A Purposeful Break in the Routine

Life lately has been a balancing act, a constant grind, and at times an overwhelming pursuit of magically jamming 36 hours of work into 24, with no consideration for how.  Like anyone else, when I can’t fit work between 8a-8p, the day (‘graciously’) extends itself to fit the need; and all the ‘for me’ things on my docket become expendable suggestions rather than the priorities they should be.

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I have clients who have this issue constantly, because, well we’re all human beings, and my rational informed answer – to them – is that they need to make themselves a priority; you’ve got to put your oxygen mask on first if you want to be of any use to anyone else.   It’s the good old ‘do as I say, not as I do’ cliche, as I wonder if maybe I left my oxygen mask in my other bag or inadvertently gave it away in a box of old forgotten things.   During really busy weeks I will frequently basque in the irony that I own three fitness businesses and I can’t seem to get into a class to save my own life.  These are the weeks when I confuse ‘fitness’ with ‘health’ and understanding what I really need to be able to sustain a pace anywhere close to what it’s been lately.

The reality is, that sometimes you just need to give yourself a damn break; whether it’s a real unplug and go off-the-grid type break, or just the grace to be imperfectly human and an actual better, truer, version of yourself — or maybe both.IMG_7119

So here are the things that I’ve really learned, and am learning, about life and myself as I chew through the ‘too much’ that I bit off in 2016; and while I’m working on getting that balance, or ‘blend,’ back in the corner of my most productive, healthy & happy self, since lets be honest, those bites have never been, and are not likely to ever get much smaller with what I’ve got on the docket.

  1.  Fitness is everything, but it’s not the only thing.  I obviously believe strongly in fitness as a mechanism for overall health and wellness, because it is, but that doesn’t mean that 365 days a year of it is ‘healthier’ than a schedule that has balance and recovery — because it’s not.
  2. Take a break.  Whether you plot out two days a week that you go to yoga or stretch class rather than doing something higher intensity, or you literally cut-and-go on vacation – give yourself that break from the grind once in a while, and love every second of it.  Including the food that makes you say YUM.
  3. Do one thing a day that brings you happiness, for the sole reason that it makes you happy.  While I sometimes will go through a full day without a spare second to myself  the one thing that I do every.single.day., unless something is gravely wrong, is have my coffee.  It brings me joy, [relative] patience, comfort, drive, focus….and any of the caffeine generated superpowers required to not lose my shit on the days of constant demands and not-so-emergencies that pile up higher than my most lofty ambitions.  Pretty much coffee saves lives, but more importantly, it makes me happy and that in and of itself makes my life possible.
  4. Cut out the crap: the food, the jobs, the drama and the people that not only bring you down, but actually stunt your ability to do and thrive.  On the food front, rid yourself of the chemicals, but not the joy of eating.   Quit any jobs that you hate; not with abandon, but with the intentional process of setting yourself up to have a development path, to achieve something you’re proud of — because if you’re not motivated to do the work every day, you’re not the right person for the job.  When it comes to drama and the people that create it, forget them. They will always create it and they’ve got no value in your story; don’t waste a pretty little second on it.
  5. Know where you are going: life can certainly be an inexact science, but you will never regret working (and I mean REALLY working) towards achieving something.  If that process lands you somewhere a little different, well, that’s freaking awesome, but never stop learning, never stop developing, and never ever stop building for the future.  If you earn it, you will always deserve it.

And on that note, it’s back on the grind tomorrow, but I’ll be reminiscing about vacation all over the internet for the days to come.

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Hello World; Here’s What’s Next

When I started my very first blog the short, yet profound, phrase ‘Hello World’ was sitting in the first draft post.  It sat, perfectly simple, in the wordpress template as if it were helping to push me along into the future, a little more open and a little less anxiously than would typically mark the beginning of the unknown.  Granted, I think everyone who started a blog had the same stock welcome note waiting for them on their first post, but in that moment the welcome felt very personal and very real.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about new beginnings – about the difficulties of wrapping up the past and stepping into the instability of the future – no matter how bright it might look.

