Posts in Fitness
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.

F*ck Your Motivational Quote
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Want to know a secret?
I haven’t been “motivated” to workout in years.  
 
You read that correctly. I very rarely feel motivated to workout.  The other day, I spent some time doing a short Q&A session on my Instagram stories (if you’re not following me there – please do! I spend a lot of time there) on all things training related. One topic that continually came up was the topic of motivation. Specifically, what do I do when I’m not motivated to workout? I shared that I haven’t felt traditionally motivated to train in years. What I mean by “traditionally motivated” is the way that most people and social media conceptualize motivation.

Social media can paint a deceptive picture of what sustainable health and fitness look like. This type of “Motivation” tends to look something like bounding out of bed to go to the gym, smiling through your entire workout, and going home and laughing while eating a salad. It’s all positivity! And enthusiasm! And being super excited every single day! This is just not real life. Everyone has bad days, bad moods, and days where the last thing you want to do is put a bar on your back or go sweat it out at the gym.

It is 100% okay to not be feeling it sometimes.
It is normal to not feel endless enthusiasm.

It’s easy to feel like there is something wrong with you if you don’t share this seemingly endless enthusiasm.  This is not the case. The presentation of motivation is failing you; not the other way around.  Motivation, like anything else, is individual. What works for one person may not work for you. The drive that fuels your long term success and goals does not have to fit into a box or formula.

Motivation is not a pinterest quote. It is not pretty cursive words on a perfectly contrived, faded, slightly out of focus background.  It is not a perfectly posed #fitspo photo with a narrative of text about how hashtagblessed you are and how excited you are day in and day out.If pretty pinterest images and quotes do motivate, then keep collecting them! If they don't, that's okay too.  Motivation can be messy and difficult and maybe not so pretty. It is unique and it is your own.

If I'm not motivated, what does keep me going to the gym?

The fact that I have goals that I want to reach.  These are goals that I have made and that resonate with me. They’re important to me. They mean something to me. These goals will not just happen and success will not just fall into my lap. I must work for it. In the realms of strength, everything is earned and nothing is given. I am firmly in charge of my outcomes and the efforts that I put in to achieve those outcomes.  

Does that mean I skip the gym when I’m not feeling it? Not at all. Sacrifices DO have to be made, being uncomfortable is a given, and it is NOT easy. I cannot reach my goals without putting in the work, even on the days that maybe I’m not totally enthused about it. Is it always perfect and according to plan? Absolutely not. Keeping space for life to happen and keeping the perspective that the barbell will always be there is also important to keeping me “motivated”.

So don’t fret if you’re not feeling it one day, one week, or one month. Change it up. Explore your goals. Work hard for them. Create your own version of motivation.

Tell me: What goals are you working towards? What keeps you motivated?

Why You're Not Succeeding at Your Diet and What to Do About It
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Imagine this:

You get a shiny new plan or program from a coach, the internet, wherever, and you are SO ready to go. You look everything over, prepare yourself in whatever way you can, and then start your new plan. Things go well for a few days and then...you’re out of the food you prepped, work stress happens, schedules get wild,  the weekend happens, and before you know it, you’ve taken a few steps back. Rinse and repeat this cycle basically every week.

Does this cycle sound familiar?

If that hits a little close to home, I promise you, you are not alone. I have always struggled with this because I’m a super planning oriented and an overthinker. I would spend HOURS writing out diet plans for myself, calculating all sorts of numbers, and making the plan of all plans, only to have Monday come around and screw up my plans. I would forget something or have an unplanned event come up or just be a giant ball of stress.  I felt like if I couldn’t execute the plan perfectly, then what the fuck was the point?

What is the issue?

One of the hardest things about making changes is making the actual changes. Planning and preparation is wonderful (and an important part of setting yourself up for success) but all the planning in the world doesn’t mean shit if you can’t execute your plan. Simply stated - you have issues bridging the gap from point A (plan) to point B (working the plan).

