Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Breaking The Mold

Recently I was mocked by a peer. A fellow personal trainer actually said out load that I am an "embarrassment to the fitness industry."

The justification of the claim was because I am not skinny, I am "not as toned as a trainer should be." He said that I lack a level of visually apparent muscle tonality that a fitness industry professional should have. 

He ended with, "true fitness professionals do not have stretch marks, a gut, or an ass as big as [mine]."

This experience has really been like a punch in the gut... the very gut that has stretch marks from major weight gain (thank you steroids for treating MS, binge-eating, caffeine addiction, etc) and major weight-loss (90lbs).

I entered the fitness industry as a means to help others who were like me: 

  • struggling with chronic disease (in my case multiple sclerosis); 
  • using food and beverage as a means for coping through life; 
  • affected by anxiety and/or depression;
  • body image issues;
  • negativity;
  • poor daily life activity; and so much more.

I relayed this experience to another fellow fitness industry professional who knows me and I couldn't thank her enough for her response. 

She said that I am definitely not like the stereotypical fitness professional, but I am a powerful one. She said I'm a motivator with never-ending positivity, tremendous fitness knowledge, skill, and surprising energy. She said that I am a lot stronger than I appear. She said, "so no, you don't fit the mold - you break it."

Another fitness professional said that she has been more of a stinky sweaty mess from one of my classes than any other that she has recently attended.

Though this experience with the meanie fitness professional has hurt my confidence as well as my feelings, I want him to know that: 

  • I sincerely hope if he's ever faced with a debilitating illness that impedes mobility, that he too can overcome it. 
  • I hope that if he ever drinks or eats too much while trying to cope with life, that he can overcome the emotional shame and body image issues that are associated with being overweight or obese. 
  • I hope that even he can overlook his own stretch marks if that occurs.
  • I hope that no matter what comes his way and how his body changes, that when he looks in the mirror that he can not only realistically see the flaws, but also be proud of them and and what those flaws represent.

Today I outran a teenage boy, though I know that in time after I am done training him, that he will outrun me.

Today I spent one hour in proficiency training using TRX and a TRX Rip stick.

Today I completed an intense 58-minute cardio bout.

Today I spent time writing group exercise class designs for Spin, Lift, and TRX/Rip classes that I intend on using.

Now in retrospect, 10-years ago I was out of breath walking down a hall and terrified to step down from a curb without assistance.

I have made an impact to many. My clients have had tremendous success. My family has benefited tremendously.

Here I go, breaking the mold...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Let It Be

Have you ever had to wait for something that couldn't be hurried along? Did the waiting require sitting in complete discomfort of the unknown? Did the waiting require unrelenting prayer?

At moments did you find yourself scrambling for any amount of control in absolutely anything, because what mattered most was well beyond controllable?

When in this state, do you hold your breath frequently? Clench or grind your teeth maybe? 

How about your stomach, is it in knots and the entire world seems to keep turning while you're somehow stuck in a state of pensive stasis?

Are you filled with anxiety, panic, or being so overwhelmed about the future that you can't live in the present.
I've found that I frequently have to surrender, in order to move beyond this state of mind and physical stress that it can cause. It is very difficult to do.

I have to stop forcing and seeking control. I have to surrender to what is and fight myself from creating a negative interpretative spin. 

Instead, I have to search and seek for the simplest and most non-ego based answer and then surrender to it.

I find that when I am in this state of internal struggle, I often think of The Beatles song, "Let It Be" or Now We are Free from the Gladiator soundtrack.

We are stronger and more capable than we think we are.

What helps you when in this place?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Poetry Corner: iDistracted


Staring deep into the digital chasm
he and she seek,
                                    never finding the connections
                                                or answers they yearn for –

Theses connections and answers live
in real time
in spoken words
with real emotions,
                                                                        lacking emoticons.

prayers unscrolled…
actual thoughts, and
true expressions

By Diana M. Bateman

(May 2015)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wheelchair Boxing

One day after just finishing up working with client at nearby recreation center, I happened upon a stunning site.

Picture this: A man, mid to late 40's, and in a wheelchair. It appeared as though the curvature of his spine and lack of muscle strength in his back prevented him from sitting straight in his chair. 

