TADASANA TALKS: FACING FEAR

Founder series: in the face of fear

A speech I gave a few years ago at lululemon...

 I have been so nervous about being the first to speak, but I guess that's pretty ironic isn't it? My name is Katie, owner of Kadi Fit in Cornelius. I grew up right here in Charlotte (crazy I know). My entire family is here cheering me on :) Dance has always been a huge passion of mine. It was something I was born to do, but not necessarily born good at. I was put in dance classes at a later age than most kids, so I was never the best in the class, or close to it, but it really never stopped me. I danced every chance I got. My dream was to one day open a dance studio. I went to App State, took as many dance classes as possible, while majoring in Business with the intention of opening a studio.

Then, upon graduating college, fear stopped me in my tracks. I told myself I didn't have the skill and technique necessary to open a traditional dance school. I feared judgement from any parent putting their kid in my classes. So, I chose the path with the least amount of resistance. I got a desk job in HR. It was a great job. Respectable. I even actually enjoyed it. I told myself I could work in HR for the rest of my life and be totally happy.

But, I was wrong. I was lying to myself. That would not bring happiness. It would bring content. But the only thing in my life that would bring happiness truly would be to dance every day of my life.

It wasn't until after I found Zumba, and began teaching it, that I truly came to that realization. I also realized that dance could be done for the pure joy of it. No "perfect technique" or judgement of how it "should look." It was freeing and liberating. The way dance SHOULD be.

So for a few years I had my HR job and taught Zumba, then Kardio Dance, in the evenings. I then realized, that all of these people taking group exercise at the big gyms, were really only taking the classes. They didn't even use the machines. So why not have a studio just for classes? I began making plans. Time went by and excuse after excuse came as to why to put it off a little longer: I need to build my own client base, pay off debt, save more money, etc.

In the meantime, one of our best friends, Jeff Holt, quit his well-paying "desk job" to pursue photography. He had never taken a class... he simply picked it up, learned as much as he could, and studied under another great photographer. He put himself out there contacting the biggest names in the world commercial photography. People who were doing shoots for Nike, Reebok, Conde Nast, etc. Any "normal" person in his shoes would have said "I'm not qualified to train under these people yet..." And put it off, or never ask. They would have let fear take over. They would never have probably even quit their job. At least until they were "comfortable." But Holt, took a HUGE leap of faith. He may have slept on a few couches, scrounged for an extra dollar every now and then, but he was traveling the WORLD with the biggest names in photography, shooting gorgeous models and meeting amazing people.

One of his measly days visiting his friends in Huntersville, he said "Hey Katie, when are you going to open a studio?" I was pretty much silent. "What's the worst that could happen? You lose your car? Your house?... You'll be ok. You have people who love you. You would never be homeless, or starve." It was then that I realized the WORST that could happen would be to get to the end of my life and never have tried at all.

The outcome has been outstanding! The studio has become greater than I ever imagined. It's a community of amazingly supportive, uplifting people, passionate about life!

So, the first question I think you should ask yourself, is, at the end of your life is there anything you would regret NOT doing? Then recognize that the things you give up probably don't hold candle to that dream... Whether it's a bigger bank account, a car, a house... Let me tell you, I would eat ramen noodles and live in a cardboard box before I would give up the studio.

However, there's also the day to day small accomplishments we miss out on due to fear. Whether it's a box jump, dancing in a big group class, meeting some really extraordinary people...  And here's what I've come to realize, by bigging deeper into myself, and also watching others...

I believe what we fear the most in life is judgement. We are scared to look foolish, or "fail". But this thought is absolutely backwards. Because what we do when we face our fears is INSPIRE others.

When I opened the studio I thought the purpose was to inspire the average person to dance and be fit. What I found is that the REAL reason people were coming (or came back) was because of my story. They saw someone who challenged the status quo, took a bold leap of faith, and was living her dreams. They hoped that by simply being surrounded by that, that maybe it would be the trigger to do the same in their own life.

So, backing up to fear stopping me from opening the studio out of college... What stopped me was a fear of judgement of others that I wasn't good enough. In reality I was the only one judging myself. But, when I figured that out, and let go of my own judgement, I found the most amazing life!

The last thing I'm going to leave you with is something I've been telling my members over and over recently: People tell me every day "I'm not a dancer, or I'm not coordinated." But once they realize that no one in the class is judging them but themself, and they find a way to let go of their own judgement, and let themselves be free in their movement and in the music, they become a dancer... because isn't that all that dance really is anyway?"

Think about it... the truly greatest moments of your life were probably things you once feared...

'TAWBA WALK

Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them. -W. Clement Stone Growing up in the city of Charlotte, I was never attracted to the thought of living in a small town. It sounded dull and lacking excitement and culture. But, the more time I spend in the small downtown community of Cornelius, the more I adore it. And surprisingly, it doesn't lack inspiration at all; the area has character, tons of artists, amazing culture, and that's what keeps the intrigue.

There's a close group of locally owned businesses, all within a few blocks of each other, that create the passion it embodies. Small business owners are often the most creative, passionate heartfelt artists in the game. It takes total self-sacrifice and belief in your trade, to make it on your own. We've built a camaraderie, typically upon seeing each other at Gabi's Coffee. (Gabi's is not your normal Starbucks or other place where you get your coffee, keep your head down, and jet out, to your next appointment. All the people in the community come, know each others names, and truly don't know a stranger). It's the perfect start to your day to get a smile and a cheers from friends who are all interested in, and support what you have going on. Those mornings inspire the local business owners to take on their day with purpose and vigor!

For awhile now, it has been obvious to Bella Love, another Downtown Cornelius business, and myself, that this community had all of the makings of an arts district. There are dozens of fantastic artists hidden right in the area, as well as hip, cultural people yearning for a local hangout. We knew that we had all the pieces to make it a "Noda-esque" spot, it was just up to us to put it together. And, once we started working with the Town of Cornelius on the 'Tawba Walk Art Crawl, we realized just how much the businesses, (from Bella Love Studios, to the Olive Branch, Bebe Gallini's, Just Baked, and even Town Hall), were the perfect fit.

With the help of an insanely talented group of friends, willing to give blood sweat and tears for a full week, we were able to launch "Unit 2", kadi's gallery/event space the evening of the crawl. Taking into account the work on the space, combined with months of planning just the right artists and performers for the event, I had high expectations of what the event should be. Immense excitement led up to the last hour, and, as the people came in, and madness began, my expectations were surprisingly, exceeded!

As the quote says, we are all molded and shaped by our environment, and our closest friends. "We are the average of the people, and places, we hang out with most." It's the reason we (kadi) spent 20 hour days working to not just throw a space together, but to perfect it's feel and intent. And, it's the reason that I am more than thrilled to be surrounded, on a daily basis, by local artists, creatives, and friends, who are capable of this...:

INSPIRING NEW SPACE (Art by Paul Farmer)

SOULFUL MUSIC by Dave and Arsena

GOURMET FOOD by Eric

KADI KIDS HIP HOP CREW (with Roddy Roo)

TRON AND HIS BREAKDANCE CREW

LIVE GRAFFITI by Joe Dobson and Zach Phillips

AND FANTASTIC VENDORS (Including: A Touch of Whitney and Jelbel)...

