Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Foot as Way of Life

"We don't use our feet to their full capacity.  Remember when I said earlier that the foot is the only part of your body that is evolved specifically for the purpose of having a relationship with the earth?  Well that kind of begs the question of: What earth? The earth that was present when this thing evolved is not present for most of us. It's been leveled, it's been paved, it's been predictable. Nature has given us these all-terrain vehicles which we never take off-road." -Leslie Kaminoff

I love Leslie Kaminoff.  Even if you don't have the slightest interest in yoga, his understanding of the body and his method of delivering what can be a dry subject with too many systems and parts to remember is interesting and personal.

That being said, I found his explanation on going barefoot enlightening, not just for feet, but for life in general. 

Apparently, 75-80% of the body's proprioceptors (those mechanical receptors in a joint structure which delivers information to the nervous system) are located in the ankle area. Predictable surfaces (such as carpet, flooring, paved streets, sidewalks, etc.) weaken these sensory receptors.  He explains how shoes, in fact, do not support nor create strong feet but actually damage feet in the long-term, for example, by stomping when walking to create that sensory reception not felt in on foot "muffled" (his term) by a shoe.  Barefoot walking does feel lighter on the feet, no?  By muffling (shoeing) the feet, those ankle proprioceptors are not exercising their fullest receptive potential. 

It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the best ways to clear up mental fog and return to the personal center would be to go outside and stand barefoot on Earth.  It's not just about feeling grass beneath your toes (sure that's part of it), but it's about awakening and re-invigorating those nerves on the foot pad and the proprioceptors of the ankle for the body to re-establish its support base, both physically and spiritually.
We know that it is crucial to have a strong core for physical fitness and strength.  By strong core, we don't mean 6-pack abs (if that's what you mean, then you're sorely mistaken and setting yourself up for injury) but a strong trunk consisting of both abdominal, back, and side oblique muscles.  A stronger body trunk allows for greater weight-bearing with less injury for its limbs.  We are told to lift with our knees not with our back, but a strong body trunk supports much of that weight.  

Just as it is with the feet, the foundation for almost all our movement which bears immense weight every day; strong feet with sharp proprioceptors will prevent and decrease ankle injuries.  Go barefoot for a day, then see what happens in your work out.  My bet is that your squats will feel more stable, your lunges more powerful, and your running a bit lighter.

And go barefoot for the greater, personal reason: To re-connect the energetic relationship of the Self to the Earth and return empowered, centered, and restored.  Clearing up that head fog and confusion is like a home-coming, returning to a personal center to understand the new gains and loss of the current Self so that we can move forward  in greater awareness and truth.

So, just do it--go barefoot.  Feel the Earth, search out unpredictable and naturally-occurring surfaces.  Your ankles, your fitness, your greater Self will thank you.

You can watch the rest of Leslie Kaminoff's video on the anatomy of the feet in regards to barefoot walking here.

This article originally published at Tattoos And Power Suits is re-printed here with permission.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Setting Goals...No, Wait..PRACTICING Goals & F*#^(ing Them Up! Intentionally!

Do any of you do the New Year's goal thing?

I don't. 

I always find that if I have a start date, especially if it's January 1st, I tend to make a lot of mistakes & flub it up for a while, then drop the goal because I couldn't get it right.

So, I figured out a way to knock that shizza off:

#1. I get to the root of WHY I want this goal.  Superficial reasons are totally ok.

#2. I'll create a start date & a goal in mind.  Then, several weeks before (or days, if I only have a few days), I practice doing the goal.  

#3. Respect & own that I will do this goal imperfectly for a while before I create small habits that can be sustained over a long period of time: habits created slowly, without criticizing, & with the intent of being imperfect--imperfectly me!


This realization of imperfect goal setting came about from trying to quit smoking.  I smoked for over 3 years (maybe it was longer, I'm not sure because it's not a notable piece of my history I feel compelled to keep detailed notes on).  I tried quitting so many times. I would have terrible anxiety attacks related from it, my breathing was painful, & felt so dried out (eyes, nose, mouth, skin). 

Despite the health factor, it was superficial reasons that brought me to quit. I don't want to laugh like a 90-year-old man, because I'm not a 90-year-old man. Also, the only lines I want around my eyes & mouth are laugh lines. Screw that, JOY LINES.

