Nice Comments Versus Inappropriate Comments

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One day last week, as I was walking from my car to the office, I passed by two construction workers who were standing on the sidewalk. As I walked by them, one of the workers remarked, “I hope I don’t sound inappropriate, but you walking by us just made my day.” I turned back, smiled and said thank you, to which he tipped his construction hat and smiled. I then resumed my walk to the office. That was it. No horrid cat calls, no wolf whistles, simply a nice compliment without any creepy vibes.

My general experience is that men who take the time to share comments with me out in public tend to be the nicest and most respectful men. They just deliver a compliment, without going into an awkward space by either trying to ask me out, or by making inappropriate comments or sounds. They seem to understand that while women enjoy being complimented, they do NOT like being objectified or hit on.

At the other extreme are guys who use social media platforms to display their tackiest and most disrespectful behavior. I can’t even count how many ridiculous direct messages I have received through Facebook and Instagram over the years, but there have been a lot, and the accounts have all been blocked. Sometimes it starts out with a nice comment, like “you are so beautiful”, but then morphs into “hey baby u so sexxxi I wanna f*** u”, quickly earning that individual a BLOCK. What I’d like to know is how many women are out there who actually respond in a positive fashion to this kind of talk? Are there women out there who are insecure enough to encourage this type of exchange?

Seriously, guys, if you find a woman beautiful or hot, and you don’t know her, please don’t be gross. We ladies truly don’t like it. All you are doing is giving your gender a bad rap. If you can’t keep it clean, then you should keep your words to yourself.

When People Are Full Of Hate

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One of the hazards of posting on social media is that you run the risk of catching the attention of complete sociopaths who seem to have nothing better to do than to spread hate by posting negative comments on other people’s posts. I was utterly shocked to see a very negative comment added onto a Tweet I posted just now. It was ugly and mean-spirited, and it definitely hurt me to my core. The gist of the comment was that I was a dime a dozen, and will never win anything (hmmm, good to know). This was posted by a guy who had the look of a sociopath in his soulless eyes. I briefly scanned his profile before blocking him, and noticed that EVERY single Tweet he had (I scanned about ten posts down) was hateful and negative.

It truly blows my mind that a jerk like the guy I had to block would exert such an effort to spread negative energy. I have no desire to fend off creeps like this, so I block them immediately. They are loose cannons who look for victims to cyberbully, and there is no way to predict how far they will take their hatred. I will not tolerate such energy and always automatically block them, and if they are especially nasty or threatening, I will file an official report of abuse. I realize that I am more susceptible to such contentious people because I have built a name for myself and I put myself out there constantly, but it is not fair to blast me when my posts are primarily meant to inspire my fans and followers and entertain friends. The fact that some people go out of their way to be mean and to spread hate is mind-boggling to me. I begin to wonder what kind of karmic load they are carrying to spread so much negativity.

What is the best way to defuse hostility? It is always best to refrain from reacting to it. Physically walking away, ignoring hateful statements, employing the blocking feature on social media sites, email, and cell phones, smiling at the person who is being difficult can all work in neutralizing the bad energy.

Use Social Media To Blow Up Your Brand

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Those of you in the world of fitness and bodybuilding who have aspirations of becoming the next big fitness sensation have chosen an amazing industry, but it is saturated and the competition is fierce. These days, the most successful fitness people have built social media followings which help to get them on the map and generate interest in what they have to offer. The individuals who really stand out are the ones who know their target audience’s interests and needs, and accommodate them by posting relevant material which continues to lure their followers back to their profiles.

It doesn’t really matter how buff, attractive, or photogenic you are if you don’t have an understanding of how to appeal to your audience. It is no surprise that the pool of beautiful, fit people who are scrambling for stardom is considerably large, which makes it vital for fitness people to establish something unique and marketable if they want to rise to the top of the heap. This is where branding comes in. What IS your brand? What is your message? Do you know your target audience?

You can look at trends from social media to see who is following you and target the largest group. Then you need to determine what it is about you that grabs that target audience, whether it is your age, your gender, a specific training style, a distinctive look, a great product, etc. Once you have done that, you can use hashtags on social media to describe your unique qualities and to spark the interest of your target audience. If you have a certain key phrase you use all the time, USE IT! It is astonishing how effective using a key phrase can be in promoting your personality.

There are so many social media platforms now (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) that you have countless opportunities to build your fan base and also build your brand. Be sure to also tag your friends and industry people who are in your corner and believe in what you have to offer. There’s nothing like having a cheering section of friends who can help spread the word and grow your social media tree.

