Greatness is Contagious

I was watching her – not only as a bootcamp participant, but as an instructor. Early on in my heart of hearts, I knew that I was watching and learning to become an instructor myself. Yes, I was getting my own fitness on track, but deep down I felt like this was something I would love to do. Concentrating on my form, sweat beads dropping from my hairline down my back and trying to eek out each rep, she hollered at us:

“Greatness is contagious! Don’t be that person that quits half way through! The person next to you is watching! You drop out, then she does. It is contagious! Don’t be the downfall of the people next to you! Be great! Catch the greatness!”

Needless to say, that when given that little gem – somehow you manage to find what little strength you have in the tank and give it your all. She was, and is, full of these fitness gems. (You can check out Christina and her other awesome Christina-isms at her website dumbellfitness.com.)

What she said was, and is, so very true. I see it as an instructor myself all the time. You may think that while you’re in your group class, stopping mid workout to check your phone that you are only affecting you, but you’re not. Everyone in the group feels that focus and that energy detract from the room. During indoor cycling class, I’ve threatened to bring in a basket “depository” for all electronics for the hour. I crack jokes in class to get the point across without singling anyone out – because a lot of the time I think it’s just become so customary. We have these screens attached to our fingertips all of the time that to set it down and (GASP!) actually turn them off seems to make us feel naked! For one hour – just one – take a break. Work on you. Leave all of your life at the door. Trust me – it will be there when you are finished. Fill your cup – then you can get back to filling others’. 

If you are coming to a group class, understand that you are a part of that group – even if it’s just for that workout. Your presence, your energy, and your focus is wanted and needed. It’s not about the instructor or ego or anything like that – it’s about your fellow participants. When you half-ass it, they see that and it is contagious. But so is greatness. If you are giving it everything you have, so will those around you. This isn’t to say you have to be perfect, or do every rep – it’s that you are doing YOUR best. Giving it your all.

In fitness, we don’t half-ass it. We use our whole ass. Why? Because greatness is contagious!

Just Give Me a Reason

It would seem that this sort of thing couldn’t happen. How is it possible that an entrepreneur, who saw a need in her community, filled that need successfully, is told to quit? How is this even happening? It makes no sense.

Christina Landry, military spouse and a veteran herself, founded DumBell Fitness 5 years ago. As a personal trainer, she saw that the number one barrier to military moms getting fit and taking care of themselves was a lack of child care. Seeing that need, she created a company that offered a variety of classes and hired childcare providers to play with and watch kiddos on-site, while moms got their workout in. She hired fellow military spouses and paid them a fair wage. Isn’t recognizing a need, having the gumption to create an idea and run with it a good thing? Give me a reason why this is wrong.

To be official and legal, she approached the MWR (Navy’s Morale Welfare and Recreation organization) with her idea. They informed her that it was a military housing decision because of the location of the classes. She then approached the housing company, Forest City, and was given the green light.

Please understand a couple of things. DumBell Fitness is more than just fitness. It’s more than just some random military spouses getting together in unused parking lots and unused grassy fields. They provide clients with the tools to combat depression, long separations, and creates much-needed real community among military spouses. As a result of success at improving physical health, clients realize their own potential – many for the first time. DBF supports our military one family at a time, in a concrete and tangible way. This program literally saves lives. It saved mine.

Christina Landry has been selected two years in a row for the 2014 Best of Honolulu Awards for Personal Trainers and now qualifies for the Honolulu Business Hall of Fame. Two consecutive years she was voted Military Spouse of the Year. She not only shares a vision to make her community better, but she actually DOES it. DumBell Fitness gives back by way of local charity events, kids’ bootcamp programs that stress the importance of physical activity for our children, classes and races for charity, volunteerism and so much more.

After operating with full legal compliance and permissions, DumBell Fitness was suddenly told they would have to bid on a contract to continue operations on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH). The contract was then awarded to a non-military affiliated company that not only charges more for services, but does not include childcare when DumBell Fitness could not offer MWR more than a 5% cut.

