The best team you could ask for...

I have to be honest with you guys from the jump here. As you already know from my previous reviews- I am a huge BattleFrog fan. I have been ridiculously excited about this race since… oh… last year.   However, BattleFrog announced a major change a few months ago that put doubt in my heart. They were eliminating their 5k OR 15k option and going with a single 8k option. As a trainer, I loved giving my clients this lighter or more challenging option to train for in the gym… and I felt that the reduced length would mean a reduced experience for the 15k racers. I was a little bit peeved at first, I bitched and complained… and I will admit that I was highly skeptical as I walked onto the venue Saturday with my team.

So my opinion flipped... much like my vertical position here.

So my opinion flipped… much like my vertical position here.

SPOILER ALERT: I am not wrong often you guys… but mark your calendars… I was wrong on May 16, 2015.   The race was indeed shorter (I will cover more in the terrain section)… but the obstacles… good lord.

THE TERRAIN:   BattleFrog chose the same location as last year- Georgia International Horse Park- in Conyers, GA.  BF got my attention real damn quick with their use of the property last year. As a matter of fact, the use of terrain was one of my primary reasons for touting this series so highly. We were in rivers, ponds, over slate beds, through fields, woods and culverts. It was incredible. This year… the terrain was not as varied. I will offer that they had fewer miles to work with… which means they can only get to use so much of the property. We definitely did not get nearly as wet or muddy as we did last year. As I mentioned- I believe BF made up for the mileage in their obstacles… but I have to say that there simply wasn’t as much varied terrain as last year- and that was a bit of a let down.

Uphill. Both ways. In the snow. With gas cans.

Uphill. Both ways. In the snow. With gas cans.

THE OBSTACLES: So while I was a little bit disappointed with the terrain and mud… the obstacles were ridiculously hard and strategic this year.   The regular offenders made their appearances this year… Like the Jerry Can Carry that took a trip up hill through single track trails. They stacked obstacles together for increased difficulty… several grip obstacles in a row, followed by several pull-up-and-over obstacles stacked together.   I ultimately decided to forego a monkey bar obstacle (and do my body-builders) to save my grip for the Tsunami (quarter pipe, run and pull up obstacle). There was another grip-burning obstacle that was similar to “tip of the spear” from last year… but wickedly different. On this one, you had to cross slanted walls laterally with ropes, or a small ledge (pretty much only finger tips could fit), and your legs had to stay high and tight to make it work… there were no footholds.   There was an inverted suspended ladder over a water feature (I believe it was named “bridge over river cry”)… another grip and core burner that immediately followed those hateful monkey bars. I have to say that I did find that the cargo nets and Tsunami wall SEEMED more narrow this year- which led to some major major bottlenecking. A small offense… BF just needs to look at widening those obstacles… or adding extra lanes, etc.

THE FESTIVAL: Similar to last year- the volunteers were amazing and pumped. Check-in was more electronic this year, and therefore a bit more elegant. The merch tent was FABULOUS (again, they roll in deep with womens cuts and kids stuff… not to mention tactical sleeves and such that can be used on the course… check out mine in the Jerry Can pick above!)… their gear is high quality and holds up well. Coach Pain Dewayne kicked ass- made your heart swell, and your blood pump fast while warming each of the waves up for their flights.   I feel like BattleFrog did an excellent job of spreading out the festival tents (but not too far) on the campus so that it didn’t feel crowded- but keeping things like the showers, gear check, and changing areas close together in a way that made sense. (however, if anyone from BattleFrog HQ happens to trip over this review: White Tents instead of blue for the changing area… we were changing in the dark in there y’all! 😉

SUMMARY: I walked away from this race incredibly proud. I am proud of myself, my team, and this racing series. I am so happy to see the 2014 freshmen back at it, making adjustments and showing up as solid sophomores… still showing room for growth… but putting on a kick ass and UNIQUE race.   I love that this series is ballsy and not afraid of a little #shirtgate with Spartan… BattleFrog has a sense of humor and cajones! (What more could a girl ask for!??!) I also love that BattleFrog elicits acts of heroism from regular Joes every time I am on their course. You’ll remember Stephanie, the wounded warrior spouse from SC last year… we saw her AND HER HUSBAND on the course this year in Atlanta… and were privileged to run along side them. Then there is my client, Christian, whom has suffered injuries and set-backs… that crossed the finish line- crushing mental and physical goals… with a big WHOOOOO!

