Will You Accept My Challenge?

There’s power in the hands that hold you up

A few days ago, I found myself in a situation needing advice and wondering who to turn to. Over the course of a conversation with someone whose experience and wisdom inspire me, she shared how brave and strong she believed me to be. At the time, I was very puzzled by her words and thoughts perhaps she was saying this just to make me feel better. However, her opinion matters deeply to me – she speaks her truth.

But isn’t that how it goes? Being our own critics and negative cheerleader, we can’t find the good in ourselves. We feel weak, deem ourselves unworthy of love, and place unrealistic expectations on our lives. P.S this is where social media fails us as humans.

Why is it so hard to see how amazing we truly are? In my case, it was a family values flaw, most likely. Having confidence was considered vain and talking about what mattered to you was shunned. I could go on forever how terrifically awful my childhood lessons were but we don’t have time. Nevertheless, I have a daily goal to uplift one person. One! In a day, I probably meet/see over a hundred people so my goal is a miniscule 1%.

There’s one lesson so large I can only hope to instill in my mini human: be kind. Like Ellen always says. It seems so small, just be kind, but apparently it’s the toughest in practice. Elements of kindness exist in each part of our day; the opportunities are forthcoming every minute to share kindness but for some reason we choose not to. Perhaps we don’t know how? Well, I know how and I’ll be d*mned if I sit around waiting for anyone else to show the person I created inside my own body how to be kind. She will know it very well.

A smile is worth a thousand words

At this point, I think it’s appropriate to challenge you, my lovely readers and friends, all 3 of you, to also establish a goal to share with someone how valuable they are in your life. It could be anyone. It could even be your pet – I’m not picky! But please share your feelings and emotions. Your words could have the impact of a lifetime to those needing to hear they’re not alone. We are all worthy.

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I ask you –

Have you ever had an experience of being on the receiving end of someone’s truth?

How many people will your kind words impact?

Smile at a stranger. It may be the difference between living and living.

Weekend in Photos…random (wo)man

Had a date night with my little Munchkin over the weekend –

Braum’s – it’s a southern thing

The next morning, we longingly stared out the window because we knew it was our last day of warm weather for awhile –

How else will I rid my home of Halloween candy if she doesn’t have a ‘lollipop’ each day?

On Monday, a beautiful Veteran’s Day punctuated with snowflakes –

Photo captured the day before the snowflakes

Working from home was a whopping success minus the support desk tickets I’m constantly submitting because I have a horrible knack for programs requiring testing to malfunction mid-test and I can’t complete them. Ugh.

On the bright side, my Christmas decorations, tree, and lights are in place. You can bah humbug me all you want, but a) with Munchkin’s blended state lifestyle we make the most of every holiday and b) did you realize if we put up our Christmas extravaganza December 1st, then we only have approximately 4 full weekends to enjoy them? I’m not home much during the week so in order for me to experience the entire holiday season, I must start early!

Excuse the train off the tracks – typical of our lives aka a train wreck

_______________________

I ask you –

Weekend activities? Anything fun?

What are your thoughts on those who decorate early? (To be clear, I have never, NOT EVEN ONCE, been a proponent of this until I had a child.)

To please thank a Veteran.

“When did this happen?” and other things we wonder

Juggling life feels exactly like this

Let me set the scene:

PRT (physical readiness test for all you non-Navy people) next week so I should probably start running today. Right? Ummm no.

Swimsuit season begins tomorrow so Monday should be a good time to have the body I want to achieve. Right? Again, no.

Are you getting the drift or do I need to input more examples of how this never works? Honestly, I don’t get it. In our society of instant potatoes (that’s what I call our propensity to have everything we want immediately) why do we wait so long to make changes to ourselves? Why do we wait until the doctor says we have heart disease to realize our weight, lifestyle, and choices are out of control?

I think it’s because we don’t notice the small changes day to day. For example, you mowed the grass last weekend. Each day it’s been slowly growing back to its prior form. But you won’t notice until next Friday when you drive by. The grass didn’t grow overnight. It gradually made its way to shin-length. Same with our health. But the more you “let it go”, the more it goes. I’m a free agent – I cannot be controlled!

So when did this happen? Today. Yesterday. It keeps happening! But we’re busy people and we don’t realize it until it is too late. Except it’s never too late!