In order to break out of this cycle, you first need to identify where the hang up is. This requires a lot of honesty with yourself - you have to be willing to be uncomfortable and accurate in your assessment. Some of the issues I’ve experienced most often and seen my clients struggle with include:

Paralysis by analysis: Focusing too much on the small rocks when you don’t have the big rocks in place.You focus on all of the details and get so overwhelmed that you freeze. You can’t start because you aren’t sure what direction to go.

Lack of ownership: You’re waiting for the “right time” to start or you feel as if things happen TO you and that you are not in control of your eating. You feel like you can’t say no to treats in the office or not have a drink when you’re out with your friends. Basically, life or others are sabotaging your efforts. (This can be a really complex issue that at times is best addressed with a mental health professional and I highly encourage exploring that option!)

Letting perfect be the enemy of good: You feel as if executing the plan to absolution perfection is the ONLY way to execute the plan. Things must go perfectly or else it is a total waste. This leads to what I call the “fuck it” mentality. Things don’t go 100% accordingly to plan so then you feel as if the day is a waste and go way, way off plan.

Being wishy washy on goals: If you’re actions aren’t lining up with your goals, ask yourself: are my actions the problem or are my goals the problem? Do YOU, just you, really want what you say you want? Or do you feel like it is something you SHOULD want because your friends, mom, society, etc. told you you should want that? This is a subtle distinction but a major game changer. If you’re not 100% invested in the goal you are trying to achieve, it’s easy to go off the rails and make excuses when any minor inconvenience pops up.

Managing expectations: It's easy to feel like throwing in the towel after a week when you are bombarded with "lose 10lbs in 7 days!" messaging via social media. It's important to remember that it didn't take 2 weeks to get to where you are, and it may not take 2 weeks to get to another place.  Having realistic expectations helps you know what to expect and keep things in perspective.

Identifying what is causing the issue is a critical first step to being able to figure out a solution. This is obviously not an exhaustive list, and there are several layers to each of these components, but taking the time to sit down and identify the pattern of hang ups is so key. This is also where having a coach, mentor, or accountability buddy can be incredibly helpful. It  can be hard for us to see the issue because it is too close to us. Discussing it with someone else can help bring some clarity.

The only way around the obstacles is through them, so breaking them down and being prepared to do the work to break through them is absolutely key. 

 

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So what do we DO about it?

Add IN, don’t take away: Add in behaviors, items, or habits that help you move through the obstacles you’ve identified. These are a few of my favorite strategies:

  • Have trouble with figuring things out on the fly? Try tracking your food the night before so you have a roadmap of what the day looks like. If things change during the day, it is easy to make adjustments and keep it moving.
  • Rather than focusing on taking away certain foods or food groups, add IN more of the stuff you want like veggies, fruit, water, etc.
  • Instead of feeling out of control, add in a daily practice that reminds you that you are in control of your actions and reactions. This can be something like exercise, meditation, or just even writing yourself a little note on your phone or planner and keeping it handy.

Practice the hell out of it: The only way to get better at a certain skill is to practice it, and dieting and habit change is no different! Do something that moves the dial closer to your goal every day and view it as practice. You don’t walk into the gym and squat 315 if you’ve never squatted before - you have to practice. The same principles apply when it comes to dieting.

Track it: I’m a giant data nerd so I like to track everything. Find a way to track your daily wins, skill practice, etc. so you can have some accountability and incentive to complete the task at hand. As totally dorky as it may sound, I use stickers in my planner to help me institute new behaviors. If I drink all my water for the day, I get a sticker. If I’m 100% compliant to my diet, I get a sticker. If I navigated a tough situation by using a new skill I’m trying to build, you guessed it, I get a sticker. If you’re not into stickers, there are apps like HabitBull that help you track various behaviors and habits as well. You can also check in with an accountability buddy and share your wins with them.

Find a way to win everyday: Dieting is a bit of a long game (as in, it's not a 2 week process, but it also isn't a lifestyle - it should start and end) so it is helpful to find ways to "win" throughout the process. Find some small daily and weekly goals that are relevant to you and focus on winning at those items. 

SHARE:

What are some of your favorite reflection strategies?

What are some tools you use to help yourself get through roadblocks?