A friend and fellow client put it this way:

“Let me get this straight. The owner of Dumbell Fitness …  goes thru the proper channels and gets housing/base approval to use the EMPTY grassy areas/parking lots by housing … MWR gets mad, then requires her to submit a bid on her own program, to which MWR/JBPHH pick another non-military affiliated boot camp to run what Dumbell already was doing.  Please tell me how this makes any sense? Seems like MWR stole her idea and then sold it to the highest bidder. Insane.”

As a contract writer for DumBell Fitness, I know firsthand how this company helps people. I see it in the articles I write highlighting the successes of it’s clients. I read about it in the way these ‘recruits’ can barely put into the words the gratitude they feel for their trainers.

This is what loving your neighbor as yourself looks like in action.

Just give me a (legitimate) reason why this is even happening, when the benefit to Navy, personnel, active duty, military families, spouse employment and the community at large is so great?

What can we do? We can support DumBell Fitness and get the word out that what happened was wrong! Here are some links to get you started and keep you in the loop!I if you wish you had DumBell Fitness in your neighborhood – check out their program DB4L! It’s awesome and unlike ANY other workout program you’ve ever tried! (I know this because I USE IT!)

From the owner herself:

On Facebook:

DumBell Fitness

Don’t Push Us Off

Other sites:

DumBell Fitness

Hawaii News Now

Home Sweet Hawaii

SpouseBuzz

Army Wife 101

Military Spouse

NextGenMilSpouse

Contact Info:

jeffrey.w.james@navy.mil – Commander of JBPHH, Captain James,

thomas.a.jones@navy.mil – JBPHH MWR Director, Thomas Jones

White House

Hawaii Congress Woman, Tulsi Gabbard

So This is What Schizophrenia Feels Like

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/daily-prompt-incredible/

Today’s prompt was to describe what we do when we receive incredible news. This pretty much sums it up for me: Freak out excitement, then doubt. I also wrote about this in last night’s post: Daring Greatly.

 

Lori's Life and Other Stuff

I love to write. While I doubt I’ll be selling the next New York Times best seller anytime soon, (at least while the littles are still little), I do enjoy having a creative outlet and and entertaining the 3 people (including my parents) who think I’m “just the best”.

Recently, I was contacted to write for another blog. Words that I put into sentences, for people to read. For compensation. Really!? I think my head might just pop right off my neck. Excited doesn’t even begin to express how I am feeling. More like pee-my-pants-while-simultaneously-doing-in-the-air-heel-clicks!

Part of me is feeling very Sally Field-esque  (“You like me!? You really like me!?”) The other part of me is flipping out furiously jotting notes and mumbling while not letting a pen and pad escape my grasp. This must be what it’s like to have schizophrenia. Or at the very least A.D.D.

I am humbled…

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Trepidation and Encouragement

On Tough Mudder eve, I’m feeling nervous. Like every new race, I’m always nervous. Anxiously reviewing the list of preparations, questioning whether there was enough training, enough sleep, enough nutrition….the list goes on and on.

I have never regretted trying new things. Ever. I may have been in pain, achey for days, occasionally disappointed, and sore in places I didn’t know existed – but never regret. This race, perhaps even more than the marathon, makes me VERY nervous.

On this race eve, as I pack and prepare and we head south, my husband comes in the with the mail and hands me an envelope. I open it, noting the return address from a fellow DumBell Fitness recruit. They left Hawaii before we did. She was always very motivating standing next to me during those grueling workouts.

I open it up and find this:

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On a day I can really use a boost, I get one. Big time. The fellow recruit that sent this to me had saved this sticker for me from the time we had had a conversation in the parking lot over 2 years ago. 

Ultimately, the only thing we take with us or leave behind is how we impact other people. I am so touched that she remembered, followed my races, and reached out to encourage me (and I’m sure many others along the way.)

That I may have impacted anyone else the way that she, and so many others have influenced and encouraged me, I will call myself very lucky indeed.

Thank you so much, Melissa. You have no idea how much I needed this today.

“Everyday try something that scares you. Push yourself beyond the limits you thought were impossible. Do not stay in your comfort zone, but learn to see what lies outside.”

Arriving

July makes me reflective.

July 2011, I joined a “little workout class”, that forever changed the trajectory of my (and my family’s) life. The left side of this image is what I looked like at that time: (Note the TWO pieces of cake! Gross!)

