Competition is life. Our current word compete comes from the Latin word competere which means "to strive or contend for something". I love to compete. Against others. Against myself. Against the odds.
To compete is to test skills in an atmosphere that could possibly cause more stress. I could spend my hours on the mats rolling with the same people day in and day out. Similarly, I could train for gym personal bests, only focusing on my favorite lifts because I'm good at them in a controlled environment. No crowd to watch me. No opponent threatening to rip a limb off or put me to sleep as I try to return the favor. No judges to pick apart my every move. No unwanted distractions. No threat of the unknown.
If I step back and take a look at my business in the first half of 2018 you can read the self-satisfaction on my face and in my actions. I had time to read 80 books. Look at me I'm gaining all this knowledge. Look at me I'm getting lost in science fiction and fantasy novels. Look at me.....I'm so bored.
I needed to get scared. I needed to step off another ledge. Isn't that all risk is? Always seeking the edge and stepping, no, LEAPING off?
This weekend was my second powerlifting meet since 2015, and I loved every second of it. I was 100% prepared because I practiced all the little things. Sometimes my lifters ask me why I wait so long with pauses (contract and hold!) or why I am so particular with how their stance looks (lock out and freeze!). Well, because wouldn't it would be a shame if all of their hard work was for nothing because of the little things? I value their hard work and the fact that they show up day in and day out, even though some days they don't want to. Hell, some days I don't want to. The same applies to jiu jitsu. Why do we practice that same guard break so much? Why can't we do something cool? Well, Bob, you can't do something cool if you can't get past their guard now can you? Once that guard break, or that lift, or that sweep, is practiced so often it becomes second nature, then I know I've grown, or you've grown, or we've grown. It means we took the time to try, fail, try again, fail again and again, try, and succeed. We compete.
Now, I'm not saying that every person who lifts, rolls, climbs, etc, is destined to become a frequent competitor at their respective sports and hobbies. But I do want them to have pride in knowing that sometimes consistently showing up is a form of competition. Haven't you ever fought yourself to get out of bed to go to the gym....or work? There is actually a pattern I have noticed at my own gym. When clients start seeing that they are capable of movement and strength in ways they never thought possible, a mindset derived from their own limitations or the limitations set upon them by others, those same clients start to question other aspects of their life, as well. They are becoming more, so they want more. They could love their job and find the courage to step up and implement a new idea in their office. Maybe they inspire a friend or a spouse to explore their own physical possibilities. Or perhaps they find the courage to shed unneeded added stressors in their life because their personal standards are now set higher. A rising tide raises all ships, or so the saying goes.
Here's the point: you gotta leap. Plunge. Dive. Trust fall into the unknown. And once you land do your damnedest to climb to the next highest bluff, enjoy the view (your hard work) for just a moment, and then catapult off that ledge once again, laughing and screaming in excitement and terror.
Strive. Jump. Repeat.
Growing up I was a very heavy kid. I have no recollection of ever being small. I’m not saying I was just a tall kid. No. I was an obese child since the age of 10, and classmates, teammates, and coaches never let me forget it. For the record, this is not a sympathy post. Let’s put it into perspective: as a kid, the worst thing I experienced was bullying because I was fat. I am not traumatized. All I know is this is where it began. This is where I started constructing my shield. My shield was composed of “white lies” and half-truths that followed me into adulthood. When I reached my late 20’s I did not know my core values, which made living with integrity very difficult, if not impossible. I was showing the world what it wanted to see. Unfortunately, I had been telling this story for so long, reinforcing my shield to deflect cruel words or actions hurled toward me, that I do not think my authentic self had a fighting chance unless someone cracked the shield, thereby undoing all the damage I had done to myself and to those close to me.
So someone did.
It would be easy to say the moment the shield cracked my story changed. Not even close.
I had been telling so many stories that it took months, if not a couple years, to unravel the sticky web. I am finally to a point where I am comfortable admitting my mistakes, taking ownership of my actions, and making sure the story I’m creating in my head reflects the story that is happening. In every situation I make the conscious attempt to represent my most authentic self.
What does this have to do with identity? Identity is confusing to me. It’s latin roots say “identical” or “same”, but synonyms use words like “uniqueness”. All I know is when you wrap personal identity around fitting in versus being, you tend to morph into the thing easiest to hide behind. Your shield. Personally, I am done hiding.
Let me know if you can relate to my story. <3
My goal with blogging was to make it daily. Truth be told, I don't have something to say every day. Those who live with me would say otherwise and serve me a steaming mug of "shut up", but expressing my point of view on things is exhausting. My job is very interactive so once in a while things get powered down.
