The Art of Not Being Good at Something

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I went for my Saturday morning session this past week with my trainer, and since switching trainers in favour of changing things up a bit, I am perfecting techniques that I already thought I had perfected. Derp.

My new trainer tells me that my form is amazing but critiques and adds things that I could consider to make the exercise more effective, or to target some muscle or group of muscles I didn’t even know that I could target. He gives me options and things to really think about: “Break the bar when you come up,” “I want to put a glass of water on that back and I don’t want it to spill,” “Dig those heels in,” “Don’t think too much”.

Don’t think too much…

Thinking, although helpful in jobs that involve strategy (which mine usually have), is usually a great thing. It’s okay to think about all possible outcomes, weigh all your options, figure out the main goal and then all the tactics that are needed to execute. Overthinking is my nemesis. It’s something I’m working on, and will continue to work on throughout my life. This tends to hinder me the most particularly when it comes to working out. (Dating and relationships also suffer from my overthinking, but thank fack this blog is about fitness and not the latter.)

At first being critiqued like this was frustrating. My trainer could see it on my face, and I think I did threaten to punch him a few times. Poor guy gets a Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.30.30 AMfriendly bird flip every once in awhile too. I like to switch things up.

Much like I have learned that he’s only trying to help; he’s pushing me to do things that I don’t like to do, he’s making me think about things that I don’t want to think about. I want to think that my damn deadlift is perfect. That people will call a hotline somewhere to ask for my advice because it’s so great. Like an unsuccessful telethon let’s just say no one is calling yet. (Trés opposite of hotline bling…?)

What I’m learning slowly and accepting much more easily than I used to is the fact that it’s okay to not be good at things. It’s okay to be limited physically, mentally, emotionally, or however-ally.

The important part about not being good at something, at least to me, is realizing that you have a choice. You can choose to give up, or you can choose to learn how to do whatever it is however you can, within the limits set by factors that you may not be able to change or control.

Will it always be the best? No.
Will it always work? No.
Does that mean it’s not worth trying? To some yes and that’s okay too.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.38.14 AMYou’re in charge of you, not anyone else. I’m not going to judge you. You’re going to judge you, just like I judge myself and that’s probably the harshest judgment you’ll ever face in life. You.

My trainer at the end of the day doesn’t go home and lose sleep over my deadlift stance. He doesn’t practice with me late at night when no one is looking. He’s probably thinking about ways that we can tweak certain things and how he can help me attain my goals of perfecting my deadlift (so much that people do call me on the deadlift hotline) but when it comes down to it, I’m responsible for me.

I can quit, I can start again. I can flip the bird. I can yell. I can silently beat myself up, which isn’t good but I do sometimes anyway. I can read about it, I can write about it, I can overanalyze the shit out of it. Bottom line is it’s okay if you’re not good at something. It’s okay if everything seems to go wrong. It’s okay to quit. It’s okay to overanalyze, but at some point, you just have let yourself accept what you’re not good at, stop thinking so much about it that you overthink things, and just go and do it until you do have your version of it….whatever that might look like!

-Bexx

 

How to Pick the Perfect Personal Trainer

When you have a trainer you spend a lot of time with them, just how much time you spend with them, is really up to you.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.47.17 PMI personally love morning training sessions and see my trainer TJ at 6 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Sometimes I think he’s plotting to kill me with his crazy training weightlifting/cardio combos, other times I think he just likes watching my face when he lies and says just two more burpees when I know we already got to 12. (He’s sneaky like that!)  All said in jest – if you know me IRL, you have probably heard a TJ story or ten, because I really appreciate my trainer and all that we accomplish within these hour-long sessions.  He’s like a big brother that you actually listen to, and sometimes he even yells out really cool things to embarrass you in the gym (This morning he yelled “NOW DON’T FART” when I was about to do leg lifts for my abs to try and embarrass me…I died laughing.)   All kidding and joking aside, he’s really good at reading his clients (HE GOT TRAINER OF THE MONTH FOR SEPTEMBER!!!!) – he is good at joking with some clients, being serious with others, and pushes some that need to be pushed in ways that they’ll feel comfortable.  This is a key to being a good trainer in my opinion.