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I was in a size 16 (barely), should have been a size 18, and was essentially numb to life and going through the motions. The minute that picture was snapped, my smile subsided. Enter bootcamp and learning to live a healthier lifestyle, the rest is history.

By February of 2012, I am at my fittest: (size 6-8)

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And this was taken just a couple of weeks ago: (size 8-10)

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Transitions, with regard to weight loss, are definitely messy with lots of highs and lows. There is no “Okay! I’ve hit my goal weight/size! Now I’m done with that!” and going back to being sedentary. Fitness is for life – as corny and cliche as that sounds. There is no finish line – it’s just the start of the next race. (Thank you Trainer Laurie Weber for that one!)

I’m going on two years of this “transition” or fitness path, and I don’t ever want to go back to the way I used to be. While there are and will be setbacks, there will also continue to be striving ahead, strength gains, and new goals. An on-going continuous way of living that will include moving my body (a lot!), moving heavy things, and eating! Eating good, tasty, and whole foods most of the time.

What I have discovered though, is that for this to be a sustainable, long-term way of living, things have to be in balance as much as possible. I have to enjoy what I’m doing. I refuse to minutely obsess about macronutrient ratios, cry when I don’t like what the scale says, or restrict food to bland chicken and broccoli every single night. (I haven’t weighed myself in over 2 months! Gasp!) I food log every few weeks when I need to gauge where I’m at if I need to, but I try to listen to my body and eat intuitively. (For more on listening to your body, check out Linda Bacon’s book “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight”.) While some may see this book as a “Just give up and eat whatever you want”, I do not.  I don’t believe dieting and restriction is a long term solution.

Bottom Line: Health is not an arrival point. There is no point B in fitness. You never arrive. It’s an on-going, continuous journey. And as much as I like the completeness of being at the destination, this is an area where I have to accept that it just doesn’t exist.

And that’s okay.

Wonderful Wednesday: Random Gratitude

There are many things I’m grateful for this week. Here’s my list:

1. Recovery. After running the Whidbey Island half marathon on Sunday, I was hobbling around like a 98 year old! Today, while still a bit sore, I’m feeling more like myself.

2. Workout Accountability Working out gets done when there is accountability. I am so grateful for my sister and my neighbor who are committed to working out and making it fun!

3. Our Digs:  I am loving this place we get to call home. There are TONS of kids, lots of trails, beaches galore (granted, they are rocky – but great for exploring and throwing things into the water!) and this past week has been a nice glimpse into spring and summer!

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This is right down the road from our house!

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4. Hannah Riding  She’s happy to ride her bike. She does amazingly well for only 2 and loves to keep up with her brother! It makes exploring so much more fun for her as opposed to always being in the trailer or a stroller.

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5. The Ocean It’s vast, beautiful, and any other words I attempt to use in defining why I adore the ocean will just fail miserably. The ocean is where I feel the most peace, the most content, and the closest to God.

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6. I don’t need help” I love that my kids are learning independence. They want to do things on their own. Even when it makes my stomach do flip flops!

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7. Playing Together While not always pretty, they do play well together most of the time. They love exploring and “going on adventures” even if it is just to the playground. I pray they stay close into adulthood.

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8. Unity First, with the Boston tragedy, I’m reminded of the amount of good. While evil had its moment, good people rushed in to help those injured. Runners, after running a marathon, volunteered to give blood. I read one account of a finisher giving his medal to another runner who’s opportunity to cross the finish line was taken away. (Even as I type that, I’m tearing up.)

Secondly, I’ve seen unity in an amazing way, albeit from a distance. A group I was fortunate enough to be a part of and what kick-started my health and fitness journey has been (temporarily) shut down. I’ve watched these women and men who work out so hard, fight, pray and rally around the group’s founder as they work to find a way to bring the program back. It’s a program that works, and works well. I was blessed to be a part of the program while living on Oahu. With a waiting list of over 90 people, it is needed. Desperately. Even amidst the adversity and the lack of childcare, I’m watching these amazing people offer up their homes, offer their time to watch others’ kids while they workout, offer kind words of support, and so much more.

I’m thankful I get to call many of these people my friends.

