“3-2-1…. Finish strong! You got this! Remember why you showed up today! You’re going to feel so good when we’re done today—you’re stronger than you think you are!”
That’s a common shout out I give while leading a cycling class, especially towards the end when it’s tough. I say these things to my class because I know it’s true, and I know if they push through to the end they will feel good accomplished and proud of themselves.
Now, let’s fast forward to later in their day. They are working on a project at work but just can’t focus. The deadline is coming, but the eyes are glazed over from looking at the same document and they’ve lost all their initial excitement they had when starting the project. Or they’re a mom at home and the kids are screaming. They just feel like completing any sort of task is impossible. Then, they remember their morning workout… that was seemingly impossible too. But, they made it!
When you exercise you feel good about yourself. Accomplished, sweaty, proud. You have crossed something off your to-do list for the day. When you feel good, you do good. When you do good, others notice and you become an example. You think about what else you can accomplish that day. You know that since you made it through that you can make it through many other things.
This weekend I was pushed to my limits. I kept thinking to myself, “Why now? Why THIS weekend?” I completed a Les Mills certification training. If you’ve ever been to one, you know what it’s like, and you know how physically and mentally exhausting it can be. The program I’m working towards certification in is called RPM, a form of cycling class. So, as you can imagine there was a lot of cardio and muscle building that occurred.
This weekend I was also confronted with a cold. It was like a cold I’ve never had before though. My nose wasn’t runny, my body wasn’t achy or had the chills, but my throat was screaming at me. It felt like there were razor blades in it, and my regular breathing would sometimes sound like a snore. Attractive, right?!
Heavy breathing in a throat, chest and ears that felt like there were shards of glass in it was about the worst feeling ever. That paired with being unsure of exactly what to expect from the training, other than knowing we would need to keep our energy up as we were going to be pushed to our max both mentally and physically created a bit of nervousness and fear.
I kept thinking to myself, “just get through this. Just power through.” As the weekend went on, I began to answer the initial questions I asked myself when I woke up Saturday morning, voiceless and painful to swallow. Why now? Why THIS weekend? Why to me?
I realized that if I can survive this weekend, I can not only survive but EXCEL once I start feeling healthy. Fitness and pushing ourselves to our limits has this weird way of empowering us in every aspect of life. It creates a ripple effect.
Now, take it one step further. If you go through your fitness with a buddy, or in this case a group of women going through the training, then imagine the bonds that are made. They’ve been where you’ve been, they’ve seen you struggle, work through that point where you think you can’t keep going, and come out the other side stronger than ever. The poor ladies that were in the training with me saw me at my most vulnerable—I was wheezing (seriously!),coughing and just a big mess all while taking a stab at something new, and learning the new program with them. Because of this weekend of us being together and pushing past our limits, not only do we have a special bond, but we know we can call on each other when times might get a little difficult. They’ve got my back, and I’ve got theirs.
Physical fitness certainly is not the end all, be all for your health, or the quality of person you are. How you look on the outside, whether you have 6 pack abs or toned triceps doesn’t determine that you’re a good friend, a good employee, kind, caring, someone who puts out good in the world and are someone other people want to be around. Physical fitness, exercise, working out… whatever you prefer to call it… is the launching pad of becoming the best version of yourself.
Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it right now. Get up out of your seat, give your arms a shake and do 30 seconds of movement--- anything—lunges, squats, jumping jacks. Feel better? Has that mental block been disrupted? Did your energy go from zero to hero (or maybe somewhere in between)?
Are you ready to launch into your best self? 2017 can be the year, and I can help get you there. Visit Live Well With Kell to learn more about how ’ll give you all the tools you need to be successful. Ultimately, it’s up to you to stay tough, stay strong, be compassionate and honest with yourself, and push those excuses aside… I won’t give up on you, and you don’t give up on yourself!
Enjoy this guest blog post from Stephanie Fischer!
It was winter time during my junior year of college. I was working part time at the YMCA teaching a “Total Body Conditioning” class at 5:30 in the morning, three days a week. I’ve always been a light sleeper and while my true nature isn’t to be a morning person, I pop right out of bed when my alarm goes off and I need to be somewhere. Dependable, punctual, and responsible...that’s me!
Well, most of the time.
I’d gone to stay at my parent’s house because my roommates at the time refused to turn up the heat. They thought it was reasonable to walk around our apartment in coats and mittens.
I did not.
Let’s just get this straight right now. There are certain things in life that are worth paying for. Heat, air conditioning, and internet definitely all make my short list.
Back to my story, being under my parent’s roof and in my old bedroom again must have affected my sleep on that Friday morning because I slept right through my alarm. I woke up to see that it was past 6:00am and I’d completely missed my class.
Man, if that isn’t one of the crappiest feelings in the world. Panic followed by embarrassment and then shame. Some of the worst emotions a human can experience and they’re all coming at you in your first moments of consciousness. Even before coffee.
