Friday, February 27, 2009

Throwin' Down the "Gauntlet"

So, if you have been keeping up with Rob's Project blog, you know that today Rob did an hour on the Stepmill, a.k.a., "The Gauntlet". "Gauntlet" is it's former name, and I think they must have renamed it, thinking it was a kinder, gentler name. Yet, Gauntlet actually describes this vicious machine far better than "Stepmill". At any rate, if you are not familiar with the name, I've included an image of it here. Essentially, it's like walking "up" on the "down" escalator and you control the speed that the steps are coming at you. In my view, the Stepmill is one of the most challenging pieces of cardio equipment out there and can definantly separate the men from the boys : )

Originally, I was going to put in a long run today, yet life happens and a long run wasn't in the picture. Since Rob "threw down the Gauntlet" in his blog post, I decided to rise to the challenge. Yup, I too devoted an hour of my practice on the Stepmill. While it was a challenge, I was continually inspired and motivated knowing that Rob was doing his thing today and was suffering (in a good way) right along with me.

Thanks for putting up the challenge, Rob, even if it wasn't intended that way. It was a heck of a session and an awesome experience.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The "Perfect" Myth

If you have been reading some of the Project related blogs, you may be wondering what some of the buzz is about which relates to a "Project: Tip of the Day" I sent out yesterday. I had a feeling this one would "strike a chord" with some folks (lame pun intended - you will see what I mean) and I was right.

Here is a rare insight into what goes on behind the scenes with those active in BTWG May this post benefit you as much as it has the Project Recruits.

And you thought the Project was just about working out and eating well...


The "Perfect" Myth

One of the greatest pitfalls we can find in any endeavor is the quest for perfection. And, unfortunately (or actually, fortunately), this striving for perfection can be magnified during the course of BTWG.

Maybe some of you have experienced this clinging for perfection within the Project already. How many times have your chastised yourself for eating something you felt you should not have eaten? How many times have you been disappointed with yourself for missing a workout, or maybe feeling like you should have done a few more reps, more weight, or held that yoga pose for another breath. Or, have you ever felt a sense of shame because the scales didn't go down? These are just examples of our striving for perfection and how we feel when we don't measure up to some standard of perfection or some comparison to something outside of ourselves.

Here is my question to anyone who has felt this way in the course of the Project - where in your training manual does it say "all workouts must be completed to perfection"? Where does it say "you must eat perfectly for the next 12 weeks"? And, where in the manual is the definition of what "perfection" is anyway.

Did I not make it clear that this is NOT about perfection, this is about transformation and real life? Did I not make it clear that no one scores 100% on their workouts and nutrition and if they did, you probably wouldn't want to be around them! If you are feeling as though you are in a prison or confinement, who created that prison you are in? Wouldn't the answer to that be, "you"?

Cut yourself some slack without being a slacker -
There is an story that relates to the spiritual journey, yet it applies here as well and I think it illustrates the point "perfectly" : )

A spiritual aspirant asked the master why his hard efforts had not paid off yet and why he still felt like no real transformation or progress had occurred; why did he continue to feel so much suffering? He complained that though he had dedicated himself to prayer and study and contemplation and arduous hours of aesthetic practices, he still felt no better than before. The master replied that, much like playing a lute (ancient stringed instrument), if you string it too slack, it will not produce music, it will be out of tune. If it is strung too tight, the string will snap and again, no music can be played. Yet, if it is strung just right, one can play the instrument and enjoy beautiful music!

Monday, February 23, 2009

BTWG Progress Report - Week 5

Hi Chris –

Fun meeting on Saturday, lots of good cheer and information...

I personally like the more rigorous strength and conditioning workout (Chris note: referring to the "Month 2" workouts) – I felt much more challenged, even a little sore. I was actually a little concerned during week four because I felt that I had lost some muscle tone from when I was working out on the Cybex machines at the Y. But I think the new routines are hitting more muscles and are more intense, and I found myself saying several times after the new, added exercises, “Oh that’s a good one” because I had to struggle to get through it.

Anyhow, things are going well for me – talk with you soon!

Recruit Tom

At 61 years young, Tom is the Projects "Elder Statesman", or "Elder Statesperson", as he put it. While Tom was eating pretty decent and exercising on a regular basis prior to BTWG, he has found wonderful progress since starting the Project. For the first time in his life, Tom is doing yoga and enjoying the benefits of attending Marsha Pappa's classes. Rather than following a pretty "routine" workout routine, he is now mixing things up with the unique Project workouts, interval training, and one of these days we may even get him doing the meditation sessions : ) Along with all the wonderful benefits Tom has experienced, he is also one of our current "Biggest Losers" through week 5, as he has hit the 20 pound mark. That is 20 pounds lost since our initial fitness testing! At Saturday's Project meeting we calculated that equates to a 70,000 calorie deficit over the last 5 weeks! That is 70,000 calories that were incinerated in his workouts or calories that he eliminated from his diet! Way to go Tom! I tell ya, these guys are racking up caloric deficits faster than our national deficit... okay, maybe not that fast.