What is wrong with starting today? NOTHING! I post regularly about making changes immediately. We both know if you say tomorrow then something will come up and tomorrow will be pushed further into the future. Today looks like the only choice to me. Do it.

“candy wrapper dreams”

A very lovely lady in my life likes to use the phrase “I’m in good shape for the shape I’m in!” Her advanced age brings about a certain wisdom and truth that can only come from living as healthily and happily as possible. Do you wonder what you’ll be like as you age? All the time! Will I be an angry old lady because I didn’t live the life meant for me or will I be teaching the millenial alternative to step aerobics at age 95? Time will tell. Days progress and march forward like tiny ants on their way to the candy wrapper dreams are made of.

What else do we commonly wonder?

_______________________

I ask you –

What have you been putting off getting started?

What instant expectations do you subscribe to?

Do you believe in the power of today?

Military Fitness Evaluations

And on this Veteran’s Day, let’s talk about fitness and the military!

Not to be confused with a FITREP, otherwise known as a performance evaluation of the officer variety. If you care to know. Please note I had to do quite a bit of research for this post due to the fact I have only limited knowledge of fitness evaluations in each branch of the military besides the US Navy.

Oh the days of old

It’s interesting and long overdue in my opinion the military is finally updating their standards of fitness. From sit ups (harmful and ill-advised) to treadmill running (not ideal, but sometimes necessary), there has been a shift in standard (read: old school) training to functional fitness.

NOFFS: Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System. I was offered extensive training and for the better part of 2 years trained other Sailors using this curriculum. The levels and stages of NOFFS prepare Sailors for functional and operational fitness whether on surface ships or submarines.

Changes are being realized within the Navy’s Physical Readiness Test (PRT), i.e. perhaps planks are a more accurate representation of core strength and rowing is a great alternative to cardio conditioning. Testing is ongoing regarding the feasibility, due to limited space most often, of changes to the (PRT). I eagerly await the final outcome of these measures.

The US Army is also on board with updates to their physical requirements. The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) requires soldiers to complete a 2 mile run, 2 minutes of push-ups, and 2 minutes of sit-ups. In October 2020, however, soldiers will be required to complete a six event series titled the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). Parts of this new curriculum will include the Leg Tuck, a Standing Power Throw, and a 3 Rep Max Deadlift, among other exercises. The physical toll of moving gear and their own person across vast lengths is now emphasized and soldiers are being trained to protect, and strengthen, their bodies overall.

Gives new meaning to parasailing

The US Marine Corps is hanging on to their Physical Fitness Test (PFT) which includes pull-ups/push-ups, sit-ups, and a 3 mile run. (Push-ups can be completed as an alternate to dead hang pull-ups.) 2020 is an important year, though, because in January, Marines can replace the sit-ups with planks, previously discussed as a much more effective and safe option. Interestingly, Marines also have a Combat Fitness Test (CFT): 3 exercises of varying difficulty that test an individual’s functional fitness.

Lastly, let’s look at the US Coast Guard. For the Physical Fitness Test (PFT), it includes 60 seconds of push-ups, 60 seconds of sit-ups, 1.5 mile run, the Sit and Reach, and a Swim qualification event. I’ve not seen any updates to the USCG’s PFT, but have no doubt they will eventually begin to modify their requirements.

Under da sea

It is understandable there may be very little interest in what our military branches are doing for fitness. The real importance can be found in what civilians are able to do to train like the military. Functional fitness is well-rounded and encompasses all levels of fitness. This is what we embody at Anytime Fitness: functional fitness. We want you to do your daily tasks with ease whether it be climbing endless ladder wells to reach the top deck of a destroyer or swimming in the open ocean while practicing rescue operations. You may never do any of these things, but you can train for them regardless. Why? Because you climb stairs to get to your desk and many of the same movements you use while swimming translate to reaching above your head to get to the canned vegetables in your pantry.

Need I say more?

_______________________

I ask you –

What does functional fitness look like to you?

Who is the strongest of the military branches?

If you didn’t answer Navy to the question above, we can’t be friends anymore. 🙂

Passion + A Calling

Indeed, it did

At a recent informal event attended by women of varying ages, the discussion centered on finding your passion. Apparently it’s the rule, not the exception, to set your passions aside for numerous reasons.

