Why Tenacity Is Your Best Friend

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” – Bruce Lee

 

Oftentimes, when faced with a long workout with repeating elements, I might suggest to my fitness clients that they find a pace they think they can sustain, and then wash, rinse and repeat as long as they can. But this is in fact an oversimplification of what I mean.

 

 

 

In fact, as I work through these kinds of workouts, I am constantly making adjustments as I go. My intent is to be consistent, but sometimes, well, I might get slower on the bike as I tire, or realize I went out too hot on those burpee box jump overs. But I might also realize I can push those hang power cleans a bit, or jump up and rip off those toes to bar sooner than I anticipate. By thinking this way, I learn how to adjust as needed in order to keep working towards my ultimate goal of being smooth and efficient in my work, which, in the end, typically makes for the best result I am capable of at that moment.

This is a good example of the idea of persistence vs tenacity.

 

Persistence means you implement your strategy, check the results, and repeat the strategy over and over again until you get what you want. This sounds pretty good…at least at first glance. However, blind persistence can in fact become a closed-loop system, where no matter how flawed the methodology, you stay on the same track in the hopes that hard work will in the end pay off.

 

 

Tenacity takes a more strategic approach. Tenacity means you implement a methodology, analyze the results, then make adjustments to improve efficiency as you move forward. Both the persistent and the tenacious person possess tremendous will to realize their goals, but the tenacious person uses the information at hand to improve their outcomes.

The result is you work smarter, not harder. Can you see how this is applicable to whatever you’re working on at the moment?

Food for thought. Happy Saturday!

Let Food Be Thy Medicine!

When the pandemic hit, and we all had to stay home for a while, many of us turned to the kitchen to help us cope. The Internet exploded with sourdough and banana bread recipes. One of the fastest selling items in grocery stores (besides toilet paper and booze) was chocolate. We all, it seemed, wanted to do nothing but eat our feelings, Netflix, and chill.

index3As the days turned to weeks, and then months, and then finally, finally, things began to reopen, we shook ourselves from our COVID hibernation and took a good look in the mirror. Huh. The COVID 15 had come to visit, unwantedly depositing itself on our stomachs, hips and thighs. No bueno. We got better about our home exercise routine, and started getting to the gym once it opened up again. Awesome! But we know from experience that the old adage is absolutely true – you can’t out train a bad diet.

 

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 2.42.49 PMIt’s time to reacquaint ourselves with a simple prescription for a healthy diet: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” In other words, back to the basics. It’s no mistake that CrossFit’s “Fitness in 100 Words” doesn’t start by saying get to the gym and lift weights – it starts with what you put in your mouth.

 

 

index2According to the New York Times: “The characteristics of what doctors call the metabolic syndrome — excess fat around the middle, hypertension, high blood sugar, high triglycerides and a poor cholesterol profile — suppress the immune system and increase the risk of infections, pneumonia and cancers. They’re all associated with low-grade, body-wide inflammation, and Covid kills by causing an overwhelming inflammatory response that disables the body’s ability to fight off pathogens.”

 

So it’s in our own best interests to get our diets back on track.

Keep it simple to begin with. Here are a few tips to help you get back on the nutritional fitness wagon:

  1. Shop the perimeter of the store. This means you avoid buying foods that are pre-packaged and processed, like frozen dinners or mac n cheese in a box. The exception I would make is that it’s perfectly acceptable to buy frozen fruits and veggies. They last longer and have a high nutrient value because they are frozen at their peak.
  2. Make sure you eat enough protein. When I work with clients, I find that on average, people aren’t eating enough. A good rule of thumb is at least .7g of protein per pound of body weight, and more if you’re athletic or want to lean out.
  3. Eat veggies or fruits at EVERY meal. If you’re like most people, veggies turn up maybe once a day, in a small amount. If you make a goal of adding some kind of vegetable or fruit to every meal, you’ll greatly increase your exposure to micronutrients, which are critical to good overall health. The more colors on your plate, the better!
  4. Get enough sleep. At least 8 hours a night, or close. What is this doing on a nutrition list? If you don’t get enough sleep, everything else suffers, including your body’s response to your improved diet.
  5. Drink plenty of water. But you don’t have to go overboard. Drink to quench thirst. If your urine is light yellow, and you’re rarely thirsty, you’re probably getting enough fluids. According to the Mayo Clinic, a general rule of thumb is around 4 liters of fluids per day for men and 3 for women.

 

indexAs the saying goes, let food be thy medicine! There’s no better time than now to start.