Rick Flair said it best... Whoooooo!

Rick Flair said it best… Whoooooo!

This series embodies what I love about OCR’s… it has a magic that brings out the best in people, pushes them beyond their boundaries, and creates a space for racers to see themselves in a different way. Once you’re over the finish line, medal in hand… you can’t help but recount the personalities on the course, the obstacles you crushed, and the ones that beat you this time. That’s why I love and adore this sport: you leave changed athlete every single time… it’s an experience.   Rumor has it that BattleFrog will be back in the Atlanta area in November! It’s at a new venue in West Georgia- and I am pumped to race it! Get in on that early bird action here: http://battlefrogseries.com/battlefrog-atlanta-2015-ii/



Race Summary: The Mud. (photo credit: Lloyd Parker)

I personally had a ton of energy coming into this Obstacle Race, and not all of it was necessarily positive energy.  I was very anxious and nervous… both were new feelings about an OCR.  I usually set out to just do my best, not get injured, and have a good time.  But this time, I had set some performance goals that I really REALLY wanted to meet at this race- just for me… because I wanted it.  I wanted a finish in the single digits for my gender/age, and I wanted to finish well under 2 hours.  Hitting both of those goals at a Savage Race would definitely feel like an accomplishment.

Last year I ran the Georgia Fall Savage, and I managed an injury that required four sutures, and a finish time/place that I was honestly surprised by- since I got pulled off course by medical.  Savage definitely brought a race “built to kick ass”… the obstacles were physically and mentally demanding (seriously, you have to get over your issues and force up some courage)… the running portions were moderate in difficulty- all trail, and BEAUTIFUL… and not too bad on the hills at all.

The 2015 Spring Georgia Savage Race will forever be remembered in one word- MUD.  Most Obstacle Course Races do require some mud bathing along the way to the finish line.  However, the Southeast received about a weeks worth of rain leading up to the day of the race (the build had to have been miserable). The grounds were not muddy… no, my brothers and sisters… they were entirely over-saturated.  Thin mud floating over top thicker mud, layered on top of some good, wet, sticky Georgia red clay.  It was a glorious fabulous nasty MESS… and I loved it. So before I get into the rest of my race review- take a good look at the anchor picture up there^^^– that is not the trail… that is on the way from the parking lot to the festival area… yeah.  lol

Moonlight Stables in Dallas, Georgia has some of the most beautiful pasture and wooded acreage that you could ask to run through.  Grassy, rolling hills… twisty, little creekbeds… and winding wooded paths make up much of the landscape… even mud covered- it is simply stunning. The layout and use of natural resources (creeks and hills namely) were more proliferate this year.  During the fall race I remember the terrain being more visually stunning than technically difficult… the course would have still required more technical running this year even without the mud.  The over-saturation only stood to increase the intensity.

Traverse Wall... with grips that make sense!

Traverse Wall… with grips that make sense!

Savage’s trademark obstacles (Shriveled Richard, Colossus, Davey Jones’ Locker and Sawtooth) all returned to the race this year… but a few new ones were included as well. Colon Blow went up onto a teeter-totter (crawl from one end of a tube to another that was situated see-saw style over a pivot point), inverted walls, and a traverse wall with rock climbing grips (yes! thank you!!!!). More insidious than the individual obstacles was the placement- nut smasher was arranged directly after a nice hill sprint and well into the race… creating added rubbery leg difficulty.  Tackling Colossus after several inverted walls and a couple of heavy carries seemed just cruel… grip strength was toast, but you had to call it up from somewhere if you were going to make it up to the top.  In other words- the designer seemed very focused on just how exhausted he wanted you to be when you made it to each obstacle.

