Success Beyond Your 30s, Big Little Lies, and More: August Roundup

Success Beyond Your 30s, Big Little Lies, and More: August Roundup

Body

I’ve been trying to find ways to use my voice to amplify others’ beyond simply a social media post – because not all of us are on social, and what’s more, social media moves so fast that it’s likely you’ll miss something.

And so this monthly roundup, combined with our new WANTcast strategy of replacing most of the sponsor spots with a do-good organization we want to highlight, is a way to do that. It’s a way to share other voices, opinions, and perspectives that can help you in some way, whether it’s questioning the status quo, opening your eyes to new viewpoints, introducing you to incredible visionaries, or becoming more proactive in your day to day life. (To get these delivered straight to your inbox, fill out the form below)

 

AUGUST ROUND-UP: THE (GOOD) WORD ON THE STREET


I don’t know about you (actually, I do, because you’ve told me!), but I lived most of life believing I needed to be a prodigy or wunderkind in order to truly make a lasting impact – or at least make anything remotely worthwhile. I even wrote about it when I turned 30. This article from Forbes about how female entrepreneurs actually get BETTER with age is so encouraging, to the past, present, and future versions of myself.

Fitness is a way to get us comfortable with the uncomfortable – and process our emotions. If you’ve watched Big Little Lies and noticed the running motif, you’ll love this analysis by Voxh/t to Natalia Petrzela for this one

I LOVE this article on the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics blog about sports, the female form, Magan Rapinoe, and finding the joy in the bodies we have.

Legends interviewing legends! The luminous Ashley C. Ford interviews Missy Elliott in Marie Claire about her newest album, and it’s a masterpiece.

Bethany C. Meyers shares about their non-binary journey on Shape. This was one of my favorite personal essays of the summer. Bravo, Bethany.

Speaking of my favorites…I was STANDING UP AND CHEERING as I read this article by Shauna Harrison asking people to stop asking their fitness instructors for nutrition advice (and explaining why). 

Want a long but worthwhile read? This piece on “athleisure, barre, and kale” on The Guardian is it. It might make you feel some uncomfortable reactions, but it’s a think-piece that will, well, get you thinking about how we as women get “trapped at the intersection of capitalism and patriarchy,” and the makings of the “ideal woman” on social media – namely, Instagram.

I’ve been catching up on Red Table Talk – have you been watching? Jada Pinkett Smith sits down with her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and daughter Willow Smith, and together they discuss (many times with the help of guests) some of the toughest topics: infidelity, interracial adoption, porn, polyamory, motherhood, and so much more. This episode unpacking white privilege and prejudice is a MUST-watch.



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Breaking Out Of Negative Cueing

Breaking Out Of Negative Cueing

Body Most Popular Posts Tips + Tools

I’VE BEEN teaching group fitness classes for over a decade – way before it was trendy and cool, and definitely way before “fitpros” were the new It celebrities they are right now. This was back when  people thought “spinning” classes meant twirling around in circles for 45 minutes, and when that one old friend of mine so casually commented, “You’re not planning on becoming the ‘exercise girl’ for the rest of your life, are you?”

The industry has changed a lot since I began, but the thing that’s remained at the core of fitness is that it’s rarely ever truly about the fitness part alone. What we do in the gym is practice for what we do out in the world – and fitness advice is life advice disguised in sweat and squat-jumps.

Fitness advice is life advice disguised in sweat and squat-jumps. Click To Tweet

WHENEVER WE’RE working out, we’re shifted into a vulnerable state. Whether we’re doing vinyasas or vying for a new running PR, our breath deepens, our heart starts beating faster, and we’re thrust (or eased gently from a seated cross-legged position) into a state of self-imposed stress. And let me clarify: not all stress is ultimately BAD. It’s what we do within those moments of stress that stick with us. It’s the stress that gets us vulnerable, and the vulnerability that allows us to be open to shifting for better or worse in the long run.

And so if fitness advice is really life advice, then what we say (and how we say it) as leaders in that space matters. A lot.

Because what you hear is what you will internalize, and what you internalize will be the language you use out in the world to speak to others and yourself, way after you’ve gone on with your day.

NEGATIVE CUEING is a term used in fitness that generally describes any sort of phrasing that uses what you don’t want to happen as the main motivator. Think, “don’t arch your back.”

Negative cueing isn’t just saying “Don’t do X,” though. Negative cueing is anything that makes the person listening feel like who and how they are isn’t enough.