I emailed my supervisor to tell her what I’d done, explained that it was a total fluke, I was soooo sorry and it would never EVER happen again.
Then it happened again the following Monday on the very next time I was scheduled to teach.
I remember opening my eyes that morning and knowing something was wrong. Scared to even look at the clock I just started saying “no no no no no no this can’t be happening”....but it was definitely happening. I had missed class for the second time in a row. There was only one thing to do.
Bawl my eyes out.
I don’t remember if I got in trouble at work or even how it went when I finally did show up to teach my class the following Wednesday. I never missed a class again and yet a year or so later when I was leaving the Y, my class got me a goodbye present...
It was an alarm clock.
Of course, it was a joke and we all had a laugh. Those back to back missed classes had become known as “that time Steph went on a bender”. They all got a kick out of that. (I pretended I thought it was funny)
This is a very small example but isn’t that the way it goes? You can show up to teach a class hundreds of times over the course of a few years and yet when it comes down to the end, the thing you’re most remembered for is your “bender”, the time (okay, two times) you messed up.
I can laugh at it now because, trust me, I’ve messed up many times and far worse in the last decade. This story doesn’t even make my list of regrets anymore. But it is a good illustration for self-compassion.
We are so good at taking incidents we regret, mistakes that we’ve made and making them a part of who we are instead of just something we did. We lay in bed at night obsessing over our missteps and using them as evidence for our lack of worth.
Why can’t we show ourselves some compassion?
I’ve found one way to get better at it and it actually starts by practicing compassion for others. I’m reminded of the quote; “When someone does something wrong, don’t forget all the things they did right.”
Nowadays, I am in charge of all the group classes at the Y. Every once in a while, an instructor sleeps through their early morning class and I am the recipient of that panicked, embarrassed, shame filled text or email message.
The funny thing is I actually love when this happens. The group fitness manager part of me doesn’t love it but the human part of me does. I love that I get the chance to show compassion to another human who is probably not expecting it.
I know from experience that they’re already beating themselves up so I can skip that part. All I need to do in that moment is remind them that they’re human and that yes, they screwed up, but they don’t deserve the punishment they’re giving themselves.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day (Happier with Gretchen Rubin) and she said this; “Part of being an adult is living with regret.”
Wow. Isn’t that the truth? Just face it. You’re never going to stop messing up. You’ll never be perfect. Neither will the people around you.
Giving someone else compassion, especially when they aren’t expecting it, feels nothing short of heroic. A day or two after I’d shown compassion to an instructor who’d accidentally slept through her class, she sent me an email thanking me for my words that day. How easy was that?
So if you’re in a position to take someone’s burden off of their shoulders, do it immediately if not sooner. And while you’re at it, why don’t you also do the same thing for yourself?
Be your own hero.
Show yourself the same compassion you would show to another. Stop looking outward for absolution and just give it to yourself. Because the truth is, we’re all doing the best we can. Sometimes the best we can is good enough, sometimes it more than good enough. But other times that same “best we can” misses the mark. Why can’t we let that go?
The truth is, we can let it go. We just have to change the story we tell ourselves. The story that who we are is a sum of the things we’ve done. We aren’t the incredible things we’ve done and we aren’t the terrible things we’ve done either. We’re so much more than that.
You make mistakes but you’re still a really good person just like I make mistakes but I’m still a really good person.
In my self-confidence course for women, I talk a lot about self-care. Self-compassion is the ultimate form of self-care.
I don’t have the keys to unlock women from their prisons of guilt and shame but throughout my course, I give them tools to help them look within themselves and remember where they hid those keys. That way, they are able to unlock themselves and finally be free.
The next offering of my course begins on January 1st and I’d love for you to join.
For more info, visit www.howetofitness.com/confidence or send me a message at Howe-To Healthy Living and I’d be happy to answer your questions!
Yum!! I tried a new recipe the weekend and I feel it is my duty to share.
Some side notes in making this recipe:
1) WHY is butternut squash so hard to cut? I was sweating by the time I got all done.
2) PJ will not touch this soup-- he thinks it looks like baby food.
3) Besides cutting the squash, it was so easy to make! I decided to freeze half the batch for future meal prep too.
My version of the recipe was inspired by: Goodful.
For the soup:
1 Butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Drizzle olive oil
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne (can leave it, this give it a bit of a kick!)
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
¼ cup of milk (I used almond milk)
For the optional garnish:
1. Place squash pieces, onion, and garlic into a slow cooker.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and add vegetable or chicken broth.
3. Sprinkle over ginger, coriander, cayenne, sea salt, and pepper.
4. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high heat for 4 hours.
5. Using a hand blender, blend the ingredients until smooth (if you do not have a hand blender, you can transfer the ingredients to a regular blender (I used the Ninja) or food processor, just be careful when blending hot liquids!).
6. Add thyme and coconut milk and blend for a few more seconds until incorporated.
7. Garnish with chives and pumpkin seeds (optional).