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Life Changing Books

PANDEM(IC)ONIUM PT. III

BOOKS I READ DURING MY “TASTE OF RETIREMENT”:

To recap the last two blogs in “exquisite simplicity,” I panicked and organized, then with an organized space, I dealt with what I needed to mentally, and built a patio so that Adrian and I could actually enjoy our yard, nature, and temporary retirement. Since I had such a wonderful patio to read on now, it’s time we talk about books. It’s easiest to list them below:

Limitless- Jim Kwik. Must read for every human at any reading level/age. It’s a book about learning how to learn. Without spoiling anything, it helps educate you on how the human brain functions, how to use it in the best way you can, and how to make the life you want. I love it and have given it to seven people so far, and will definitely read it again. I cannot stress this enough; this is one of the most important books I have ever read.

Daring Greatly- Brene Brown. Love her and this book. After reading Limitless, I was already in a “get sh*t done” mindset and super motivated to be better. Daring Greatly encouraged me to stop planning and controlling things to death. I wanted to be less anxious. I wanted to be a gym owner. I wanted a lot of things, but I would always think about every possible outcome and just get a little down on myself. This book allowed me to start saying more positive things about myself and not feel weird, arrogant, or conceited. (My issues. Adrian read it and got something completely different from it, which is the coolest part of these types of books!)

The Gifts of Imperfection- Brene Brown. I wish I read this before Daring Greatly, and I would recommend that. It was wonderful, but after completing the two books above, I had already made a lot of progress and understood the concepts in the book. Still highly recommend it!

The Four Agreements- Don Miguel Ruiz. I re-read this one, but I am counting it. It’s a nice little reminder to stay grounded, and that other people’s opinions only matter if you let them, and words are just words. Also a must read, and it’s a very easy and short read. Short, sweet, and to the point.

The Fifth Agreement- Don Miguel Ruiz, Don Jose Ruiz, Janet Mills. Also a must read. I re-read The Four Agreements so they were fresh in my mind for this, but that was not actually necessary. They do a fantastic job of reviewing the first four agreements, and the Fifth Agreement really just makes it sink it. I am not going to tell you what they are because I want you to read them. 🙂

Untamed- Glennon Doyle. I like books that encourage people to be themselves. I like books that empower people and encourages people to take risks for the sake of a happy life. Be different. Don’t force things. Make life what you want it regardless of what other people think of it. I don’t think I got as much out of it as some peers, but if I had read it earlier in life I for sure would have. Sometimes it’s all about having it said the right way for how you need to hear it.

Reading has slowed down a little for me now that I get to see clients again (YAY!!), but I am keeping that in my daily/weekly life. I feel sharper when I read, I love learning, and it’s almost meditative for me because I only focus on what I am reading and thoughts that pertain to that. There is so much knowledge out there, I feel like no matter how much I learn, it will never be enough. I really focused on some issues that I was dealing with, I put in the work to be better, and honestly, I believe all of these books have helped me be a more confident human and allowed me to fulfill some dreams (helloooo, training studio.) It wasn’t all easy, but Adrian and I would talk about a lot together and help support, encourage, check, and inspire one another. He’s great and I love him (in case you didn’t already know.)

Going back to work schedules challenged my reading time, but I know what it does for me and how I feel with it, so I MAKE it a priority. How do I find time while still running and growing a health coaching business? I schedule out time for it, even if it’s only 15-20 minutes a day. I know that I retain things best in the mornings, and with the traffic changes on my commute, I head to work an hour before I actually need to start training. I have shifted my morning routine to take place in my facility. It was a change at first, but I wake up around 4:30am, am out the door by 4:50am, and at the gym by 5:05am. By the time I make my coffee or tea, put makeup on, and make sure the facility is ready for peeps, I have about 20-30minutes to read, which is actually ideal (and you’ll learn why when you read “Limitless.”) I always try to read things I am interested in, and if I am not finding myself engaged, I stop reading that book. Simple. I’m not in school and it doesn’t mean I’ll never read it again, but it may not be the right time for that.

So overall, books are amazing and I am so thankful I was able to rekindle my love and practice of reading consistently. I plan to start our very O.W.N. Book Club one day, but if you’re interested in what I’m reading before that officially takes off, check out @own.healthandstrength on Instagram. I post mini reviews on there, and sometimes there’s a cute little cameo from Misty or Jack.

Next blog will be about the elephant in the room… HOW I OPENED MY O.W.N. FACILITY during the trash fire year of 2020!!! Everything you’ve been reading, especially on this blog, lead to my first official facility opening. Spoiler: I did it myyyyyy wayyyyyyyyy!

Stay tuned, stay healthy, and stay strong!

X- Shea

CONNECTING TO OURSELVES, AND CONNECTING OURSELVES TO NATURE

PART II of the Pandem(ic)onium Series

So, last blog we covered the beginning of the shutdown and what that looked like. Somehow I completely forgot that I had shingles when we first shut down. So in the beginning of March I had a sh*tshow of an experience at the doctor, they didn’t believe me, asked if I wasn’t “used to pain” when I cried from frustration (the tattoed person who spoke to them about a recent shoulder dislocation, torn labrum, a/c separation and fractured collar bone… clearly that person can’t handle pain. A-holes.) Anywhoo, that sucked as well and added on to why the following events were important in my life. Let’s begin, lol:

YO-ga: As in YOooooo have you ever tried this?! Cuz, “oh my GA(h)” it’s amazing and has changed everything!  I started doing yoga in the morning because I knew that it was good for mental space and could help ‘stretch’ tight things. HOLY MOLY, did I underestimate what it could actually do, like help you address areas you can’t feel and build proprioception, and flush out nerves, and so on… One morning after I was done and Adrian finally woke up (finally meaning he slept in until 8am lol,) I asked if he would want to do it with me because I noticed a difference already. He said “sure, I’ll try it.” I was effing stoked and said we could do another video right then. Control. (see Pt 1.) Adrian said “no,” but agreed to start the next day and give it a go, no pressure, but what’s the worst that could happen? (Spoiler: we fixed issues that had plagued us for years and still consistently do it.)

