Archive | April, 2012

Exercise of the Week: Working with Bands

25 Apr

Julie lays on the ground while Josette stands upright.

Julie lowers her legs while pulling on the band. Josette concentrates on her core while pulling the band to her sides. In this picture Josette is doing an advanced move by balancing on one leg while doing this exercise.

Julie lowers her legs just a few inches from the ground while Josette brings her legs back in a verticle position.

Every week I do some sort of exercise that I have fun doing.  This blog is the first in a series of exercises of the week, a collection of some of the ones I really enjoy.

This exercise is a good one because it’s very versatile.  You can always pack bands when you travel and use them with or without a partner.

 

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Barefoot Running: Do What You Love, Love What You Do

12 Apr
My favorite new blog for the week, Barefoot Running, can be found at http://barefoot-monologues.com/
In one of her posts the author cites this quote “You can do anything, if you don’t put your mind to it.” I read that and was immediately hooked on her writing.  That quote is very true.  Sometimes when you over think things you get so caught up in the details you forget why you started in the first place, you begin to see the obstacles.  Pick something your passionate about and do it because you enjoy it.  No pressure, no end marker, nobody telling you that you haven’t been successful doing it unless you achieve xyz.
My running journey has been a lot like that, no pressure, I’ll just do it.  I didn’t think to myself when I started, “I’m going to win this race.”  I just ran and gave it my best, low and behold in doing that, my best eventually had me winning, something I had never thought even possible when I started. There are goals I’ve thrown my heart into, become obsessed with, only to see them never come to fruition.  My perspective has become not to think too much about things, and to do them out of love.  To resolve that even if I stay in last place, I’m okay there, because I am having fun.  Allowing myself that flexibility frees me.  In the end, do what you LOVE, LOVE what you do!

Is Trimethylxanthine Your Drug of Choice? The Benefits of Caffeine for Body Builders

9 Apr

Every day, 90% of Americans ingest trimethylxanthine.  It’s become our society’s drug of choice and it’s completely legal!  It’s even considered good for you by many?  How do you get it?  Run down to your local convenience store and buy yourself a cup of coffee.

Trimethylxanthine, better referred to as caffeine, is known to improve many things, including our ability to sustain a workout.  It’s obvious that caffeine benefits cardio related sports such as running and cycling.  It produces energy because it elevates the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream, allowing athletes to perform at high endurance levels for longer amounts of time.  In studies done on elite athletes, researchers found that two out of three athletes had caffeine in their system prior to or during completion (Del Coso et. al, 2011).  Less research exists on how caffeine affects athletes in other sports, such as bodybuilding.  Clearly there are experts on both sides of the fence that have differing opinions as to whether caffeine is beneficial for bodybuilders, but recent research seems to greatly support the use of caffeine in moderation.

The key benefits of caffeine:

Longer workouts:

Caffeine not only allows you to work out harder, it can also aid in allowing you to work out longer.  This is primarily due to the fact that, “During exercise, the body uses a form of starch called glycogen for energy. But once these stores are depleted— perhaps toward the end of a long workout— the body starts to feel like it’s running on empty. Caffeine slows glycogen depletion by encouraging the body to use more fat as fuel.” (Tarnopolsky, 1994).  Longer workouts burn more calories and build more muscle allowing for quicker gains in performance.

 Reduced pain:

No pain, more gain.  When the body begins to feel pain its natural reaction is to reduce it.  Many athletes utilize over the counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen to alleviate pain.  Caffeine has been shown to have an even greater effect on reducing pain.  Scientists from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) presented studies at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2007 meeting that  showed when subjects were give caffeine as opposed to aspirin and or a placebo on different occasions, they were able to do more bicep curls and leg extensions with less pain (Journal of Pain, 2003).

Recovery assistance:

When the body is working to recover it needs to refill glycogen stores in muscle cells.

Having full glycogen stores allows your body to send a signal to the muscles that the stores are adequate; thus, providing energy for recovery and growth.  This allows you to be fully prepared for your next workout.

There are number of ways individuals consume caffeine.  Caffeine pills have become popular among many people because unlike drinking Starbucks or Redbull, you only consume caffeine when ingesting them.  If you are using caffeine, make sure you are not also adding ingredients such as sweeteners and syrups, that take away from your efforts to lean down and build muscle.  One potential negative side-effect to consider is that over time the body can become immune to the effects of caffeine.  In addition, some people experience sensitivities.  It’s been known to cause jitteriness, anxiety, stomachaches and headaches.  Those individuals who have this reaction to caffeine should avoid it all together.  Timing your caffeine consumption properly will help you utilize it effectively.  For best results, consume on days you exercise, immediately before and after your workout for best results.  Remember, more does not always mean better.  For optimum performance consume a moderate amount, which equates to approximately 0.45–1.36 mg caffeine per lb. body weight.

