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Beautiful Humility (Not)

01/24/2008

Beautiful Readers,

I just submitted my first article to Fitness Magazine, and I am nervous like a schoolgirl (schoolwoman?). Or perhaps, more appropriately, nervous like a fast approaching middle-age (or at 38, perhaps middle-aged already ((What age is middle-aged exactly? Please comment if you know)))single mom with some serious Machiavellian aspirations to a good fitness writing gig.

Denise, the Editor-in-Chief (and client of ours –in case I haven’t mentioned it 1,002 times by now), has not written back yet–and she generally gets back to me with lightening speed. Two whole days of agonizing waiting–so I’m sure, of course, that that means she hates my article. Or maybe she is just so awed by my 800 words of pure magic that she is sitting ,enraptured, at her desk right now just meditating on it’s poignancy and depth. And maybe if I was your typical New York City single guy I’d believe that.

And that’s where we come to the title of this post: Humility. Gotta love it, right? What a likable trait. Like the innocence of childhood. A deep sense of humility can help get you through hard times, yes? I’m here to tell you that I have done some personal research and that I am starting to believe that that all may be bull pucky.

I have really been pondering the humility thing. I am pretty humble, by nature, especially for a New Yorker. I was taught humility as a value by my Midwestern mother. But as I run this business, I increasingly believe that I should just get right over it, and that all the worries that I have that I won’t be as ‘nice’ if I do, are all nonsense. In fact, sometimes I think that if I were more blindly self-assured with slightly less ‘humility’ I might in fact be more charitable and of better service to the people I care about.

I think this may be an issue that many women, in particular, grapple with. It is also interesting how it applies to the business I’m in. Women are often strangely uncomfortable with the idea of spending money to take care of themselves–or sometimes even just with idea of focusing on themselves at all. The ’self-indulgent’ flag seems to pop up a little too quickly, which makes me wonder why.

I have a friend, an editor (no, not Denise), who says that she prefers to hire female writers because, overall, she finds them more honest with themselves about the quality of their writing, and therefore, more willing to edit.

But you know what? The guys are still getting promoted faster. They get fired more often too, sometimes because of their arrogance, but then they typically go on to talk their way into better jobs. So does that mean that the female journalists produce finer, better edited, writing in the end? Maybe. But the moral here seems to be that being conscious of your imperfections (or even the imperfections of your work) generally does not serve as well as blissful ignorance of your shortcomings and thinking that you are the shit. And try as I might, I can’t find many examples where the reverse is true–where you are better off, personally, knowing your limitations.

Unless maybe, if you are on a sports team. Seriously. There, you might actually be applauded for passing the ball to someone better. But that’s the only example I can think of–and even then–who gets the commercial deals in the end?  "Josephine Blow the greatest assessor of lack of ability and passer of the ball in the entire Women’s Soccer League!" is not going to be endorsing your your next generation of i-phone sneakers. Nor getting herself a movie deal. Maybe she’ll get a pat on the back by her teammates. And that’s nice. But when the rounds are being bought, she may well be forgotten. Just some food for thought.

IMPORTANT: Some real food to think about (sorry, couldn’t resist):

In case you haven’t read about it already, it turns out that tuna ( in particular the kind in the sushi you may love most) has really got unacceptably high levels of mercury in it (which is terrible for you even in moderate amounts) so you may not want to go crazy on the Tekkamaki from now on.

Funny, my ex husband ordered some at my daughter’s birthday dinner tonight (even though he had read the articles) and for some reason I did not try to dissuade him. Hmmm…Perhaps if I had more humility…

All the best, and thanks for reading. This one was kinda long, personal, and rambling, like a country song,

Alix – President/Beautiful Fitness

Beautiful Boarding!

01/17/2008

Beautiful Readers,

Well, I don’t want to brag, but I am a damn fine beginner snowboarder. But don’t worry all you jester-hat-wearing 14 year olds of the world–you have nothing to fear just yet. I am merely the queen of the bunny hill at this point, carving perfect turns all over the 20 feet of packed down snow there, as my 9 and 6 year olds whizz past me on their skiis. But I bet I have a more expensive helmet than you do.

Actually, that’s part of my motivation to improve. I stand out like a beacon on the bunny hill. Not because I am so great, nor because I am fast approaching middle age. And it’s not because I still fall off the lift sometimes. I get attention because, in my yuppie fantasy world, dropping big bank on expensive and way-too-good-for-my-ability-level gear  instantly makes me great at snowboarding, or at least inspires some kind of snowboarding mojo that  helps me get down the bunny hill in style.

My Buton Feelgood board, i-pod speaker-equipt hot pink Giro helmet, and turqoise Anon goggles, win admiring glances from all the 20 something lift operators who are serving sushi seven days a week at night just so that someday they can afford my gear. Needless to say, when I fall off the lift, or they see me day after day on the hill called Chickadee, they’re a little disappointed.

I also stand out because I snowboard and my children ski. It all just seems so wrong. Despite my repeated manipulative attempts to convince my children that all of thier peers are right and that snowboarding is cooler than skiing–it is hopeless. My interest in snowboarding has been the kiss of death for all board sports for my children, and my kids refuse to do anything besides ski-they don’t even think skateboarding is cool.