We did a 30-day program called “Home” by Yoga with Adriene (check it out,) and consistently added that into our days. It was probably about two sessions before both of us had a b*tchslap of reality and realized how many areas of our bodies weren’t doing what they could be (as in, I couldn’t feel my right outer foot on the ground at all. Probably a bad idea to load something you can’t feel, but what do I know?) Yoga is now a thing for us, and it’s changed both of our lives for the better. We use it for mental stress and anxiety, as well as physical stresses that occur. Judge all you want, because it also allowed our brains to chill out and destress so we don’t care if you roll your eyes. This also led to me researching the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems more, because I want to know WHY anything does what it does. I learned a ton of new cool things about these nervous systems that I am able to not only practice myself, but help my clients with it as well. What a great time to learn how to de-stress the body, amiright?

Patio and Yard: I built a little patio outside in our yard so we could sit outside in the morning and read with our coffee. Adult AF if you ask me, but back to the patio. I had to remove some super stubborn plants/weeds with a pick axe and shovel (thank you, rotational strength.) I did my best at leveling the ground and put down little concrete pavers, surrounded the area with rocks, added mulch to the planters, and set up our patio set in our cute little yard. The dogs love walking under the chairs as we read, and they often sit under us and keep watch, barking at all who dare walk in front of our yard. I’m still super proud of it even though the demon plants have tried coming back… I will take any opportunity to use a pick axe for something I need to do.

The spiders in the yard also took a liking to it, but that was another cool thing that happened this year: we got to experience nature more. Spiders no longer bother us, and we legitimately could tell a difference in how many tiny bugs were out. I’ve always been a fan of relocating spiders (under a certain size… Giant house spiders and I haven’t come to an agreement yet, the best method is avoidance in this case.)

Nature: Along with our spiders, we got to experience more birds since the West Seattle Bridge got shut down, and we normally would have heard the traffic. (That was another #just2020things… our main commute was taken away, and our current route is more than double the mileage. A mild annoyance, but back to the positives!) When we stepped outside onto our porch, we got to see hundreds of birds in the giant trees across the road try to make more birds, if you know what I mean. There was one bird dude in particular that we named “Bill.” Bill wasn’t winning big with any of the other lady birds, but dammit if he wasn’t trying.

He’d flutter his wings and laterally hop on a branch towards a potential mate. No luck. Then, he ruffled himself up to seem poofy and flutter, hop, shake, nothing. Again, and again. We saw Bill try over and over, and never saw him be successful. I understand that in nature only the strong survive and get to carry on their genes, but I never knew I would admire a bird for effort. I never knew I would have such a first-hand experience for the whole process living in a city.

We’re not sure if Bill ever got to carry on his legacy, but we got to hear lots of tiny chicks chirping, and see busy parents swooping in and taking off again to feed their hungry chicks. When they got a little bit older, we got to see them practicing their flying skills in groups. It was seriously so cool to see 10 of them fly up super high and dive bomb before pulling up and getting back in line. Then the next squadron would practice, and so on. They would ‘train’ their new skills for about 20 minutes before taking off towards the water. This all took place during hours that Adrian and I would normally be working, but this year we didn’t miss it!

While everyone was watching some stupid show that their streaming service pushed (that may or may not have been about tigers, and yes there is judgement,) Adrian and I got to see a whole generation of birds from creation, to adolescence and training, and finally to them leaving us. We’re “empty nesters” now, if you will.

Connecting to our bodies more, and connecting to nature more really helped us get into a flow state. We’d wake up, have coffee and read our books (next blog will be about the books we read!) Then we’d take the dogs on a walk before having breakfast. I’d do a little work and see what else I could do that I normally didn’t have time to focus on. Adrian learned a lot about the Vietnam War, mastered so many video games, and always made sure I ate something (since I forget to when I focus.) After “work” we would go on tour on RockBand, practice our yoga, and watch some Family Matters (since I somehow missed out on that! It was definitely a nice, positive addition to our routine.) I loved spending so much time with our little family, and it gave me hope for retirement when that happens one day. I couldn’t see myself retiring because I still have so much I want to accomplish, but now we’ve both developed a better appreciation for having balance in our lives. I’m not ready for it yet obviously, but now I can picture it a little, and am going to O.W.N. it for sure: Adrian, fur babies, lots of books, lots of nature, and so much more that will develop between now and then! It gave me hope for the future we’ll make.

I hope you all have enjoyed my little recap so far, or at the very least find parts entertaining. How did you O.W.N.  your at home experiences? Comment or email me at shea@ownfitnesspnw.com, I’d love to hear about it!

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay strong!

(Jack really enjoys the restorative yoga days!)

PANDEM(ONIUM)IC

Part 1:

What did I do during my time off?

