Dear Person Who Get Sh*t Done

Dear Person Who Gets Shit Done,

I see you out there working your butt off trying to make a difference in the world around you. You probably have a full-time job in addition to your passion-project, and there’s a good chance you are a parent, too. Not to mention the extracurricular activities you’ve got on the go. I see you.

I see the hard work you put in on a daily basis and I see you as you race across town to make a parent teacher meeting or get the groceries done before your next appointment. I scroll through social media and see how you’re inspiring others and lifting your followers up. I see all of this and wonder what you’re feeling on the inside.

I wonder if you’re losing hair due to the stress of feeling alone as you try to keep your life organized. I wonder if you ever take the scenic route home so you can have a few extra minutes to yourself. I wonder if you doubt every decision you make and sometimes question if what internet trolls say about you is true.

I know you’re setting goals and pushing through the rain and the pain to reach them, because you are driven and motivated and people look up to you. You might even lie awake at night thinking about the people you’ve had to lose from your life because they don’t understand why you keep pushing forward the way you do.

You’ve seen more struggle and heartache than most and you know what rejection and failure taste like. You know what hard work means and you understand that success doesn’t happen overnight. I see you using the time in the elevator to cross one more task off your list which is never-ending.

I know you’ve read dozens of books and attended workshops to better yourself. I’d even bet that you have a personal mantra or affirmation you repeat quietly under your breath when you’re stuck in traffic. You’ve grown, and some people might even accuse you of having changed. You’ve accepted that because you’re growing and changing right now as you read this.

You are someone who gets shit done. You are someone who motivates the world around you just by being you. You understand that to create change you must be the change and you revel in it. You love the taste of a setback because you comeback even stronger and that’s a goal worth pursuing in itself.

You are someone who gets shit done and not everyone understands that. We both know that is what sets you apart. You are not like everyone else and that’s an amazing gift to give the world.

So, from someone who sees you: keep that shit up.

 

I just endured seven of the longest days I’ve experienced in a year

Today was my first run in a week. And it was only 2.5k. For some this is an accomplishment, but for me, this is a hard pill to swallow. My run club is full of elite runners who challenge me to improve, but even their standards can’t compete with the one I set for myself.

I have been having issues with my right leg the last few weeks and then I came down the cold to beat all colds, so today’s run was a tough workout. So, it was a week…that’s only seven days, right? Seven days where I felt myself starting to get dizzy and fade away. It happened so quickly this time, it took me by surprise. That sounds dramatic, I know, and I’m prone to waxing poetic but today reinforced that running has become the glue that keeps my life together. Running for me is about more than exercise. It’s about survival.

I’ve battled anxiety and have fought off depression several times in my life and running has become a key part of my treatment plan. I realized that this past week is the longest I’ve gone without running in almost an entire year. And it’s been one hell of a year to say the least, (moving across the country, leaving my marriage, establishing a new normal…creating a new life.)

When my running is on track, I feel confident and strong and capable. When my running started to slip, I felt like the rest of me was melting away like something in a Dali painting. I’ve noticed my hydration goals waiver and my commitment to balanced nutrition faded into the background. I felt foggy and lost and so unlike the best version of myself. I was her only a month ago! Where the hell did she disappear to so quickly?

This is what depression and anxiety to do my life. They sneak up on me and chip away at all of the progress I’ve made. First, my confidence as a runner is shaken, then my worth as a mother and entrepreneur and friend. I find myself questioning my decisions but lacking the energy to get back on track. I know better, I really do but it’s like that logical part of my reasoning is locked in a cage and left to scream in solitude.

I know I am not alone. My work as a Worth Living Run Ambassador has taught me there is strength in sharing your story openly. When someone else takes a moment from their struggle to encourage me through mine, I’m reminded that I’ve got an army of cheerleaders behind me.  My work as podcast co-host has allowed me to connect with people who have overcome obstacles and to learn from their experiences. I know I am not alone but this challenge is all mine.

