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.

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!

Quickie Workout: 12/29/12

No time...

No time…

Today is a prime example of where my workout routine would have skittered off the rails if I had let it.  Yesterday was a planned rest-day (whee!), and today should have been a weightlifting day- big and heavy since Mr. S is here to be my squat rack for me 😉  Today was also one of my sproglings birthday- and many festivities were planned for the evening.  One thing after another- and before I knew it- I had *maybe* 10 minutes for any type of a work out before we had to get ready and leave for the evening.  In my previous fitness attempts, I would have figured that 10 minutes wasn’t enough time for anything, and skipped it.  That skip would mean two rest days- and for me, those 2 days can easily become 3, 4, and 5… And then figuring I am a failure and giving up for a long time.  I know that about myself now, and will FIND a way to get some fitness in every day- so that I am not tempted to give up when hit with the unpredictability of LIFE. I have learned so many lessons on my fitness journey this past year (and I do hope to continue learning)… a major one is to be flexible and find alternatives instead of throwing in the proverbial towel.  Whether it’s time, equipment, attitude, PMS… there is always an alternative to that excuse.  It’s not usually easy- but those days are the days that you will look back on and be most proud of.

So, here is where my good friend and secret weapon, Tabata, comes in handy.  I LOVE and HATE Tabata.  I love it for its quickness and efficiency, and I hate it for its ability to level me in 4 minutes.  You read that right- 4 MINUTES! Okay, so what is this Tabata that I speak of? It was developed in Japan- and is essenitally 8 rounds of intervals (20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest). However, the intervals are performed at absolute 100% max output.  Good exercises for a Tabata rounds are sprints, jump rope, KB Swings, burpees, etc.  It looks innocent enough, right? Just 20 seconds of work!? Oh put on your big girl panties and get ready- cuz that 10 second break isn’t even long enough for you to remember what your name is.  Tabata should leave you punch drunk by the end if you are doing it right. It’s a crazy awesome workout when there just isn’t enough time…  Well, Tabata actually proves there is always enough time.  😉  No excuses ladies, NO EXCUSES!!!

He's really saying "GET'ER DONE!!!"

He’s really saying “GET’ER DONE!!!”

So, here is what I did with the precious 10 minutes I had:

Tabata intervals (20seconds work and 10 seconds rest repeated 8 times- working as fast and as hard as possible)
1. 25# Kettlebell swings
2. Jump rope
3. 25# Kettlebell swings
4. Jump rope
5. 25# Kettlebell swings
6. Jump rope
7. 25# Kettlebell swings
8. Jump rope
~Lay down and cry. I kid, but you’ll want to.
For a bridging complex between the two Tabata series, I made this up- and just did it with the weight that was on the bar (read: no time to fool around with the plates).  With 55lbs, I did 5 deadlifts, then cleaned the bar to the rack position and did 5 standing military presses, then lowered it to my back for 10 back squats, back up to 5 military presses, lowered down for 5 deadlifts.  So its all one big movement- never setting the bar down… Deadlift, press, squat, press, deadlift.  I did that complex twice, and then re-set my Gymboss Timer for Tabata again (20s/10s) and repeated the circuit listed above.  I was done in 10 minutes, and in the shower (where I may or may not have cried like a little girl).

I hope ya’ll like it.  It’s one of the few times that I just “winged it” and made up my own thing.

See you next time,

Kettlebell Day: 12/18/12 (AKA: when not resting screws up your game)

So today was Kettlebell day.  And honestly, I should have taken the advice that my body was giving me- and just gone for a long brisk walk instead.  I am struggling with a good “workout days to rest days ratio”… I still haven’t quite figured out what will work for my body and my goals (I will write about my current goals soon… as weight loss is thankfully not #1 anymore).  In addition to not having a good program/schedule in place yet- Mr S. and I stayed up too late watching the Spiderman movie last night.  If you stay up late, ladies and gentlemen, your workout WILL PAY FOR IT.  I could only complete two rounds of this workout (should have been 3). On top of that, I felt like I was recovering from a 3 day bender the whole time.  It sucked.

Do as I say, not as I do.  Get your sleep, your body needs it.  If you don’t get that sleep- don’t pick up heavy things- as it could end in disaster. While I didn’t injure myself today- my body definitely put me in time-out for not getting the necessary sleep.  Tomorrow will be a complete rest day… brisk walk for 30 minutes and that IS IT. Lesson Learned. (hopefully)

If you are following this blog for workout ideas- my circuit for today is below.  I decided to change it up and go for reps instead of time.

All done with 25# kettlebell (except for the obvious body weight exercises- like pushups and burpees):
1: Right Handed Squat Thrusters (10 reps)
2. Left Handed Squat Thrusters (10 reps)
3. Burpees (10 reps)
4. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swings (25 reps)
5. Toyotas (10 reps)
6. Push-ups (10 reps)
7. Vertical Swing + Burpee (10 reps)

Again- I had planned for 3 rounds… but could only complete 2 today.  See you on THURSDAY…


How I got fat to begin with…

I am struggling with how to start this blog- so, I figured that I would begin at the very beginning- before I got into fitness and feeding myself better. Back when I was a version of myself I didn’t like to look at, and frankly- I didn’t recognize. I was fat.
As a teen and collegiate, I rarely struggled with my weight and was “normal” on any doctors chart. I ate horribly, but was very active, and young. If I didn’t like the scale- I would jog for a week and was back to a happy place. I played basketball, and ran cross country and track (varsity in high school and on my sorority intramural basketball team in college).
Fast forward to 4 years of marriage and a newborn and I was 35 pounds heavier than ever at 24. I instantly joined the Y and participated in aerobics classes 5-6 times a week for my full year of membership. I essentially maintained my weight. (Notice no mention of dietary changes… Because there were none). I did not continue my membership- because I didn’t see the point. I had *maybe* lost 5 pounds over the year. Big whoop.

Over the next 5 years I dabbled in every diet and exercise plan known. I ran C25K, I did the Insanity and P90x. I did Atkins, cleanses, and juicing. I beat myself (physically and mentally) into a sweaty pulp. I never realized any real weight loss, no more than 10 or so pounds- which were always gained back with some extra poundage for good measure.
Then my husband and I decided to have another baby. After that pregnancy, I was just shy of 200 pounds (!). (I am 5’9, non-curvy… So I was easily 50 pounds overweight). Determined, I joined another gym- and again began my regimen of 1-2 hour aerobic classes, 5 days a week. This time I stopped after 6 months of little to no change on the scale.
For the following 4 years I dabbled in all the diets and exercises I had tried before. Feeling like a big, fat, huge failure after every attempt. And when I say failure – I mean it. I would look at myself and say things I would never EVER let anyone else say to me. It was bad. Lets just leave it at that- because if you’ve read this far- you’ve likely done it too, and know just how nasty we women can be to ourselves.
After that- I gave up. I bought the “big girls” sizes, went through the “dress” phase of essentially hiding myself in skirts. I just figured I would be a big girl forever. “Just accept it and move on” I would tell myself- on the good days, that is.
So, that brings us to November 2011. When I began my journey that has led me to where I am now. My weight at that point? 218.

Next post: how I got started on the journey that I am currently on- and what did work. 🙂