Money expert Dave Ramsey has a catchphrase for his radio show. It goes something like this: "The paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice."
I like that. Some of the most successful, wealthiest people I know live modestly, drive paid-off cars over five years old, and prefer Timex to Rolex. Some of the most broke folks I know are just the opposite. The bank owns their new cars and Visa owns their fancy timepieces. They are walking facades of wealth, big houses built on foundations of particle board.
One of the predicted consumer trends for the upcoming year is further investment in personal health rather than the pursuit and accumulation of more "stuff." People are, supposedly, going to spend more money on getting healthy, losing fat, and building muscle.
So, instead of decorating a chubby, pre-diabetic body with jewelry and sliding it into shiny 2014 convertibles, they're going to spend their cash on gyms, better food, exercise equipment, and supplements.
Man, let's hope so.
Your body is, in many ways, your ultimate status symbol anyway. Studies show that we're judged on our bodies. Fat people are thought to be lazy and lacking in self-control. Fit people are judged to be disciplined and more intelligent than the overweight. Fair or not, these snap judgments dictate the way people treat you, from your boss to that hot barista you'd like to see naked.
Fact: How you take care of your body tells us more about you than the objects you've purchased with your credit card.
With the world getting fatter and weaker, the lean and strong are going to stand out even more. Muscular and athletic will become a rarity. Maybe the new status symbols will be lack of dependence on prescription drugs, a non-protruding belly, or the increasingly rare ability to take the stairs without getting gassed.
You won't have to tactlessly and tackily stick your pink, conflict-free diamond ring into people's faces; you'll just have to walk into the room. Stepping out of your used Honda looking healthy and strong will carry more status and elicit more respect than struggling to get your plus-sized ass out of a limited-edition Corvette you can't quite afford.
The whole "status" thing is a bit stomach-turning to begin with, but sociologists tell us that we can't escape it; it's just built into our genes.
Okay, fine. But let's choose to display our status not with baubles on loan but with a body that reflects hard work, wise decisions, and engaged living. -- Chris Shugart
I had my IUD (Mirena) removed a bit over a month ago. I don't need it currently, my 5 years was almost up and I wanted to see how my body functions without the added hormonal element. I didn't expect much, but here is what I've noticed so far.
I do not have cravings or the strong desire to eat everything in the house during specific points in my cycle like I used to. I still do it out of habit, but that's something I can change. I recover from workouts quicker. Mood swings are nearly gone. My acne is much better! I don't look like I'm going through puberty at 28!
I have yet to see if there's an increase in lean mass gains, but I suspect it won't increase enough to notice (if at all). I have not gained or lost weight in an unusual manner. Mirena did not cause me to gain or lose weight and has not made it harder for me to gain or lose weight. I do suspect that cravings could contribute to women eating more on birth control, but the birth control is not the direct cause of their weight issue.
There have been some negative effects. Cramps have returned to my cycle. Water retention during my cycle is higher. My sex drive is 2-3 times higher than it was on hormonal birth control.
Well that's about all I've noticed so far over the last month (little more than a month). Some people were curious, so I thought I'd do a blog post about it.
“When I was little and running on the race track at school, I always stopped and waited for all the other kids so we could run together even though I knew (and everybody else knew) that I could run much faster than all of them! I pretended to read slowly so I could wait for everyone else who couldn't read as fast as I could!
When my friends were short I pretended that I was short too and if my friend was sad I pretended to be unhappy. I could go on and on about all the ways I have limited myself, my whole life, by waiting for people. And the only thing that I've ever received in return is people thinking that they are faster than me, people thinking that they can make me feel bad about myself just because I let them and people thinking that I have to do whatever they say I should do.
My mother used to teach me Cinderella is a perfect example to be but I have learned that Cinderella can go fuck herself, I'm not waiting for anybody, anymore! I'm going to run as fast as I can, fly as high as I can, I am going to soar and if you want you can come with me! But I'm not waiting for you anymore.”
- C. JoyBell C.
I am very thankful for all the comments and support I have gotten today. As I have mentioned it can be a very stressful day for me. I have taken some time today to give my thanks to other veterans as well. I am not immune from it. Others have served before and continue to serve now that I am out. I am thankful for their sacrifices.
After talking with many other veterans and lurking on some military forums I feel less alone. I also feel proud of a trend that is taking place. Although it is great to see many businesses offer free meals or service, there is a lot of stress surrounding it. These places are usually packed and as a young female I have faced discrimination when telling them that I am a veteran. I understand that there are many people who attempt "Stolen Valor" by claiming they are veterans, so I always took proof.
Many young veterans are opting out of the free meals and services. I have not taken part in these offers the last two years. Although I know I am a veteran and meet the requirements I would rather leave the businesses less busy allowing for older veterans to be served. The current serving generation has many years ahead to enjoy the day. We can step aside and let the previous generations of veterans enjoy these offers.
I'm sure that there will be lots of younger veterans that still go out, but I have elected to skip these offers.
Fine, I'll bite. Here are my excuses:
Not looking for a pat on the back or someone telling me how awesome I am. Not looking to make others feel bad for having different priorities. We make the most of what we have and pursue the things that are important to us. There is NO shame in saying that fitness or weight loss are not a priority. Love yourself for who you are and be proud of your accomplishments in every area of life.
I've been focusing on weight/fat loss since March 2010. There have been gains, losses and plateaus. I've followed a variety of eating plans, calorie goals, types of workouts and I have collected trophies from two bodybuilding competitions.
