June 27, 2011

"Strength Training"-- Not the Same Ol' Story

As is so often the case at Cranky Fitness, the title of this post is a bit misleading. I confess: I am a lowdown dirty shameless google-whore, prone to using searchable health and fitness keywords even if they're not quite on point.

So yeah, the post is not so much about strength-training in the traditional sense... but if you're looking for that, please don't go! We've got tons of slightly-used but perfectly good blog posts about strength training and working out here in the Cranky Fitness archives.  Weirdly enough, most of the tips that were good months or even years ago still seem to apply today!

But sorry for the trickery; this post is about "strength training" in a different sense.  In a life-coachy way? Well perhaps. (But don't worry, there will be more Health and Fitness stuff too, in coming weeks).

Read the rest of the post here!

(And yeah, more sneakiness and misdirection. Feel free to comment either place if you want.)

June 21, 2011

Life Coaching Update

So in my last blog post, I revealed my plans to bake a cupcake the size of Manhattan start up a life and wellness coaching practice. I also confessed that I intended to start using Cranky Fitness to shamelessly pimp for my Life Coaching website at livealittlecoaching.com. Oh yeah, and I mentioned that I might need a few beta (i.e., "practice") clients if anyone wanted some free coaching.

Well, holy cow, I'm psyched! Not only did I get to reconnect with some favorite & much-loved Cranky Fitness commenters, who offered support and encouragement, but I also got a TON of folks volunteering to be guinea pigs.

First, the bad news: I've got way more volunteers than I can handle, so I'm closing off the freebie thing now. So sorry! I know for many folks there wasn't near enough time to see the post and respond. But sadly, if you haven't already emailed me and received an email in return, I'm afraid I can't accommodate any more. (I got roughly 5 times more inquiries than I expected or that I can handle at one time, so I'm going to have to get to the first round of folks on a rolling basis).

What's the the not-so-bad news? Well, if you're interested, I'm starting a wait list for people who might be interested in Cheapish Life Coaching. The cost will be 75% off the prices listed in the life coaching rates page of the website, and will be locked in for at least 8 sessions, if you're interested in that many.  And if you decide you want more than 8, the rates may stay the same or may go up a bit over time, but they won't change dramatically all at once. It's also possible that some of the original freebie clients will drop out or not be good match for my services, in which case there may be a few more free slots coming up for those on the wait list.  And there's even a kind of a "silver lining" aspect of the wait list:  by the time I get to you, I'll have had a chance to iron out potential bugs in the coaching process, get some feedback from the first round of clients, and I'll be approximately 75% less likely to be a clueless ass.

You can contact me via my email address for Cranky Fitness (lower right sidebar) , or by using the link provided on the "get started" page over at my  Life and Wellness Coaching website. (The reason I'm being coy is to avoid spambots; I promise it's not some sort of tricky client screening device).

Thanks again everyone for all the encouragement, help, and general awesomeness!

June 20, 2011

Fresh Starts!

Image: Plan59

Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Helloooo... Um, is anyone still out there?

I'm thinking it's a long shot, what with my semi-abandoning the blog and all. But on the off chance there might be a few old friends and followers still lurking out there, I thought it was about time for a new post. (And if you hang in there, or skip straight down to the end, you'll find out the sneaky secret mission behind this post. You may even score a semi-valuable service for free!) But, putting hidden agendas aside: let's talk about: Starting All Over Again, Damnit.

(Hmm, SAOAD isn't a very catchy acronym, is it? I don't envision going viral with handy SAOAD tips. And sadly, "Fresh Starts" sounds too much like a fruit-flavored laxative or a meth rehab clinic).

So... have you ever worked really hard at something, gained a lot of ground, and then for whatever reason, found yourself right back at the beginning again? Perhaps you lost 30 pounds, hooray! And then gained back 45 pounds, not-so-hooray! Or maybe you took a job at a big company and worked your ass off for decades, gaining massive expertise, taking on more and more responsibility, until management finally recognized your enormous contributions by shipping your job offshore and laying you off.

There are lots of reasons for having to Start All Over Again, Damnit, and many possible happy outcomes. Haven't we all heard the stories about people who were plucky and they never gave up finally one day they invented gravity or became invisible or dug a hole clear to China with their bare hands? (OK, so maybe not those stories exactly).

The problem? If you're an over-thinker like me, you may have to deal with a couple of stubborn mental obstacles in order to get from Starting Over Again Damnit to Happy Outcome.

1. Shoulds and Shouldn'ts
These are potent de-motivators in any situation, but they're particularly tough to avoid when you're trying to accomplish a goal that you've already achieved.  "I shouldn't have to go through this again, I already did it once!" "I shouldn't have to respond to 500 job postings to get one measly interview, last time I landed a great job at the first place I applied!" Or, "WTF? I've been starving myself and working out like a maniac, and I've only lost 5 pounds--I should be WAY thinner by now!"

Thing is, an aggrieved attitude, even if perfectly justified, is rarely helpful. (And this is coming from someone who has studied and perfected whining as an art form). Sure, sometimes it's great to vent and commiserate with others. But at some point, it's worth shaking off the self-pity and trying to deal with sucky reality in a constructive way.