I had a Twitter friend sternly tell me to get out for a run today and I needed to take the first step. I need to recommit to drinking my water and eating my vegetables and moving my ass. I’ll recommit as many times as necessary because there’s too much inside me that needs to get out into the world for me to back down from a tough time.

I know not everyone understands why I run and some of you may even think the fact that I need it is unhealthy. I need running like I need my medication. I’ve been through this cycle enough to know what works and what doesn’t and I’m embarrassed that I slipped, but I’m putting myself out here for everyone to see so I can step out from under the shadow of shame that my mind sometimes casts.

I’m not sure why this half-marathon training journey is off to such a shaky start when my experience last time felt almost effortless. I don’t know why my body and mind are at odds with each other, but I’m going to keep moving forward. I will cross that finish line in June come hell or high water. I will do the work like my life depends on it, because it kinda does.

The Most Infuential Influencers Who’ve Ever Influenced

Well…sorta.

We’ve all seen the lists of top influencers and we know they’re all pretty subjective and this one if no different. I’ve chosen the folks on this list because of the impact I think they have on the world (my world, especially) and because I believe they’ll have an influence on yours too!

 

Melissa Kahn (www.runheiferrun.com) Melissa Kahn (1)

I have yet to meet this lady face-to-face but she’s become one of the most influential people in my life over the last 10 months. She has created a worldwide community of supportive people who encourage each other through running and life, and I’m so blessed to be co-hosting the Run For Your Life podcast with her. She’s the one I message when anxiety sets in or I’m celebrating a win and it’s amazing how connected you can become to someone through Twitter. She’s an inspiration because of her past but also because she lovingly supports those around her to reach for new heights and her sense of humour is second to none!

 

Lindsay Umlah (Loving Myself Loudly) Lindsay Umlah (1)

If you are not following this fabulous womyn on Instagram yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Sometimes we need permission from the outside world to love ourselves and this is what Lindsay is all about! She recently launched a podcast called The Momgasm Podcast which addresses sexuality after motherhood, but don’t you agree we could all use a LOT more self-love (in whatever form that takes?)

 

Emma Burgess (www.emmainflow.com) Emma Burgess

I’m not even sure exactly how I started following Emma on Facebook but her daily live videos caught my attention. Her focus is on helping women love themselves and if that ends up in her clients finding fulfilling relationships, then bonus! Every time I hear her speak I find myself having A-HA moments and even those of you already in amazing relationships with amazing men deserve to check her out and build an amazing relationship with yourself.

 

Mia Lockhart (www.girlsonboards.co)ShannonMia

Although Mia and I live in the same area, we hadn’t met until recently. She is the founder of Girls on Boards, which provides teenage girls with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and confidence through stand up paddle boarding and snowboarding excursions. I was privileged enough to work with her in producing a recent women’s snowboarding event and I witnessed first-hand the magic that happens when women build each other up. Mia fosters a safe environment for girls and women to try new things and develop a new awareness of what our bodies are beautifully capable of achieving. She’s also a yoga teacher and amazing massage therapist (my running body is grateful for her expertise!)

Jill Payne (www.jillpayne.ca)21745132_10103625072922181_944065778_o

Are you a dime? Not even sure what that means? You definitely need to check out Jill on social media and get a dose of her philosophy on living life at a 10. I attended on her energy management workshops as a birthday gift to myself two years ago and I haven’t been the same. I’m a strong believer in the fact that we all have a choice in how we show up in our lives and working with Jill has taught me that the ability to change the direction of my day is always one choice away. I get asked how I’m handling my divorce so well, and it’s without doubt because I choose to handle it so well. Jill has shown me that all I need is within me and you deserve to take one of her programs!

