Persona, Myself, and Reality

I have developed this persona of sports chick meets business casual.  And that’s what it is, a persona.  It has been hard edged and intimidating, which is really not what I had intended.  It was a barrier in a sense for people not to get too close.  The weirdest part?  I didn’t even know I was doing it.  All I need to fulfill that is persona is some straight up killer heels, super spiffy clothes, and then boom.  Intimidation persona complete.

persona4b

The reality is I am a down-to-earth, relatively easy going person who is easy to talk to.  Now, it would be MUCH easier to get the aforementioned clothes than change my style and approach to people.  However, I am not the type of person to take the easy way out.  I am nothing if not true to myself.  It will suck some of the time, and take more personal growth that will most likely be painful.  But I will do it, because that is my truth and my destiny to be that kind of leader in Arbonne.

Becoming Yourself

This year possibly more than any other year has been a year of change, epiphanies, and becoming the person I am truly meant to be.  If there was one thing I thought about myself my entire adult life was that I was always me.  I didn’t put on airs with people.  The odd thing is as you grow into adulthood is sometimes who you are smacks you right in the face.  Like BOOYAH, the past 34 years I was just kidding, this is who you truly are.  And it’s scary.  Despite Facebook and this blog, I really don’t like people knowing the real me.  In the past that has just led to heartbreak and misery.  The keywords in that sentence are the past.  I am sure I will have heartbreak again, but at least this time it’ll be in my truth.

Reality

What is scarier to you:  becoming the person you were meant to be and letting people see you or staying stymied in your old self?  For most of my life the former was infinitely scarier than the latter.  Some people do not want to see the truth, and would rather keep you down than see you blossom into the person you were meant to be.  The people that really love you will accept it right away, and sometimes the people who have known you the longest may take some time to see it or they may not see it at all.

The year of change and epiphanies just keeps getting better, and I am evolving into the person I am meant to be.

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Because of Us

Based on the title, this blog entry may not be what you think it’s about. I had a few  conversations about different topics with one of my mentors today, and at one point she stopped and looked at me. She said, “are you okay?” I paused a moment, and said, “yes.  I was just thinking about how different my life is then it was four years ago”.  I looked at her and said, “it’s mostly because of you.”

white party pic

She responded, “well, it’s all because of you, actually.” I retorted, “yes, I did the personal growth work. However, it wouldn’t have happened without you.”  She responded, “it’s because of us, then.”

Relationships are complicated, regardless of what form. Whether it be platonic or romantic, mentor or friend, or personal versus professional. Let me clarify that statement: meaningful relationships are complicated. There are two forms of relationships: the real, genuine do anything for you kind or the convenient kind. Sadly, most of the relationships I have had prior to the past four years have mostly been the latter.  I think that is true for most people.  It is just easier and safer that way.

Mediocre vs Rocking It

Relationships exist for a number of different reasons. Number one reason is to challenge us to be better than we are. Often times, people do not want to do the work to be better than they are. They would much rather be mediocre than rocking it. Quite frankly, rocking it often takes a lot of painful growth, so why not stay mediocre and content? Comfort zone, safety, and mediocrity are where most people live, and that is okay.  Human beings were not created to live a mediocre life, so what if you want something more?

The Change

A good, meaningful relationship, however, will ALWAYS push you to the next level. It involves tough, sometimes hard conversations that neither person wants to have. It involves growing towards your next obstacle instead of away from it. Most importantly, it involves asking the right questions, figuring out solutions, and applying those solutions to life. You cannot apply change to your life without application and action. It just doesn’t work. I am a byproduct of the work on both my business and myself. I take ownership of both. Which type of relationships are you in currently? Take inventory of your life and figure out who challenges you and who placates you. The placators are not doing you any favors, and are in actuality bringing you down.

Be in a relationship type where there are “because of us” moments and growth pattern.  It truly changes everything, and as with anything worthwhile, it starts and ends with you.

Weekend and Beyond

I spent the weekend paddling, hiking, and with family.  It was the quintessential perfect weekend, the only thing missing was live music.  I paddled approximately 12 miles, hiked about three miles on Sunday, and then spent the majority of Easter playing with my three year old cousin.

On Tuesday though, I was looking for a kick-your-ass workout.  Paddling and hiking are workouts, but they are different. They are generally short bursts of energy followed by lackadaisical energy depending on the conditions of the trail and/or water body.

