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The Week (and Month) in Review: 75% Me

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

"If you feel you are down on your luck, check the level of your effort."
-Robert Brault

September was a very "Eh" month all around. It wasn't awful, but definitely not a month that I look back on and harbor super fond memories. I didn't lose any weight, but that was mostly on purpose. My birthday on September 11th was anticlimactic, with it being the 10th anniversary of my family member's death, and being ditched by my friend to boot. My friend never apologized, and she never called me back, so I haven't talked to her. I didn't go to kickboxing much--I mainly went when my brother was there, as I knew I had a partner who wouldn't be a jerk. I did stick with my strength training plan (Cathe Friedrich's Shock Training System) and am finished with the hypertrophy phase (except for one last pesky back and biceps workout that I can't seem to squeeze in this week). Overall, the month of September was "Blah", until the end of the month when I wasn't there for a friend, and I realized how much I've let my body fat control my brain. I did my best to give 100%, but in retrospect I could have done better.

October is going to be different. For one, I am done with my muscle building phase, so now it's time for some hard-core strength building and mad cardio. I am at a new boxing gym (more on that later), and I love it so far. I feel refreshed and balanced, and ready to BRING IT. My eating has been right on most of the time. I've stayed out of the candy drawer at work for at least the past 3 weeks, which is really hard to do when things get stressful at work. Now it's no big deal and I am used to not automatically reaching in there. My goal is to stay out of the candy drawer until at least Halloween, but I think I will make it a permanent habit. Staying out of the candy drawer probably saves me anywhere from 200-700 calories a day. That's a lot of pounds that are going to go bye bye.

Anyways, I digress. The end of September ended up being a bit of an epiphany. I learned that I am seriously holding back, and I already thought that I was being pretty open. With you, my SparkFriends, I am. But in real life, I have been trying to hide behind a facade of fat every chance that I get. It took someone who is creepily good at reading me to set off the light bulb. I've talked about my saxophone teacher Jeff a bit, and that's because he is unlike most other teachers, or people, I've known. He kind of freaks me out. I'm pretty good at reading people, and I'm also an introvert and try to keep quiet and keep to myself. Well, instead, I'm stuck in a room alone with someone who has been able to trick me into changing my thinking and who can read who I am as an entire being just by hearing me play.

Last week at my lesson, he told me to play a piece I had been working on. I played the piece, doing my best to not worry too much about messing up, while still trying to make it sound like a song. After I was finished playing the piece, he said, "Well, that wasn't bad. But you need to open up more. You were only about 75% 'you' when you were playing that."

I know I blushed immediately. Most people who have spent a lot of time with me in person wouldn't know me well enough to say something like that, because of the efforts I make to keep people at bay. I am not used to people who can tell that I'm holding back, let alone calling me out on it. I was actually a little speechless. "Okay, try it again, but more open this time...just play."

I'm not normally prone to opening up on command, but I played the last part of the song like he said, and each note was loud, clear, and had a life of its own. He smiled, "Much better!" I have tried to keep that tone while practicing this week, and I've tried to call myself out when I'm not being 100% me. I have tried to catch myself when I'm holding back and figure out why.

My "Reality Check" blog was written 2 days after my lesson with Jeff--he just has a way of planting seeds in my head. This week I realized how much I've held back because I am self-conscious about my body size. A childhood friend had a kickboxing fight, and I didn't go because I didn't want to run into my old Muay Thai coach. I was embarrassed for him to see me this overweight. I regretted that I didn't go and have been kicking myself all week (figuratively). To remedy this, I decided that enough was enough and I was going to pursue a new gym with new trainers, which also meant I would see people who I used to train with my old coach, Kru Mike.

I blogged earlier this week about my current kickboxing gym, and how I've kind of had it with the catty high school gym style clique behavior. When I'm there, I am 0% me. Sure, I usually get in a good workout, but I dreaded going because of the people. I really do like my trainers there, but my experiences there were marred by the behavior of other members. I have had fun kickboxing with my brother, but we are only able to attend together once a week. I will still try to go when he goes.

I went to a class at a new gym last Friday. Wow, what a difference. There was no avoidance of eye contact, sneering, or eye-rolling from other members. Actually, other members--*gasp!*--talked to me. I had never set foot in that gym before, but I was not treated like an outsider. I was not treated like a fat chick. I was treated like someone who was there for martial arts training, and I've gotten in a couple of great workouts. My new Muay Thai coach Eric and I used to train with Kru Mike, and it's been awesome to return to the traditional martial arts training, with the respect and discipline as well. I will be doing boxing, too, and have met my new coach, but I haven't trained with him yet. I am planning to do a fairly intense schedule there: back-to-back Muay Thai and boxing on Mondays and Wednesdays (2 hours each day) and Muay Thai of Fridays and Saturdays (1 hour each).