Mel Robbins (www.melrobbins.com)

I have yet to meet this fierce woman in person but she has replied to two of my tweets so close enough, right? It was actually Jill Payne who introduced me to the 5 Second Rule and I now have a 5-4-3-2-1 sign next to my bed as reminder to just do. Her books and online course have renewed my confidence in myself to make decisions and to be able to face any challenge sent my way. Being an entrepreneur and a soon-to-be divorced mom of two, those challenges are plentiful and often fraught with anxiety. As a lifelong anxious person (more anxious than average) the strategies Mel discusses have helped me take on public speaking, pursuing a divorce, and starting a podcast.

Dr. Jen Gunter (@DrJenGunter on Twitter)

I have never trusted Gwyneth Paltrow to be an authority on health so when I came across Dr. Gunter’s “attack” on GOOP, I was enthusiastically on board as a follower. Dr. Gunter is a gynecologist who disputes trends (vaginal steaming and inserting jade eggs into your vagina)  and she is vocal and opinionated and empowering AF! She’s made posts detailing how much vaginal discharge is normal and describing what a “normal” vagina should smell like. TMI? I don’t care because there are so many girls and women who have no idea just how normal they are because of the foolishness we’ve been spoon-fed all of our lives. Go check her out and you might learn something new about yourself.

Kathy Johnston-Isenor (www.fitnessjunkiesns.com) presentation12

The impact this amazing woman has on people reaches far beyond the walls of the facility where she holds her bootcamp classes. I met her four years ago at a boxing based bootcamp class as her energy radiated across the room and climbed into my very soul. That sounds poetically profound but once you interact with her, you’ll never be the same. I’ve seen her motivate men and women and children to reach new heights and I’ve borrowed strength from her more times that I can count. Kathy encourages us all to find our power and celebrate that strength and each International Women’s Day, I have the privilege of helping her host an event that calls on each of us to acknowledge our abilities and to own them with grace.

Eleanor Beaton (www.eleanorbeaton.com)eleanorshannon

I’ve known this fierce female since I was 15 but she reappeared in my life about 5 years ago as my business coach and helped me change my focus and start moving my business and my life in a new direction. She works to help female entrepreneurs and business leaders to take their place at the top where we belong. She showed up at one of my fitness events and showed she’s not only a force in the boardroom but on the trails as well! I am motivated to follow her example everyday and you owe it to yourself to tune in to what she’s saying in her podcast and workshops.

 

It was difficult trying to narrow down the inspiring women I follow, otherwise this post would go on for days!

I invite you to celebrate the amazing women in your life this International Women’s Day. Acknowledge them publicly and share the love for our hardworking sisters and mothers and daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you spreading the love?

Happy almost Valentine’s Day, readers! Today’s post is all about love. If you’ve been lucky enough to find it, you’ll know what I mean when I say it makes you feel glad to be alive and you just want to shout it from the hilltops or rooftops or whatever one does when in love. I was lucky enough to witness the love today so of course I cannot wait to tell you all about it!

I volunteered to help out with the Greenwood Multisport Club’s Splash n Dash this morning and we had a few adults and several kids(all under 12) show up to participate in the swim/run event. As a fitness event planner, I make a living off seeing people of all ages challenge themselves physically and I enjoy being able to help events like this happen. I found love at the indoor track this morning but the love I witnessed today had nothing to do with me.

The Under 9 speed demons were the last ones to run the track and as they lined up, I was assigned to recording the lap times for a lovely little athlete named Maria with a fitness centre staff, Eric. Maria made it to her sixth (of 8) lap and stopped. We cheered her on but she wasn’t moving. The other kids kept going, a few slowed down but they were all on the move. My colleague ran out to meet her and before you know it, she was walking the rest of her lap. He wrote down her lap time as they went by, but he kept moving and so did she. He stayed by her side until she had decided she could finish on her own. He didn’t know her before that race, but he refused to let her give up.

A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.

I am so grateful I witnessed that this morning because that right there is love. Love of appreciating how important pushing yourself through that tough stretch is. Love of growing sport by encouraging young athletes to experience it. Love of what you’re doing so much that you’ll coach a struggling stranger across the finish line without a second thought.

