A Plank a Day…

Katmah Training & Performance

A plank a day keeps the doctor away!

Planks are probably one of my favourite exercises. Not only to they work our core, they can teach us how to move with an active, stable core. Not to mention they also are great for our shoulders, hips, legs, and posture.

Another great thing about them? You can pretty much do them anywhere, anytime.

In honour of this fantastic exercise, here are my top 10 favourite variations. Add in at least one a day and see what happens!

  1. Plank Step-Outs– These no only work the core, but they work in the hip stabilizers as well. Super important for postural stability, no matter what activity you enjoy best! Important things to remember, don’t let the hips move as you step each leg out. Activate the core and only move the legs!
  2. Chatarunga Planks/Sun Salutations– A HUGE favourite of mine! With variations…

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The Slump and the Rise

I argued with a friend the other day over how much harder life after school was. They were arguing that life as a student was much more difficult. This friend has returned to University after a few years away in the real world with a steady career. I’ve just exited University after a long, arduous degree- but yet a fairly stable relationship with student life. My relationship with the real world has yet to enter the honeymoon phase- right now it’s still in the “wtf am I doing” phase.

I like plans. I like knowing the next step and setting goals around that. I like constant forward motion.

The universe likes to hand me chances to reflect a ruminate on those qualities on a regular basis by turning me around and confusing my definition of “constant forward motion”.

This has been what I’ve felt like for most of the new year. Either unmotivated, depressed, slightly angry, or serenely peaceful and in the moment. It’s kinda like being a teenager again. The last feeling is great when it happens- and as usual it’s a constant goal for me to be in that state more and more. I’m somewhat successful.

Spinning my tires doesn’t do much- so slowing things down and working on patience is always a project. But then there’s weeks like the last few where nothing goes according to plan, and I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything and the stress sets in. When I say nothing goes according to plan, I mean NOTHING goes according to plan. In this scenario I’ve spent a lot of time stewing, and until the last week or so have just been stumped. The sun is starting to peak through as I come to terms with changing the plan (why does it always take so long to come to that point?), and as usual- as soon as I refocus myself the Universe throws me a small bone (and then almost at the same time causes me to be up in the night cleaning up dog vomit after the dog ate too much of a bone…).

A constant stream of redirecting from the Universe, no structure.. just either a yes- choose this door it’s wide open, or nope- this door is slamming shut in your face. Try again later, or just move on. Or even better, peak into this door- it’s open just a crack.. but you can’t open it yet. It’s confidence shaking. Until you recognise it as a “I’m a twenty-something living a first world lifestyle with relatively minimal student debt and am being given a chance to learn and grow.. even if it involves some growing pains” moment.

Who am I kidding. It’s still confidence shaking and annoying. Regardless of how much you learn from it. But, I suppose that is the nature of learning.. isn’t it.

Right after I returned from Florida (which was amazing, btw), I decided one day to go and chat with one of my profs. It’s only been a few months since I’d seen him last, but when you’ve been seeing someone almost every day for 5 years a few months seems like a while. Two hours of ranting (from us both) and counselling from him- I felt a little better. The biggest issue on hand, regarding a major career step that’s been on put unexpectedly on hold, wasn’t solved- but it was given new light for me. While the unexpected turn for me had been mostly depressive, after this chat it entered the more productive anger stage- in which I got some serious letter writing done. The biggest thing I walked away from that chat with was how much I liked being in that environment, and how much I really did want to continue my education in the form of a MSc. as soon as I could. It reminded me that people won’t judge me for what letters I necessarily have behind my name- not at my alma mater anyway. The welcome I got from my former professors as I walked by their offices or they came into the one I was sitting in reminded me that unexpected turns in the road do not have to determine how I perceive myself as a person. Or how I perceive my abilities as a professional. Very important things for me to remember!

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The above graph is perfect.

It’s so easy to get into the pattern of humming along as if the plan is always going to be the plan.. until it’s no longer the plan. Unfortunately my tendency is to completely melt down instead of accepting the change in direction like a sane person.

I have great mentors and influencers in my life- and fairly supportive peers, friends and family. I have much to be grateful for. My twenty-something female brain doesn’t always cooperate with those realities, but that’s something I can’t always control to my best ability. As I’m reminded constantly.. I’m only a human twenty something!