Pride (aka Tooting One’s Own Horn)

A collective conversation happening with some of my health and fitness peeps has sparked my thoughts in the arena of pride. It’s interesting as we become healthy, lose weight, gain strength and do all the things that were once thought impossible, people around us start out supportive, and then either join in the movement with us, or make subtle jabs saying that we may have become”obsessed”, “fanatics”, or attack our parenting in that “we are so consumed with our own goals that we must be neglecting our families”.

I call BS.

Granted, as the saying goes, it IS in fact possible to workout without posting it on Facebook (I’ve been guilty of that and more!) but so what?! If it provides accountability and gets a person off the couch, better something positive than the alternative.

In our culture, probably more so for women, it seems that the polite thing to do is be modest. Don’t brag about yourself. Don’t put yourself out there. Don’t stand out. Who are you to think you are special? On and on it goes.

My question is this: Why not? Why not stand out, get healthy, run a marathon (or whatever your deal is) and then, yes – blow the heck out of that damn horn! Can we not just be happy for someone that is making positive changes in a healthy direction, even if we aren’t there yet ourselves? While being prideful in a way that is hurtful or puts someone else down is never good, healthy pride in our accomplishments is a good thing. Reverence and respect for our strengths is healthy. Don’t we praise our kids and cheer them on when they succeed?! Why can’t we do the same thing for ourselves?

 

Wonder Full Wednesday: Perspiration to Inspiration

I am never more alive then when I’ve just completed a workout, I’m sweaty and what I like to call “all wrung out”. For some reason, I’m never more clear, more focused and more sure of myself as I am when I am doing something physically strenuous. More often than not, much of my writing inspiration comes from random thoughts while running.

I distinctly remember on more than one occasion standing in line with other recruits at bootcamp class waiting nervously in line for our turn at the agility course. Mind you, the instructor has just walked through and explained (yelled) what to do, but for some reason – I always doubted. I doubted I could do it, I doubted I could do it right, I doubted I could even remember what she wanted us to do.

Being followed

Agility (Photo credit: John Carleton)

Every time as I stepped up to my turn, on the balls of my feet anticipating my start, my mind would go blank and I would just GO. (Now this isn’t to say that I always did it all perfect, but the level of doubt I had was not proportionate to my skill.) That “blankness” that “just-stop-getting-in-your-own-way-and-do-it” thing happens all the time when I do something and show myself that yes, I CAN. I am much stronger than I think. I just have to stop thinking about it.

When we get to the end of ourselves physically, when we are completely spent, that’s the moment we tap into clarity. We go beyond our bodies and tap into the spiritual. Perhaps that’s why it makes me smile a bit when people ask either how I lost weight (if I have a magic pill or the latest fad diet) or how I have the motivation to keep working out. It makes me smile because if I’ve learned anything over the last two years, it is this: it is really not about the physical. Yes, it’s part of the process, yes, it’s exercise and eating clean and all of that, but the majority of it for me has been my personal growth; my growth in creativity, as a parent, as a friend, as a wife, and as a person.

Perspiration leads to inspiration. I love being inspired! That “not regretting a workout” platitude is cute, true, but definitely not the whole story. Smaller jeans are nice, but it’s not the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is taking what you’ve learned, passion and inspiration, and passing it on and sharing it with others. When its true passion, it can’t help but be shared.

For this passion, this being inspired while perspiring; I am grateful.

So This is What Schizophrenia Feels Like

I love to write. While I doubt I’ll be selling the next New York Times best seller anytime soon, (at least while the littles are still little), I do enjoy having a creative outlet and and entertaining the 3 people (including my parents) who think I’m “just the best”.

Recently, I was contacted to write for another blog. Words that I put into sentences, for people to read. For compensation. Really!? I think my head might just pop right off my neck. Excited doesn’t even begin to express how I am feeling. More like pee-my-pants-while-simultaneously-doing-in-the-air-heel-clicks!

Jump^ 13,435 ft

Jump^ 13,435 ft (Photo credit: CK Wong)

Part of me is feeling very Sally Field-esque  (“You like me!? You really like me!?”) The other part of me is flipping out furiously jotting notes and mumbling while not letting a pen and pad escape my grasp. This must be what it’s like to have schizophrenia. Or at the very least A.D.D.