Well, not write blogs clearly… but a lot! I am creating a 3-part series because there is too much for one blog, and I don’t expect people to read a novel about me… yet. 😉

First two weeks: Panic. For me panicking looks like the little Wall-E robot, M.O. For those of you who haven’t seen Wall-E, watch it, but for time purposes, just know that I was obsessively cleaning and organizing anything and everything I could, (cleaning was my “M.O.”) I finally shifted my calendar over to a different service, I added all of my client’s info into a nice organized system for emails, I reprogrammed everyone so they could do them at home with bodyweight or household items. My kitchen cabinets were organized perfectly, which also lead to a deep clean of the refrigerator, and organization of our storage room and laundry room. I started reading a book, organized any and all files I had, went full force into filming instructional videos for my clients, tried to cancel our trip we had planned to Italy in April, and made my husband super anxious because I. Don’t. Stop. I try to control things, and when the normal things I control are changed, I shift my focus to something else. (He also works in the gym industry, but was unable to do anything for his work since he works for a larger organization.) We only got in a few arguments because of this, and it was partly because he is normally at work and doesn’t see how I function on that deep of a level, and partly because my constant movement made him feel that he should be doing something too. Oh, but one thing that I loved immediately was getting to see my husband and dogs so much. I love them deeply and they are all very calming for me, almost all the time.

First two months: After the two weeks above, we started to figure things out a little more. I have made spreadsheets to track my business and figured that I could still be okay without unemployment for a month or two, it would just cut into my gym savings a little, but what are savings for if not to use them when you need to, right? We were reading books, having morning coffee together, taking the doggos out on morning walks before coming in to watch a show, and then I would go to work. Work on what you ask? Everything, still slightly panicky, but starting to set boundaries for myself (and some were set by Adrian, which I now appreciate but was a little butt hurt at first. I don’t like being told what to do by anyone, hence why I own my O.W.N. business, *snaps with finger guns* but he was right to do so because he saw what was happening to me aka ball of stress and anxiety.) I started to prioritize where I put my time a little better, and realized that I never took enough time to work on myself. When you’re in a field where you’re always helping others, it’s very easy to put yourself on the backburner, which can be fine for a while… but are you really leading by example then? Are you really able to provide the best experience for those around you if you’re never replenishing yourself? Things started to shift inside me.

Doggos: They would love for us to never have to leave again. We went on walkies all the time, we trained them a little better, we got to see them start to love each other more (OMG, my heart hurts when they lick each other’s faces,) and Jack will no longer be fat-shamed by the vet. To be fair, he was overweight and it was bothering his knee/hip. The vet tried to put him on a “weight loss” food, but I look at the ingredients and they were junk and fillers. I asked the vet if it was temporary, and she said that most people just leave their dogs on it since they usually have weight problems. I never realized a vet visit could be so triggering for me lol, but it was. I asked for other options and she said with a snarky tone “well, not really unless you’re going to track every calorie he eats.” BAHAHAHAHA, ummmmm, YEAH, I can do that. I did it to myself for years in an unhealthy way, and now I finally get to use those skills for good instead of evil. Jack would argue that it’s evil, but his weight is healthy, his energy is better, and he suddenly likes belly rubs! Thanks, former Shea, your torturous behaviors that you did to yourself actually turned into a positive for your pup! It happened for a reason.

Anyways, they love us, they love each other, and our family is so happy to be around each other whenever we can.

So, to sum it up, the beginning started with anxiety and survival mode. Then, filled with organization, not to avoid dealing with what was going on, but to process things, which I do by moving my body and clearing my mind of clutter. We finally got into a “flow,” but that’s for next time!

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay strong!

Priorities

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June 28, 2014- I used to hate this photo. All I would see was the negative things I felt about my body. I was recovering from an eating disorder, had gained weight, and felt extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. My legs weren’t shaped how I wanted them to be. My arms were forever “sausages,” and who looks good in neon yellow?! Plus, I tried to dye my hair a different color and ended up with hot roots. To top it off, leaving that company was not a smooth process, and it used to bother me that they responded how they did when I chose to move on.  All I saw was everything I didn’t like about myself and things that bothered me. Sad huh?

Now, do you see that sunshine of a human in the center of the photo next to me in the back? That’s Jany Bacallao, the epitome of a good human. We recently lost him due to a hiking accident, and I honestly don’t know how the world makes sense when things like that can happen. He was amazing, kind, funny, a great friend, and a fantastic man that will always be in my heart. Jany left a positive impact on every person he interacted with. He helped everyone coming into the gym feel welcome and important. He’d listen intently like they were the only person that mattered, relate to what they were saying and put them at ease in uncomfortable conversations, especially for first time gym goers. I took the fact he was in this photo for granted because I was worried about stupid things that didn’t matter.

You know what I see when I look at this photo now? My first summer in Seattle. My first Cap Hill Pride where the neighborhood united more than any other time during the year. My friend Jany who always had time for everyone, who took me to Julia’s on Broadway and showed me what Cap Hill was all about, and who I got to talk to about the cute new guy at work (who is now husband, Adrian.) I see Greg ownin’ it at Pride giving out hugs to everyone. I see Chris with his freshly shaved head because he wanted to dress up like the Gold’s Gym logo. But mostly, I see Jany’s smile and am reminded of how much fun we were having when this was taken.

We all go through phases in life where we think we have our priorities figured out. We all go through phases of insecurity and worrying about vain things that our happiness shouldn’t depend on. What I hope we also do, is keep moving forward. Make progress in life and don’t forget to reevaluate your priorities as well. That way you can look back on a photo that used to make you cringe because of ‘how bad you looked,’ but now all you remember is the good parts about what that day represented.