When people in love with sport spread that love like Eric did this morning, new athletes with a passion for health and fitness emerge, and isn’t that why we’re in this business to begin with? Get out there and spread the love!Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

 

 

 

The Octagon: 8 Times MMA Surprised Me

Waiting outside the doors of Casino NB on a very cold and snowy Saturday night, I felt out of my comfort zone. As the doors opened and I cleared security and made it past the door-people to the ballroom (they did NOT ask to see my ID, by the way), I felt wayyyyy out of my comfort zone. There it was at the centre of the front of the room: the focus of the event and the subject of my little adventure in challenging one of my judgements (of which we all have several, amiright?) The Octagon.

I felt like a fish out of water in that ballroom in Moncton. As you all know, I’m a runner not a fighter, and here I was about to lose my mixed martial arts virginity.  I walked in there, took my seat, feeling awkward and shy, and even prepared for a little blood. The Elite1MMA “Bitter Rivals” event didn’t disappoint and I’ll admit that I left with a newfound perspective on the sport.

If you are a dedicated reader (thanks Mom) you’ll recall that I wrote about fighting last week in my discussion on judging other sports and athletes. While the gal in the full-length leopard print faux-fur coat and all of the TapOut shirts didn’t contradict any stereotypes about fight fans, after chatting with Cory “The Warrior” Vern on the morning of fight day and watching the bouts one-after-the-other, I am reformed.

 

1. Not Every Fight Results in Bloodshed

The only time I saw blood (from where I was sitting anyway) was during the final of 8 fights.

2. Fighters Are Not All Beefcakes

I know I should be ashamed in thinking that one needs to be tall and muscle-bound to be a fighter, but then I stood next to Cory who is a bit shorter and weighs less than I do but had no issues dropping his opponent. Go figure, maybe there’s a future for me in MMA?

3. Fights Are Full of Ritual

I grew up Catholic and I felt like I was attending a sacred mass: there was carefully chosen entrance music and a processional through the room to a dais where the fighter was then de-frocked and blessed by the High Priest with the Holy Chrism of Mixed Martial Arts before ascending to the altar that is The Octagon. Silent prayers are offered up and it begins.

4. Not All Fighters Are Loud and Aggressive

Yes, I pictured fighters as loud and obnoxious meatheads, and while there was at least one fighter who matches that description at the event on Saturday, Alderic “The Coroner” Keith and Ryan “Weapon X” Goguen both graciously responded to my comments on social media and my friend, Cory, has to be one of the quietest and most gentle guys I know.

5. It’s Not About Rage

The match between Scott MacKinnon and Mike Somerville brought a smile to my face because they both had smiles on theirs. It was a great feeling to see two athletes truly enjoy their chosen sport and you could feel the camaraderie between them.

fighterquote

6. It Is a Rather Quiet Sport

I don’t know why I expected to hear lots of grunting and bone crunching but I anticipated lots of noise. Each match was almost serene in a way as there were lots of quiet and still moments: I imagined the fighters to be trash-talking telepathically instead of strategizing and contemplating their next moves.

7. The Best Fighter Doesn’t Necessarily Win

The Main Event match was called a few seconds into the second round on medical advice as one of the fighters had a yucky gash on his right eyelid. The match was called in favour of the fighter whose name I won’t even mention because he doesn’t deserve it. He acted as if his strategy and strength won against his opponent and that wasn’t the case. After being declared the winner, he jumped on top of the cage and riled up the fans which I found distasteful. It would be like celebrating winning the marathon when you were the only one who ran it. In my opinion (and because this is my blog), the better athlete didn’t win the title but he showed the true spirit of the sport.

8. Fighters Aren’t That Different From Runners

I may not be able to drop someone to the ground but I learned that runners and fighters are more similar than we are different.

