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Time Marches On

Posted on May 2, 2016 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Dad's time on this earth ran out on April 21st.  In the week that followed, it was a struggle to get anything done.  Feelings of grief and loss crowded out the more pressing things on my agenda.  It was as if my heart was telling me to take a break, to step back and reset before moving forward in a world where he is no longer physically present.  


Dad's passing reminds me that the greatest thing we have in this life is time. Perceived shortages or excesses can both bring feelings of anxiety and stress.  There are so many ways to fritter it away, social media being one of my biggest time suckers. When I don't feel like I've used my time well, then I don't feel like I deserve down time. Down time was exactly what I needed last week after Dad passed away.  My mind and heart were trying to put on the brakes, but there was a nagging little voice saying that I had wasted too much time to justify the down time.  


Money can also be a source of stress and like time, it can be well-invested or wasted.  There are times when one must spend money on themselves if for no more than basic needs of food and shelter. I am dilligent about managing money, shopping for bargains and disciplined when it comes to spending on myself.  


May is considered a month of new beginnings. For this month, I will seek to apply the same level of discipline to my time as I do with my finances. By implementing some planning and productivity tools and avoiding the social media rabbit hole, I can use time and save time and ultimately reward myself with time to recharge my batteries. We all need downtime, but if it feels unearned it becomes a source of guilt instead. 


A minute is a minute; an hour is an hour.  They can fly by or crawl. Time marches on and we never get back that which we allow to slip through our fingers. 


Letting Myself Go

Posted on March 8, 2016 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

This was written by Lisa Bloom.  Shared with permission:

Letting Myself Go

As she walked into the room, the two other women huddled closer. They didn’t notice me, I was just a child. I heard them say it. I wasn’t sure I understood what they meant but I never forgot the words.

 

“She’s really let herself go”.

 

I asked my mother later.

What did they mean.

Why did they say that.

 

She explained that the women had been unkind. They were referring to how the other woman looked. That her hair wasn’t so tidy. That her makeup wasn’t perfect. That she wasn’t dressed smartly.

 

Why do they care, I asked my Mom.

 

She said. I don’t know, I guess they like to compare. It makes them feel good about themselves.

 

Even then, I knew what that meant.

 

That’s mean, I said.

 

Years went by and I never forgot that comment. And then one day I found myself thinking it.

 

That and all the other comparisons that were easy to fire at others, instead of looking within.

I found myself criticizing the woman for not showing up at the school meeting with a cake she’d baked herself.

 

I found myself wondering why the other woman didn’t bother to dye out the grey streaks in her hair, it made her look so old.

 

I judged the entrepreneur, it’s easy for him, he doesn’t have kids.

 

I laughed at the comment he made because clearly he hadn’t read the right books.

 

And one day, I caught myself.

Red-handed.

And I was ashamed. And shocked.

 

Since when had I become so cynical. When had I chosen fear instead of courage. Chosen judgement instead of compassion.

 

So I beat myself up about it for a while.

A long while.

 

And it made me die a little. No longer angry or bitter, but no longer alive either.

 

So I let go.

And I started reading. And exploring. Doing the inner work.

 

It’s not easy. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes heartbreaking.

 

I realized that if I wanted to stop judging, I had to start with me. If I wanted to show compassion, I needed to direct it inward. If I wanted to be more kind, well there was someone who needed kindness. Yes, that would be me too.

 

It’s a life-long journey. Some days it feels like I’ve just set out. Other days, I’m deep into strange land I’ve never encountered.

 

Sometimes I feel like I’ve come home.

 

Today, I’m on a journey, it’s all about letting myself go. But in a really good way.

I’ll tell you more about that next time.

 

How are you letting yourself go, today?