If you’re standing at the edge of something new, no matter how much certainty you carry in the decision, you’re bound to feel vulnerable.  New jobs, new relationships, new businesses — and even just new routines.  It’s far too frequent that people tell me that they’d love to try out MAD, or they are really excited about b:core but they are afraid they wouldn’t be good at it, aren’t fit enough, or will try it ‘next month’ (when, clearly, all the rest of the world will have aligned around them to make the adjustments to their current schedule seamless and powerful).  Obviously I’m joking a bit there because I’ve never known any phase of my life, or even any day really, to perfectly align in a way that makes my goals easy (can goals be easy?).  If I learned anything during my tenure at lululemon and the hundred some goal setting sessions I conducted, it’s that if you’re not really reaching for a big goal– and maybe reaching, finding a step stool or ladder, and creating a pulley system to get to that top point — you’re not aiming high enough.  And if it scares the pants off of you? Great.  You’ll thank yourself later.  In short, you’ll have to create your own perfect alignment, your own power, and your own conviction to go after that next goal.

fuel sweat grow: b:core

Today as I sit here, amidst quite a bit of the anticipated ‘new’ and a list of far too many to-do’s, I’m embracing it all.  I have endless opportunities, a handful of things that are all building quickly, and powerfully, to lead to wherever it is I’m going to end up — but I can’t complain.  The good far outweighs the bad, the creative outweighs the mundane, and the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.  We are finally on the brink of being exactly where we anted to be with ALL the businesses, and it’s time to appreciate their energy, success, and communities – in a big way.

Today we announced another exciting piece of our b:core lineup – b:elite.  The b:elite program is geared towards developing high school and college athletes looking to build, or enhance, strength and endurance fundamentals through personalized and focused skills development and conditioning.

fuel sweat grow: b:elite programming

This training and programming is expertly developed, implemented, and paired to bring a well rounded and effective curriculum to the athletes it serves.  Stay tuned for more detailed information about the coaches programming, and partnership (yep, b:core and MAD will be teaming up to make sure these athletes are getting the benefit of the well rounded training regimen and lifestyle we promote through our barre, core, and interval programming. Questions? email belite[at]bcoremethods.com for more information or to sign up.

This summer is already off to a full and amazing start, and it’s just the beginning of May — not too shabby.  Between our MAD locations in Charlottesville and Charleston, b:core coming also to Charlottesville, and a few other things up our sleeves, there’s never a dull moment, but there are a lot of exciting moments filled with amazing friends, exciting new partnerships, and of course…..fitness + food.

Hello (again) World; I’m back and it’s time to embrace all the positive that comes with change, and walk eyes wide open into the next chapter.  Things will never be the same, but sometimes can mean a lot of beautiful things.

Goal Digging My Way into 2015

This may be news to some, but it is likely the least shocking and most underwhelming declaration to those who have known me well over the last 5 years: I love goal setting. I’m a total goal digger.

fuel sweat grow: Goal digging / goal setting

At my core I’m an idea generating, relationship developing, connection making, and all around goal crushing nerd trapped inside what recently has felt like an ad-hoc life on the fast track to somewhere, but certainly no where externally defined.

In my previous life I was goal obsessed (It was borderline unhealthy).  I would ‘create possibility’ and make vision boards during every spare moment.  I craved time with friends who wanted to talk about their goals, or even better, allow me to peel away the layers to discover the goals they never knew they had. I was devastated by people who didn’t know any of their own unique passions, or didn’t want to spend all of their free time exploring their own existential purpose. I kept a notebook with me at all times where I recorded all of my ideas, projections, and complete mental regurgitations of work/life flows and strategic mind maps – it was yellow, you may have seen it with me everywhere from 2009-2011.

Sometime over the last three years I lost a little touch with that presence of mind when it comes to my own development.  I continue to build, I have ‘goals’ in the most practical of terms, but I left the constant state of possibility somewhere far behind me.  Maybe it was for the best, but maybe I can make a little room for that imagination without losing my bearings in the now.

Recently Dar became an ambassador for our lululemon showroom here in Charlottesville, and one of her first assignments was/is to develop her goals.  When she asked me to help her expand on her brainstorms and sketch out her milestones it was as if, finally, after two years of being partnered on business goals she realized my full existence and allowed me to revisit my former self.  A little too involved? Maybe, but it only took a few minutes for my arms to get tired of holding Tank up towards the sky like Simba, and eventually the Lion King theme song ended and my iPod shuffled over to some other meaningless anthem. And as suddenly as it all began, I was back to normal… but a normal that lives somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

Last night we finally made time and talked goals.  We discussed 10 year visions, the 5 year milestones, and the now.  We contemplated what we each need to be doing right now to get started on that trajectory that we secretly hope lingers around the bend.  What’s there to do?  So much.  So, so, much, and it’s all exciting, terrifying, and overwhelming in all the best and worst ways.

fuel sweat grow: goal setting

We spent 45 minutes talking through the different exercises, the overall objective, and a few of the details surrounding our own personal milestones.  And then, of course, I spent another 45 minutes alone on my own head, scribbling out crazy detailed and psychotic mind maps to show how all of the goals, the next 10 years, and points of performance that all connect to the end goal(s).  What’s life without a little chaos? I wouldn’t recognize it.