Missed any of the amazing shopping? Join us for the 2nd Tawba Walk ... December 2nd 1-4pm- Just in time for the holidays!

More photos of the event from: Dani Angell (password "passion"), and Joy Wall Photography

T-HOUGH TITANIUM

I awoke this morning with what seemed to be two pressing issues on my heart. The first thought being what to choreograph for the Tween class. Recently, I have felt as though I should be giving them something more. I see myself in many of them. The pure passion of dance, and the yearning for growth. The second, Hough High. Those who live around Lake Norman know, that Hough High has gone through tragedy. Not once, not twice, but now a third time in less than two years. We hear about bullying, and see it as a hot topic, but here, it's hit home, and struck heart strings.

My two questions, as I'm sure are the same as thousands of you, 1. What is being done? and 2. What can I do?

I don't know about you, but quite often I go searching for answers, and they come and hit me in the face. After yesterday, and this morning, it couldn't be more clear... Yesterday morning I had a discussion with a couple of the other instructors at kadi, about those two pressing questions. I knew in order to get the answer, we needed an inside eye, but didn't know who, and didn't even get a chance to ask before receiving an email, from a member of the studio. She sent it regarding her opportunity to volunteer in return for a membership. She has been unemployed for awhile now, all the while, taking her passion for the community, and volunteering with several organizations. She has students at Hough High, and worked closely with the Band Booster club. In the wake of recent tragedy, she is working on getting her masters in Education for school counseling. I told her my recent thoughts, and started asking questions... Her response was that those emails were not coincidence, we were brought together for a reason. That day, it turns out, was National Suicide Prevention Day.

Back to this morning.

I awoke earlier than needed. First things first (because I have to have a new dance for the Tween class by today). What song do I use?

I consulted my list of requests from the kids with serious doubt. I expected none to be fitting of the kind of genre, and kind of passion I was looking for.

I got to Emylee's request: Titanium. What is that song? As soon as I heard it, I knew... It wasn't coincidence.

You shout it loud, but I can't hear a word you say. I'm talking loud, not saying much. I'm criticized, but all your bullets ricochet you shoot me down, but I get up.

My greatest objective has always been, above all else, to teach kids that we are all different, and unique, and to embrace all people, including yourself. You'll have trials, and fears, and moments of weakness. Dance is your outlet. It's a place of release and expression. All the while, it's a place to build confidence. Just like people, no two dances are the same. You may feel silly, and awkward as your learning and growing, but eventually you find beauty in every move.

Someday soon, the answer to how kadi can help Hough High will be clear. Today, I start with a group of kids a few years younger. The Hough High of tomorrow.

IMAGINATION TO FRUITION

Your imagination is a preview of life's coming attractions. -Albert Einstein

I have a pretty wild imagination sometimes, which can be a blessing and a curse. Without it, everything that I seek out to do would be ordinary. However, having it, can also cause overwhelming frustration. The hardest part of having an idea, is knowing the steps to get there, and having the resources needed to accomplish it.

Do you ever feel like you should stop telling people about all of your fantastic visions because people will stop believing that any of them will ever happen? It's like the boy who cried wolf, but with grand ideas. I bet you even know someone who does this and they immediately came to mind when you read that.

But, the only thing that doubt will get you is a stale and underwhelming life. Your imagination is stellar! Make this the day you focus on execution, you'll be a genius for putting the ideas to fruition, and all the haters will wish they drank the cool-aid.

So, if:

A= AWESOME IDEA

B= PLANNING AND EXECUTION

C= FANTASTIC END RESULT

Then I don't know about you, but B is the part that causes a lump of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I'm totally full of A's, but seriously lacking in the B department, and therefore have very few C's. Don't get me wrong, there are amazing things that I (with the help of other talented individuals) have accomplished. But, if I didn't have such a fear of B, then what more epic accomplishments could I have had?

Don't be paralyzed by the unknown.

BECOME AN EXECUTOR:

B1. Create a timeline IMMEDIATELY. Often, when an amazing idea comes to me, I get all stoked and fired up, tell a few people, and then leave the planning for tomorrow. And that's exactly where I fall off...

In reality, when you don't plan the major right away, the "honeymoon" excitement will pass. Then, tomorrow when the "oh crap" moment of doubt arises, you'll get overwhelmed and what could have been a Pulitzer Prize winning operation never comes to fruition. It's not necessary to get ALL of the details immediately. However, with a timeline of major tasks to be completed, and an idea of who to involve, it is much more likely you will accomplish C.

Which leads us to step 2:

B2. Share your idea with those who are EXTRAORDINARILY gifted, and allow them to help you. If you put talents together, like the LXD, something that was great, can become epic! One of the most daunting parts of having a grand idea is feeling like you need all the answers. We aren't all experts in everything, and we shouldn't pretend to be. Like the creator of the LXD. He didn't need to be a dancer, or know a lick about dance, to fabricate a genius concept. Believe it or not, all amazing inventions, even the light bulb, were created by an amazing team, not an individual. (Ahh...  sigh of relief).

Your core group can also help with one more important lesson, ORIGINALITY. Inspiration should be a spark to a totally new idea, not finding something cool to replicate. Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful tools to inspire, but just remember, be yourself. Be original and genuine to every project, big or small. If an idea feels all to familiar, your extraordinarily talented cohorts could have the key to making it totally fresh.

On the other hand, you could have a fear of NOT being good enough... Don't forget, online personalities are not real. Let them inspire not discourage. There are several blogs and people that I follow online with alluring lifestyles. Constant travel to eclectic lands, gorgeous homes, thrilling careers, and flawless style, often make me feel lackluster in my own life. Never forget, they only allow you to see what they want you to see. We are all human. So don't forget, you are just as amazing as any other broad on the internet! Utilize your flaws or quirks to your advantage in being unique and endearing.

B3. Agree on the deadlines and hold each other accountable. Period. Don't forget, you WILL encounter hiccups, but it's those who persevere who succeed. I think about these street performers and the crazy tricks they do. It must have taken dozens, or even hundreds of tries before they were able to land them. We are all capable of them, but they are the ones who had the gut and drive to prove the impossible possible. That's what makes them extraordinary. Not the trick they can do.

Once you get going on these steps, the overwhelming and daunting project that lies ahead, will become simple and manageable. When you were once known as the "Boy Who Cried I HAVE THIS AWESOME IDEA" with no follow-through, will become the new EXTRAORDINARY.

Make today amazing, TODAY!

Katie

A STYLE OF RECKLESS ABANDON

What I am about to tell you, I almost feel like a total hypocrite for admitting...Promise Tangeman is one of the only blogs I follow religiously. Any time I feel like I need a dose of an edgy yet gorgeous style, I hit up her site. I am enthralled by the way she makes messy hair look effortless, and her ability to make bold statements with her "rocker-sleek" style... I find myself adoring it to the point that I wish I could not only put it together, but pull it off like she does. Then one day, as if she was aware that she has a groupie who gobbles up her every word... She wrote this:

It opened my eyes to realize realize, if I were bolder with what I love, I can be JUST as rad, and it will be all my own. Truly, all it takes is a little guts. Let's face it, most of what I'm attracted to about it, is that it's offbeat, and gritty. She doesn't wake up in the morning, tease her hair, and think, is this too big? Will people think it's silly? NO. She probably says, I love it! ... and moves on.