My new Muay Thai coach Eric. He's the taller guy. Image from

My boxing coach Ty. He's a model--I thought about posting one of his underwear ads, but my blog would probably get flagged. Image from

I would like to think that I am giving 100% most of the time. When I falter, and decide to give less at any given moment, the guilt sets in. But the definition of 100% varies from day-to-day. Maybe one day sitting in front of the T.V. and giving my body some rest is 100%. Other days, maybe I decide to do something other than working out, when I know damn well I could be working out. For the most part, I feel like I can tell the difference. Part of being 100% is knowing the difference between giving 100% and giving in.

I need to fully accept that my body size does not define me. There is no single thing that defines me as a whole person. At any given moment, I am 100% me, at any weight, in any mood, in every state of being. I am learning more and more that this is excellent. I think October is going to be a great month.

"I've got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end."
-Larry Bird

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1HAPPYWOMAN 10/8/2011 6:17PM

    Erin, I'm so happy for you! You said Jeff planted a seed, and I guess you were ready for it to really take root!
I could be wrong, but I see you as an extremely sensitive yet strong person, which kind of explains how you stayed at your old gym. You're sensitive enough to feel uncomfortable about the way you were treated, and it bothered you, but you're strong enough to push through the discomfort and keep going.... Still, I'm glad you found a better place. You deserve to be treated with respect ALL THE TIME.

Happy October! It's going to be a FABULOUS FALL!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    I think you need to dump us and spent all your time with Eric and TY!! Yeow!! These guys are HOT!! LOL.

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VALERIEMAHA 10/5/2011 11:44AM

    All "hotness" aside, I've been scratching my head about the seeming incongruity between the Erin I have a sketchy awareness of, Muay Thai, and boxing.

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GEMINIAN1 10/5/2011 8:03AM

    emoticon on staying away from that drawer!
Here's to a kick butt October my friend!
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EMRANA 10/4/2011 10:36PM

  Based on your comments, I'm guessing that site for your boxing trainer has gotten a few hits ~ you did mention an underwear ad. emoticon

I'm so glad that you're feeling so good! I think it's wonderful that such a big epiphany came from an unlikely place. Jeff is wise!

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CANNIE50 10/4/2011 9:38PM

    SHeesh, give a girl some warning would you? I think your coaches triggered a hot flash emoticon or two emoticon emoticon. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog (and not just because of the ridiculously beautiful boys). But, candy drawer? THat is evil. I hated when I worked in an office and people insisted on having things like candy drawers or candy bowls or big boxes of donuts, etc etc which I totally understand is my problem. I am quite impressed that you have stayed out of the candy. I look forward to the day that the sight of big gatherings of sugary things do not do a thing to my pulse - I am not there yet. I do not always give in but I ALWAYS take notice. Once again, I am impressed by you.

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MERAINA 10/4/2011 6:43PM

    OMGAW! I want a coach like that.. no wait... I want a back rub... no wait... LOL

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    I love how you always bring in little anecdotes from your lessons. I think nothing has me more reflective as a person than playing music. Being able to play music well requires all of your mind, soul and body. Most people don't understand that. I would love to meet your sax teacher. He sounds like the kind of person I would like to have a conversation with.

And I love that we both had big changes this past week. We are awesome for breaking out of our comfort zones. I want to keep doing it, because it makes me feel victorious!

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CRABADA 10/4/2011 4:43PM

    Some unsolicited comments - I can't resist. :)

1. Did you apologize to your friend that didn't get 100% of your attention when needed? (Only asking since you mentioned your bday pal didn't.)

2. I think October's going to be SO different, and I think a lot of it has to do with your gym switch. Aren't you so glad and relieved and excited that you decided to make the change? That alone will give you so much motivation! I'm excited for you.

3. You have a candy drawer at work? Why?!? Maybe chucking the candy and making it a healthy snack drawer is something to consider?

4. "Creepily good looking." Hilarious!

5. I think it's wonderful that Jeff knows you well enough to tell when you're giving 100% and that he calls you on it. Look how that one comment has changed your mindset! What if you have five people who could do that for you? Wouldn't that be amazing?

