This is not your practice life

I’m 40, I married my husband 10 years ago and we have two children together. I thought I knew who I was then I became a mother-freaking unicorn. That’s right: I transformed into a magical creature, and sometimes it feels like I have a horn in the centre of my forehead. I also shit rainbows, okay.

What the hell am I talking about?

I’m talking about the woman I’ve decided to become. A person who decided happiness and purpose and passion are important enough to turn my family’s life upside down.

I’m not sure I can pinpoint when my metamorphosis began: maybe when I had a miscarriage in 2012 or maybe my first boxing boot camp class or maybe when I decided to start my business or no, it might’ve been when I applied to speak at a women’s empowerment event. I’m not sure it even matters when it happened because it happened.

I did a scary thing and walked away from a marriage that no longer aligned with my values and goals. I wanted to set a better example for my daughter and son, and although I bear no ill will towards my former life partner, it was time for me to acknowledge my own worth and the worthiness of my goals for myself and for our children.

I am worthy.

I am worthy of pursuing and achieving goals. I am worthy of happiness and joy. My kids deserve to have a mom who feels fulfilled and purposeful. I deserve to find real love even if it is for myself.

I feel optimistic and positive about what lies ahead. I know there are good people in the world and amazing and inspiring things happens every single day. I want to be part of that positive energy and wake up with a full heart ready to do some good.

I made a life-changing choice and I’m still kicking. (Unicorns kick, you know.) People think I should be curled up at home with a glass of red wine watching Sex and The City reruns, bawling my eyes out. I’m judged for not “sticking it out” or for making a “selfish choice”. Folks expect me to be a bitter man-hater bent on taking everything from the man I shared a decade with. But I’m not. See…I’m a unicorn. unicorn mom

 How would your life change if you did a scary thing, too? What would it feel like if you started to ignore what people say about your choices? Would you wake up ready to take on the new world? Would you start shitting rainbows, too?

I’m taking on new challenges and embracing new adventures. I’m content with my choices and I feel alive and energized and ready to take on the world! I’m moving forward with a desire to inspire and create a more fulfilling life. This is NOT a practice life so I’m looking forward and moving forward.

 

We only get one chance to live this life and I intend to make it a magical one.

Rainbow shit and all.

 

 

You look like you need a challenge

I am currently participating in Coach Jenny Hadfield’s Challenge 2018 National Parks Challenge and I completed a Whole Life Challenge this spring. Starting July 30th, I’m embarking on a 12-week journey with the Kilted Coaches (yay!) which will address my nutrition and fitness. I’ve done Adriene Mishler’s Yoga Camp and I’ve done 30-day ab or pushup or squat challenges, too.

What is my obsession with challenges anyway?

I love fitness challenges like those listed above for the same reason I went back to get my Bachelor of Education or signed up for a half-marathon or decided to have two kids instead of one. I feel compelled to do more, to push myself to my limits and to achieve (recovering perfectionist and overachiever here, folks.). What better way to do this than to have a pre-determined program with a deadline and oftentimes a ready-made supportive community to help you get there?

Why you should start your own challenge

 

online Challenge

Who doesn’t want to reach new clients and grow their business? I LOVE 10-day and 30-day challenges and I’m not the only one. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to get you going:

-nutritionist/dietitians: 30 day clean eating challenge, 10 days to more veggies

-run clubs: 30 days of stretching, 3 weeks to an improved form

-psychologists: 20 day mindset challenge, 7 days to a better sleep

trainers: 30 days to better posture, 21 day goal setting

yoga: 30 days of yoga foundation, 3 weeks to your crow pose

The possibilities are only limited by your area of expertise, and even then you can collaborate with other experts.

Get creative and challenge yourself and your clients!

Why you should never go to sleep angry

Always Kiss Me Goodnight…except for tonight

I had just turned 40 and I said out loud before bed one night, “I’m going to be in better shape in my forties than I’ve ever been in my life.” My significant other innocently cautioned that I needed to remember I was not as young as I once was and therefore  shouldn’t expect too much of my body from here on out. I’m sure I huffed or something and immediately rolled over and tried to go to sleep…but I didn’t go to sleep did, I?

Ummmm...wtf_.png

Hell No I Didn’t Go To Sleep!

