Bucket List

bucket-list

The idea of a bucket list became popular after the release of a 2007 movie, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, where two terminally ill men go on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket.”

A bucket list often refers to the goals one wants to fulfill, dreams one wishes to achieve, and life experiences one desires to have before dying. You may think that the idea of a bucket list is dark and depressing because it references death, but life is only precious because it ends. A reference to our mortality is a reminder of our vitality, a reminder to live life to the fullest and stay aware of how we are prioritizing our precious time.

What does it mean to you to be alive

Is it comfort? discomfort? energy? pain? pleasure? struggle? adventure? love? need? potential? humor?

A couple quotes to ponder on the topic:

“Live for 5am sunrises and 5pm sunsets where you’ll see colors in the sky that are stunning. Live for the times with music in your ears and the wind in your hair. Live for days when you’re surrounded by your favorite people who make you realize that the world is not a cold, harsh place. Live for the little things because they will make you realize that this is what life is about, this is what it means to be alive.” –Unknown internet source

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“I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive. ” –Joan Rivers

“You’re alive. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change.” –Neil Gaiman

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If you had one day, one week, one month, or one year left to live, what would be on your bucket list?

A little over a week ago, I had the opportunity to cross something off of my bucket list. I bungee jumped 100 feet off a bridge, called the bridge to nowhere, and I did it twice, once facing forward and once facing backward. It was perfectly safe, but terrifying all the same. I think, aside from voluntarily jumping off that platform, the hardest part of the experience was the 5-mile hike there. Five miles of thinking about what I was about to do, and that was preceded by checking in with our guides in the parking lot where we were asked to rate how scared we were to jump on a scale of 1-10. I told them “3” but to ask me again in 2 hours.

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An internet search revealed the top 5 bucket list items are:

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Skydive
  3. Get a tattoo
  4. Swim with dolphins
  5. Go on a cruise

Why should you have a bucket list?

When the daily routines of life set in, it can be easy to let the days pass without taking much thought for your goals and desires. We get stuck in our routines, in what is familiar, and life passes us by rather quickly. A bucket list helps to guide us out of our comfort zones to new experiences, new goals, and new memories so that we make the most of our time. It also helps us to re-energize. After bungee jumping last weekend, my perspective on life felt refreshed, my focus was sharper, and I felt more empowered to work toward my dreams. The last purpose of a bucket list is it helps us find our “why?” and define what is important in our lives. Why do we work so hard, if not to enjoy the fruits of our efforts at times.

My Bucket List (for now):

Life

  1. Bachelor’s Degree (April 2014)
  2. Master’s Degree
  3. Doctorate/PhD
  4. Get Engaged (November 2014)
  5. Get Married
  6. Have a kid
  7. Bench Press 200#
  8. Deadlift 300#
  9. Squat 225#
  10. Officiate a wedding
  11. Get a tattoo
  12. Compete in powerlifting
  13. Run a spartan race
  14. Run a marathon June 2010
  15. Run a triathlon  2014
Career
  1. Give a speech to an audience of 100
  2. Give a speech to an audience of 500
  3. Give a TEDX Talk
  4. Get an article I’ve written published
  5. Build IG to 1000 subscribers
  6. Build IG to 5000 Subscribers
  7. Work full time in my own business
  8. Meet Bret Contreras
  9. Meet Dan John
  10. Meet Eric Cressey
  11. Meet Mike Boyle
  12. Meet Lewis Howes
  13. Make $4000 per month
  14. Attend SFMA course
  15. Train a professional athlete
  16. Train a celebrity
  17. Write a book
  18. Get interviewed for an article or podcast
  19. Have a professional photoshoot  2017
Travel/Adventure
  1. Climb Mt Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
  2. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  3. Run with the bulls (Pamplona, Spain)
  4. Visit Pompeii, Italy 2011
  5. Rock Climb in Yosemite Near Tanaya Lake in 2016
  6. Hike the JMT
  7. See the Northern Lights
  8. Hang glide
  9. Experience the Rio Carnival Parade
  10. Climb Machu Picchu
  11. Climb Mt. Whitney
  12. Hike through Spain
  13. Skydive
  14. Dog Sled
  15. Ride a Zipline
  16. Hike the Zion Narrows
  17. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Local
  1. Professional Basketball Game
  2. Professional Football Game
  3. Professional Baseball Game
  4. Backstage concert passes
  5. Attend a red carpet event
  6. Hike Holy Jim Trail to Santiago Peak (15 miles, moderate, dogs allowed)
  7. Red Rock Canyon hike at Whiting Ranch (4.2 miles total, no dogs)
  8. Sutton Peak hike (9.2 miles, dogs allowed)
  9. Modjeska Peak hike (15 miles, hard, dogs allowed)
  10. Hike/Backpack around Catalina
  11. Hike Blackstar canyon (7.1, moderate, dogs allowed)

What does it mean to you to be alive? If you had one day, one week, one month, or one year left to live, what would be on your bucket list?