Sunday, February 22, 2009

BTWG Recruit Progress Reports

Holy Smokes! How did a whole week pass without me posting anything on the BTWG blog? Well, of course that is an easy question to answer; it just happens every now and then. Losing 3 of my work days last week really put me behind, yet as of later today, I will be more or less caught up. So, watch out, y'all, Chris is back up to speed which for all of you means lots of "fun" coming your way.

Throughout this week I intend to share updates and progress reports from the current group of Project Recruits. In one week they will hit the mid-point of their 12 week experience, and already they are noticing fantastic progress in their health, fitness, and well-being.

Below is a little excerpt from an update I received this morning. Enjoy!

What a week! Every week brings to me a new level of inspiration from a different place!

As my week started I was at the high school anxious to start the new workouts at 4:55am on Monday. As I approached the building the interior lights were still off, being Presidents Day I knew school was out but usually I can still get in the building……well not today! So I drove home got to work early and left by 5:00pm to get my workout in……no drama! Although I prefer the morning workouts I took in stride that it was not an option on this given day and let it go! I think the program as a whole has helped me to gain perspective on what is in and out of my control and how to manage situations best that I can without internalizing unneeded stress...

Eating is good! I have noticed that I am hungrier and that food really tastes good! I still eat quite a few times while I am doing something else which I know is not the ideal but I have not grasped only sitting and eating except for at dinner. I do think that since I pack my food I am aware of what I can/need to eat and it is helpful. When we go out to eat I am very aware of eating only until I am comfortable and I have not been hesitant to ask for special menu items...

Each week as I go through the workouts I look forward to yoga and view it as my reward for a completed week! The overall well being that I feel after class is a perfect ending / beginning to a new week!

I guess we are starting into project “Hump Week” I can’t believe we will be half way through at the end of the week. The time has gone quickly and the changes have been amazing!

Thank you so much,


Well done, Stacy! Along with the many changes Stacy has experienced thus far, she has also lost nearly 14 pounds since her initial weigh in!

Finally, please pray for my 2 "Covert Ops" BTWG'ers who are testing out another phase of the Project. They are entering a new realm of training this week, and let me tell ya, it's a whole-other-kinda-fun!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

One More for the Road

"One More for the Road" - Ahhhh, how that saying holds a very different meaning for me now than it used to...

In this case, "one more for the road" relates to my last post before we get on the road tomorrow morning. At the last minute, we decided to spend an extra day in Delaware and enjoyed another day with the kids.

"One more for the road" also relates to the fact that my alarm is set for.... EARLY... so I can get up and put in one more workout before we hit the road.

Overall, I'm pleased with how well I did with sticking to my Project workouts (recovery week for me too) and my diet. While I did enjoy a couple of small transgressions with my food choices, I know it was nothing too damaging and it was within the parameters of the Project "free food" principle.

Today, I was able to fit in a 1-hour run along a paved trail that wound along the St. John's river and through some small wooded areas (remember my post from several weeks ago, that if you look around you can find these "hidden" trails in just about any community?). The plan is to wake up early, run the path, come back to get everything packed and ready to roll, eat breakfast with the kids and be on the road.

While I have enjoyed the visit, I am ready to get back home and get back to the flow. "Thanks" to all of you who have patiently waited for emails and to those who have sent thoughtful emails and text messages; "thanks" from Jody too.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Checking In From Dover

Hey Gang,

Just got back to the room after a morning run and wanted to give a quick "howdy" before everyone wakes up this morning.

The trip out to Delaware, on Thursday, was great, even with getting a veeery late start. Yesterday was a full day of running around helping the kids get their apartment, unpacking the things we moved, going to Dover Air Force base to buy supplies at the BX and commissary all that sort of thing. On a side note, with my son-in-laws discount at the BX, I picked up a much-needed pair of running shoes for $40! They are normally $95. Gotta love that.

I think today is mostly a day of waiting to hear from the movers to know when they will arrive and some sight-seeing. I am looking forward to going to the beach and taking in some ocean air. This area certainly has a familiar vibe for me; I used to live about 2 hours from where we are staying.

Better scoot along and get everyone up and outta here.

Hope this mornings yoga class was awesome. I thought of all off you and sent some love your way. Thanks, Patrick, for taking over teaching duties today.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Here, There, and Yonder

The "Yoga Anatomy" session at Invoke went really well. The students were great and interested in the material (if not, they should get an Oscar for their performance...) and that always makes potentially boring stuff more interesting.

For the Project Recruits, tomorrow marks their first "Recovery Week", which means they will still be active this week, yet they have some down time to recover.