Resources:

New York Times: How Poor Diet Contributes to Coronavirus Risk

The Mayo Clinic: Water: How much should you drink every day?

 

Choosing

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

In everything we do, we have a choice – to react, or to respond.

A reaction is instant. It’s survival-oriented. It’s grounded in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration the long-term effects of what you do or say.

To react is to let others do the driving. We allow negative events to whip us into a frenzy of panic and despair. We allow others to tell us how to feel, and we throw ourselves fully into feeling it before we’ve actually taken a moment to consider what our true response might be.

To respond allows perspective to enter the picture.

I originally wrote this blog a little before Memorial Day. I woke up that morning wondering how I could be of better service. While I am not comparing myself to the men and women who risk their lives defending our health, our safety, or our country, I do feel called to offer something of value to others and the community we choose to create together. I was thinking about the sacrifices we are asked as a society to make in service to a greater community good – such as wearing a mask in public – and how little is actually asked of us compared to the brave women and men who defend our country and freedoms.

Then George Floyd was murdered.

The racial injustice and senseless violence against George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others forces everyone into the sunlight. It’s too bad it took days of protests and civil unrest to force many of us to finally stand up and, as Brick Fitness said so well, “Be about some sh*t!” To respond.

Racism persists. We need to connect, listen, and learn from each other in order to make ourselves and our communities stronger. We can no longer sit idly by while those in power abuse it. None of us are truly free until we are all free. And it’s incumbent upon those of us who have the privilege to make sure that we don’t stand in the way of those who strive for what we have, and that we actively fight those who would stand in the way.

My friend Martin said it best. “We must all hold ourselves accountable…It is our duty to clean our own house.”

In other words, be a helper. That’s one way to respond.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m looking for all the helpers I can find.

Image courtesy of Joey Chase at Chase Art. Check her out on Instagram

Finding the Time

The new year is a great time to review and reset your work, life and athletic goals. Where do you want to go? What is working? What is NOT working? How do I begin? And perhaps the biggest question of all – how do I find the time?

While pondering this question, I happened to get an email from David Hieatt, founder of The Do Lectures. Check them out here. The topic? How to achieve more while not working longer or harder. Sounds like a fad, right? And yet, it happens to be completely possible for ordinary mortals like you and me to achieve.

The secret, you ask?

Get rid of being “busy”.

How do you grow your business? By working harder? Working harder just means working more. Which means you have less time with family, for self care, for exercise, for sleep. Sounds like a loss overall, if you ask me.

David proposes something radical. Instead of focusing on doing more things, try focusing on things you can choose NOT to do.

In fact, he proposes making a NOT TO DO list.

The idea is that you choose to spend your time on the things that will have the most impact. The rest you either automate, hire out or simply don’t do.

Ask yourself these questions:

What do you need to get rid of?

What is the important stuff?

The important stuff is the stuff that moves the needle toward your goals. And it’s probably the stuff you’re really good at, or most enjoy doing.

So be ruthless in deciding what moves you toward your goals and what keeps you away from them. And only do stuff that moves you forward.

Discard everything else.

My Story

A little story about the power of committing.

We don’t know each other yet, but I’m going to get real here.


I am a passionate freak about CrossFit. I love everything about it – the community, the training, the sport, the way it teaches me to be a better human. I am, as they say, ‘all in.’

There’s a reason for that.


When I was a young woman, I was singularly focused. I loved to sing and dance, and in pursuit of this I moved to New York City at the tender age of 18, ready to take on the world.

I was prepared, I was persistent, and I got very lucky early on, so I continued to prepare, to practice and to be persistent to keep that lucky streak going.

I felt completely fulfilled and excited to be living the life I had dreamed of for so long.


Are you familiar with the phrase, ‘Life happens while you’re making other plans’? I met a boy and fell in love. We got married and had children. I left my career, as it did not mesh well with family life.


So I got a job, one I didn’t particularly like, but one that offered health insurance and a steady paycheck. We had another child. There was plenty of love and laughter, but the truth is I was deeply unhappy.

You know that phrase, “living on purpose, with purpose”? I was doing the opposite of that. I felt lost.


Fast forward a few more years. My kids got older. I got older too. I have found that getting older offers some perspective that you maybe can’t have when you have young children and you’re in the trenches, fighting for your sanity. 


Enter CrossFit.