I feel very proud that I have grown and restructured what matters to me in life along with progressing other aspects of life (relationships, business, dog mom-hood, etc.) This was due, in part, to the pandemic and using the time off work to work on things I never prioritized before. Things like my confidence and self-image, two  things that I work on with clients all the time, but hadn’t checked in with myself in a while. I don’t mean physical appearance self image, but I mean how I view myself, which is now: strong, kind, confident, resilient, and happy. I am happy and proud that I have reached a point that I am able to enjoy memories like this, rather than miss out on them due to stupid insecurities. I love this photo now because I get to revisit my friend and the fun that we all had together that weekend.

When was the last time you checked in with yourself to see what is important to you?

It’s okay to admit it has been a while, but you can always adapt and adjust whatever you need to. Nothing is forever, and instead of seeing that as a negative, let it be an inspiration to start living the life you want now.

Do you want to look back on years of self-torment, or would you like to look back on years of wonderful connections and good times with great people? I choose to be positive and happy now, instead of thinking “I’ll be happy when ­__________.”

If you need help on how to make adjustments, or need someone to talk it out with, send me a message or email shea@ownfitnesspnw.com with the subject line “Priorities.”

Rest in Peace, Sweet Jany. You made the world a better place and left a lasting impact on everyone you met. I promise to continue spreading sunshine!

Stay strong, Peeps!

-Shea

WARRIOR DAY- June 16th

O.W.N. Fitness was created from the beliefs instilled in me throughout my life. I was raised to be driven, kind, caring, empathetic, and among other things, to be strong. Several people influenced me throughout my life and I would not be the person I am today without them. My father helped me with dedication and determination. My mother helped me with creativity and patience. My grandfather helped me see that learning never stops and you decide your future and nobody else. These are just a few people I have mentioned in the past, but today, on June 16th, 2020, I want to talk about my Godfather, Warrior.

This day is and will always be important to me because today is his birthday. Although he passed away a few years ago, I will always treat June 16th as a day of celebration. I will always celebrate the time he was in my life, starting when I first met him on Easter when I was 6. I remember my parents telling me that Dana (my Godmother and one of the most B.A. women ever) was going to be bringing her new husband over. I heard the doorbell ring, peeked through the stained glass by our front door, and told my parents “he has long hair,” and didn’t open the door. Not sure why THAT was what I noticed first, but kids are weird and I remember that.

When they came in, I realized that he not only had long hair, but he was tall, had a giant voice, and was super nice. I was shy at first, but that almost immediately flew out the window. I had a bag of gummy bunnies that I had received in my Easter basket, and I sat on his lap and probably fed him the whole bag. This was not a man who eats candy, ever. But he sat there with me and ate ever one that I handed him. From that moment, I decided (at 6) that he was okay to be in our family and that I was happy Dana was with him.

Easter was just the starting point to having this wonderful man in all of our lives. He was there for dance recitals, holidays, birthdays, and sometimes just to hang out. He and Dana would let me stay with them when my parents had to travel a few times, and it felt like such a cool sleepover instead of being “babysat.” He and Dana both encouraged me to be strong and creative. They would tell me that I was brave and beautiful, but also smart, strong, and many other things. They would tell me to always believe in myself and what I do.

When I was 11, Dana and I were reading the same book so we could talk about it. I told her that I didn’t understand some of the words but I could figure it out. Warrior got me a dictionary so that I could look up and learn the ones I didn’t know, and better understand what was going on in the story. Instead of just telling me what it meant, he wanted me to figure it out and gave me the tools to do so. He was always there to be extra support, and be in my corner no matter what. I know that I am not alone in that feeling, and he changed thousands of lives during his time.

Anyone who met him was inspired in their own way. For some, it was through his wrestling career. Some knew him through his public speaking, and some knew him through his writing and art. But only a few people knew him just for him. Honestly, he was just as great as anyone could have hoped. He was grateful for the life he had, and also knew that he earned it through hard work, perseverance, and by doing things his own way.  O.W.N. stood for One Warrior Nation because he didn’t have a team of people doing the hard work for him, he did it. He’d come charging into the ring, shake the ropes, and do what he wanted to let everyone know something big was about to happen.

I chose to call my business O.W.N. Fitness for several reasons, but basically, I wouldn’t be who I am without all of the wonderful people in my life. Warrior was one of those people who encouraged me to be bold and brave. He saw something in me even I didn’t see at the time, and may still not fully grasp. I chose O.W.N. because I am a warrior woman fighting to make my company in my own vision despite going against a majority of how the industry operates. I chose O.W.N. because I not only want to enjoy the end result, I want to enjoy and own the process of getting there.  I chose O.W.N. because nobody is going to do the work for me, and I can’t do it for anyone else. I can, however, help inspire them to find their inner greatness just as Warrior did for so many and help them O.W.N. the process.

He truly was not only a great athlete, but he was such a wonderful man, fantastic father, great husband, and the best Godfather I could have had. I am thankful for those who have helped make me strong, brave, and bold, and I can only hope to inspire people the way they have all inspired me.

June 16th, 2020 will be the first official ‘Warrior Day’ with O.W.N. Fitness. Today I invite you to write down goals that you want to accomplish this week, month, or year. Be bold and brave with these goals, and write down how you are going to O.W.N the process. Be a warrior and O.W.N. your strength!

My goal for this year: Open my facility and take the next step towards spreading a positive, sustainable message in the fitness industry. I’m gonna shake the ropes, put on my warpaint, and handle what needs to be handled!

Want to share these goals? Message me with them, or post them on Facebook or Instagram and tag @ownfitnesspnw. How will you make Warrior Day your O.W.N.?

I feel ________ (squishy, chunky, etc.)

“I FEEL CHUNKY.”