The mud did put a bit of a damper on things for the spectators… it was an unholy, muddy mess EVERYWHERE.  And while Savage did their best to be hospitable (wood chips and gravel were spread about to calm it down a bit)… there was only so much that could be done with the amount of total rainfall last week.  The Junior Savage race was fantastic (2 of my sproglings ran it). The course was so much fun for both of them. They had to balance, crawl, climb, and push through to get to the finish line.  The organizers could not have been more encouraging and excited for the little savages as they passed out medals, shirts, and high fives.  If your children haven’t ran a Junior race- they MUST.  It is such a thrill and achievement for them to experience.

All of the necessities seemed to run without a hitch save one area- Gear Drop.  Gear Drop was very slow this time… I am not sure what really happened- as I do not remember that being an ordeal at all in the fall.  I waited nearly an hour in line to pick up my bag- and I had an early heat. I can’t imagine that it got much better for a while.  I do also wish that Savage Race would roll in with more “feminine cut” merch… I would love to sport less-boxy Savage Race Tee’s… However, that’s totally inconsequential compared to everything that went right:  Parking was easy and smooth (I got stuck and unstuck by the volunteers in less than 5 minutes, lol), check in and packet pick-up made sense and was not bottle necked, and there was plenty of spectator access to mill through to watch the racers.


As for me personally- It was a banner day! I met both of my goals (3rd place for my age group, with a 1:51 finish time), watched the accomplished expressions on my kids faces, and saw so many friends out there this time!  Everyone went home exhausted and in one piece… woot! Early Bird Registration is going on now for the Fall Savage Race- I’ll be there and you should be too!


The Medals double as bottle openers... pretty much effing awesomeness.

Warrior Dash is always going to have a special place in my heart y’all… Why? Why would an entry level obstacle race be so special among all of the more “hardcore, badass, kill em dead” races?
Because it was my first. My first love. The Warrior Dash is where my passion for everything OCR related took off. During the summer of 2012, I began to make permanent changes with my nutrition and fitness- cleaning up my eats, and lifting heavy shit. In the meantime, I watched from the sidelines as friends participated in Obstacle Course Races… it looked like so much fun, and struck a chord with my inner rebel. But could I do it? To find out, I signed up for a smaller, lower octane (5k) race- The Warrior Dash. Obviously, that race was a wild success and has resulted in a subsequent 18 race finishes to date. I had the opportunity to race for a second time in the Georgia Warrior Dash this past Saturday… and guys… I renewed my vows to all things OCR. 😉

The Warrior Dash has branded themselves as the event for “Mud, Sweat, and Beer”. In essence, a little race and a lot of party. As I made the gorgeous drive out to the Northeast Georgia mountains for this race- I was anticipating an easy terrain, some fun obstacles, and some music and beer.

My first experience with Warrior Dash in 2012 was in Warrior, Alabama (I kid you not)… and I do recall that the race designers made excellent use of creek beds to “create” some elevation on that course… but it was mostly an easy jog. The Georgia Race was held Mountain City (again, I am not joking)… and elevation certainly played a part in the first mile or so of the race. In fact, the starting line was literally a little 20-30 yard hill sprint! The scenery was beautiful, and the trails were enjoyable- however, we were put out on the road for the last half mile or so… which was a first for me in any OCR. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the running portions of the race.

The 20 yard hill sprint right at the start line

The 20 yard hill sprint right at the start line

Out of the dozen or so obstacles- two really stood out. The first shocker was a swim across a small pond of water. Sounds simple- and on paper it was. However, once I was submerged I realized that this pond was very, VERY COLD. My brain just didn’t want to operate. I half swam, half doggy paddled, and full on cussed the whole way across that pond. The second unique obstacle was a suspended balance beam (maybe fifteen feet in the air or so?) with a rope about waist high on either side to use for support to get across. So you HAD to look down to see where you were going… and how high up you were. Many people bailed on both of those obstacles, which is not a problem at Warrior Dash. One of the many reasons that I refer my clients to try this course is precisely for that reason… it’s for fun, not to be penalized for missed obstacles, and that’s a great attitude to have when you are starting out into the world of OCR’s.

