Wednesday, December 31, 2014

BOSU Blast

I got a BOSU for Christmas and seriously can't stop using it. I also can't stop photographing it.

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

I bounce on it while I watch tv. I think about it when I'm away and every time I see it I pretty much have to put my hands on it. I feel like we're in a teenage relationship.

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

Not long ago I started thinking about how I could carve my niche as a trainer here in Louisville. I was initially putting my focus towards online training for flexibility since I do still have a day job and that little Ironman coming up and also because I knew I didn't want to work at a big gym making $10 an hour and stalking unsuspecting (and largely uninterested) patrons on the gym floor. Not having a space pretty much sealed the online training deal for me. Or so I thought.

I've found that despite my reserved personality I really do enjoy seeing the people I work with. I want to actively be there to talk to them, coach them, teach them and laugh with them. I've taught a couple of workshops and each time just ate up the whole experience of working with people face to face. It honestly shocked me. I've always been an introvert who would rather work in a closet office with no window than have to sit in an open room with nothing separating me from my peers. I sit in silence in the mornings reading and have found myself turning on the television less and less as I've gotten older. But deep down, I still craved interaction.

I thought back to a conversation I had with my friend Ami who is a fantastic trainer here in town and honestly one of my professional idols and she told me to really focus on finding something I could be the authority on. Ami is the go-to person in Louisville for all things TRX. Other places have straps or incorporate them into a workout but nobody does what Ami does and everyone knows it. So I tried to think through my fitness life to things I enjoyed. Ami (and many others) thought I'd really be interested in running/triathlon training and that seemed reasonable. But running and tri-ing are what I do, not what I teach. I tried to merge the world's once during my brief stint at a local running store and it didn't go well. I certainly don't mind to coach those things, but not at the elite level and definitely not as my primary focus.

I've always enjoyed circuit training and strength training done right is awesome. And then it came to me, the BOSU. I've used a BOSU a ton of times but never as the focus of a workout and I've always enjoyed it and been quite surprisingly good on them.

Not having a space to teach or train has been tricky for me. I've taught workshops at one facility and have one coming up in February at another but it's been difficult to find something steady. Luckily I'm persistent and Louisville has an abundance of community centers who are more than willing to open their doors and rec spaces for a small fee. After a little negotiation I managed to book myself a space to teach a weekly BOSU Blast class on Wednesday nights starting next week! I'm really really excited about getting in front of people regularly and I finally feel like I'm at least on some kind of track that is heading in the right direction.

I can't call my self the BOSU Master of Louisville or anywhere other than maybe my own home just yet, but I've been using mine (and the ones at the gym) pretty much daily lately and think I just might be on my way. I've got some certification classes and trainings on the calendar for 2014 and whether or not I decide to make it the focus of my career, I know I'll be in damn good shape ;)

Monday, December 29, 2014

How to Create Habits

Dr. BJ Fogg, creator of Tiny Habits recently had an article featured in ACE ProSource where he revealed the secrets to creating habits. It is a brilliant (and long) article that you can read in full here. For your reading pleasure, here's the Clif's Notes version put together by myself with some of the highlights and ways you can create the habits you want in your life.

Simplify the Behavior

Dr. Fogg used a very simple example, flossing his teeth, as the habit he wanted to create so the first thing to consider when trying to create habits of your own would be the simplicity of the action. When considering flossing his teeth, Fogg scales the behavior back to its simplest form, flossing just one tooth.
"I knew that simplicity could mean the difference between doing a behavior and not doing it."
The key to behavior change according to Fogg is to focus on making the new behavior automatic and to also make that behavior something that will not require a large time or energy expenditure. The reason you aren't doing the behavior already is because you're perceiving the behavior as difficult. Flossing for example is not difficult but when you already perceive your time as limited and perceive flossing and time consuming and to some degree unnecessary, it's easy to see why you're not doing it. By flossing one tooth, Fogg established the behavior of putting down his toothbrush, picking up the floss and actively flossing. The simplicity of the behavior makes it almost comical to not complete it. I mean, how long does it take to floss one tooth? It's just one tooth.

