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SELF-DISCIPLINE FOR FITNESS

1 Mar

Self-discipline can be self-torture or it can save a life. It can scare you to death or it can motivate the creation of plan that makes your dreams come true. Discipline typically means requiring yourself to do a laundry list of things that you normally would avoid! You know the stream of self-talk that runs through your brain? A lot of it reverberates from an uncompleted to-do list. Ever beat yourself up because you didn’t leap that mountain fast enough or you didn’t memorize the complete dictionary before you left work?

Sound crazy? If self-discipline is about doing lots of things, things often do get crazy fast.

How about if the plan included doing what is possible with consistency? How about if you do what you can and do it fully? Nothing encourages good decisions like a positive experience. Success generates more success. Failure generates a fear of even trying. How about focusing on the consistency of your efforts rather than lurching forward and then falling backwards? How about focusing on your long term intention rather than setting yourself up to fail?

Go for a long, long string of small successes!

DIY (DO IT YOURSELF) MARCH CHALLENGE

19 Feb

When you choose to participate in a challenge, almost always you exercise more than you would have otherwise. That’s a good thing! Challenges provide structure and accountability which is helpful for almost everyone. But, I’ve noticed that since we’re all at different levels of fitness, not everyone can do or would benefit from many challenges suggested.

Enter the DIY March Challenge… Yup, let’s do a Do It Yourself Challenge!

Let’s say you want stronger abs. Let’s say that today you can do 5 sit-ups or 50 sit-ups. That’s your starting point. Next you need to decide how many sit-ups you want to be able to do by the end of the month. Yes, that’ll be a tricky number to come up with. Hopefully by the end of the month you’ll not only have stronger abs but you’ll have a little more self-awareness. If you can do 5 sit-ups today, how about you add one more every other day? That means that by the end of March you’ll be able to do 20 sit-ups at a time! If you are the 50 sit-ups person, how about you add 5 more per day? By the end of March you’ll be doing 155 or so. Too much? Too little? That’s OK; by the end of the month you’ll still have stronger abs if you do the challenge every day AND you’ll know better how to set yourself up for the DIY April Challenge!

You could make your challenge about number of times you swim, the number of miles you walk or run, or the number of pounds you can lift. You create the challenge that challenges you!

Are you in?

If yes, if you’d like, describe your challenge in the comments here. And, if you’re on social media, post your progress daily using #DIYMARCHCHALLENGE

I’ll be seeing you on twitter!

WHAT IS YOUR MANTRA?

31 Jan

What’s your mantra?

A lot of people might say, “Mantras are just for those people who meditate and do all that stuff.” Well, no. Your mantra is what you repeat to yourself over and over. It doesn’t need to be said out loud. It doesn’t need to be planned. It doesn’t even need to be true.

Maybe you say things like: “I’m always going to be fat” or “People don’t like me” or “I’m shy” or “I’m bad at running” or “I hate this or that”.

When I began my journey to reclaim my fitness in July 2011, I was telling myself over and over, “I can’t do this anymore.” Luckily I recognized this self-sabotaging behavior. I immediately picked a mantra. I decided to tell myself, “I am strong.”

That’s it. Three words. Every time I got on the treadmill, I had to repeat my mantra over and over. Every time I attempted to lift weights or hold a yoga pose, I had to rely on my mantra to combat the negative chatter that wanted to take over my brain.

It worked. Now, at age 65 I am very strong and I know I will get even stronger with each passing year.

I still need my mantra. For example, cardio has always been boring and challenging for me. So when I do it, my mind wants to get into whine mode. But, if I repeat, “I am strong” over and over, it is a lot easier to pick my knees up higher when I run.

So what is your mantra? Is that mantra helping you be your best self? Or, should you change it?

It’s ok if it isn’t true today. Tell yourself that you are going to pretend that it’s true until it actually is true!

Again, what is your mantra?

“Progress always involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”

– Fredrick B. Wilcox

THE SPIRITUALITY OF FITNESS

28 Dec

Last year we started a fitness support group at our church. Many people welcomed the idea and talked about their desire to become more fit. Still, many people found it difficult to maintain the motivation to participate regularly. That’s not a new challenge for a fitness group and we wanted to see if we could find solutions that would be helpful. Since being connected to our church community, I thought that it might helpful if people could see the connection between fitness and their spiritual goals.  But, honestly, the words to explain that connection didn’t come to me right away.

Since then my broader study of yoga has helped. Previously I knew that yoga was a specific spiritual practice in itself. Now, it’s a little clearer to me that any fitness program is or can become a spiritual practice.

