Humbled and Hopeful: I Need You

I have to admit that humility is a virtue as much as patience is. And so it is with great humility, that I write you a quick post this weekend.

Where I thought I’d receive hundreds of picture submissions in my inbox and have to sort through them painstakingly to choose which ones to use in the next Roar video, I stand corrected.

I’ve received one.

Seriously. One.

So.

With only five days left before the deadline for picture submissions – for the next Roar video – I wanted to post a short list of guidelines for the weekenders.

In a humble attempt to spread body love and positivity, I’ll re-cap the next video’s theme for you.

A dedicated group of people have been working hard on music, preparing to edit, and market the next video – all by volunteering their time generously. We work for free – but love is free – so we’re just trying to spread what’s meant to be shared, and that’s love.

I would so much appreciate you considering a contribution to the next Roar video, so that we can continue to spread the message that where we are on our journeys right this second is okay and WONDERFUL. I would so much love to have your participation in this next powerful piece that embraces the natural beauty of everyone, and shows no support for the war of “fat vs. skinny” or “real vs. fake”, whatever that even means. The next vid, is about beauty in all forms – and what the power of positive words really holds. No more wars on bodies. Let’s just love what we got and show the world how to start doing that.

The Guidelines, my friends:

  • We are seeking pictures, of people, with masking tape on their skin, showing a positive word (i.e. beautiful, amazing, strong) written in Sharpie (a la the first Roar video.) The first video removed negative words in this manner, so the next video is set to do the exact opposite. Positive words on the body will be used in the video.
  • Body part suggestions: you can put the tape on your chest (but please cover your boobies if you are a lady), your upper or lower back, your belly, your side (ribs), legs, arms, shoulders, calves, quads, glutes, etc. You pick.
  • It must be on your skin – not on clothing. We are showing all of your bravery in bearing skin. We are working to promote self-love, and the tape on the skin promotes self-love and bravery at the same time. If you feel pale, go ahead and write “Pale and Proud”. Embrace what you may think is not “magazine-worthy” by using that exact thing for this picture. The more vulnerability, the better this project will turn out.
  • Please use two pieces of masking tape, slightly overlapping, so that there is ample room to write your positive word as large as possible. The masking tape is mandatory – there’s a theme here, so writing Sharpie directly on the skin is not part of the theme. Kapeesh?
  • Use a THICK, black, dark blue, or dark purple Sharpie to write your word, or make extremely thick letters with a normal Sharpie. A normal Sharpie is not thick enough to be seen on camera, so you must thicken all of the letters.
  • Please send me as much of a body shot as you can. We need as much of a full body shot as possible while still being able to read the masking tape. Not everyone will want to show their face in the shot. Quite alright. Please know that full body pictures including faces are what my editor, and my creative team long for. Pine for. Would absolutely prefer. Again, with the vulnerability.
  • The masking tape and the word can be either horizontal or vertical on your body. Creativity is key.
  • Please do not send pictures of your actual ass if you choose to highlight your ass. You can have arrows pointing to your ass with a word like “sexy” or “gorgeous”, but nudity does not help us. Use your discretion. I trust your judgement.
  • Same with boobies.
  • Note that while I can’t accept nudity, I greatly welcome your full body shots in bikinis, sports bras and shorts, board shorts, or basically any clothing that shows as much skin as possible. The whole point is masking tape on skin, showing a lot of skin, but not an inappropriate amount. It’s a fine line. Enjoy this vague request.
  • Positive words only – examples are beautiful, gorgeous, pretty, amazing, strong, fabulous, fit, tough, amazing, handsome, sexy, incredible, hot, etc. Feel free to be creative and use something I didn’t even list here.
  • I don’t know how I feel about using swear words, because I want teens to be able to see this and appreciate the beauty as well. Not that I have this crazy notion that teens don’t swear, but what I’m saying is, the less nudity and swearing we use, the less likely it is that YouTube will put an age-appropriate ban on the video. Use your judgement, or perhaps write something like “Effing Awesome”. Everyone will still get the point.
  • Five second video clips of your dog holding a sign in his mouth that says “My mama is beautiful”, or of you kicking your face with the word “strong” on your thighs will also be considered. Or ideas like this. Again, creativity highly welcomed. I love it. I love it.
  • Group shots, couples shots, friend shots, mom and daughter shots, dad and son shots, any combo of these is welcome. Creativity is awesome. Have fun – the goal is to have fun. I want you to have fun.
  • Email me your picture or (five second) video, your full name (unless you absolutely do not want to), and a tiny paragraph (no more than 100 words) about what The Roar Movement means to you and/or why you’d like to be included to roarmovement@gmail.com. I request the paragraph only so I can get to know a bit about you before I use your picture. I love finding out people’s stories – it inspires me, and it will help inspire the video. If you really don’t feel like writing it though, no worries, I’ll accept the picture anyway.
  • I MUST HAVE THIS EMAIL FROM YOU NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 8TH. THAT’S NEXT SATURDAY. Originally the deadline was the 5th, but I’m extending it. Again, roarmovement@gmail.com.
  • I originally asked you to keep this hush hush. But if you feel like sharing it, so that we can receive more pictures via your Facebook friends or Twitter followers, go for it. I only want the video to show off the beautiful body-love movement that’s taking place all over the world, and so the more, the merrier. I would like to wait to make the statement until the finished product is ready, but right now, we need your help to get those pictures into my inbox!!!