So, I decided it's time to take the things I love, but may have a twinge of fear to rock out, and go into my style with reckless abandon.

MY RECKLESS ABANDON (with my newfound confidence, I have no fear to rock)...

Why do I feel like a hypocrite? Because I preach every day about letting go being bold. Before every class, I tell people that the bigger, and freer they dance, without worrying about how they look, the more they will gain. Instead of being judged for looking silly, those around you are inspired by your ability to be yourself, and find freedom in it.

THINGS YOU SHOULD TRY (that we have tried and <3)...

Every once in awhile I put out what we call an ā PLUS list of stuff we are really diggin' right now.

Studio Passion Playlist on spotify (Insider info: Looking for the playlists we use in class? Follow "Katie Farmer Dixon" on spotify!) lululemon's studio pant: Looking stylish totally makes your moves better. And these pants give you room to shake it, without showin' the jiggle. Cameo Lover-Kimbra Moleskins Breakin' Trucker Hats (cause let's face it... hip hop is much cooler if you look like a badass)

What things have you tried, that were a step out of your comfort zone, as far as style, or ability? Or, what would you try, if you were able to let go of the inhibition?

Keep the Passion, Katie

BE BIG. THINK SMALL.

The more I examine and explore business and marketing, the more I am enthralled by the entrepreneurs and corporations who "think differently." Pun intended. This past Saturday I had the immeasurable pleasure of leading a Boga class at lululemon Southpark. If you don't know what lululemon ahtletica is, it's time you get in the know, because they are reinventing fitness apparel as we know it. No longer is there a separation between the local community and the product. Lululemon has found a way to connect an international brand with people on a very personal level, making it feel as if it were a unique boutique. Each store has a connection with locally run gyms and fitness studios, and supports and highlights their individual attributes.

All of the employees at lululemon have constant contact and personalization with local athletes. They show love and support at community events. They attend races with beautifully made signs to cheer on runners, and attend classes in the area to support all people and their love for exercise.

The store manager, Lauren, told us on Saturday that each of the employees treat the store as if it were their own. They have the ability to change any display or setup as they please. They write beautiful messages and words of inspiration on the chalkboard walls, and truly live out the brand.

I've worked in retail, both for a large corporation and for a locally run shop. The store that rhymes with "Mabercrombie and Ditch" (don't judge), included a daily checklist of what to do (including spraying the dress forms with cologne), precisely how to fold, where to stand in the store, and exact pictures of the displays in which one specific person was allowed to duplicate for that location. We were expected to adhere to a dresscode that was only specific colors, jeans, and flip flops (even in the winter). The other extreme, a small snowboard shop in Boone, was one of my favorite jobs ever. It was ALL about the culture of the place. There was a halfpipe out back that the skate kids came to play on, and we had free season passes to ride at App Ski Mountain. You could wear whatever you wanted... the more off the wall and rebellious, the better.

Once a retail company becomes a chain, dress codes are rendered, and all true "style" lost and personal touch lost. Style is about creativity, self-expression, and love for the small things that surround you. So lululemon has rendered the best of both worlds, focusing on the small, to create something huge! I mean what other retail space do you know of that does in-store classes?

Many thanks to lululemon Southpark for allowing kadi to be a small part of a huge idea!

Keep the Passion, Katie

OlD town CORNELIUS: THE NEW ARTS DISTRICT

If you live in an area lacking arts and culture, and are tired of the same old hangouts, can I get an "amen?" I think it's safe to say that most of us around the Lake Norman area make the trek down to Noda or South End when we're in need of a good time. So, when I was approached by my peeps from Bella Love about teaming up in an initiative to turn Downtown Cornelius into the Arts District, I was more than stoked! The more we hashed, the more we realized there are dozens of local creatives right up here around LKN. We are definitely not lacking in cool kids. The reason we have only a small amount of live music, art, and culture, is because we weren't creating the environment for it. So, we've started an awesome weekly event called "Creative Collaborative," and it's as if we've woken an army from hibernation. They are all totally stoked to have a place, right in their own neighborhood, to get together and create! And, the best part is, even those who think they have little to no creative talents, have enjoyed in the experience just as much as we have. All you really need is an appreciation for what's different and exciting. "It's where adults go to play."

SO, Katie, you speak of this awesome local talent... Who the heck are they?

I'm so glad you asked! Here's couple peeps dwelling right here in Cornelius that I'm gonna feature today:

Joe Dobson and Marissa Cohen (the talented street artists who did the stellar mural at the studio, refer to time lapse video above and rad art below).


Growing the area into an Arts District is something that we hope comes to fruition organically. Once it's recognized as so, amazing local talent will naturally gravitate toward it, and the opportunities are endless! The feel of Downtown Cornelius, with its stellar small businesses and funky buildings, (especially the Mill, if I do say so myself), combined with artists, constant pedestrians and people with a love for culture, is something to me, that would truly spark my soul.

The Arts District concept may not happen to its fullest potential overnight, but until then the Creative Collaborative, on Thursday nights, is enough to satisfy. It sort of reminds me of an underground club. Only the coolest of the cool get to come... and if you read my blog, you can consider yourself just that.

WHAT: Creative Collaborative WHO: You WHEN: Thursdays 9pm-midnight WHY: It's like therapy. Your soul needs it. RSVP here

Keep the Passion, Katie

100% RESPONSIBILITY

fullsize-holstee-manifesto
fullsize-holstee-manifesto

The past few days I've found myself waking up in an ill mood. Immediately I am irritated by: the tightness I feel in my body, the fact I have to get out of bed, the tasks lingering over my head, and problems to solve, which makes the day appear daunting, and my mood bitter.

This morning it dawned on me that I needed to take control of the situation. My biggest pet peeve is when people play victim, or make excuses. If you don't like something, change it, and quit blaming people or situations for your lack of results.

As a fitness trainer, I hear, and see, dozens of excuses every day. It sounds weird, but so often the excuses come in the look on people's faces, or body language, when they think they can't do something. And, to be totally honest, I often want to scream and say STOP IT. DO IT. QUIT COMPLAINING. YOU'RE STRONGER THAN THAT! That's why the manifesto poster above is so powerful. It isn't frilly and sweet, it's totally blunt. You don't like it? Change it.

So I realized it's time for me to "STOP IT. DO IT. QUIT COMPLAINING..." So, it's time I do something. Step 1: Change my attitude. If I look at my day with a positive attitude: I'M STRONGER THAN THAT, and have the opportunity to solve a few problems to make the studio more amazing, I'm immediately changing the likelihood that I get a positive outcome.

