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.

KEEPING IT REAL… BEFORE AND AFTER.

My ass is clenched so tight right now y’all. I have never typed and backspaced as much in my life, as I have in the last 4 days.

I promised to post up some before and after photos in my recent post about when the numbers lie to you.  I had planned on taking pictures at my Spartan Sprint this past weekend- and pose similarly to photos I took a year ago at my very first Spartan. But frankly, I forgot once I was there and got ridiculously giddy about running the damn race…  Blog Fail. Then, through a boring chain of stupid-iphone-update-is-making-me-homicidal events (Read: I had to back-up my phone) I re-discovered photos I took when I started training with Beth at Maximum Body Training.  So I decided to see if I could find that same bra, and shorts and compare the differences. I couldn’t find the bra- it was tossed early on for getting too big… And I could find the shorts- but not the black ones… I found the same ones in gray. So I took the pictures… pic-stitched them together and started comparing piece by piece.

Okay. No I didn’t. I zero’d in on my belly and stretch marks and loose skin in every. single. picture.  There, I said it, STRETCH MARKS and LOOSE SKIN. ugh.

Clearly I solved the stretch marks last year by applying an Instagram filter to camouflage them, lol. I showed the side-by-sides below to a few close friends and family members who remarked about the changes, how great certain muscles or whatever looked. I replied, “What about my belly? What about those stretch marks? The skin?” Most said they said that they just didn’t notice. So I am here to announce that all of my friends are pathological liars. The whole lot of them. I need new friends.

Then I remembered how impressed I was with Lauren Fleshman’s viral blog post that Runner’s World re-posted about a month ago.  Her before and after photos were taken within ONE WEEK… This woman was part of New York’s Fashion Week with muscles people! She and a handful of other women were part of Oiselle’s Spring Show – she should have been on top of the world! She looked amazing! She gave hope to the rest of us girls out in gyms across America- that the Fashion Industry may just start making room for developed quads and biceps!  But instead, she found fault with images from her practices taken later that week. In these images she was unaware of the camera, not sucking it all in, and not uber flexing everything she had.  She posted ALL of those photos- and the response was overwhelming.

So I’ve decided to woman-up and post mine too. Hell, mine are a before and after from 28% body fat to 19%! I should be proud of those changes- and not just focusing on the marks and the skin. I would love to say that I have turned a corner and can see my body objectively- I am *trying*, but not there yet… My mentality is a work in progress along with my fitness goals.

So here you go- my before and after photos. The before photos are from 5/28/13. There is only about 10 pounds difference between then and now… I will add that I am absolutely sucking it in as hard as I can in the “before” pictures. I remember getting a cramp in my side from “holding it in” so long! It’s embarrassingly true! The “after” pictures are completely un-altered. No filters, no airbrush, no nothing. I didn’t suck it in- but I did make damn sure to stand up straight, lol. Till next time…

Generally firmer throughout core, bingo wings are gone, love handles MIA. Shoulders are starting to appear.

overall progress

Update: 09/29/14… Unfortunately my blog (and the server that it sat on) suffered a SNAFU and the above picture is the only side-by-side that I was able to capture. I do have the original before pictures- and I will post them below, with a few afters from the same time period. But I can’t seem to salvage the original “after” images… Sorry!

Core and Glute

IMG_2455
And here’s an overall shot of how I looked at that time…

If I find my original afters- I will update again! I am so sorry!

It’s not you- it’s your work out.

How many times have you started a diet or new workout regime- that DID work initially, but then plateaued, and perhaps you even gained some weight back? And how many times did you meet this problem with the answer that it “must be me”, “I didn’t go hard enough”, “I wasn’t consistent enough”, etc? So you increase the intensity and frequency- only to get a negative response- like injury or weight gain? Then blame yourself again- for something that MUST have been lacking in YOU?

STOP IT. No really… Stop the thing that is not working. It seems so simple- and really… it is.

When I first started dieting and “working out” (long steady state cardio, like running and biking)- I dropped weight dramatically and fairly quickly at first. After about a month or so- the weight loss started to slow- and eventually stall completely. So I ran longer. I tried (Ha!) to run faster, and more often. It didn’t work- as a matter of fact, the scale started to creep back up! My hard work was reversing! Not only that, but I managed a stress fracture thanks to all that beating of the pavement.

About this time I was exposed to Kettlebells… and I started to dramatically drop weight again, AND I started to see a difference in my physique. I wasn’t just shrinking, my body was morphing out of a fluffy appearance and into more of a toned and athletic appearance. That’s not to say that there weren’t mis-steps and injuries along the way- I was am not a Personal Trainer- so I was throwing punches in the dark with my day to day work out program. That all said, just picking up the weight and educating myself on proper form and technique got me out of the hump- and I saw QUICK results.

Eventually though, even my beloved kettlebells ended up stalling me out at one point, so I moved to more traditional weight lifting workouts- and again saw results. The point is that there are some core elements to losing fat that don’t change: clean whole foods, cutting sugar intake and processed foods out of your diet will always work… Picking up heavy weight is also neccesary for healthy fat loss, improved overall fitness, and ultimately a good looking physique. But what I have found, is that your programming needs to change every 6-8 weeks or so. Just a few weeks of challenging your body in a different way will keep you moving forward… and frankly, my brain enjoys the challenge of learning something new and mastering a different movement. So when your workout stops giving you the results that it once did, do not just double down and kill yourself in the gym- just STOP… it’s not you- it’s your workout.