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The Power of "Yet"

Once upon a time a few years ago, my preschool neighbor was learning to ride a bike.

If you haven’t watched this process, it is hilarious and endearing.

He was 4 years old at the time, but he carried himself with an air of expertise. His loose curls poked through his helmet as he studied the two-wheeled vehicle before him.  He put his hands on the handlebars, swung his leg over the bike and plopped down on the seat. His little shoes found the pedals and he started on his maiden voyage down the driveway, his mom standing to the side.

He was upright for about 3 seconds before he wobbled and fell over. His serious façade cracked and the first tear slid down his cheek. His mom came over, said something to him, and sent him back to try again.

And again.

And again and again until finally, he was getting the hang of it.


So tell me, what do you think his mom said? That since he fell once, he probably shouldn’t try again? That he’d never be able to do it? That it was too risky and he should probably give it up?

If you’re reading this and thinking those options sound ridiculous, that’s because they are. You and I both know it was probably along the lines of to keep going and eventually he’d get it.

Have you found yourself in a similar spot, when you weren’t able to achieve something? What did you say to yourself? Probably something along the lines of “I’m not good enough / I’ll never get it / This is stupid and I’m wasting my time / *insert mopey and possibly self-loathing statement about giving up*.”

When did it become ok to fail and just stop trying? We are SO quick to give up on ourselves. We try it once. When it doesn’t work out, we think that’s it, we can’t do it.

We started putting a period at the end of the phrase “I can’t” instead of a comma and the word “yet”.

When did we stop saying “yet?”

When did we stop seeing ourselves as malleable?

When did it become ok for us to settle for things?

It’s a subtle shift that I think everyone experiences. We look up to our idols as incredible people whom we think we can’t measure up to. We attribute their success to awesome genes and lament the fact that we couldn’t choose our parents. They had more time. They had more money. They went to a better school. They knew the right people. They were in the right place at the right time. Life is inherently unfair, right? This is just another example!

We don’t see the YEARS of work, grinding, discomfort, discouragement, and stumbles. We don’t see the mindset of someone who sees the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that whatever obstacle is in her way will pass. We don’t see that she believed in herself when no one else would.

But you know what the awesome part of all this is?


You, and only you, are responsible for the thoughts that go through your brain. YOU have the power to say, “Hey, I can’t do this now, but if I keep working at it, I’ll get it.

You don’t have to succeed today. You don’t have to succeed tomorrow. Hell, it might take you a year or more to get your goal - I trained for 3 years before I got my first pull up. Yes, 3 years.

Next time you go to the gym and you feel like you’re failing, remember this. Your goal should be to get used to the movement, perfect the technique, and keep progressing. You should be focused on doing the best lift YOU can do, not competing with the person next to you and feeling like you’re never going to get there.

So what if you’re not lifting as heavy as others? I hate to break it to you, but really, no one cares if you can only bench press the bar. As a lifter, I actually respect people more when they know their limits and focus on expanding their own boundaries. If that means starting with the lowest weight possible, so be it. Keep chugging and plugging and before long, you’ll be stronger and lifting more anyway. You just have to give it time.

The key is to never give up.

Don’t close the door on your future success.

Don’t stop saying “yet”.

What’s something that you think you can’t do in the gym? What’s something you can say to encourage yourself to keep it up? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your ideas!



Err on the Side of Success

It’s not very often that I want to jump off a cliff, but sometimes people say things that make me contemplate it.

One of my fitness mademoiselles was texting with me to make sure she was doing things correctly. Long story short, she wasn’t. After explaining what she should do, I received the response, “Eh, screw it, whatever!”

I face-palmed.

Everywhere you look you’re bombarded by ads that say that healthy food is too expensive, too hard to make, too lame, too boring, too inconvenient. And the funny thing is all of those are both completely true and utterly false.

But YOU have to decide which one it is.

If you think it’s too difficult or inconvenient or expensive, it doesn’t have to be. And I’m living proof that it isn’t. But I’m not here to argue against you because we’d be wasting both of our time.

I’m here to represent the people who realize that healthy living doesn’t have to be hard but might not know how to incorporate it into their life. Yes, it will require adjustments, but you and I both know that it’s possible. And not only is it possible, it’s easy, delicious, inexpensive, and, dare I say it, FUN.

I stand for the woman who is taking charge of her life. She realizes she isn’t where she wants to be. But she knows that it’s up to her to make a change. And she knows that taking an attitude of “screw it, whatever!” just doesn’t cut it for her.

She and I have something in common: we err on the side of success.

The phrase “err on the side of caution” is an ok starting point for most when it comes to diet and exercise, but I want to take it a step further.

When you err on the side of caution, you might be hesitant to try something new, thinking that a change may be harmful to the status quo. But if you want to be healthier, OF COURSE YOU WILL HAVE TO CHANGE!!

That’s why erring on the side of caution doesn’t quite do it for me. It lacks the boldness, the vision, the confidence to go out and show the world that you are a force to be reckoned with. It lacks the spirit of adventure and gumption and grace and courage and humility it takes to make a change. And most importantly, it lacks the heart behind knowing you CAN improve to be your best self.

“Whoa there, Gen,” you’re probably thinking. “This isn’t like your usual posts! What’s up?”

In the spirit of full transparency, I’m starting contest prep this upcoming week.

Contest prep, for the unfamiliar, is the process where I get ready for a figure competition. It is a few months long and requires extreme dedication to diet and exercise. Every little bit of sleep, stress, nutrient timing, food composition, and supplement intake matters. In short, basically your entire life gets shifted so you look your best in the show.

When you’re up on stage, every little thing counts. You’re putting your body up for comparison to lots of other women who have been dialing in their lifestyle to present the best package they can. And if they’re doing the details correctly, you’d better bet your ass that I’ll be right alongside them, monitoring everything so that I can bring my best package to the show.

This is where I am erring on the side of success.

There will always be temptation to cheat. There will be birthday parties, bar hopping with friends, invitations to gatherings. And yes, the temptation to say “whatever, one little slice of cake won’t matter!” will definitely come up.

But at those moments, I will remind myself of my commitment to err on the side of success. I’ll remember that this prep isn’t forever and there will be more celebrations later where I can indulge. But for right now, it’s more important for me to feel good onstage and know without a shred of doubt that I did everything I could to succeed. And that slice of cake just isn’t worth it to me.

So when you’re weighing your choices next time, I invite you to stop and think for a second.

Ask yourself, “Will this make it easier or harder to achieve my goals?”

Make the choice that errs on the side of success.

It might not be easy, but I bet it will be worth it.

What are you doing to err on the side of success? Leave a comment below to share your wisdom!



2 Easy Ways to Bulletproof Your New Year's Resolution

Once that magical January 1 date rolls around we KNOW we are going to be good now. We’re going to buckle down and get our priorities straight after six weeks of carefree indulgence. We wake up from the hangover and resolve that we will put our health first again.

Make those resolutions stick with two simple steps I use make my goals bulletproof - now you can own it this year!