The key to this understanding came from Pandit Rajmani Tigunait’s book Freedom From Fear where he explains:

  • “Life is inherently sacred.
  • There is a clear and definite order to the world you live in.
  • By honoring your place in it – your individual dharma (purpose) – you honor and, in the process, support universal dharma (life force of nature).
  • Since you affect the larger dharma through your actions, thoughts and words, nothing is more important than securing and establishing your highest state of well-being so that you can be more completely in tune with this intelligence.”

I don’t think it’s easy to make the leap from these words to fitness as spirituality so let’s try to apply these thoughts one at a time.

The birth of a child, a beautiful piece of art or music, a breathtaking garden or a mountaintop view, all these things represent easily identified sacred symbols of life. But, what about the triumphant healing of a physically or emotionally disabled person who was never expected to walk, talk, or contribute? What about the inspirational people who come out of dark places in life and transform their lives so all their energies now go towards helping the disadvantaged or being amazingly dedicated parents and community members? It is so easy to get caught up in our daily experience of life that we forget that WE ARE that amazing thing called sacred life. Just as awe inspiring as an understanding of the details of astronomy or physics or botany is, so are we amazing and awe inspiring sacred life. From the simple healing of a scratch to the intricacies of how our brain functions, our physical being is astonishing and also breathtaking. To honor our bodies is to manifest an understanding of the sacredness of life itself.

And as we explore this notion of the sacredness of our physical being, the cause and effect of how we care for ourselves becomes clearer. There is an abundance of information about the value of exercise and healthy eating. It cures disease. It lengthens lifetimes. It increases capacity to live fully. It makes people happier. We are part of this clear and definite order in the world. We are not only part of that order but we influence it. We influence it by impacting our own experience with life but in other ways also.

Let’s say that your individual purpose (dharma) was to write and that your writing could help some people meet a need they have. If these others’ needs are met, they are then more able to access their life force to meet their individual purpose which all contriubtes to the universal dharma. But, if your health didn’t allow you to pursue that writing, the order in the world could be sadly interrupted.

It’s not just the writing that would be missing. There is more.

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is, of course, a masterful piece of music. But knowing that it was composed by someone who couldn’t hear his own creation makes it even more significant. As we feel the music, we also experience the greatness of Beethoven’s spirit as he followed his individual purpose which was and still is connected to us all. Many have been moved by his music and by his spirit.

I think it’s hard to really realize the impact that we all have. Recently I met with a previously incarcerated man that I supported as part of the non-profit that I founded years ago. He has been out of prison for almost ten years and is doing fantastic. He has held down an excellent job in the optometry field for all those ten years. He is now head of the lab where he works and his lab is recognized as award winning in his field! He recently completed barber school and his new barbering business is taking off like crazy! He now owns his own home. My heart soars with joy for him. It also is overwhelmed with humility when he repeats over and over how important a role I personally played when I encouraged and supported his personal journey to this new life ten years ago.

But there is more that I never really understood completely until I met his two young sons in person. His boys are 8 and 13. And, they are very impressive. The 13 year old got accepted in an academy that specializes in science and supports children with higher educational goals and capacities. This boy is beginning to learn about photography. They both are drummers and athletes. They both are very respectful and a pleasure to be around. After meeting them I could see and feel how we all affect the larger dharma. I watched and listened as my friend spoke to his sons; sometimes using something in our conversation to throw in a brief math challenge for his youngest son, sometimes providing them with bits of fatherly wisdom and constantly reminding them how important they are to him. As he talked to me in their presence, I witnessed his awareness of how everything they experience influences his two boys. They both know that he loves them very, very much. If I am to belief that I did play a major role in helping his find his way as he says, I can also see how that is also reflected in these two exceptional young men. I can see and experience the way that all is connected, even a decade later. One thought, decision, and action influences the next which influences the next and then the next.

There is no getting away from the impact of how being true to our best selves (our individual dharma) contributes to the greater good in specific and in general ways. We are all connected and we all matter.

So, when we are inspired by world class athletes, we don’t just admire their abilities and their talents. We also feel inspired by the force of will that they used to develop those skills and abilities. As we cheer them on, we are also cheering on all other individual efforts to become everything that we can become.

The spirituality of fitness means making choices to maintain our physical health while maintaining our awareness on all the broader potential positive impacts for those choices. It is a commitment to stay on the path to becoming our best selves – in all ways.

MEET ME AT THE GYM

20 Aug

I think it’s pretty safe to say that consistency is possibly the hardest part of any fitness program. This is true even for those of us who know the importance of consistent exercise. Still, it’s hard.

Sometimes working on a goal can be easier when you get support from others. The encouragement is nice but often it’s the accountability that really motivates. If someone is counting on you to show up somewhere or to do something at a certain time, it’s a lot harder to blow it off! Yes?