On a more positive note- I begin a new job in the next couple weeks as a personal trainer at another gym, after leaving one gym this week. I’m very excited to start this new opportunity, which will hopefully offer more hours/clients then previous places and work in tandem with Katmah Training, so I can continue to grow my own business as well. My own business I’ve began marketing as a more general practice (with specialised services to equestrians still, but more advertising into the general population) with the hopes of broadening my practice to different chronic pain and injury conditions and movement correction services. If the Universe is going to tempt me with doors I can’t open  yet, I might as well keep trying other ones!

Every day a new learning experience.

 

 

You’re Doing It Wrong: Core Activation

Katmah Training & Performance

“Tuck your ribs”
“Suck in your tummy”
“Squeeze your abs”
“..belly button to spine”
You’ve probably heard one, if not all of those, at some point in your fitness endeavours. Whether it’s yoga, physiotherapy, pilates, a bootcamp, or just from a trainer or article… those are all common ways for people to describe core “activation”.
Unfortunately, it’s now known that that isn’t the most effective way to activate the core.
In this post I’ll detail some of the latest research on the core, why it’s important to re-educate your core and learn how to activate it the right way, and what it’ll change for your health.
When it comes to spine research, the leader is Dr. Stuart McGill. Why do we care about spine research and biomechanics in an article about the core, you ask? Well- the core has a lot to do with how our spine functions… and how…

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Wide Eyes at #WEF

What I’ve been up to all week!

Katmah Training & Performance

If you have me on social media (instagram, facebook, twitter) then you’ll know that I’ve been frequenting the Winter Equestrian Festival, and Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Fla this week. If you don’t have me on social media- go follow me and then finish reading this post (katmah1- instagram, Katmah Training & Performance on Fbook, and Katbee13 on Twitter).

With two days left in Wellington, my eyes are finally returning to their normal size. For a prairie girl who’s only really see horse shows in Manitoba (they aren’t that exciting) and New Zealand (much higher quality.. but not WEF), getting to live every rider’s dream for a week here in Florida has been pretty epic.
Why am I here?

Again, you’ll know the answer to this if you watch my media accounts. I’m here in coordination with Stable & Spice, and Heels Down Magazine as we launch the new…

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To a year of transition: 2015 in review.

Last year around this time I did my standard New Years post in the form of a letter to myself. The intro into 2015 was a rough one, but the dedication for the year was to myself- and the year followed that trend.
Now, entering 2016, I arrive with a few more accomplishments- and a whole lot more inner peace. 2015 in short form was a series of opportunities and lesson after lesson in living in the here and now.

After bringing in 2015 in the mountains, the year started with finding solace with my inner turmoil through a great yoga class and burying myself in research. Between working with research participants, working sporting events as a student therapist, and my last semester of school and interning- I kept busy with a mantra of personal development- and exercised being 22 and having fun every chance I got.

Spring brought a battle with the mono virus, a challenging humanities prof, every extra hour spent getting CATA intern hours, and a series of events that lead my business and my name to be common place when it came to local athlete development. With the support of close friends, profs, and mentors- I finished my personal “Rebuilding the Equestrian: Chronic Pain and Postural Re-Education” project/paper, based on the work I did with 10 local riders through the winter- and submitted it to the CATA’s writing award contest. Finishing that mini-thesis seemed like mounting Everest by the time it was all said and edited x100.

I really began to develop a sense of confidence speaking in public, a skill I luckily developed at a younger age through 4H speaking competitions. I also began developing marketing strategies- something I actually quite enjoy, but often feel like I’m making it all up on the go. Through numerous clinics and workshops- I started to get the hang of promoting my services, and ideas to a greater population. Attending the Stuart Mcgill seminar when he visited in April gave me a whole new outlook on working with chronic pain and postural issues- and opened up new doors of research and practice for me. And made me fan girl pretty hard when I approached him to see if he had any experience with equestrians, and he then told me to write a book on the topic. Late May and June found me back at my usual post on the sidelines of the Clansmen football team- and a road trip to SK for a exhibition game brought the joys of travelling with 50 teenagers to full fledged colour.

Along came summer, and I found myself flying through Eastern Canada and the USA in the front seat of a red Camaro convertible on a whirlwind three week vacation with a character who re-entered my life earlier in the year. With both of us constantly seeking adventure, it was no surprise we ended our 3 weeks with 4 non-stop days in NYC followed by an all night drive back to Halifax to fly home. Going on vacation for the first time with no other prerogative  other then to enjoy the time away was a great change of pace after a busy winter and spring.