6. Eric's body is stupid hot. And Ty? Oh my good Lord. Isn't he worried about getting that face smashed in teaching boxing?

7. I think one of the keys to making sure you're giving 100% is making conscious decisions, like you said. If you think about whether to do or not do something, and DECIDE on way or the other, then you can't go wrong. It's those times when we let others or life or whatever make our decisions for us that take away our 100% power. And sometimes giving 70% is giving 100%, if that makes sense, so let go of the guilt and baggage when those times come along.

You're awesome. You're doing awesome. Thanks for sharing. :)

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APIRLRAIN888 10/4/2011 12:59PM

    wow i would go too if coach is go good looking ;p

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HEALTHYL1 10/4/2011 12:38PM

    I don't think I'd be able to concentrate with those coaches! :) Cheers to a great October! emoticon

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CHAOSTHEORY635 10/4/2011 12:17PM

    whoa. serious hotness there--no wonder you love the new gym! :D

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KKINNEA 10/4/2011 9:58AM

    You are going to rock out October!

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SMILINGTREE 10/4/2011 9:28AM

    Now that you mention it, September was sort of an "eh" month for me too. I only had one outstanding work out that felt fabulous. Most of the time it felt like I was just putting in the time.

Congratulations on your epiphany. You are working on personal development so much - from music to fitness to professional stuff - you are making progress all the time, most likely without even being aware of it.

I read something on Twitter yesterday, I can't remember the quote exactly but it was something like, The more you are yourself, the more accommodating the world becomes. Chris Brogan (who is pretty interesting and quite well known) posted it. Seems like good advice.

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HIPPICHICK1 10/4/2011 8:17AM

    Yeah, the hotness factor would be of high interest to me too!!
Here's the thing, friend...if you want to change your life all you have to do is change your mind. The thing that keeps most of us from doing our best is us, but more specifically, our minds.
Glad to hear that your sax teacher might be one of your best trainers yet!!

Comment edited on: 10/4/2011 8:18:32 AM

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JENJESS48 10/4/2011 8:16AM

    Isn't it amazing how a revelation in one part of our lives can spill over and improve everything? emoticon

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SCHWINNER! 10/4/2011 7:24AM

    Uhhhh can I come work out with you??? Okay, I'd probably just stand there and pant/drool, but still! RAWR!!

Here's to a serious October!!!

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JSALERNO 10/4/2011 6:36AM


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APED7969 10/4/2011 4:58AM

    Your coaches are HOOOOOOTTTTT!! I hope you have fun showing them what an athlete you are. I think impressing them would give me some extra movtivation emoticon so glad to hear you like your liking your new gym. Here's to a great October!!!

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DMT1956 10/4/2011 4:40AM

    your here and giving it a go emoticon emoticon

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Awesome blog from MUSICALLYMINDED about facing our fears

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

My good SparkPal MUSICALLYMINDED wrote a great blog about facing our fears. Tracy has really stood in the face of challenges and plunged in head on. I really admire how she can acknowledge a challenge or fear, yet is able to forge ahead. I have enjoyed seeing her change over the past several months since being her SparkFriend, and this blog shows one of the many reasons why she has been so successful.

Here is a snippet:

"Sometimes we learn the most when we feel the worst about ourselves. If I'm never going outside of my comfort zone, then I'm never going to be most fit person I can be. I'm not going to reach that next level of fitness by hanging around other overweight people, being a couch potato...because that's what's comfortable. I've got to make myself UNcomfortable to get to that next level."

Here is the blog:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 10/4/2011 9:40PM

    You are such a remarkable emoticon. I concur about the blog - I really enjoyed it and particularly liked the part you highlighted above.

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    Aww...yay for sharing!

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LINDAKAY228 10/4/2011 11:23AM

    Thanks for sharing the link. It really was a great story about facing our fears and finding the blessing when we do.

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JITZUROE 10/4/2011 11:09AM

    thanks for sharing the link! I am headed over rigt now!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 10/4/2011 2:55AM

MARY emoticon

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CRABADA 10/4/2011 2:26AM

    Thanks for pointing us in the direction of this great blog. I'm totally spreading the word too! :)


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LESLIESENIOR 10/4/2011 1:28AM

    Thank you for sharing this blog AND supporting another friend on her journey. Your generous nature is inspiring.

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APIRLRAIN888 10/4/2011 12:42AM

    love the get uncomfortable to get to next lvl soo true

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The Last Marathon

Sunday, October 02, 2011

"The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work."
-Harry Golden

My brother John running Twin Cities Marathon, October 2nd, 2011--he is in the green tank top.