Step 2: Take action TODAY. My body hurts- How do I fix that? Find all possible solutions, and do it. Yoga starts at 9:30. It is currently 8:41. I could make the excuse that I have a blog to post, or other work to get done. Or that I do 17 fitness classes a week, so I can't do anything about the fact I have aches and pains. Or, I could recognize that I have 100% control over whether or not my body heals, put the computer down, get dressed, and go to yoga, followed by therapy.

It is now a day later that I continue this, because yesterday, I continued to take control. I tackled the problems I had full-on. And, you know what, none of it is ever actually as hard as we make it out to be in our head. My day ended with complete resolution and accomplishment. That should be the end to EVERY day!

I know what you're thinking... But Katie, it's truly not my fault that ____ is happening to me! Well, lets tackle two major excuses head on, that I think we ALL face:

I. TIME: I don't know about you, but my BIGGEST excuse for lack of follow-through is time. Sure, it may be true, because I honestly do often work 12-18 hour days (I'm not complaining, though, because I do what I love). However, if there's something that I have neglected, or continue to complain about not accomplishing, then maybe I should re-prioritize (or quit complaining). Am I truly using ALL of my time to it's fullest potential? If you're like me, and you're totally honest with yourself, and you restructured your schedule, you could be very much more efficient and productive. There may be a few things throughout your day that you could cut back on: Social media, television, your cell phone, random chatter with co-workers, words with friends, sleep. My lack of efficiency is really odd... Often as I am working throughout my day, I continuously find reasons to get up: I need more water, coffee or snacks, to change the music, sweep the floor, or send a few texts. All of those things are ok things to do, however, if I am continuously stopping what I am doing to do one, it's only going to take longer. If I would push myself to stay on task, the other things can be done later, all at once, and I won't spend two hours on something that should only take one.

Or, if you are truly productive and efficient, but still don't have time to accomplish a single other task that may have been weighing over your head, it's time to let something go. You're a "yes" person who has taken on a mountain of activities. It's time to be honest about what's truly valuable to you. Give up the extra. They may be good-hearted endeavors, but in reality, time is limited, so something else in your life is suffering because of it.

You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it. Charles Buxton

II. HEALTH: If you are unhappy with your body, you're probably one of two types of people- 1. You are lazy and make excuses. You blame it on lack of time (see above), injuries, inabilities, age, being a mom, pregnant, money, etc. But, face it, you're just lazy. There isn't a single excuse that I just named, that can keep you from being active or eating well. Death is the only thing which can separate you.

2. You workout and eat well but just can't seem to get where you want to get. You probably have hit a plateau. Bottom line: Try harder.

Recently I have been complaining to Mike about gaining weight. It's really just a few pounds, but you know how us women are. I have my typical excuses, "I workout all the time, I should be able to eat anything I want." Or, "I eat Paleo, but it's not working." But, am I TRULY being honest?? I have been cheating pretty much every Thursday-Sunday at least. That's 4 out of 7 days of the week, which is not even half of the week! Do I exercise a lot? Yes. But, the difference in those who exercise and eat crap, and those who exercise and eat clean, is the difference in a bulky person and a slim and toned person.

To get results, you must in the mind-set to become BETTER. It sounds so simple, but be 100% honest- Do you go through the motions of the workout, or do you truly strive to truly work harder than yesterday? I VERY often see people come, and make amazing strides in the first month, then stay at a constant pace for months. They are just going through the motions and then wonder why nothing else is happening. WORK HARDER. Be better than you were yesterday.

III. EVENTS: We often don't have control over specific events around us. But, we have perfect control over the outcome of the events we are dealt. I've been reading a book "The Success Principles", by Jack Canfield, and it gave me a huge "aha moment!"

Events (what happens to you) + Response (how you handle it)= Outcomes

People who don't take 100% responsibility, only see the two sides of the equation. They believe that with an event, comes an outcome. In reality, the way they respond to the event, can lead to a more desirable outcome.

E+R=O Event: Traffic Jam on 77 this morning +Response 1: You left the house with just the amount of time it normally takes to get to the office. You come to a dead stop and immediately start to become irritated and impatient. You curse the fools who can't drive, and the onlookers for slowing it up even more, making you that much more late. = Outcome 1: You are late. You get to the office frazzled and frantic, and apologize to your boss because "traffic was awful!" You are now in a bad mood for the remainder of the day. To top it off, your boss is peeved and gives you more work and grief.

Event: (same as above) +Response 2: You leave the house 15 minutes earlier than needed, as you always do in case there's a wreck. Traffic slows so yo decide to pop in your motivational CD about being driven for success, giving you a sense of total rejuvenation! =Outcome 2: You get to work on time, motivated to take on new projects, and ideas. You impress your boss with the drive you show that day, (which contributes to the promotion you receive next week). And, you quietly laugh at your co-worker who came in frazzled and ill because "traffic was awful!"

So, before I yell at you, or myself, for the excuses we are creating, and blame we are placing on others, just take control. God gave you an amazing life (event), in which you are responsible for the outcome. Respond with nothing but ACTION!

Make today amazing, Katie

GET UNCOMFORTABLE

You probably wake up every day doing the same things... We all have a routine. We do the same tasks, engage in conversation with the same people, go to the same places, and take the same routes to our destinations, day in and day out.

We do this because being comfortable is warm and cozy. Doing the things we have done over and over are safe. We become experts at the process, always knowing what to expect, and therefore, leave little room for mistakes.

But, at the end of our life, will we remember the 100th time we stepped foot in our favorite restaurant? No. But, we would remember is the first time we packed up Fido and took him to the dog bar.

Will we remember the 569th day at the office? Probably not. But, we will always remember the day we made the trek to the VP's office to give notice that we are venturing on our own career path, all the while mumbling "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I should fear no evil," only to receive nothing but warm wishes.

We probably wont remember the 45th time we asked our friend at the studio how their weekend was. But, we will forever remember the first time we introduced ourself to Jacquelyn, who we then learn is a breast cancer survivor, and this is her first day back in an exercise class.

...

I've always loved the thought of being a gypsy. To me, they live the fullest life possible. They are constantly subjecting themselves to new experiences without an ounce of fear.

There's nothing wrong with routines. It's beautiful to have a few nostalgias in life. Sometimes that feeling is unbeatable. But, too much of a routine, is living a "safe life." Have any of your craziest life experiences come from doing something safe?

You may not think of your daily routine as a burden. But, it's holding you captive in a stale and stagnant life. What may be a comfortable cubicle, or a perfectly manicured home to you, is really chains to a drab and monotonous cycle you could end up living year, after year.

Become a gypsy at heart. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Then, tell me about it... Feedback from you is far from monotonous!

Katie

THE "YOU" DIET

After watching something this morning on Good Morning America about the "Manhattan Diet", it got me thinking about how many fad diets there are. Even the ones that are supposedly not "Fad" diets, and say they are a lifestyle, and yada yada... Really are just fad diets. They may be a great lifestyle to have, but the likelihood that you will stick to them for a lifetime, is highly unlikely.

But, if you're creating a healthy lifestyle based on "YOU" and living life loudly, and beautifully, then how could that ever go out of style?

