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

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

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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

 

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.

beforeafter

“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.

Major Announcement…

This symbol means business.

In 33 days I will be attending the RKC Workshop in Atlanta (Cartersville)… My trainer, Beth Andrews RKC is hosting it- and it will be taught by Master RKC Keira Newton (I am loving the fact that this one is being hosted and taught by some badass crazy strong women).  I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend this workshop and learn from the best of the best…

Blood. Sweat. Respect.

But if I were being totally honest with y’all- I would admit that I am also full of anxiety about this as well.  This 3 day workshop will be the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. There is about a 30% failure rate of all of those that attend this course. The amount of mental and physical strength necessary to even think about signing up for this workshop is incredible (check out the requirements here). It’s intense- all day for 3 days- receiving instruction, completing workouts, and then being tested on strength, endurance, and the material presented. It all counts- and any failure means you don’t receive your certification- it’s game over.  Physically I have a mountain of strength, endurance, and technique that needs to be cleaned up and tightened up.  Mentally, I need to pull my collective shit together and focus down on the work that is ahead of me.  Becoming a RKC Instructor is a major goal, would be an epic accomplishment, and a ginormous step towards building my dreams… but it  also demands that you commit yourself 110% to earn the respect that this certification commands.

So that’s it, that’s where I am at guys. I am heading into the cave… it’s time to tear it all down to the foundation and rebuild- both physically and mentally.

A few of my favorite things…

You get a link, and you get a link, and you get a link!

You get a link, and you get a link, and you get a link!

Back in the saddle ladies and gentlemen! I could post on and on about why I haven’t updated lately- but lets just say that we had techincal difficulties coupled with some major LIFE. Techinical difficulties are resolved, and the other issues that are going on- well, I am learning how to work with them. Homeschooling, nutrition, fitness, and basic hygiene have managed to get back on track.

I have had many ideas for blog posts during my haitus- and they will be coming soon… But I thought I would get back into the groove by sharing some of my favorite sites on the interwebs:

FITNESS LINKS:

Maximum Body Training: My Gym. Beth Andrews, Sr. RKC is pretty well known in the industry- and with good reason.  I am so glad to have her right here in my little town!

Myomytv: Free Kick-ass kettlebell workouts.

Niashanks.com: Weight training and strengthening for women. No big and bulky here!

Metaboliceffect.com: I LOVE Metabolic Effect. I have learned so much from this site. They claim the “science of hormonal fat loss”… Which frankly sounds a bit dry for how awesome their site is. They are entertaining, educational, and scientific. Just go. Go NOW. Thank me later. (This site is actually both fitness and nutrition)

BretContreras.com: The Glute Guy. Wanna get strong and add some bulk in all the RIGHT places?

Kellie Davis – Mother Fitness. Her blog is freaking awesome. She is funny and well written. Tons and tons of awesome content. Her advice has been spot on 100% for me. Bookmark it, read and keep going back– she is a workhorse and updates her site all the time.

Molly Galbraith – Another strong female that gives out all kinds of information and insights for free.

Girls Gone Strong: The name says it all. lol

Fitness Black Book: I just discovered this site in the last week or so… So I haven’t given it a good run through yet. That said, I have already learned a ton- and I really like the diversity and variety on his site.

NUTRITION LINKS:

Gary Taubes: The author of “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. If you are wonderfing what got me started on my Paleo craziness… give him a read.

Marks Daily Apple: All things primal. Mark is pretty opinionated about Good Food- which I like. He also has some thoughts on making your workouts “play” and functional. I use his site as a resource manual for my nutrtion. There is just an epic amount of information there.

Everyday Paleo: Paleo Recipes

Nom Nom Paleo: Love this site! So cute! It has tons of recipe’s and then also useful information that is *really* important- like how to cook easy to peel boiled eggs that don’t stink the whole house up!

Primal Toad: More Primal recipes and living in entertaining packaging.

There ya go! Enjoy!

Resolutions Suck.

Resolutions will put you in a van... DOWN BY THE RIVER.

Resolutions will put you in a van… DOWN BY THE RIVER.