Enter Sphericality.  I have made the determination that I will attend the 9:40 AM Pilates360 class on Tuesday because it stops me from goofing around all morning.   I love the instructor Tammy.  She is full of get your ass in gear, but in  a tough love kind of way.  She is all about form (which I am super happy about) and taking it one step further.  In anything, if you don’t push yourself past your limit that you thought possible, than you are playing small.  If you are playing small because of some fear of failure, the only person that hinders is you.  As they say, get your big girl panties on and deal with it.

dorian and I

Dorian, the owner of  Sphericality, and I after a Barre Class

After the class, I realize there’s a TRX class after that also with Tammy.  So, I also stayed for that.  It was my first doubleheader, and now I realize I have official become exercise-crazed.  As my friend says, that’s a high-class problem.  I was surprisingly not too sore the next day, just a touch in the arms.

One of my main focuses lately has been improving my balance, coordination, and getting my ankles stronger.  I have little tiny feet, high arches in my feet, and I’m not small.  All of those things lead to a need to improve the above.  My ankles have always been a weak spot.  I basically look at them wrong, and they go out.  Since I’ve been taking these classes, I’ve noticed them getting a little stronger.  I’m not sure how much my balance has improved yet, but I know that my coordination is.  It’s really satisfying to know that what I am doing in these classes not only improves my overall health, but also is having some positive unanticipated affects in the above categories.

Bonding Via Tohickon Creek

This weekend is Tohickon Creek release.  It usually happens the third weekend in March, and the first weekend in November.  It is widely considered to be the unofficial start and end of the whitewater season, respectively.

shredder fave

It is also my favorite creek of all-time.  It is fun, challenging, but not panic-inducing, and relatively short (the run itself is 4 miles, but you can make that four miles take all day because it’s a complex river with lots to dissect).   I paddled today in a Shredder, which is like a small raft.  These things are so FUN.  You can blast through just about anything as long as you keep the it straight.  Unfortunately, I did not get to take my canoe out this time.  By the time we were done with our run, it was somewhat late in the day, getting colder, so there weren’t too many takers for a second run.  It’s okay, it was just so nice to be out on the river.

We in the paddling community call this Tohfest, because most of the time it becomes a gigantic party where everyone camps.  This year was a bit subdued, mostly because of the ill forecast of 3-5 inches of snow made for Sunday (which has been downgraded to nothing).    People come from all over, as far as Virginia, to inundate this little town in Pennsylvania.  So, I wouldn’t travel several hours for one day to boat either.  Either way, there were plenty of people there to reconnect to, catch up, and revel in the amazing community that we paddlers have created.  It’s a special bond, because things happen on the water and we are all there to help each other in those instances.  I am grateful to be a part of this community that has given me so much.

Day 18, Gym 17

My friend Krissy is an instructor kickboxing at Freedom Xtreme Fitness in Branchburg, NJ.  I had done a one kickboxing class at Sweat Like a Girl which incorporated other things, but this would be a strict kickboxing.  I was both a little nervous and excited at the prospect of it. 

post workout

A much needed Arbonne After Workout drink to prevent soreness.

The class did not disappoint, and it kicked my ass.  I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend.  If the class was less than stellar, I’d still be writing this and saying so.  One of the best workout classes in terms of whole body workouts, cardio, abs, and oh my fizz legs.  There was an abundance of leg work.  Favorite quotes of the class:  you can do anything for 30 seconds; no one brags about a small butt, and when it hurts that’s when growth happens.  We did everything, squats, lunges, burpees, pushups, laps, and of course bag work.  The class pushed me to my limits, and past them at times.  It is dead true that it is when growth happens, and not just in terms of the physical..  She was great mix of motivator and encouragement without being military style about it.  She was full of tough love, encouragement, and “hate me now, love me later” attitude.

If you are in the area, and enjoy something that is both fun and sweat-inducing, this is for you.  The drop-in fee is usually a very reasonable $12 for an hour class.  You will not regret dropping in for this.

Day 17, Gym 16

I attended pickup volleyball at Central Jersey Volleyball Academy (CJVA) in Flemington, NJ.  It reminded me of everything I loved about sports, and everything I did not like about sports.  I did not like the cliqueness or the pressure when I didn’t feel good enough.  I have always loved the camaraderie, friendship, and community when you met the right people who were laid back and liked to help you get better.

I found both at CJVA.  I got there and was quite excited since I haven’t played volleyball since college, and then it was recreational.  There were mostly young people there, a couple older, and then some kids (aged 13ish).  I started off with the young people, where they were rotating on and off, but then I noticed that there was a court where there was no one waiting.  So, I went over there.  There I found my laid back happy group.  There was a couch, Lynette, Jerry her husband (I think), then me, and on the other side of the court were the three girls she coached there.  I had a blast with them.  I never really felt like an outsider, at the beginning I felt a little sheepish because clearly they were better than me.  I got over that pretty quickly, and was actually improving in my skills by the time we were done.  It’s a great workout, you are running, bumping, diving, and twisting your body in all sorts of ways.