I, Amanda Trusty, hereby swear that I will not spam you once I have your email address other than to send you a Thank You with a link to the finished project in March. I will not exploit, sell, or share your email address, picture, or name with anyone. I swear that I am pretty technologically challenged and do not know how to do any of these things anyway. I swear that your picture is being used for a project to promote body-love, self-love, and positivity just as the first video, and this blog does. This blog stands for such things, and I appreciate your help in this next movement so very, very much.

I swear from the bottom of my masking tape covered heart, that my team and I are working hard on a project that means so much to us, and we are determined to make a difference. Your participation in that would be incredible, and it would be an honor to feature each and every one of you who are reading this in the project.

It’s okay to accept where we are in our journeys, and celebrate where we stand at the moment, even if it’s not exactly what we feel we should look like or feel like. We are all perfect in our own ways, and it’s time to throw ourselves a party. Or at least a pep rally where we root for each other.

Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo for sharing this and participating and supporting the project. (Original post about this project here.)

(Regular weekly posting to be posted Sunday/Monday as always! Aloha!)

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An Epic Interview That Will Change Your View on Fitness Instructors

About a year ago, maybe more, my friend Caitlin Krause invited me to take a barre fitness class she was teaching at Pure Yoga on the Upper West Side. As a dancer, I walked into class feeling confident and overqualified. I mean, c’mon, a barre class? Easy peezy, here we go.

As a human, I walked into class feeling self-concious about my lack of Lululemon, and a little concerned at the lack of skinny mirrors.

Fifteen minutes into the class, I realized that I was basically wrong about all the things.

Lululemon doesn’t matter when you’re testing your own leg strength with just your body weight. Skinny mirrors don’t matter when you’re on the floor doing the most effective core workout you’ve ever experienced.

Caitlin kicked my ego’s ass just enough to make me feel accomplished, yet wanting to come back for more. My saddlebags shrank, my abs tightened, and my anxiety subsided. I had been terrified to enter her class – assuming I would be clueless and uneducated about the workout.

Guess what? I was right. I was clueless and uneducated about the workout. Because I’d never done it before.

That’s the whole point of trying new fitness classes. Of course we are clueless when we step into that room! That’s why those instructors have jobs. And 9 times out of 10, that’s what makes an instructor happiest. They WANT to help. They WANT to clue us in. They are HAPPY to teach to the clueless and the uneducated. Their livelihood is to help people learn to love their bodies and to teach us how to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Instead of being so intimidated by fitness instructors, I’ve learned to love them and be grateful for the gifts they have to offer.

Two months of Caitlin’s class – about two or three classes a week in early 2013- and my body was in the best shape it’s ever been. I felt sexy and strong, despite my secretive binging habits.

Most importantly, the class was the first group fitness experience I had ever had that left me feeling great. Optimistic. Not a complete failure.

So I encouraged friends to reach out to Caitlin and try her class as well. Not a one of them took her up on the offer.

Most of us have a weird thing about group fitness. Either the instructors are stronger than we are, or our peers are skinnier than we are, or we just feel like we don’t quite belong.

But there are exceptions to every rule, and I think I found mine when I jumped into Caitlin’s class with naivety and no expectations.

So I wanted to give you Caitlin’s insight to group fitness, in hopes that you could find your exception as well.