I really hate the idea of resolutions or diets even.  I think women (especially) assign a lot of emotions to both of those words.  I know I did, hell I still do.  It may seem like I am splitting hairs when I call my diet a “lifestyle”, my exercise “training”, and my preference to be called “fit or strong”- instead of “skinny”.  The words Diet, Exercise, and even Skinny are totally loaded to me.  All of them sound negative- as if they are punishments for bad behavior and bad eating.  Hell, even “skinny” is a naughty word now… click on FB- it’s loaded with the “Skinny” Girls Vs. “Curvy” Girls graphics and quotes all over the place (I think that skinny and curvy can both find unhealthy extremes, by the way).

I remember a time not that long ago that I did believe that a diet was punishment for a gluttonous appetite, and exercise was the sentence for laziness and sloth.  I know now- that I was setting myself up for disaster with this type of perspective.  Who wants to eat food that they view as a punishment? Who wants to show up and really work out hard- when they only there to fulfill their probation terms for previous sins? No one.  You might last a few days- or hell, with enough determination- a couple of weeks.  But, I am convinced that those negative connotations can make or break your ability to succeed.

Once you are on a diet that works for you- then it does just become the way you do things.  You don’t feel like you are dieting.  The food you eat is just the way you eat now- because it makes you feel good, it relieves you of ailments, and fatigue… It’s just your lifestyle.  I now know that I will suffer from a “carb hangover” if I take in too many carbs… and so I avoid them like the plague.  Do I get cocky every now and then, and think my tolerance is higher than it really is? Sure!  Do I just give up, and keep eating tons of carb-laden food, and other junk that’s not good for me, and makes me feel terrible? No.  But it *is* what I used to do.  “Oh well, I guess I will get back on my diet Monday”.  I can now appreciate how awesome I feel when eating real foods.  So, when I get cocky and off-plan, I don’t want to wait to get back on track with my eating.  Now, I start right away.

It took me a little longer to come around on the exercise thing.  As I have blogged before, I tried straight cardio (again) at the begining of this journey… and found no real results from running alone.  Then I got turned on to Kettlebells and lifting heavy weights.  I now enjoy working with Kettlebells so much that I truly look forward to my workouts..  If you aren’t having fun or if your workouts are becoming boring and monotonous, then you need to change something.  It may be that you just need a challenge, or a friend to workout with to rejuvenate your training time.  But don’t just keep trudging away at it, and hating it.

The final issue that I have with resolutions- is the “all or nothing” tension that goes with them.  How many times have you said “Well, I have already screwed my entire day/week with that Donut, maybe I will try again tomorrow / next week”?  We have all done it.  And then the day becomes 2, or 3- and before you know it- your one of the “failed resolution” statistics.  WHO CARES that you totally screwed up on that last food choice??… Make a better choice the NEXT TIME you have the chance.  You don’t have to wait on some arbitrary date to make better choices.  You don’t have to wait till the calendar says “Monday” to pick up some weights, or go run.  You can do that TODAY- with your very next opportunity.  That’s right- it’s an OPPORTUNITY.

I guess it’s the strict parameters that we invent for our resolutions that set everything off on the wrong foot for me.  Resolutions mean diets and exercise that aren’t tasty or fun.  They mean little forgiveness for goof-ups along the way.  Instead, why not just make a *decision*? For instance- if you need to get your eating on track, then just decide that you want to change your eating habits at every opportunity.  The same for exercise- just make a decision to be more active today than you were yesterday.  For instance, you can try to replace your beverages with water at every opportunity. Or, you can try to park further away from the door at work to walk a little bit more today than you did yesterday.  I think that small changes are far more fair to your body and mind.  They are easier to incorporate into our routines, and stick with. And when we feel the rewards and benefits from small changes, it’s easier to be motivated to stick with it- and eventually add more goals.  Additionally, when we make BIG CHANGES we expect BIG, QUICK results… and our bodies just don’t work that way.  There is a reason that all the gimmicky ads for weight loss include the disclaimer that their *results are not typical*.  HaHa!

As I stated back on New Years Eve, I am thrilled and excited for 2013…  I hope that you are over your New Years Resolutions by now… and are looking forward to just making different decisions in 2013!