  • we take our pre-fight/race routine very seriously
  • we have carefully curated playlists that amp us up
  • meditation and solitude figure prominently
  • we compete as individuals where we depend on our own strengths and determination to succeed
  • we train for months leading up to the event, often enforcing strict nutritional guidelines on ourselves
  • we require better than average cardio endurance
  • we wear flashy outfits
  • we both can’t wait for competition to be over so we can enjoy a beer or two

 

I don’t think you’ll see me in a TapOut shirt anytime soon and you won’t find me ringside at every fight that comes to town, but I definitely checked my judgments of mixed martial arts when I left the casino that night. There was beauty in what each fighter (well, almost each fighter) accomplished in the cage. The dedication to training and mental toughness required to engage in battle with an opponent, reminded me that sport is an expression of life,  (I know I’m getting philosophical on ya but it’s true.) We’ve all been called upon at some point to show our true character through strength and determination in a challenging situation.

Who knows, maybe you’re not so different from fighters, either.

Unless you’re an official, stop judging other sports and athletes

As many of you know, I’ve been through a lot of changes over the last 12 months and life is looking very different these days. I’ve received love and support from surprising sources and I’ve received judgment, too. The judgment I wasn’t as prepared for and it got me thinking about my opinions of others and myself and even of the industry I’ve chosen to work in.

As usual, I’ve picked up books on the topic and listened to countless podcast episodes on the subject and I’ve been working hard to check my judgments. I quickly realized I had to check myself or I’d wreck myself (and limit my personal and business growth). I’ve been fortunate enough to have a couple of extraordinary athletes in my network who have been challenging my preconceived ideas about their specific sports, and about the pursuit of athletic success in general.

check yourself before you wreck yourself

Don’t Fight It

During my time as a human kinetics student, I was exposed to the world of sport psychology and mindset training by Terry Orlick  which was quickly followed by my own first-hand experience with head injuries (long story short: I took a hockey puck to the head and suffered a concussion). Since then I have been a sometimes vocal advocate for safety in sports and 99.9% of the time I would advise another human being to avoid being punched in the head. I always wondered what ran through the mind of a fighter  Until I started conversing with an amateur MMA athlete, Cory Vern.

My knee-jerk reaction was to ask him “Why the hell would you take a beating on purpose?” and to assume he grew up an aggressive and angry young man who spent all day punching things. I feel like an idiot for rushing to judge Cory based on my fears surrounding his sport: he’s revealed himself to be a thoughtful and rather sweet, dedicated dad of two who lets me pick his brain at all hours of the day and night (because I often wake up with good questions and ideas and can’t let them go). I’ve learned that fighting for him is like running for me: a peaceful quiet where you feel at your best with the world around you. Turns out he’s a pretty dedicated runner himself: as in it’s nothing for him to run 15k to save himself a cab ride.

cory vern
I’m a little intimidated to attend my first MMA event on January 26th.

Finding that we shared something in common as important to me as running, opened the door to discussing the importance of mindset and being able to focus on the goals you set for yourself. Focusing on nutrition and different fighting styles and bouncing back from a tough workout will sound familiar to any athlete, regardless of activity. I’m headed to Moncton, NB next weekend to see him in action and pick his brain on the fight night mindset needed to succeed (because he’s gonna win his match ). Cory The Warrior and I aren’t all that different, really, which made me wonder what else I was judging.

And The Wheels Keep Spinning

Recently, I commented on the Instagram post of a local athlete I had been following since I saw him race before my half-marathon in October last year. I had no idea of this guy’s story, I just knew he was paralyzed and raced a wheelchair like he stole it. We started chatting about protein pancake mixes and racing, and it ended up with him recording an interview the next day for the podcast I co-host with Melissa Kahn. (Seriously, do yourself a favour and listen to it now. Well, after you finish reading this post.)

Ben Brown was in an ATV accident 12 years ago that left him paralyzed from the chest down, but that only slowed him down. Temporarily. Within weeks of his injury, he had decided to do whatever it takes to get back out there on wheels. I thought I had a developed a pretty positive outlook and followed a strong goal-oriented path, but Ben continues to shake my perception of a positive outlook.