I have heard this from several people in my life recently. Some are just saying it as a statement with no negative intent, and some are saying it because it’s making them doubt themselves or feel sad. I just want to tell them they aren’t and it wouldn’t matter if they did gain weight, but I don’t want to make anyone’s feelings less valid. I understand that bodies change, and sometimes we don’t love what they do… but maybe we should focus more on why things are happening instead of just getting upset that it did happen. I’m a health positive advocate, meaning I care about overall health, first and foremost, and do not base that off of weight.

What is the worst thing if you did gain a little weight? Are you still you? Are you any less of a person because of a fluctuation? Is your overall health still good (lungs, heart, brain?) If a little “squish” is the worst thing happening to you right now, I’d say that you’re doing pretty well. I know it may seem like a bad thing, but it may not be! Maybe your body is trying to protect you or tell you something?! Try to give yourself some grace right now. Use this time to heal, to listen to your body, and to take care of yourself.

I understand that we all may feel certain ways about our bodies, and that sometimes we can’t help but feel we are being judged for how we look. We may feel uncomfortable sometimes and have things we don’t like, and I know I definitely have times where I don’t love how I look and feel. BUT I know there is a balance that we can all find, and it’s different for everyone. I have done so much work to heal my body after torturing it for years. It’s taken a lot of work with a lot of support, but I have been able to learn what my body is telling me a lot of the time. We can teach ourselves to listen to our bodies and if we pay attention, we can address things that need to be and accept and embrace our individual selves.

So, I feel squishy and watery, why?! It could be something salty I ate. It could be hormones that are out of sorts a little and trying to adjust themselves. It could be that I have been having a glass of wine or beer that my body is not used to. It’s not the end of the world, and after you do a little work to see what’s going on, you can address how you feel mentally and physically.

If you don’t like what I just said, that’s fine, but here is some science-based info on what may be happening right now if you are feeling squishier than you’d like:

Water retention, which can have several causes. A lot of us are not drinking the same amount of water compared to a few months ago. We are all in a heightened stress state right now, whether you feel it or not, and that means there is probably a little more stress hormone (cortisol) running through your body. Due to stress or just the changes that have happened we may be drinking more coffee and/or alcohol. These changes can all be part of what is causing this feeling, and here are a few possible explanations, and some tips on how to adjust them (if you want to.)

Dehydration- Did you know that if you drink more water, you retain less? It’s a biological response to hold water when it is scarce. Your body decides to hold onto water when you’re dehydrated because it’s not sure when you will get more, and it is vital for survival. Not sure if you’re dehydrated? Look at your pee. It should be a pale-yellow color, and if it’s darker, work on increasing water intake slowly each day. (You can do it all at once if you don’t trust me, but you will pee constantly and have a real bad time.) Keep a water bottle nearby, and check in with yourself throughout the day to see how much you’re drinking. (P.S. I realized how little water I have had today as I was writing this. Even if you know something, that doesn’t mean you always are perfect at it. Be kind to yourself and do what you can.)

Stress- What does cortisol and stress have to do with how I look and feel? A. LOT. When your body is stressed and cortisol levels increase, that causes a spike in the hormone that controls water balance in the body, known as the anti-diuretic hormone or ADH. Prolonged stress can also lead to other issues such as Adrenal Fatigue (but I am not qualified to diagnose/treat any of these. I know people though, so please ask if you think this may be a problem for you.) What can you do to help with stress? Meditate. There are a ton of free apps out there if you are like me and have a hard time doing self-guided meditation (I use one called Stop, Breathe, Think.) You could try to minimize unnecessary stressors in life, like reading article after article of negative information. Stay informed, but pay attention to body language, and if you start to realize your shoulders are migrating towards your ears, maybe that’s enough for the day.

Alcohol and caffeine- These are both psychoactive substances, meaning they affect your brain, which is why we take them. Alcohol slows things down and caffeine speeds things up… can you see where this is headed? It’s VERY easy to have a drink with dinner, go to bed, and wake up tired. Then you have some coffee because you’re tired. Then you are super awake since you pounded coffee all day and now you just need something to relax. If this sounds like you, please know I am not judging at all. I have done the same thing at points in my life, and it’s a challenging habit to start breaking, but totally doable. Start by cutting the daily amount down by either limiting each serving, or cutting down on frequency.

Sleep- Everyone knows we need it, but it’s still a challenge for a lot of us. A lot of times our sleep is disrupted due to the three things we already discussed: dehydration, stress, and psychoactive substances like coffee and alcohol.  You’re dehydrated so you’re thirsty. You drink a bunch of water before bed, and now you have to pee several times in the night. You’re stressed out and can’t shut your brain off. Then you stress out about only getting 7, 6, 5, hours of sleep and it takes even longer (or maybe that is just me.) You can’t sleep because you have coffee too late, and now you want a nightcap. You fall asleep, but alcohol decreases the time of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is where your body gets to recover. Then you wake up tired and have some coffee. Your sleep is super important, and by working on improving habits listed above, you can hopefully improve your sleep habits. This will in turn help with stress and allow you to feel better throughout the day. You may not need as much coffee to feel alive. You may not feel as stressed throughout the day because you had a nice deep sleep the night before.

I hope this has been helpful, and has given you some things to think about. Regardless if this is the cause of your “squishy” feeling or not, improving these areas is only going to help benefit your overall health. You can only control so much in life, and you get to choose to do something about it, or just talk about it. One is a positive and the other is a neutral, at best… you decide what you want to do, and if you want help, I am always here for you.

 

O.W.N. your body. O.W.N. your strength. O.W.N. your life!