I quit so many times, I can't even keep track.  Hell, I didn't keep track. Failing was embarassing, but I noticed, by practicing quitting smoking (my grammar nerds are probably pissed at my use of gerunds--sorry friends!) developed a greater ability to hold a quit for longer periods of time.  One day, it simply wasn't an issue anymore.  It took quitting, failing, quitting, failing, then quitting again with no expectations of how perfect I would be to finally quit.  Plus, the inner critic jumped off a bridge because I wasn't hearing it!  My imperfect practice of practicing enabled me to continue on practicing, practicing, practicing.  Goodbye, Marlboros & American Spirits! Hello, liberated bright-eyed pink-faced lungs!

Oh, & one thing I did keep notes on: I've been ciggie-free since 2005.  Own!


Much much more recently, I decided to begin a vegetarian diet (look at my bio, I've been thinking about it for a long time...speaking of bios I'm going to update that soon).  There were several hundred reasons but the most genuine reasons are #1. to activate on a higher vibration (that's Zo-speak for "feel better all spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally") & #2. there is no such thing as a humane way to slaughter an innocent being.  WAIT! Don't run away! I'm not here to preach on #2 (yet, tee hee), but I am being honest about my reasons. 

So, I knew it was something I had to do to be my most authentic self.  But, I set no expectations.  I said to myself,

"Self, I am going to fuck this up so many times because I really want to do this right.  I'm scared shitless of screwing up because I have a habit of wanting to be perfect.  But I am going to do this imperfectly; & if I do it imperfectly, I will feel good about having met my goal of being an imperfect vegetarian. And one day, it'll be seamless & perfect & I won't even have to think about getting it right, because it simply will be." Yes, I really said that.  Self-speak is CRUCIAL because we all fight that self-speak-critic who tells us we're not smart/fit/pretty/funny/busty/etc. enough.

Two weeks after going green, I ate meat on 2 different occasions.  Now, it's been almost two full months of eating a plant-based meal (I refuse to count the first few weeks of the new year because that is SO cliche) & I have ZERO desire to go back to meat.  (My new heroes over at have delicious products to get more than enough protein & B-12 & zinc, all of which are soy-free & gluten-free! Boo & hiss to soy!) Also, can I just say, I feel AMAZING?! Plus, my skin is super dewy & glowy; I've even stopped wearing foundation. High-vibing, friends!  That's what happens when you are being & loving your most authentic self.


So where are you at on your goals--are you feeling frustrated?  Check in with them & with your self-speak. It may help to loosen your grip just enough & strangely set the bar a little low.  Be gracious to yourself, like you would be to a friend who's fed up with her/his imperfections.  Be beautifully imperfect right now; intentionally imperfect & imperfectly practicing. 

Remember, you'll get it imperfect every single time, until you don't. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Life is crazy!!

All of us here at Muscles, Madness and Martinis are so unbelievably busy that we have gotten sidetracked from our weekly blogging!   We are working hard on taking the time to write about our experiences in life, rather than keeping these moments to ourselves.

I know all of the women behind M,M&M are constantly working on their bodies.  Some of us do yoga, others work their ass off instructing spin and the rest of us are avid CrossFitters that seem to find little time for anything else but WOD's and getting the next PR!

If you are anything like any one of my amazing friends, you are dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, putting nourishing food and thought into your body and obtaining security within yourself in a very insecure world. 

I came across this video today of what REAL women would look like if they were photographed and photoshopped like cover girls.  It's amazing to see how their perspectives changed on their true beauty and individuality.

I know that every imperfection is what makes me unique; the freckles that I've had since childhood and every wrinkle that I've developed over the years from laughing and living life!   After watching this video, I hope that you also find a new found love for the skin that you are in! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

As promised a cold weather recipe that was Delish. Creamy Asparagus Soup

Creamy Asparagus Soup

2 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped shallots
1 pound of asparagus steamed (I used a package of frozen asparagus and sautéed them until tender)
Black pepper to taste
2 cups of chicken stock
I cup of full fat coconut milk (I used one can)

Easy directions:
Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Sauté the shallots for 5 minutes or until tender. Place the shallots and the steamed asparagus in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Season with black pepper.
Transfer the asparagus puree back to the sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients and heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.
Serves 4

I loved this soup, but I also love asparagus. I'm sure the soup would also be fantastic using broccoli or cauliflower instead of asparagus.....Ohhh loaded cauliflower soup with bacon and green onions sounds fantastic. I will come up with a recipe for that soon!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

So most if you that are in the CrossFit world know about Hero WODs. For those that don't...
CrossFit is very big in honoring our heros. The whole premise behind CrossFit was for military, fire and police personel to have a quick workout that engaged their whole bodies. Since CrossFit began there have been many (too many) that have fallen in the line of duty and CrossFit recognizes these heros in the Hero WODs. Usually picking the persons favorite WOD and naming it for them. 