The festival was well organized and easy to maneuver through. All tents were well labeled and staffed. Normally packet pick-up and gear pickup/drop-off can be a major pain in the ass to staff elegantly and move people through- Warrior Dash had no trouble with either. The Beer Tent and the adjoining Music Stage and party area were arranged in a way that made sense too. Warrior Dash did all the things right- plenty of staff, organized parking and entry, free pictures, and free gear drop. This is why this series has been around for the last 7 years (which is a lifetime in this industry it seems)… they have their market pegged, they know what they are good at, and they deliver.

Well organized Festival area- happy staffers... and they won't nickel and dime you.

Well organized Festival area- happy staffers… and they won’t nickel and dime you.

Fun Band and GOOD Beer after the race.

Fun Band and GOOD Beer after the race.

I know that entry level races like Warrior Dash get the snub for not being as “kick ass” or “hard core” as other races (hell, I was once a race-snob-asshole too)… But coming back to Warrior Dash reminded me of the best part of the OCR sport that sometimes gets lost with the higher-octane races: the people that come and their stories. I met two inspiring women in particular- one that had lost 180 pounds and kept it off for the last 5 years(!), and a 62 year old marathoner woman who only started running a few months ago. They were both getting their OCR start at Warrior Dash, and had totally been bitten by the OCR bug- looking to do more races this season. And for that- we should all be thankful that events like Warrior Dash have been loyal and faithful to their “entry-level” status- because they welcome new athletes to our beloved sport at each event.

Ask Me Anything!

I'm an over achiever... It's the first 2 for me

So I thought it would be fun to answer common (and uncommon, lol) questions that I get in person or over email and social media.  If you have one that you would like for me to address next time around- feel free to comment or email it, and I will do my best!

Q:  What is your diet plan? What do you do for nutrition?
A: I eat whole and clean foods… I abstain from dairy, sugar, most legumes, and unsprouted wheat/flour. I drink water or Coffee. I use coconut creamer in my coffee, and Almond Milk for my protien shakes. I follow the Whole30 food list about 97% of the time. The 3% that I don’t follow is in my condiments and on my cheat meals. I don’t really sweat my sauces and condiments that much… If is is something I use really often, then I try to purchase the sugar free option (hidden sugars are the worst). Also, Whole30 doesn’t allow for cheat meals, and I have one a week. I try to make it a dinner and out at a restaurant- so that I have to walk away from the table, and so it’s my last meal of the day (so a cheat MEAL doesn’t become a cheat DAY).

Q: Do you like running?
A:  Nope. I honestly HATE the first 2 miles. After that- I do usually kind of hit “meditation” (especially if on trails)… and the world backs away– including the pain and the voices in my head telling me to go to Starbucks and chill instead.

I'm an over achiever... It's the first 2 for me

I’m an over achiever… It’s the first 2 for me

Q: How do you prep for an actual race day?
A: Race Day preparations start about 3 days out…and giddy-ness begins about a month out, lol. At 3 days out, I do not attempt any very heavy or fast PR’s (personal records) in the gym. 2 days before a race I will go in and run or lift- but pretty light for me. I mostly work on mobility and flexibility type stuff. Burpees, Swings, and box jumps if I am just dying for a quick sweat. The day before a race is total rest. I may take a leisure walk, but that is it- as far as workouts are concerned. Sometimes I carb load– sometimes I don’t. If it is more than 5 miles… then I will. The day of the race- I eat a peanut butter and jelly on Ezekiel Bread, and I take a coffee, banana, and protein bar on the road with me. Sometimes I eat it all, sometimes I don’t. Everyone’s pre-race meal is different. That’s what works for me. Some swear by two eggs and an oatmeal… some do a bulletproof coffee and a donut. Play around and see what works for you. But test before hand… race day is never the time to try something new.

