Review Category : Miscellaneous

5 Things I Learned at the FMI

I’ll admit it: I’ve become a walking talking billboard for the Fitness and Sports Network FMI (Fitness Model International) conference that takes place twice a year. Don’t let the name of the business fool you; the conference is not for folks looking to get glammed up in front of a camera and take pretty pictures and show off to their friends. The FMI is intended for aspiring fitness professionals looking to run a successful fitness business. That was (and still is) me, spot on.

Though I’ve only attended two thus far (the next one will be in Vegas in April 2013, folks!), I’ve seen significant improvement in the quality of content offered and knowledge gems handed to the individuals who have trekked from all over the nation to connect with the industry’s top fitness business know-hows. This year, I was much more meticulous about jotting down notes and highlighting memorable passages from keynote speakers. Below I share with you the top 5 most valuable lessons I learned at the FMI.

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Miscellaneous Musings of the Month: October 2012 Edition

Hey everyone! It’s getting frisky out here in Connecticut. I think we’re supposed to have a snowstorm tomorrow – and I don’t remember the last time this California native has had to go through anything worse than high-40s weather – so I am bracing myself for it. I can’t believe how quickly this whole year has gone by… and November is already slipping through my hands as I type.

Here are some thoughts and some happenings from the month of October. Enjoy :)

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A Call to Arms Against Ana and Mia

**WARNING: The following content contains graphic descriptions of eating disorders. My writing is in no way intended to harm or offend any individuals. Please proceed at your own risk. 

 

Today, I ate a chocolate chip cookie and the world did not end.

It was fluffy, moist, and chewy with just the right number of chocolate chips in there. Granted, if Grandma had made it – or perhaps if they had pulled fresh out of the oven mere minutes prior – my taste buds would have danced a little more. But the cookie had God knows how many calories and it was chock full of fat and carbs and maybe two grams of protein, if that. I couldn’t care less, though. I took a bite, smiled so big everyone could see my chocolate-laden teeth, and then I took another, and then another, and another until that whole cookie made its way into my belly. Then I dusted the crumbs off my laps, stood up calmly, and went on living my life.

I ate a big ass cookie and I lived to tell the tale.

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Miscellaneous Musings of the Month: September 2012 Edition

It’s been a relatively quiet month on my blog here. As you know, I’ve only just begin my new job here as a strength coach at Tyler English Fitness. We’ve got some unusual hours that I’m still trying to get used to and I’ve been spending all my free time still trying to put together my furniture and get settled into my new home in the little town of Avon. There have been a lot of changes taking places even within the past few weeks at TEF, and I’ve been running to keep up (surprisingly yes, sometimes even literally).

I’m excited for everything to unfold in the upcoming months. This will mean a whole lot of work for me with only a sprinkling of sleep, but it will be well worth it. I apologize in advance if I’m a little slower than usual with my writing on here, but I’ve made the decision to hit the brakes for a bit to really solidify my foundation of knowledge. When I’m not coaching or training, I’ll be spending my time hittin’ the books so I can come back full force more powerful, more ready, and better equipped to knock your boots right off. Hell yes.

In the meantime, I’ll still be keeping up with social media – so I won’t fall off the face of the e-Fitness Planet by any means. I absolutely refuse to publish any kind of writing that’s not up to par in my eyes, so you can still expect any words I’m spitting out to be just as good as before. You can still reach me at sohee@soheeleefitness.com and I’ll do my best to get back to you soon.

Will I still be lifting heavy ass shit and throwing back cow like it’s my job? Yes, I will. Still Tweeting up the wazoo? You bet. I’m not going anywhere – that much I can promise you.

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It Never Stops: On Fitness As a Lifestyle

***Disclaimer: I understand that there are many interpretations and definitions of fitness.  In this article, I am using the term “fitness” to refer specifically to the behaviors and practices associated with aesthetics (muscle mass, low bodyfat).

You’re thrilled. You’re excited – ecstatic, even. After months of grueling work, you finally fit into your skinny jeans. You can look down and actually see your toes. You ran your first half marathon! You’ve been diligent about getting plenty of rest, keeping junk food to a minimum, and working out several times a week. You feel light on your feet and your coworkers can’t stop commenting on how great you look nowadays. You’re beaming with pride and you’re practically walking on clouds now that you’ve reached your goal.

So you go out and celebrate with a martini. Then two. You order a giant platter of cheesy nachos as an appetizer, followed by a plate of taquitos. After that, you make a beeline for the nearest frozen yogurt shop and go to town on the sugary toppings. You fall into a drunken stupor and pass out on your bed with sauce stains dribbling down your shirt.

Ahh, so what? you say. That’s one night of celebration. No harm, no foul. Except… you wake up the next morning and you find yourself reaching for the pastries before your mind can figure out what you’re doing. Bummer. The day is shot; might as well go all out the rest of the day, right?