Make it Feel Good

Emotions also play an important role in whether or not a behavior will stick around long enough to become a habit. Completion of the behavior has to feel good. If you are not celebrating your achievement (and yes, even an action as small as flossing one tooth is an achievement) then it's easy to feel unattached and in turn abandon the behavior. Fogg's celebration word was "Victory!" Saying that to himself made him feel good, made him feel excited and made him want to repeat the behavior that lead to those positive emotions. Who doesn't want to do something that makes them feel proud?
So each day as I flossed, I thought this to myself: “If everything ends up awful today, at least I did one thing right: I flossed one tooth. Good for me—Victory!”
Find the Anchor

The last piece of the habit creating puzzle is all about timing. Where does this new behavior go? How does it fit into your life? Fogg recommends looking to a simple 5-letter word, A-F-T-E-R. You've got to figure out what Fogg calls "the anchor" behavior that is already in your routine that lends itself to usher in the new behavior. Flossing pretty obviously comes after brushing but what if your goal was to do more push ups? You've simplified your goal into doing 1 push up a day. But when? When you perform the push up is crucial to turning it into a habit. Let's say every night you take a shower and change into your pajamas. Right after the pajamas are put on you leave your room to let the dog out for the last time then head into your room to lay down in bed. What part of that routine can be an easy anchor? I would recommend doing one push up A-F-T-E-R you let the dog out. Dogs are creatures of habit. Your dog won't let you forget to take her outside. Your schedule may cause you to shower in the morning or at the gym. The shower is not a stable anchor. You may be so tired one day after work that you fall asleep in your clothes. Pajamas, also not stable. But the dog. The dog will always need to go outside. The key is finding something in your routine that you always do. It doesn't necessarily have to be something that's done at the same time (although that helps) it just has to be something that's always done.

The article continues on and explains more about Fogg's Tiny Habits method which you are welcome to read more about in the article.

In short, there are three steps in creating habits. First, simplify the habit you want to create (i.e. one tooth, one push up; not all teeth or 20 push ups). Second, make it feel good! And finally, find the anchor; A-F-T-E-R.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

50 Things About Me

My dear blog friend Beth recently updated her 100 Things About Me list after a few years and it was awesome. Since I like to plan ahead, I'm going to make a 100 50 Things About Me list and in 5 years once blogs are obsolete I'll update it and laugh. 

1. I really like to talk about myself.

2. But I don't always like to discuss my goals.

3. I've worked hard over the years to become a more positive person but still default to a Negative Nancy if I'm not careful.

4. I have a therapist and have had therapists off and on since I was 19. I'm not embarrassed about it anymore and in fact think pretty much everyone could benefit from them.

5. I used to seriously consider becoming a therapist but that's started to fade in recent years.

6. I haven't had a pork chop in probably 10 years.

7. I will always always always choose salt over sugar in any type of food situation.

8. I got my first job when I was 14 and was paid under the table for about 6 months until I was 15 and legally allowed to work. I also worked more than the legal number of hours in a day so we would have to fudge my time card so it looked like I only worked for like 2 hours every single day.

9. Everyday I'm hustlin'. Seriously though, I'm a workaholic and it's not something I'm necessarily proud of.

10. I have the same Myers-Briggs personality type as Isaac Newton, Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, Russell Crowe and Julia Stiles.

11. I have always wanted to be a scientist of some kind but let horrible high school teachers talk me out of it and into the English/fine arts world.

12. I'm honestly one of those jerks who is decent at everything. I've definitely come across things that are really hard but if I learn about it and try it, I can probably do it. I'm the Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

13. I was told by an astrologer that I have double twin signs which is why I can be so indecisive and have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time.

14. I believe in all of those alternative life things (astrology, acupuncture, herbal remedies etc.)

15. I'm by far my own worst enemy and am working hard on getting out of my own way so I can lead a happier life.

16. I can easily become anyone's biggest cheerleader. I attach myself to other people and take their goals on as my own and then obsessively stalk them until it's achieved (if I know your last name and there's a race results page, you'd better believe I've looked you up)

17. I am painfully shy if I don't actively talk myself through social situations. When I was little teachers used to tell my mom to have me "tested" because they honestly believed I couldn't talk.