Del Coso, et al. (2011).  “Prevalence of caffeine use in elite athletes following its removal from the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances,” US National Library of Medicine, Camilo Jose Cela University, Madrid, Spain,” 2011 Aug;36(4):555-61. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21854160

Tarnopolsky, M.A. (1994). “Caffeine and endurance performance,”   Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Henderson General Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Sports Medicine.  Aug;18(2):109-25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21854160

Gliottoni, R. Motl, R. “Effect of Caffeine on Leg-Muscle Pain During Intense Cycling Exercise: Possible Role of Anxiety Sensitivity” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2008, 18, 103-115. http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/msscha/PreMed/caffeine_musclepain.pdf

Eat Pray EXERCISE Love

3 Apr

Eat Pray EXERCISE and Love

This is my new mantra.  I saw the movie Eat Pray Love some time ago and have thought about it ever since.  I have several moments where I yearn to be Julia Roberts traveling through foreign countries finding myself.  Since the life of a mother to two young children precludes me from doing that, I’ll have to spend the hours between 8:30 – 2:30 weekdays figuring it out while simultaneous grocery shopping, cleaning, running errands and working.  Never-the-less, I am going to keep working on this and hopefully someday I’ll figure out the key to happiness and the meaning of life as a result.  I imagine the best way to get there is every once in a while just putting aside my ambitions, goals, pressures and responsibilities and focus on just being me.  Today I decided to reflect on eating, praying, exercising and loving.  I had to add exercise to the equation, because if I were to travel world like Julia I’d likely do this as well. Here’s what I came up with.

Eat

Eating is happiness. If you don’t believe me, try not doing it for a few days straight. Better yet, try limiting yourself for months on end.  Trust me, I can speak intelligently on this topic, I’ve been there.  Eating the right foods that nourish the body and fill the soul helps you mentally.  Balance is paramount in this, not overindulging too much, nor under indulging.  Developing a healthy relationship with food is important.  Think about the bad relationships you have had with others, they can be toxic to your well-being.  The same can be said for relationships with food.  Figure out what your body needs to feel you’re very best and stick to that.

Pray

I am not overly religious, but meditation, reflection, and communing with whatever power that you see fit can greatly improve your perspective.  Quieting the mind is the most difficult part for many of us in doing this. We live in a society that demands we are always “on”.  We begin to wonder… if you strip away all the things about me…my resume, my degree, my awards, my relationships, my possessions, am I enough?  Just me, is it enough?  That’s a good question.  Praying, in whatever fashion you see fit, seems to reaffirm that you are enough, exactly where you are at.  You don’t need anyone else to tell you that, you just need to believe it yourself.  Acceptance of who you are, often arrived through prayer, can open doors that were invisible to you before.

Exercise

We are designed to move.  We eat and we move and it seems to balance out.  Like ying and yang, eating and exercise go together.  Nourish the body so that it can move.  Effectively combining these two things allows for love.  You will grow to love your body for its strength and health.  Aging gracefully has a lot to do with respecting your body not for its physical features, but for how it supports you.  Exercise=empowerment.  Push yourself to achieve physical goals and suddenly you will find yourself doing that in other areas of your life, and being successful at it.

Love

Love yourself.  Love your body.  Love others. You were put on earth exactly the way you are and no amount of wishing you were someone will change that.  Loving yourself is the door to fully appreciating life, and others for that matter.  Loving yourself is not a bad thing.  You ought to be your own biggest fan.  You ought to believe in yourself and abilities.  You can believe you can do something or you can believe you can’t, either way you are right.  Learn from others, let them in, but don’t ever allow others to make you believe you are not beautiful, or capable or amazing.

Today I’m committing to loving myself.  To keeping exercise a priority and to eating foods that make me feel good.  I will respect my body, and take pride in being perfectly imperfect.  I’ll recognize that I can change certain things about myself but there are things I can’t, and that’s okay.  I’ll spend time quietly reflecting on life, being in the moment and appreciating that the world is bigger than me.  I’ll love fiercely and boldly, trust more than I’m comfortable with, and support those around me.  I’ll live with no regrets; take chances and risk failure… most importantly I’ll find myself, even if it means I don’t go farther than up the street to do it.

 

Let Go: How Caring Too Much Can Hold You Back From Achieving Success

1 Apr

Do any of the following titles fit your personality?

Sensitive

Perfectionist

People pleaser

Empathetic

Cautious

Perceptive

Rule follower

Predictable

If you said yes to any of those thing than you’ll likely find something in this article that resonates.  Those qualities, as positive as they are in so many ways, can often hold you back from achieving your goals.

If you’ve worked in the talent industry, or even made an attempt to build a business where YOU are the product, you will probably understand what I mean when I say, “fear stunts growth.”  It’s extremely hard to put yourself out there when “you” are the product, because the word NO feels like a direct reflection on your worth.

There are a number of things to consider and carefully avoid falling victim to if you want to be successful in the talent industry, or really any industry I think for that matter.  The following five aspects often hold people back from success.  Consider these if you are attempting to build a business as a talent.

