March 22, 2012

Creating "Win-Win" Situations

What the heck is a "Win-Win," anyway?

The term is frequently used by salespeople, managers, politicians, and earnest self-improvement types, which is reason enough to be suspicious. It's a concept especially likely to be introduced when you're about to get screwed over somehow.

And yet... there are true "win-win" situations in life! It is sometimes possible to have outcomes that don't involve ugly trade offs, concessions, or compromises.

In a health and fitness context, a "win-win" occurs when something that is Really Good for You also happens to be Enjoyable, and these instances are rare enough to deserve celebration. (More on that in a minute; there is actually a "real" blog post here if you persevere through the announcements).

But another example of a "Win-Win" is... when lazy bloggers who seek more interaction with readers find Sponsors with nifty Products who donate them for Giveaways which Readers can then win if they Leave Comments on the lazy bloggers giveaway posts!  (And in the case of a "best weight loss blog" poll, for instance, it's also win for the blogs that rank highly. Weirdly enough, Cranky Fitness gets tons of googlers hunting here for them).

And then there's even more of a WIN for Crabby if she can accomplish all of these goals in one relatively brief post:

1.  Announce that the Best Weight Loss Blog contest is about to close!

Go to the Best Weight Loss Blog Nomination post and comment by end the of day tomorrow (Friday, March 23rd).  If you haven't picked 10 yet, you can come back and vote for more!  And please think about (a) nominating your own blog if it's good and (b) telling your nominated blogger friends to send some fans over ASAP, because right now only one blog is doing that... and yet I have a strong sense there are other favorites among Cranky Fitness readers. The winning blog gets $50 bucks in the form of an American Express gift certificate donated by BodyLogicMD.  (And you could win one too!)

2.  Tell you about more Prizes!  

In addition to the two $50 Am Ex gift certificates, the 3 bags of Popcorn, Indiana Chip’ins and the 4 SmartForLife Protein Bars, you could also win:

eBooks that could change your life!

Tim Brownson, is, like me, a life coach, only unlike me he's gotten off his butt and gone beyond blogging to write some great ebooks.  He's a witty writer, he has tons of sage advice, and he has magnanimously agreed to offer up a copy of some ebooks. He's got a new one just out: "Aligning with Your Core Values" which will show you how to "get unstuck in life, work, and relationships." Some really helpful stuff in there! He's also offering a self-development combo pack or two of previous titles: "Don’t Ask Stupid Questions," "Don’t Panic," and "16 Ways to De-Stress Your Life."

A 24-package box of vegan strawberry Shakeolgy meal replacement/nutritional supplement shakes. 

Shakeology hails from Beachbody, the P90X people. These shakes "contain natural extracts and nutrients found in exotic plants in the most remote locations around the world."  Apparently some "strapping, 40-something Tarzan look-alike" dude named Darin Olien is responsible, and there's even a Shakeology video if you'd like to learn more.

3.  And finally, what was that about Health and Fitness "win-wins?"

In my mind, here are the 3 crucial principles for finding more healthy pursuits that you don't just put up with, but actually love.

Of course, longtime readers (or those who've wandered over to the "about" page) already know that this blog was founded on the principle that Healthy Living is a Pain in the Ass.  And if scientists were to finally invent a pill that I could simply swallow once a day to give me a healthy strong slim limber body...I'd be eating a lot more chocolate cake and logging a hell of a lot less time in the gym.

But by discovering enough golden gleaming "win-win" health and fitness options, I've managed to arrive at a state where I mostly enjoy, and am actually sometimes ludicrously ecstatic about, my mostly-healthy lifestyle. Plus, combining pleasure with "good" behavior is a source of one my favorite all time emotional states: that of smugness.

But here's what it took (for me):

1. Experimentation

I am obviously not the first person to note that you have to wander out of your comfort zone sometimes, but many of us seem to wired to resist change or at least be suspicious of it. (On the plus side, we make loyal mates and employees and rarely do impulsive things that land us in hospitals or jail cells).  But to find more and more of those enjoyable health and fitness win-wins, you gotta mix things up!  So, wander out of your comfort zone, endure awkwardness, risk embarrassment, and put up with periods of not liking something for a while until you get used to it.  Of course if you still hate it after a reasonable trial period, then by all means bail.

