Posts tagged change

Change: A Constant In Every Life


So instead of my usual Highbar CrossFit class this morning, I slept in and went to a hot yoga class instead. I have mentioned recently that my shoulders have really felt tight and I am just generally feeling a bit out of balance. I was thinking last night that it’s been almost six months without a break from CrossFit. I usually find myself taking some sort of vacation trip for a week or so during any six month period and use that as a good solid rest period.  I haven’t done that this time –and add to it some extra stress that.  I am starting to feel the effects of burn out, which, in the past,  has been addressed through some solid rest.

The extra stress was the reality of getting laid off from my job in a less than ideal way and adjusting to a new way of life.  And as great as this new life is,  including how well it’s going – it still means change and has shifted my entire way of life.

Which brings me to the point today  - In this morning’s yoga class, Christina, the instructor, chose Change as the change quotetheme to talk about. Change is a reality of life yet it’s something that many of us fear. It happens each and every day – Winter changes to Spring changes to Summer changes to Fall. Change is a constant in each of our lives.

During this last period of change, after being upset and angry, I consciously decided to go with it.  I reminded myself how every time something out of my control has happened, it has led me to a better place. It may not be the place I had in mind or even better at first glance- but it got there. I learned something. I made progress. I grew.  And I end up looking back with sincere appreciation. And thinking like that has allowed me to let go of the fear and embrace change. I needed it.

Fear can hold us back from heading down the path that we are meant to be on and once we see that – change becomes a lot less scary.

Christina said If we are never off balance, how will we ever know to readjust.

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1 hour of Hot Yoga


Approaching the World with Good Intentions


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the effects of how you see your world has on how situations play out in your life. I had a discussion with my brother over the weekend about kindness and approaching things with the idea that everyone around you has good intentions when they do what they do.  We all know that not everyone operates from that truth –but one thing we can control is how we approach things in our lives, so that we do indeed start from there.

I shared with him a recent experience where I had to really be conscious about how I was going to approach a certain situation because the old me would have been less than kind -

I was at Wegmans this weekend and ran into a former co-worker of mine. As I have shared, I was recently laid off and my experience at that company was less than ideal for quite a while before that. Many of the people there were just not nice –whether it was a personality trait or a product of the company culture, I can’t say–but I would categorize 8 out of 10 people in the department I worked in as unkind regularly, not only to me but to many others.  There was no team atmosphere, no sense of each other as people, no compassion.

Do Everything with Good IntentionsAfter working there for 7 years – with this particular person, I didn’t hear a peep from him when I got laid off. I would have thought a facebook message or an email. We had been friendly through the years and he lives in the same area. I did receive notes from many others out there. It was just annoying and disappointing and hurtful to not hear from some of the people I would have thought would at least send a note.

Anyway, I don’t have time for people like that in my life and would have preferred not to see him. But he stopped me in one of the aisles and wanted to make small talk. The old me would have been standoffish and maybe even, rude. But I did stop, chatted about mundane things, asked him about his family, wished him well and walked away.  There is no reason to be mean. It would have been a reflection of me, not him. Who knows why he didn’t reach out to me and who cares, really.  There’s no need to create discord or strain a relationship that really is just a blip on my life radar.

I felt good about how I handled it and realized – I can do this!

My brother shared a story about letting his three year old daughter put the parking ticket in the machine and she was fumbling around, taking a long time. She dropped the ticket and well, you can imagine, she was futzing around. There was a lady behind them with her teen-aged kids waiting  - who decided that this was annoying enough to warrant rudeness. And very rudely – told my brother and family to hurry up and that there were people waiting. I get that people are in a hurry and maybe they were holding people up – but to choose to approach them in an aggressive, rude way wasn’t necessary. We are talking about a three year old -learning to do grown up things and think about how she is teaching her own kids to behave when inconvenienced.

Personally, I would have thought it was adorable and would have encouraged her on even if she weren’t my niece. But this lady could have smiled and asked if she could go ahead because she was late or whatever.  And my brother didn’t respond in the best way either –

It really does take practice. We have to relearn how to approach conflict, because for many of us our knee jerk reaction is to defend our actions & get defensive. If you start to approach everyone with the idea that they are coming from a good place, with good intentions – it will get easier. And if you really practice being kind, even to those that don’t deserve it – you will become better for it too.


Back Squat

  • Wall Balls
  • -db snatch
  • -shuttle runs
  • Wall Balls

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For Laughs

Need motivation to change? Meet Lakeisha

Russell Brand asks Why Not You?