 

kit n kaboodle

my ritual after working out.  Yay to no soreness

We broke up into larger groups again, and the cliqueness returned.  I was over it by that point, and have spent too much time on myself to feel like an outcast.  I saw one of the thirteen year olds I was playing with practicing her skills, so I went to go practice with her.  I saw a lot of myself in her, the shyness, awkwardness of youth, and a slight self-confidence issue.  But she’s tough, and quite good.

I found another purpose for my journey though.  It is to provide a place where kids can play sports without cliques, pressure, or anything like that.  I loved sports growing up, was never very good at them.  As I got older, all those things above infiltrated the sports field.  I felt intimidated, alone, and an outcast.  If I can prevent that for any other kid who loves sports as much as I did, but got pushed out due to their own insecurities, that’s what I’m going to do.

Day 13, Gym 12

I am becoming obsessed with the TRX system, and thought it was about time to get a formal instruction.  I found Sphericality in Flemington, NJ, which is a fitness studio with all sorts of classes, one of them being the TRX.  I spoked with Maggie, who very nicely waived the fee for the class so I could get an idea of the studio.  I was thrilled, and was excited to finally learn how to best utilize the TRX.

dinner and arb

Gearing up for workout with eggs, and Arbonne Phytosport hydration and fizzy stick.

The class was small, only three students, including me, were attending the class.  The room was clean, and had a great energy to it.  It had a community feel, which I am realizing is becoming a key factor in my decision when I do chose a gym to call home.  There were mats laid out, and the TRX was set up.  This class was going to be no joke, and I could tell that I was going to like the pace and just the general set-up.  The instructor Kelly was fantastic, and definitely did not take it easy on me just because I was new.  She pushed us, but it was more like nudging and providing encouragement.  She made sure my form was correct, which is so important when working out.  This is especially true for this type of equipment where you are using your body weight to develop muscles, which stretching muscles, tendons, etc that do not necessarily get tested on traditional weight machines.  We alternated from arms, to core, to legs, and then back again so we weren’t targeting one group of muscles for a prolonged period of time.   I can feel it in my back muscles more than anything, because I think almost every exercise involved shoulders and/or upper back.  I will be curious to see how sore I am tomorrow in that muscle group.  I haven’t worked my upper back that intensely so far, so I will keep you guys posted.

Update on my overall fitness and results.  I have broad shoulders to begin with, and have been known to rip suit jackets (literally).  I put on a somewhat tighter fitting shirt, and when I flexed my arms across my body I could feel the slight pull across my shoulders.  I haven’t been doing anything extreme, but it reinforced that consistency in anything leads to results over time.

Day 10, Gym 9

Updated for full report now that I’m more awake.

This is going to be short, and I’ll expand more on it tomorrow.  It was time to try the gym that women in the Lehigh Valley area all seem to be flocking to, Sweat Like a Girl in Nazareth, PA.  I signed up for a free class, it was fight club.  The class was awesome.  I was sweating quite a bit by the time we were done, and it was so much fun.  Another full body workout, and I mean every part of my body was worked.  The instructor, Amy, was pretty consistent with showing us form, rotation, and placement on the bag.  She seemed to pick up on the fact that at one time the music was too loud, and turned it down.  This was by far my favorite class so far.  It was a combination of community since we broke up into groups, all body workouts, and pushing yourself to the limit.  If you enjoy a kick ass workout that is all-encompassing, but so fun and efficient this is your class.

The vibe of the gym I would describe as low-level coolness.  I’m not sure how else to describe it; it’s understated but humming with energy.  It is unclear how clean it is; to be clear, the gym didn’t have an odor to it or appear dirty, but rags to clean and wipe down the equipment seemed a little spread out.  Hence the I’m not sure.  It could be clean as an ER floor for all I actually know.

The gym itself is a basic gym, which is fine for me.  I don’t need fancy equipment, pool, sauna,  etc.  I would like, however, is a place to shower after I’m done.  Sweat Like a Girl doesn’t have that.  So, if you want a gym that you can take a killer class, sweat, then shower, and go to work afterwards, this gym won’t work for you.  If you want to take a class after work, have the opportunity to go home in between events, or just budget time into do so, this gym is great.  If you want a kick-ass workout where you get sweaty, and then can go straight to work afterwards.  As far as actual basic gym equipment availability, I’m not sure how much they have.  I saw some free weights, mats, etc.  It’s a fairly small gym, and they probably have equipment they move in and out for classes.  It seems to be a gym that is geared towards classes and community.  It definitely has a friendly feel to it, even for my first time being there.  The friendliest gym I’ve been to yet, and very similar to Cornerstone in New Hope.