~
Negative cueing can look like…

  • It’ll be over soon (implying the current experience is worth skipping over)
  • I know you hate me right now (they probably don’t, but you just planted the seed that maybe they should)
  • Burn off that happy hour! (equates what you eat to how much you need to exercise, and that exercise should be food-motivated)
  • Ladies grab X weight, Men grab X weight (not everyone identifies as a “lady” or “man” and therefore you run the risk of people feeling left out – also this reinforces sexist assumptions; I know many women who can out-lift men ANY day)
  • You can do better than that! (um. maybe that IS their best??)
  • That’s not good enough, give more! (along the same lines; this might be their best work – but also shames the work they’re doing)
  • I know you want to fit into those new jeans / get that summer six-pack/ etc (implies everyone who works out is dissatisfied with how they look – and, moreover, probably should be)
  • Don’t give up (implies the person was going to give up at some point)
  • You know you can SMILE (omg please don’t force me to smile – give me something to smile about and I will)
  • I know you want to quit, but… (no, I actually did not, please don’t underestimate me) 

    i did this shoot, in this shirt i owned, within the first five years of teaching. while i still think the photos turned out badassedly, i don’t believe that “work harder” (printed here in reverse so you can read it in the mirror – cool concept for sure) is the best way to motivate someone to work harder.

Negative cueing can also look like self-deprecation in order to “connect.” Stuff like sharing with your clients/students/members how much you hate your thighs or how much you ate last night and need to “burn off.” Might feel cute or “down-to-earth” in the moment, but it’s reinforcing a dangerous epidemic we already fall prey to of bonding over negativity.

It doesn’t matter how “inspiring” you are or what cute tweetables you’ve got lined up to sprinkle throughout your class. If you’re not modeling self-acceptance, self-love, and what the journey TOWARD that actually looks like, your words are just words.

 

IF YOU’RE STILL reading this, are not a fitness professional, and wonder how or why this applies to you…think of all the times we cue negatively in our own lives. We do it to ourselves, and we do it to each other. We think we’re offering advice, being helpful, or inspiring someone else – but the hard truth is, it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are if your impact is creating a shame loop in someone else.

It doesn't matter how good your intentions are if your impact is creating a shame loop in someone else. Click To Tweet

Anyone can study the objective facts. Anyone can teach a class or train a client. Literally. Anyone. You can buy the course online. But the way you talk, act, and live is what actually makes a difference in someone’s life in the long run. For better or worse.

 


Here are some alternatives for the negative cueing above:

Instead of: It’ll be over soon!
Try: Can you give your all to this moment? (implying the current experience is one worth having)

Instead of: I know you hate me right now…
Try: I’m your biggest fan right now (lets them know you’re their ally)

Instead of: Burn off that happy hour!
Try: Literally just not talking about food. Just…don’t do it.

Instead of: Ladies grab X weight, Men grab X weight.
Try: Grab a weight that feels (insert a feeling or a number of reps you’d like them to perform with said weight, so they can gage what they need for themselves). If you don’t know what that is, call me over and I can help you figure it out.

Instead of: You can do better than that!
Try: If you were to give your all, what would that look like? (ask a question and have them come up with the answer themselves!)

Instead of: That’s not good enough, give more!
Try: Can you maintain your work…or even surprise yourself by giving just a little more? (emphasizes the work they’re in as good enough, while giving an option to go farther if they can)

Instead of: I know you want to fit into those new jeans / get that summer six-pack/ etc.
Try: How do you want to feel after this workout is over? (redirects focus to a feeling instead of a look)

Instead of: Don’t give up.
Try: Keep going, you’ve got this.

Instead of: You know you can SMILE… 
Try: Not telling people how to react or emote – everyone processes their emotions differently.

Instead of: I know you want to quit, but… 
Try: You’re doing so great. (simple as that!)

~

NOT SURE if your cueing is negative or not? Find a mentor. Ask them to come take your class and keep their ears open for anything that could be improved upon. Not a fitness professional but want to monitor the negative cueing in your own life? Dedicate a week to hyper self-awareness. Maybe even tell a close friend, coworker, roommate, or partner that you want their help in calling out your language.

What we do in the gym is just practice for what we do in life - and I want all the practice I can get. Click To Tweet

Oh…and as for that friend who asked if I was going to be “the exercise girl” for the rest of my life? That comment that made me doubt my path, my abilities, and my legitimacy as a professional adult trying to find her way in the world?

I sure hope so.

I sure hope that, in some capacity, I am up on that podium, all mic’d up, with my words out there in the open for everyone to hear. And if not, I hope I’m going to classes, keeping sweat dates with myself, or lacing up my shoes for a long run. Because what we do in the gym is just practice for what we do in life – and I want all the practice I can get.