   
   

   
 Returning from holiday mid-summer I began working at horse shows as the medical coverage. A new role being on the sidelines instead of being in the ring. My first year not showing in almost 15 years. This being said not training or showing allowed me the chance to venture on that holiday, and work on rebuilding finances from school, interning, and past show years… and the aforementioned holiday. The summer months were fairly quiet for Katmah Training clinic, new client, and seminar side of things- which was to be expected during the busy show season for many riders. Bright points in the quiet period were finding out the magazine I write for was sending me to Florida twice in the coming winter, and beginning to organize more international opportunities for Katmah Training come the next spring.

As fall approached, I finished clinical internship hours and quickly finished the field portion as well with football re-started for regular season and show season finishing up. My CATA exam application went through as I convocated in October and began the prep for the exam in November. Two of my biggest accomplishments within a month of each other. Convocating itself was the offical end to a long, hard, challenging 4 years in my BSc.. Fraught with sweat, blood, and tears- along with serious exercises in mental stamina. A right of passage for all AT’s, I know.. similar to the prep routines leading up to the exam. The exam was probably the biggest mental test I’ve done, just stress management wise- but I was relieved to find the practical portions to be a breeze, and all my prep work come to my rescue many times. Results are still pending as of right now- which is currently my obsession.

   
   
Fall, as I’ve come to realize, is a big transitional time. Many of those around me were dealing with their own stresses- and I noted that there were times of great emotional turmoil for myself and those around me.. sometimes just caused by outside stressors entirely. As fall passed, things returned to a balance, and I came out of the season able to focus my energies better- a issue I’d been working on since experiencing the mono virus in the spring. It’s beginning to come clear how much this career path can take out of you, if you don’t know how to monitor your own energy. In a profession where much of your job is dealing with other’s problems and expending your energy to help them change theirs.. it’s easy to feel unbalanced and outsourced. Working on yourself makes for a better client experience too.

Winter (or what was supposed to be) rolled in, and with the weather staying warm- the first few months were quite pleasant. Having finished the exam, and with nothing to do but wait for results I refocused my energy by taking time away from anything academic like. MUCH NEEDED. After about a week of that I found myself beginning my application to a masters program. I took on a few new clients, and began pushing my online promotions again in preparation for a stint in Wellington, Fl. for the Winter Equesetrian Festival. As always I found motivation in my clients, as their success and progress was a result of guidance I brought them. The satisfaction and progress of my clients has and always will be a huge driving factor for me, as I continue to journey down this uncharted road.

In early December I was lucky enough to go on another little holiday break with J, where we both got a craved mental and physical escape. Spending a week in the mountains alternating between hot pools on the side of a mountain, watching movies in our rented condo, and taking day trips to do hikes and visit breweries around the area- we forgot the need to check our phones and emails, wear a watch, or worry about a single thing. It was the perfect get away, with perfect timing. Similar to the beginning of 2015 where the mountains recharged me, I found myself in the same area to reflect and relax at the end of 2015.

   
    
 The Christmas rush took us from basically the time we got home to the new years, between hosting family and visiting family and friends it’s been another whirl-wind few weeks. The last few weeks of 2015 were filled with Florida prep and promotions and a healthy dose of holiday celebrations. 2015 brought an end to the familiar and an introduction to a new chapter of my professional life.. and 2016 is looking like it’s going to continue that trend. So far the beginning of 2016 is full of potential for travel and professional development. I really didn’t expect to be taking the business international so soon- but the adventure is continuing along at it’s own pace and I’m just doing my best to keep up!

On a personal side of things, my hope for 2016 is to continue sourcing my own balance. With lots of travel opportunities, I’m looking forward to stepping outside of my comfort bubble and developing my own presence. Stepping away from the known is the only way to continue growth, this much I know. In between travel stints, there are some exciting opportunities to continue pursuing here at home too- but more on those later. For now the name of the game is anxiously, but calmly, awaiting my CATA results!

   
 Welcome 2016, may you be full of opportunity and education!

