Don’t believe the hype when it comes to holiday indulgence

I was the only one at splits class last night and my instructor and I chatted about how we had overindulged over the past week. I thought out loud, “Why do we think it’s acceptable to overdo it during the holiday season?”  You hear it everywhere and a quick Google search yields oodles of results on avoiding holiday weight gain and how to stay mindful when eating. We do it even when we know better, so why do we do it?

'tis the season to

My theory is that our society has given us permission to go nuts.  Even when our culture says you shouldn’t eat every cookie you just baked for the office party, it gives a little wink and a nudge from the sidelines and reminds you that you can work it off in the new year. By saying it’s the season to overeat, it becomes the season to overeat.

Magazine covers at the grocery store checkout and noontime talk shows go on and on about getting your holiday baking done. What is this notion of holiday baking anyway? I get that many cultures celebrate with food…a notion I often enjoy, but we don’t go into a frenzy in August or February, so why do we have to in December?

I imagine a lot of us grew up with relatives and church ladies baking for weeks beforehand and strongly encouraging you to have a second slice of rum cake or yule log. Stop by for a visit and be confronted with a childhood’s worth of edible memories! We wouldn’t want to disappoint Nanny or Mrs. Morrison, now would we?  I have a friend who falls into the Mrs.Morrison category, though, and she stressed about all the goodies she had to get baked in time. Seeing as I’m more likely to visit Mrs.Morrison than be her, I made the decision not to make whipped shortbreads or magic bars (you know, condensed milk, coconut, chocolate chips) this year because I knew I would be the only one eating the majority of the pan if I did. I consciously rejected the holiday bake-a-thon idea and I the only overeating I did was to quickly consume all of the Ferrero Rochers I was gifted before my kids could catch me. (Better than last year!)

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As we head towards New Year’s Eve, I am sure you will hear advice to follow before and after (and maybe even while) you “tie one on” , but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to over do it. Why not approach the occasion like you would any other Sunday night (ok, I’ll allow a Friday or Saturday night) and enjoy your usual one or two instead? You’ll find me rejecting the hype and sitting at home working on my plan for 2018 and enjoying about a half a glass of whatever                                                                                wine is leftover in the fridge                                                                                                    before nodding off well before midnight.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

#FightTheDark

On Thursday, I will be running around Victoria wearing a race bib on my chest. And yes, I may very well the only person on Vancouver Island participating .solsticerun

What is it? a virtual run event (people anywhere and everywhere can run any distance at any point during the day)

Who? Organized by Paul Merrigan of @RunAtCan and we thank you for your hard work and keep fighting, Paul!!

When? Thursday, December 21st aka Winter Solstice aka the shortest day of the year/longest night of the year

Why? to raise awareness and money for mental health programs. Chances are runners will be out running anyway, so why not run for a cause?

I understand all too well how the darkness can creep in and take over so I’m fighting back! Take care of yourself this winter, and reach out if you need help. #FightTheDark

Happy Winter Solstice

Deep thoughts on personal branding: who are you?

I’m going to be speaking at the One Woman Fearless Summit in Victoria on March 3rd. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. My topic is “Being Yourself, Fearlessly” and I need to embrace exactly that to get through this presentation. So, what does it mean to be yourself and am I myself? And what does all of this have to do with the fitness and wellness industry???

Anytime I scroll through Instagram or Twitter I come across several personal branding posts. What does that even mean? I am who I am, right? Maybe not. I love the quote “Be who you post to be” because are you really a bathroom selfie? Are you washboard abs and green smoothies? Are you flawless? Are you as perfect as you portray yourself to be? How you present yourself is your brand. But are you really that version of yourself? I enjoy hearing celebrities say they just hang out at home in sweats. We only see their brand, we rarely see them for themselves.

I love fitness, but I don’t have six packs abs or flawless skin. I have a soft belly and I fall prey to redness and hormonal breakouts. I’m not great at box jumps (or any jumps, for that matter.)  I don’t run marathons or do CrossFit. I’m not a vegan and I don’t drink enough water. I am not so many things, but I am so many things at the same time.

I am a mother and I love my children. They throw tantrums and make getting out the door difficult. They push my buttons and I adore the heck out of them. I am a wife and my husband doesn’t understand why I want to be able to do the splits. He, too, pushes my buttons, but I’m devoted to him. I’m a friend who doesn’t always stay in touch consistently, but I’m fiercely loyal and will rush to your defense in a second. I’m an entrepreneur who’s navigating the business world by pursuing what excites me. I’m also a huge fan of Tudor history, empathy education, and hunting for beach glass. I am also a daughter and a sister and an aunt and cousin. I am more than my business, and so are you.

simonsinekI have been lucky enough to encounter many people who are running their businesses as authentically as possible. What that looks like is one fitness studio doesn’t promote the use of supplements or energy drinks. One turns down clients whose goals don’t align with her vision. That means setting boundaries and learning to say no to some requests and invitations to allow for family time and self-care outside of business hours. Spending time with these folks has allowed me to start discovering who I truly am and that it’s ok for me to decide how I’m going to run and grow my business. Clients become raving fans because of the how and why of your business, not the what.

One of my favourite poets is e.e.cummings (yes, I like poetry too. In fact I used to write poetry a lot as a teenager). He said “it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”, and it does. eecummingsSo, who are you behind that Instagram gallery and that Twitter feed? Are you courageous enough to be yourself?

 

Want more clients? Try on their shoes!