The six year old cried when I told her that I was going to make her spend one day of her life in snowboard school instead of ski school just so that she could decide for herself. No surprise, she decided afterwards that she would never snowboard again and has in a very short time gone on to become a quite good skiier.

So I wil not say that taking up a sport commonly considered part of the ‘whipper snapper’ (and still primarily male) domain is easy. One needs to fight a certain amount of self-consciousness and scrutinizing gaze, but in the end, I have found it’s all worth it, and maybe even a good exercise in not caring what anyone thinks. Snowboarding is totally exhilirating, great for women because loose hips can really help, and thrilling, without requiring a lot of complicated or more expensive equipment (no airplanes, boats, or helicopters), and for me, it’s about as dangerous as I would want without much actual risk beyond fracturing something (which I avoid by wearing a helmet, wrist guards, and special Burton padded butt underwear) And in the end,  it may be that  your average 14 year old may know something about what’s a good safe thrill, and great physical challenge, because they’re thrill seeking mechanism hasn’t been blunted by years of taxes and filling out school forms.

So wish me luck on my next trip which I hope to schedule asap, and I’ll be looking for you on the bunny hill.(Actually next time I really must move on) and feel free to ask me any snowboarding questions you might have…I’ll try to answer them as best I can.

All the best,

Alix/ President Beautiful Fitness

A remarkable instructor and a great self defense move.

01/09/2008

Beautiful Readers,

I hope the New Year is finding you well and energized. I have recently been interviewing a whole host of new personal trainers, and other instructors, and the experience has been very exciting and enlightening. I recently met with a 19 year old two time black belt  in Tae Kwon Do. She amazed me with her poise, focus, and maturity. When I was that age my greatest focus was devoted to which parties might have the cutest boys at them.

But this young lady (who will be teaching at-home self defense for Beautiful Fitness) could not have been taller than 5′2", seemed slightly shy at first, wore a heart shaped necklace, and looked more like a girl I would have guessed as the head of the Hello Kitty Club at school much sooner than someone who could really kick your ass. I love this job.

In our short interview and demo she showed me a series of self defense moves that I really think will prove invaluable if I ever need them. They seemed brilliant. I’ll share them with you.

First-imagine that the attacker has grabbed hold of your shirt or your shoulders (apparently this is a common first attack), you then take hold of their wrists and  pry their hands off of you, then, with your right hand (or left if you are left handed) you punch their left jowl with the palm of your right hand at a diagonal, so that your right hand ends up around their right temple, then, using that same open hand, you scratch both eyes, bringing your hand across their face a second time, so that it now ends up on the left hand side of their face. By now, while they are facing away from you, or trying to recover their vision, you kick hard at their right knee, hoping to put them on the ground and get away.

I realize that this technique is all a little grizzly, particularly the bit about scratching at their eyes–but then this isn’t hopscotch–and if you find yourself, heaven forfend, in a situation where you find this move is appropriate–you may be glad about its ferocity.

On that cheery note–crime is still down in New York, and greater ability to defend yourself should only breed greater confidence. Check out Denise Brodey’s ‘20 minute work out’ blog on Fitness Magazine for some great praise for Beautiful Fitness! Woo hoo!

All the best,

Alix Florio

President/ Beautiful Fitness

Fitness for a new year!

01/01/2008

Beautiful Readers,

In honor of the start of the new year, I have a few new year’s wishes for you all.

1. Forgive yourself for all the resolutions of the past that never came to be. God knows, we tend to be hard enough on ourselves as it is, and frankly, it’s my opinion that that is often why many people do not do the things that will help them reach their goals.

2. If you are trying to improve your diet and exercise habits–start with your mind. Make sure that you truly believe that it’s OK to feel great and look your best. If you are unsure about whether or not you are entitled to be stronger, more attractive, and healthier, think about why you might be afraid to look and feel better than you do now. Afraid of making someone jealous? Concerned that you are being selfish by caring about yourself so much? Forget it. That is all bunk. Trust me, not that naughty inner voice.

Many clients come to us a little uncomfortable with the idea of looking better and taking great care of themselves! It is hard to get in shape if you are punishing yourself by being out-of-shape.  Just remember that there is room on the planet for everyone to succeed and feel good about themselves. You deserve to take the best care of yourself that you can and to pursue that without hesitation. Let yourself go, and, you go girl!

3. Allow yourself to take time to drink enough. People tend not to drink, or feel thirsty, when they’re stressed and busy. And many people are always stressed and busy. You deserve to be properly hydrated.

4. Crying is cool. It releases all kinds of stress hormones for women (not so much for men) Go for it. You may feel much better afterward.

5. Allow and enjoy all of your emotions. Complexity of emotion is part of being human. Don’t be ashamed of any feelings that you have–even if you wouldn’t have picked ‘em, or they don’t seem appropriate for the situation you are in. Just take a breath, love yourself, and sort them out honestly.

and then there’s the usual stuff, treat people well, work out as much as you want to, eat right, and get enough sleep.

Happy New Year everyone! And look for us on Editor-in-Chief, Denise Brodey’s, blog at Fitness Magazine. Hooray! We love Denise!

Yours, Alix

President/Beautiful Fitness