You don’t want to bother people:  Often times I find the most qualified people lose jobs because they are not persistent enough.  Why, because they aim to be highly respectful of others time and feel that once they submit things, they don’t want to be a bother by continuing to follow-up.  I think the reality is that those who are persistent get the job.  I’ve talked to countless people who have told me that they tried relentlessly before they were published, or signed with an agency, or considered for a part.  Eventually their hard work paid off.  Generally I think if you bother people too much they will let you know, until then keep trying.  Remember that people get busy and they forget who you are.  It’s your job to help them remember.  Be respectful of course, and know how you can help them, but be persistent.

Case in Point: I submitted an article somewhere.  I waited to follow-up, and waited and waited.  I finally decided I had to do this and risk bothering the editor.  The response, “that’s right Kim, I really enjoyed your article, but I forgot about it and now I just published the issue I would have like to use it in.”  Lesson: I should have followed-up bi-weekly at the risk of hearing, “we know you sent us something Kim.  Don’t call us, we’ll call you”.  Then at least I’d know.  This time I lost the chance.

You don’t ask for help:  For whatever reason, it’s very hard to ask for help.  If you are a perfectionist you might feel like you should already know what you are asking.  The truth is you should ask for help every opportunity you get.  Ask others who are experienced.  Don’t be afraid to expose your nativity.  Be the dumbest person in the room and admit it.  It’s okay.  You have to get over that.  Surround yourself with people more knowledgeable than you, doing things you want to do, and you’ll get there.  But in the meantime don’t be afraid to look like a complete fool while you learn.

Case in Point: I submitted an article and the editor made suggestions on how I could improve it.  She offered to help me if need be, but I didn’t ever ask because I figured I should really know how to do this.  I probably spent three times longer than necessary trying to figure it out.  I should have just asked for help.  In the time I would have saved in doing so I could have written an entire new article!

Lesson Learned: I’m not going to get better, at least not very quickly, if I don’t learn to accept help, especially when it’s offered to me.

You don’t hit send: There’s a mental game we play with ourselves when it comes to submitting things that require answers.  Maybe you have hopes of being considered at a modeling agency and you are working on your portfolio.  It’s never done enough to actually send.  Then maybe it is, but you don’t think its good enough.  You keep working on your skills, building your experience and in the meantime someone comes along with less experience, possibly less skills and gets the job.  At some point you have to tell yourself, “What do I have to lose?  If the answers no, then next time I’m going to work harder for a yes”.  If you are sensitive this is one of the most difficult things you will face.  Hearing no is SO hard.  Realistically though, you need at least 9 no’s for one yes.  Many people might tell you that you need 100 no’s for a yes. Make a goal.  I’m going for no’s.  How many can I collect?  Play long enough and eventually you will hit on something.

Case in Point: I was going through my draft email box the other day.  I stumbled upon an email I was going to send regarding a potential modeling opportunity.  I had even attached my resume and pictures already but I never sent it.  Why, because I thought I could re-word it so it sounded better.

Lesson Learned: I missed the deadline.  So much for that.  You can’t win if you don’t play!

Your spending way too long crafting emails:  Okay, clearly there are people who don’t spend enough time reviewing the way in which they communicate.  Those are the folks that read a casting call that says in the second line, “please do not post on this medium, email me directly” and what do they do, they write a post.  However, there is another group of people (hopefully some of you who are reading this), that decide to email, yet spend half an hour thinking of the perfect phrasing to use to express a point.  Why?  Because they care a lot about how people perceive them.  They are people pleasers.   I know this for a fact because I am one of these people.  The problem is I don’t get enough work done as a result and I am fairly sure no one cares that much about my specific word choice. Write it, don’t re-read it more than once and send it.

Case in Point: I spent 45 minutes the other day writing an email.  This is how it went:

  • “I enjoyed meeting you the other day and am interested in hearing more about the opportunity we discussed with your company.”
  • “It was so nice to meet you the other day.  Thank you for sharing details on your new business venture with me.  I’d like to discuss any potential collaborations in which you are interested.”
  • “Thank you for meeting with me yesterday.  I enjoyed talking with you and appreciate your interest in having me potentially collaborate on your project.”

Okay, you get the picture here.  Don’t laugh, I know some of you have done the same thing.

Lesson Learned: Wasted time.  Just get it done and quit worrying about how you sound.

These scenarios are all too common.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit I struggle with all of these.  I primarily see women in the industry challenged with these hang-ups.  They are cautious and want to do a good job.  Many tend to be sensitive.  It’s very hard to hear no.  No one wants to bother others.  We don’t want to be perceived as being a nag, or difficult or over-bearing.  We might not be sure we are really good enough to do something.  The truth is, people get work, develop their business and experience success because at some point they say to themselves, “I’m not worrying about all this nonsense.  I’m going to tell them I believe I can do it, I’m hitting send and I’ll continue to follow-up and chase this goal until they slam the door on my face….and when that happens, I’ll go somewhere else and make it work.

Let it go and just run for it.  Risk failure, collect no’s, stop thinking too much about what others think.  What’s the worst that can happen?  And when you do this and experience success, please let me know so I can be proud of you!