 

Picking your gym/trainer- tips for your health resolutions

I’ve worked in a few different settings within the health industry already- even having just begun my career. From small, local focused gyms to the big box franchises I’ve seen how the health and fitness industry is simultaneously on the verge of regulation and positive science, but also becoming ridden with fads and poorly educated “professionals”. With a largely unaware population, fitness and health professionals become the go to source for guidance when it comes to improving fitness, weight loss, and health benefits… When those professionals don’t have much education themselves, things can get dangerous. The fitness industry, like any industry, has many who see the potential to earn money. Everyone wants to be their best selves, however many look for the “easiest” route possible- so those who can market and sell fad diets and quick fixes find opportunity, and the client falls into a cycle of quick improvements followed by relapses.

The truth is.. long lasting results take long lasting lifestyle changes. Accomplishing lifestyle changes takes rebuilding habits, and that often takes the guidance of a trained, certified, and educated professional dedicated to their own furthering education, and their client’s needs. Each client is different, and will respond differently to different things. A proper assessment and plan is needed to identify what is going to best suit them, both in the nutrition and movement realms.

Where many big box gyms excel in accessibility (24/7 hours, huge spaces and many locations) and seemingly low cost memberships/training contracts- they fail the client in other ways. Often staff working in the gym are not required to hold professional certifications (those that require a degree in a relevant field), and training staff (often only holding a weekend course in a science that should have years dedicated to understanding) are encouraged to make sales instead of better their clients. There also is a trend to underpay those responsible for the client’s results and wellbeing.  For instance, in a facility I work in I was told in my interview that there would be no pay difference based on my amount of training, – I am one of few training staff hired that holds a degree in kinesiology/exercise science (most only hold a weekend course or less), plus a international strength and conditioning certification (CSCS through the NSCA). Many of the clients I took on upon beginning at this facility had never worked with a certified or degreed trainer, and expressed how big a difference they noticed almost immediately in program design, and my ability to give educated advice, and if I didn’t have an answer immediately- to research it for them.

While there are good trainers and consultants out there who don’t have formal education, it is a system to be wary of and make sure you investigate and interview appropriately.

Whether we intend it or not, we are a catalyst of change for our clients. If they have chosen to start working with a trainer- they should be expecting someone who has the knowledge and ability to help them make a change. Health is dynamic, and it takes time, experience, and lots of education to  understand fully.

All of this being said.. if you’re looking for some guidance in the new year, here’s a few top things you need to look out for on your search:

  • Background check your trainers and consultants. I’m not talking criminally, but hey- I guess that’s not a bad idea too.. I’m talking how much knowledge of the profession do they have. What are their certifications? Do their certifying organizations require a degree within the field? If they don’t, be wary.. they may only be able to offer a minimal amount of education for you.
  • Know what you’re buying into. Whether it’s a gym membership, a training package, or a consult- what exactly are you getting and what are you locked into. Many gyms require a sign up fee, as well as a contract that locks you in for the duration of the membership. If you’re new to the scene, do they offer an intro session to get you started? Some smaller gyms won’t require a contract, and have more flexible options. Trainers or gyms often offer a free session to make sure it’s for you. Talk to your potential trainer and see what their policies are on missing sessions, cancellation policies, and what bang you’re getting for your buck. I always give my clients a full breakdown of what their paying for, because nobody likes surprises.
  • Build a team. One person doesn’t always have all the answers. If you know you need more guidance in one area, seek the advice of a few professionals. Talk to your trainer- see if they recommend other professionals in other areas, staff at your gym, or look online for blogs or articles (and always do some research of your own). Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health- and having a good network surrounding you helps in building that knowledge.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s what staff and consultants are there for. If they don’t have educated answers, or don’t have the time to help you.. you’re in the wrong place. Facilities that don’t have time to properly educate their clients, or hire the appropriate professionals to do so, aren’t worth your money (or time). Research those who work at your new facility (preferably before you buy in), and make sure they can help you when you need it.
  • Commit to yourself. Hiring a trainer, nutritionist, or buying into a gym membership or fitness classes is a big step.. but now it’s up to you to commit. The professionals around you are there to support you, but you also have to be willing to put in the work. All good trainers are good enablers, and should guide you in the right direction- but it’s your duty to keep your feet moving on that path. Involving a motivated friend can be helpful, but be wary if that friend starts to suggest wine nights or movie nights instead of gym dates (we’ve all been there).
  • Be aware of the “fads”. Unfortunately there is a lot of pseudo-science in the health industry. There is a lot of self-made gurus too. Some of it is on the cusp of legitamized research, and some of it comes from personal experience that’s “trending”. Fad diets don’t work long term. Know that. They may be a starting point to kick your butt into gear, but don’t expect the results to last. Lasting results take serious lifestyle modifications. In the gym,  it takes at least 4-6weeks to notice physical/visual changes in how you look. It also takes about 3-4 weeks to build a habit… so getting into the workout habit won’t be immediate.. that’s sometimes the biggest benefit of having a trainer. Now you’re accountable to show up to meet another person. It’s easier to commit when someone is expecting you, isn’t it?
  • Don’t get discouraged, good things take time. There isn’t a immediate weight loss trick that will last long term, and the number on the scale isn’t a be all end all. In the end, it’s how you feel. And how you feel will be determined by the habits you build with the appropriate education and guidance. Also- just cause I’m sick of the request- there is no such thing as “toning” one particular part of the body. AND, ladies, you will not get huge and bulky if you start lifting more then 2 pound weights. You just won’t. That’s not how the body works. So stop worrying about it.. your bone density will thank you.