Soon enough, your gym membership is gathering dust and your jeans become progressively tighter (again!) by the day. You’re upset, but you’re also in denial. You’ve worked way too hard to get in shape – how could anything possibly move you away from that sweet spot?

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Miscellaneous Musings of the Month: August 2012 Edition

Happy September, everyone. Summer is reaching its end and the kids are heading back to school. This transitional period applies not only to them but myself as well. I’ve had to make the move from waking up at a leisurely 9a.m. to duct taping my eyelids open at 4a.m. to get to work at my new job. (On a side note, can I just say how pumped I am that I don’t have to deal with school anymore?) I’ve been busy taking care of life logistics the past few weeks, which explains my dearth of articles as of late. Hope you can excuse that for now. I’ve got a whole list of topics lined up for the upcoming months, however… so be on the lookout for that!

Here’s a hodgepodge of happenings and thoughts from the month of August.

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Miscellaneous Musings of the Month: July 2012 Edition

Hey folks, I realize that we’re a number of days into August already, but I’d appreciate it if we could all overlook for just a few minutes the fact that July is well gone by now. For the sake of this post. Sound good? Good.

What a month it has been! July has flown by and I’m only just realizing now that I’ve been working as an intern at Cressey Performance for over a month now. The days really just start to blur together when the hours are long and you come home exhausted every night. I’m practically shitting rainbows over how much I’ve been learning and the incredible people I’ve met so far. Boston is wicked nice, too – though a part of miss does feel a twinge of longing for California, my home for the past seven years.

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Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

This was it. I sat on my bed the night before my college graduation, gripped with fear. I’d known nothing but school for the past 20 years of my life, and there I was about to head out into the real world. I didn’t have a clue how it worked and wasn’t sure if I felt ready to find out quite yet.

I’d spent the past seven years in California – the first three in southern California, the latter four in the Bay area – and I had packed up all of my belongings to haul myself to the east coast. An unfamiliar location, brand new job, and nobody that I knew. Not to mention, the last time I’d been in New England for any appreciable amount of time was when I’d been in the throws of my anorexia – not the fondest of memories. I hadn’t a clue what the next couple of months were going to bring for me.

There was no doubt that I was excited, but at that moment, that eagerness was overshadowed by my anxiety over confronting so much discomfort and uncertainty in the imminent future. I would no longer be safely cocooned on the Stanford campus, where crime was rare and I was surrounded by familiar faces. I’d been assigned school assignments; I’d worked diligently to complete them and turn them in by the deadline. I’d taken midterms and finals; I’d spent late nights memorizing facts about the Krebs cycle; I’d written 30+ page papers. I’d been a stone’s throw away from the library, bookstore, and even the police station.

But I’d been about to be stripped of all of that – all of it – and I’d felt so, so underprepared. I thought back to the past four years of my college career and recounted my journey to where I’d gotten myself.

I first arrived on the Stanford campus in the fall of 2008 almost positive that I was going to study sports medicine and eventually become an orthopedic surgeon. It seemed to make the most sense to me, and besides, nearly a third of my class was also pre-med, so clearly it was the cool thing to do. I didn’t question my path; I simply moved robotically forward. Inorganic chemistry, check; organic chemistry, check; physics, multivariable calculus, Human Biology core – check, check, check. I stressed out over problem sets alongside my peers and flipped out over woefully low midterm class mean scores. To be completely honest, that entire time, I felt like I was throwing myself against a brick wall that refused to budge. I wanted to become a doctor, I really loved what I was studying, and I stayed up late at night reading up on the newest advances in sports medicine – right? Wrong. I spent my free time browsing fitness forums, voraciously reading any and all training and nutrition articles I could get a hold of, and setting new PRs in the gym. All the signs were there, but I turned a blind eye to them.

It wasn’t until November of my junior year at Stanford that I began to lose confidence in what I was doing. I was taking a physical chemistry course at the time and was feeling inadequate in so many ways. I didn’t have a clue what was going on in the class and found myself with a failing score for the first time in my life, despite spending over four hours a day futilely attempting to grasp the material. I’d been working as a student intern in the sports medicine department for over a year by then and wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I was dreading my classes and was in a cranky mood all the time as thoughts of school constantly loomed ominously overhead.

What happened to that overeager girl, the one who had wept and wept by the front door at the age of two as my older brother left for preschool in the mornings, begging to go with him? What happened to the student whose favorite day of the week was Monday because that meant four more days of classes and hated Fridays because she’d have to wait through the weekend before going back to school again? She was long gone. She was replaced by a lifeless young lady who was reluctantly stumbling down a path that she hated – all because she was told she would be a good fit.

That month of November was the hardest of my life. I wrestled with the thought that maybe becoming a doctor was not my calling after all. But how could I let everyone down? How could I abandon everything that I’d been working toward for the past 2+ years? I’d never even considered pursuing anything else. I couldn’t quit. I just couldn’t.