 

all photos by jesse deyoung
Don’t Fuck With My Friends.

Don’t Fuck With My Friends.

Community Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power

Don’t fuck with my friends. Do not hurt them or tell them they are crazy.

They are not.

Don’t fuck with my friends. Don’t swindle, peddle, take, or steal.

And don’t you DARE break their hearts.

Don’t fuck with my friends.

Don’t lead them to believe they have bad judgement, draw negativity, attract the wrong people or jobs or circumstances. Do not take advantage of their immense capacity to feel and their great power to give. They are so very special and so extremely delicate in all their strength. Although they don’t let on, I know they’re just as easily bruised as you or I. More, even. Because to know the highest highs, one must also be capable of experiencing the lowest lows.

They know it all.

Don’t fuck with my friends. Don’t ignore them; don’t place blame on them for your own demons.

Don’t make them cry.

Don’t fuck with my friends. Don’t insult and don’t make them feel un-talented, un-beautiful, not-thin-enough or not-sexy-enough or not-worthy-enough of greatness. Pulling them down does absolutely nothing to raise yourself up, even though that’s your alternate agenda. It’s so much easier to throw your pain at someone else, anyone else, instead of sitting with it as it slowly transforms. And even if you’re self-aware enough to know, even if it is SO obvious that all you are doing is pummeling them with the trash piling up in your soul, they can’t necessarily see or accept that. They are IN it. They hurt.

I don't want appropriate. I want real. Click To Tweet

I can hug, I can talk, I can cry alongside them. But I can’t heal them from your sickled sword and it enrages me that I’d even have to. They are stardust and sunshine, the waves in the ocean and the dew that helps the flowers grow. They are the hope of a new day and the long exhale as the week ends. They’re the birds you can barely hear chirping over the car horns and angry screams, but you know they’re there, and the knowing is a sort of comfort in the chaotic entanglement of city cacophony. They’re newsprint on your fingers, a souvenir from the adventures of a curious mind. They’re the giggle you can’t quite stuff down and the tears that come whether “appropriate” or not.

To hell with appropriate. I don’t want appropriate. I want real.

I want the laughs and the tears and the talks till 1am that can’t wait a second longer. I want the waves and the dew and the bird songs even if I can’t always hear them. I want the charcoal on my fingers, delicate stains from a morning well spent, and questions asked, and a mind expanded just by saying yes, I will turn that page.

Don’t fuck with my friends – because they are the ones who are making this world come alive.

friends women againt negative talk katie horwitch


This post was originally published on october 8, 2012.

WANTcast 080: Becoming the First Best Version of Yourself (Season Four Finale)

WANTcast 080: Becoming the First Best Version of Yourself (Season Four Finale)

the WANTcast

In today’s SEASON FINALE, two listeners ask about finding confidence and self-love again, and finding positive communities when all people want to do is bond over negativity. There’s a common theme in the answers to both of these – and it has to do with how you become the first-best version of yourself instead of the second-best version of someone else.

**This is the SEASON FINALE of Season 4! Thank you so much for helping the WANTcast grow and evolve over the last almost-four years. We’ll be taking a break over the summer and coming back stronger than ever in August with Season Five.**

WANT yourself:

SHOW NOTES:
• Sign up for The (Good) Word, our monthly email digest
 Check out She’s The First, this season’s spotlight
 Let’s be friends on Instagram!

Like this episode? Take a screenshot + share on social, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast and #womenagainstnegativetalk!

WANTcast 079: Should I Follow My Calling And Change Everything?

WANTcast 079: Should I Follow My Calling And Change Everything?

the WANTcast

What happens when you feel a “calling” to change things up…but everything is going just fine? What if you’re doubting a choice is the right one to make…but you don’t have proof as to why?

In today’s episode of the WANTcast, a listener asks if she should follow her gut and change everything, even though life is great. I share some insight into my move to NYC after a lifetime in Los Angeles, plus a few big, get-honest-with-yourself questions to ask yourself when facing major change of ANY kind.

WANT yourself:

SHOW NOTES:
• Sign up for The (Good) Wordour monthly email digest
• Check out She’s The First, this season’s spotlight
 Let’s be friends on Instagram!

Like this episode? Take a screenshot + share on social, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebooktweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast and #womenagainstnegativetalk!

Blind Optimism.

Blind Optimism.

Community Most Popular Posts Tips + Tools

I’m just gonna say it: we have an optimism problem.