Introducing the "YOU" Diet:

YSay "YES" to all things new (as long as they can bring positive change). Paddleboarding, karate, mountain biking, yoga... Be fierce and fear-LESS! Just because you've never tried it, doesn't mean you're not capable of it. Or, on a simpler level: Find a new route to take on your walks, check out an antique mall to walk a mile in, or even sport new workout attire that makes you feel bolder!

OBe Outrageous! Stop Caring About what Others Think, and just be YOURSELF. Embrace your individuality. Those who have confidence in what they do, burn more calories. Why? Their motions are bigger!

"Wave your hands like you just don't care." -When your arms are above your heart, your heart rate is higher. "Jump for Joy" -Plyometrics works! It is proven to develop muscle power, enhance your calorie burn, and increases your endurance. "Friendly Competition"- Bring a friend you're comfortable with, and find who can be the most fierce! Flying solo? Pick one person who's slightly more advanced than you in fitness. Try to keep up for the day (they don't have to know... But, if you tell them after, it's a MAJOR compliment.

UUtilize what's around you. Live locally, eat locally, love locally.

*Attend festivals, cultural events, and open your eyes to others. *Eat food that's grown and raised right around you: whole foods from the earth, or farm raised. (Especially if that means planting your own garden, or going to the Farmer's Market). *...When you are visiting other places, do the same. *Be present and aware of what's right in front of you, in the moment. Embrace anything new and different because it's bringing depth to your life and soul.

Love YOUrself more than the processed foods. Love YOUrself more than the couch (or any material possessions, especially ones which enable laziness). Love YOUrself more than the relationships that bring you down. Love YOUrself more than the person beside you who may (or may not) be judging you.

Love Wins, so Love YOU (and that will be the only diet you'll never lose), Katie

ARTISTS OF LIFE

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." Artists have always had such an appeal to me. People labeled as an "artist", somehow receive an unspoken, free pass to be quirky, independent, and carefree, without judgement. It's something that those who aren't viewed as "artists" would be considered weird or crazy for, and would never get away with. Whenever I would meet an artist, who looked and acted outside the box, without a care in the world, I always felt a small twinge of jealousy.

I always wanted that label, to have the ability to wear, write, or do anything as I please, just for me... Without judgement, or questioning.

It wasn't until the past year or so, that I've realized, I AM an artist. But it's not because I now have a studio with gorgeous art pieces, that I choreograph dances, and write blog posts. It's because I have a new understading of life; that we are ALL meant to be artists, but only some of us have allowed that state of mind.

I know what you're thinking: I am not creative, and horribly challenged at anything involving brushes, paints, music, etc.

Here's what you now should be thinking: I am an artist of my LIFE. I am meant to create things: Situations, discussions, projects within a career or hobby, and even my own style.

When we, as people, are not individually creating these things in our life, that means we are constantly mimicking others. We are all becoming carbon copies of one another, and not achieveing what we truly desire within.

IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE YOU ARE AN ARTIST

SURROUNDINGS: Environment is everything. If your surroundings are bleak and meaningless, what do you think your life will be like? Why do we pick certain coffee shops, or restaurants to do work and have meetings? Typically because it lifts our moods, and fires our ambitions, in the hopes of excelling.

Too often we end up with homes and offices that look like a catalog. I don't know about you, but it's the times I go into places and witness pieces of someone's character, that I'm truly impressed by it's design.

STYLE: Every morning, as you wake up and face your closet, consider yourself a blank canvas. The items you put together should be a reflection of you. If you're nervous about doing so, and being bold, start small. Put on at least one item each day that makes you happy. Then, each time you see your reflection you will be inspired, and reminded that you are an artist, in the midst of creating your life.

SITUATIONS: If there are things you want for your life, don't sit and dwell on them, or worry about what others will think. Constantly create discussions and situations, and believe me, you will begin to find the outcomes you deserve.

CAREER: If the thing that really pushes you in your career is money, than maybe that's the outcome you're looking for. Don't get me wrong, I believe money can be good, but often we focus on it to a place where it's not. Matt Dawson, touched on this at Journey on Sunday... He said, "What if the purpose of our job wasn't money, but that we have a purpose that it matters, and give our work meaning and life. What would our lives look like then?... Create YOUR amazing life. People are not supposed to be perpetually unsatisfied, which is what we have become."

Think about it, artists are always working toward beautiful purpose. And, more often than not, they have a colorful, bold, meaningful life. So, I challenge you, no matter what your title, at work or at home, always find yourself creating your OWN life.

Now, that I have self proclaimed myself as an "artist" I thoroughly enjoy my free pass. Sometimes, when people make comments, and are judging my funky clothes, or carefree spirit, I have a small twinge of resentment. Will it stop me?... hell no! But, I guess that means I have to work on the "carefree" part.

Keep the Passion, Katie

MIKE'S STORY

THIS IS MIKE'S STORY...

I grew up just like any normal kid.  I started playing sports the day I took my first step. Throughout my childhood I dabbled in baseball, basketball, and soccer.  Finally I decided on soccer as the sport to dedicate most of my time and efforts. Although I was a very active kid, I wouldn’t have considered myself living a healthy lifestyle.  I absolutely loved junk foods and soft drinks, sometimes a little too much.  Cheerwine and Mountain Dew were in a tight battle for first place in my heart.  In addition to my consumption of sugary liquids, I wasn’t the healthiest of eaters.  I wasn’t a huge fan of vegetables.  I was the “would you like some lettuce with that ranch dressing” guy.  In my defense, who really LIKES vegetables?

One of the main reasons for my lifestyle transformation was due to some health problems.  I know there are a lot of people in this world that are by far worse off than I am, but I’m speaking to the average/normal person out there.  I have always suffered from headaches.  In high school and college I averaged 2-3 headaches per week (non-alcohol related) with the occasional migraine totally knocking me out.  At times, I had headaches that would last several days and made me physically ill.  After college I continued to have these headaches, as well as persistent heartburn.

Over the years, my heartburn got worse, and I was suffering from it 3-4 times per week.  I was prescribed numerous medications (nexium, pepcid, etc.) which only masked my problems.  These meds were by no means a cure.  Last January my heartburn got to the point where I was actually throwing up from the discomfort.  I finally went to a gastroenterologist to get checked out.  During this appointment, the doctor gave me 3 possible reasons for the issues I was experiencing:  GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcers, or cancer.  No one wants to hear that last one.  Needless to say, that put a pretty big scare in me.  Side note: the first 2, if not treated, can lead to cancer.

Over the next few weeks, I refrained from alcohol consumption and processed foods.  I maintained a strict diet of whole foods and only drank water.  One evening during Primal at Kadi, I was talking with Dr. John Bartemus about my new diet.  He told me that what I was doing is this thing called Paleo.  Dr. B recommended Robb Wolf's book, The Paleo Solution.  I went out and bought the book the next day and read it in a week.  For those of you that know me, reading a book in a week is an amazing feat.  The book is a wealth of knowledge on Paleo and I highly recommend it to anyone reading this and is interested in the Paleo Diet.

After a month of eating whole foods, Katie and I had to get physicals in order to get life insurance.  In just a few short weeks I had lost 12 pounds and my blood pressure had dropped to normal levels (122/83) from borderline hypertension (145/92).  Cholesterol levels had also dropped significantly.  Needless to say I was a believer in this Paleo lifestyle.

