Posts tagged fitness
Breaking Up With Your Bullshit

There is this running joke in my group of friends that my real “coaching secret” for clients is that, after they start working with me, they break up with their lame ass partners.  While I’m clearly not out here wrecking relationships and certainly never want my clients, or anyone for that matter, to have to deal with the heartache and not so great feelings that come with breakups…this is kiiiind of true.  The irony is this has very little to do with me or their partners. It’s not about leaving relationships – it’s about breaking up with the bullshit stories we tell ourselves.

We all walk around with a set of narratives in our minds. Some of those are positive and productive, and some of those are negative and limiting. Those stories are how we make sense of our experiences, the feedback/rewards/punishments we received as a consequence of those experiences, and the subsequent meaning and value we assign to all of that.  Those narratives can inform how we view ourselves, others, and how we move through the world around us. They can tell us that we aren’t worthy of success, that we must settle for a person who doesn’t treat us well, or that we aren’t capable of accomplishing that big goal that we really want.

For example: let’s say you are in a relationship and every time you try to have a discussion with your partner about your need for communication, you get told you’re “needy” or “too emotional” or “seeing things that aren’t there”. Repeat this for a few times and pretty soon, you start to believe that maybe you are too needy, too emotional, or making things up.  This is a pretty clear cut and extreme example and often times, the process is more subtle and subversive than this, but the point remains – we are constantly editing and rewriting the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Now, what the hell does this have to do with health and fitness? In short, everything.

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These stories influence our behaviors, habits, and the actions we do and do not take, including those relating to our fitness. We tell ourselves that we are “weak”, that we aren’t “disciplined enough”, or that our deadlift sucks.  We consistently and pervasively devalue ourselves and formulate an identity around being the person who just “can’t” or for whom everything goes wrong. We take ourselves out of the driver’s seat of our lives and simply become a passenger. We also keep ourselves stuck in this narrative because we cannot see beyond our past experiences and engage in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 Once we begin to take steps to make positive changes in our lives through fitness, nutrition, etc. these stories begin to unravel. Now, as we add weight to the bar, we have clear and consistent proof that we are capable of doing hard things. As we practice positive self-talk and affirmation for those PRs, we begin to practice that outside of the gym. When we prioritize our health and feeling good, we begin to realize just how nice it is to feel good and be back in the driver’s seat. We slowly begin to design our lives to be ones that are positioned around hard work, the constant quest for self-improvement, and the recognition that we can actually do things to change our circumstances. Those former bullshit stories? Sorry, but they don’t have a place here.

There are times when bettering yourself makes you realize you deserve better. Valuing yourself and believing in yourself means that you change your story. Bettering yourself requires you to break up with your own bullshit. Like any other break up, it may be a bit painful and uncomfortable, but there is nothing but greatness waiting on the other side.

Motivation is a Lie
photo by Turning Point Photography

photo by Turning Point Photography

When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire” – Stars

Motivation. It’s what everyone thinks they are missing and it is the most frequently blamed thing when we don’t do what we need to do to reach the goals we want to reach. We just aren’t motivated. We just can’t get motivated. We can’t find our motivation. We conceptualize motivation as the magical fountain– it has an endless, recurring supply of refreshing elixir that once consumed, will make us take action and give us everything we’ve ever wanted. I’m sorry to say…this doesn’t exist.

There is no motivation fountain.

There is no magic elixir.

It’s all been a lie.

 

Motivation is typically presented in its external form. It is a force that comes from outside of ourselves because it is something to be acquired or possessed. This external motivation can range from something like a pretty cursive phrase against a just perfectly out of focus backdrop, to a particular competition date, to a number on a scale or a barbell that we are forever chasing. The point being, motivation is presented as something that we find, not something that we cultivate. The problem with this view of motivation is that it is finite. What happens after we find all quotes? What happens when that competition date passes? What do we do when there is nothing left to find? We run out of steam. We stop doing the things that we were doing. We burn out.

These forms of external motivation can be great points of inspiration and a great way to spark our fire. But it is just that – a spark. We must continually add fuel to the fire from a renewable resource and we have to have a plan for how we are going to add to that fire once we’ve piled up all the sticks and twigs that are external motivators.

This is where internal motivation, discipline, and action come in to play. Internal motivators are those things that drive us to be better – they are things that we cultivate and grow. They cannot be “found” in the outside world. They are those gut feelings, wildest dreams, and insatiable desires to be better a better of ourselves. However, these feelings and dreams are only as good as the work we put in to achieve them. Having them is great. Taking action and making them happen is even better.  Taking action, even when and especially when we are afraid to, is the ultimate renewable resource.

Going to the gym when we don’t feel like it, but know we are better for it and need to train.

Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone because we want that new job, new person, new life.

Showing up and speaking up when it’s the last thing on Earth we want to do because the risk of failing seems too high.

Actions are what stack up and keep the fire burning because motivation is nothing without action.  Sometimes, we need to find a little extra something to stoke that fire when we are running low, but ultimately sustainable motivation needs to be something we cultivate, not construct.

Women & Strength: We Don't Owe You Pretty
photo by: the loyal brand

photo by: the loyal brand

My squat doesn’t give a shit about your hard on.

The idea that a woman can’t or won’t attract a man (so many issues there to begin with) if they lift is as asinine as it is common. After all, why would a woman do annnnything that wasn’t 100% focused on making herself appear more desirable to a man? *eye roll so hard you die*. This notion is so problematic, for a myriad of reasons:

1. it assumes that women should only derive their value and worthiness from their ability to be “fuckable” (phrase from Krista Scott Dixon). If you’re not working towards that, then what’s the point? That is your only value here.
2. based on that, women ONLY engage in fitness for aesthetics and the pursuit of obtaining said fuckable status.
3. That status is rooted in being smaller, adhering to an arbitrary standard, and that women’s only source of worthiness is her appearance.

There is nothing wrong with training for aesthetics (body autonomy = you do you, boo!), but to assume that women only engage in fitness to be more aesthetically pleasing is complete bullshit. The fact that so many women have heard this break my heart. Your worth has about 0% to do with what some random ass human thinks about your level of desirability. I know it may feel that way and I know that the world has told you differently at times. But I promise, if you tell those people to sit down and shut up, a whole new world of people who see your true value opens up.

Women do not HAVE to care about being sexually desirable to the random men of the earth and Internet.

My deadlift gives literally negative fucks about some dude’s designation of me as attractive.

And yours doesn’t have to care either.