How To Keep Cool At Night

The one part about summer which I never miss is the endless string of hot nights which keep me tossing and turning. In an effort to keep the ambient temperature as comfortable as possible while I slumber, I have tried many different methods to cool down, and some still do the trick quite nicely. Thankfully, the mercury should start dropping soon, and the blazing hot nights will abate.

Here’s what has worked nicely for me in my quest for a cool sleeping environment:

1. Central A/C is always set for a certain temperature. We have it set at 77 degrees because at 78 degrees or higher, the entire household (there are four of us) bakes like incubating baby chicks.

2. The ceiling fan in my bedroom is always on. There’s nothing I can do about the fan placement, and often lament the fact that the fan is positioned over the foot of my bed instead of over my head, but the bedroom is huge. If I owned the place I live in, I would install three ceiling fans in line so that I could stay cool in bed, sitting in front of the television, or sitting at my desk on the other side of the room.

3. I have two sleek tabletop fans on my nightstands which are wonderful on hot nights. They have a slim profile, and are relatively quiet.

4. I always use 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, which have more of a tendency to stay cool than sheets which are a lower thread count or made of synthetic materials.

5. I have a cooling mattress pad on my mattress. The brand I have, PureCare Frio 11 Inch Cooling Mattress Protector, is acceptable but not great.

Frio Cooling Mattress Pad

Several other bloggers have recommended the Slumber Cloud Nacreous Mattress Pad which is available at slumbercloud.com, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it does a better job of cooling than the Frio.

6. When I was dealing with the worst of my perimenopausal nights sweats, I would place an ice cold gel pack between my shoulder blades and sleep on my back so that I could maximize the surface area which came into contact with the pack. After two summers of using gel packs on a nightly basis, I am thrilled that I haven’t had to resort to such craziness this summer.

7. On the hottest summer nights, I will take a tepid shower before retiring. The shower ritual cools core body temperature and primes the body for more restful sleep.

8. I will often kick a foot or an entire leg out from under the covers to cool down. This has been scientifically proven to decrease core body temperature. Some researchers even recommend that people sleep with their feet completely unencumbered by socks or bedding.

What did NOT work for me was a bed fan. I had seen the BedJet Climate Comfort Cooling Fan and was intrigued by it, but the steep price ($300 and up) caused me to lose interest quickly. When I learned that there was a Brookstone version of the bed fan, and that it was $99, I quickly purchased it, only to be so disappointed by the performance that I returned it. Even with the lightweight sheets I have on the bed and a simple coverlet (no blanket, no heavy comforter), and with the fan cranked up to the maximum setting, the device spewed out just enough air power to keep the toes of one foot cool.

I am intrigued by the Breezy Buddy fan-cooled pillow and wish I had known about this product when I was in the throes of hormonal night sweats. However, I no longer need such a device.

If you are looking for ways to cool down your bedroom, you might want to try a few of the suggestions I have discussed here. Here’s to a restful and cool night’s sleep!

When People Are Full Of Hate

in-order-for-you-to-insuld-me-i-would-first-have-to-value-your-opinion

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

social media logos
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.
Negativity
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.
haters
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

Kim Kardashian nude selfie

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.

Why I Love Attending Olympia Every Year

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My non-fitness friends don’t see why I get excited about attending Olympia every year. They say that it looks like the same old thing every year, and to a certain extent it is. But there is something so powerful about getting bodybuilding greats to descend upon Las Vegas that I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. The energy in the Expo Hall is incredible, and with so many of the world’s top competitors there to compete, I pick up on that buzz and enjoy it immensely. When I attend Olympia, I bump into so many friends in the industry that it serves as a regular reunion. This year in particular is a milestone because it marks FIFTY years of Olympia. This year’s Olympia will be televised, hopefully generating more interest from the mainstream and portraying bodybuilding in a favorable light.

From Olympia 2012

From Olympia 2012


I think I maintain a certain balance and guard against boredom at the Olympia by working a booth each year. I have been extremely fortunate to work with wonderful companies, representing great products, and I never run the risk of sensory overload that sometimes hits spectators who go up and down the aisles endlessly. I am happy to stay within the confines of my booth, handing out product and talking to fans, friends and attendees. One disadvantage is that I rarely get enough time to explore the Expo and have to plan out which booths I need to visit during my lunch break on each day, but the list has gotten smaller over time as a result of my more established name and a different objective for visiting the booths. I used to visit booths to get myself on the fitness map, but now I visit booths to see friends and conduct meetings, so I am much more focused.

The noise in the Expo hall can be deafening at times, but I love it because it is reflective of the energy that builds up. People in the industry are very bold about showing their excitement and passion. There is no restraint at the O! At the end of each Expo day, my feet are sore, my legs are tired, my forearms are cut up from the magazines I pass out to people, and my voice is hoarse, but I absolutely love it. You better believe I will be back at the O next year and for many years to come.