I've continued to eat Paleo over the past year.  Since making this change in my eating habits, my headaches have become non-existent and I have not had one single bout of heartburn.  I truly believe eliminating the so-called "healthy" grains, processed foods, and dairy from my diet has changed my life for the better.  I have more energy than I ever did before and I feel stronger.  I would also like to add that I'm not perfect. I personally shoot for an 80/20 mix now.  I'm definitely more in tune to my body and how food effects me.  I know when I've been cheating a little too much.

At Kadi we want our community to live long, healthy, energized lives.

But for now, I'll leave you with a quote from an ancient greek physician.

"Let thy medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine." - Hippocrates

 

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT

FOUNDER SERIES: PERFECTLY IMPERFECT

Several months ago, after one of my favorite Friday morning Kardio Dance classes, Terri Piselli came up to talk to me. She said she was sorry she had to miss class the week before, but her father had passed away. And, she said, "I wanted to tell you about one of the last conversations I had with him in the hospital... I was telling him about this new place that I had joined, how amazing it is, and how wonderful it makes me feel. I get to dance and exercise, and have an absolute blast. I told him that often, though, I feel really silly trying to keep up with the moves, but I know it's all just for fun, so I keep doing it anyway. Then, my dad stopped me, and grabbed my hand, and he said, Terri, you're perfectly imperfect!" This story has stuck with me now for several months, because how Terri feels about her dancing, is something I relate to on a daily basis. Although, dancing is one of my strong suits, the simpler activities in life, such as: walking, talking, and eating... Leave me feeling like a clumsy, scatterbrained mess. And no, this isn't me just being hard on myself, my friends will vouch for it. I'm a space cadet.

The more I mess up, spill things, and forget what I'm doing, the more I get frustrated, and wish that I weren't that way. It would be so much better if I were organized, and always "put together." I am sure if I had less responsibilities, and slowed my life down, it would help considerably. But, since being a business owner is demanding, and I'm constantly busy, I don't always have the luxury of slowing down. When I'm talking to people, I usually have a "to do list" of stuff in my head that needs to be done, and I can barely focus on the conversation at hand. That's something I hate, because it makes me feel like I'm not truly listening to people, and interacting the best I know how.

So, on New Year's Day, during the Yoga and Goal Setting Workshop, I told the group that one of my resolutions was to be more focused, and present, because I am so scatterbrained. Mary Michelle, who comes to the studio regularly, said "But, Katie, that's what makes you so endearing." Interestingly, it was one of the best compliments I've ever gotten.

It made me think, it's not so bad to be perceived as imperfect. Your flaws are what make you interesting, and give you character. Other people relate to that more easily than the cookie-cutter life. So, why do we all put so much pressure on ourselves to change our flaws? Yes, being focused and present in the moment is a beautiful thing to work on. However, being naturally you is just as beautiful. So, my conclusion was: don't push and ache to be someone you're not.

Last weekend my clumsiness got the best of me. I fell snowboarding, during an amazing trip out West, and broke my wrist. Now, as I sit and type with one hand and a finger, I feel more imperfect than ever. But, I realized, it only makes me stronger, and will add an interesting story to my collection... THAT'S what makes a truly perfect life.

"You were born an original. Don't die a copy."-Lady Gaga

Tell me how you're perfectly imperfect... Because, just stating it makes it more beautiful, and accepted.

FIND YOUR "WORK(OUT) OF ART"

Exercise is an art. It may sound really odd to you, or even contradictory. But think about it... Each time you exercise, is your own creation. Even if you're following an instructor, or trainer, there's always room for interpretation. I always tell my classes to modify as needed. I love it, as we are dancing, when someone adds a little different tweak. There have been many times when I've seen someone do this, and began following their lead. It changes things up, while making everyone feel like they have a part in the class.

We put passion, enthusiasm, heart and soul into each and every workout. Just like an artist, you need drive and ambition. The more you love the type of exercise you've chosen, the more passion you'll have. The people who have pure joy for it, are the ones who work the hardest: ie Professional athletes, marathon runners, rock climbers, etc. They view their work as a craft. It takes skill and intent. The reason they've succeeded, and find themselves at the top, is because they've worked hard at mastering the technique that creates the best results. And, therefore, they do it better than it's ever been done before.

Getting creative, and inspired with your workout, makes you want to workout more! Unsure of HOW to get creative?

COMBINE THESE TOOLS, IN YOUR OWN WAY, TO CREATE YOUR WORK(OUT) OF ART: 1. MUSIC- Create your playlist (or request songs) that speak to your soul. Choose the songs that make you: bust out with the air guitar, sing out loud in the car, or relive the best moments of your life!

2. CHOOSE MOVES THAT SPEAK TO YOUR SOUL- Basic exercises always do the job, but think about adding something to them to change them up a bit. Add a twist, jump, kick, shimmy, or fun hip thrust to it.

Obviously, as a dancer, "moves" are extremely important to my work of art. But, even if you're not a trained dancer, doesn't mean it's to late to be one. Even those who are untrained can do practically any step by starting basic, and adding on. If you're willing to let loose and try, you'll be surprised what you will succeed at. Believe me, I see people week in, and week out, who seem TOTALLY lost the first class or two. By just a few weeks, and especially a couple months, they are picking up every move I throw their way.

FOR EXAMPLE... Every October I pull out the creepy Halloween songs. As you can imagine, the choreography gets more imaginative (ie- nerve wracking for the non-dancer). But, I've noticed that when all of us are willing to totally get into character, and forget feeling silly, amazing creations are brought to life. Why? Because it's fun to break out of the mold. So, even if it seems cheesy at the time, I do it anyway. I found that after each of the Halloween-themed songs (Thriller, Time Warp, Beautiful Monster, and Ramalama), there is a room full of smiles. I truly believe everyone is genuinely surprised at the "dancer" they became in the moment of letting go.

3. RECRUIT FRIENDS WHO ARE NATURALLY CREATIVE, ENTHUSIASTIC AND INSPIRING- If you are working out with people who drag you down, or aren't willing to let loose, it will only drag you down. Then, you'll get less of a workout, burn less calories, and leave feeling bored. What fun is a hike with someone who's unadventurous? You need people who are willing to try anything, go all out while they do it, and are ready to laugh at themselves in the meantime.

4. FIND SCENERY WHICH INSPIRES- There's a reason that most art studios are awe inspiring. The sights, sounds, and smells around you will infuse your creative spirit. Find your own "studio", whether its: A beautiful lake, fresh trail, the tennis court, or, funky and eclectic mill. ;)

5. DO SO PASSIONATELY- You can go through the motions, and get an ok workout. Or, you could ATTACK the workout with as much enthusiasm, and passion as possible. Which do you think will heed the best results? I'll let you be the judge.