I could bore you with dozens and dozens of personal examples, but two off the top of my head: I now love roasted brussels sprouts and doing 10-15 minutes of my elliptical workout with no hands and eyes closed in order to practice balance and mental focus.  (Wait, what was that I said about not ending up in the hospital?) Neither of these came naturally for me.

2. Make a Substantial Investment--in time, money, and energy.

I absolutely love my playlists filled with awesome motivating songs playing at exactly the right beat for my workouts, my big-ass salads and smoothies and stir-fries full of wholesome, usually organic, and shockingly expensive ingredients, my ability to do unassisted pull-ups and chin-ups and intervals, my many and varied and beautiful walking and biking and hiking routes, my self mental self-improvement schemes and rituals designed to rewire my worrywart brain into a place of tranquility punctuated only by eager anticipation and euphoria...  none of these just "happened."  They all took time, thought, willpower and sometimes money.

The part that most "get fit and healthy" articles forget to mention:  this is all  time, thought, willpower and money that has to come from somewhere else.  THAT is the tricky part.  So, um, sometimes Win-Wins are really Win-Win-(lose) but that makes for a much less cheerful blog post, doesn't it?  So, um, just forget you read this paragraph.

3. The Willingness to Look Like A Total Ass in Front of Other People

Most people in modern society are not willing to prioritize and personalize their health and fitness goals at the expense of their social comfort.  So if you tote along your own snacks, do bizarre variations of exercises at the gym, sneak in some stretches in line at the post office, ask detailed questions about food preparation to eye-rolling waiters at snooty restaurants, describe with great enthusiasm your opinions on veganism or nutritional supplements or Zumba classes at cocktail parties... you risk looking like a weirdo.

Here's a tip: my middle age, it will seem much more obvious that (a) people are thinking more about themselves than about you and (b) those who might make judgments about how "weird" you are for caring about your health, or otherwise being true to your own values...  aren't much worth worrying about.  So save yourself a few decades of angst and inhibition and self-censorship, and just claim your own weirdness now and learn to love it!  Being "normal" is highly over-rated.

So, does anyone else have examples of stuff you love that is also good for you?  Any other ideas on how folks might discover more of these in life?


  1. LOL I am SUCH a reluctant exerciser and crappy crabby cook, I'm always stunned when something works out. I am kinda liking swimming and jumprope - of course this can change. But I'll take it while I can. And the food part? Nuts & feta make any concoction of mine almost gourmet :) so simple - keep nuts and feta handy at all times, AT ALL COSTS!

  2. PS - what's up w the align w values book? sooooooo been on my mind lately :)

  3. Hey great ideas Kris!

    Um, I'm assuming jumprope and swimming aren't simultaneous? Or, well, that could indeed be some interesting experimentation!

  4. Kris, yeah, the values thing is really an eye-opener! Am finding in my own coaching practice the notion of figuring out what's TRULY important and building your life around it is huge, and something most people rarely take the time to do.

  5. I have absolutely grown to love walking to/from work every day! It's often hard to get moving, especially when the weather is not-so-nice, but within a couple of blocks I am feeling much better about everything, and I really enjoy seeing how the landscape chages throughout the year. I never know when I am going to come across a family of deer, a gaggle of geese, or a field of newly-blooomed flowers! I find that I am disappointed on the rare days when I have to ride instead.

  6. Awesome Therese! And seems like a win-win-win-win: fun, healthy, green and cheaper than driving!

  7. My big experiment I have tried. Oh I have tried. I believe I am one of five women in the Seattle area that doesn't love yoga or texting. :)

    Hiking is the win-win. Good for the dog, good for me, good for the stress, good for the body. Every once in awhile a hike goes truly wrong and terrible, but with far less frequency than some of my other ideas.

    The more I can find my values and align with them the more I do seem to love and enjoy my life!

  8. PS. Kris - I would say I am a crappy cook too. But lately for whatever reason I am starting to embrace the experimenting regardless of some spectacular (inedible failures). You just might surprise yourself.

