Happy Mother’s Day To The Mom That Taught Me Self-Acceptance
I am very fortunate to have been raised by one of the strongest women on this planet.
She taught me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. To believe in myself even when I falter or fall down. To always get up and fight another day.
She taught me to be resilient. To have courage and determination. To be strong.
She taught me to always be comfortable being myself – to never compromise who I am just to make someone else happy.
And my mom has always practiced what she’s preached.
She has always uncompromisingly been herself. She didn’t need to fit a mold. She was comfortable being who and what she was.
For instance, she’s an athlete and has always had no qualms about showing it. She is competitive and fit.
If you challenged her, she was going to try to beat you.
Probably one of my favorite stories about my mom being comfortable with being herself (the competitive athlete) is one of her stories about dating.
She went out to play tennis with a guy she was dating and as they walked out onto the court an older woman, who knew the guy, asked her if she was going to beat him. (The woman was basically hinting that my mom shouldn’t want to beat him.)
My mom told her, “It all depends on how good he is.”
She then did, in fact, beat him.
Her comment to me about the story was, “Why would I try to be something I’m not? Sooner or later, if we continued dating, he would find out that I’m better than him!”
“Why try to be something I’m not?”
That message stuck with me.
It may be a funny story, but it is a meaningful one. She wasn’t going to pretend to be something she wasn’t just to be “liked” by a guy.
She embraced her competitiveness and her physical abilities at a time when many women downplayed those things to be seen as more feminine. (My mom even has a story about a woman she knew acting like she didn’t know how to play tennis on a date when she was actually a competitive tournament player.)
My mother is unapologetically herself and taught me to be as well.
She has taught me to accept myself, “flaws” and all.
And that is probably the most valuable lesson you could ever learn yet one that, all too often, mothers don’t pass down to their daughters.
All too often I feel like we, adults, teach children to fit into society’s molds so that they don’t get hurt instead of teaching them to embrace who they are.
We teach them to want to always “fix” their “flaws” instead of accepting them.
And while we should always want to better ourselves, we should also be able to accept those things about ourselves that aren’t so perfect.
So thank you Man Bicep Mom for making me happy to be me. I love you with all my heart!
And Happy Mother’s Day to all you other amazing mothers out there!
To Strong Women Everywhere
I think most women are way stronger than they give themselves credit for.
I think we are taught from a very young age, intentionally or unintentionally, to be very humble, to be almost shy or even ashamed of our strength and abilities. We are almost taught to keep our strength to ourselves.
Far too often I hear females brush off compliments and downplay their abilities (sometimes they even completely deny them).
But we need to embrace our strength – we need to acknowledge our awesomeness!
It’s funny, but I really started thinking about all of this when one of my male clients said to me, “You are freaking awesome!” after we were discussing some sort of feat of strength.
Instead of blushing and denying it, I said, “I know, right!?!” (I was partially joking, but at the same time, I was PROUD of what I had accomplished).
And guess what? He didn’t roll his eyes or think I was cocky or conceited. He actually laughed and start to say to the client next to him, “Notice how she didn’t….”
I then interrupted him and said, “Didn’t deny it?”
He laughed again and said, “Yea!”
And I said, “Well I’m proud!”
And he said, “You should be!”
YOU SHOULD BE!
Ok…I’m not suggesting that we walk around saying, “I know!” when someone gives us a compliment. I’m just saying that we should start believing in ourselves and in our abilities.
We should start being proud of our STRENGTH.
Because, guess what!?! IT IS OK TO BE PROUD AND STRONG!
And right now you may be thinking, “Well I’m strong and I don’t have to go around bragging about it to be proud of it.”
Uhm well for one, I’m not suggesting your brag. And two, are you really proud of it if you can’t accept a compliment?
Are you really proud if you have to downplay your abilities?
Are you really proud if you are apologizing and excusing your strength?
Personally, I don’t think so.
Because how much can you truly BELIEVE in yourself if you keep telling yourself and other people you really aren’t that wonderful and strong?
We do start to believe what we tell ourselves and others. Our minds do hear the words coming out of our mouths. And our mind can be tricked into believing the lies….
I’ve seen a change over the years as I’ve gone from excusing and downplaying my strength, my abilities, to embracing them and maybe even, in some people’s eyes, bragging about them.
Heck, if saying “Yes. I am indeed strong” is bragging….GUILTY AS CHARGED….And very proud of it.
My point is that when I stopped denying and downplaying, I started to become even stronger because my mind wasn’t ever hearing that I wasn’t strong enough.
So take a second right now and think about it.
Are you truly proud of your strength?
How often do you recognize and appreciate your abilities when someone gives you a compliment? Or do you generally downplay what you’ve accomplished?
P.S. This post is dedicated to all of you wonderful women that inspire me every day with your strength inside and out of the gym!
Everyday Super Heroes
So over the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for super hero t-shirts.
I wanted to get ones for Jodie and I to wear during her first 10k race. A Wonder Woman shirt just felt appropriate because Jodie IS a wonder woman!
