We all know someone who really seems to have their stuff together. It's not because they are never in a tough situation, they just seem to know how to handle it better than we would. An example that quickly comes to mind for me is a childhood friend that I knew since kindergarten named Kim. By age nine or ten we were aloud to go to the public pool by ourselves and we loved the freedom that Valley Beach Pool offered. We had a group of between 8-10 kids on any given day that would sit on the lawn under an umbrella together or soak in the sun, and it almost didn't get any better. I really don't remember exactly what happened, but one day we found ourselves in some trouble with one of the lifeguards. I just remember him coming over to our group and he seemed like he was 10 feet tall because he was so intimidating. He stared us down and asked "who threw the ball?" in a voice that would still rattle me if I heard it today. No one moved. We all sat there looking up at him for what seemed like 10 minutes in silence. Finally, my friend Kim spoke up and said "I did it". I'm pretty sure we were all at fault, but Kim had the courage and integrity to stick her neck out for all of us and take the blame. The lifeguard asked her to follow him and we were so nervous that she would be kicked out of our beloved pool for the rest of the summer. I may never know what the lifeguard said to Kim when he pulled her away, or what exactly happened that day (it was 25 years ago), but what I do remember was that Kim had courage and knew how to handle a situation at the age of 9.
With school starting we will most likely run into some sticky situations with parents, teachers, and other kids. There may be something you are confronting right now at work, with a neighbor, a family member or friend. So what if we aren't just "born" with the innate ability to properly handle situations like Kim seemed to be? Hope is not lost for us. We just need to follow a few simple rules and we will be on our way to making better decisions and handling situations more gracefully.
Rule #1: Listen. Try to understand the other persons point of view and put yourself in their position. If you don't know exactly what is going on then ask questions and gather information. Try not to come off in a way that will make the other person defensive. Instead seek to understand. Really go in with the attitude that you want to be as knowledgeable as possible about the situation. Rule #2: Don't be too quick to react. Sometimes it feels good to get that first jab in and it may even momentarily give us a slight advantage, but chances are it's not the right move. Before you pick up the phone to chew someone out or go on the attack give yourself time to calm down and assess the situation. This problem probably took some time to build up and it will also take time to resolve. Don't react too quickly especially if you are angry. Take a walk, exercise, sleep or do whatever it takes to cool down. Rule #3: Create a win-win resolution. This can be the most challenging thing we do when resolving conflict. Let's face it we want to win. If that means the other person loses then it's clear that we succeeded. However, there is a way to win that is not to the other persons detriment and it can really ease tensions in the future with that person. Use your problem-solving skills, get creative and find a way that you can both win in the situation. It may take more time or effort, but there is always a way to create a win-win. Rule #4: Emulate someone who has it together. We can learn so much by watching how others handle situations. We have all seen the mother in the grocery store who is screaming at her kids or even getting physical with them. It's uncomfortable and we know that there is probably a better way to handle the situation. On the flip side, we can probably all think of a person who has handled conflict really well and that should be our focus. What did they do that made things better? How did they carry themselves? What was the resolution? Find these people and adopt some of their techniques.
See how Justin Timberlake handles a fan who "flips him the bird" at one of his concerts. He uses humor to diffuse the situation and easily gets the crowd on his side. What if he would have gotten angry or even humiliated the fan? The whole concert would have had a different dynamic.
With all of this said, it's not about judging others or being overly concerned with how people view you. When you handle a tough situation gracefully you reduce stress in your life and you feel really good about it. We all run into difficult scenarios in our lives and there will be times when we make mistakes and don't handle things very well at all. The situation may continue to rear it's ugly head unless we deal with it. By following the rules above we are better equipped to resolve conflict in a way that will eliminate it for good and make each party better off than they were before. What situations are you dealing with? What are you doing to handle them?
I was doing PiYo Buns the other day with Chalene Johnson (not actually WITH her, but she is the trainer on the DVD!) and she made a comment about legs being the key to your metabolism. So obviously the first thing I wanted to do was research this and read all about it. So here's the skinny on why legs can make you skinny.
The legs which include the gluteus maximus, quadriceps and gastrocnemius (calf muscle) are the largest muscle group in your body. The "glute" or butt is the largest of the three and is also very powerful. This muscle can easily atrophy over time if it is not used. As Americans we sit A LOT, and if you don't move it you will lose it. I just stood up to type because sitting around is not helping my glute! The quadriceps are the 4 huge muscles that comprise the front of your thigh… that’s why this muscle group is called the ‘QUADS’. These muscles also need to be used and active during the day by standing up, squatting and doing lunges. Finally the gastrocnemius or calf is the smallest muscles in the leg group and can be stubborn to build if you weren't born with great calf genetics. There are still things you can do to define this muscle like calf raises and isolation holds on your toes.
So moving on to why this crash course in anatomy is important--each pound of muscle can burn up to 50 calories a day. That's right each pound of muscle (an athlete is around 56% muscle) burns 50 calories a day. If you do that math you quickly realize that this is a lot of calories burned! Since the legs contain the most muscle weight it is a great idea to focus your attention here. Since metabolism is basically the way your body converts food into fuel and the efficiency with which it does this, the muscles in your legs are the key to jump starting the metabolic process. I would always recommend getting your nutrition in order first before starting a workout program because this will give you immediate results and your body will respond to healthy foods in such a way that it will reward you! You will feel better, have more energy, and be happier as a result of clean eating. Instead of focusing on calorie reduction, however, plan on eating plant-based whole foods that will fuel your body. If you have to eat some processed foods, always read the labels. If you don't recognize an ingredient your body won't either. When you are ready to add the fitness component be sure to do resistance training 3-4 times a week to build that all-important muscle and pay special attention to your legs. Resistance training is anything that is strength-building and uses barbells, weights, bands or your own body weight to increase muscle mass. Cardiovascular exercise is great but the calorie burn is over the minute your heart rate goes down. Muscle continues burning calories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. P90X is one of my favorite programs because it really focuses on building muscle and can be done in your own home with minimal equipment. Plus the trainer, Tony Horton, is hysterical and will keep you pressing play throughout the 90-day program. If you're a girl building muscle should not scare you! Women do not have the testosterone levels necessary to pack on tons of mass. You would have to workout for years non-stop and you still wouldn't even get close to looking like a female Incredible Hulk.
Remember, FAT does not BURN calories it STORES them. We all need some fat to cushion our organs, assimilate vitamins and to store energy for when we need it. It's MUSCLE that gives your body shape, definition and burns calories. Muscle is really the only way to maintain long-term weight loss. Build muscle to lose the fat and start today with your legs. After doing some squats and lunges take a minute to love your legs and thank them for allowing you to walk, jump, run and dance!