The truth was that I was afraid of deviating from what I thought was my predetermined path. I was scared out of my mind. I faced an internal battle as I flip-flopped between choosing to feel safe and continuing on with my miserable yet comfortable ways and throwing every bit of myself into what I loved – fitness – although I had no idea what would come out of it. One minute, I’d declare that I was not a quitter and that I was going to suck it up and press forward; the next, I was curled up into the fetal position on my bed, tears streaming down my face as I came to grips with the fact that my heart yearned for something different.

But here’s the thing. This is what I knew: people who get comfortable of body get fat; people who get comfortable of mind and intellect get dull; people who get comfortable in their spirit – they miss what they were created for. I was becoming more and more aware of what I was created for, and I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I stayed the course because it was easier to stay within my comfort zone. I was terrified – of the unknown, of the risk, of the judgment – and I envied the more sure-footed of my friends. Why couldn’t I be more like them?

Change. I had to welcome it. I realized that in order to be successful, I would have to get used to discomfort, to embrace it. I’d have to eschew convenience and security in favor of challenge and opportunity. I’d have to ignore the voices inside my head coming up with any excuse imaginable not to change just because it would be easier that way. I’d have to stop my mind from doing backflips trying to contort my insufficient justifications into acceptable, logical reasons. The truth was that they were all crap. Bottom line, I was chickenshit.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. That’s what I told myself over and over again as I finally, finally let go of my death grip on the reigns of mediocrity. In a way, quitting was a huge relief. At the same time, however, I was faced with the crushing pressure of carving out my own, unorthodox path – a potentially lonely, frustrating, and unsuccessful one. But I knew I had to try. I turned away and immersed myself in my life’s calling.

It takes courage to be different. It takes guts to stay faithful to what it is that you are meant to do and put up with ridicule and mocking and criticizing eyes and still march resolutely forward. But it’s also a crime to tune out your true love, your blazing passion. I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been moments when I’ve questioned what in the world I was getting myself into, when I wondered if I was out of my mind for even entertaining the thought that I might be the least bit qualified, when I’ve flirted with the idea of going back to study medicine because then everyone would approve of me again. But I love this – the fitness industry and everything that comes with it. I’ve bounced around from psychology to journalism to business, and each time, I’ve returned back to fitness. Like my home base. This love has driven me to where I am today.

Everyday, I’m faced with thousands and thousands of decisions that I must make, both big and small. And each time that I choose to put my head down and drive ahead and hustle a little harder – I know I’m doing the right thing. Call me crazy? I’ll take that as a sign that I’m doing well for myself.

Where am I now? It’s been a week since I’ve started my internship at Cressey Performance, and my life has taken a 180-degree turn. It’s… different. It’s good. There’s something about knowing that you’re working at one of the nation’s top training facilities that humbles you through and through. I’m constantly around like-minded individuals, and the surround-yourself-with-awesome aspect of this has been mind-blowing. I’ve made some incredible friends and learned a great deal already. And to think – what if I’d caved into my fear and stayed firmly planted back out in the west coast, allowing myself to meld into the Great Wall of Mediocrity all for the sake of comfort? My first day, I walked into Suite 150, shaking ever so slightly with trepidation. I was scared out of my mind. Fake it ‘till you make it. Fake it ‘till you make it. I feigned confidence, forced myself to ask questions, and absorbed as much as I could. Now the place feels like my second home.

Tank, resident CP dog, asking for some of my food.

What is it that you love? What is it that’s holding you back from pursuing what it is that you really want to do? Feel the fear and do it anyway. Acknowledge it, but don’t fight it. Rise above it. I never would have gotten to where I am now career-wise if I hadn’t ignored all the disapproving, doubting voices. My journey is far from over – in fact, I’m just getting started – but I urge you, dear reader, to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

You want to stand out and be different? Then do something about it – and make change in your life because change will not roll in on the wheels of inevitability.

Summer 2012 interns (minus Landon)

 

**The italicized texts are experts from Cory Booker’s Stanford 2012 Commencement Speech. I was so moved by his words that I wanted to quote him in here. I highly recommend that you give it a listen – or read it here.

 

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Random Thoughts: May Edition

I thought I’d slip in here one more time before the month of May ended to wrap everything up and tie together some loose ends. These past couple of weeks have flown by, what with everything going on, so I think it’s only appropriate that I slow down for a second here and highlight some thoughts/happenings of mine. I’ll cover both fitness and non-fitness related topics below; I apologize in advance if it seems a little ADD. I’m just going to start rambling here so bear with me.

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Sh!t I Learned From Going Through Tough Times

Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. In fact, you were warned time and time again that it was going to be hard. And there would be times when you’d want to give up and stop trying so damn hard. That you’d be betrayed, lied to, rejected, cheated on, and stabbed in the heart. That even your most trusted allies would turn around and abandon you without so much as a second glance back.

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been eerily quiet for the better part of the month, and I apologize for that. Times have been hard as of late, and I’ve been unable to produce quality writing. But I believe I’ve found my groove again and I’m more than excited to be back. I learned a few things over the past couple of months that I wish to share with you today.

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