My husband suggested it. I thought he was crazy. I was a desk jockey. I’d never touched a barbell. But something deep down told me I desperately needed to make a change in my life. So I took a chance and gave it a try. And for some reason, even though it was physically and mentally harder than anything I’d ever experienced, I kept coming back.

Slowly, something began to bloom deep, deep inside me. I hardly recognized it, hidden as it was behind work and housecleaning and mountains of laundry. But bloom it did. And grow.

There were people who saw that little seed growing and encouraged it. And slowly, almost without realizing it, I was becoming stronger, faster and more confident. I was becoming an athlete.

And to my surprise, I wanted that. 


There is power in reconnecting to your purpose. Training has become my practice. It teaches me to be in the moment, and to strive to bring my best self to everything I do. I am not always successful. I fail pretty much every day. But I learn from that, and I continue to grow.

To anyone out there who struggles with self confidence, or feels lost, or like they don’t know who they are anymore, I see you. I have been where you are and I am with you now, standing ready with a little water, a little sunshine, and a lot of nourishment to help you grow.

The first step begins when you start to believe in yourself and your limitless potential. Everything you need to live on purpose, with purpose is already inside you.

So what’s holding you back?

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”          – Melody Beattie

If you are a goal-oriented person, you may spend a lot of time thinking about what you want and where you want to go. Big goals can be incredibly motivating. As we pursue our goals, this bigger goal may translate into specific short-term goals, such as booking your first client or finishing your website – or simply not wanting to let yet another week go by without making forward progress toward what you want to achieve.

While goal-setting is an important part of the process, it is also important to recognize and celebrate the progress you have made while trying to achieve those goals. This is where gratitude makes a play. Without gratitude for the things you have done, it can be very difficult to sustain the motivation to continue to pursue the things you strive for.

To my surprise, coaching has become one of the great joys of my life. The process of helping others work towards making themselves a little bit better every day, and discovering their full potential and expression as a person satisfies a deep yearning I have carried around inside for a long time. I love watching others grow in their confidence and ability, and appreciate that I can learn from others as I experience my own journey.  I cherish knowing that all human beings are on a path and that we can choose to be positive examples for others, because you never know who might be inspired by what you’re doing. I am humbled by the challenges I face yet know I grow stronger and more resilient because of them.

For all of this, I am grateful.

I encourage you to make a practice of gratitude. Not just on special days, but everyday. Share your gratitude with others. Tell someone if you’re grateful for something they’ve done. Keep a journal, if that floats your boat, and write down something you are grateful for every single day. Meditate on gratitude, send a gratitude bomb…whatever feels right to you.

Just don’t keep that shit under a bushel. You gotta let it shine.

Do you hear what you’re saying?

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

How many times have you walked into a situation, taken one look around, and thought, “Oh no…”
“…I’m terrible at this.”
“…I can’t do that.”
“…this is going to suck!”

You are not alone. If you are trying to achieve a goal, or try something new, you will definitely be faced with uncomfortable situations. In fact, learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable – getting outside your comfort zone – is necessary for your personal growth.  However, it’s natural to be intimidated from time to time by the work put in front of us.  The good news is we have the ability to help ourselves break through those mental barriers by using positive self-talk.

Practicing positive self-talk teaches you to make positive choices in your weakest moments. It can be as simple as telling yourself, “Breathe.” when when you’re standing in front of a room full of people who are hanging on your every word.

SealFit Founder Mark Divine encourages us to develop a personal mantra that we can repeat to ourselves when negative thoughts threaten to derail us, like “Day, by day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” or to use power statements like, “I got this!” or “Piece of cake.”  You get the idea.

When a negative thought comes up, don’t worry and obsess over it. “Name it to tame it,” says Justin Su’a, sports psychologist for the Boston Red Sox.  “Notice the negative thought, name it, and let it go. Then reframe the thought in a positive way.”

I have been finding this exercise particularly helpful, because it’s not about ignoring reality. It’s about acknowledging the reality instead of fearing it.  For instance, instead of thinking to yourself “I hate public speaking; I’m really bad at it…” try changing your inner dialogue to turn it into a positive statement, such as, “Ok, speaking in public is not a strength of mine YET, but I’m going to continue to find opportunities to practice this skill and I will be well prepared every time.”

It puts us into a fix-it mode as opposed to a powerless one so that you are now actively part of the solution instead of being at the mercy of something.  Catch yourself when you reflexively react with fear, and see if you can’t find a way to reframe your thoughts and feelings. Don’t defeat yourself before the battle begins. Language is a powerful ally. Use it to your advantage!

Henry Ford said it best: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right!”