I thought about what he said and tossed the words around in my obviously aging mind for a while. I considered a woman I know who, in her forties, is faster with every finish line she crosses. And all of those news stories about 80 and 90 year olds running marathons. I thought about watching my kids (now 8 and 5) completing fun runs and that’s when my inner bad ass smacked some sense into me. Seriously, WTF? I know he wasn’t trying to be hurtful, but it felt like a slap across my wrinkled face! I turned 40 not 140! And even if I had turned 140, who the hell is he to put limits on what I should push myself to achieve? Why shouldn’t I expect my body to reach new limits and experience new strengths and speeds? Would I ever tell my children not to bother pursuing a goal because of someone else’s limiting beliefs? HELL TO THE NO!

When I finally closed my eyes and fell asleep it was with the determination of a woman hell-bent on living her best life when her feet hit the floor in the morning. And when I got up the next morning, that determination set me on the path I’m following at this very moment. (I will write more about this new direction in the future but that’s not the specific focus of this post.)  I woke up fueled to work towards new goals, not motivated by the idea of proving someone wrong, but motivated by a deeply rooted knowledge that I AM capable of running faster and lifting heavier and reaching further.

You see, the whole point of this post and the lesson of this experience is this:

 

It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t think I can do it when I know I can do it.

 

 

notetoself

 

Yes, My Fangirling Moment Can help kick your business up a notch!

Insomnia anyone?

Have you ever had trouble quieting your mind enough to be able to get to sleep? That was me over the spring of 2017. We were preparing to move across the country again which meant we had to sell our house and pack up and start over, and my mind was racing 24/7. I turned to podcasts to listen to at night to give me something to focus on and that’s when I discovered the Fitness Business PodcastI’m not saying it put me to sleep…it just helped to clear my head so I could eventually fall asleep.

The show is hosted by a gal with the loveliest Australian accent which makes it even more appealing! As a fitness business owner, I learned a lot and I started following the host on social media and added her too my tribe of inspiring people (you don’t have to actually know your inspiration in person to benefit from their wisdom and experience!) I decided that somehow I was going to meet her and reached out on social media. I had a fitness-nerd moment of excitement when she followed me back and added me on Facebook. Does anyone else get a little jazzed when a mentor or inspiring person out there in the world comments or tweets you? I did and once I knew I was going to be attending BlogFest I sent her a postcard to remind her I was looking forward to her presentation.

The Big Day Arrives

Friday afternoon at about 2pm I had just gone to the ladies’ room to make sure I was presentable and I walked back into the ballroom and headed for the stage. I’ve always been a little outgoing but not as outgoing and true extroverts are, so I had to push myself to keep going. After all, I had connected on social media and sent the girl a post card so I would look foolish if I didn’t reach out and introduce myself. There she was…this fabulously fit woman in a gorgeous blue dress, beautiful blonde hair and a warm smile. Time to make my move!

I climbed up on stage and walked right up to her, held out my hand and told her I was so pleased to be meeting her in person. And honestly, I felt like I was on the most awkward first date of my life, but that feeling disappeared as soon as she whispered“I’m so glad to finally meet you!” and immediately introduced me to her friend.  (She whispered because she had lost her voice the day before and her friend was there to serve as her voice for the presentation.) We chatted briefly about the conference and fitness events and we took a few pictures together. I took my seat and soaked up the advice from her presentation and felt a little giddy at having met her in the flesh. Can we say fitness fangirl?ChantalandShannon

I will say I’m a bigger fan of hers now because she seems like a genuinely fabulous human being, but also because she traveled halfway across the world and delivered several presentations without a voice. She follows her love of fitness to different countries and conferences and puts herself out there to help other fitness entrepreneurs reach the next level of their careers. You can tell Chantal has invested in strengthening her stage and media presence which people can’t help but be drawn to. (I realize this when I look at the photo of us and her pose is absolute perfection! Which reminds me that I should sign up for media training pronto.) This fit pro is a true professional, and I’m glad I didn’t let my inner introvert talk me out of saying hello.