 

-Lisa Bloom, founder of Story Coach, supports organizations, entrepreneurs & coaches to use storytelling as a powerful approach to impact their clients and grow their business. She is a professional Storyteller & Speaker, accredited Coach, Author, Mentor and Leadership expert. Lisa is the author of the Amazon best-seller "Cinderella and the Coach-the Power of Storytelling for Coaching Success!" and the creator of the Business Story Mastery & Certified Story Coach Programs. She is delighted to offer you the FREE ebook "Using Stories to Get Great Clients" at http://www.story-coach.com

Take a leap in 2016?

Posted on January 3, 2016 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Here we go...another blog on how 2016 will be the year to get fit, eat healthy, get organized and optimized. Why bother? How many resolutions make it past the end of January? It's easy to be cynical when we ring in a new year with a list of resolutions that look like a recycled version of last year's list. Yet we feel something deep within us that says we can do better. So what trips us up?

 

1. Our sense of failure in missing the mark in previous years undermines our faith in our ability to change. What kind of dialogue goes through your mind when you think about falling short of your goals? Do you beat yourself up? How about looking at where you were successful? Perhaps you didn't lose that 20lbs, but you lost 10lbs and finished your first 5K.

 

2. We know where we want to go but don't take time to figure out how to get there. You wouldn't dream of relaxing on a white sandy beach without booking your flight, ground transportation and hotel. What will it take to get where you want to go?

 

3. All-in isn't sustainable over the long haul. Most people cannot overhaul their entire lifestyle overnight. What small, sustainable changes can you make give you the best return?

 

The end of 2014 left me feeling very disorganized and fragmented. After two years of working to build Blue Bicycle, I was always rushing from class to appointment to another class. I never had time to update my website or write. When I did find time, I couldn't corral my thoughts. My home was cluttered and disorganized as well. Naturally, 2015 dawned with visions of a coordinated schedule and orderly home. Two words came to mind: Radical Change. Yep. This was the year! Jump in with both feet and git 'er done. I hired a professional organizer who made over my home office. She did a great job, but it was too much too fast. I couldn't keep it together with days often starting at 6 am and ending after 8 pm.

 

I had to force myself to slow down. The first step was scheduling retreat time on a quarterly basis. I felt like I had yet again gone off the rails, but my doing this was the first radical change. Next, I turned my morning walk with Gracie (our yellow lab) into a Gratitude Walk. Each day I would say aloud 10 things for which I was grateful. Within the same week, I turned my nighttime walk with Gracie into a Success Walk. I would say aloud three successes from that day. Some days I had a heck of a time coming up with three. The daily meditation and yoga practice started in 2013 while in teacher training had fallen by the wayside. I restarted it with a different mindset. Rather than following a predetermined sequence, I now simply sit in silence, focusing on my breath, and few words of affirmation.

 

So as 2015 came to an end, I realized that despite my making only small changes, the year had been one of radical change. When I told myself that I would throw away one item every day, I lasted a week or two before getting stuck in the keep it or toss it debate. Taking time to slow down and reflect has helped me see what no longer serves me well. We have significantly less stuff. Clearing away stuff has further cleared my mind. On a bigger note, these small changes have put me in a place where I am ready to pursue the opportunity to take Blue Bicycle in a new and exciting direction. My words for 2016 are "Leap of Faith;" faith in God's plan for my life, faith that everything I've been through to this point has prepared me for this next chapter.

 

More details will be coming as things take shape. In the meantime, I encourage you to take some time and brainstorm actions, no matter how small, that can be done consistently over the course of 2016. Who knows where you may find yourself this time next year.

WAGS are Wonderful!

Posted on November 29, 2015 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Fitness has kept me young in so many ways.  Yet as I reach my mid-fifties I can't escape the reality that time has still taken a toll on my body.  Some parts remind me that my twenties have long since faded into the rearview mirror.  Osteo arthritis now affects several of my joints, including my hands and wrists.  Wrist extension while bearing weight can be especially painful if I'm not careful.  My students and clients have shown me that I am far from alone with this challenge.  