Today was Twin Cities Marathon. It was a perfect day for my brother to run, and I'm glad the weather was perfect, because today he ran his 6th and last marathon. My brother has bone tumors covering most of his body and has already battled bone cancer at the age of 30. Despite the pain, occasional paralysis, and the naysayers, he ran. Because all the cards were stacked against him, he ran. Despite doctors telling him it was physically impossible for him to run, he ran. Despite the risk that he may have a spontaneous bone fracture in his leg, he ran.

My brother has been coming to kickboxing with me, and that has been a good bonding experience for us. We've finally been having real conversations for the first time in our adult lives. At kickboxing a few weeks ago, John told me that Twin Cities Marathon would be his last marathon. He told me this with defeat in his eyes. Because my brother doesn't like the slightest hint of pity, I just nodded and said, "Okay," and then we continued kicking and punching. I know it was huge for him to come to terms with this decision and to say it out loud.

He ran his last marathon today without hitting a wall and finished in 3:43:43. I am extremely proud of him, both for the race and for accepting a limit within himself.

Here is my blog entry "Intentional Passion, Unintentional Inspiration" that explains more about my brother's situation, and his unwitting inspiration:

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
-M. Kathleen Casey

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEONALIONESS 10/3/2011 2:45PM

    I cried.

Tell him he is SO inspirational.
I'll be thinking of your brother when I run my 4th marathon this Sunday in Portland. When it gets rough, I'm going to dig deeper. Because he ran. And so will I.

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ALISHAB3 10/3/2011 1:12PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about his condition. I would definitely be kicking and punching something if I couldn't run anymore. I don't think anyone would want to be around for that. He must really trust you to be able to say it. And, what an athlete he is, 3:43 is a great time! Don't give him a hug for me, that would just be too hard, but know that both of you are in my prayers tonight. emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 10/3/2011 9:55AM

    "Despite the pain, occasional paralysis, and the naysayers, he ran. Because all the cards were stacked against him, he ran. Despite doctors telling him it was physically impossible for him to run, he ran. Despite the risk that he may have a spontaneous bone fracture in his leg, he ran."

Yes he did. He.Ran. Emerson says, "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." And I think that so beautifully reflects a part of your brother's success.

Based upon who you two are, I'd love to know more about your parents!!!
Your pursuit of excellence somehow reminds me of this daughter and father-focused article by Tiffany Shlain that I read this morning that you might enjoy:


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    Wow...your brother is absolutely amazing..Truly an inspiration.

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CANNIE50 10/2/2011 11:06PM

    When I read about your brother, I cry. I don't cry with pity, but with admiration. He is amazing. You are amazing.

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JITZUROE 10/2/2011 8:44PM

    You are a GREAT sister to him and a wonderful supporting cheerleader for him! Congrats to your brother!
What an amazing feat!
I am going to check out your links now..

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APIRLRAIN888 10/2/2011 7:52PM

    so awesome so inspirational great job

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KKINNEA 10/2/2011 6:07PM

    Sounds like your brother did fantastic and you are a great sister to be out there supporting him! I never would have seen him - too far back in time - but would have loved to run with him for a little while!

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FANGFACEKITTY 10/2/2011 5:24PM

    emoticon emoticon
Your brother is an inspiration to us all!

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TRILLIUM22 10/2/2011 4:31PM

    You have one special brother. Love each other. emoticon

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EMRANA 10/2/2011 2:49PM

  Wow, that's a great time he put up! I'm very impressed.

I also love the support you are giving your brother, and how you handled his decision. You're a sweet sister.


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1HAPPYWOMAN 10/2/2011 2:46PM

    I really appreciate that you didn't burden your brother with pity. It's a great gift you have, to be so insightful and tuned in to other people's needs.
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BECKY3774 10/2/2011 2:37PM

    Now that I'm bawling my eyes out from reading this and the previous blog, I have a brand new perspective on things. I wish your brother the best, and he's lucky to have such a loving sister. (And vice-versa)


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Weight Loss is a Sport

Friday, September 30, 2011

"For each individual, sport is a possible source for inner improvement."
-Pierre de Coubertin

Most sports have a pre-season during which athletes prepare their bodies for the tough task of their sport. Then there is "peak" training during the on-season. Many athletes try to maintain their "peak" throughout the season, although this is a physically unrealistic goal. A "peak" can only be maintained for a few weeks, after which the body will revert slightly and then maintain. Then athletes can let loose a little bit during the off-season. This doesn't mean they go to town and totally decondition themselves, but they lay off the really strict workout schedule and get a little more laid back about their diets. Most conditioned athletes focus on maintaining their weight within a few pounds, despite cycling through varying levels of activity.