I hope some of these tid-bits help you in the season of resolutions. If you’re interested in some guidance that’s affordable, mobile, and easy to access (oh, and very educated), check out my membership options. Let’s make a plan that works for you. What’re you waiting for?

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Katmah Training & Performance

Recently I took a position as a personal trainer at a “big box” gym. I call it big box not only because I’ve mostly only worked within small businesses, but also because I’ve noted a trend (a large trend) of focusing on sales… instead of the client.

When I accepted the position, I wasn’t exactly excited. This went against everything I try to make my own small business… however, in the interim between having enough of my own clientele to support myself, something extra was needed and this opportunity presented itself. After almost two months seeing clients out of this franchise, I’ve come to learn many things about the industry, my philosophies, and people in general.

The biggest thing I noticed, right from the interview onwards, was the clear preference to make money and push for quantity… not aid their clients or further their staff. With minimal hiring requirements for training…

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Indian Food for Breakfast

I found myself in the mountains last week on a much needed vacation. I realized how therapeutic the mountains have been to me in the last year. I’ve found myself there twice, first last year around this time in need of an emotional reset.. and now this time around in need of a total recharge.

Both time, I got what I needed.

I haven’t written as much as I used to. Not necessarily because of a lack of inspiration, but mostly because of a decrease in the need to write out my thoughts. I realize now how much this blog has been a kind of therapy for me.. and will continue to be in the coming years.. but also how much the last year has seen me develop other releases and ways of organizing myself.

We left for BC, my significant other and I, both of us quite burnt out- even if we didn’t fully realize it, from our respective falls. For me I’d had a year of preparing for my CATA exams (results still pending), figuring out my next steps, and constantly working on my business and promoting myself. No, it wasn’t 10 courses/term and multiple exams and practicals.. but it is a new territory for me.. this life outside of student life. A week away was exactly what I needed.. and it couldn’t have been better.

We drove through the night and arrived at our destination at a ripe 5am (we aren’t the best at getting up early to leave early).. and had a lovely sleep in to wake up to some gorgeous weather and a mountain view from our rented condo. From there we spent the week rotating between visiting close by hot springs, breweries, hiking, and watching movies on the couch. Rising each morning to a beautiful combination of coffee, local organic eggnog (so good), and a bit of whisky (best combo imaginable). It was amazing to just be able to turn off from the rest of the world, not worry about alarms or wearing a watch, not having any reason to check our phones or emails.. a whole week of just being in the moment and not worrying about the rest of the world. Something the both of us needed!

     
 Coming home and back to reality was something we both procrastinated on.. starting the 16hr drive late on our last day, stopping for a night outside of Calgary at a friends, and then re-starting the now 13hr drive late the next day.. then making a extended stop at Costco, we found ourselves driving through SK at 1am, both exhausted, grumpy, and sick of being in the car. So.. on the hunt for a motel we went. After a whole week of no worries, I started to notice now, in this moment of pure exhaustion and annoyance at having to return to real life, how fatigue can effect our ability to make choices about how we want to react to a scenario. After bickering about something around Moosejaw, we both ended up laughing and breaking the mood.. realizing we were choosing to be annoyed and didn’t have to choose that.