A recovery phase is always an opportune time to observe where we are in our training and our progress, a chance to witness how we feel today, compared to "yesterday", whether that yesterday is literal or figurative. Being mindful of "where am I" today offers insight into whether or not we are content with our life, our health, our fitness, and our well-being.

A recovery week also gives us time to reflect on the previous training phase and review the challenges that came along and how we navigated through them. We can also look at the areas we feel we could have done "better" and the areas where we made progress.

Looking forward provides us with the advantage of putting together a plan in which we acknowledge the foreseeable challenges as well as plotting a course towards our destination. I am reminded of the cliche, "Failing to plan is planning to fail". While there is no "failure" or "success" in BTWG, there is only outcomes it is still crucial to look forward and to have a vision for our health, fitness, and well-being.

Here's to your recovery week, whether you are a Project Recruit, Grad, of one of the regular readers of this blog!

Once I get all the Project Recruits updated and attended to, I will share some progress reports with all of you. Let me tell you, in just three weeks, the changes among this group has been nothing short of amazing.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Out for Weekend

Hey Gang,

This weekend, aside from my regular Saturday morning Power Yoga class at Cityoga (which kicks off in about 45 minutes), I am also teaching "Yoga Anatomy" at Invoke. I've had the honor of teaching Anatomy to their 200 hour Yoga Teachers in Training once before and I'm looking forward to this weekends session. The class is all day today and all day tomorrow.

An interesting connection with their YTT teacher - Invoke hosts Teacher Training hosted by YogaWorks, out of California. The YogaWorks instructor who comes to Indy is a woman I went to high school with! She was a year behind me in school and now lives in California teaching classes and workshops for YogaWorks. Small world, eh? Especially if you consider that I went to a very small, rural school in Southern Indiana!

My computer access will be very limited until Sunday night. If you are awaiting an email from me, please sit tight until Sunday or Monday. Thanks!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Project: Tip of the Day - Perceptions

Each day of the Project, the Recruits get a "Project: Tip of the Day" and "Project: Recipe of the Day" from me. Today, I thought I would share the tip with all the BTWG blog readers. I suppose this is more of a teaching or suggestion/observation than a tip, yet I hope it is beneficial to you.



Hello Project Recruits,

"There is no reality except that which we perceive. Change your attitude and your whole world changes." -- Johnny G., creator of the Spinning Program.

I read this quote years ago, when I was just a green horn in the body/mind/spirit fitness world and to this day it remains one of my favorites. At the time, it was a good reminder that how I perceive the world around me directly impacts my experience and relationship to the world around me. I began to consider my perceptions about a lot of things: my family, my relationships, my beliefs, my grudges, my "success", my "failures", my workouts, the food I put in my body and more. As a result, I recognized where many of my False Perceptions Appearing Real (FEAR) were coming from and how distorted many of my perceptions were. As I've already shared with you, "Awareness creates opportunity" and it was through this awareness that I was able to change my perceptions and find more joy in "my" world.

So how 'bout you? Ever consider your perceptions on a deeper level? If you perceive the Project as a burden, as a task master, as an ogre, or as a confining prison, then that is the experience you will have; not too pleasant. If you perceive your Project experience as empowering, exciting, adventurous, and transformative, then that is the experience you will have; much more pleasant.

At night, when you are packing your food for the next day and measuring things out, how do you feel about it; do you feel agitated or stressed? Why? How do you feel about your workouts; pressured or down right angry? Why? And how about that pesky assigned meditation session, what is your perception of that? Either way, it's you perception that is determining your experience.

Eating properly and taking care of your health, fitness, and well-being doesn't have to feel confining. When you chose not to eat a bucket of ice cream you are empowering your self. When you chose to eat fruit rather than cake, you don't have to feel deprived when you can feel empowered! What are you being deprived of - poison, cholesterol, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, guilt, shame, ego reinforcement? You tell me... In my mind, caving to cravings, being addicted to crappy foods and poor lifestyle choices, now THAT is prison!

There was a popular saying when I was in boot camp, "pain is mandatory, suffering is optional". When we are seeking to make changes in our life, there is bound to be discomfort, ego-rebellion and a certain degree of pain involved. It is how we perceive this pain and how we respond to it that matters - do we suffer because of inconvenience and things that trigger our ego or cause discomfort, or do we just take it for what it is, roll with it, learn, embrace the lessons and keep on keepin' on?

Project: Recipe of the Day:
Check out Sherri D's blog for a recipe that sounds pretty "outta sight!"

In Peace,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Blog

Hey Gang,

Be sure to check out the latest Project-related blog, authored by Brook Fitzer:

Sorry that Jody and I missed the Project/Cityoga party at Alison's last night. From the pictures on Christine's blog, it sure looked like a great time. It would be great to see more parties like this on a more regular basis - healthful foods, great surroundings, and amazing, supportive friends.