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Motivation

Intrinsic motivation describes one’s internal drive to participate, exert effort, and be persistent when engaging in an activity. Intrinsically motivated individuals partake in an activity simply due to the pleasure and satisfaction derived from the activity itself (Hunter, 2008).  Not surprising, it is a huge factor in long-term exercise program adherence. As a person who takes on clients working toward specific fitness goals, it is part of my job to keep them committed to their goals so they are successful. Cultivating a client’s intrinsic motivation is an important part of this.

Hunter (2008) identifies three facets of intrinsic motivation: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Autonomy means that a client has some control over his or her workout. One way I like to give clients autonomy is by letting them choose the weight they want to lift during exercises, within my parameters (i.e., they can lift the weight with good technique, they are not risking injury, the weight corresponds to my desired intensity, etc.). I also ask clients or the kids in my group classes for feedback on exercises. For example, I’ll ask the kids if any of the exercises are too easy or too hard, or which exercise is their favorite or least favorite of the exercises in a circuit. These choices involve my clients in the decision-making aspects of their workouts while keeping them on track to meet their goals.

Competence describes a client’s belief in his or her ability to perform a task. Hunter (2008) suggests providing ample opportunities for clients to practice performing quality skills. I start many of my youth strength and conditioning classes with 5-10 minutes of jumping rope, and many kids do not do this well, at first. I provide the beginners with lots of positive feedback and encouragement in their first classes. In just a few weeks of practice, at the start of every class, kids will master the basics of jumping rope. For many, improving so much in such a short time is a big confidence booster.

Relatedness is the third component of intrinsic motivation that refers to an individual’s connection or sense of belongingness to a group (Hunter, 2008). I actually had a shocking moment yesterday when, after teaching my gym’s level 1 strength and conditioning class to two boys of similar size and age, I asked them if they knew each other’s name and neither did! A lot of kids develop relationships with the coaches at the gym, which fosters some relatedness, but I could definitely do more to develop connections between the kids in my classes.

A study by Evans, Cooke, Murray, and Wilson (2014) explored how the temporal proximity of anticipated positive outcomes affected intrinsic motivation. Proximal outcomes were defined as the benefits that occur immediately during or within a few hours of a single exercise bout, whereas distal outcomes occur after days, months or years of consistent physical activity. This study demonstrated that the intrinsic motivation of subjects with lower levels of past physical activity significantly increased when they were exposed to proximal outcomes compared to distal.

As a coach and trainer, I’ve always understood the importance of motivating others (and myself) with the positive benefits of consistent exercise, but my temporal outcome differentiation was between short-term outcomes (in the next month or two) and long-term outcomes (in 6 months to a year). The idea of focusing on immediate outcomes from single workouts is fantastic. I may not be the greatest example because I generally enjoy exercise, but reading through the list of proximal positive outcomes from the study has really motivated me to workout tonight. I may even print it out and post it by my desk. I love the idea of encouraging clients to make lists of proximal positive outcomes or reference the one from this study, and I think it could go a long way in developing intrinsic motivation with exercise.

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Previous studies have reported the effect motivational climate has on an athlete. The perception of a mastery motivational climate, emphasizing “learning, effort, improvement, and success determined by self-reference criteria,” has been demonstrated to increase intrinsic motivation (Brinkman-Majewski & Weiss, 2015).  This is opposite of a performance motivational climate, where success is determined in competition to others, leading to increased anxiety and less satisfaction (Brinkman-Majewski & Weiss, 2015). Creating mastery motivational climates with fitness clients could be done as a coach by not comparing clients to each other and highlighting personal PRs and improvements. Especially when working with kids whose sense of self is in a more formative stage, emphasizing task-involved goal orientations could increase the perception of the motivational climate, thereby influencing intrinsic motivation.

References

Brinkman-Majewski, R. E. & Weiss, W. M. (2015). Examination of the motivational climate in the athletic training room. Journal of Sports Behavior, 38(2), 143-160.

Evans, M. B., Cooke, L. M., Murray, R. A., & Wilson, A. E. (2014). The sooner, the better: Exercise outcome proximity and intrinsic motivation. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, 6 (3), 347-361. doi:10.1111/aphw.12032

Hunter, S. D. (2008). Promoting intrinsic motivation in clients. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 30(1), 52-54.

Bridging the Gap Between Artist and Architect

Have you ever heard the artist vs. architect analogy?

An architect spends years in studying the math, physics, and engineering concepts that lie behind designing a magnificent structure. He draws out the design taking all of this into account. This design is used to create an amazing building that stands up against time.

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An artist sees the building and skillfully recreates it.

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What’s the difference?

The architect understands why the structure is designed a certain way: Why certain materials are used, why specific angles are important, etc. There is a certain amount of artistry to an architect’s work, but it comes within the parameters of structural engineering concepts.