My OCR race outfit is: Sports Bra, Spandex top (long sleeve cold gear for Spring/Fall races)… I wear either tights or spandex runner shorts (depending on weather) on the bottom. Smartwool socks and Innov-8 Trail Roc shoes. I don’t do cotton and I run commando. Any cotton at all *will* chafe and panties just create a convenient little hammock for the worst mud of the race to collect in. I also put some conditioner in my hair when I am pulling it up into a ponytail- total lifesaver when  you are hosing off later… the mud comes right out and no massive tangles. Ladies- do not shave your legs the day of the race. Taking brand new exfoliated skin in to murky waters is just a bad bad idea.

Gear Bag for after the race:
**I always bring 3 trash bags. 2 for me- one for clothes and one for shoes, and an extra for someone else. There is always someone in the dressing tent that forgot hers. You’ll be her hero.
**2 packs of baby wipes. I tear through them and don’t care… use them like tissue to get as much as I can off. And again- I give anything I don’t use to the other ladies in the changing tent.
**Complete change of clothes. Don’t forget your underwear and bra… those will be dirty and you’ll need fresh. I’ve forgot undergarments TWICE, I kid you not… it just didn’t register when I was packing my gear bag.
**Flip Flops… If you have two raggedy pairs… bring them. One to use while still at the event, and one for the car ride home. The festival area will still likely be muddy after you clean up… so save your floor mats with the spares.

Q:  How do you clean up after mud runs?
A:  Initially after the race- I attempt to hose off at the showers BEFORE I get my bag from Gear Check. If you get your bag first, then you have to attempt to keep an eye on it and keep it close but dry while you shower. This is damn impossible. The whole “shower” area (read: bank of water hoses) is usually a big ass puddle… nothing is dry there, nothing. Just get the bag afterwards. Pro-tip: Do any swag shopping BEFORE your race and cram it in the bottom of your bag- better selection and your new stuff stays clean… mostly.
As I mentioned before- initial clean up is done with a hose and baby wipes while at the event. On the way home from the event, I stop at a car wash and make use of their floor mat clamps. Clamp your dirty clothes to the wall and get the pressure wand and go to town. 95% of the mud will be gone. Most of the color will return. But it is important to do this on the way home– the longer you leave it in the bag, the more set the mud gets and the higher the likelihood of mildew. Here’s a video of Margaret Schlachter from Dirt In Your Skirt getting it done… it’s a highly techinical process 😉 lol
Q:  How many pull-ups can you do?
A: 7.
Q:  What do you recommend for someone that wants to run, but is totally out of shape- and doesn’t know where to start?
A:  To get started- I am a big fan of the running apps for your mobile device. They usually progress you from very little running- mostly walking, to more and more running and less walking. Follow the plan, don’t jump ahead or skip days. If you had to walk more than what the app called for that day– then repeat that workout the next time you run.

Q:  I am currently using an elliptical for my Cardio (sore knees), can this be used as sufficient training for a 5k? I am also strength training at a Pilates studio.
A:  That is awesome that you are already tackling both strength and endurance! While the elliptical is going to help your overall conditioning… your bones and muscles do need running-specific training. If your knee pain is consistent, I would first get an “all clear” from your doctor- just to be sure there isn’t something that needs to be treated first. Then I would download a running app like I mentioned above. Your biggest risk is a stress fracture, which is essentially a repetitive-impact injury. Every step while running means your body is forcefully meeting the sidewalk- not gliding, as you do on an elliptical… All those little bones in your feet, ankles, and legs have to be trained up to be ready for that. Just start with a brisk walk to get going. The point isn’t to go far or even fast right now… it is just to get your body to start adjusting to the impact of “boots on the ground”

Q:  What protein powders or supplements do you use?
A:  I use Garden of Life RAW Protein (vanilla) with almond milk. I don’t use any other supplements.