Insert Face Palm Here

Aside from realizing how inaccessible so much of our world is, I’ve been challenged to reflect on how ignorant I’ve been. I felt like an idiot after asking how ripped his abs must be (duh…I studied anatomy and physiology and no feeling from the chest down means no ab function. Sorry, Dr. Stothart.) I even asked if he lived alone, because I assumed he was unable to do everything himself. I completely made an ass of myself, but once we got that out of the way, I learned that a paraplegic athlete has different nutritional requirements and even the climate affects him differently. Everyday is #armday for this elite racer, and while those guns may intimidate some newbies at the gym, his dedication to clean eating and honest nutrition only increases my guilt about those Tostitos I ate earlier.

benbrownracer
Ben Brown Wheelchair Racer. Photo Courtesy of East Coast Running Photos

While there are so many differences between his racing path and my own, there are far more similarities. We each bore our family and friends with our talk of distances and interval times and training schedules. Our closets are full of more athletic wear than business wear, and we #fitnessmotivation on the regular. He finds it tricky to get groceries between work and school and training and I find it hard to train between getting groceries and teaching school. I’m just a woman trying to reach her goals and he’s just a man pushing towards his.

 

As a fitpreneur, it’s important to challenge the way you think about the sports and athletes outside of your niche. We’re all just pushing our limits, just in a different ring or race course.

 

I want to thank Cory and Ben for continuing to teach me. With each new podcast guest or person I meet at an event or race, I find myself learning something new and expanding my horizons as a runner and as a human being. Every sport has something to teach us and every athlete even more so.

You can’t make 2019 epic without this

Happy New Year!

I was at a comedy club New Year’s Eve party last night and the comedian asked us to indicate by applause whether 2018 had been good or bad, and there was no hesitation on my part to cheer for good. Sure I have experienced more stress this year than ever before (and my hair is falling out in chunks because of it), but I’ve also experienced more love, support, encouragement, and achievement this year, too. At the end of the night on the last night of the year, those are the things that meant more to me, so that’s what I’ve decided to run into 2019 with.

ResolutionRunAmyShannon

And run into 2019 I did!

Amy Leon of https://screamingintothevoid.ca/  and I met up at one of the Running Room’s Resolution Runs today in Halifax. (She and I co-lead the Worth Living Run Amabassador program where runners promote mental health awareness and share their stories of hope and healing. ) 

The drive from New Minas (where I live) to Halifax was snowy and slow and I wondered if I shouldn’t turn around and go back to bed, but 2018 taught me the value of doing the uncomfortable thing. I’ve used the phrase “discipline over motivation” more than a few times these last few months and today was no different. I would much rather have stayed curled up in bed but I’ve come too far and worked too hard to give up on a commitment on the first flipping day of the new year!

I kept driving (slowly) and I ran into the wind and freezing rain pellets (micro-derm abrasion anyone?) Every challenging step through the snow was a reminder that I am where I am because of my refusal to give up in any circumstance. Commitment to my goals wins out over comfort.

BUT…

I did not get to this point on my own and I can’t make 2019 epic without the amazing group of people I’ve been blessed to encounter.

The title for this post came out of a conversation with Jeff  (@rundemtrails on Twitter): he changed his Twitter name to “Jeff Will Make 2019 EPIC”. In speaking with him, we chatted about how doing epic things requires setting scary goals but also having the support of a community. His Birthday Challenge on Twitter created a supportive online community of runners and it was a supportive online community that connected me with Jeff in the first place!

The most influential connection I made in 2018 who is my right hand in making epic sh*t happen is Melissa Kahn of http://www.runheiferrun.com. We somehow started chatting on Twitter about our shared experience with our respective ex-husbands and now we’re co-hosting a podcast together! She has inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and has reminded me of my inherent strength and resilience. The guests we have spoken to so far (like Jeff) have continued to expand my network of supporters and motivation.