This quiet time on my blog has nothing to do with steaming mugs of anything. These quiet blogging moments have everything to do with a side hustle I've been working on for the past few weeks, and it won't be ready until at least June. I'm excited about it though!
What are some things you can look for?
Daily Call to Actions (my daily roasts will be more than just my thoughts; I want to hear your thoughts!)
Business Tips and Tricks
Community and Culture Building
Working with small businesses (locally) to create products I love to give to you!
And much more.
Why am I going this route? Because as much as I try to separate myself from FitPOWER, I still exist in the business. So no matter what gym you go to, where you are in life, or where you are in the world, if there is anything I have ever said or done or suggested that has helped you, I am hoping to provide these items for you to use in your daily life.
With that said I hope you stay with me in blog-land and on social media. Keep looking for updates!
Then there is this article in Entrepreneur, 4 Ways Successful People Balance Work and the Rest of their Lives, which assumes that work and life are separate. In fairness, the article was written in 2015, and I do believe the landscape of what it means to work has evolved in our current climate. When I first opened FitPOWER in 2012 my parents were concerned. In my heart I believe they knew I would succeed. In fact they don't know this, but the few times my parents pulled my huge "hopes and dreams" balloon down from the clouds, and set my feet firmly on the ground, they were starting the path I would follow. My parents acted as my personal cartographers by expressing their fears. What about health care? What about job security? What about loyalty to a company? Start up costs? Where are you going to live? Are you sure you want to do this?
I was so sure. No question in my mind type of sure.
With my feet on the ground, in the year 2008 mind you, I gained experience with a 9-5 type of job. I worked in the now extinct (I think) Bally Total Fitness. It was there I learned how to manage books, a team multiple trainers, and met one of my BEST friends. It was also there that I was reminded once again how much I hated corporate fitness. Corporate anything. The work I was doing wasn't for me. When you worked for Bally's it had to be done their way. Therefore, it was a job. I don't enjoy jobs for the sake of doing jobs. I wanted to work.
DEFINE YOUR WORK
I can't sit here and define what works means for you, but I do know what work is for me. My definition of work is anything that takes up my mental or physical energy to complete. It doesn't mean I hate doing it. Let me give you a break down. Work is:
Believe it or not, I don't jump for joy every time I get to update my calendar or budget. Just sometimes. Google calendar colors are pretty. However, when you take all of those elements and combine them with running a team of coaches, a team of lifters, and every amazing client that walks through my door.....it is draining. Because every time someone walks through the door they bring their personalities with them, and we don't stare at walls as we lift. Well, we do. Focus points are important. But those special in between times we are social. We interact and help each other. We laugh with each other. Sometimes at each other.
We are family, and I miss them when I am gone too long. Every person I have the opportunity to help evolve physically and mentally is my life's work. Therefore, if I am to be at my best, I need to allow the time and space to recharge, relax, and rest.
Lets talk about rest, baby....
See what I mean? Rest and work. Work and rest. There is no one versus the other. It's not black and white. Your work could be my rest, and vice versa.
MAKE YOUR LIST
Time for you to do a little work! Think of the ebb and flow of your life. Are you a parent? Your flow probably looks like a school calendar. Do you work somewhere with a lot of travel? When do you travel the most versus slower months? Whatever it looks like make your work list and your rest list, and then observe how and when it starts to change and evolve. Do you enjoy gardening to unwind? Then work comes in the spring, and it may turn to rest in the summer, and then work again in the fall.
Try it out.
Find your flow.
Love your work.
Rest your soul.
I am working on a project that I hope to launch by the end of summer. It is one of three projects that I have given myself the task of doing for the year 2019, and none of the three are linked. What do these first statements have to do with boundaries? Not much. As I dive into this project and my words for 2019 of "growth" and "balance" keep reappearing, I am constantly reminded of my own boundaries. You see, with these projects come systems that I have to create because I am no longer a party of one. FitPOWER is now a party of 6. A very curious, determined, and excited party of six. With curiousity come questions about how things should be run, and while I can mentally paint this picture of how I want my business to flow, translating it to a neat handout is proving to be more difficult. But that is why this chapter of my life exists. Another growth spurt is about to happen, and perhaps I can share a little bit of knowledge from these last soon to be 7 years of business. Grab a cup of vacation coffee, making sure it's exactly how you like it, no distractions in sight, and enjoy this little blog of Jess insight.
1. My 1"x1" People
I took this out of a chapter by Brene Brown (is it obvious I'm a fan?). Find a piece of paper (I used an envelope), and create a 1"x1" square. Now write in their the names of your people. You know. The ones you'd go to battle with. The one's who's opinions truly matter. You don't have to share this information with anyone. It simply exists to remind you of who's opinion you hold valuable. Yes, you may have to edit your square from time to time, but whenever you start getting unsolicited advice grab this piece of paper and remind yourself who's voice really matters.