How to find your own awesome personal trainer like mine:

1. Personality

  • social-media-personality-typesIf you don’t like being pushed, and the type of trainer you pick likes to lead your sessions with encouraging ‘yips and yells’ about fitness screaming “YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS” in your ear while you workout – you’re going to want to spend your session punching them with your mind, rather than focusing on the workout. This pretty much defeats the purpose.  If that is your style and you love the idea of having your own personal drill sergeant, pushing you beyond your own minds limitations, then this type of trainer may be for you!
  • There is no right and wrong type of personality when it comes to training – fit is what is the most important (not how fit they look, how they fit with you! ;)).  When you’re looking for a job at a company the culture and how you fit in matters, and the same thing goes for training – pick a person (and place) that is best fit to your own personality and what you’re looking to get out of a personal trainer.

2. Goals

  • Ultimately your goals and what you’re going to the trainer for are important.  I spend a lot of time at the gym and training.  That being said, you observe a lot of different trainer/trainee relationships.  If you’re going to the gym to see a personal trainer for the mere fact that you can tell Suzy and Mimi
    goals
    Photo cred: http://www.becomeablogger.com

    that you have a trainer, then your goals are going to be a bit different from someone who is looking to drop weight, improve their endurance or enter their first fitness competition.

  • It is important in this case to know what your trainer has in terms of  credentials or ‘claims to fame’. Have they trained both males and females?  Have they helped people get to their goal weight?  Have they won fitness competitions themselves? Do they know how to train people who want to do that? All very important questions to ask or look into when you’re trying to find the trainer who is right for you.  A lot of people will claim that they can get you to your goals, but don’t necessarily have the street cred to back that up.  (Note:  This does not give you license to blame your trainer if you are not hitting your goals if you mash pizza into yo’ face after training.  Diet is equally important.)

3. Price and Availability

  • How much are you willing to invest in a personal trainer? Some of my friends think I’m crazy and spend a lot on training.  I realize that I do. I also used to spend a lot of that money on pizza, so I think it’s a good reallocation of funds 😉  It’s okay to save your money and shop around for a trainer who fits into your budgetary life too.  At the end of the day, you need to do what works best for your lifestyle.
    Photo cred: www.nicabm.com
    Photo cred: http://www.nicabm.com

    Maybe it’s time for less pizza, or maybe it’s time to shop around until you find a super awesome trainer who is starting out and may have a Groupon deal.  It’s really up to you.

  • The time of day that you’d like to train is also important.  Some trainers are flexible with training time. If your schedule isn’t always the same,  you may want to find a trainer who can work with a more sporadic schedule.  Some trainers are working with other clients who have more set schedules, and they may not be for you.  Again, it’s really about finding someone who can work with you, and your schedule to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your training.

Overall, I’ve had a great experience with my trainer!  I started off with one that didn’t really mesh with my personality, and what my goals were.  These are some of the things that I thought about when trying to find more of what I was looking for.   I hope that this helps you when choosing your personal trainer wisely 😉

Any great or not so great stories about personal training to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Happy Training!

-Bexx

ps unsolicited plug – if anyone is looking for an awesome trainer, I happen to have one and know a few others as well 🙂 Let me know if you need any help sourcing!

Running is my therapy

I’m angry at the snow preventing me from running my best pace outside on the non-icy sidewalks.

I’m angry at my legs for being too short to fit the regular lengthed lulu winter running pants.

I’m angry because I just stubbed my toe while trying to find my running shoes.

I’m angry because I missed my running group tonight because I had to stay late at work.

photo: http://www.popsugar.com
photo: http://www.popsugar.com

Today is one of those days that you just want to crawl into a ball and hide from the world.  I want to eat a giant chocolate cake, topped with whipped cream, and then finish off a bag of jalapeno cheddar Doritos for my dessert.  There are no rules when you’re angry, apparently – dessert can be chips, and dinner can be cake.

Regardless, today I am a little ball of anger, and that’s not usually the case.  If I ever drank coffee and experienced that caffeine high people claim to need to get their day going, I’d probably bounce off the walls and have no friends left because the pain-in-the-butt sunny disposition that I already possess, would result in people wanting to punch me out.  However, today I’m just angry.

I don’t usually talk about negative things, but I think it’s important to acknowledge when you’ve just had a terrible day, and it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a little bit – provided of course that you’re not using your anger to punch someone out etc. Anger is healthy.  My life is not perfect.  It is okay to be angry at so many different reasons that it don’t make sense.

Today is that day.