18. I've always lived older than I really am. When I was in daycare the best part of my day was when my sister would get back from school and I'd go sit with the big kids while they did homework.

19. I used to beg my Dad to make homework assignments for me so I could fit in with my sister when she did hers.

20. I really love my sister.

21. I really miss my Dad who died of cancer when I was 6.

22. I honestly have a hard time using words to describe my mom. She's just crazy and awesome.

23. I'm a New Yorker. I was born there and assume a semblance of the accent whenever I'm in the northeast.

24. I can actually imitate accents really easily.

25. I know "most words to all songs" as The Colonel says. I hear songs a few times and somehow just remember the lyrics.

26. I'm pretty sure that if I'd had a much more traumatizing and terrible childhood I would've turned into a prodigy. Unfortunately, my childhood was amazing.

27. I get really really interested in statistics and demographics and numbers about really random things (like ebola) 

28. I'm really proud of my personal trainer certification but struggle to figure out which direction to take it.

29. I'm very interested in kinesiology and often think about going back to school for it.

30. I can talk myself out of everything and miss out on a lot of opportunities because of it.

31. The only race I've ever watched and truly thought I would never do is the Badwater Ultramarathon. Desert? Melting shoes? Chapped lips? Nope.

32. I used to be an incredibly picky eater until I went to Europe when I was 17 and had no choice but to eat what was there. Since then I've become much more flexible and have learned about a lot of fun foods. 

33. That said, I seriously don't like to eat. I can't explain why.

34. I'm almost always cold but I get hot really easily and hate it.

35. I love winter and hate summer.

36. Even though I hate summer, I love sunshine and hate when winter is gray and gloomy.

37. I like to think of myself as a phenomenal dancer...or at the very least, not a bad one.

38. My senses are easily overloaded so sometimes I have a hard time in crowds or in places like casinos or anywhere else that has a lot going on at once. 

39. I don't like Halloween because picking a good costume is too much pressure for me.

40. I had surgery on my foot in 2006 after I dropped a knife on it and refer to the scar as my "Harry Potter" scar because it's zigzagged like a lightning bolt.

41. I've only read one Harry Potter book and that's because I had to when I was in the 8th grade. It was the second one and I was confused and hated it.

42. I always think I want to flip and renovate houses but then feel bothered when I even have to change a light bulb and decide against it.

43. I'm learning that time is infinitely more valuable than money.

44. I have a competitive side that I have to constantly check to avoid sucking the fun out of racing and training.

45. I'm a perfectionist.

46. I used to pretend to be the pink power ranger when I was little and used a hanger as a bow and arrow. It was so freaking fun.

47. I still can't really do a proper pull up. And that's embarrassing.

48. I let people borrow things then forget to ask for them back for years. And by then I'm too embarrassed to ask.

49. I have this really bizarre love for Canada even though I've never been there and random Canadian people and products.

50. I can't think of anything else I'd like to share.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Commit to Fit Week 2 Recap

I didn't think it was possible but the Commit to Fit crew out did themselves and annihilated week 2! Check it out!

A photo posted by Jess (@jessteamawesome) on

A photo posted by KALIWOOD (@kaliwood02) on

A photo posted by Heather Elizabeth Caudill (@phimu822) on

I can't believe this challenge is almost over! Lucky for you, I'll be announcing ANOTHER installment soon!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Undoing the Damage of Sitting...Take Two!

As you know, I'm still spending a large chunk of my time doing this personal training thing and last month I got the chance to teach my first workshop!

Articles are popping up everywhere about the dangers of sitting and some go as far as to say “sitting is the new smoking”. Did you know that even activities like running, cycling and group exercise classes can’t always combat those damages? Your hips, glutes, low back and neck take more of a beating while sitting at a desk looking at a computer, on the couch watching tv or in a chair playing video games than during most any other activity we perform on a daily basis.

The program I put together is called Undoing the Damage of Sitting and the folks at Louisville Strength and Endurance (LSE) were nice enough to host me. I even had my graphic designer put together some advertising pieces and it actually went pretty well.

So well in fact that I've been asked to do it again!