But honestly, it was near impossible to find super hero t-shirts for women, let alone t-shirts with female super heroes on them!
The only few I could really find that weren’t impossible to get were just a tad bit too ridiculous for me.
So in the end I settled on a couple of men’s t-shirts with The Flash logo on them (which I did feel was appropriate for our race!).
But I was still surprised and disappointed that there wasn’t more female super hero apparel easily available for women (let alone more female super heroes show by mainstream media!). There were Barbie t-shirts and “Girl Power” t-shirts…but no SUPER HEROES.
I know this is a random thing to complain about, but it really bothered me.
Why aren’t our girls encouraged to be super strong. Super Fast. Super POWERFUL!?!
And then I realized WHY I had become obsessed with finding a super hero shirt for Jodie…
Because I wanted to express to her that I thought that all of her hard work, strength and determination made her a “SUPER HERO!”
For the last month, if even that long, we’d been training for a 10k race.
Before this past month, we hadn’t really done any running. Lots of weight training…a few sprints, but no real running of any length.
She was nervous to commit to a 10k knowing that we had only a few weeks to train. The last time she’d run that far, she’d spent months working up to it and training hard. And here I was telling her that she was going to go from never really running to running 6.2 miles straight.
I told her that she would be fine, but, while she trusted me, there was definitely doubt in her eyes.
But despite her doubt, she threw herself whole-heartedly into the training.
She focused on eating clean and sticking to her eating program even during stressful days. She stepped up her weekly workouts and pushed herself harder and further than she had before.
She made time for a healthy lifestyle even when there wasn’t time to spare between work and taking care of her beautiful two-year-old daughter.
Jodie committed to the 10k and didn’t let anything deter her from success.
And today all of her hard work paid off.
While there were no big awards…No huge paychecks….No huge public praise…Jodie did run her first official 10k race with a personal best average mile time.
But what is more important than the fact that she ran a fast mile time is what she proved to herself.
I think that during all of the training, Jodie began to believe more and more in herself. Her confidence climbed.
And today…she just gained concrete proof of how incredibly strong she truly is.
Today Jodie proved something to herself. Today Jodie became her daughter’s personal super hero (whether or not Jodie or her daughter know it).
While Jodie’s daughter won’t remember this race, she will witness other of her mother’s super hero feats. She will witness her mother’s strength, determination and perseverance throughout her life as she grows up.
And these feats of strength that she’ll witness, will lead her to become a super hero herself.
There may not be many female super heroes out there in the mainstream media or on girls’ and women’s t-shirts, but there are plenty of female super heroes that live among us every day…
They are fighting every day to become stronger, healthier, and more confident individuals. They are pushing themselves to accomplish things that they didn’t previous believe possible.
They face fears and risk disappointment and failure…
These everyday super heroes don’t have any super powers and most don’t even have a super hero suit (unless their friend does happen to buy them a The Flash t-shirt….)
And, unfortunately, everyday super heroes don’t always get “the bad guy.”
But the crazy part is…despite all the risks, fears and failures…despite all the setbacks and disappointments, these everyday super heroes never give up!
And honestly, the fact that these female super heroes accomplish such great feats without any super powers makes them even more awesome!
Jodie…You are an amazing and strong woman! You are an inspiration to all of us and more importantly, you are an inspiration to a future generation of women!
Recently I’ve been doing a lot of writing (most of these posts are yet unpublished) about finding your WHY.
The reason WHY you are committing to a healthy lifestyle…but not just the superficial reasons.
Those deep dark reasons that keep you coming back for more no matter what else is going on in your life.
The reason that would keep you coming back even if you didn’t make money or get any recognition for what you’d done.
And this got me to thinking about my true WHY.
Why did I really want to become a trainer? Why did I want to dedicate my life to health and fitness?
It’s funny…When I started as a trainer, I did it because I loved fitness. My why, I thought, was a passion for health and fitness.
But the reason I continued as a trainer wasn’t because I loved fitness so much – it was because I loved people.
If I could do one thing every day, it would be to make at least one person realize their own strength and feel more confident and happy about who they are.
And more specifically, I want to empower women.
Don’t get me wrong…I love improving the health of all my male clients. I love making them stronger and more confident and happy about how they feel. I love seeing their progress in the health and fitness realm carry over into every day life.
BUT my true why is empowering women.
I think this whole empowering thing was bred into me at an early age by my mother who loved to read me fairy tales where the princess rescued herself and sometimes even the prince.
I’ve always been on a quest to be strong, self-confident and independent.
And for me…sports became a way to develop these things.
There is just something about lifting heavy weights or pulling out grueling matches or games that makes you feel so freaking strong.
The victory of doing something as simple as lifting a heavier weight than you lifted before is empowering.
It doesn’t just make you feel better about your fitness – it carries over into every aspect of your life.
And while I think lifting heavy can empower men, I think it has an even bigger effect on women.
I really do feel like most women aren’t raised to want to be super strong, independent, self-confident and empowered individuals.