He was very hunched over and leaning to one side. While in this position, he was actively using a hanging punching bag. He was hitting it hard enough that the bag was moving quite a bit. He was only able to use one arm.

This experience made my mind travel in many directions. I pondered a great deal about him and the fitness effort that he was making. 

I also had the sense that though his body wasn't ideal for the boxing effort, he didn't seem to be a stranger to the punching bag in anyway.

My client also watched this man for a moment as we were wrapping up and rescheduling. I could see that my client was also moved by the experience. 

After my client left, I walked over to the treadmill to get some running in while I had the chance. I ran on the treadmill for 30-minutes, in between clients. The wheelchair boxer was there punching the entire time! That is an extremely long time at a punching bag. He was slow, but very strong, and very consistent.

He stopped once someone who looked like a health aid arrived, this was near the end of my run. The aid and the boxer conversed in a way that appeared as though the boxer was teaching the aid something. They then cleared and left the area.

It is when I see things like this that I am just blown away by how much effort it takes for some people to be involved in life and various events that the general population take for granted. 

These people are often times more involved and more engaged than fully able bodied people. These efforts often go unnoticed, unrecognized for what it is, or we actually avoid looking. 

I challenge you to not only look at these people, but give eye contact and smile. Look at them, talk to them, learn from them, and train with them. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Living By Design

Some things simply happen, other things we dream would happen, but everything else we make happen. This is called living by design.

I intermittently suffer from panic and anxiety. It can be crippling at times. On days when it is really bad there is a level of paranoia that I must contend with as well. Panic, anxiety, and paranoia are not a pleasant combination of emotions. I am not embarrassed to admit this, it just is.

Since I have taken a more active role in creating and meeting goals, I have been able to shift my focus from the scary unknown things that I cannot control and instead let in the light from the known things, in order to change my troubled perceptions. 

Easier said than done, yet persistent practice is an amazing tool for any talent that you wish to develop. It is the same with the mind.

Because I struggle in this way, I have become more vocal about sharing tips and tricks that have helped me to see life from a different vantage point and to regain a persistently positive light in my life. 

I now understand that there are a few things in this life that we really do have control over. Consistent and persistent practice makes all of these much more tangible. 

  • Thoughts (internal self-talk)
  • Words (external self-talk or social interactions)
  • Beliefs (willingness to be receptive/open to others' beliefs)
  • Response (pausing, thinking, then speaking; stripping the ego from the response)
  • Determination (never give up; pause, take a break, rethink the approach; try again)
  • Focus (enlightening vs. titillating)
  • Kindness (Smile! Say "thank you" and "please.")
  • Positive behaviors (Be the kind of person your family and friends think you are.)
  • Presence (active listening; face-to-face time with eye-contact; reduce distractions like phone, TV, etc.)

Oftentimes every single one of these require a deep breath, a brief pause, and a little prayer.

As I have tried to incorporate these elements in my daily life, I have been able to live more in the present; reducing the amount of time dwelling in the past and too much worry over the future.

These behaviors have brought a greater focus and implementation of successful behaviors in order to achieve goals. I allow myself to think forward, in a positive manner, to generate a macro-goal list. 

I then break down the big picture and generate a linear micro-goals list. Doing and achieving the little things has long since been a successful way to accomplishing the big ticket goals. It is about conditioning, in order to promote progression.

What would happen to our world if we were all more persistent in living by design in this manner? I think I would like to find out.

Your thoughts?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pre-Authorizations & Denials

Have you ever received a medical or pharmaceutical pre-authorization denial? Do not give up hope.

I used to aid others in seeking pre-authorizations as well as fighting denials for services. I am also a patient and have been on the receiving end of a denial or two.

I would just like to share that "denied" coverage is not the end. If you feel that the service(s) or medication is warranted, you and your physicians office should work together to appeal the denial.

Write your own personal appeal letter to the insurance pre-authorization department. Make your own case about why they should make an exception in coverage for you. Let your letter be accompanied by your physicians appeal. 

If it is denied again. Appeal to your employer's human resources. Get involved, stay involved, ask questions; even asking the hard questions.

If still denied, then inquire with your physician or pharmaceutical company about any patient assistance programs that might be available.

Be patient. Be persistent. Turn over every rock and pray all the while.