KEEP THE PASSION, Katie

START A PERSONAL REVOLUTION

"I want to get lost, find myself, and start again."- The Apache RelayHave you ever felt like the lyrics to a song were written just for you? Like the artist somehow reached into your soul to craft such a gorgeously complex work of art? This quote really hit me hard, while I was at the Apache Relay show, a few weeks ago. I had just been dwelling on the fact that every time I feel like I have everything figured out, and know the path I'm on, life throws me for a loop, and I feel like I'm back to square one. But, you know what, if the answers were always the same, or my likes, dislikes and vices never changed, life would be pretty boring. So, what if we all looked for change, sought out uncertainty, and got excited in the face of problems, because it was an opportunity to find a solution that's never been done before.

Maybe that's why I've been so drawn to the culture of pure rock & roll recently.

Rock & roll has appealed to the masses now for generations on end. Why is it so appealing? Because it symbolizes freedom. Freedom to: dress like a rebel, love like a hippie, travel like a gypsy. It's true individuality. It was revolutionary.

Today, we all like to believe we have our individuality. That, as an adult, we have already "found ourselves", and become our best self. But, in reality, the majority of society ends up in a cube, "chained to a desk", if you will. Thinking and acting freely, was something you did in college. Now? Maturity, responsibility, and keeping up with the Jones' has diminished our true sense of self. Now, you think and act in ways which are expected, in order to raise you up the corporate ladder as quickly as possible.

Now, rock & roll is something you listen to in the car, or maybe at a show, while wishing you could go back in time to your days of freedom. You watch and listen to the musicians secretly coveting their carefree lifestyle. The "safe route" you took, isn't all it's cracked up to be.

But my question to you is, why are musicians the only ones entitled to a rock & roll lifestyle? Maybe it's time to get lost again. Many call it a quarter, or mid-life crisis. Me? I call it being true to ones self. Pursue your passions. Live on the edge. Quit playing it safe. Seek excitement through problem solving. A few ways to do so:

  • Figure out ways to create a business around your passion
  • Walk into the top galleries in the area and show them your latest pieces
  • Take a week off to drive across the country with your best friend with no set agenda
  • Get a group of friends together to hike the Appalachian Trail
  • Take on a project at work, and approach it in a completely new and revolutionary way.

By the way, two of the members of the Apache Relay are from the Lake Norman Area, (one goes to Journey Church). They are really rad, and I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't take the industry by storm. Buy their album. Or, for true rockstar status, you could get it on vinyl.

22 THINGS MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT EXERCISE

1. You can't spot reduce. A million crunches won't diminish your belly. Cardio and a diet, in which you're burning more than you're consuming, will reduce inches. The crunches define your abs, so when the fat melts, beautiful lines appear! (Same for all other parts of your body). 2. Atrophy sets in 36 hours of not using a muscle. Strength training once a week is not enough.

3. If you think you're going to "bulk up", you're wrong. When you strength train and you have fat, you're just building muscle under the fat. If you're dieting and burning calories to shed the fat on top, the gorgeous lean muscle under will appear! This is why men and women who want to bulk up typically have to supplement their diet to build mass.

4. If you are on a treadmill, or in class (ahem) and you're able to talk or read a magazine, you are NOT working out hard enough. There's a reason as an instructor my cues are short. If I can give you full directions, I know I'M not working to my potential.

5. It's a hangover cure :) Sweat it out!

6. Don't focus on weight loss. Believe me, I used to obsess, and it was my one motivation for exercise. Now, I am able to carry and lift things most women can't. I have new found muscle definition. I FEEL AMAZING. And, I'm lengthening my life. THAT is why I exercise.Weight loss, is just a bonus that happens over time.

7. Reward yourself (just not too often).

8. Gatorade and Vitamin Water Sucks. "Athletes will not need vitamin and mineral supplements if adequate energy to maintain body weight is consumed from a variety of foods," the American Dietetic Association and American College of Sports Medicine say, in a position paper on nutrition and athletic performance. Yes, endurance athletes should be replenishing any lost electrolytes while exercising longer than an hour. However, watch the amount of added sugar in drinks such as Gatorade. The best option would be salt tablets or coconut water.

9. Have a GOAL. Put a cover model on your fridge (not literally of course, because that would be illegal), sign up for a race, fit into a certain dress, etc. Without a goal, you're more likely to taper off and get distracted.

10. Don't go home. (If you're working out after work). You're more likely to sucked into the couch.

11. Don't think, just do. Lace up your sneakers and go. Don't ever let opting out of exercise be an option.

12. 10 Percent (increase what you do by at least, but no more than 10 percent each week). Otherwise you'll never overcome the plateau.

13. Get a posse. Finding a group of enthusiasts in a certain activity, brings a new level of excitement, commitment, and sharing in it together creates an amazing bond.

14. Warmup, then stretch. It's better for your muscles if you get them warm with light cardio, then stretch them, then GO!

15. No time? Workout during lunch. It's illegal for your employer to not give you an hour to yourself. Then, eat later, at your desk. Are you your employer? Make it happen. No excuses. You'll be a better boss because of it!

16. Steady yoga practice makes you a stronger athlete. If your body is tight from all of the muscle toning, you're range of motion is decreased, and actually lessening the power of your workout.

17. Stretching REALLY reduces the risk of injury. Take it from someone who works out for a living... It's night and day for me, when I stretch often, compared to not. I know that if I get injured, I'm out of work. I take my stretching seriously.

18. Exercise has been shown to reduce acne. It increases the blood flow to the skin, and provides oxygen to the skin cells.

19. Moderate exercise is even considered an "anti-aging tip". Inactivity leads to the loss of muscle tone and strength. Your posture and muscles will deteriorate over time due to lack of activity and may cause the skin to sag resulting in that aged look.

20. Exercise helps your body digest food by strengthening muscles used for digestion.

21. You probably know it decrease stress, but it even decreases the chances of overeating and consumption of unhealthy foods. When I used to have a 8-5 job, I knew that if I went home I would raid the cabinet, and not be able to stop. So, I ate a handful of almonds, and went straight to the gym. It curbed by appetite enough that a small dinner was sufficient.

22. Get stoked about it! I know it sounds cliche, but really... How many of you do this: Drag yourself into the gym, force yourself to run on a treadmill or elliptical staring at the clock until HALLELUJAH time's up. Next, you find a few weights to lift 10-15 reps of each. Now, you pack in some crunches until the hour is up and then ..WOO HOO, it's over! (Until you have to do it tomorrow)... I'm sad to say I had as dreadful a routine in a past life. DO SOMETHING FUN! Find a trail, basketball court, kayak, dance class, SOMETHING.

Keep the Passion (Even in exercise), Katie

NOW IS OUR TIME

A new found gypsy friend, Jes, shared this Levi's Commercial with me and I've watched it about a dozen times since. I love how they recognize our culture's yearning to be inspired to live freely, and passionately. I may just write this on my mirror and repeat this mantra to myself every morning before I "Go Forth" into the day... The Laughing Heart- by Charles Bukowski your life is your life don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is a light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you.

There are so many amazing parts to the poem . I catch a new one each time I listen...

1. There may not be much light, but it beats the darkness. Once you find the light you will find more and more. The people who have the most amazing lives are those who choose to see the light and grasp it in every situation. The positive energy is then a magnet to positive people around you, and inconceivable things begin to happen.