My post about my experience at Orangetheory has me thinking about what it must be like for a new exerciser. (The same could go for a new wellness client, too.) It may feel like forever since you first walked into a gym or dove into the pool or had your first experience with chiropractic or acupuncture. Do you remember what that felt like? Do you remember what doubts and questions ran through your mind? We overcame those uncertainties and now it’s a way of life for us, but not so for everyone else.

Photograph_ a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.

Your next client may be someone who hasn’t exercised since high school. Someone who grew up with poor eating habits and has no clue where to start. Someone who doesn’t even know they need you…yet. So, how do we reduce the distance between yet and now?

  • First step is to decide who your clients are. Your business may cater to obstacle course veterans or whole food-vegans. HIIT gyms may not appeal to everyone in your area. Get clear on who you are trying to attract.
  • Put yourself in their shoes or try on their mindset. How does that person feel? What are they thinking? What are they wanting or needing? What kind of life do they want?
  • What barriers will they have to overcome to take those first steps through your door? Mental barriers are as intimidating as physical barriers. Try to take an objective look at your practice. Maybe even ask a few passersby to give you their honest thoughts on your online presence, your storefront, your product.
  • Where are they hiding right now? Are they spending time at the public library or the local Tim Horton’s instead of in your facility? Are they attending community functions? Find them where they are and reach out to them there!
  • Consider creative ways to reduce the intimidation factor when meeting potential new clients. Hold introductions on neutral ground (get out of the office for a bit!) Show new clients around your gym when your die-hard bodybuilders aren’t pumping iron. Be a member of your community an attend local events.
  • Remember what it was like to be a newbie. Recruit new clients keeping in mind this may be a scary and life-changing decision someone is contemplating. Take time regularly to look at your business objectively and fine-tune your promotional strategy.

 

For more information on how to grow your sales, exposure, and impact with a custom-built live event email shannon@merakieventplanning.com today!

A new gym had me feeling a rainbow of emotions

Last week I saw an ad for Orangetheory Fitness, promoting a free trial class, and in the spirit of the #5SecondRule I submitted my request for more info right then and there. The local franchise contacted me and we set a date. That date was today. Orangetheory had me feeling a rainbow of emotions throughout my 30 minute orientation and 60 minute class.  I made it, though!(blue ribbon, y’all) I completed the class and I burned over 500 calories.

My first emotion was uncertainty.  I didn’t know anyone and didn’t even really know what to expect. I knew there were rowers and treadmills involved, but that was about it. (I did not read the website beforehand.)

Then the heart rate monitor appeared and had me a little embarrassed because I have an unusually high resting heart rate for someone who runs like I do. I could see the heart rate data of every participant in the class before mine up on screens around the studio. Oh shoot…I’m gonna look like a newbie 100%. I know I’m not a new exerciser but I’m one of those folks who has a hard time walking into an unfamiliar environment (especially one involving TRX).

So, heart rate. Turns out that’s what Orangetheory is pretty much all about. It’s heart rate based interval training.  Orangetheory Fitness FAQ When I saw the breakdown on the screens, the whole idea made more sense. Every participant’s data shows up on screen so you, and the trainer, can keep an eye on where your heart rate is, what zone you’re in (the orange zone is what you want to focus on, hence the name) and it displays how many minutes you’ve spent in that zone. They email you all of this data at the end of your workout, which is kinda nice.

Next up is envy! I’m the only one who was “mom-shaped” there and a goal of mine is to not compare myself to others. Today’s workout was a partner workout and the class has a goal to burns as many calories as possible during the workout (calories burned show up on that board too! So cue the feeling that I’d disappoint my partner in blue as in feeling down.) Lucky me ended up partners with the teacher so I was only workout out with myself (THANK GEEZ! The last thing I wanted on my first session was to be paired with a die-hard.) I experienced a few bouts of envy: someone rowed 400m faster and my bridge rows weren’t pretty, but I just kept reminding myself that this was a new experience and just to do my best.

I experienced some time in the red zone, both on the board and on my face! Going all-out at a 5% incline had me feeling like my aerobic endurance needs some work and hoping nobody saw me disappear to the bathroom before I barfed on the treadmill. I finished strong, and I didn’t get sick after all. I was sweaty and tired and my body knows it worked hard. It was a little lonely, as the other participants knew each other and were partnered up, but I was so focused I probably wouldn’t have chatted much anyway.

 

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My final thoughts on Orangetheory Fitness

It was a great workout! Everyday it’s a new routine with a different focus (strength, power, cardio) so it wouldn’t be boring.

If you’re a competitive person, this is fabulous! I’m working on minimizing the competition in my pursuit of fitness, so that aspect would deter me from becoming a member. The orange tribe didn’t match the vibe I’m seeking, and that’s ok. ( My west coast tribe seems to hang out at Amethyst Dance and Fitness)

I’m not sure this is the best fit for a new exerciser. With the atmosphere of competition and the data on display for all to see, that might make some folks feel uncomfortable with taking a class. Also, being required to use a water rower, treadmill, dumbbells and TRX would overwhelm most people new to fitness.

Classes are capped at 24 participants, so the studio could be really packed or empty (they will run a class for just 1 participant, the orientation trainer told me.)

Classes are expensive. The best option for me would be 2 classes a week, so the $99/8 class package per month was recommended. Plus the cost of an Orangetheory Fitness heart rate monitor ($49).  I could purchase additional classes at a cheaper than drop-in rate (which is $26.something) Unfortunately, my fitness budget is less than that, so I’m going to pass on becoming a member for now.

It was a good experience to get out of my comfort zone and try something new and it was a great workout which provided me with some insight into what I should be focusing on in my current routine. If there is a franchise in your area, I suggest taking advantage of the free trial class, but bring a friend and be prepared to work hard.