On Wednesday, December 17th I'll be once again teaching Undoing the Damage of Sitting at LSE and by request the time has been pushed to 6:30 pm so everyone can make it even when the work day goes a little long. I also made it easier to register which you can do through my website by selecting "Sitting Damage Workshop" from the pull down menu or send an email to rennay (dot) cooke (at) gmail (dot) com if you'd rather pay via cash or check.

Space is again limited to 10 so sign up fast and learn a few easy moves you can do with your whole office using minimal time and minimal equipment!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Commit to Fit Week One Recap

Happy Monday friends!

Remember the Commit to Fit challenge I talked about not so long ago? If your brain is as cluttered as mine lately you can refresh by reading about it here.

More importantly, everyone is doing awesome! I have to admit I was nervous launching this program for a few reasons. One being "Oh my gosh what if nobody signs up!" and another being "What if they sign up and it sucks!" Luckily so far so good and not only does it not suck but we are actually having a good time.

I don't know how many hours they killed or miles they traveled but I can tell you that the competition has gotten fierce and since they were all so close I decided to give gifts to the top 3 performers for the week instead of just number 1. Hope they all enjoy their Starbucks!

I can't say enough about how great these ladies (yes, all women....where you at men?) are doing and I really hope you'll consider joining us for the next session which will be getting started before we know it! Since they're all really only doing this for the fame, here are a few posts to sum up the week and get the next one started strong! I did however protect some of the names. I'm not looking to get sued or anything ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Scheduling Tips During the Holidays

Thanksgiving may be over but the holiday parties are just beginning. Between friends getting together, the staff holiday gathering and running from store to store for the perfect gifts, it's easy to reach the end of the day feeling unaccomplished and with a missed workout hanging over your head. There is a way to change the expected outcome and it is through using one of my favorite tools, scheduling!

I know my Type B's out there may not love this idea but when it comes to a crazy time of year when obligations are piling up, it's a surefire way to keep it all together and actually enjoy the season. So how can you manage life when it seems to be going in too many directions? Here are 3 tips to successful holiday scheduling that I included in the RCM Training December newsletter.

1. Get a Calendar You Will Use 

If you spend a lot of time on your phone, tablet or computer, buying a planner you have to write in most likely won't do you much good since it will require remembering to actually use it. Especially if you aren't someone who loves using a calendar, an electronic version will cost you little money and is easy to pick back up when needed. I personally love using Google Calendar because it's free, easy and color coordinated. You can decide when and how you'd like to be alerted of events and with as much time as I spend on the computer and mobile, it's an added bonus that it syncs to all of my devices. Some people remember things easier when they write them down. If that sounds like you, grab a cheap calendar or even easier, download and print a calendar template to fill out on your own.

2. Keep it Clean

It's really easy for a calendar to get so cluttered and crazy looking that instead of making you take action it makes you want to give up and lay down for a nap. Trust me, I've done it. We all mean well but sometimes it's so fun to add and color code things that we get a little carried away. Remember, there's no need to write down everything. If there's something you do everyday at the same time (i.e. "Work 8:30-5:30"), you probably don't need to actually write that on a calendar. If you're getting off early one day or going in late, that's another story. But try to keep the calendar entries to special things you may forget about such as a hair appointment, holiday party or one time engagement (pick up cookies for son's class!).

3. Remember Down Time

Try not to schedule yourself to death. I'm notorious for not double-booking myself (thanks to the calendar) but instead over-booking myself. If I have a free half hour here or 45 minutes there I have been known to fill that time in with something. If you're like me, do not do this! A schedule should help you, not hurt you. If you have so many alerts going off that you consider snapping your iPad over your knee, take a timeout and add some white space. In college I even went so far as to schedule an alert to relax. Seems silly, but it helped me feel productive and take some much needed breaks. I'm a big advocate of meditation and even if you aren't and particularly if you feel like you "don't have time" schedule in even 10 minutes a day to just breathe and be you. You'll thank yourself.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Best Tweets of November

I have to admit 2 things. First, my brilliance was suspiciously absent during the month of November for some reason and second, I kind of forgot about this post. There, now I feel better. On with it!

For the record, I did not win.