxious about going to the gym (that maybe you've even been paying for for awhile!):
1. Educate yoself.
Do a little bit of research about what's at the gym, what types of machines do what, what areas are used for doing what type of exercise, the equipment you'll find, and what's best to start with. (I suggest dumbbells).
Reading up on this place before you step foot in it will allow you to mentally prepare yourself and do a bit of a "walk through" in your head. This helps build your confidence levels. Plus, you did your homework, so that'll help you feel confident, too!
2. Make a plan
Going off of #1, the next logical step would be to decide on an order of events that'll take place once you get into the gym. Walk through this in your head, too.
Where will you go once you walk in the door? Where and how will you warm up? What's on your workout schedule for that day? Do you have your towel?!
Knowing your step-by-step plan of action will help see you through the gym and your workout- so that you don't just walk out onto the floor, freak out a little bit, and hop on the treadmill (been there!).
3. Know that no one cares about you
That sounds SUPER insensitive, but I thought it'd be a funny way to title this concept. In the right context (okay well, probably only this context), it could actually be a positive mantra!
It's true! Not a single person in that place gives a care as to what you're doing as long as you stay out of their way. Now, this DOES NOT mean you're not entitled to take up space on the gym floor- that's what this blog post is all about! It just means you should figure out where the appropriate space to take up would be.
But aside from that- no one cares about you! Do your thing, lift the weights, gain the strength, and feel like a badass doing it.
Hopefully having these three new tools on hand will help you get out there in that gym, lift the weights, get your money's worth and be the gym going badass I know you can be!
If you want a little more help with this stuff,
I have an Interactive Manual that tells you all the info mentioned above in tons of detail, with videos and everything! Check it out at www.whatdoidoatthegym.com .
Have an awesome Holiday Season and go hit the gym, badass!
You’ve started lifting weights- that’s AWESOME! Today I’m going to talk about one seemingly small thing that when fixed could possibly change your game dramatically for the better.
What’s on your feet?
Here’s the thing- when we’re looking for a cool all-purpose “gym” shoe, a lot of individuals will default to picking up a shoe specifically designed for running. It feels good on the foot and it looks athletic. All set, right? Well, maybe not so much.
A running shoe is designed to keep your feet moving with ease and support in the forward motion. Its shape and engineering are specifically developed to push your body forward.
However, for the majority of movements involved in effective and safe lifting involve the need to “root” your feet (often times your heels) into the ground to create a solid base for the rest of your body. And trying to do so with a running shoe on your foot adds all sorts of challenges to your base and coordination and intended muscle group activation that you don’t need- and it actually could be hurting your lifting game.
For example, while squatting and deadlifting, a huge focus is put on driving the weight through your heels. This main cue is what makes the exercise safe and without heel drive, these exercises aren’t even themselves. If you can’t root your heels, you’re not even really doing a squat or a deadlift. You’re just sloppily moving weight around. If you’re wearing a running shoe on your foot, that shoe is trying to propel your body forward. It cares not that your main goal is to push through your heels, and your body is actually fighting against your shoes to perform the exercise correctly. Even standing exercises such as overhead press and barbell curls will depend on your feet’s ability to be rooted and still on the ground.
So, with that said, what the heck should you wear for safe, effective and efficient weightlifting? Let’s talk options:
Crosstrainers are going to give you the ability to drive your heels and root your feet better than running shoes can. You’ll also find them in similar styles and price points as the running shoes you were tempted to (and maybe did) buy when you first started lifting. They’re called Crosstrainers because they’re designed to give you decent support during lifting but are also versatile enough to support short runs or sprints, jumping, be-bopping around and Crossfitting and stuff.
They’re certainly a step up from lifting in running shoes, and not a bad option for someone who needs a diverse shoe on a budget. You can search specifically for models of Crosstrainers to find the name of one you’d like to try- or you can be very clear to the people in the shoe store that you know exactly what you want, and that’s a Crosstrainer.
Reebok actually makes a few good models designed for good transition from lifting to running and jumping and back again, and you can find them under the Crossfit brand.
2. Chucks or barefoot
Moving up from the Crosstrainer towards a shoe which is less designed for running or jumping and more designed (okay it’s a coincidence, they just happened to be this way) for flat footed rooting into the ground, Chucks have a thinner sole so you’re literally closer to the ground and they don’t try to shape your foot at all, making it easy to feel like you have great contact and control. They’re also super budget friendly and happen to last quite a long time.
You could run and jump in Chucks because although the sole is flat, it is also flexible but there is literally zero ankle support- so take it slow and ease into it before going crazy.
Another alternative here would be to lift barefoot. If you train in a safe environment free of debris, it’s worth a try. You might thing you’d want protection in case you drop something on your foot, which is fair, but honestly dropping a 45lb plate on your foot with or without shoes on will probably cause about the same amount of damage (just don’t stub your toes on a rack or something!).
3. Lifting shoes
I could re-write the same blog on lifting shoes that’s already been written 500 times (let me Google that for you;), or I could just tell you this:
Lifting shoes are designed to stabilize your sole. The bottom of the shoe tends to be less flexible and more firm than the sole on the Chucks. When you put on a good lifting shoe, you immediately feel “heavier”, as in you couldn’t flex your foot without some major effort. These types of shoes also elevate your heel. Many body types will feel that these two features combined improve the posture and body position in their squat and their “sticking” or landing on Olympic lifts (the clean and jerk and the snatch).
The down side to using a specialized lifting shoe is that they are not designed for you to move forward (run, walk) or jump. If I’m wearing my lifting shoes, I have a hard time moving quickly from one side of the gym to the other.
Also- although some people *do* deadlift in lifting shoes, I don’t recommend it for beginners. The elevated heel means you’re moving the bar further to get it off the ground, and in general its best to learn the nuances of the deadlift with your feet in full contact with the ground.
These range in price from around $80-$200, so go ahead and Google around for those blogs I talked about to get a better feel of what’s out there.
Change what is on your feet and it could change the way you lift dramatically.
Any decent trainer will also be understanding and patient with you when you ask “What are we doing today?” or “Will I have time to change shoes between these events?”. They’ll also give you the time to do so. It’s respectable to be knowledgable about how the conditions in which your body works best.
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!
Looking for a little more guidance on getting going at the gym?
Check out my interactive manual What Do I Do At The Gym?