I gotta say that I love Russell Brand – he’s wacky, screwed up in so many ways, but sharp and smart as a whip and because of that, I just think he’s awesome. He has a way of getting his point across in such a coherent way that hits the point where it counts. I embedded an interview below that is making its way around the web that he did earlier this week with the BBC – at the end of it, he says something that totally resonated with a quote that I shared earlier this week from, of all people, Jillian Michaels:

Mr. Brand says: “Why is that naive? Why is that not my right because I’m an ‘actor’? I’ve taken the right. I don’t need the right from you. I don’t need the right from anybody. I’m taking it.”

Jillian Michaels’ quote asks Why Not You? Think about it: Russell Brand is saying: Why Not Him? So, I ask you – Why Not You? We are all responsible for the message we send out to the world and we can all make changes in our own lives, that in turn impact us all.  Watch the interview and you will start to understand what I mean…and probably become a Russell Brand fan.


Here’s the link to that video as well as the first video, where I discovered how awesome he really is. Again, he’s probably a really screwed up character in many facets of his life –but many times, those are the people who end up having an indelible impact on the world.

On another note, we all know how important exercise is – but this study “Study: More Active Teens Get Higher Test Scores” highlights an interesting finding:

“…the effects seemed to be lasting. A child’s physical activity at age 11 continued to be linked to how she performed academically at age 13. And at age 15 and 16, for every 17 minutes a day a boy exercised, he enjoyed a boost in his scores while 11 year old girls saw a benefit in their scores for every 12 minutes a day they exercised. As the girls grew older, the link between more exercise and better science performance continued to be strong.”

The impact of having physically active kids doesn’t just impact their here and now, it actually helps them learn and progress academically indefinitely. And for girls, more exercise led to better performance in STEM subjects. Findings like these are no joke — we need to get our kids moving. We are failing our kids as we continue to see cuts in physical fitness programs in school. There is proof, actual scientific proof that exercise helps them learn. Why are we not screaming and yelling about this to our school board/state representatives?

workout: Muscle up progressions
strength: bench

Dealing With Change


It was a very hot and muggy morning and I slept in since I have the week off and went to a later morning class at Highbar CrossFit. I am feeling so great about the progress I have been making and the stuff I am learning with new coaches. I have never really done any bench pressing before and I am learning the proper form to increase my load. I am noticing some more definition in my shoulders/pecs/lats since I started with Highbar five weeks ago. It’s so great to see progress so quickly and learn a different approach to strength training. I also think the fact that I still get a metcon at the end of the session is helping a lot too. Many times at the other place, I would do strength two times a week as programmed and not really see any real progress because it wasn’t the same strength movement and we did it sporadically.

And as much as I like Oly Lifting and the challenge of it, I think having people work on fundamentals like strength, core and body awareness is key in helping them progress to oly lifting. Why would people work on the Snatch if they can’t even get some of the fundamentals down first? They will most likely never get the snatch without nailing the basics. It goes back to what Carl Paoli and Kelly Starrett are trying to teach. Don’t rush the fundamentals. They are key to progressing and learning the tougher movements and are also key in keeping you healthy!  Put your ego aside and peel back the layers if you have to. The only person you compete with day in and day out is YOU.

I also find the coaches really love this stuff –when I say this stuff, not just CrossFit. They are well rounded in their knowledge of coaching and strength and exercise approaches.

And as much as I love my new gym, I am also still somewhat melancholy about my leaving CFI. Change is hard and even harder if it wasn’t necessarily by choice or under the best of circumstances. One of the reasons I gave so much to CFI is because I liked being there, liked the community of amazing people that came together, liked that people were working on being healthy. To step away from that, no matter how necessary it was for many reasons is still hard. I don’t regret it at all but I am still sad about it.

I came across Dealing with Loss and Change - which offers some great advice and perspective on change in general.

For some reason, we save grief for the “big” losses like deaths of loved ones. Yet, there are many other losses we all experience every year in daily life. Some losses are larger and some smaller, but I don’t think the size matters. When you have life changes, they often include loss. If you’re experiencing a change or transition in your life, the question to ask is, “What loss do I need to grieve so that I can let go and move forward?”

I feel foolish sometimes telling people I am still getting over leaving because it isn’t some huge deal or major big loss. I mean my family dealt with Cancer and here I am getting upset over a disagreement at a gym I spent a lot of time at….see my point? After I read that post, I realized that any change needs to be felt and evaluated — and figure out what needs to be done so you can move on. Sometimes it is just feeling the loss, being bummed for a bit, or being angry. Whatever it is — it has to be done so you can move on. So there I shared it – -I am bummed that a seemingly small situation blew up into something that was completely out of control and ended the way it did. I am not a victim either. It happened for a reason. I had outgrown the gym, the coaching and needed to seek out something more. I wouldn’t have done it voluntarily so it is what it should be. I am still bummed because I miss my friends — and hopefully some of them will head over to Highbar if they are looking for something more.