2. Airplane Mode
Literally and figuratively. In the evenings I put my phone on airplane mode so I'm not waken up by texting or phone calls. Unfortunately I use my phone as an alarm clock, and while I've tried to go the actual alarm clock route, I found myself paranoid that it would not go off for whatever reason. If you find it hard to get in contact with me on the weekends there's a good reason. I'm ignoring you. Just kidding! Sort of. After all training is done on Saturdays I try not to talk about work in any capacity. I love what I do, but I don't want to talk about it when its my turn to unwind. Some people may not agree, but there is nothing so important that it cannot wait until the work week begins again.
3. No Means No
I am a pretty firm believer that if you ask me something work related, and I tell you yes or no, I should be able to explain myself and be transparent. However, in most cases no simply means no. The problem with saying no isn't always the verbal part. It's the follow through. Make sure when you say "no" you understand why. Your own understanding will make it easier to draw those boundary lines and stick to them.
4. Social Media
This topic is a tough one. One of my coaches and I had an in depth conversation about social media. I feel as our political climate heats up it gets easier to make a slip up for the world to see. When I say "slip up" what I mean is resorting to rude behaviour online that you would never express face to face. One, this is cowardly, and I hold no space in my gym for attitude of that nature. Two, it reflects upon you. If you are wondering if I watch what my clients and coaches say online, the answer is yes. I watch how you treat other individuals, and I watch how you react to situations. Now, do I have notifications set up every time someone makes a comment or post. No. That's creepy, and a little too Big Brother. However, if you are a client or a coach representing my business there is a clear boundary of what I tolerate. Hateful, ignorant, sexist, misogynist, ableist, homo/trans/xenophobias, racist, etc, comments of any sort are a red flag, and I have no problem cutting ties.
My goal was to read 80 books in 2018. Alas, I came up 3 short....
Welcome to part two of the Constructs of Adherence series. A mind boggling, heart thumping, edge of your seat adventure of.......two blogs. Now that I've gotten you all riled up and ready to learn, let's dive in, shall we?
Before we continue, I do recommend that you go back a blog and read Constructs of Adherence to set the table for you (because we're mainly talking about nutrition and training....see what I did there? Set the table? Nevermind).
Your goals are written down, your game plan is set, and motivation and inspiration are still blowing a gale force wind into your sails. You are unstoppable.....until those winds die down. You see, motivation is effective but extremely exhaustive, and unless you have a motor attached to your ship fueled by "willpower", you will get stuck. Willpower is the source you draw from when the going gets tough. It keeps you from going under. It brings you back to the surface when you want to give up. If think about it, diet and training should be easy if all we have to focus our will power fuel sources on is diet and training. But other things take your willpower away, as well. Family. Work. Friends. Pets. Willpower is not an infinite source. Willpower is finite. It can bring you back to the surface after a bad day, but it needs to be buoyed by discipline. Discipline is remembering your game plan when you want to binge eat a box of Captain Crunch cereal (with berries). Discipline is getting your training session in even though it took all of your energy just to make it through the work day. Discipline fills in those gaps when willpower starts to wane. Discipline brings you to the ultimate goal of diet and training. Habit.
Habit is the ultimate goal when it comes to diet and training. Whenever we set goals in the gym, habit is where we want to end up. Lets be honest, staying disciplined 24/7 is hard, especially with dieting, and willpower as discussed above can be restored, but not if depleted. It has even been shown that dieting for too long can have a negative physiological effect on the body. Habit is where we need to be to help create sustainability. How can you help yourself get to the goal post that is habit?
When dieting and healthy eating become habit your chances of success sky rocket. The less energy needed to adhere to your program, the easier it is to make it your daily routine. The likelihood of sticking to your new habits after you take a break from your diet is also much more promising. So keep in mind that there is a pot of gold at the end of your adherence rainbow. It may take 4-6 weeks to get there, but the reward is worth it.
The short story is adherence takes work. Consistent work. And it never ends in a few weeks or months. Wherever you are in your journey apply these 6 steps and see where it takes you.
In August of this year I had the opportunity to attend an event where some of the bigger names in powerlifting and nutrition were hosting a jam-packed one day summit. This blog is long overdue for some of you out there, and it may be just the thing you need to read at this point in your journey toward whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Again, I believe the universe gives clues as to when that "right place ,right time" energy is due in one's life.