Q: How often do you workout? What do you do?
A: I “workout” 6 days a week usually… Sunday is total rest.  I lift heavy and condition on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Maximum Body Training.  2-3 days a week I add a run to my training at the gym- one that’s longer and one that’s shorter.  Once a week, usually Wednesday, I do lightweight or no-weight… just work on mobility, flexibility, handstands, etc.  I also do a couple of Muay Thai sessions at Coffey BJJ once or twice a week too- always on Saturdays at the very least.  All of this is totally dependent on feedback from my body though… if I am feeling worn out, low energy or maybe like I am fighting off a bug… then I back off.  I didn’t start off at this level either, of course… I started off lifting 2 days a week and run/walking one day… and progressed from there.

January Shiflett, RKC is a personal trainer, kettlebell instructor, obstacle course racing coach, and resident potty-mouth at Maximum Body Training in Cartersville Georgia.   You can contact her for classes and training opportunities at January.Shiflett@me.com

What lit a fire under my ass. Literally.

Do you?

I have had a few clients recently ask me what got me motivated in the very beginning… What was the catalyst that made me stop everything and start running headlong for fire and mud? I thought it would make a good “resolution recovery” topic for the first post of the year.  😉

I would love to tell you guys that it was my kids, or my husband or some profound spiritual moment that shook me to my core… and that from that moment on- I was a changed person… and decided to take better care of my body and health.  But alas… I was forever changed by excellent marketing- a promotional video from Spartan Race… I know, I know… *hangs head in shame*.

In this video they were highlighting “Team X.T.R.E.M.E” racing the 2012 Virginia Super Spartan… particularly highlighting Cpl. Todd Love (Triple Amputee Marine) and Sgt. Todd Galloway (Double Amputee- Army).  The imagery and interview of Todd’s dad are particularly moving, and the clips of these guys just kicking ass on the course- after a little morning tandem jump out of a plane- will get your pulse going and maybe even get you to sign up for an OCR.  But the profound moment(s) for me are at the 8:00 minute mark (click here for the jump to the clip) where Noah says: “You know a lot of people tell me ‘I wanna do this, I wanna do that’. Well you know what? You gotta do it. There is no *want*, either you do it- or you don’t. You just… There are no excuses.” And then, immediate clip to Gary Love “That’s why he does what he does. There is no stop to my son. You know, he has no quit in him”.

It was a kick in the chest. This dude standing there with half an arm clearly visible in the frame- saying “either you do or you don’t. NO EXCUSES”.  I remember just sitting there– (mouth breathing, I am sure)– staring at the screen… and the thought that flashed through my mind was: “What the fuck am I doing?! I have two very capable arms and legs… and this guy is getting up and down a rope with one arm and an ARMPIT”.  From that moment in September 2012, it has been a steady drumbeat of realizing what I am truly capable of.  I ran a Warrior Dash right away- just to try out this mud-running thing.  I loved it.  I went on to run my first Spartan Race (Atlanta Sprint), in March of 2013- 6 months after watching that video:

First Spartan 2013

First Spartan 2013

I was completely hooked and immediately signed up for the Super in Wintergreen, and the Beast in South Carolina to complete my Spartan Trifecta.  The Trifecta consists of completing a Sprint (3-5 miles), a Super (6-8 miles), and a Beast (10-13 miles) in one calendar year…  Here I am with my Trifecta Medal almost exactly a year after I watched that video:

Trifecta- Nov 2013

Trifecta- Nov 2013


And in 2014… I added in multiple Battlefrogs, Rugged Maniacs, Savage Races, and a few non-muddy street races like the Peachtree.  I really feel like I embraced my inner athlete in 2014, and while I am not up to snuff to run with the elites, YET… I do finally consider myself a runner, and obstacle course racer:

2014 Racing

2014 Racing

(I do tend to enjoy the races that have a military beneficiary- Like BattleFrog and their support of Trident House… they even dedicate each obstacle to a fallen Navy SEAL… but its mostly because of how motivated I was by Team XTREME)