Michael Vonal

photo by Michael Vonal

200m jog
10 squats
10 push ups
4 Sampson Stretch
4 Instep Lunges
10 squats

5×5 Bench Press
warmup to 110#

10 Inverted Barbell Rows
15 KB Swings
time: 10:32


Commitment and Focus are Ingredients for Change




This is such a good quote because although Luck does play a part in so much of what happens — you have to focus and commit to make things happen. Because as sad as it is, things just don’t

‘happen’ when you are sitting on the sidelines. You have to clear a path, get rid of the shit that is holding you back, jump when you aren’t sure where you will land sometimes. Take chances, try something different just because. Too many of us go around not happy – either with our jobs, or our family life, or with ourselves. The reality is we have the power to change the state of things if we — focus and commit to it! Promise!

I was all set up to go workout this morning, but my quads are so sore. Earlier this week it was my calves from my run on Sunday and now my quads! Sore is good don’t get me wrong, but I decided to rest. I will be taking out the old Lacrosse ball and rolling them out later. I wish I had someone that could smash my legs –perhaps I can talk Scotty into stepping on me later. TMI I know.. .ha ha!

Have a great, great day –don’t let anyone get inside your head so much that they cause the day to spoil! It’s not worth it! Go get em tiger!


Embrace Change



Yesterday, I did my second 5K of the season for a great cause –the Joe Cassella Foundation 5K. I didn’t know Joe, but have come to know his wife Gina and she is a very special woman. The gang from CFI Endurance all gathered to run together and it was so fun. It was a great way to bring everyone together to help one of our own. That’s what really matters at the end of the day. Helping one another out and being there for someone when it really matters. I came in 72nd overall in the women’s division and 13th in my age group. There were 272 women running –so top third isn’t too shabby. Again, not my best 5K time but it was better than the Chris4Life one and I did focus more on form than speed. I would never consider myself a runner, but I am sure improving and that’s what counts.

So – for the remainder of May, I am going to try a different approach to my fitness routine and get some different coaching at a different gym. Don’t panic – I think its important to see how other gyms in the area approach CrossFit and I am burnt out, so I am hoping having some different coaches will help me regain some of my mojo when it comes to lifting. I plan on returning to CFI in June — if all goes well, but for now I am attending a local CrossFit gym that just recently opened. Good guys — have a lot of strength training under their belts.

This morning we worked on a bit of strength and then did a mini metcon which was deceptively hard as usual.

200m jog
10 squats
4 sampson stretch
4 instep lunges
10 push ups
10 squats

5×5 Back Squats
Warmup to your 5RM back squat

EMOM for 12mins
4 Burpees
8 KB Swings
10 Sit ups
total rounds 11 hard, yucky rounds!





What If…


Photo1 (56)

Being Responsive to Change

Going after what you want is scary sometimes. Ok, most of the time! Learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable is scary and goes against most of our human nature. We want to steer clear of danger and the unknown. I many times look at folks who just jump head first into scary stuff as the crazy ones and now I am the one trying to make changes so that I can learn to embrace the fear and instability and use it towards getting what I want.

A friend of mine posted this yesterday and I just sat there and read it and reread it and said YES! Exactly true.

It’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent… but the one most responsive to change.“—CHARLES DARWIN

Jumping into the unknown brings up baggage and lots of questions — the ole What If… swirls around in my head.

  • What if I am not happy?
  • What if it’s not the right fit?
  • What if it doesn’t work?
  • What if I am not good enough?
  • What if no one likes me?
  • What if it sucks?

The list can go on and on if you let it.  But, how about reversing the What if pattern to be more positive?

  • What if it’s the best thing for me?
  • What if I am deliriously happy?
  • What if I finally start to feel respected?
  • What if I am great at it?
  • What if it fits me to a tee?
  • What if it’s perfect?
  • What if it inspires me?

So many ways to look at a situation and learn to embrace change and see it for the positives it brings into people’s lives. And most of the time, it’s better than where you are currently and  so isn’t that a step in the right direction regardless? 

I created a Goal Board at CrossFit Impavidus (see pic) with the goal of helping inspire the athletes commit to working on something that they want to progress on this year. Sometimes all it takes is a public way to make a statement and they spring into action. I’m excited for them and for me…


  • Mobility
  • 5 manmakers


  • double unders


  • 100 Double Unders
  • 5 RFT
  • 15 Pull Ups
  • 25 Ab Mat Sit ups
  • 100 Double Unders

time: 15:43 (Did some DUs and some singles)

Felt good this AM!

Stay Hungry My Friends


It is so cold out there this morning but even that wasn’t the reason I took a rest day. I noticed yesterday that I was just not into the workout. My body was fatigued but it was more my head. My head wasn’t in the game. Whenever that happens, I know my body is tired and needs to rest.

When the alarm went off this morning, I considered going but then remembered yesterday and said — back to sleep you go. It’s not often that I do that but I have learned to listen to my internal cues. They are always right!!