My sport is kickboxing, and although there is not a particular season, kickboxers train harder at some times more than others. I go through phases where I focus intensely on technique and may not be focusing so much on endurance. At other times, I try to build my aerobic conditioning. Kickboxing is considered an anaerobic activity, in that there are 2-3 minute bursts of powerful activity, followed by a short rest, so kickboxers build power through drills and strength training. My training program is always varied, and workouts and even my diet will be different based on the particular goals I am trying to reach.

I have taken this idea of "cycling" from athletic training to my approach to weight loss. Rather than viewing weight loss as a single phase, I view it merely as a part of athletic training. I will have "peak training" phases, and I have "off-season" phases. I know I gained weight due to extreme behavior, so it is natural to transfer this all-or-none thinking to weight loss. I find the thought of losing over 100 pounds while being perfect all of the time to be impossible, unrealistic, and well, no fun. I have approached weight loss with "peak" and "off-peak" training, although it had taken a long time to find that balance.

I approach weight loss like a sport. Just like training for anything else, we can't peak all of the time. People who are losing weight seem to expect consistently high performance levels more than a lot of high-level athletes that I know. For some reason, those of us seeking to lose weight expect that we should be able to work out heavily and eat perfectly all the time. If we are perfect all of the time, our weight loss will be consistent and linear. I'm sure most of us have experienced that this is not the case, and the process becomes disheartening. It is also mentally taxing to constantly be in major weight loss mode. I am trying to minimize the guesswork, surprises, and mental anguish by creating plateaus myself, cycled around various fitness training goals.

I have several reasons for purposefully "cycling" my weight loss. Most people focus on "weight loss" first, and then on trying to "tone" muscles. I believe that building muscle mass first (yes, the dreaded "bulking up") helps prevent sagging skin and prepares the body to maintain weight. Weight cannot be maintained if we have the same metabolism we had when we were overweight. I have taken the past 2 months to build some major muscle mass, while primarily maintaining my body weight. Why the heck would anybody purposely bulk up? Granted, I am kind of my own experiment here, I think I'm better off building a bunch of muscle mass now to support fat loss. The body can't support a lot of weight loss while simultaneously building muscle, so I chose to focus on building muscle mass for a while. I can now feel rock-hard muscles in my arms, but of course, they are covered with a lot of fat. I have also been able to do more strength training with my legs and can see some nice muscle cuts coming out (albeit, again, covered with fat); I plan on returning to heavy lower body strength training and feel my knee can handle it. Interestingly, my measurements did not change over the last 2 months, but clothes fit better. I guess the change in my body shape and the changes in the muscles made a difference. I will do a few months of working on fat loss, and then return to maintaining for a couple of months while building up muscle mass again. I am working on a blog about muscle hypertrophy and will try to post in the next couple of weeks.

My line of thinking and long-held suspicion about "traditional" weight loss rules and metabolic flexibility is now finally backed up by some science. We see it all over SparkPeople all the time, "I'm eating like I should, I'm exercising, the scale isn't budging!" The old "3,500 calorie deficit=1 pound loss" line of thinking appears to be fairly flawed. I eat towards the high end of my calorie range, if not slightly above it, and I have either been having small losses or maintaining throughout this muscle-building process. I actually try to err of the side of overeating (not binging, though), because my muscles are better off dealing with a little extra fuel rather than not having enough fuel to recover. In any case, when I am in "weight loss mode," I eat towards the very high end of my calorie range, if not a little more, while burning about 5,000 calories a week through training and activity. If I ate too little while ripping up my muscles with kickboxing and weight lifting, my metabolism would slow down due to loss of muscle mass combined with inadequate nutrients for muscle recovery.

In any case, here is the article about the outdated "3,500 calorie deficit" rule (I realized I posted it to the second page of the article in my blog post last week):

Overall, these "purposeful plateaus" are intended to increase my metabolic flexibility, and while the process may take a bit longer, I think my weight loss will be healthier because I am avoiding losing a lot of muscle mass. Weight loss tends to slow down as people lose weight because they lose muscle mass, which causes the metabolism to be sluggish. Inefficiency in metabolizing fuel sources (carbs, fat, or glycogen stores) leads to metabolic inflexibility. Increased metabolic inflexibility leads to increased inflammation in the body, and when coupled with a loss in muscle mass, weight loss becomes very frustrating. Here is the blog I wrote a while ago talking about metabolic flexibility:

Well, my plateau is over, and I am about to bring it hard core with the fat loss. I am starting at a new kickboxing gym today, and I will be able to attend Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) training 3-4 days per week, not just 1 day. It will be intense, but nothing got me into shape faster.