  

While shopping for some new weightlifting gloves in search of better wrist support, I discovered Wrist Assured Gloves or WAGS.  I have had been using them since early October and love them!  They not only support my wrists and hands, they have a wedge built in that raises the heels of my hands, taking pressure off my wrists.  I can lift heavier weights.  I no longer have to juggle props when doing sun salutations. I highly recommend these to my students and clients.  If you or someone you know is seeking a solution to wrist pain in the gym or yoga studio, check out this website: http://www.wristassuredgloves.com/    They have a Cyber Monday special good through December 1st: 25% off if you use the promo code BEJOLLY15  

Warm Reunion on a Cold Rainy Night

Posted on October 31, 2015 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Last night was a special "back to school" night for my husband, Bill. His high school cross country team gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their state team championship. It was the first in any sport for the school. The evening's festivities were to start with a chili supper in the school cafeteria and then all would head across the parking lot to watch the football game and be honored at halftime.

 

Bill entered the cafeteria to be greeted immediately by their head coach. Although the once stocky man has become thin and frail with age, his no-nonsense, ride-your-butt-because-he-cares-about-you presence was felt as soon as we entered the room.


We had packed warm layers and rain gear as temperatures were in the low 40's with a steady drizzle. One of his team mates had grown up and become the president (a.k.a. princlpal) of this same school. He offered us the opportunity to hang out in the cafeteria through most of the first half of the football game. Stay warm and dry or shiver in the stands? That was a no-brainer


The extended time indoors gave each of the guys more time to reminisce and share how coach had influenced their lives. They stood up one by one and updated the group about life after high school and how their being part of this team had shaped their paths. Over and over, the recurring theme was how coach communicated that he believed in each one of them. That in turn helped a bunch of then teen-aged boys believe in themselves. From that belief came the discovery of strength within to push their own physical limits AND the discipline to work together as a team. These ended up being great gifts to be carried forward as these boys became men, laying a foundation as they built careers and raised families, through good times and bad.


As a spouse taking all this in, it was a good reminder that coaches can profoundly touch lives. Whether a teen with athletic aspirations or an adult at midlife seeking better health, there is strength within to draw from. A good coach can plan challenging workouts and bark at their clients to get them to push harder. A great coach cares. A great coach earns trust. A great coach plants seeds, helping their client connect with their own personal strengths. The greatest successes and gains come from within.


You won't find coach's name in a google search. But he is living proof that great coaches don't always become household names. They do touch lives. As these now middle aged men, some retired, many with grandchildren will tell you, coach was a connector. After all of the tributes, he only had a few words when it was his turn to speak last night, saying "you all had it in you to win this title, it was my job to help you see what I could see in you." I wasn't on his team, I can see his influence in Bill and can use his message and example in my own coaching practice.


 

 

Climbing Over a Molehill or Mountain?

Posted on October 5, 2015 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Change isn't easy.  Lasting change takes time.  Step by step.  Obstacles will arise and force you to revise your approach.  Commitment will be tested again and again. Yet if you keep taking steps, you will reach a point where you can look back and see just how far you've come.  Each person's journey will be their own.  As a trainer, a my job is to meet you where you are.  

To illustrate this, I'd like to share the journey of one of my clients, a woman in her mid-sixties.  She hired me in early 2013 hoping that yoga could help her find relief from back pain, knee pain and plantar fasciitis.  She was also seeking to improve her balance and flexibility.  I started coming to her home to for a private yoga lesson once a week.  Over the next few months she took what she was learning and started doing yoga on her own in the mornings before starting her day.  By fall, her back, knee and foot were feeling better and she started taking 20 minute walks on her lunch break. Winter came and she kept up her yoga at home and found an indoor walking route at work.  At our one-year anniversary, we celebrated her progress.  Then life happened.  A misstep on one of her walks tweaked her knee.  She scaled back the walking but continued her daily yoga and weekly sessions with me.   Her adult daughter moved back home.   She continued her yoga practice and said she was ready to add some strength training exercises.  Right around the two year mark, she and her daughter started following the Glycemic Load Diet based on the book by Rob Thompson, M.D. She lost just over 20 lbs in six months.  Her daughter moved out.  She continued her more mindful approach to eating and lost another four pounds.  She had to replace her AC and furnace.  She asked that we space our sessions further apart to allow her to save money and test her wings.  We were meeting every three weeks by late August.  Then it happened. An obstacle appeared in the form of mandatory overtime at work.  Her report time was moved up by an hour.  She tried without success to get up earlier.  When she didn't do her morning yoga, she found herself unmotivated to walk at lunch as well.   She was discouraged when we met so we spent a significant part of that session brainstorming.  The solution was for her to just do three yoga poses each morning and resume our sessions on a weekly basis. The following week, she reported that she had been able to do three poses four of five mornings.  She had also walked at lunch.  The overtime situation will only last through the end of this month and she is looking forward to getting back on track.  