I ran my first half marathon in 2018 and while I pounded out the miles myself, there was a run club on my side and cheerleaders all over the country who got me across that finish line.

I couldn’t have left my marriage without my family and group of friends. I borrowed my strength from them to make a complete life change. Their love and support are what have allowed me to continue to kick ass and take names.

Are you ready to make 2019 epic?

HOW TOMake 2019 epic

 

Are you keeping it MERRY?

Christmas is a week away and I’m sitting here by the fire on a snowy day and I’ll admit that I’m feeling rather festive. Merry, even. I know it’s busy and we’re approaching the craziest weekend of the year where last minute shoppers are driving you nuts in the stores and don’t even get me started on the drivers: so I want to know: are you keeping it MERRY this season?

 

Think MERRY this holiday season

Movement

Are you remembering to move everyday? Maybe it’s just a walk around the block or a 15 minute yoga practice to re-focus yourself. Exercise and movement can boost your energy, improve digestion (who else has eaten too many cookies?), and provides stress relief.

Eating

How many of those cookies did you intend to eat? Did the buffet a your office party knock you off track? It’s ok. Refocus and plan ahead next time. Eat a healthy meal before you go out to a party so hunger won’t lead you to over indulge in treats. Take a page from the Kilted Coaches, and make sure you get a high intense workout in before you decide to enjoy the dessert table. You’re less likely to overdo it if you create a plan and stick to it.

This includes alcohol, too my friends. PSA: please arrange a safe and sober ride home! If you decide to get your festive beverage on, plan ahead and set a limit and make sure you remember to hydrate with water in between rounds and afterwards.

Enjoy the flavours of the season and have fun but set your limits and stay within them.

Realistic

Be realistic and don’t take on a new challenge or new class this time of year. The weather is unpredictable and so is your schedule, so don’t expect more of yourself than what you know you can handle. I decided to run streak through December where I run a minimum of 1km a day everyday: I may not always feel like cracking out 5k but I know without a doubt I can handle 1km. Focus on maintaining your health and fitness this time of year.

Relax

With all the hustle and bustle and wrapping and partying don’t forget to plan downtime! I think so many of us come to dislike the Christmas season because we forget to enjoy it. We get sucked into the commercialism and forget to appreciate the beauty of carols sung by a choir, the excitement in our kids’ faces, and the fun of hanging out with friends and family.

Don’t feel guilty for needing to take time away from all of those friends and family, either. Sometimes we all need a few quiet moments to refocus like taking a hot bath or going to a movie by yourself.

Christmas will happen whether you baked cookies or bought them from the grocery store, so cut yourself some slack and enjoy yourself.

You

You are important enough to be a priority.

You are worthy of health and fitness.

You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.

 

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

 

 

Why I’m Running Everyday in December

It’s December 9th and it’s about -7 degrees Celsius (about 20 degrees Fahrenheit for my American readers) and I just got back from a frosty 5k scoot around the neighbourhood. Now why the heck would I choose to bundle up and hit the snow-covered sidewalk when I could’ve joined my father by the fire for another Hallmark Christmas movie?

  1. Hershey’s Kisses. Yup. Those little assholes hop into my shopping cart every dang time I go through the checkout and I need to do something to counteract their effects.
  2. Keep it on the rails. Life can get chaotic this time for year for many of us and my life is no exception. I decided to run at least 1km every day this month because I need to have a goal to keep me focused on moving forward. Craziness pops up, but I know I’m on track when I start running.
  3. Running is my therapy. I still check in with an actual human therapist regularly, but there’s nothing quite like lacing up and working up a sweat to clear the mind and process what’s been swimming around upstairs.
  4. Maintain. I worked hard this summer/fall to get to half marathon ability and it would be a shame to let it waste away. I’m respecting the hours I spent preparing by maintaining a certain level of fitness.
  5. Excuses are bullshit. It’s true and you know it. Deep down you know you’re full of crap when you say you don’t have time. One kilometre? What’s that? Maybe 6 minutes out of a day? I’m not immune to fooling myself with excuses of being too busy or it being too cold, but it’s really tough to argue against one single kilometre.
  6. Because I can. I have the privilege of being able to put one foot in front of the other and I’m going to appreciate it. I’m grateful for every single step I take and each run is an act of gratitude this month.
  7. Setting the stage for 2019. I don’t make resolutions but I set the hell out of many goals every year and all year. Ending the year on a note of achievement and commitment to getting something done makes working towards my big goals for 2019 that much easier to launch.