While my actual full-blown 2015+ goals are not yet complete, there are a few big ticket items that did manage to sprout and find growth even in the darkest of times, and we’re just about ready to scream it from the rooftops….but not quite yet…

Maybe Everything: Returning to Passion with My HOOS

This has been a pretty exciting year of athletics for everyone in Charlottesville, or anyone who has ever been connected to UVa.  There were moments in the middle of the numbingly long winter where the only thing cheering our hearts and warming our blood was the basketball team that went on to win the ACC Championship and make waves in the NCAA tournament for the first time in far, far too long.

Now, here we are, just a few months later, staying up nights to watch the baseball team win their way to the College World Series finals.  Yes, it’s a great year to be a Wahoo (though, isn’t is always?) and while I’ve lost hours of sleep ( and years off my life)  anxiously staying up to watch the extra innings, I couldn’t be more aware of how proud I am to be a Wahoo.

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More than winning, the real value of the excitement comes from how it brings us together; it reminds us of our first adult roots and the collective identity that drove our passion in our early twenties.  At this point in life the only thing that is ironically predictable are change and insecurity.  Relationships, jobs, cities – they are constantly changing – and suddenly it becomes apparent that the most stable years of our adult lives may truly have been the four-ish years we spent as undergrads, bleeding orange and blue and enjoying the steady bubble within Mr. Jefferson’s university.   Game day brings back our security, it reminds us we are a part of something bigger than just ourselves and this single moment in our own lives.  It reinforces that we are a part of this family that continues to grow;  a growing legacy of hearts beating for the same thing — and you know what? It feels damn good.

I have zero idea how tonight’s game is going to turn out, or if we’ll become the National Champions or not, because on some level it [almost] doesn’t matter.  These teams have already inspired us to dig down, remember where we came from, and hopefully feel a little more inspired tomorrow as we plug away wherever we are in our lives and the world.

That was a little bit of a soap box moment, but that’s just where I am.  I am inspired; I’m reminded of everything I love (and loved) about Virginia, what I poured my heart into while I was in school, and what I wanted to accomplish with my life and that passion when I walked down the lawn and carried myself into my future.  Which all begs the question of the moment –  when this passion is remembered and the energy is raw, what’s the plan?  I’ve leveraged that strong foundation to get to this place, to get to right now…. so what’s next?  Maybe everything.

 

 

 

 

 

A Declaration of Seasonal Change: 4 Priorities for a Productive End to Winter

Every year, around this time, there comes a day when I just hit my threshold for winter.  It’s not necessarily on the coldest or snowiest day, but just a day when my tolerance for anything other than the regrowth of spring and light jacket weather becomes insufferable.

Wednesday was that day for me.  It was cold, work was frustrating, and I was experiencing a constant level of nagging anxiety that I couldn’t shake off with rational thought or even wine.

We’re just over a month into the new year ( which always somehow resets life across the board ) in the thick of  the building phase for the next three seasons.  New projects, goals, and restructuring for both business and personal lives are in full force – detailed out in to-do lists, budgets, and expectations that will undoubtedly be deemed obsolete by the time we begin executing the plans.

We’re all trapped inside, sheltered from the cold as prisoners of the grind;  planning, evaluating, and creating our own hurry-up-and-wait anxiety for every imaginable demand we can think of.  Then, miraculously, when the weather finally breaks and we’re rolling in  consecutive 70+ degree days, life somehow manages to begin.  We graduate from the planning phase into the post-planning hyper productive phase of actually accomplishing things.  We can finally feel the gratification of achievement, and use it to gain the momentum to feed us the energy to take on the rest of the year.  It’s a beautiful cycle really — but only after winter is over.

So, since I have absolutely not control over the weather (namely the recent patterns of almost warm weather followed by two consecutive days of snow) I’m taking control over the next few months of my own life, and to the extent that I can — everything else.