Fifty pounds down is not that far out of my reach--I just need to bring it. This is my season.

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it."
-John Wooden

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALISHAB3 10/2/2011 10:58PM

    I love reading your blog. You inspire me. Btw, you are right, cycling is extremely effective in weight loss. Check out Leigh Peele's Fat Loss troubleshoot e book. She goes into that with great detail, but basically you are on the right track. I cycle throughout my week even during my weight loss phase. I have 2-3 days of calorie deficit then one day of eating without any deficit, rinse and repeat 2x a week.

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CANNIE50 10/1/2011 11:14PM

    I learn so much from reading your blogs I should track fitness minutes for working out my brain. I don't even know where to start, there is so much good information here. I have been focusing on strength training, 3 times per week, for an hour each session. I know I would lose weight (I have been stuck for a month, and have even gained 3 lbs lately) if I ate less and exercised less, but I am focusing on building my strength. I like the idea of building muscles, and then melting off fat to reveal the muscles underneath. I would rather be chubby than look like I have melted, and I don't want to be weak. I LOVE lifting weights. My problems stay outside the gym door, my anxiety fades away, and it is just me and my muscles and the weights and the reps. I feel more relaxed lifting weights than I do practicing yoga (of course, I am not disciplined with yoga so that probably has a lot to do with it). I wish we lived closer - you would be an amazing workout partner, or, some day, instructor or trainer. You are such an asset to SP.

Comment edited on: 10/1/2011 11:15:16 PM

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    Very interesting blog. You gave me a lot of information that I didn't have before.
Enjoy your new kick boxing class!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 10/1/2011 1:42AM

    This is pretty much the most rational/sane/healthy approach I've ever seen someone take to weight loss. I'll keep these things in mind as I approach my personal "off-season" (not that I'm taking off from training for winter, just that I'll FEEL "off" the whole time).

Also: I'm willing to bet you've effected some kick-ass body composition changes. More "leaning out" than "bulking up" ;) Keep lifting heavy (do what you can around injuries, of course) and not starving yourself (which is always a huge mistake). Here's hoping you LOVE the new Muay Thai gym!

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CRABADA 9/30/2011 6:41PM

    I find this blog entry so interesting. I've definitely been in the mind set of lose first, then build muscle, but you've got me rethinking that.

I also love your point about the fact that elite athletes don't expect (or even want) perfection all the time, so what are we amateurs thinking with our all or nothing attitudes?

Thanks for this - definitely going to pass this along to my other SP pals. :)


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APED7969 9/30/2011 5:59PM

    Good luck! And great job so far :) Glad to hear you like your new gym, no point in going somewhere you don't want to be

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    Good luck!!

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EMRANA 9/30/2011 1:22PM

  LOVE IT! I agree with every word. I am doing the same to a certain extent, though your process is much more organized than mine. I'm definitely bookmarking this one.


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MEWHENRYSMAMA 9/30/2011 1:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


emoticon emoticon

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KNH771 9/30/2011 11:24AM

    Sounds like a mentally healthy approach!

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JSALERNO 9/30/2011 11:19AM


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Reality Check: Oh, the absurdity of dumb excuses...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

***WARNING: A couple o' swear words used in satirical fashion in this blog.***

"The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer."
-John Madden

I have a confession. I know I often come across as being very self-confident, and for the most part, I really am. But the sport of kickboxing brings out the self-conscious schoolgirl in me. I have been a kickboxer for almost 7 years, with a primary focus of Muay Thai (Thai Boxing). I blogged about my somewhat negative experiences at my current gym a while ago (
). At that point I was considering contacting my old coach, Kru Mike, to see if I could come back and train with him. So why didn't I call Kru Mike? Was it because I didn't know where he was? Was it because I couldn't get to his gym? Was there some actual barrier to picking up the phone and calling him?


