Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Arsenal

I know an amazing woman who has inspired me for many years. Her life isn’t perfect, in fact it’s been quite the opposite countless times. From her appearance and attitude you would never know the heartache, difficulties and challenges she’s faced through both family and work. Somehow, though, she emerges poised, confident, radiant and always with a smile despite everything she’s gone through.

One day we were talking and she shared that the biggest asset in her arsenal is her Wonder Woman Bra. When she puts it on, she feels confident, courageous and can tackle whatever it is she faces that day. I assumed she was speaking figuratively, (no pun intended). “Yes, I have a tough day ahead so I better put on my Wonder Woman bra!” Sort of like putting on your big girl panties. No, this wasn’t the case!  The Wonder Woman Bra is a real article of clothing!

Wonder Woman Bra

She stumbled upon it when she felt her lowest. Buying it made her feel happy and wearing it lifted her spirits in a way she couldn’t describe. It might not give her superhuman powers that we can see, but it gives her amazing powers of confidence and empowerment that she can feel.

Sometimes we need a little extra support to get us through the day. What a wonderful idea to surround ourselves with the positive! Arming ourselves with an arsenal of tangible objects that mean something to us and give us positive vibes can make a huge difference in our day’s outcome.

My friend believes in the power of the Wonder Woman bra so much that she bought 3 more and gave them to her closest friends. Now that’s a circle of support like no other!

I’m inspired!

So what’s in your arsenal?

The Posture Pulley

Not many know this but I’m walking around this planet with a reverse curve in my neck. Thank goodness for skin and tissue to cover it up! I found this out by accident when I went to a new chiropractor for a pain in my elbow. He was offering free x-rays. I had no idea what my spine looked like, so it sounded good to me!

I’ve had pain in my neck for years, but I always thought it was caused by stress and tension. After seeing the x-ray my Dr. was convinced I had suffered some sort of major trauma in my life like a car accident. No, never! Was I was born deformed or was it caused by all the plyo jumps and hard landings over my lifetime? It’s scary to think about but you really can’t rule anything out. The reverse curve was squishing discs in my neck, impinging on nerves, causing major pain down my arm and in my neck. If it went untreated I could suffer major mobility problems down the road. Visions of me not being able to turn my head haunted me. Thank goodness we caught it before it could get any worse. The Dr. also gave me hope it can be corrected.

My initial care plan included 3 visits a week. I was adjusted and then put into traction. It’s like putting your neck in a vice and lying there while they crank and stretch your neck up to create space between your discs. They leave you there for about 5 very long minutes. It hurt. My body didn’t like it at all. It caused headaches and dizziness afterwards. I dreaded each visit, but I went back because I was afraid not to. My body eventually adjusted and over time the traction didn’t seem as bad.

I realize this whole thing sounds depressing but it was a tough time in my life. Not to worry though, after a few months things started to improve. The pain in my arm disappeared completely and my neck felt much better for the most part. I still get occasional pain, but occasional is so much better than chronic!

This whole time my Dr. was asking me to do my part at home. He wanted me to use the posture pulley every day, 20 reps for 5 seconds each.

Posture Pulley

You wrap this contraption around your head, pull the handles forward while pressing your head back at the same time. It’s resistance training. It’s an exercise. I exercise every day. This request from my chiropractor would only take 100 seconds a day, or just over a minute and a half. So why wasn’t I doing it?

At first I tried fibbing and saying I used it daily, but he knew the truth. You can’t fool the professionals. But still, even though I knew better, week after week I failed to do my part at home and relied on only what he could do for me in my 10 minute weekly appointment.

It’s been a whole year and a half now, maybe more, and I’m still not using the posture pulley like I should. Finally last week the Dr. looked me in the eye and said, “You NEED to do your part at home. It’s maintenance, like your workout. You know the drill.” He was serious! And then it clicked.

Yes, I am a fitness professional and I struggle with the same types of decisions my clients do. Is it forgetfulness, laziness, procrastination or maybe ‘I just don’t feel like it right now’?. To make a behavior change, I have to decide I want it. I can only do it for me. It’s my decision. It’s my action. If I do the work, then I will reap the rewards.