  9. Hey Quilting Doberman, another win-win-win with the healthy/fun/dog-friendly hiking!

    And yeah, me too on the yoga. I thought I was the only female on the west coast who still doesn't do it.

  10. In terms of stuff I love that is good for me, I'll have to agree with you on the music factor. While I love to exercise, cardio equipment gets boring quickly if I don't have fresh workout playlists each month. Even when I'm working out with my trainer, sometimes I'll float an old school tune in my head to help make hard moves more bearable. Like Herbie Hancock's "rock it" when he was punishing me on the bosu ball with lunges last week. One more thing to add to the list is journaling. It clears my thinking and keeps me on the healthy living path even when an extra bad-ass case of PMS errupts.:)

  11. "just claim your own weirdness now and learn to love it!"


    I phrase it as "Embrace your mess" but your words and better.

  12. Well, i'm weird and i really don't care who knows, so that helps me.

    Like you, i'm suspicious when someone says "win-win", but i like how Zig Ziglar says it: "You can get what you want in life by helping enough other people get what they want." That's the kind of win-win i like.

  13. I like to think about all the healthy foods that I love - it makes me feel less depressed about cake and cookies being bad for me - when I think about strawberries, and avocados, and big juicy prawns, and roast chicken, and baked salmon, and hummous, and anything else I love it gives me motivation to get out there and find new healthy foods and recipes.

  14. Well, first thing I'd like to bring up is that healthy win-win doesn't have to take a huge financial investment, but I agree with the time and energy. Health and winning are only what you make of them. You get what you give and all the other cliches out there. If you don't push yourself, don't expect others to do it for you. (unless it's off a cliff, in that case, come see me and be really mean or stupid and I'm more than happy to help you out.)
    I started with nothing fitness related in March of 2011. Well, other than a full load of crap on my shoulders, heartache, anger, a borderline psychotic break and the need to move before I broke or spontaneously combusted. I walked. A lot. Then I started to run. In a matter of 9 months, I lost almost 90 lbs and a total of 43". Then I started investing money, but not a whole lot. I've won a LOT of really cool workout stuff from various blogs and Twitter peeps. (CrankyFitness New Balance giveaway and Jungle Gym XT Giveaway winner right here, live and in person, folks) I couldn't be happier that there are blogs like this that have cool info and NORMAL PEOPLE to support and challenge each other. The giveaways are a bonus, but the people and their help are what I love the most.
    The first thing you need to worry about is finding a purpose and getting off your ass. Try different things and laugh at your mishaps. (suspension trainers and stripper classes, for example) Once you get used to something, change it up and find something new to try outside your comfort zone. You never know if you'll end up in the next Pole Dancing Championships or the next Air Guitar world champion until you try it out and find out if you love it.
    Next you worry about food. Find something you love that you know isn't so great for you and try to find a healthy variation of it. (there's even air french fries, so don't gimme excuses) The interwebs is full of gloriously odd information. Kale chips, mmmm. Seaweed snacks? I should smack Crabby for that horrible greasy 3 days of burping up ocean scented grossness.
    For now, I'm in love with exotic fitness classes, strawberries, tomatoes, suspension training and WEIGHTS! My son thought my arm was swollen and something was wrong with my tattoo and freaked out. When I looked at what he was talking about, it turned out to be my bad ass biceps and their rippling fabulosity. So, there are benefits we don't see until others point it out. Oh, and I'm gonna get back to running again. I was up to an 11 min mile, but stopped and changed gears. Now I signed up for another 5K and the same day I have a 5K race/scavenger hunt and I'm hoping to do the 5K Zombie run obstacle course in November.
    I'm also a swimmer in my soul. I swam before I walked and was a competitive swimmer for YEARS and also did synchronized swimming. So that's always my safe zone. :)
    We now return you to your regularly scheduled crabbiness... GET YOUR ASSES MOVING! lol

  15. I absolutely love drinking water. I often wonder why nobody else does. I drink about 12 cups a day, rarely drink anything else. Win/Win is how fabulous my skin looks due to all the water I drink.