X- Shea

  P.S. Jack Jack is always a little chunky, and he loves life. Be like Jack Jack (loving life no matter what.)

Photo credit: dirtiedogphotography.com (Marika is the best! Check it out and if you’re in Seattle, she can capture your furry, scaly, or hairy loved ones and all of their personality!)

 

 

IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT SOMEONE HAS TO SAY, YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER HOW YOU HANDLE IT, AND THAT’S IT.

“You can’t have a rational conversation with an irrational person.”- Gary Leonard, Mr. America 1980, husband, Pops, and my dad.

We all have more time to be online nowadays, so this seems like the perfect time for this topic.

UNFOLLOW THEM- Shea says, “Look at you, being mature and whatnot.” If this person doesn’t affect you, and isn’t worth getting annoyed over, so the easiest thing is to remove their influence from your life. I know this isn’t an option all the time, but even minimizing the amount of interactions is helpful. Trust me, cutting down on seeing negativity is going to allow you to make more thoughtful decisions, and be happier the whole time you think about them. If you’re worried you may be wrong, research it or seek out those whose opinions you value.

POLITELY DISAGREE AND STATE WHY, CALMLY- Shea says, “Good luck, and break a leg.” You’ve thought about it, you still want to say something, or maybe you can’t avoid them. Maybe this person doesn’t know any different, or maybe you aren’t the audience they were looking for, but you can be neutral and calmly ask questions. Hopefully they are willing to discuss like a human. If they get defensive or take it personally, reevaluate how much effort you’re willing to put in here. Will they ever be able to have a conversation? No? Maybe try talking to a wall instead; at least the wall doesn’t say stupid things back. Or a more practical approach is to have a “b*tch book.” I do! Anything that annoys me, but isn’t worth doing anything about, goes in there. I write it all down, why I disagree, why I didn’t say anything, and honestly, it’s enough.

GET ANGRY AND PARTAKE IN THE “CALL OUT CULTURE” THAT DIVIDES PEOPLE- Shea says, “Don’t be this person. If you’ve tried other options, do what you got to do I suppose. In that case, buckle up cupcake, the internet is rough, and everything is there forever.” What good will come of this? You’ve put someone on the defense, are you prepared to deal with a conversation that will go nowhere? I’m all for sharing opinions, disagreements, and learning from each other. Even if we don’t end with the same opinion, we now understand more about this person and maybe ourselves. Calling people out just because you have anonymity online is not awesome in my opinion, and if you don’t like my opinion, I am happy to discuss this calmly. If you insult me, or initiate any sort of engagement negatively, I’ll kill the conversation with kindness, or at worst, just kill it, and move on. My day will be fine, will yours? This is one thing that I have a really hard time dealing with, and I’m working on it, but I strongly disagree with this as a first or second option in most scenarios.  

PUT OTHERS DOWN TO FURTHER YOUR OWN POINT/OPINION- Shea says, “*facepalm & deep sigh* No! *flicks nose of person doing this* If you feel that you must go negative or insult someone to get ahead, you’re either a politician, or someone I don’t need in my life. My brain does this his pitched ‘boooooooooooooo’ sound as soon as someone does this. It’s not that I can’t sink to their level, it’s that I choose not to.” This is not really an option or shouldn’t be in my opinion. If you feel that you must put down others to further your opinion, that probably means that you don’t fully understand your own opinion to defend it or properly explain it. Just because you don’t agree with someone (whether they’re wrong or not,) does not give you the right to put them down or insult them. Have you thought about that fact that this is a human, and we are all flawed? Have you forgotten that you have been wrong before, and didn’t know until someone politely spoke with you? Or maybe some have done this to you, and now you’re just defensive of any inquiry, do you like that feeling?! Treat others how you want to be treated.

One of the first things we learn in life is that you don’t get your way when you throw a fit, (or at least that was one of thing first things I learned,) and it seems that some people forget that. Hopefully, we’ve also learned to be kind. If not, you’re an adult, you now have control over your life and can take action to change things, so pull it together. (It can be hard, you may need help, but why stay in a vicious cycle of unhappiness?)

Since so many of us have multiple sources of media input/output, we have the opportunity to interact with at least hundreds, if not thousands of people within minutes. You’re reading “Exhibit A.” 😉 I had a thought after seeing so many people just cutting each other down, I chose to write about it, and now you’re reading it. That is effing cool, right? But what if I specifically targeted someone, or spewed negativity under the guise of standing up for the ‘little guy?’ What if I stated my opinions as facts, and cut down all who don’t agree with me? You wouldn’t be here (hopefully,) and it would spread negativity like wildfire, instead of making progress by starting a conversation and asking questions.

If you have a conversation, both parties have the opportunity to learn. If you start by insulting someone, do you think that they’ll ever agree with you, even if you have scientific facts to back it up? Probably not. Or, they may come to that conclusion eventually, but due to how you delivered the information, you hindered their progress. Weird how one little snippy comment can make such a dent in someone’s life, huh?

In the gym, when you have an issue, you go back to the basics. The “back to basics” principle is helpful no matter what area you’re having issues in. The definition of a human being is a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.(Source: Oxford English Dictionary.) Our basics are advanced. ACT. LIKE. IT. Stand up straight, use your words, and continue to grow your brains!

Do you want to be a negative part of someone’s day one time? Or do you want to help build them up, so they have more positivity in their life going forward? We all have power and resources to influence others, and that can be great, or it can be detrimental. Choose to be great. Build each other up. Ask questions. Seek out knowledge. Throughout all of that, be kind. You will help make the world better one interaction at a time.