2014 was full of hard and scary moves, choices, and decisions- and some amazing opportunities and experiences.  I decided to change careers from homeschooling mom, to full-time personal trainer (which was HUGE for me).  I earned a bunch of medals, my RKC Certification, and learned so much about myself- what I am really about, and what I really want out of my life… which if I had to boil it down to one word- it would be “experiences”.  I want to experience so much with my kids, my family, my friends, and on my OWN.  That *on my own* part is a real game changer for me… 100% of my life up till late 2013 revolved what I thought I was “supposed” to be doing and what others thought of me… I finally stopped people-pleasing that year.  I think I have fully recovered from that shit 😉

I am not about to go all “New Year, New Me” on you.  Actually the opposite. I really like who I am becoming.  I am not leaving anything behind in 2014… I am carrying it all forward into 2015.  I have an amazing Client Roster at MBT, a race schedule that I simply CANNOT WAIT to accomplish, and a few non-fitness items on my bucket list that have me just… giddy.  I have no clue where I am going or what everything will look like when I get there… but I am enjoying the wind in my hair and the beauty in the messy parts along the way.  As a matter of fact, I hope that I never “arrive”… I am enjoying the ride that damn much.

And all of this because of a piece of marketing material.  I am not saying everyone has to sign up for an OCR… by no means.  But when something grabs your your attention, listen to it… get motivated… get passionate… and get after it.  There is no want… ladies and gentlemen… either you do it or you don’t.

Much Love,

January Shiflett, RKC is a personal trainer, kettlebell instructor, obstacle course racing coach, and resident potty-mouth at Maximum Body Training in Cartersville Georgia.   You can contact her for classes and training opportunities at January.Shiflett@me.com

I call Bullshit.

For most people success is rarely a straight line- it is full of misfires, stutter-steps, failures, and re-starts. Success for me started on an otherwise normal Tuesday, a day- like so many other Tuesday’s before it- that I could’ve made the choice to stay exactly the same.

But those decisions never really sound like how I just phrased it- do they? We tell ourselves we will start that “diet” on Monday… why? Because we just love how crappy we feel when we eat processed food, and we’d really love the opportunity to feel that way a few more days?!? And let’s not start that new workout regimen till the first of the month- because nobody ever lost weight or got strong when they started on the 13th, 17th, or 25th … right? Right?

It's total bullshit.

It’s total bullshit.

It’s all bullshit.   And yet we still listen to it, obey it, and believe it. We ultimately waste an incredible amount of time by being passive players in our own damn life story. Let that wash over you for a minute. By doing the same thing you have always been doing, by believing in the bullshit excuses, you are simply floating through your life completely un-engaged with your true dreams and goals. If you aren’t engaged and making choices that will bring you closer to those dreams then what exactly are you doing?

I have two major regrets from my weight-loss journey. The first was my all or nothing approach to food.   If I made a bad choice- then I would just chuck the whole day. I would essentially say “screw it” to making good food choices for the rest of the day… because I had already gone and messed it all up with ONE bad choice earlier on. That type of thinking allowed me to be a victim to the “accident/cheat/slip-up”, and lets be honest, I never tripped and fell face first into a pizza, I made an active choice to eat it. This rationale also alleviated me of any responsibility to practice self-control for the rest of the day. This bullshit set me back over and over again.

The second major regret was waiting so long to get into the gym- I wanted to wait till I had lost “enough” weight so that I wouldn’t be the “fat girl” and I would better fit in and fly under the radar. This type of thinking is SO SO bullshit on so many levels:

  1. That thinking means that the current gym members must be assholes and would look down on me for doing the exact same thing they did… join a gym to get results.
  2. Lifting heavy weight and following a training program is THE fastest way to ignite your metabolism and lose body fat… you know- the results I wanted.
  3. I was intimidated because I knew that I couldn’t perform the way I imagined the members inside the gym could. And I was right. But by not joining- I only confirmed that fact and delayed my own success indefinitely.


Here’s the thing- I know it takes a lot of guts to dress up and show up at a gym, especially in the beginning… you don’t know anybody, and you don’t know what to do- and everything feels weird and uncoordinated. You can do yourself a world of favors by hiring a personal trainer ahead of time. By hiring a trainer you can make sure that you not only perform exercises safely and correctly… but it also means that you’ll have a friendly face there too.