Living with an optimistic approach to life is, undoubtedly, a strength and a personal asset. It’s forward-motion and seeing what could be, and finding the beauty in the possibility instead of the darkness in the seemingly inevitable. No, optimism (lower-case-o, neutral tone) by itself isn’t bad at all.

However, just like anything, there’s a necessary balance needed to make optimism actually work. If you pay very close attention, you’ll feel the disconnect when it happens. You’ll lose your words. You’ll realize that there is such a thing as being “too” optimistic: shutting out the realities of life as a means of avoidance and calling it “looking on the sunny side of life” or “glass-half-full” mentality.

I call it Blind Optimism.

How does this happen? How can something so inherently good betray us and bar us in? Blind Optimism is what results when we rely on our positive outlook to ignore, shut out, fabricate and gloss over our lives. It can minimize experiences and eat us alive – just like Casual Negativity, cynicism, auto-pilot pessimism, and projection. It can gnaw away at our spirit, our relationships, and roll a haze of oblivion over our existence. 

Blind optimism makes me dizzy – like carousels. Ah…the carousel. My amusement park ride of choice as a highly sensitive kid. I could get on and, for three whole minutes (or more) escape from everyone and everything around me (or more). And, of course, they were pretty. Anyone who has ever visited an amusement park or fairground knows: carousels are very, very pretty. With their porcelain hollow horses and spherical moulding on loop. And they make us smile (I mean, unless you have some sort of childhood phobia which has stuck with you through adulthood, but I’m going to discount that slight possibility for the sake of this metaphor). Most carousels cost mere quarters to ride, so it’s easy to just stay on and go around in circles ad nauseam.

But when the ride ends, we’re faced with the world beyond the beautiful lights and porcelain fairytale creatures. And if we’ve stayed on too long, there’s a good chance we’ll stumble off a bit more than wobbly.

Blind Optimism turns us away from facts and reality in favor of the carousel around the corner, going in circles and circles and circles and circles until we get dizzy and lose our bearings.

When we find ourselves caught in these nonstop-carousel-ride moments, one of two things starts to happen after a while:

a) The carousel stops being fun and eventually breaks down. There is only so much we can give. There is always a breaking point when it comes to extremes. Always.

b) The carousel becomes bothersome, saccharine, and dismissive; something other people tire of don’t want to go near. It’s cheesy and trite at best, ignorant and entitled at worst. We become a part of that fairy tale world playing on loop. And we find ourselves alone on a ride going nowhere.

People always comment on my optimistic life outlook, and when we’re all stuck in the collective doldrums together, ask how I stay so optimistic. The funny thing is – I don’t necessarily view myself as a glass-half-full Optimist. Pollyanna was admirable but always bugged me for some reason (which made me feel guilty, of course – sorry Hayley Mills). I always loved the brilliantly crafted songs and rad penguin dance parties in Mary Poppins, but the Practically Perfect nanny was never someone with whom I identified.

 

When asked for my “secret,” I chuckle a little and reveal that I’m not really a bona fide Optimist (capital O, chipper voice). I’m Practically Perfect’s alter-ego: Pragmatic. Proactive. Positive.


Life’s ups and downs are inevitable, and some moments will seem more hope-filled than others. So what can we do about it? We can see the facts in front of us and the projected outcomes ahead of us. And we can root for the positive while still recognizing the negative. Not myopically blinding ourselves to the possibility that things aren’t perfectly in place or might go awry…but taking in the world as is, seeing all the good and all the bad, and choosing to build upon what is good and right. It’s like true love: we love fully and deeply when we love others FOR their strengths and weaknesses, similarities and differences – not in spite of them.

Look at the glass not as half empty or half full, but as a glass that's being sipped from every moment. Click To Tweet

To break away from Blind Optimism into Pragmatic, Proactive Positivity, our love of life and self MUST transcend those pitfalls and darkness. It starts by moving forward through things instead of around them. It starts with granting yourself permission for your self-like ebb and flow– because it’s normal, and because you’re human – and viewing self-love as the kind of unconditional unbreakable love that no high high or low low can affect.

It starts with letting go of searching for how good things can be in the future (or not), and instead sitting with how good things are right now (or not). It starts with looking at the glass not half empty or half full, but as a glass that’s being sipped from every moment. Easy but nuanced. Simple yet scary. It’s not easy work, but it’s right work. And it’s the work that’ll lead us to finding our genuine smiles, without the help of the ceramic ponies and the carousel leading nowhere.

optimism