I am humbled, excited, nervous, excited, scared, excited, and petrified. Through the excitement, however, there is a nagging question in the back of my mind. It’s the question we all have from time to time. (C’mon – you know the voices talk to you, too!) The question is simply this:

“Am I good enough? Can I really do this?”

Recently I discovered Brene Brown on Ted Talks and was very moved by her talk on vulnerability. You can watch the talk here:

She discusses how innovation and creativity are born from a place of vulnerability. Dan Rather was quoted as saying that “courage is being afraid but going on anyhow”. These two ideas precisely demonstrate how I feel about this new endeavor. How does anyone know if they are “good enough” if they aren’t willing to exert some risk?

Here’s to taking a risk, learning new things, accepting new challenges while accepting myself in the process!

Ripples

With the onset of fall, the upcoming hustle and bustle of the Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas hoopla, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about our life (and weather) in Hawaii. There is much I do not miss about life in Hawaii, but when I’m freezing my tootsies off in the pacific northwest rain, wearing warm boots and still cranking up the thermostat – I sometimes wish that I could go back – maybe for just a bit to warm up.

More than the weather, the beaches and eating fresh delicious pineapple whenever I felt like it, I miss my peeps, the people who have made such an impact on my life. Makes me wonder about the impact I have on the people around me, and in turn the impact that they then have on others.

When I met Katy and Liz,  they were just a couple of moms with their kiddos at the playground. They’d been friends for a while, and their easy camaraderie was attractive and easy. It would have been so easy for them to shut me out, do the “mean girls” thing, and off we go our separate ways. But they didn’t. And it’s made all the difference.

As Katy put it – she had to stalk me for a while before I came around. I am slow and cautious to make friends. (In my defense, I had just had Hannah and was a little out of it too!) Katy is one of those people that makes friends easily, and makes the process look effortless.  She has the gift of being a great friend yet isn’t a doormat, and she is still able to keep her family the priority.  Her husband also rocks and gave me some great training tips along the way. (Not to mention that he is seriously one of the funniest people ever! 😉  With her encouragement, we joined a bootcamp class and forever changed our lives through diet and some hard core workouts. We met other people. Liz ran a post pregnancy run with such joy that I marveled at her and didn’t “get it” then, as I wasn’t really a runner at that point….I have been inspired by Nina, another close friend who I looked up to as a fitness mentor (aka ROCKSTAR!) although she downplays how awesome she really is. Seriously?! Who wakes up at o’dark thirty to run and is jumping around all excited!!??? (That would be Nina!) I found confidence I didn’t know I had – and even went to the 3 day class. I was sad to not be in the same class as my friends anymore working out side by side, but I knew with limited time left in Hawaii – I had to suck up as much of our instructor as I possibly could!

Which brings me to Christina – the seriously bad a$$ trainer. Words don’t describe (although I’ve tried) how much she has taught me. And more than just about fitness and diet. And then along came a new neighbor,  Jayde. She is rockin’ her deal called This Strong Body on Facebook which is a community of like minded folk who are doing their daily diet/fitness thing.

All of these seemingly random people that either for a short time or lifetime, have had a ripple effect in each other’s lives.

If Christina had never become a trainer….
If Katy hadn’t “stalked” me…..
If Katy hadn’t been a runner…..
If I would have declined invitations to parties….
If I had said “No” to bootcamp…..
If I would have quit bootcamp….
If Nina didn’t run like a gazelle……
If Nina didn’t make me laugh and turn me on to Shut up and Run…… 🙂
If Jayde hadn’t moved in next door….
If I would have stayed inside and not set out the sprinkler to entice her kiddos over, thereby baiting her….(muahahhahahhaha!)
If……

Even people now through the medium of Facebook can affect each other. I know I am inspired by people I only know through my friends on Facebook. I’ve watched lives transformed and become “friends” with people I have yet to meet. (Hey that’s you Laura and Casey!)

All of this to say, that it’s amazing what a ripple affect one can cause by person’s choices. Choices to smile and and say hello. The choice to risk new friendships, put yourself out there and know that sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

I hope my “ripples” can positively affect someone to be their best, the way that I’ve been bettered by the ripples of others.