Hey, here's a happy thought: people all over the world are being tortured or are dying of horrible diseases or are suffering from actual, not self-imposed, starvation. If you're not one of them, do you really want to spend much time pondering what "should" and "shouldn't" be happening to you? Chances are there lots of things you are grateful for, and plenty of accomplishments you are proud of, and even some silver linings to your current unwelcome situation. And so if you can catch yourself descending into a cycle of "this shouldn't be," try thinking: is there anything good that might come of this? Am I learning and accomplishing anything different, or deeper, the second time around? And if you can't find anything at all to celebrate, are there any other ways in which you're still a pretty darn lucky person?

2. Been-Down-This-Road-Before Buzz-kill

It may be hard to recapture the innocent enthusiasm you had about your goals a second time around. You got there! You ran that marathon! You wrote that novel! You met the perfect person and found the perfect house and started the perfect family!  But then maybe you got injured, or your masterpiece was roundly rejected, or your scumbag husband squandered your life savings at the racetrack and ran off to Albuquerque with a cocktail waitress. Now how are you ever supposed to feel that same sense of drive and motivation to achieve your dreams, knowing that you did it all before and yet here you are back at the starting line again? It can be easy to sabotage yourself with an unconscious "what's the use" defeatism, even as you are going through the motions of working towards your goal.

Well, here's one idea: make it a slightly different goal.  Make it bigger, or broader, or more meaningful.  Or, hey, remind yourself that "it's all about the journey, not the destination." (Which, while it's a tedious cliche, is actually kinda good advice.) For example, that marathon?  Perhaps it could be a triathlon. Or it could be about being in the best shape of your life, and still enjoying most every run or workout.  That new job? Perhaps it won't be the same as your old job. It may be that in discovering new priorities, you're now looking for a better job: one that may not pay as much money, but is more creative or satisfying.  Those 45 pounds you gained? Maybe they're not about the scale anymore, so much as regaining your strength and vitality.

So Why All this Talk of Starting Over?

Well, as you may have guessed, I'm currently in "Start Over" mode myself, on several fronts. Physically, I'm only recently back to weight training, after a hysterectomy and a broken elbow. I'm trying hard not get discouraged at the huge amount of ground I need to cover to get back to where I was last fall.  (One goal on turning 50 was to be able to do an unassisted pull-up, and I got to FOUR!  Now, I can only hang from the bar helplessly like a 125 pound sack of very, very sad potatoes).

And another way I'm starting over?  Well, here's where we get to the "hidden agenda" part.  Before I became a lazy ill-tempered health and fitness blogger, I was a licensed psychotherapist with a practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Sadly, it's not really possible to live in two different states and maintain a psychotherapy practice.  But a Life and Wellness coach?  Much more portable!  The field of life coaching has its origins in executive coaching, and unlike therapy, is typically done at a distance over the phone.  And now, with Skype and email etc, a long-distance coaching relationship is even more feasible.  Plus, huge bonus: coaching, because it isn't therapy, will let me work with mentally healthy folks who don't need "fixing," but who want to focus energy on making their lives better.

The upshot:  I've retrained as a Life and Wellness coach, and I'm starting up a coaching practice. And I'm hoping to use Cranky Fitness to pimp for it! 

And so what does this mean for former Cranky Fitness readers?

1. More frequent Cranky Fitness blog posts.  Nah, not daily, but maybe once every week or two, not just a few times a year.

2. The same 'ol Crabby McSlacker, complete with swear words and whining.  Are life coaches allowed to be cranky, skeptical, irreverent, and even, on occasion, clueless?  Or do they have to be relentlessly well-informed and upbeat?  I shall find out, I guess!

3.  A blog that will shamelessly direct readers over to my life coaching website.  There will be ads for "Live a Little" Life and Wellness Coaching.  Also, Cranky Fitness blog posts may start with just a teaser here, and then end up over at my life & wellness coaching website, because I'm sneaky that way. And say, did you notice the annoying way I stuck in keyword links?  Expect a lot more of that sh#t.

Due to a way heavier volume of responses than I counted on, I'm afraid I have no more free slots right now.  But check this updated post if you're interested in heavily discounted life coaching after the first round. So sorry!!!! And thanks to all who commented or offered to be guinea pigs!

4. Discounted or maybe even FREE life coaching for CrankyFitness readers!  I figure if you've read this far, you're probably someone who is Cranky-Fitness-compatible, not some weirdo googling in hoping to find a colon cleansing cure that will magically eliminate 25 pounds by Thursday.

Here's the deal:  I'm trained, qualified, and ready to start life coaching, but I'm brand spankin' new at it and need some "beta" clients to work out the kinks before I officially open for business.  Ideally I'd like to find some easy-going, patient, highly motivated clients who are ready to make some changes in life, but feel like they'd have a better shot with a personal coach to bat things around with.  (And if the whole notion of Life Coaching sounds weird and confusing, check out "What is Life Coaching?" for some thoughts on that).

So, is anyone interested in an intake session plus four free life coaching sessions?  (Further sessions would be deeply discounted off normal rates if there were any interest in continuing).   Note: There's no guarantee we'll be compatible, so I'd reserve the right after our intake to refer you elsewhere if I didn't think we were a good match).  I'm also hoping to find some clients willing to do sessions by Skype or email too, not just by telephone.

Curious? Or just wanna be nice and check out my website and give me some feedback? It's at www.livealittlecoaching.com.  Email me here or there if you're interested in the possibility of some free coaching.

So, back to the topic of  "starting over "--anyone have any thoughts? Frustrating experiences, inspiring stories, or just wanna say hi?  I'd love to hear from you!