We ended up finding a motel in Indian Head, SK.. a town where there really isn’t much. Somehow they were open at 2am when we rolled in and gave us a key to a room. Typical of a small town highway motel, the heat wasn’t turned on in the room and the window was broken and covered with cardboard. When it’s -15 out… even turning the heater on, there wasn’t much hope of this room warming up. So we trundled back to the desk/bar/restaurant and got another room.. this one with a intact window, but no heat again. So turning on the small heater in the room we left for a nightcap at the desk/bar/restaurant to let the room warm. After a long chat with the bartender/owner (one of a family from India), we headed back to the much craved bed. Only to find the heater in the room really not doing much heating.

Not having any better options, imagining we were camping in the late fall, 10 degree weather, we had a few hours of sleep. That morning, we decided to try the Indian restaurant within the motel.. owned and ran by the Indian family. After a lengthly talk with the bartender (the brother) about how they prepared the food, and how it was the best in the greater area.. how could we not? We weren’t disappointed.. and as we sat there eating breakfast, again leaving late on our still 5hr drive home.. I felt a small bit of anxiety creep up over how we still had a long drive, and I was tired, and real life was coming back upon us… then.. mid bit of butter chicken at 9am in the middle of SK in a trucker motel.. I chose to let that anxiety go and enjoy the moment I was in.

That simple act of letting a emotion float across my consciousness, observe it, and let it pass is an ability it took me years to develop. It’s more accessible in some moments then in others, but what I noticed in this particular instance was how much easier it has been becoming for me as of late. A skill I think I’m going to use quite a bit in the coming year. I’m predicting this year to be a year of unpredictables, and am grateful to have begun developing how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now as much as possible.

  
Happy Holidays everyone!

 

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Now What?

 

Out for drinks with an friend I hadn’t seen in a long time the other night.. catching up, she asked what was next for me now that I’m done with the big exam/school. I rambled about continuing to work on my business, the personal training I’m already doing and the therapy I hope to add on soon, the travelling for business and fun I’d be doing over the winter/spring, and putting together a master’s program application. Her reaction was to exclaim “so, basically you’re living your dream?”. I agreed and we both chuckled. But she’s right.. I’m working towards exactly what I wanted my career to look like… and that’s a pretty cool (odd) feeling!

The last week or so for me has been kind of a academic/study/future looking hangover. I’ve had many, many moments that remind me to be living in this moment.. where usually I’m always looking ahead. I went through my biggest challenge with the CATA exam, and now that that’s actually- knock on wood- over (part of me really thought it was never going to happen), I’ve been stuck wondering “now what?” between moments of complete relaxation.

Four years. That’s how long my brain has been thinking about the CATA exams. Four years, all for 6 hours over 2 days. And now it’s over.

They say take a week off of studying before the exam, because by that point your brain is probably so full of prep work and anxiety that it’s better to just let it sit… or “percolate” as one of my profs put it. So that’s what I did (and it was needed).

The exam itself was probably the most mentally challenging and I nteresting thing I’ve done. It was pretty cool to see all the prep I did come out when I needed it to, and run on autopilot for the practical portion, almost as if it was an outer body experience. 

They then say take a week off after the exam, because your brain won’t be in a space to function fully yet… and they were right.. as usual. This week has been a blur, and I simultaneously feel much lighter mentally as well as somewhat aimless.

A lot of thoughts have glazed over my brain this week… surprisingly not many of them being anxiety over the 6 week results wait. Most of them have been about the face to face position I find myself with the rest of my life.

That sounds a bit dramatic.. but you have to understand how much mental space this exam apparently took up. Until now it’s been all about getting to this point… I didn’t really do a lot of solid planning for what exactly to proceed with once I got here!

Who are we kidding, that’s a lie. I do.

It feels like a big shift happened once I walked out of the last practical in that exam. Suddenly there was no looming test of all things I can do. All of a sudden the reality of “I may be on my own in the real world” hit. Of course pending on the exam results. Figuring things like insurance and business registrations are a real thing I will have to do soon. Deciding my next promotions, how I want to plan the next year,  if/when to apply for a masters.. all things that were always in my head, now coming up fast. There’s no structure, no class-schedule, no required hour count or logging system, no candidate handbook for this next step. It’s really just up to me to decide/figure out.

This adult thing. It’s kind of terrifying and great all at once.