I learn so much from my clients.  The takeaway from this story is that you can't predict which obstacles will knock you off course...one person's molehill is another person's mountain.  You have to be prepared to step back an assess your path at times.  It's also important to pause along the way and take note of how you are changing and to see how far you've come.  Seemingly small changes become a big deal if you can sustain them for the longer term.   Do what you are ready to do.  Take it a step at a time and build from there.  Enjoy your journey!

The Kid with the Slowest Bike

Posted on May 13, 2015 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Time and again life's lessons become clearest when seen in the rearview mirror.  With May being a month where riding bikes becomes the cool thing to do whether for fitness or transportation, I can't help but look back to a time when I was the kid with the slowest bike.  By the time I was twelve, my banana seat bike was too small so my parents bought a more grown-up sized Free Spirit from Sears.  No more kiddie coaster brakes or single speed silliness.  With the flick of my finger, I now had three...count them THREE gears.  All of my friends seemed to be graduating straight to ten-speeds but I didn't feel like I was missing out.  My bike was the same size as everyone else's and I always kept up when we rode around the neighborhood.  

That all changed one afternoon, on a ride with our church youth group.  An adult who accompanied us pointed me out saying that the kid with the slowest bike was hanging right with the group.  Gee thanks...I think.  Then to prove his point, he let me try out someone else's ten speed.  I hated it for the first few minutes as I fumbled through the gears, hoping that I wouldn't crash in front of my friends.  Then I found the right gear and realized that this bike felt so much faster, so much easier to ride than mine.  I had to get one!


When I got home, I announced to my parents that I wanted a ten speed.  My mom responded "you already have a perfectly good bike.  If  you want a ten speed, start saving your money."  They did take me bike shopping at Sears, Montgomery Wards and the Schwinn dealer to let me see how much a brand new ten speed bike would cost. It was going to take a lot of babysitting to come up with $100+.  Fast forward a few months.  I had managed to save around $70 when my mom came back from hitting some garage sales one morning and told me that someone had a used bike for sale.  It was a yellow Schwinn Varsity ten speed that looked like it had hardly been ridden.  For $75, it was mine.  That bike was with me through high school, college and even my first triathlon.  


I've bought three bikes in the years since, each one costing considerably more than $75.  But the bigger thing is that I've never stopped riding. Those other ten speeds, bought by parents for their children, ended up sitting unridden in garages and basements just a few years later as my friends left their bikes behind with other vestiges of childhood.  I had no idea that I had a slow bike so I didn't realize that I was to working harder to keep up.  Did this make me a stronger cyclist?  I don't know.  What I do know is that when my parents made me earn the money to buy a better bike, I realized that this was something that I really wanted and not something to take for granted...priceless life lessons.  



Turning Points

Posted on March 27, 2015 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Three years ago on a Thursday morning my life changed course as a job that I had held for over two decades ended.   This week and this day continue to be significant, although as time passes that significance evolves.  After the first year passed, I was just starting to get my feet under me in my new venture; close enough that I could all too easily look back and allow myself to be drawn into a tug-of-war between forgiveness and resentment.   Now that three years have passed, what was has faded from my sight and from my heart.  I am doing things I never dreamed I'd be doing.  So many doors have opened and continue to open.  My heart fills with love and gratitude on a dailiy basis, leaving no room for resentment and anger.  