You’re probably thinking “Ok, great little story Shannon but what does this have to do with me?” Social media, as much as people like to shit on it, has allowed us to reach out and connect with our mentors and gurus and role models DIRECTLY! You can message Todd Durkin or Joe De Sena or Adriene Mishler or Jillian Michaels or Heidi & Chris Powell DIRECTLY! Hop on their Facebook lives and comment (I giggled to myself when Todd Durkin shouted out to me during a FB Live.) Follow their Instagram accounts and leave a comment. Tweet them. As social media users we are able to connect with those who can teach us and inspire us and there’s no reason why you can’t connect and have your own fangirl moment!

 

 

 

F— Perfect!

The first presentation I heard at BlogFest was Petra Kolber‘s  “The Perfection Detox: Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy”. Holy heck–whatta way to start this amazing adventure! As a self-confessed recovering perfectionist, I opened my notebook to a crisp, white sheet and armed myself with a pen, ready to soak up her wisdom. And wisdom she bestowed.

What the heck does perfectionism have to do with fitness? Ummmmm? Have you looked around the industry lately? Perfect abs. Perfect booty. The perfect workout. The perfect diet…enough already! FUCK PERFECT! Who do you know in real life that is actually perfect? No flaws, no issues, nothing…that’s right! NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON! It’s high time for ALL of us to cleanse our lives of this notion of perfection and get real.

Petra spoke on the importance of being authentic and real and to not be afraid to show our flaws. That’s right: show ’em, not hide ’em.  So I’m going to ask you what Petra asked a ballroom full of bloggers: What’s your “er”?  

  • Fitter?
  • Younger?
  • Stronger?
  • Prettier?
  • Thinner? 

We all have an -er (maybe more than one, amiright?) Wanna know my ERs?

Do I Look

I wish I was faster. I wish my stomach was flatter. I wish my boobs were smaller

Figure out yours and own it! Your strength lies in your authenticity. Your ability to be real in front of others is what connects you to your clients! I’m so tired of gym selfies and magazine covers that perpetuate these unrealistic ideals. I don’t want to be part of that! I want people to know I’m real. So let me get real for a minute…

  • I need coffee to feel human
  • I have stretch marks on my hips and my belly and probably my ass (but I can’t easily twist around to check it out)
  • my hair is crazy curly and I single-handedly keep the anti-frizz industry in business
  • my kids act up and drive me nuts sometimes
  • my complexion tends to be reddish and people think I’m always sunburnt
  • I’m a people pleaser
  • I cannot workout wearing a thong. There-I said it! Love me, love my visible panty lines, cuz I just can’t do it.
  • Whenever I walk into a room of fitness professionals I feel a moment of panic—like, “Holy shit! They’re gonna be able to tell I’m not really one of them! Look at my mom-bod and unclean-snack food and I don’t do CrossFit!”

I don’t expect perfection of anyone else so why should you expect it of me?I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: BE WHO YOU POST TO BE! If you’re a real human being with flaws, let us see the real you!

 

 

BlogFest

I got back home from my BlogFest adventure on Tuesday and now that I’ve had a day to get back on east coast time, I’m ready to write. Ready? Here goes nothing…

When I heard about BlogFest from the lovely Chantal Brodrick (of Fitness Business Podcast fame) I decided I was going to attend. I NEEDED to be part of this experience and once the excitement of being invited to attend settled, the anxiety set in. I’m going to have to leave my kids for a week! I’m going to have to get out of my comfort zone and network! I’m going to have to try to fit in in a room full of fitness bloggers! What the hell was I thinking?!? Imposter syndrome reared its bitchy head, but Mel Robbin’s advice on reframing anxiety as excitement did the trick and I was one excited mama boarding that flight last Wednesday!!!

I set a few intentions before I left to keep me focused (cuz if you know me, you’ll know I’m all about focus):

  • stick to my half-marathon training schedule
  • meet Chantal Brodrick
  • genuinely connect with as many people as possible
  • connect with some vendors
  • spend some real time by myself and clear my head
  • pay attention and be inspired

 

My first 90 minutes in San Diego were rushed because I needed to check in to the convention, check into my hotel and make it back to the convention centre in time to meet the Marathon Kids 5k Fun run! I ended up running to the run but I made it in time and a sticky run ended up being the perfect kick off to a life-changing experience.marathonkids

Why on Earth would I find a hot 5k run after a full day of traveling to be energizing?