Here’s the thing… I think that we listen to the bullshit, like what I listed above, in order to keep ourselves safe. The reality is that we are all just very fragile, delicate souls. We don’t want to reach out and make profound change- because it could mean that we have to be really uncomfortable for a while. It could mean that our friends will be critical, or maybe even distance themselves from us… or coworkers may take potshots at your new “fanatical” ways. Making change would also mean that we have to shrug off our safe/damaging habits… which would leave us alone and defenseless to some dark parts of ourselves that are scary to confront. In fact- I can almost promise that there will absolutely be some really gnarly junk that you are going to have to address… after all, you haven’t been listening to bullshit for all this time, for no reason have you?

There is good news though y’all. Once you start ignoring bullshit, and deal with the real issues that lie beneath… there is happiness, balance, and incredible peace on the other side. It’s not all unicorns and butterflies 24/7… But you begin to recognize all that old bullshit when you see it, and you tell yourself to quit listening. You start defending your inner peace and happiness like your life depends on it- because frankly… it DOES.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to keep denying yourself your very own happiness… just sloshing along through a fog of a life? Or are you going to call out the BS, shrug it off, deal with it… and claim the goals and dreams that have been sitting here waiting for you all this time?

Much Love,


January Shiflett, RKC is a personal trainer, kettlebell instructor, obstacle course racing coach, and resident smart-ass at Maximum Body Training in Cartersville Georgia.   You can contact her for classes and training opportunities at January.Shiflett@me.com

It’s Easy for You… You’re Fit.


“It’s easy for you”… it wasn’t always.

I have ran into this comment a few times recently… some version of “it’s easier for you… you are fit… you like this stuff… you aren’t out of shape.”  I am not put off by it at all… but it always gives me pause.  Perception is a funny thing. Most of my “friends” on social media and followers of my blog are aware of my struggle with weight, and my eventual progress with losing it for good… However, it has come to my attention that I have made quite a few new friends that don’t know my story, and therefore- have quite a skewed perception on my level of health-nutty-ness (there are crazies out there that think I don’t like candy y’all!).  They just know that I am now a kettlebell fiending, obstacle course racing, lover of all foods whole and clean.  But it wasn’t always that way.  Just 3 years ago I was an obese (220lbs on a 5’9 frame), smoking, metabolically damaged, completely out-of-shape, unconditioned, uncomfortable, weak and unhappy woman.

I have previously outlined my history of how I got fat, what I did right with food, and exercise to eventually lose the weight.  And while I have adjusted my food to follow more of a Whole30 food plan, and I now have earned my RKC Instructor certification… The highlight reel still holds true:  good, whole, clean foods and lifting heavy things will get you big results.  Now- 3 years after that Drivers License picture up there… I have started a career as an Personal Trainer and I get to run Obstacle Course Races in all kinds of awesome places.  But the most important is that I am now happy in my own skin, I recognize myself in pictures again, I am no longer a smoker, and I am definitely NOT a weak woman.

3 years ago- to this very month I was searching too, looking all over for answers. And I can tell you with absolute certainty, the answer is YES. YES YOU CAN DO THIS. It comes down to consistent, daily, sustainable, and realistic changes. There will absolutely be hard days that leave you challenged to stay on your food plan, and there will be extraordinarily sore days after working hard for your goals… BUT YOU CAN DO IT. You don’t have to wait for a silly arbitrary resolution to get started… GO. NOW. Start today!  Even a small change like tossing your soda for a water will put you one step ahead for tomorrow.

I would be honored to be part of your journey as you transform your life. Whether you are a mom looking to drop weight and get strong; an athlete that is looking to improve his strength and conditioning; or a weekend warrior needing to train for the next obstacle racing season… I would be honored to work with you as your personal trainer. I work out of Maximum Body Training in Cartersville GA, and I am RKC certified. I offer kettlebell classes, small-group, and private training.  I want to be on your team.  Feel free to contact me anytime for more details: 770-773-5987 or check out my profile at Dragon Door.