 

So, even though December is well under way, that doesn’t mean you can’t set a mini-challenge for yourself and start it now. You have three weeks to end 2018 on a high note and ring in 2019 with a victory!

 

I’d love to hear what you’ve decided to challenge yourself with for the rest of the month: shannon@merakieventplanning.com or find me on

Twitter @MerakiEventPlan

or

 Instagram @merakieventplanning 

 

 

It’s time to get real, fit pros!

As fitness professionals we’re often held to higher standards than the clients we serve. We’re expected to run faster, lift heavier weight, eat healthier, drink more water, and look fitter (whatever that even means). These expectations hit us everyday while scrolling through social media, flipping through magazines and watching tv. They hit us with pressures we often brush aside and ignore. Until we can’t ignore them any longer.

Take a moment right now to do an inventory of the fitness-related pressures you resist on a regular basis. What are they? A few I can admit to are the expectation to fit into a certain size, to run a certain pace, and to avoid all sugar and carbs. How about the pressure to have mastered it all including power lifting, rope climbing, supplements, and even how to gracefully extract myself from a sports bra. Are you kidding me? I have a kinesiology degree but I graduated 20 years ago. I do my best to stay on top of new research and trends but we can’t be experts at CrossFit and yoga and running and jiu jitsu.

We cannot do it all.

We cannot be everything to everyone. We cannot be masters of all to our clients and families and the media. We can’t meet all of the demands placed on us. No one can.

It’s time for me to get honest with you: there are days when I don’t have the motivation to do my workouts or stick to my clean eating plan. I’ve recently posted how discipline wins out over motivation because I’m lacking motivation right now. Anyone else struggle at this time of year? It’s cold and snowy and dark so friggin’ early. All I want to do is curl up in my fuzzy pants and an old hoodie with Netflix and hibernate.

I’ve battled against myself, within myself, for as long as I can remember. Some days are better than others and I’m proud that I haven’t had a relapse into serious depression for almost a decade, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fight. I take meds on a daily basis and I’ve come to depend on a regimen of vitamins, breathing exercises, balanced diet and exercise to keep myself afloat.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Remember that.

I work hard, even though it doesn’t show on the outside, to stay positive and I’ve adopted a growth mindset where I focus on moving forward with a bright outlook. I make lemonade out of lemons because lemons are a fact of life for all of us. Even fitness professionals who can run fast and lift heavy.

I lift weights at home even when I feel like it’s the last thing I want to do. I head to the gym for a deadmill run when the sidewalks are too icy. I sip water instead of a third cup of coffee and eat kale salad instead of mashed potatoes. I make these little decisions because I know I’ll feel better on the other side.

We are role models more often than you may think. Our clients are looking to us to set the example, and it’s time for us to be real in the image we project. Eat clean and drink water and sweat it out, but don’t forget to share your story. Share your struggles and get real and honest. We don’t walk around airbrushed and most of us don’t have 8 hours a day to train with a team of makeup artists, stylists, and coaches guiding our every move.

So, while the world may hold you to a higher standard, I don’t. I know there are so many incredibly fit and inspirational people out there who are struggling right now. I know you’re doing the best you can and you deserve to cut yourself some slack and acknowledge that you’re a human being experiencing life like anyone else. Create a plan to keep yourself healthy and reach out when you need to. You are always there for your clients but it’s important to know that you are not alone.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention website has a list of resources by province.

Please take care of yourself.

www.suicideprevention.ca