Well, I’m a runner and we be a little crazy.  It served as a training run. It was my first time in San Diego and running the waterfront was a beautiful introduction. I got to meet some pretty amazing runners (seriously check out Jenny Nakamura, Christine Parizo, and Jamie King!) and badass female entrepreneurs. Talk about girl power! I was tired AF but I got to run with Runny Legs herself and the cutest little girl kept pace with me and outran her mom…pretty inspiring stuff! Thank you Marathon Kids and Sweat Pink!

 

I met my BlogFest companions bright and early the next morning for a workout with coconuts. Yup…real coconuts! (Thank you Fit Bodies, Inc!) coconutsGetting sweaty and friendly with tropical fruit is one helluva way to launch a conference. We attended the IDEA World opening ceremonies, met Heidi Powell, learned about podcasting, creating online courses, and upping our video game. Each of these sessions deserves it’s own post so I’m going to use today to share my highlights and takeaways.

  • the only block between me and my audience is own inner critic (thank you Petra Kolber)
  • if you’re happy, you’ll be successful (Robert Holden, PhD is my new spirit animal)
  • focus on who’s really and truly with you: your true tribe (Sadie Nardini)
  • I want a relationship like Gigi Ashworth has with her husband (seriously, they’re ridiculously adorable and there’s no doubt he’s her #1 fan!)
  • passion for why you do it needs to be at the core of what you do (Heidi Powell is as beautiful a person in real life as she is on tv)
  • create a personal connection with your audience, whether that be through the blog, a podcast, or my Instagram posts

I learned so much, and the above are just the start. I could seriously go on for days and days and days but I’ll keep to the highlights today,  (you’re welcome) . I learned a ton about myself, too, and here are some key lessons:

  • when I’m determined to do something, I hustle my butt until it happens
  • reaching out to industry leaders can lead to real-life connections (I have wanted to meet Chantal Brodrick for over a year now…and it happened!)
  • I am exactly where I’m supposed to be in this wonderful world of blogging and fitness entrepreneurship an I’m doing it for the right reasons
  • I stuck to my running training plan
  • It’s not selfish to invest in yourself: in your business and personal growth
  • I really miss dancingepicparty.jpg

 

I am so grateful to the SweatPink girls for having me at BlogFest. I connected with bloggers and speakers and vendors. I took notes and was inspired and I’m a better me for having attended. I can’t wait for BlogFest 2019!

*Stay tuned for more posts because I’ve got loads more to say.

 

How can you get Canadians moving?

I am big believer in supporting other health and fitness businesses: it’s what I do for a living. It goes deeper than that, though. As fitpreneurs we encourage and inspire people to pursue healthy and active lifestyles. We are helping create healthier communities and what worthier goal is there than that?!?

If you saw the news this week you maybe caught the story where Canadian kids earned a dismal D+ grade in physical activity. I’m a trained elementary school teacher and this saddens me greatly. This information was published in a ParticipACTION report which stated” that children who get the recommended amount of physical activity are more creative, better able to solve problems and less likely to make mistakes or suffer from mental health problems like depression and anxiety than their peers that do not. They also have better memories, longer attention spans and better self-esteem.”

 

Canadians

We KNOW in our guts that kids don’t move enough. We KNOW that most adults don’t move enough. So how do we change this? We work with our clients (usually adults) and get them moving and they will set the example for their kids and nieces and nephews. We will work together to create an accessible and active community where EVERYONE is encouraged to try new activities and are supported to get moving and stay moving! The world needs us! 

How do we do this?

We need to collaborate like I’m doing right now with the Keji Multisport Festival and the Aylesford Triathlon right here in the Annapolis Valley.

  • The Aylesford Triathlon offers a Try-a-Tri option (350m Swim, 10k Bike, 2.5k Run) for anyone new to the wonderful world of triathlon! Sprint and Olympic distance options are also available.
  • The Keji Multisport Festival includes a women’s only triathlon which is an excellent opportunity for mothers and daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces to experience beautiful Kejimkujik National Park in a unique and active way! The next day offers workshops in various activities such as biking, paddle boarding, and even trail running. Registering for this triathlon includes a training program so why not set a goal, sign up and use Aylesford as a training event?

 

Canada desperately needs us to keep moving and to inspire others in our communities to join us. Local events need registrants and volunteers, and I’m urging you to use your powers for good: share these events on social media and encourage clients to set new goals and register, then get out there and cheer them on!