Make sure you have a website which is updated regularly, and direct your followers to that website whenever possible. Though having a slick website is a nice bonus, it is more important to have SOMETHING for followers to go to, even if it is a free site like Wix or WordPress. Many people will just shy away from fitness personalities who do not have a site established. There are several website template sites which are decent and which provide all the basics you need. Once you have established your brand, you can always upgrade to a more complex or detailed site.

On another note, I am always surprised by how many people want to establish a foothold in the fitness industry, but do not have business cards. I cannot tell you how unprofessional you look when you are trying to network, only to tell interested parties that you do not have a business card to hand to them. Business cards are pretty inexpensive these days, and in some cases free (Vistaprint.com is one site which offers free cards), so GET ON IT!

Ignore The Haters!

Originally published on RxGirl on Wednesday, 18 September 2013

http://www.rxmuscle.com/rx-girl-articles/9306-ignore-the-haters.html
Watch Me
Many of you ladies are well acquainted with the rigors of contest prep and understand the level of intensity and commitment required. Some of you are fortunate enough to have a great support network in which partners, family, coworkers and friends are in your cheering section and encourage all of your efforts. Unfortunately, however, some competitors may have to deal with people who discourage them or in some fashion try to interfere with their prep. I have heard husbands complain that their wives spend too much time in the gym or cannot eat restaurant meals with them. A few of my clients have lamented that family members or friends actually got angry with them for training so hard or for being so driven. The less the hater knows about the world of bodybuilding, the harsher the criticism becomes, usually as a result of ignorance and the perpetuation of erroneous stereotypes about bodybuilding.
I once had a client who almost talked herself out of competing as a reaction to her ultra-conservative mother’s opinion of bodybuilding contests. Her mother was horrified by the idea that women actually got onstage in bikinis and was deeply resistant to the idea of her daughter doing such a thing. It did not matter that her daughter was in her 30’s with children of her own. What was so sad was that everyone else in my client’s life was supportive and encouraging. For once this woman was paying attention to herself instead of doling out her energy to her spouse, children and parents, and it met with resistance.

Another frequent complaint, and one which I have heard personally, is one in which the loved one bitches about how stupid it seems to chase after a national qualification, IFBB Pro Card or Olympia qualification. Those who do not compete cannot fully appreciate the reasons competitors have to reach for that carrot. The drive is deep and in most cases incredibly personal. There is no question that competing can be extremely expensive, and it can be very frustrating to deal with less than stellar placings which push us to do more contests in order to reach our goals. It is also true that the allure of a Pro Card can fool some competitors into thinking that attaining Pro status will deliver much more than acceptance into the prestigious IFBB ranks (such as supplement company contracts, magazine covers, etc.). However, if you are realistic and are pursuing the next level of achievement for your own personal reasons, then declare that when someone tries to criticize you. My advice is to dig your heels in and fight for your right to do something that is inspiring and empowering.
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You may have people in your life who believe that you are getting too ripped and muscular. Invariably the people who make such remarks are not weightlifters, so they do not understand the mentality of those who lift and thus are not comfortable with the idea of building and sculpting muscle. If you are in a bulking phase, your appearance can be especially jarring for those who do not appreciate muscle, and the negative comments are likely to increase in frequency. It’s no surprise that those of us who compete tend to hang out with other lifters in an effort to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who can relate to what we go through and who won’t fling negative comments about our muscularity or vascularity our way.

Perhaps you only deal with minimal criticism but still have trouble processing it. I know that the majority of you who compete have been in situations where family, friends or coworkers have tried to convince you to abandon your strict meal plan, telling you that “just this once” won’t hurt you. They may even resort to accusing you of being a stick in the mud for not caving into peer pressure. It is at times like these that you need to remind yourself of your goals and that adherence to your meal plan is an insurance plan to being on point when contest day arrives. You know that every time you fall off the wagon, so to speak, you jeopardize everything you have spent the past few weeks or months to build. Why do yourself such a disservice only to appease others? Do not bother yourself with what they think, because it is not worth it.
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Consider the reasons why you compete and what kind of satisfaction you get from competing. Are you really going to let the people in your life drag you down and criticize you for doing something that you enjoy? Remember that your journey is not only about physical transformation, it is also spiritual. You are all grown women with minds of your own, so STAND YOUR GROUND!

Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword

Originally published on mensphysique.com on Monday, 02 December 2013

http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-business-fitness-modeling-and-showbiz/9773-social-media-a-double-edged-sword.html
Body Fuse Social Media logos facebook twitter instagram youtube
If you are serious about competing and want to build a career in the fitness industry then you have probably been exploring the various social media platforms and trying to build your name and brand. Of course, you want to push for the most followers you can get, as well as build a fan base which boosts your credibility in the eyes of supplement companies. As your numbers grow, your name will become more well-known and you can claim – without bluffing – that you have inspired thousands of people.

However, with more followers come more problems, most commonly the jerks and the haters. I heard an interesting comment from one of my friends today, which was: “The more successful you are, the more haters you have.” I have to admit that whenever I have to deal with a hater, I am rattled by such energy and will never understand how people can go out of their way to spread negativity. I guess you can’t please everyone, and of course there are going to be those who are jealous of your physique and your success. This is when the blocking feature on numerous social platforms can and should be employed. Don’t bother trying to appease such spiritual leeches. They are not worth the trouble.

Some fans and followers (thank goodness, it is the exception and not the rule) develop a distorted perspective in which they believe that they are connected or bonded to the fitness personalities they are interested in. This quickly turns into an obsession, with the fan holding onto a sense of entitlement which can be dangerous. If such a fan feels disregarded, a cascade of psychotic behavior can ensue.

Another dangerous and disturbing situation found in social media circles is the impostor syndrome. There are individuals out there who may claim to be you, and will use your likeness, your name and your titles to build fake profiles. I am sure you have worked your ass off to get to where you are now, so it is time to do due diligence and make sure that no one is taking your good name and wearing it. The small bit of flattery which may be at play is completely eclipsed by the creepiness and the invasion of pretending to be someone else.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people are level-headed and rational. However, as your numbers grow, you must be aware of the issues which may arise and take measures to protect your name and reputation in the industry.

Success As Measured By Social Media

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While I am grateful for the boost in exposure and the public following I have built as a result of social media, I believe that for many people, social media channels are arbitrary and false measures of success. I will never believe that someone who builds a huge following on Instagram with a gallery of scantily clad selfies has anything to offer the world except spank-bank material. I also want no part of popularity contests which simply look at the number of followers in determining the value of an athlete, and I am bothered by the idea that my knowledge carries less power than the number of bikini images I have shot over the years. I see that several fitness personalities have built their names almost exclusively on sexy selfies, and truly wonder where they will be after people get tired of just seeing hot pics and no intellectual substance to fall back upon. I honestly think that unless they begin working on their intellectual legacy, no one will remember or care about them in ten years.

Another thing which social media platforms do is that they provide a lottery chance for just about anyone to get his or her 15 minutes of fame. It can be hard to predict what might pass the tipping point and go viral, but when it does, an overnight sensation is often created. The usual prerequisite of talent has been washed away by a jaded, overstimulated society which simply wants to see something different, weird, trashy or disturbing. At the risk of completely offending a certain prominent family, I will boldly state that I think it is entirely unfair that the Kardashian family has basked in the fruits of notoriety and increased wealth simply because they were willing to showcase their affluent, dysfunctional, entitled family dynamics for the world to see. As a strange bonus, the world has been subjected to a full-figured, sexually liberated, narcissistic big sister who derives great joy from slathering her ovoid form with Crisco and posting selfies that scream “It’s all about me”, and certainly not in a way which inspires others. What is so mind-blowing is that this family is globally famous, despite the fact that they fall into the “talentless hack” category.

Even as I write this post, I hope to get a lot of views and likes, and wouldn’t mind if it went viral. However, because this post reveals coherent thoughts rather than what kind of underwear I have on right now, I know that it has less of a chance of sparking interest and reactions in a society which is still very visual and dumbed down by the sexual overtones which drive advertising.

Don’t Take It The Wrong Way…Friend Requests On My Personal Facebook Profile

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I get a lot of Facebook friend requests each day, anywhere from 20 to over 100. I have maxed out on my profile a number of times over the years and have endured the weed-out process that some people will do in an effort to keep a personal profile truly personal or industry-related. This time, however, I am no longer able to clean up my friends list because I truly know the people on it. Despite being almost maxed out, I get random requests from people whom I do not know, and I have to delete these requests. Let’s do the math here: even if I wasn’t already right at 5,000 friends, how could I possibly add all the requests I get daily? If I had a friend-free profile, and received an average of 80 requests a day, I would max out in two months.

