Thursday, February 23, 2012

On faith...

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
    - Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Do you ever think about regret? Regret is borne of guilt for the unaccomplished, helpless or hopeless. We regret because we're ashamed of weakness. We feel weak because we don't believe in ourselves. In the end, we wind up regretting everything that we never accomplished because we carry guilt for never having the faith to jump head first into the impossible.

Others wallow in regret from the shame of failure. Please don't let my weaknesses shine through to the pack! I'll look stupid if I dance like that! I'll never finish a marathon - so why try?

Yesterday I heard of a shocking death of a young man. He wasn't a celebrity or anyone "important." And yet, I heard of this tragedy from not one, but from three people who don't know each other but who each knew and were touched personally by this young man while they were alive.

This young man, at the age of 24, was struck by a train. Did he do something stupid? Yes. He was drinking and hanging out with a buddy on the top of the train car. The train started to move. He fell off. Absolutely tragic.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Transformations through fitness

This week I had the opportunity to speak to an innovative and inspiring woman, Liz Ferro, Founder and Executive Director of local non-profit Girls With Sole.

GWS provides free running shoes, fitness journals and fitness and wellness programs for local abused and at-risk girls ages 9 to 18. Ferro’s vision is to provide these girls a supportive place where they can grow and connect, where their achievements in fitness can empower them to believe in themselves.

This struck a chord with me on a number of levels. I know first hand what the transformative power of fitness can do.

I left an abusive relationship 4 years ago. I was obese, emotionally broken, and at a crossroads in my life where I couldn’t see anything outside of my pain. When I was about to turn 30, I had enough of feeling sorry for myself. I got myself to the gym. I started taking Tae Kwon Do. I set goals that I never thought I could accomplish.

When I crossed my first half-marathon finish line at the Cleveland Marathon last year, I was crying. The last mile of the race my body was breaking down. I spent the last half of the race thinking of all of the reasons why I was there. The pain seared into my ribs. My right arm was alternating between spasms of numbness and pain.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Is Xomba in a death spiral?

Just a couple years ago, I came across a website called Xomba. It was something like social bookmarking meets random web content with a revenue share pay structure. The site had a very crass spammy profile and look but it provided an easy place to bookmark and backlink web content that you had on other sites.

In the "old days," Xomba also had a hopping community with tons of commenting, voting and interaction. It was a really interesting site to network with other writers.

And best of all, Google ate it up. My old content on Xomba used to place consistently in the top few search results and I was momentarily blessed with organic searches to my content on that site.

Today, Xomba has a much cleaner look. It's not spammy, it's snazzy. The site has a really nice flow for generating content and is fairly easy to navigate.

Unfortunately, that's where the positive changes to Xomba end.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

BYOWB at the Grand Canyon

The National Park Service announced a ban on the sale of water bottles in Grand Canyon National Park. Yes, that's right - a ban on water sold in a place where people typically engage in physical activity in hot, dusty, desert conditions.

Why? Why would the government decide that this might be a good idea?

Well, according to the Park Service, about 30 percent of the litter polluting the waste stream at the Grand Canyon comes from plastic bottles. By banning the sale of plastic water bottles the Regional Director that runs the Grand Canyon National Park is hoping to reduce the amount of plastic waste.

Sounds logical, except one little thing...The sale of plastic soda bottles is not subject to the ban. Yes, you read that correctly. We're banning water but still selling soda.

This seemed utterly ridiculous to me. I hope it seems as ludicrous to you. If you're looking for more information on this story and what the Director of the National Park service has to say about this, check out my article on Infobarrel, Grand Canyon Bans Plastic Water Bottles, Soda OK.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The everchanging world of online writing...

Wow. A lot has changed in freelance writing online over the last couple of years.

When I was out of work a couple years ago I dove into writing web content through various websites and I made half-decent money, writing primarily for upfront pay. I put together a few blogs and wrote a few articles on passive revenue share sites, but never really played the revenue share game.

At that time, there were a lot of upfront pay opportunities for web content that paid pretty close to a living wage. Unfortunately, nearly 2 years later, most of those sites (like Demand Studios) dried up as sources of income.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Broken Barbie advises against cardio mistakes

3 weeks ago I jammed my wrist in a sparring match. A week later I twisted my ankle in a cardio class. Stuck on the sidelines with nasty sprains ever since, I've going out of my mind anticipating my liberation room the stationary bike and virtual cardio-atrophy.

This sedentary experience has, however, given me the unique opportunity to observe the life in the gym. Everywhere I look, I see who I used to be - that unfit, awkward, overweight, self-conscious woman muddling through exercises not knowing how to perform them correctly.

Inspired, I scoured YouTube checking out exercise videos to research an article on this topic. Amazingly, it was actually difficult to find trainers on YouTube demonstrating proper technique on even on the most basic cardio exercises.

Why is proper technique on a seemingly self-explanatory piece of cardio equipment important?

Four words: Injury Prevention, Pain Avoidance. Improper exercise technique leads to injuries, weakened joints and back problems.

To see some tips on how to perform common exercises correctly, check out my article on Infobarrel: 10 Common Exercise Mistakes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

And a midlife crisis is born...about this blog

So I turned 30 and the sky didn't open, thunder didn't roll, the world was not engulfed by the hellish flames of Armageddon and my breasts did not fall to my ankles. I was convinced in the months following my 29th birthday that on the day that I turned 30 my life as I knew it would end as I would be compelled to join the legions of bitter old maids who lived and died alone in apartments smelling of PVC sofa covers.

But a funny thing happened in March (of 2010). As I was sitting in my cubicle, festering in the monotony of endless paperwork and thinking about how uncomfortable it is to sit with a roll of fat over my pants, it dawned on me. (It, what it?)

It dawned on me that I have a choice to make, either approach this birthday resigning myself to fade into the twilight of mid-age or wake up and change my life and outlook. Seems like quite a dramatic epiphany to have at the office, but, all the same, there it was.

I watched my father eat himself into diabetes and strokes. I'm watching my brother head down the same path. I looked in the mirror (figuratively) and saw a woman with a 206 pound frame drowning in pre-diabetes and enslaved by an obsession with eating yummy sugary things. (And if you think 206 pounds is big but not too bad, consider that seven years ago I was looking in the mirror to a 250 pound tub.)

Right then, I made a decision. I refused to turn 30 and be fat. I promised myself that by my 30th birthday, that I'd be in the normal weight range for the first time in my life. Now I'm 31 and in the best shape of my life.