When I finished up my Master's degree in Exercise Phys, my advisor encouraged me, as he did all students in my position, to continue to work toward a PhD.  I never felt drawn to that.   I truly enjoy teaching college students, but sitting in a lab doing research and writing scholarly articles is not my calling.  Research is fascinating and I love learning more about how our bodies work.   But it is all for naught if someone doesn't help pass this knowledge on to those who can use it to live healthier lives.  One of my favorite speakers, Ruby Newell-Legner, once said that her personal mission is to touch at least one person in a positive way each day.  This really connected with me when I heard it several years ago, but I had moved up the ladder in a large fitness center, gaining a loftier title and salary, but losing touch why I had originally chosen this career path.  

We all have turning points in our lives.  Some hit us in the face while others only become apparent in hindsight.  Even positive outcomes come with moments of pain, of self-doubt, of betrayal.  Three years down this new road, I can look back and see how my passion, my spark had faded.  I am so grateful that it has been re-kindled and now burns bright.   

Get Out!

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The weather in our area has been beautiful the past few days with highs around 70 degrees.  I have loved the outdoors for as long as I can remember and even more so when the conditions are as perfect as they are right now.   I took the opportunity to move two of my classes outdoors.  I teach yoga at MNU as an adjunct and yesterday's class was the last one before they go on spring break.  My students clearly had a case of spring fever and needed a break from our usual routine so we held class outside.  The campus has a small prayer trail through a wooded section that made a perfect place to walk in silent meditation along with a sunny, more open space for us to do a simple sequence of yoga poses.   When I arrived at the gym later in the afternoon to teach Boot Camp, the empty treadmills just reinforced the notion that people don't want to be indoors on such a nice day.  Even an early 1960's strip mall can provide all that is needed for a challenging workout circuit.  

My direct work with clients and students happens around their work and school schedules.   That means that I am busy at the beginning, middle and end of the day, but have chunks of time in between.  At first, I would go hang out at a coffee shop and work on my laptop, but the money I was spending there and the noise level led me to seek another place to plan and work.  I tried going to a library branch, but found that being online was often too much of a distraction.  The solution for me was to start going to parks and just disconnecting.  I have my pen and paper journal that I use to write down my thoughts, plan classes and workouts and brainstorm new ideas.   If it is cold, I sit in my car.  If it is nice, I'll find a bench or rock to sit on, or just walk around.  One outcome is that I have started to discover some really neat parks in the Kansas City area that would be awesome places to hold fitness and yoga classes.  As I get things firmed up (pun intended), I'll post details on my website and FB page.  In the meantime, I encourage everyone to get out if at all possible...enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!


A Little Bit of Chocolate

Posted on December 27, 2014 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Tis' the season of family dinners and friends sharing cookies and treats.  Based on my belief that food is fuel, my eating plan is built around fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs while indulging in treats in moderation.  But this time of year, moderation can fly out the window.  Like a little kid, I end up spoiling my dinner, allowing goodies to displace those healthier things my body needs to feel, function and perform its best.   Because of that, when I am on the giving end, I seek a happy medium between carrot sticks and rich, gooey fudge.  

I don't especially enjoy cooking and baking.   A recipe that grabs my attention online or in a magazine can quickly lose its appeal with a lengthy ingredient list (5+ items is lengthy in my book) or complex instructions.   A favorite concoction of mine is creating simple combinations of dried fruit and nuts.  A dried apricot pairs up well with an english walnut half; a pitted date with a pecan.  They are sweet and are easy to put together, but also prone to falling apart when packaged for sharing.   This year I tried dipping them in melted chocolate covering enough of the fruit nut combo to hold it all together plus make it seem a bit more indulgent to boot.   Give this a try if it appeals to you (an you aren't allergic to nuts).  



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