2. The gods will offer you chances. Know them. Take them. Enough said.

3. You are magnificent. The gods wait to delight in you. It makes you feel gloriously fierce and fantastic. You realize you have yet to reach your greatest potential.

Keep the Passion, Katie

INTERNAL ARTISTRY MEETS PHYSICAL EXPRESSION

Recently, I have dwelled a good deal on the idea that every one of us is an artist; that every word, every encounter, expression, gesture, is unique to each one of us. It is imperative in expressing yourself as a individual, that you let go of the natural tendency to mimic those around you, or even subconsciously seek their approval. Otherwise, we all will continue to become carbon copies of one another, and not the beautiful masterpieces we can be. Those who created something extraordinary always did so by thinking differently. The main objective of my Hip Hop Kids Camp was to instill in these kids that we are all unique, and since dance is a form of self expression, every dancer is unique. The last day of camp I went around and told each one of them one gift they had as a person, and how they could utilize that gift in the world of dance. Most of the kids in there had never taken a dance class before, so as I told them they could dance, and create beauty just with what they are given, their faces lit up!

Keep the Passion,

Katie

BATTLE OF THE BODY

I've had several conversations with people recently, who have either told me they are frustrated because it feels like nothing is working as far as their diet and exercise, or it's the opposite, and they are stoked because the fat is melting away. The odd thing is, often the ones who are seeing the great results are doing the same thing as the ones who are frustrated and ready to give up. It made me realize that, without a doubt, different things work for different people. Genetics often suck, but every single one of us are capable of being a fit, fierce warrior (my new favorite word). If you're one of those who's totally frustrated with your body because you exercise 5 days a week, and have cut back on the amount you consume, and nothing is happening... Here are a few tips:

1. Be uncomfortable. Your workout should be far from easy. You should be sweating a lot. You shouldn't be able to say more than a few words at a time. You should be PUSHING yourself to your limits.

Just because you walked through the door, and are going through the motions, doesn't mean you're really fighting the fight.

There are dozens of people who come to class and work their tails off. They are my "reckless abandoners" and are MY inspiration when I want to take it easy... And for that I thank them! There are also people I have seen day after day, who I know are capable of so much more than they give. I could get in their face, scream, yell, and turn circles around them to do more. But, the truth is, "You're the only one who can make the change you want to see." Not me, your trainer, nutritionist, boyfriend... NO ONE. YOU make all of your choices.

2. Heart Rate Monitors are Awesome: Use it as a tool to see how hard you are actually working. It's accurate, because it's specific to your body weight, so you may be surprised, for the better, or worse.

A friend of mine wears hers to the gym, and she doesn't leave until she's burned the amount of calories she set out to burn. The harder you work, the quicker you get to go home!

3. The fact food is healthy or you worked out, doesn't mean pig out. It's REALLY easy to consume as much as you burned very quickly. Believe me, due to the nature of my job, I workout a lot. But, I still have a limit on consumption.

If you consume more than you burn, you will never lose weight. Fruits and vegetables (most of them) are the only things I would suggest eating in bulk. Watch out for nuts and such that seem healthy, but add up quickly, so you should only be eating a little at a time.

4. Whole Foods are the Whole Truth: No matter how healthy something says it is on the outside of the package, the better choice is always something that has not been altered from it's original state in any way. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, meat (unprocessed). Paleo, Paleo, Paleo! (Here's more info on the paleo lifestyle).

5. Excuses condone failure. Think about it, you could pretty much make up an excuse for anything: It's my friend's birthday so I need to eat bad with her. I am too sore. I didn't sleep well last night so I should take the morning off... etc. etc. etc. However, think about how quickly those can add up. If you used all of the excuses you had, how many days a week are you actually going to be on track? Recognize an excuse when it begins to pop into your head. Extinguish all of them. Don't let our mind get in the way of what your body is capable of.

It's totally frustrating to see others around you who seem to be doing the same things as you, and amazing things are happening to them, but nothing for you. Unfortunately, genetics are a big part of it all, so it may be different for you than others. It will be a learning process, but NEVER give up the fight, You WILL find your own personal solution... It may be 5 days a week of exercise and the paleo diet. Or, maybe you are lucky and can workout to your heart's content and eat anything you want (in case you were wondering, I'm not that person. I can eat more than  the average person, but definitely not "Michael Phelps").... Whatever it is for you, you'll find it. But love the process, because your life will be better for it.

As I was thinking about this, I wrote a little mantra to inspire everyone. So, before you start your next workout, take this with you. Close your eyes, say it to yourself, and get amped!

You are a fierce and strong warrior. You carry a power within that is bursting at the seams, ready to be unleashed. The people around you have no idea what you are capable of and what you are willing to fight for. You are a silent competitor, ready to be unleashed. Now open your eyes, and get ready because it's time to fight the fight! -Me

Keep the Passion (and nothing less), Katie

EVERY "WALL" IS A DOOR

FOUNDER SERIES: EVERY "WALL" IS A DOOR

Terry Farmer, a.k.a "The Wall", a.k.a. "Iron" is fairly quiet, but attacks everything he goes into with a vengeance. Growing up he had a huge love for tennis, but no means to a coach, or any sort of lessons. He taught himself how to play by spending an entire summer hitting against a "wall" at a local school. That fall he made his high school tennis team and was nicknamed "the wall", because nothing got past him. He also had the unpopular advantage of being a lefty. (Probably the reason he continued to switch the crayon from my right hand to my left countless times as a toddler). He spent countless hours on the court, for the next forty years, developing a skill for his craft, and becoming more and more of a fierce competitor. By the time I was in grade school, my father was one of the top tennis players in the state. And, believe me I, the proud daughter that I was, thoroughly enjoyed letting all of my classmates know it as well. (Not too different than what I am actually doing right now. I guess some things never change).

Then, one summer while I was home from college, my dad suffered a stroke. At the time we wondered if it had been caused by his "salesman diet", and eating countless meals on the road. Although he had a little weight on him, he wasn't someone most people would look at and label as "unhealthy." But it was never marked as conclusive.

The most devastating part for him, was it taking away his ability to hold a tennis racket for an entire point during a game of tennis. He was forced to play only for fun with a few of his friends, who had enough patience for the new disability. Countless hours of physical therapy later, and the problem never fully subsided.

Frustrated and devastated he knew he had a choice. He could let adversity win, or he could overcome. Being the jock that he is, he decided to train for triathlons. For most most almost 60 year-olds, this wouldn't even be an option. But, for him, there was no reason it couldn't be. It was an individual sport in which his mild disability wouldn't affect him. He took it on full force, beginning with mini and sprint triathlons, then to halfs, olympic, marathons, and finally a full ironman.

Every single one of us will face something extremely difficult in our lives. The loss of a loved one, a major health issue, financial devastation, etc. .. And each of us have a choice at that moment. We have the choice of letting the event break us down and tear us apart, or using what happened to do something, or become someone who is better because of it. After my father's stroke, he chose to overcome, and ended up completely reversing all of his serious health issues, and accomplishing many things most of us never do in a lifetime.