So what have I done in the last week to start figuring it out? I starting reading novels again. Went to work, felt a little aimless, went to yoga, spent time with friends.. without the sense that I needed to be doing something else. There is a certain sense of freedom now, alongside the sense of figuring out responsibility.

   
 I also decided to start working on a book or two, which is another little project that’d been in my head for a while.. but never plausible with other steps to be completed first. I figure now, with 5 weeks of limbo left until results come in, is a great time to start dedicating time to research and brain storming where I couldn’t give full effort before!

Onwards and upwards… that’s what they say right?

 

 

 

No Stirrups November: Some Thoughts and Strategies

Katmah Training & Performance

Don’t get me wrong… I’m 100% for feeling the burn and making those riding muscles work without the aid of those things we put our feet in. NSN1I just have a few things I need to get out about the entire month dedicated to riding without stirrups.

As any rider who came up through a lesson program likely has experienced, No Stirrup November is a time where either someone suggests politely to you to ride withouts stirrups as much as you can, or (more often) someone literally steals your stirrups and you spend a month without them, hacking, in lessons, jumping.. you name it, you’re stirrupless.

In my professional opinion, I believe riding with no stirrups has a great place within the realms of developing position, strength, and function in the tack. Hunter/Jumper/Event riders, we’ve all found ourselves in the middle of a line approaching a huge oxer or in…

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The here and now.

I officially graduated this past week, and it was more emotional then I thought it would be.

 I’ve been operating under the assumption that I’d already completed my degree for a while now, so convocation was just the official handing of the paper. However, the night before I found myself reflecting on how much I’ve worked through to get to now. Yeah I’ve been done technically for a while, but all of a sudden the official completeness of it hit me. This chapter is closing, and now it’s time to reveal the next page.

I’ve written a lot about transition the last little while. Fall is always a transitional time, and as I find myself stepping away from academics for a bit to develop my business and career… I’m a little terrified. The past year has been all about me doing me, and for someone who finds it easy to get wrapped up in the 5 years from now and into other people’s lives… I’ve worked pretty hard at staying true to myself and doing what I need to to further my own personal development. Now, here we are at another stepping stone. I have a paper that succinctly sums up 4 years (and a bit) of endless learning, hard bouts of burn out, low points, high points, and enlightenment. Can a piece of paper signify the amount of personal growth I’ve done emotionally and mentally? Not really.

I wasn’t hit with this wave of emotions because of the next steps I face in my career or even academically.. I think the emotions were stemming from the more unknowns that are at my door step, and the known fact that I still have a lot of personal development and experience to go through (which is something that never ends, I’m learning). The things I know right now are that I have a vision for the next year of my life. Any ideas I have for the next 5 years are hazy, and while some of them may occur the truth is I don’t know where I want to be. I know who I want to be, and what I want to accomplish within that time frame… but in what order, where, and how is still unclear. As, again I’m learning, it probably should be for where I’m at. I’m uncomfortable with the unknown. Not that I want to know my exact future. But I’m uncomfortable with the known that things as they are now are likely to change, again and again. I recognize that this is okay, and normal, and even to be expected… but the simple act of graduating unleashed all these new, somewhat unfamiliar emotions and concerns about my personal life.

I vaguely remember feeling like this after my high school graduation. In a different capacity, of course, but some of the same “fear of the unknowns”.

I’ve talked to and read about many who say the 20s are the most difficult age for this reason. Everything is always transitional. You’re always learning, adjusting, losing, gaining, and finding out who you are and where you’re supposed to end up. Life is all about not knowing when the next curveball will be thrown, but still managing to swing at it with some success. The support systems you develop are there to rebound off of as you ricochet towards the next thing. The ones you love bolster you, and/or keep you focused in their own ways.

I’ve been taking some time the last few days to reflect on where I’m at, and make peace with not knowing what comes next.. even if I have strong feelings about what is coming next. It’s really easy to get wrapped up living 5 years from now, and ignore the amount of work, exploration, learning and turmoil that has to come first. It’s very interesting to me that I can feel so confident in my education and professional life, while so confused about parts of my emotional life. Even operating under the deep sense of “it will be what it will be”, why can’t I quit pondering the “it”? I have this intuition that I always get exactly what I need, even if it is tough to process.. and that long term there is some sort of path we are all placed on. Our decisions and choices lead us towards ultimately what we’re supposed to experience, and those experiences cultivate the individual we are to be. All you can do in the process is enjoy the here and now.

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