Here are some recent articles I am reading around the web. I’m always trying to improve myself and learn more! Stay Hungry My friends!!

Stay Hungry

How People Change


To go along with my post about Change:

How People Change

The problem, of course, is that no matter how emotionally satisfying these tirades may be, they don’t really work. You can tell people that they are fat and that they shouldn’t eat more French fries, but that doesn’t mean they will stop. You can make all sorts of New Year’s resolutions, earnestly deciding to behave better, but that doesn’t mean you will.

People don’t behave badly because they lack information about their shortcomings. They behave badly because they’ve fallen into patterns of destructive behavior from which they’re unable to escape.

Human behavior flows from hidden springs and calls for constant and crafty prodding more than blunt hectoring. The way to get someone out of a negative cascade is not with a ferocious e-mail trying to attack their bad behavior. It’s to go on offense and try to maximize some alternative good behavior. There’s a trove of research suggesting that it’s best to tackle negative behaviors obliquely, by redirecting attention toward different, positive ones.

It’s foolish to imperiously withdraw and say, come back to me when you have a plan. It’s better to pick one area of life at a time (most people don’t have the willpower to change their whole lives all at once) and help a person lay down a pre-emptive set of concrete rules and rewards. Pick out a small goal and lay out measurable steps toward it.

It’s foolhardy to try to persuade people to see the profound errors of their ways in the hope that mental change will lead to behavioral change. Instead, try to change superficial behavior first and hope that, if they act differently, they’ll eventually think differently. Lure people toward success with the promise of admiration instead of trying to punish failure with criticism. Positive rewards are more powerful.

Take the Lead In Your Life


Change is hard!

There I said it. So many of us lead hard lives as it is that when presented with choices to make a change, we don’t.  Why do something else hard by choice?   And sometimes you are so clouded that you don’t even realize you need to change.  Logic says that if you don’t know what you don’t know then how do you know you need to change it. It’s a good question and one I am not sure I know the answer to –but if you have had enough of the way your life is or the direction it’s going or feel like shit– or you feel out of whack, I am going to take a guess and say you probably need to change something. But it’s so hard …. (insert whine here).

A friend of mine mentioned a book yesterday entitled Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard


From Forbes Magazine: The authors argue that if we can learn some fundamentals of how our minds function, we can do better overcoming our opposition to change. We can figure out how to keep our desire to improve things from being overwhelmed by our skepticism, caution and fear.

The authors of Switch argue that change works best when each individual who begins a change or who leads changes focuses on three big things at once:

  • Motivate the elephant. The elephant is our emotional, instinctive side, which is lazy and skittish and will take any quick payoff over a long-term reward. We all have that. The elephant is usually the first cause of any failure to change, because the change we want usually involves short-term sacrifice in pursuit of long-term benefit. Think of any time you have chosen to oversleep or overeat or think about it tomorrow, and so on. You can’t get anywhere with any change effort unless you engage a person’s emotional side to get their lazy elephant to turn to the path of change.
  • Direct the rider. The rider, perched atop the elephant, is our rational side. We presume our rational side holds the reins and chooses the way forward. But the rider’s control is precarious, because he is tiny compared with the elephant. Whenever a six-ton elephant and a 150-pound rider disagree about where to go, the elephant wins. But often what looks like elephant resistance or rider weakness is really just lack of clarity. You must give the rider clear direction with which it can steer the elephant.
  • Shape the path. Change often fails because the rider can’t keep the elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination. The elephant’s hunger for instant gratification pulls against the rider’s strength, which is the ability to think big picture and plan beyond the moment. The more you can make straight and clear the path ahead, the more you can diminish confusion between elephant and rider and make progress for both of them easier and more likely, no matter what is going on between them.

So – here are some words to inspire you to make a change today: Every change, on every level, starts with a person at a time deciding to take the lead. So, take the lead in your life… 

I am not saying one book will spur you to become a different person but challenging yourself to read and dive into alternative ways to approach obstacles in your life can really help stretch your mind, body and soul and give you inner strength that can come in handy when you are ready to make some major decisions in your life. Muscle memory isn’t just about one’s physical body — the more you use your mind and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, the easier certain things will become –and you are ready for the new challenges that await!

Today’s workout was a doozy for me. I feel worn out from it and about halfway into it, my mind started to taunt me. Seriously, taunt me.  My asthma was like hey, remember me<hack, hack> and my body was like ouch, this hurts –how many minutes do we have to do this?  But I fought through it one rep at a time!


Hang Cleans

15 min  AMRAP

  • 10 box Jumps
  • 7 Hang Power Cleans (65#)
  • 7 Push Presses

total rounds: 7+4 reps

We did this similar WOD back on August 9 — and I see improvement so it’s a win today in my book!

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