I think the cost of the gym is a slightly pricey for what you get, but not exorbitantly so.  It’s $50 per month for unlimited workouts if you get a contract, or you can purchase class passes.  It is $65 for month to month.  I absolutely loved, loved the class and the feel of the gym itself.  There’s also childcare available, if that is a need of yours.

All in all, though, upon reflection, the lack of showers is a small caveat.  Sweat like a Girl has been my favorite so far, but I’d have to see what other equipment they have available for it to be an all-purpose gym.  The vibe is great, the people are friendly and nice, and it truly did feel like a community even though it was my first class.  Bring baby wipes with you and do kind of the college shower, because you will sweat.

Day 9, Gym 8. River time

So while not a gym in the traditional sense, I’m going to use it as one because it’s an all-body workout when you do it correctly, especially if you are in a whitewater canoe.  Kayaking is mostly upper body, and some legs.

This was a short run of about 4.5 miles, and it wasn’t really whitewater.  There were a couple of riffles, some waves, tiny bit of surfing, but nothing intense about it.  I still made sure to use my legs to move the boat, do my torso rotation, and paddle on both sides of the boat.  You may be asking how does canoeing have you utilizing all of those muscle groups.

An example of a bulkhead set-up.  Your legs go in the cut out holes, where you carve them out as needed to fit you.  It is not my picture.  Photo credit:  Wetnobby on Photobucket. 

Whitewater canoes are not set up as your typical canoe.  Some have saddles and/or thigh straps, but I had mine installed with a bulkhead set up.  I love it, it was worth every penny. It allows you to use your legs, thighs specifically, to get the boat where you want it to go along with your torso.  Your arms do some of the work, of course, but I know my form is off if my arms are getting tired.

There have been days where I have woken up after canoeing all day the previous day, and my legs and abs have been so sore that I was limping.  Days like that, I knew I had done it right and pushed myself.  This will not be the case tomorrow.  I did not paddle 14 miles or 6 miles of continuous whitewater, this was just a beautiful day on the river with a friend of mine.

The river is one of my places where I reset my mind.  I had not been out in a couple of weeks, and I was beginning to notice the way I was feeling because of it.  Now, my mind and body are reset to tackle the challenge and task at hand.  It’s go time.

 

Day 8, Gym 7

Update on yesterday’s workout:  second workout where my abs felt a little sore when I laughed really hard.  Update on my fitness in general:  I can notice my pants are getting bigger again, which is good.  I can see definition building in my arms, and legs getting more muscular.  I wouldn’t call it definition in my abs yet, but I can feel the muscles developing and the pudge decreasing (quite rapidly).  It’s pretty damn satisfying 😀

This is really funny and true for fit girls, especially for trying on clothes (disclaimer not mine):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yzx5Ocq4EQ.

I have heard mixed reviews about LA Fitness in general, but in the effort of comprehensive and open-mindedness, I went to the Easton, PA location.  I liked the overall vibe of the place, which is incredibly important especially where you are opening your body and mind to cleansing and reset.  In terms of that, I think the only place that had a better vibe was Cornerstone.  I really liked the membership/trainer guy Darryl.  He seemed truly genuine about wanting to help people, gave me a tour right away, went over the classes and any questions I had, and then went over the membership details.

Added bonus when he asked what I did, and I said I helped teach people how to live a better life from the inside and out, his eyes lit up.  They also have a local business day for gym members where you can set up a table and basically say what you have to offer the community.  It’s also a private company where the two founders are still actively involved with each facility apparently, and it’s a month-to-month membership, so you are not locked in for an entire year.  All of that made me respect the gym a lot more than I had previously.

The gym itself was spacious, well-lit, seemed and smelled clean, and had plenty of equipment for whatever you wanted.  I did a quick free-weights workout with my shoulders and legs being the focus.  There’s also a basketball court and a small lap pool if that is your thing.  The only thing it seemed to be lacking is a TRX setup, but I didn’t get to ask for verification.  Also they use paper towels and foam to clean the equipment, which from a scientific perspective could be better.  Minor things, but just notices.  I got a three-day pass, which includes any classes I want to take.  For being a chain gym, I was pleasantly surprised.