The artist recognizes patterns, angles, and shapes and recreates them but doesn’t understand the “why’s.”

In the world of fitness and coaching, I’m on a journey, bridging the gap between an artist and an architect. Most days I feel like an artist. I observe what reputable coaches do and copy it. I borrow great ideas from multiple coaches and mesh them together. I collect their designs, try them out for myself, and bit by bit figure out the “why’s” behind.

One day I want to be an architect in the fitness and coaching world. I want to understand the why enough to design brilliant training programs for people with different needs and goals.

The next steps for me along this journey include 1) working and learning from other coaches 2) continuing to educate myself through reading on a daily basis 3) practicing my coaching and design skills with clients and 4) pursing either my doctorate in physical therapy or masters in kinesiology.

This is my passion, and everyday I’m a little closer to being an architect.

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Sane, Balanced, Motivated

It’s the 2nd week of February, and this year is flying by. Since there is so much “new” in my life, a new job, schedule, blog, and goals, I’m always juggling and frequently re-evaluating. Today’s post is going to be an update on what’s going on in my life right now and what I’m doing to stay sane, balanced, and motivated.

Physical Therapy School

I’ve spent the last 2 years focused on getting accepted into a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program.

The first year out of college, I retook (and Aced with the highest grades in my classes) two biology classes at my local community college, racked up 100+ hours of observation hours in a physical therapy office, and applied to 5 programs/schools that were within an hour’s drive of my house. I was rejected from 3, interviewed at 1 (then rejected), and waitlisted at the last (which never came to fruition).

The second year, I spoke with an admissions counselor from one school I was rejected from the year before, and framed my approach based on his recommendations. I retook a physics class (Aced), aced a 5.25 semester unit Spanish class, acquired over 1500 observation hours in multiple physical therapy settings, and had more recommendation letters. I also applied early to 20 programs this time. Well, after months of waiting for responses, I’m now at a point where I’ve been rejected from 14 schools and waitlisted in 3 programs, and I’m still waiting to hear back from 3.

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Every single rejection is heartbreaking. The nicest rejection email still reads like “you are not good enough.” It hurts. It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing.

I just wonder if all these “no’s” are a sign that God has another path intended for me…or if struggling through this is God’s way of building an essential element of my character.

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I do believe He has a plan for me.

I’ve had time to cultivate my passions in fitness and physical therapy over the last years. I have a lot more direction and sense of purpose in my life today than I did a year or two ago. Physical therapy is not my [only] end-all-be-all goal. My passions are in helping others, working with young athletes, teaching everyone healthy and sustainable fitness practices, and keeping people active and uninjured through the entirety of their lives. I see physical therapy as a means of doing this, but it is not the only way. So, regardless of what happens with physical therapy, I know the direction I’m going to keep shooting in.

Following My Bliss

While I wait to see how physical therapy school plays out, still unsure of where I’ll be in the Fall, I’m spending my time developing my personal training business and learning about being the best coach I can be. I call it “following my bliss” aka doing what makes me happy!

 

  • Yesterday, I did my first [paid] photoshoot as a model. It felt great! This is something I plan to incorporate more of. Why not? Anyone need a model?
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  • I have a [awesomely organized] binder for my personal training business. Yes, I’m a organization nut. I have color-coded tabs, self-made logs, a place for ideas, and other resources strategically placed in my binder.
  • I’m cultivating a social media following to increase the exposure of my website/blog.
  • I’m building a network of fitness professionals to collaborate with, including the physical therapists I’ve worked for.
  • Although I work for a gym, I’m not limiting myself just to business in that setting.
  • I’m exploring opportunities for growth, including coaching internships, Masters programs, and seminars/conventions.
  • I’m frequently listening to awesome podcasts in my car such as Ben Coomber Radio (a great UK-based nutritionist) and Physique Science Radio (hosted by Sohee Lee and Layne Norton) and trying to keep up with my monthly-delivered Strength & Conditioning Research Literature Reviews.
  • I began a new training program in the gym. It’s from Eric Cressey (one of the top athletic trainers in the country and one of my idols) called the High Performance Handbook. Yes, I am a personal trainer who has a personal trainer because, I’ll admit it, there is still a lot I don’t know, specifically in regards to training program design, which is really a form of art. I’m two workouts into this program and already I feel FANTASTIC. Not only am I learning a lot about my body and program design, but following a newinteresting  workout program is highly motivating.
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One thing I need to improve on is setting boundaries for myself. In addition to planning time to get things done on my calendar, I really need to plan time off and time for non-fitness, relaxing activities. Doing fitness/career related tasks all day every day is a surefire way for me to burnout. This is where playing with my dog, Bug, and spending time with my family and boyfriend come into play.

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How is your year going? What are you doing to stay sane, balanced, and motivated while pursuing your career, goals, etc?