The reason was simple, and I acknowledged it then as I am acknowledging it now: I was embarrassed to show up at my current weight. I was in the best shape of my life when I was training with Kru Mike, doing Muay Thai 3-4 days a week. I can't remember how much I weighed when I had started training with him, but it was less than I am now. But I had fun, and I shaped up fast. Kru Mike was one of those teachers who changed me as an entire person, and I still value the lessons I learned from him. There was great camaraderie amongst our small team, and we were governed by the rules of conduct in Muay Thai: respect and discipline.

I nearly reached my goal weight by doing Muay Thai, and then got injured by doing triathlon training on top of it. I stopped Muay Thai training at that point (about 5 years ago) with the intention of returning to training with Kru Mike at his new gym. But 4 years ago, I wasn't sure where he was, so I ended up going to my current kickboxing gym, where I am fairly unhappy. I love my instructors, but the disrespect from other members is palpable. I have realized more and more that I dread going to class, not because I don't feel like working out, but because of treatment from other members. Other members avoid eye contact or talking with anyone who is not in their clique (and this includes me, despite the fact that I have been a consistent member for 4 years). I almost always feel like other members feel like they are getting "stuck" with me as a partner, and have even seen eye-rolling. Sometimes I luck out and get one of the fight team members as a partner, and they make for a great, no B.S. workout. Unfortunately, these partners are few and far between. Fellow students have also tried to coach me, which is considered to be exceptionally rude to the instructor unless they have requested that you help a fellow student. Despite training there for 4 years, I am treated like an outsider. Since I had learned the basic tenets of Muay Thai, I am appalled that members behave this way. The ruder these people get, the more I have longed to return to training with Kru Mike.

I did run into Kru Mike at an event about a year and a half ago, and I don't know if he cared about my weight gain when he saw me then; of course he hadn't said anything about it. Seeing him in person made me miss him terribly, and I decided that I would stick it out at my current gym until I had lost more weight and wouldn't feel so embarrassed about my body. Well, one problem with that plan is that I don't enjoy my current gym. The other problem with that plan is that, well, it's really dumb. I have firmly decided that I would like to change gyms and return to more intense Muay Thai training.

The problem is, Kru Mike only trains in the evenings and I can't count on getting to training all of the time. However, one of his students, Eric, who is one of my old training buddies, has his own gym now and offers Muay Thai classes during the day 3 days a week and Saturdays. The class times are perfect. Once again, the thought entered my mind that I don't want Eric to see me this fat. But he probably doesn't really remember my body weight, and we weren't really friends, so he probably doesn't remember me particularly well after almost 4 years of not seeing me.

Anyways, what do I really think will happen if someone I haven't seen in a while sees me fat? That their head will explode? That they will point and laugh? That the world will come to an end?

You don't need to say it, because I already know what I would say to you if you told me about this:

Get over it. Get your ass to that gym.


I want to enjoy kickboxing again, so I have to make a change. I can't let an excuse as superficial as my weight stop me from going to a new gym. I have to say that I feel confident that I would enjoy myself so much more going to Eric's gym. Having also learned from Kru Mike, he would never tolerate exclusion or disrespect. The gym is a bit further from my house, but it will certainly be worth it to improve my Muay Thai skills and torch this body fat right off. So, no more excuses in the bag. I'm going to set them on fire instead. I've already contacted the gym and will be going for a free class tomorrow. My SparkPeeps bear witness that I shall be kicking ass at a new gym tomorrow morning.

"Bad excuses are worse than none."
-Thomas Fuller

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 10/1/2011 11:02PM

    I went through this. I took a Boot Camp class from an instructor who challenged me and took an interest in my fitness and we developed a bond. I took the class for two years. I quit taking the class due to a couple chronic injuries, and that, combined with other factors, led me to gaining a lot of weight. I wasn't so much embarrassed for him to see me (though I was embarrassed) - it was the idea that he believed in me and that I let him down that was really hard for me. I went back, and he welcomed me back and just today, after an hour of strength training he told me, in front of other people, how good I look and how much progress I have made (and he is NOT one to give compliments). It meant a lot to me. So, go where you will be appreciated and challenged and respected. You are amazing and anyone who can't figure that out is, well, they are just sort of stupid, poor things.

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    I think getting out of your comfort zone is the first step to any kind of growth...physically, mentally and emotionally.

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    Good for you. Your current class sounds horrible and you deserve to enjoy yourself as you get fitter.

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GIANTPANDA 9/29/2011 5:32PM

    I'm so glad that you are going to a gym where you will feel comfortable. I once attended yoga classes where I felt totally excluded by cliques who had been there a long time, something that I wouldn't have expected at all.