So, here’s an idea anyone can try to help with that. If you are already part of a fitness group, it’s very easy to implement this idea. If not, just grab a couple of friends who are already into fitness or who have expressed a desire to start. These people will be your group.

Everyone creates a list of the gym classes they attend now or want to attend regularly. If someone doesn’t belong to a gym or doesn’t like to go to gyms, they list the activities that they do. For example, maybe someone bicycles two miles every Monday and jogs for 15 minutes on Wednesday and does Tai Chi in the park on Saturday. Or maybe some people might do weight training at the gym Tuesday evening and a Zumba DVD at home on Thursday morning. Each list needs to include the person’s name and the details of each activity they do (i.e. what, where, when). These lists are posted on the BADASS REVOLUTION Facebook group for others to see.

If you want to work out with a buddy, you know when and where to meet them! As schedules change, just update your list.

It’s simple!

THE BADASS REVOLUTION IS ON!

20 Aug

Yes, the BADASS REVOLUTION is on! Ok, I admit, I’m a little excited. It’s actually scheduled to start September 1, 2013.

“But, what is it?” you say.

It is group that supports everyone‘s efforts to bring their badass self closer and closer towards their most healthy self. Yup, it’s how we’re all going to reach Fitness Beyond Expectations.

“But, but, but…” you say.

No worries. This isn’t one of those groups of people who are already the fittest of the fit! Rather, it is for people of ALL fitness levels and abilities.

“Every everyone can join?” you say.

You got me again! Only people who meet these two requirements can join:

First, you need to be able to say BADASS and acknowledge that somewhere inside you there is some BADASSNESS upon which you can draw! You’ll bring that attitude to the workouts.

And, you need to commit to seriously attempt spending at least 20 minutes per day doing the Daily BADASS Workout.

That’s it!

Again, anyone can choose to be a BADASS REVOLUTIONIST.

There are a couple of different ways you can participate.

If you don’t live within driving distance of Marysville, Washington, starting September 1st, you can get everything you need from the Fitness Beyond Expectation Facebook page AND the BADASS REVOLUTION Facebook group. The daily workout information and demo videos will be available at the Facebook group. If you want to check out the BADASS REVOLUTION, join the Facebook Fitness Beyond Expectations page and the BADASS REVOLUTION group. We’ll give you more details there.

If you do live within driving distance of Marysville, Washington, you can join the Facebook page and group too. And, if you’d like, you can also come to our twice monthly meetings where we will share progress during brag time, practice the exercises planned for the upcoming two weeks and highlight some of the many inspirational BADASS REVOLUTIONISTS!

We look forward to seeing you on Facebook! Wishing your BADASS self the best!

The Robert Sturman photo above is the inspiration for the BADASS REVOLUTION. She is Tao Porchon-Lynch a 95 year old yoga instructor and an amazing BADASS!

ONE WOMAN’S INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEY TO HEALTH – TANYA RICKARD

10 Apr

It is with great pleasure that I can share this interview of Tanya Rickard with you. How we met seems rather unremarkable. We’re in the same yoga class and we both prefer the right front corner of the room. For quite a while we did yoga right next to each other without much conversation. I’m so glad that we eventually had a chance to get to know each other better because this unremarkable meeting turned out to be with a very remarkable woman.

Five years ago Tanya weighed over 300 pounds and now she weighs a healthy 150 pounds. She has succeeded at transforming her life in ways that are truly inspiring. The changes she embraced are not only physical but also emotional and spiritual. She successfully crafted a brand new and very healthy self-image which directs her journey today! Continue reading

NEED TO DRINK MORE WATER?

6 Apr

I’ve found a good way to get myself to drink more water. I have a big glass mug that holds 2 cups. And… Continue reading

ACT AS IF UNTIL YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF

14 Mar

DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?

Who me? An athlete? NO way! I’ve never been able to … I can’t …. That’s just not me…

I feel guilty when I do something for myself.

Strong you answers, “Tell yourself that you are worth it!”

OK. I’ll try to believe that.

Strong you replies, “Act as if you are worth it until it becomes true!”

BUT DOES THAT REALLY WORK? Watch Amy Cuddy on this Ted Talk video and learn why it really does! Then, let’s see how it applies to yoga. Continue reading

DAILY PRACTICE

9 Mar

It’s not too hard to know what is good for us. We can study nutrition and learn about the benefits of exercise. Many are pretty good at doing all the right things – for a while…. Whenever you make a good choice, obviously, that’s good. However, if you really want the BIG PAYBACK of healthy living, daily practice is the ticket.

Here are just a few ideas to make the leap from sporadic good choices to a healthy way of life! Continue reading

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