Today I start something completely different and begin my first bulking period. During my focus on shedding fat I would joke that I was bulking when I would eat a lot. I often talked about how I couldn't wait for my first bulk because I wanted to eat more. Now that it is here I have mixed feelings.
I met with my trainer on Friday to discuss the plan for going forward. He told me that I will be, "Lifting very heavy for a very long time." That statement hit me pretty hard. In a way it made me dread bulking just a little.
Maybe a small part of me thought that bulking would be a break?
I've worked hard in the gym up to this point and I am prepared to continue that. I think I just fear the unknown. I've been focused on fat loss for so long that I don't know what to expect when I start giving my muscles more fuel.
I know that this is a step in the right direction for my long term goals and will follow the plan.
"May your gains be swift and you stay forever swole."
Some final thoughts as I leave you for a week.
As many of you know I sort of fell into competing. It was a goal that I wanted to reach eventually, but thought it would be years away. My trainer had faith in me and I trust him, so I decided to go for it when he suggested I compete.
My cut for the competition started January 1st. There have been many rough patches (as there always is with dieting) and in the end I made it on stage. Even before stepping on stage I knew I wanted to do it again. Planning for this show started before the first one was over. Here I am at one week out from my second show and already trying to plan for the future. Unfortunately this isn’t as clear cut as the last. I’m not sure yet what to do, so here are my options (do NOT jump down my throat for these, I am posting ALL potential options even if I am not interested in it).
1. Lift for the love of lifting. Get back to family, friends and a normal life. Forget about competing for a while and reconsider when life is a bit more stable. This would mean saying good-bye to my trainer (which would be very rough), but I would save money as well as some stress.
2. Take a year to build. Come back to the same show and compete against the same 2-3 women. It’s a lot of time and effort to put into a show to essentially compete against myself. Sure, that’s partly the point of competing, but it still sort of sucks.
3. Take two years off to build. Come back and compete at a higher level in a different category. Although I’d be moving down to physique I would essentially be training to lose. I may not get last, but without using steroids there is no way I would win. I’m not sure how many times I could face the stage knowing I am at a disadvantage.
4. Take a year to build while on steroids. Come back and have a chance of winning at a higher level. My trainer won’t work with people on gear, so I would have to do it on my own. I have lots of knowledge, but he got me started with competing and I have a hard time thinking about moving on without working with him.
What have I decided? I can’t do option #1 because to me it feels like quitting or giving up. Bodybuilding isn’t easy and if it was everyone would do it. I can’t do option #4 because there is more to lose than there is to gain by going that route. To a degree I feel like I have something to prove and there is more satisfaction clawing my way to the top naturally. I also have a lot of respect for my trainer. He goes out of his way to help me (and all his clients). I would love to accomplish something huge with him as my trainer still. Maybe it’s me wanting to make him proud and maybe it’s me wanting to repay him in some way.
I’m stuck somewhere between #2 and #3. I really don’t want to compete against the same women over and over again, but I don’t want to train hard to never take first place. I think I’m going to see what improvements the next year brings, then decide where to go from there. I hate feeling like I haven’t decided which option I’m going with, so I am creating option #2.5 which is to bulk for a year then set a new goal.
I woke up....or at least I think I did...and stumbled into the shower. I turned the water on.
No, I didn't.
Yeah, yeah I turned it on. I smell decent, so I must have washed.
I outsmarted myself this time! My food and gym gear are packed and sitting in the fridge.....shit, did I really put my clothes and shoes in the fridge last night?!?
Just going to make a trip upstairs to make sure I turned everything off, because I can't remember that I already did that 7 times.
Circle around the apartment complex twice to go check that I locked the front door.
Drive through the gas station, forget to fill up, turn around a mile later to go fill up. Thank you Ford for the gas light.
Drive past the first Starbucks and stare longingly. Drive past the second one (my personal favorite, they do the best).
Make it to work. Did I clock in?
Yes, I clocked in.
Fill up a coffee cup, with water. This will have to do. If anyone needs me I'll be napping under my desk.
I literally pretend there is a camera crew following me around 24/7 every day, filming a documentary on "How to be a mother ****ing rockstar". Something that my kids will watch one day. I refuse to be less than everything I can be in each and every moment.
To summon my personal laconism:
All of this is an investment in the future, for me, for my clients, and somehow ...hopefully for the future of our nations health, no matter how small a part I play.
So next time you wake up and feel crappy, like the world is out to destroy you and you are out of milk when all you want is a bowl of cereal:
Pretend you are the guy in all the crappy action movies: they get up in the AM, shove the bottle into their mouth and stare down the barrel of a gun. Then they look over and see the picture of the wife/kids/grandma/69 mustang/etc and then it clicks - time to go into badass mode like the world depends on it, because sitting around is just not getting it done anymore and we got nothing to lose. Then they blow a bunch of things up and he basically falcon punches his crap life away and gets the girl/money/etc. and throws a fist into the air.
Be that guy.
It takes not sitting around and feeling like the world owes you some great debt - because it doesn't. You owe it to yourself to make things happen and stomp out anger, sadness, laziness, or just general subpar attempts at becoming your ultimate self (ultimate form if you will, I hope someone gets that).
Be the action star. You got the starring role in life, quit pretending like someone already yelled "cut" and start acting like a mother ****ing rockstar.
Im not crazy. I am so serious.
More motivation and awesomeness can be found on his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/boisepersonaltrainer
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