I loved kickboxing and would consider going to that gym where I had a free class just because that instructor made me feel great even though I was one of the heaviest people there. One of these days I'll get classes there, but first I've signed up with a nearby gym that asked me to come back for one year--just over the price of one month at the other gyms where I had attended. I wasn't crazy about it at that gym before, but it will allow me to get in winter workouts. I might even find a few fun classes offered.

But I think you are so lucky to be taking serious kickboxing classes. There is nothing quite like it, especially with a great and supportive teacher.

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HUGS2015 9/29/2011 4:47PM

    Don't walk but run, girl, run back to that wonderful instructor and positive exercise experience...they will kick box you back into shape in no time and besides if you say they are all about respect and discipline than ..that is what they are going to give you!
You deserve to be happy and in a positive environment. Don't think it!

You go, Girl! Success is just right around the corner...make a move on it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRABADA 9/29/2011 2:43PM

    Good for you for taking the steps to get back to a place that you'll enjoy your exercise and practice! Can't wait to hear how it goes! :)

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    I would go back to Mike or Eric. I think you worry too much about your size. They will respect you for trying to get healthy. To paraphrase -

"Get over it. Get your ass to that gym. Now. "


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AIRPEACH 9/29/2011 1:16PM

    Way to go! You will feel so much better. :)

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EMRANA 9/29/2011 12:42PM

  You already said it ~ you're gonna torch that body fat right off when you're in a gym you love, so don't worry about it, just go! It won't even be an issue very soon!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/29/2011 12:26PM

    YAY! It's amazing how the community around you can affect your training so much. I really miss my old taekwondo instructor and the people who came to those classes...unfortunately, they're 2400 miles away :( I tried a TKD class here, but it's just not the same. Too cold, too impersonal, a few jerks in the mix. I'm dreading moving away from here and having to find a new Crossfit box.

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UTMIZ_2000 9/29/2011 12:06PM

    Glad you figured that one out. The stress of the current gym can't be helpful at all. Go, grasshopper, be happy.

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FLGIRL1234 9/29/2011 11:23AM

    Kickboxing always brings out the inner beast in me. I feel like I can do anything once I get out of those classes. Keep going toward your goal and find that inner beast and let her "roar"! You are on the right path.

p.s. I laughed out loud at the "Excuses" cartoon and the "chicken" one. Thanks for the laugh!


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DARKTHOR 9/29/2011 11:14AM

    You deserve better than you're getting now. Make it happen, because nobody else is going to.

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SMILINGTREE 9/29/2011 11:03AM

    Somehow I missed that post in June about your kickboxing class. That sucks! It amazes me how many adults still behave like children. It's a strange balance between our own perceptions of ourselves and that of others. Disrespect is something you certainly don't deserve, and if a different environment will help you enjoy your workouts more, moving is the right thing to do! Have fun at your new gym.

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STSCOTT11 9/29/2011 10:52AM

    I KNOW how you feel...
And YES...the fluffier person does have different challenges...
Even the mental part of it can be a challenge.
Booting the excuses is A MAJOR STEP in the right direction.

It took me a while to give up making took me a while to even figure out they were EXCUSES in the first place.
Keep up the GOOD WORK!
Spark on

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HIPPICHICK1 9/29/2011 10:14AM

    You just kick boxed your excuses right out of your life! You GO grrl!!

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/29/2011 8:50AM

Life is too short to continue doing what makes you unhappy...and to tolerate the disrespect from the ignorant. Go kick ass at your new gym with Eric!

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APIRLRAIN888 9/29/2011 7:40AM

    LOl first of your coach is my SPARK! i fell off the grid and exploded 20lbs... well it was 10 in a month, then it took me a month to wrap my head around it and come back add 10 more

and SPARK took me back with open arms and is now teach me to do this for life! i have a whole new goal and attitude and vision for this time around!!!!

you can do it! go back

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KKINNEA 9/29/2011 7:28AM

    We'll be checking to be sure you have!! I would never scold someone for your thinking - I think we all do this. It's the getting over it that is so helpful!

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BAZOOKABOBCAT 9/29/2011 6:54AM

    I love your honesty! Seriously, Im scared to join CrossFit because I dont want to be weaker than everyone there!

Dont hold yourself back!

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BECKY3774 9/29/2011 6:48AM

    Enjoy your workouts...whatever it takes emoticon

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TASHALNZ 9/29/2011 4:32AM

    A very good blog! I won't tell you what you need to do, because you already know hehe
All the best! Smile, be happy emoticon

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