This particular conversation about adherence was given by Dr. Mike Israetel of Renaissance Periodization, and is specific to nutrition and training. However, it can be altered to most goals you set for yourself. The first thing you need to remember is that adhering, which is the commitment to a person, cause, or belief, is multi-layered. There is a timeline, and it reveals itself at very specific moments along that chronology.
If motivation is a feeling, then intention is a commitment. The word goal is a noun, and can become flat without given intent. To do something with intent gives that goal more gusto. More oompf. Intention fills in those adherence gaps when motivation gets low, and motivation will get low. If you think everyone is incredibly motivated all of the time then you are only observing their highlight reel. It is exhausting to be motivated 24/7, and it is unrealistic for many, if not most, people. Your lows need to be embraced, and you need to call on intention to push you over that hump. This is why writing down very specific goals is important. They serve as reminders as to why you started this journey. But goals alone aren't enough. You need a game plan, because the world will not replay itself the same way, day in and day out. Learning how to roll with the waves and applying back up plans to rougher days is how you stay strong even in your weakest moments.
These are the steps that everyone goes through. Next week we will uncover steps 4-6. These are our destination steps, and as intention and motivation wanes, steps 4-6 become harder and harder to reach. But it's doable. I suggest for this week you think of things that have inspired you, motivated you, and what intent you put behind those goals. Think back to the precise moment you stopped adhering to your purpose, and why you gave up. If you didn't give up, how long did it take you to start again?
I look forward to sharing steps discipline, habit, and passion with you all.
Until then, cheers!
For the final full week of October I set a goal in my calendar to write to larger blog posts per week. When I woke up this morning I was drawing a blank, and quite honestly, I still am. Then I thought I'd make a list of things, because that is the way my brain is functioning right now. LIsts upon lists as I prepare for a mini-relaunch of FitPOWER this November. My control freak mind took over again and said, "Lists are for daily roasts." I told it to shut up, because my blog my rules. So here is a list of things that are on my mind. Enjoy.
1. I love reading. There is nothing wrong with a good Netflix binge, but I read to create the world in my image. Such an egotistical thing to do, but when you think about it, any time you read a fictional tale, even though the author gives you descriptors of the characters, the settings, and the mood, it is still done in your image. Your spin on how their hair will look, even though you know the color. You made it the way you enjoy and perceive that color. If the character is poor and there is a description of their clothing, you still take those descriptors and it evolves into the way you view the clothing of a poor person. It's like no matter what you get to play the role of the creator.
3. All of the art in our house was either a. painted by a friend while they were wined up at a drink and draw, b. from an artist local to the city/region we visited on a trip, c. bought from one of our own local art festivals where the artist also lives in the area, or d. one of the many sketches that kids ages 8 and under have drawn for me while waiting for mom or dad to get done lifting. I'm opening a mini gallery for d. OH! And e. one of my insta/bjj/lifting friends does art as a hobby so I buy off of them, as well. I just enjoy supporting passionate people.
5. As a side hobby, I enjoy restoring old furniture. One of my favorite things to do is go to Goodwill and find a sturdy piece of wood furniture, bring it home.......and store it because eventually I'm going to pursue this hobby! Calling myself out here. Alright, this winter I will complete 2 restorative projects. You heard it here first! Otherwise, I'm just turning into a hoarder, and that is NOT the way I want to get famous.
Until next time folks. Cheers!
Anyways, she was telling me one of her kids has a stutter, and this isn't as uncommon as people may think. Another close friend of mine has a child that has a stutter, as well. If I remember correctly I had a stutter as a child, and then it went away only to reappear at 22 with a vengeance and a desire to destroy my emotional well-being by embarrassing me with a variety of words. B, D, and P words followed by a longer vowel sound. Even jiu jitsu is hard for me to say. Oh my gawds, JESSICA is hard to say.
"M'am, may I get your first and last name?"
"Sure, Juh-Jessica Sunier."
"I'm sorry? Can you repeat that?"
People may not notice it as much because over the last 11 years my adult brain found a way around it. I simply choose different words that mean the same but are easier for me to say. This took a lot of practice at first, but eventually it started to flow.
Stuttering primarily occurs when there is a lot of energy. Excitement. Panic. Anxiety. It doesn't matter. If it's not a calm energy then words become more difficult. Why? From what I understand when that anxious energy starts my brain releases dopamine to calm me back down. That dopamine collects in the frontal lobe where your speech centers are located, and we develop a blockage. That blockage can usually develop into a headache. I know that my worst stutter instances have occurred with a headache as its companion.
Here is what not to tell someone who has a stutter:
These are only some strategies that have helped me. If any of these work with you or your kids then that is all I can ask for, honestly. Lets be real, people can be really shitty toward one another. Discovering ways to communicate more effectively helps our entire race in the long run.