I feel that most women believe they are supposed to suffer in silence and want only what is best for others – I believe that many women are raised to try to see themselves as selfless individuals.
Which don’t get me wrong, can be a good thing. It is great to put others first.
BUT how can you really serve others if you don’t take care of your own needs first?
If you aren’t truly your own person, how can you really be there for anyone else?
Anyway, I believe that through sports and heavy lifting, specifically, women can develop a clear and empowered sense of self.
I know I did.
And well….my WHY is to share this with as many women as possible. I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen women grow stronger and more confident right before my eyes.
I’ve seen women give themselves permission to embrace qualities of themselves that they didn’t realize they had before.
I’ve seen women who once said to me, “I’m not strong and confident like you” become incredibly empowered, strong and self-confident individuals who could hold their own against any challenger.
I’ve seen women reach beyond what they once thought possible because they became more empowered simply by lifting heavy.
Lifting heavy is empowering. I saw myself grow and change because of it. And my WHY is that I want to help as many women as I can realize just how strong and wonderful they truly are!
Maybe this post is too philosophical for a Thursday, but heck it is 75, I just went for a run on the beach (YAY and ICK) and am now relaxing with a cider on my afternoon off. So…well…bear with me!
I am my mother’s daughter
So the other night while cleaning and doing some work, I had Spanglish on in the background.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin the movie, but one of the last lines in the movie struck a note and got me to thinking…
“I am my mother’s daughter…”
My mom made sure I was a strong young woman who would stick up for myself and never let anything in life beat me down.
She encouraged my spunk and tenacity.
She encouraged me to be competitive and achieve.
But she also taught me that being successful doesn’t have to mean that you put others down to get ahead. Part of true success is making others even better and stronger than yourself!
It’s funny but this one little random memory really inspired me so much:
My mom and I were out on the tennis court and were going to play a set. It was probably the first time I was going to play a competitive game against my mom since I was actually potentially able to beat her.
Before we began she said to me, “If you beat me, you are walking home.” She had a huge grin on her face.
And I laughed.
Should I have lost?
We always joke that she just managed to get inside my head. I sometimes think it was nerves from the idea that I could possibly beat my mom…Someone who had always beaten me!
And after that match, I don’t think I ever really did lose again. (Sorry Mom!)
Anyway, the point of this silly memory is actually that I think my mom, while competitive with no desire to lose, was PROUD of the fact that I may just finally be better than her.
She wanted me to succeed. She wanted me to live up to my full potential even if that meant I surpassed her.
She put her own ego aside and took PRIDE in my achievements.
She taught me what it meant to be a leader and a teacher.
So why am I telling you all of this?
Because I am proud to be my mother’s daughter.
I am strong and competitive and driven to achieve. But above all that, I want to encourage success in all those around me.
I’ve been told I’m a “pusher.”
I push others into doing things they’ve only talked about doing. I push others to work hard. I push others to grow and achieve WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF even if they end up leaving me behind in their newfound success.
I push my clients every day to work harder, become better. I push them because they CAN do it. They are the reason for their success…I just help them see that THEY CAN DO IT!
So I want to encourage all of you women out there to be proud of your strength. To grow yourself and encourage others to do the same. Being strong ourselves isn’t enough.
Helping others grow stronger is what really matters.
I am my mother’s daughter.
Strongest College Female Cheerleader
I got shown this article by numerous people today and yesterday so I felt the need to write about it.
But what I feel the need to write about isn’t the fact that she turned down money because she was asked to do steroids. I feel the need to write about how her strength was talked about in every single article.
If you read any article about how strong some guy is, the article will tell you his weight and height along with his lifting maxes. They do this to prove just how relatively strong he is for his height and weight.
But in most of the articles there is absolutely no mention of her weight and only a handful mention her height.
Why is this? How can we tell if those numbers are actually good if we don’t know her height and weight?
In all honesty, we don’t really know how strong she is…but I don’t think that matters to mainstream media or a majority of the population. And I’m not saying that she isn’t super strong. I think her numbers are great!
BUT still…why wouldn’t you prove that she is super strong by giving her height and weight like you would a man’s?
I think they didn’t even think to list her height and weight because to most of the population, any woman who lifts over 100lbs is ridiculously strong. I mean women aren’t supposed to lift super heavy weights so anything over 100 is huge right?
I don’t…for some reason this really bothered me. Am I reading into this lack of weight and height too much?
Or am I right? Does society still believe that women don’t lift heavy? I mean a 5 foot 10 woman with the numbers that Anna Watson has aren’t bad BUT they aren’t THAT awesome.
I mean I’ve seen enough women lift heavy to know that her numbers don’t stand out…which I guess is why they wanted her to do steroids…
Don’t get me wrong. She is strong and looks great. BUT RELATIVELY SPEAKING…she isn’t crazy strong like the article tries to hint at by only listing her numbers without her height and weight.
It just makes me think that society hasn’t fully realized just how many out there look super sexy and lift heavy weights!!
What do you think?