Some people are nice enough to message me beforehand, asking permission to send a friend request. What amazes me though, is how pushy and sometimes rude people can be when I kindly say no. Some people will cuss me out, saying that I am not that special and that they didn’t want to be friends with me anyway. Others will keep messaging me repeatedly, pleading with me to add them. Some will mention that “we have a few mutual friends” when I can see that the mutual friends are random. I have had to resort to blocking people who became aggressive or threatening. I have also gotten requests with messages along these lines: “You’re very beautiful. We should be friends.” This tells me that the person has no clue who I am, but just saw my avatar and thought I was hot.

Persistent FB guy

I will be very clear and say that a message stream similar to the one you see above will never be endearing, only extremely annoying. Anyone who dares to scold me for not responding shows his or her insanity and gets blocked. What I don’t understand is how a complete stranger can conjure up notions that anyone with even the smallest bit of celebrity status is somehow a messaging buddy, a kindred spirit, a best friend, or a virtual lover? Sorry, but that just spells crazy, and I will not tolerate it.

So if you and I don’t know each other and you send a Facebook friend request which I reject, please don’t take it personally!

Keeping Up With Social Media Posts

SelfieSocial media avenues give people the opportunity to network, build business, increase exposure and connect with others all over the world. They are excellent tools for people who are trying to become the next big thing. But I have to file a grievance…if I had all the time in a day to post selfies and inspirational posts, I would, but because I have a career outside of fitness, I simply do not have that luxury. Numerous people have told me that I need to be more aggressive about posting pertinent items on social media channels, but they don’t realize that I am overwhelmed by what I have on my plate. I manage all three websites I have established, as well as my blog site, Twitter, Instagram, and three Facebook pages. Add to that my work schedule, photo shoots, video shoots, writing projects, training clients, food prep, etc., and I have little time to take alluring pics of myself all day. When I do take selfies at the gym or at work, people think I am being vain. So I am hit from both sides. Either I am not being aggressive enough, or I am self-absorbed. Pretty frustrating.

I also have to admit that I have a crappy camera on my phone which refuses to deliver consistently great images. I get so tired of having the wrong angle, poor lighting, or having a reach that is insufficient. Apparently, the teens and 20-somethings seem to have figured out all the best camera phone angles, and spend considerable pockets of time cropping, adding films and effects, text, borders, etc. to make their posts incredibly eye-catching. I have to admit that I am a bit envious of such skill. What cracks me up is that I have recently seen articles in major women’s fashion magazines on how to take a good selfie, indicating how much this phenomenon has become a common means of connecting with the world.

It’s pretty funny how some haters actually give ME a hard time about taking ANY time to snap selfies, often scolding me and telling me to “get back to work” or “be productive”. I guess if you’re over a certain age or if you are a career professional you aren’t allowed to avail yourself of social media avenues and post selfies? I may not be the best at it, nor do I have a ton of time to perfect the images I post, but I will do what I can to stay current and connect with the world while also honoring my responsibilities outside of cyberworld.

Facebook Is NOT A Dating Site

FBI am extremely tired of the random strangers who find it necessary to troll around women’s Facebook profiles, look up relationship status, assess degree of hotness, then send suggestive and annoying emails in an effort to snag a date. Since when was Facebook designated as a dating website? When I get an email from someone who clearly has no idea who I am but simply came across my profile image and thought I was hot, my defense mechanisms are triggered, and I will not even bother to reply to the majority of such communications. I also fail to see the point of flirting with someone on the other side of the globe. Is it THAT difficult to meet eligible partners in one’s own country? Also, how does one propose to meet the object of his desire if she resides thousands of miles away in another country? This is of course assuming that the lady is interested, which in my case is NEVER applicable.

I am well aware of the cyberstalking that occurs when a man is interested in a woman he encounters online. To be honest, it is rather creepy. In the past four years, I have been asked out online via Facebook far more than I have been in person, and have been harrassed by men who were desperate to date me, even when I was in a committed relationship and cohabiting with my man. Some men will not take no for an answer and will pester a woman to the point where she must employ the blocking feature simply to get rid of the guy. I have had men call me every name in the book, threatening and insulting me when I rejected their cyber advances.

Ladies, be hyper-vigilant with these men! Do NOT allow them to manipulate you. The blocking feature on Facebook is a valuable tool, so USE IT. Men, be respectful and understand that most women will not be receptive to a complete stranger asking her out on a date via a non-dating website. If a woman rejects your offer to take her out, bow out graciously. Don’t be a jerk and insult her simply because your ego is bruised. Such behavior is sociopathic and misogynistic.

Facebook is a great social media site, so don’t abuse it.