Since Monday was Veterans Day, it was a guarantee that there would be a Hero WOD.  'MURPH' named in memory of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy was the challenge that I faced for the day and it was a big one.

The WOD:
      1 mile Run
      100 Pull-ups
      200 Push-ups
      300 Squats
      1 mile Run
Since I am still somewhat of a beginner, my coach allowed me to scale back:
      1 mile Run
      50 Pull-ups
      100 Push-ups
      200 Squats
      1 mile Run

My time for 'MURPH' was 43:51 and the entire time I was WODing, all I could think of was who I was WODing for and what he had sacrificed to be recognized as a HERO.  I am thankful every day for what our military does to protect our freedom and will support all that put their life at risk for our safety.

Every time there is a HERO WOD, I will do my best to not complain and put forth the best effort that I can. And afterwords, I will research their story and put a face to a name as it is that much more meaningful to know who was lost.

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy
United States Navy (SEAL)

May 7, 1976 - June 28, 2005
(Biography from the US Navy Medal of Honor website)
Navy Lt. Michael Murphy
Lt. Michael P. Murphy, fondly referred to by friends and family as “Murph,” was born May 7, 1976 in Smithtown, N.Y. and grew up in the New York City commuter town of Patchogue, N.Y. on Long Island.
Murphy grew up active in sports and attended Patchogue's Saxton Middle School. In high school, Murphy took a summer lifeguard job at the Brookhaven town beach in Lake Ronkonkoma -- a job he returned to each summer through his college years. Murphy graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School in 1994. 
Murphy attended Penn State University, where he was an exceptional all-around athlete and student, excelling at ice hockey and graduating with honors. He was an avid reader; his reading tastes ranged from the Greek historian Herodotus to Tolstoy's "War and Peace." Murphy's favorite book was Steven Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire,” about the Spartan stand at Thermopylae. In 1998, he graduated with a pair of Bachelor of Arts degrees from Penn State -- in political science and psychology.
Following graduation, he was accepted to several law schools, but instead he changed course.  Slightly built at 5 feet 10 inches, Murphy decided to attend SEAL mentoring sessions at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point with his sights on becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL. Murphy accepted an appointment to the Navy's Officer Candidate School at Pensacola, Fla., in September, 2000.
Murphy was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy on Dec. 13, 2000, and began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, Calif., in January 2001, graduating with Class 236. BUD/S is a six-month training course and the first step to becoming a Navy SEAL.
Upon graduation from BUD/S, he attended the Army Jump School, SEAL Qualification Training and SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) school. Lt. Murphy earned his SEAL Trident and checked on board SDV Team (SDVT) 1 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in July of 2002. In October of 2002, he deployed with Foxtrot Platoon to Jordan as the liaison officer for Exercise Early Victor.
Following his tour with SDVT-1, Lt. Murphy was assigned to Special Operations Central Command in Florida and deployed to Qatar in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning from Qatar, Lt. Murphy was deployed to the Horn of Africa, Djibouti, to assist in the operational planning of future SDV missions.
In early 2005, Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 as assistant officer in charge of ALFA Platoon and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 
On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.
A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.
Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire.  This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy.  While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in.  Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.
As a result of Murphy’s call, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent in as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men aboard.
On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, continued to fight.  By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead.  The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious. Though severely wounded, the fourth SEAL and sole survivor, Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy for nearly a day; after which local nationals came to his aide, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three more days. Luttrell was rescued by U.S. Forces on July 2, 2005.  
By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.
Lt. Murphy was buried at Calverton National Cemetery less than 20 miles from his childhood home. Lt. Murphy’s other personal awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal.
Lt. Murphy is survived by his mother Maureen Murphy; his father Dan Murphy; and his brother John Murphy. Dan and Maureen Murphy, who were divorced in 1999, remain close friends and continue to live in N.Y.  Their son John, 22, attends the New York Institute of Technology, and upon graduation will  pursue a career in criminal justice, having been accepted to the New York City Police Deparment.