There are so many decisions in life this can apply to! Things won’t truly change for any of us until we take responsibility and do our part. Some decisions are more important than others, but every behavior change requires the same kind of discipline. In all honesty, the posture pulley is like a thorn in my side. It’s not the contraption itself, or even the 100 seconds a day it requires. It’s a reminder of a problem I have. It represents something I don’t want to think about. But ignoring it won’t make it go away. In fact, ignoring it is the worst thing I can do.

It’s time to take action. The posture pulley is on display in my house so I will remember to use it. I’m happy to say I’ve used it every day for over a week now. Honestly, once I get past my negative mindset, it’s not so bad! Actually, it’s quick, easy and quite painless. I was making it into such a dreaded and horrible thing by the way I viewed it. It was all in my head!

So I challenge you to confront your posture pulley.

What negative thinking is stopping you from making that change YOU need?

It’s up to you!

Things That Make You Go “HUH?”

Life gets crazy, and my husband and I like to jet off in our RV whenever we can and enjoy a little ‘together time’. We take a daily fast paced ‘together time walk’ while we’re on the road to keep the blood flowing. Our goal is usually 3-4 miles.

We started using RunKeeper to log our walks mainly because this app is compatible with the UP band (which we still wear daily and love).  RunKeeper is awesome because it sends the map right to our UP apps, and well, we think that’s pretty cool! We started noticing however, that RunKeeper thinks he’s walking faster and farther than I am, when we are in fact walking side by side the entire way.

Below are our maps from a particular day in July. My map is on the left and my husband’s is on the right. We pretty much walked around the campground and retraced our steps somewhat, which explains the thicker lines.

If your mind works anything like mine, you’re thinking, what the heck was he doing?
I swear we were walking side by side. He was even walking straight! So what are all those loop-dee-loops on his map? Heck if we knew!

Karen's Wayne's

So RunKeeper gives my husband credit for going .19 miles farther than me, which I decided to round up to 1/4 mile because I want to embellish a little. It  doesn’t matter what the real number is because the whole thing doesn’t make sense. This is a GPS app. We walked the same distance.

The maps from a few days later are below. This time we walked a little faster and therefore went a little farther in about the same time. My map is on the left. Once again, my lines are nice and straight. I think I would get an ‘A’ if this were kindergarten class.

Wayne's map My walk

My husband’s map is on the right. Clearly, he would not get an ‘A’. On this day, RunKeeper says he went .21 miles farther than I did, or 1/4 mile according to my calculations. Again, we were walking side by side.

On our next trip, we used RunKeeper again and got a similar result. The maps are below. I am on the left and my husband is on the right.

Wayne's map

My mapHis map here is not as convoluted as the previous ones. This time, though, RunKeeper says he walked .38 miles farther than I did! This is over 1/3 mile!  This is getting ridiculous! I suppose if the app showed that I was the one traveling farther and faster I’d feel happy. The one thing I have going for me is the UP app estimates that I consistently take 500 more steps than he does during the course of 3 1/4 miles. (I call this the Chihuahua Effect. My stride is shorter so I have to take more steps. Works for me!)

Map My Fitness photo

The next day we used a different GPS app just to see. Map My Fitness is also compatible with the UP app, but it’s our second choice because it doesn’t send the nice map to UP that RunKeeper does. Instead we see a picture of a little man in motion. It’s just not as fun.

We took exactly the same route as the day before, but for some reason Map My Fitness gave us both credit for going about 1/10th of a mile more. Again, though, it suggests my husband still walked farther than I did. (More than 1/3 mile). A different app, but the same overall result.

On our last day of this trip my husband decided to carry his phone in his pocket for most of our walk, (previously he carried it in his hand). Holy cow! This is what made the difference. This time RunKeeper suggested he only walked .06 miles more than I did.

We decided that it’s the way my husband walks that affects the apps. He suffers from what I call ‘Excessive Arm Swing Syndrome’. Should an excessive arm swing really affect a GPS app? How many others suffer from the same disorder and think they’ve traveled farther than they really did? How many fictional miles is this across the population? How many fictional calories have been burned?  My head is spinning because there’s so much to think about!

We appreciate the data and laughs RunKeeper has given us. I’m anxious to use this GPS app with additional activities to see if we can uncover our other disorders!