Do you have another way to handle situations like this that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment or send me a message: shea@ownfitnesspnw.com!

Balance in Chaos

I feel like this topic always applies, but especially during our current situation. Collectively, we are going through something that has never happened in our lifetimes, and who really knows how to handle it?

It’s stressful. We are constantly being bombarded with the fear mongering television or newspaper articles. All of them providing coverage almost exclusively about the ‘doom’ in the world with big, red, headlines, and a tiny spikey photo. Constant posts on social media that are “facts that so and so heard from their cousin’s, ex-boyfriend’s, third grade classmate’s, sister.” We hear stories about how people seem to be so selfish, they are literally buying up entire quantities of items so they can either sell them for more (really? THIS is your opportunity?) or just had ‘fomo’ when they saw someone else’s cart was full of one thing, so they needed it too. (Side note: HOW much are you going to the bathroom? If you need multiple warehouse sized packages of toilet paper, you either have 12 people at home, you’re selfish and entitled, or maybe talk to a doctor about that if you NEED that much.)

Most of the ranty bits aside, we also have the opportunity to see several positives during this time. Some people are choosing to be more kind, thoughtful, and caring, individuals that are helping when and where they can. Some people are using this as an opportunity to improve a skill, learn something new, or just taking a moment for themselves; regardless which one you are doing, you are right. Do what you need to right now and check in with yourself often. Personally, one of my favorite positive things in this chaos, is that some people are using this time to find creative ways to perform things that were in their routine formerly known as “normal.” Adaptation, progression, and stimulation are all key things we need as humans.

 I am so PROUD of my people and selfishly, this makes me feel like I have accomplished something big. I have always strived to inspire my clients to seek out knowledge, educate them to the best of my abilities, and to improve my own education so I continue to be a resource for them. My goal is to teach them what they’re doing and why, instead of just putting them through the motions because ‘it’s hard.’ I am so proud to brag about my clients. When the gyms were ordered to close, I had a moment where I was bummed and nervous, for my clients, myself, and for the entire industry, honestly.  After that, I started thinking about how to adapt to the situation and what I could do to help. I could adjust my client’s programs to be done with equipment they have at home (or items that could be equipment) to start, and then plan for my business going forward.

One thing that has been the biggest positive in my world right now is my network of clients. They are amazing, and I don’t care how many times I have said it! They. Are. Amazing! It makes me so happy to hear that they are trying to keep movement and activity in their lives, because they WANT to, not because they feel like they MUST. They understand that it’s more than a ‘fitness’ routine, but an all-encompassing ‘health and wellness’ routine. They like the mental stimulation and change of scenery while working at home. Normal household items are now being adapted as weights, and they’re progressing their knowledge of different exercise modalities, and adding them into their routine. Some see this as an opportunity to focus on areas of mobility that need improving, mind-body connection, and breathing techniques. Some are taking this time off from working out to deal with what’s going on in their own way, for which I am equally proud.

I have such a fun mix of clients that includes everyone, all ages, various professions, but we all have one thing in common: exercise is important to us, and we understand balance. It’s okay that they don’t exercise the same days they had in the past. It’s okay if they want to take a week or two off. It’s okay to be worried about things and use exercise to process OR escape for a moment. It’s their choice to do whatever they want in their day, and whatever is best for them.

One thing that I would ask us all to do, is to be kind and compassionate. Don’t put others down to feel better about your choices and how you’re managing your own life right now. Try not to judge how other people process things and handle this time in our lives. Some people want to stay busy, learn five languages, knit a huge blanket, workout with homemade equipment and try to maintain their normal routine. Some people want to lay in a pillow fort, binge watching shows, baking endlessly to supply their tv time with treats, and don’t want to do anything. If it’s not your life, worry about yourself. We all need more positivity in our lives, now more than ever, so don’t add to the doom.

If you want to share positive things in your life (pet photos, something you saw on your walk, a happy link you have, etc..,) something that you have learned, or a great book to read/show to watch, please feel free to reach out to shea@ownfitnesspnw.com. You may also check out my YouTube Channel (O.W.N. Fitness) for some short instructional videos on home workouts. OH, and drink some water! Stay home, stay healthy, and stay strong!

“Stuff Happens”

 

We all know the other version of that phrase, but I am trying to be professional right now. Sometimes in life, stuff happen. Challenges that you are faced with, and you get to decide how to respond. It can be as simple as someone taking a parking spot you were going for. You can’t control that someone took the spot you wanted, but you CAN control how you move forward, or IF you move forward. Are you going to let that make you angry and ruin your day? Maybe. Are you going to be mildly annoyed, park a little further away, and go on about your day? It just depends on you and your emotional awareness at the time.

I bring this up because I recently dislocated my right shoulder… for the fifth time. I have had consistent knee injuries the past 10 years (ACL tears, meniscus tears, dislocations, bone bruises, ect.,) have dislocated both shoulders 3-5 times each, A/C separation on my left shoulder, SLAP tear on my left shoulder, sprained ankles, broken toes, and honestly I could go on. A lot, right? Some of these injuries were absolutely my fault, meaning: something felt weird, my stupid “athlete mentality” told me to push through it, and boom, something is not as it should be. Some of them, including this most recent one, just shouldn’t have happened, but it did.