No one did anything particularly mean or bad to me today.  I just have an issue with letting two hundred things go, without getting angry about them at the time, or speaking up about my feelings. Where a normal person would say something while these two hundred things were happening at the very time they were happening, I just let things go, and process internally.  It’s something I’ve been working on for a while and every now and again, I still have an angry day. I’m having less of them and I’m getting better at telling people how I really feel about things that happen to me, but I’m not perfect by any means.

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“You cannot change the things that happens to you, but you can change how you react to them.”  I read that quote somewhere once, and I try to remember it when something bad does happen, or when someone is a big enough jerk to me that they warrant a flying drop-kick.  (Note: I don’t want you to try to picture me doing one of these, because it will take away from the non-hilarity of this blog post ;))

That being said, I’m not going to eat the cake or Doritos (Sorry, guyssssss!)  I’m going to lace up my shoes and run a long run solo, on the wintery streets of Toronto, in my too long for me winter lulu pants, with my tunes cranked up, and a slight grin on my face, because the anger will dissipate as I run my very first steps out the door.  Running is my therapy.  Anger get out of here 😉

Training: The Good, The Bad and The I Want to Give ups….

Training has started again for my next half marathon.  Some days I grumble as I put my shoes on and I don’t want to go, but I know that once I am done I will feel so much better and energized.  Sometimes mid-run I want to quit, I get a pain in my side, or I develop this fictitious knee pain that convinces my already wavering self to throw in the towel and go home.  I don’t want to be like this.  I have trained for years and I would like to tell you that this feeling goes away after years of running, training and doing many different types of workouts, but sometimes it creeps up on you, no matter how many motivational quotes you post for yourself on your Facebook page.

I’ve tried a lot of things – boot camps, boxing classes, pilates, Bikram yoga and I always come back to running.  No matter how long I’ve been away, I always get the urge to return.   Long distance running in an amazing thing to me.  There isn’t just one ‘type’ of person that can do it.  In high school I was told that I couldn’t be a sprinter because I didn’t have the right body type.  Now in hindsight I might not have been the next Donovan Bailey (mostly because I’m also not a dude…) but it would have been nice to not have been given such self-esteem squashing advice.

Thin, not so thin, tall, short, old, young –  you can run.  You might not make it to the Olympics, but you can run and you can set goals for yourself.  In races people who are twice your size will barrel past you and kick your butt, much to your novice surprise.  You will also school some athletic looking people who you thought you never could beat.  I am rather competitive sometimes (read: all the time) and I always like to pick someone who I’d like to try to beat at the starting line of a race.  I don’t think I’ve ever really beaten them, but it’s a fun game I like to play with myself to ease my nerves before a race.  I always get that feeling. like when you’re a kid and you’re playing your first softball game and you think to yourself “is this a bad time to say that I have to pee?!” just as you take the out field for the first person to go up to bat,  before a race.  This is something that will never change over the years no matter how many times I race, and to be honest I’m glad it doesn’t.  It brings that nervous surge of adrenaline through my body and reminds me why I’m there in the first place.

It’s not like I’m racing to win (perhaps some day I will be 90 and enter a race in a small town and win my age category by default, but until then I don’t see myself taking a gold anytime soon haha)  I’m racing for myself.

I am going to admit that right now I’d like to quit training for this half marathon.  Training after you haven’t been running for about a month or two is really hard.  You want your body to do what it did two months ago.  You want to throw on your runners and feel that ease of the soles on the pavement, like you’ve been doing this all your life.

Last Thursday, I stopped at one point during my run and said to my running partner Rae that I didn’t want to do it anymore.  I didn’t quit, but I wanted to.  My attitude for the rest of the run was less than pleasant to say the least.  Post-run we had a chat, and we have decided that a) I am hard on myself and b) I need to keep at it if I am ever going to improve or get back to where I want to be.

My point is, I’m having a hard time finding the motivation that I always pride myself in having.  I’m the person who gets up at 5:30 am to take a bus downtown to take a workout class.  I’m the person who does a class in the morning and a boxing class at night.  My friends call me crazy at times and they never want to believe that even I want to give up sometimes.  What I’m doing this time around during training isn’t just physical, I’m also trying to give myself a training in motivating myself past those points of wanting to give up, and really pushing myself to do better.  I am not a quitter.

I’m going to do better.
I’m not going to quit.
I’m going to kick some butt (sometimes my own hah)
I’m going to try to not get frustrated with myself
I’m going to believe in myself
I’m going to accept the bad days and embrace them as much as the good days.
I’m going to try harder.

Train on!

-Bexx