Keep moving, keep laughing, keep fit!

PS – Many thanks to my husband for allowing me to have a little fun at his expense.

You Can’t Teach Courage

My son Danny was recently on a Wipeout episode which first aired September 5, 2013 called ‘Blind Date – Even Blinder’. Watching him on TV was a thrill, and it really made me think about life and opportunity.

Danny and the Big Balls

Danny was always enamored with this show and a few years ago he said, “Mom, you should be on here!”. I was totally flattered that my teenage son had this kind of confidence in me, but I didn’t entertain this thought for even a minute. Why? Fear. Fear of failing, fear of getting hurt, fear of the unknown. Just plain, huge, debilitating, life directing fear.

His desire to be on Wipeout himself began when a friend auditioned and made it on the show. He was grinning ear to ear as he filled out his application online. He even chuckled occasionally. Lots of people make it on TV. Why not him? How can he stand out and get selected? He shared a few of his answers with me:

Question: Do you know how to swim?

Answer: I’m basically the next Michael Phelps

Question: What celebrity do people say you look like?

Answer: People say I look like Dylan and Cole Sprouse (from “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody”) or Jack McBrayer (Kenneth from “30 Rock”), but I prefer to say that I look like a combination of  Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.

He answered the remaining questions in a similar manner.

When they called him a couple of months later for an audition he was really excited but nervous at the same time. A little fear crept in. His mind was racing. Did they think he was serious on his application? Do they really think he’s the next Michael Phelps? Or do they know he joked his way through and think he’s funny? If that’s the case, what if he can’t be funny in person? He drove up to Burbank between college classes for his audition. Despite his fear, he decided he needed to be memorable, so he rapped “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj. Boom, he got a call a couple months later. He was in!

It was so exciting to find out he’s a contestant on the show, but there were still 6 weeks before taping. That’s a lot of time for real fear to creep in. Since it’s the Blind Date episode, he has a partner. Couples are eliminated in each round so they both need to finish each course within a certain time or before other couples to move on. What if he’s the weak link in his duo? What if they, as a couple, don’t make the qualifier and don’t end up on the show at all after all of this? What if she quits in the middle, like people occasionally do? What if he breaks something (oh sorry, this was my fear not his). What if, what if, what if?

I think courage comes from a deep determination and passion inside. It’s stronger than fear if you want something bad enough. Fear is natural. It lurks and creeps in whenever it can. It prevents people from taking opportunities and realizing their dreams. Courage is not natural. Courage is a decision. Danny told me he decided right after the audition that if he made it on the show, he would do it, even though it seemed terrifying. The closer it got, the scarier it seemed. He said, if you get the opportunity for something like this, you HAVE to do it. You can’t count on a second chance. Wise words from a 21 year old!

He invited his friends over to view the show when it aired. More fear! How would the show portray him? Wipeout is known for making fun of the contestants, and making them look silly. Well, it was too late to worry about that now! Just being on the show was a dream come true for him.  He was beyond being embarrassed by what they might show or the comments they might make. It was time to celebrate.

Wipeout gives nicknames to all the contestants. They called him KarBASHian Danny because his ‘date’ loves Kim Kardashian. He looked and did amazing, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his Mom. It’s just a fact! They didn’t air this part on the show, but he and his partner had the 2nd fastest time in the qualifier (which is the 1st set of obstacles). They moved on to the second round.

This is Danny after breezing through Round 2. So exciting!

Karbashian Danny - Triumph

He waited in anticipation. Would his partner make it too?

Karbashian Danny waiting

It was certainly a nail biter and I’m sad to say that she didn’t make it in time. The Karbashians were eliminated after this round but It was very exciting to watch!

This whole experience that my son had was a wonderful example to me. He found his passion, he squashed the fear, he dug up the courage and as a result had an amazing experience to remember forever.

How many opportunities have I, or you, passed up because fear crept in? What if we don’t allow “what ifs” into our lives. “What ifs” fuel fear. They stifle individuality. They hinder success.

Moving forward I am very inspired to act on opportunities that fuel my passion, no matter how scary, and I plan to dig deep for the courage to make them real.

Thank you Karbashian Danny for the inspiration. Well done!