Now I am faced with 2-6 weeks in a sling on my dominant arm (and a super sore neck,) modifying everything I have been working on in the gym, training 4-12 people daily, and everything taking twice as long. When I put it like that, it sounds depressing and sad. But, I am not depressed or sad. I am grateful that it wasn’t my knee again. I have accept that it happened, and as much as it sucks, I refuse to let it ruin my day (or the next 14-42 days.) I do slightly feel like I have let my clients down in some way, but I am so fortunate to have amazing clients/friends, that have all honestly made me feel better. Not one of them has related my injuries with my ability to coach and support them reaching their goals. Each person that I interact with has shown compassion, has been willing to help even though I am stubborn and don’t like needing help. All of my people *see previous post on finding your people* inspired me to stay positive, and to keep taking care of myself so I can hopefully avoid this in the future, or be better prepared to deal with it.

I say “hopefully” because no matter how much “injury prevention” you do, sometimes “stuff happens.” This shouldn’t have happened since I have been strengthening my shoulders for several years, but it did. It shouldn’t have happened considering that I can do several other, more challenging, actions and not get injured, but it did. It shouldn’t have happened because I see people with the worst movement patterns and too much load come out completely unscathed, but it did. I could get upset that I have been dealing with injuries pretty consistently most of my life. I could get upset and think about how “great I could be, if only…,”  and I could be annoyed having to hear everyone’s input on how I shouldn’t do certain things and should probably stop working out (no joke,) but I am not. Stuff happens! I will work on rehabbing this one while continuing to do my best to prevent future ones. I will allow everyone to tell me their opinions because I know that behind their words is thoughtfulness and care, even if that is not how it comes across at first. When it comes down to it, I know my body, and I know what I need to do.

The reason I am writing this is not for sympathy, it is to remind you that sometimes things happen. Sometimes, life throws you curveballs. Sometimes things don’t go your way, and you have the choice to make on how you deal with it. I chose to not let this injury make me upset and dwell.  I allowed myself time to process that it occurred, be sad for a little bit, and pull it together to set up a plan to recover and go on about life. I have been applying my annoyingly positive attitude to this, taken a look at all of the wonderful people that I interact with and support me, and decided that I am going to use it to become better than I was before.

What stuff has happened in your life that you wish you handled differently? OR what challenging situation are you proud of your response?

P.S. No, the pull ups in the photo are not how I injured my shoulder. That was from my workout prior to the injury. 😉

It’s Baking Season, Wha Whaaaa?!

Warning: It’s a long one!

It’s the best time of year! No, not Fall/Autumn, although I won’t argue with that, but no. It’s baking season. The time of year where you can bake homemade goods to your heart’s content, and not overheat your whole house!

If you have met me, you know that I really enjoy baking, and have been doing so for over 20 years. It started with my Grandma Leonard when I was around 5 or 6. She always made pies and would let me help by “crimping” the crust (shaping it to look pretty/ sealing the top and bottom crusts together.) From there, she taught me how to make the crust from scratch, and her tricks for kneading the dough just enough to make it super flaky. I would make some gross creations as a kid (all edible, just odd combinations and a chance of raw cookie dough as a “crust,”) but it taught me patience and provided an outlet for creativity. Now, it is one of my favorite ways to “disconnect” and take time for myself.

I love baking for the same reason I love lifting weights- it’s amazing what you can do/create, it involves failure which provides opportunities to get better, and it brings people together.  It’s a way that I can show that I genuinely care, and it comes from the heart. I have tried new ways to make things have more nutritional value (less added sugars, possibly some protein,) but not seem like the recipe is altered at all. I have modified recipes for food allergies, and I have definitely made some “protein brownies” that the texture and taste of a dry sponge. It’s all exciting and once a bake is complete, I feel a sense of accomplishment, just like after a lift.

I know what you’re thinking- having your trainer talk to you about baked goods can be conflicting right?

My opinion: I have mentioned “balance” several time before, and this is a perfect example. Some people have an “impending doom” feeling around this time of year because of all of the delicious baked goods and desserts that will be readily available and seemingly irresistible. I hear what they’re saying, BUT… you need to be able to live your life, and that life might include a homemade pie or some cookies here and there, and that is OKAY! I like talking to my clients about this stuff because it provides a platform to educate them about how to have balance in their life. I can hopefully encourage them to trust themselves when making food decisions, and educate them on how their bodies process what they put into it. It is important that they have established that inner trust and do not need to feel restricted or have “guilt” around certain foods.

The three main arguments I hear are usually: 1) So you tell your clients to eat pie all the time?! 2) That’s dumb, aren’t you a trainer, is that just job security? 3) Isn’t that just giving them an excuse to eat crappy food and never get better?

My answers to those: I can’t make a decision for anyone, but I can help make sure they are knowledgeable about how their body works and what happens when they eat different things. I make sure they know that it is okay to have some pie as long as they are listening to their bodies, and paying attention how things make them feel. If they need to eat a whole pie and feel sick to their stomach to learn, guess what, they learned and hopefully now they are self aware enough to not do that again- NOT because I told them, but because they now know how THEY feel.

Encouraging them to make their own decisions is why I have job security. We are in a time that it’s easy to get caught up in the “no pain, no gain,” “Low calorie ice cream so you can eat the whole thing,” “food guilt,” nonsense, and I have definitely taken part of that myself.  This is why I coach people through their workouts, and let THEM control what they eat. I am happy to give advice or my opinion on foods, but I do not dicatate what they can/can’t eat, and I refuse to cause the endless cycle of restricting> binging> guilt> restricting> and so on!

And on that note, favorite pies to make:

Savory- Chicken Pot Pie

Sweet- Chocolate Cream Pie (to eat), Marionberry Pie (to make)

Live your lives and revel in the season of baking!! What is your favorite thing to bake, or something that you have always wanted to try?