Accomplishments -Georgia O'Keefe

1.  Goals Accomplishments  I’ve been a little down on the idea of setting ‘goals’ lately because they can too easily turn into a list of forced to-do’s in the future, so instead, I am focusing on ‘near term accomplishments.’  Habits to create right now, priorities, and daily/weekly goals that are both attainable and fulfilling.

2. Time Blocking.  In my former life I could multi-task with the best of them.  In fact, I performed best when under multiple deadlines and an overwhelming sense of urgency.  Now, not so much.  I have things happening in way too many directions right now and the challenge isn’t necessarily in getting them done, but rather, being able to be present in the moment I am doing them, focusing wholly on the sole task at hand to complete it fully and be done without having to come back to it multiple times.  I love this kind of structure and can’t wait to actually have time free to do whatever I want without worrying about the growing to-do list waiting for me at all times.

3. Yoga. I’ve been neglecting my self (not myself, really my self) and my body lately, so I’m making space in my life for this.  It’s a priority.  Between MADabolic, Flywheel, and all my runs and endurance workouts, I hardly struggle to find a good sweat, but I have been completely failing to give love back to my body.  I need to spend time focusing on mobility and flexibility in both my life and body, and for me, yoga is the answer.

4.  Creative Therapy.  I love crafts.  More than that, I love creating.  Whether it’s painting, sketching, designing, re-organizing my house, or even building a strategic plan for one of the businesses, the act of creating is so cathartic.  Sometime in the last couple of years I either lost the time or the space for the full creative process, so now, I’m focused on getting it back.  This is the ‘piece’ of my new life-commitments that I’m the most excited about, and that I think will ultimately provide the most value to all the other areas in my life.

So those are my top 4 right now, from a list that is actually much longer, and will undoubtedly continue to grow.  I’m excited to share everything that goes into these goals, and the accomplishments that come out.  There’s  something really rejuvenating about taking the time to spell it out and really committing to the power of it all (plus it magically fit into the 1 hour I had blocked while watching Father of the Bride on TBS.  Double win).

Welcome 2014: the year of coffee + anything you want

Welcome to 2014: the year of coffee.

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I’m pretty sure that’s not the official slogan of the new year, but if it went to a vote, I’d definitely support it.  I’ve  been getting more sleep lately than I have in a really long time, so I’m not nursing my favorite mud for any major reasons, but more for the comfort and warmth that it provides.

That’s kind of what I’m looking for this year: comfort and warmth.  So, if I can get a little hit of that each morning (afternoon, and evening…) to keep me on track, well, I’m going to take it.

The extended holiday season was something borne out of what felt like pure chaos, so for the last week or so I’ve been really pumping the breaks on 2013 to allow for a fresh and intentional start to the new year.

Fuel Sweat Grow: New Year

I think the hardest thing about pressing the reset button, or setting goals is, really, honestly, taking the time to figure out what you actually want.  We’re so programmed to want what we’re ‘supposed’ to want, what we think we ‘should’ want at whatever our particular age is, or what other people want for us.

I’m still working on the list of things I want to accomplish this year, but there are a few major things that I know I want to do for me, and either create or strengthen the habit(s) as a part of my forever lifestyle.   I used to break out my goals in terms of career, personal + health, but to change things up a bit (and because those aren’t easily decipherable categories these days) I’ve divided them into my three favorite life categories:

FUEL:

1.  Take a cooking class

2. [Better] Sunday preparation for the week of meals to keep things clean.

3.  Hydrate.  This means drinking 5-6 times the amounts, of water, that I drink of wine.  (This one is really a major learning and goal from the holidays, but I think it’s a worthy rule of any life experience.)

SWEAT:

1.  Master ALL of the MADabolic primal movements.  Or at least let myself believe I have for the length of time I need to KEEP MOVING during the entire interval.  (I can be an angry gorilla, right? right.)

2. Re-incorporate yoga + stretching into my life, 2-3 times a week.

3. Take a group class at a trampoline gym (and then buy a[nother] trampoline).

GROW:

1.  Take an art class.

2.  Take on at least three of the projects I’ve pinned to my Pinterest boards.  Even if just for the sheer entertainment of making the attempt.

3.  Make dates with myself.  I used to dress up in real clothes and take myself to coffee and shopping or a movie once a month.  I don’t know why I stopped, but I miss me.  I was pretty fun to hang out with.

The list goes on… and on, and on, but for now, that seems like a good start.

2014, I’m in this with you.  Let’s see OWN how this goes (coffee mandatory).