Ha! And only a few weeks ago, I think we had a conversation about committing publicly to a goal (or quest, as I’ve seen it written these days). Side bar – on the topic of quests, I’m beginning to come around to this terminology because a quest can be lifelong. A goal, on the other hand, tends to lead the belief we must conquer and create anew.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming – Excuses. That’s what I took away from the women’s group discussion. Whether of our own design or otherwise, reasons for being unable to follow our passion are never-ending. Something always keeps us away for a period of time. Money, life, parenthood, time itself, the list goes on. So what does it take to find your passion and hold it at the forefront of your quest? Beats me, I just write this blog. I’m obviously kidding. Did you really expect there not be jokes on even a serious subject like passion? I joked about death before. See post: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/running-on-fumes.blog/273. Let’s move on quickly before my boss notices.

In discovering our passion, or quest, as it may be, (I’ve written other posts on a similar aspect), there is a lot of back and forth on how to begin. Do you want to know the best way to get started? Just Do It! By overthinking, you lose the momentum you’ve built up in your mind. Passion can be lifelong; it can also be fleeting. Strike while the iron is hot – and all that jazz.

Often I wake up with these fantastically great ideas – an urge to DO something! Not like eat cereal at 1am (though if you’re called to do so, I have no complaints), but an idea of greatness. This being said, I’ve needed close friends and family to talk me off the proverbial ledge when my ideas and reality don’t quite meet. This Pisces blood is strong. I’m a dreamer. And let me express as vividly as possible: my dreams are incredible! I’m called to be an author, to be a trainer, to be a legend (if only in my own mind).

________________

I ask you –

Are you called to do something?

Activism is also used a term for calling. Do you know any activists?

What are you most passionate about? It can be anything!

What’s New?

Much like spring cleaning, join me on this exploration of old and new stuff I’ve located in my house (aka mind and body) in no particular order

Pixel-y and beautiful

Book writing: let’s add some more stuff to my fully-loaded proverbial plate and take on the project-in-progress of many years. I began writing a book the year between my undergrad and grad school. As life got more hectic, I put it away and haven’t revisited it since. No better time than the present! In developing myself as a person, a woman, a mom, I decided to begin writing again. There’s no EDC (estimated date of completion), but I plan to maximize effort after December’s training cycle comes to a close. Which brings me to another topic…

Training: is going well! Committing to a plan to run 4 days per week is definitely less stressful than the previous 5-6 days a week. Even knowing I have to run both days of a weekend is somehow easier to accept than I originally thought possible. On other plans, I would dread the weekends. I was a super b-word until I got my one long run in and I would feel like a complete failure if Monday came and it hadn’t been done. Now? I run Saturday and Sunday. It’s a normal part of conversation. The schedule pretty much runs itself (puns for life). I aim for outdoor running – occasionally I can’t make it happen, but usually I’m successful. The only pitfall was the length of the runs. With some slight adjustments, I’m back on the track to success.

First double digit run went smoothly!

Motherhood: Some days I amaze myself at what I’m able to show her – my patience knows no bounds. Other days we each need a time out and I consider adding wine to my coffee cup. Your shaming has no place here. As a smaller version of myself, mini-me can push every button I have and create ones I didn’t even know were there. And then she smiles. If she wasn’t so cute… Being her mom is the greatest blessing of my life. Nothing compares. At times I don’t know who I was before her, then I feel a tingle in my heart and I know she and I were created to meet.

We drink coffee together. It’s half caff. Shut it.

Lastly, work: busy is an understatement. Building a brand, a vision, and melding the minds of multiple people is a job not for the faint of heart. It’s time consuming. But creating connections between people with the same goals is awe-inspiring. Daily (seriously, not a day goes by) I encounter people who share their stories with me, a stranger. Some are wilder than others; many settle heavily in my soul. It could be a story of perseverance or a synopsis of loss – collectively, it makes an impact. My goal is to bring out the best in these warriors who have come to me looking for someone to help make a difference in themselves. Every task brings us closer. Anytime Fitness fulfilled a passion within me; I can’t imagine not being the face of another’s desire to do so. Also, I got a green light to begin training. Training others, specifically. It’s a natural progression in my line of work while also adding a few tons to my already heavy plate. However, I’m stoked to begin this path again.