    Fish Tacos. You are suppose to get fish in twice a week, Fish Tacos are my go to way to get that in. I like fish but living alone, it's a lot of work to make a fish dinner, because I don't like reheated fish. So making a fish taco helps me get the fish in and it's tasty. Win/Win.

    I love boxing. The win/win for me is that I picture the HR chick that hated me and worked her ass off to figure out a way to lay me off, so as I punch I think of her and it makes things better. WIN/WIN

  16. WINNING!!!! ;-)

    I have tried a lot of different things over my fitness life & some I still do & others not BUT with weights especially, I had to learn not to care about the guys in the weight room & also that I am just as important as them in that room & I learned to speak up very quickly. I also don't mind trying new things in front of people. I have fallen of stability balls & walked int o more pieces of equipment than I can count! ;-)

    It is all about not giving up! :-).

    OK, I will tweet this again!

  17. Jumprope and swimming simultaneously? Now I want to try jumping rope in the surf! With a pool noodle, so if I fall down it won't tangle my feet up, also handy flotation device...

    As you can probably tell, I embraced my weirdness early on. I love to walk, and in junior high I used to pretend I was a horse (or the front end of one) ignoring the looks of strangers as I lifted my knees and arched my neck. Nowadays I walk like a human, but I still enjoy it more than any other form of exercise.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  18. Love these comments, and glad so many of you have embraced your weirdness too!

    And so much awesomeness... from walking like a horse to pole dancing to boxing to kicking ass and showing up the boys in the weight room.

    Thanks y'all for stopping by!

  19. Win-win situations are amazing. Thanks for the share Kris. Some great ideas.

  20. holy jeebers we need to offer sinner ella a guest post gig huh?

    I smile at winwin now as for some reason thats been a thing :) with my daughter lately.
    I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE SHE HEARD IT---did you teach it to her?
    she uses it to try and "sell" me on *everything*

  21. I LOVE to Hula Hoop. It's a hobby, and exorcise, a dance, and it is so much fun. When people at the office talk about running, or playing golf. I talk about hula hooping. I get smirks and weird looks, Most of my family thinks I am nuts for taking hula classes to advance my skills. But there is not much better in life than Hula hooping!

  22. Even if I don't make on your list, Crabby, I have to say, many of those blogs I found in the comments of the other article I didn't know about.

    And that is a prize in itself - tons of great places to check out.

    Thank you for doing this!

  23. I agree with get fit and having fun at the same time. I know in a fitness boot camp there can be games played that are fun. One way I really enjoy getting a great workout and having fun is playing beach volleyball. I could play it for hours and not even think about how tired I am.

  24. I love training with other people, HATE training alone (I know, I know, I shouldn't admit that because I own a fitness training studio, but it's true). I will force myself to train alone, if absolutely necessary, but it's about as fun as eating a tinfoil sandwich, so I have managed to construct a weekly regimen in which I am always training with other people. Sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow. Oh, and trail running is pretty fun, too.

  25. Interestingly enough, the worst lecture I ever gave (so far) came early in my teaching career. I was totally unprepared for this talk on respiratory physiology and while I was babbling away, I was also "watching myself" sound like an idiot! I had this strange thought that I would feel sorry for me if I was in the audience. I don't know why, but after that, I was never fearful of talking in front of an audience like I had been before. I also never gave a lecture that unprepared again either.

  26. I'm suck a slacker Crabby! Well, a blog reading slacker. Been so consumed with "real life" lately. Bummed I missed the voting, can't wait to see all the results.

    My big win-win lately is getting the kids out on the trail. Rather early in the year for that, but our crazy early spring has allowed (most of) the snow to melt. Win for me - pushing 80 pounds in the stroller when the Boy gets lazy. Win for me - they tire themselves out and are much more mellow post dinner. (Win for all of us: more Vitamin D!)

    Also: jumprope swimming will be the next big exercise craze.

  27. Inspiring article! Never stop winning :-)

  28. To lose and maintain healthy body weight we must do exercise regularly and watch what we eat. Add fresh fruits and vegetables more in your diet meals, increase water intake and avoid beverages and flavored juices.


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)