Stay tuned for another episode of Kel’s Crazy Life. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Always,

Kel

Seen it on the ‘gram’ + Are we missing the mark?

“Those damn millennials – all they know is Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat!”

I’m all about perspective

Social media (SM) maybe isn’t the bad guy we make it out to be. SM is a tool to share our successes. We post about our passions. We share the things we love to post. If ‘celebrate your success’ is a phrase literally celebrated, then why is it so wrong to do so? Personally, I enjoy taking a sideline view of another’s dreams. Not for judgment or criticism, but to watch them grow as humans. I follow many people on social media. Newsflash > if I don’t like what they’re about or what they post, guess what I do? I tap the small box that says ‘unfollow’. You won’t find me being a rude, hateful, opinionated asshat on their posts. It’s not worth that much time.

Disclaimer: Many aspects of our lives should not be shared. Situations are private and details are not necessary. Validating our beliefs and choices via SM indicates a lack of decision making and autonomy. SM is absolutely not the place to air your dirty laundry…and trust me, we all have some. End rant.

Have you looked back at your previous posts from years prior and wondered what in the world was I thinking then? Ugh. Cringe. The things I thought were cute or kitsche or would somehow help me blend in with whatever crowd I was trying to be in…who was I? Huge possibility the same thing will happen to me in 10 years. However, I hope I remember what it FELT like to write, post, blog, talk about were things my passionate inner self loved. Running, baking, reading, learning something new, exploring! Legacies are built on the stones of passion.

Social media is this crazy outlet in our world today. If you didn’t write a lengthy post about overcoming adversity or about how much you think you know on a subject – did it even happen? Perhaps some understanding, or even forgiveness, sheds light onto what we see on our feeds. People are being conversational; they’re sharing what’s important to them. Applying fundamental understanding would do a body good. Again, I shall reiterate, if you don’t like it, then don’t follow them. Writing angry remarks is uncalled for and can also lead you down a dangerous legal path if deemed racist, homophobic, etc. Be nice, people!

To show my age: I joined Facebook when it was exclusively available for college students. Seriously. That’s how it started. The registration requirement was a valid college email address. I still remember mine. kelly.atwell.0313@mwsu.edu. Don’t ask how I remember the stupidest stuff, but can’t tell you if I applied deodorant this morning. Somewhere during college, Facebook blew up and now it’s an insult if you don’t provide every living, breathing person you know with a friend request within 3.9 seconds of meeting them. Oh, I did apply deodorant because I have the stain on my black shirt. In case you were wondering. Big shocker here – please make sure you’re sitting. I don’t have a Facebook account. Wait a minute, Kel. You just said you did. Not anymore. Before munchkin was born, I deleted my account because my privacy was invaded by an angry person hellbent on “making right the wrongs others had committed” or some paraphrased version of such. It’s not a pretty story. I was always careful about not sharing too much on SM. I followed all the rules of being a military member who had SM accounts. Unfortunately, family and friends had public accounts and shared every part of their daily lives so it was only a matter of time before I was connected to them. I had it coming. So in order to keep my life and the life of my munchkin private, I hit delete and haven’t looked back.

These days I’m expected to maintain an active SM presence within the Anytime Fitness community. This has come at a bit of a cost. Namely, my comfort levels at what I can access. There’s been a few occasions of searching for people and getting more than I bargained for. This reinforced the belief I am absolutely not ready to have my own account again because if I didn’t have a career I adore, I might have said not nice things and caused the walls to come crashing down. Human, here.

So is SM good or bad? I don’t know. It is probably not as bad as its reputation provided it’s used correctly and not as a platform for hatred or blasphemy. Teenagers and young people should still be monitored, in my opinion. Even some adults should be monitored! But if you’re using it as a gateway to share what you love to do, then you’re not hurting anyone. Be safe, be smart, and be kind.

so many options

Shameless tag:

Find us here:

Facebook: @anytimefitnessroanoketx and @anytimelascolinas

Instagram: @roanoke_anytimefitness and @anytimefitnesslascolinas

Twitter: @TxAnytime

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I ask you –

How many SM accounts or platforms do you actively participate in?

Are you one of our followers?

Advice on staying out of trouble on SM?