Maybe you’re already set with your spin classes and Zumba sets, maybe you’ve been to one step class and walked out, maybe you are too scared to try Crossfit. Whatever category you fit into, I think you’ll appreciate this honest and candid interview below.

Meet Caitlin Krause:

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Caitlin and I first met working at Equinox Fitness in NYC in 2009 – as spa desk girls.  She is a dancer with over 25 years of training who found her passion in fitness instruction. She loves to lay out in the sun as much as I do, she has a perfect cat named Winnie, and she is literally the best at walking in high heels, like, the best though. She’s a normal, yet fabulous, twentysomething who changes people’s lives multiple times a day. She says, “People attend fitness classes for a number of different reasons, but regardless of what they are, my main goal is to teach and inspire people to push past what they think they are capable of in a supportive, nurturing, positive, and safe environment.”  Caitlin revolutionized the way I look at group fitness, and I think she does the same for a lot of her clients. I’m proud to call her an inspiration, and a friend. Below, are some insights that I think you’ll appreciate as much as I did.

Me: Fitness instructors are often looked at with this golden light around them. We tend to assume that y’all are perfect, y’all eat perfect things, y’all get perfect sleep, have perfect sex, make perfect money, all that good stuff. Do you care to speak on that assumption?

Caitlin: All I can say is NO ONE IS PERFECT!!! It would benefit all of us to move on from this idea of perfection. There isn’t a person alive that doesn’t have any problems, worries, struggles, challenges, vices, or insecurities. Fitness instructors are not an exception. Seriously.

Me: Some of us fear group fitness classes because we assume the instructor will judge us if we aren’t “good enough” in class. Can you share your thoughts on this?

Caitlin: On the topic of judgement, I’ll say that being a fitness instructor in the most basic form is like performing in a one woman (or man) show. I am up in front of an audience pouring my heart and soul out for people to accept me, or reject me, however and whenever they would like. Regardless of a person’s background before becoming an instructor, all of us who teach are subject to harsh judgment and criticism right there in every class, every day. No one is alone in feeling the wrath of judgement!

Now onto this idea of being “good” in your fitness class. If everyone was “good” or “great” at the class, what would be the point of my job? I am there to teach people how to use their body, their muscles, and their brains in a different way. My job is much more rewarding when I can see the light bulb go off in a person’s head. When people who attend my class begin to understand what they are doing and what I am asking, it’s absolutely awesome when, together, we see a change in how they feel physically and emotionally.  

Most importantly, we need to get rid of this idea of being “good enough”. Good enough for who? This isn’t school or work. I am not rewarding you with an A+ or a raise in salary. The reward is coming from within yourself – the results that you see from pushing yourself past your comfort zone. And isn’t that what this whole “being good” thing really is? Why do we only feel comfortable doing things we are already “good” at? Being good doesn’t push us, and it doesn’t change us. Progress is only made through challenges and changes. That old saying is true: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

If you’re seeking out a new fitness class, it’s probably because you want a new result. None of us get new results from something we are already comfortable doing. We all have to stop expecting ourselves to be “good” or “perfect” at something new. Eliminate this and half the battle has already been won. 

Me: Fitness instructors are often able to do all the reps, all the push-ups, all the sit-ups, etc. Was it always like that or did you need to work your way up to it?
Caitlin: For the majority of my life, I have been an athlete, so I’ve always been fairly strong. Pushing myself to improve and get stronger was something I loved to do before I was an instructor. However, teaching 20+ classes a week definitely changes your body. What I ask people to do one time a day, I am often demonstrating at least 4 times a day. Remember that I get four times the practice.  

Me: Did you like group fitness classes before you became an instructor? 

Caitlin: Growing up as a dancer, I have always been in a group class setting. I don’t think I was ever aware of whether or not I liked it. It was all I knew.

Once I moved to New York for college, I started attending fitness classes as a way to stay in shape outside of dance. Honestly, it circles back to this idea of being “comfortable.” Starting at the weight section of the gym can be totally overwhelming. I had no idea what I was doing, and rather than be concerned I would hurt myself, I was concerned that other people at the gym would judge me – that I would look like an idiot. So, I decided to attend the group classes because I figured it was safer to have someone just tell me what to do, alongside other people attempting the same idea. Turns out I LOVED THEM!!! I love the energy a class setting has. I love that I started to build relationships with the people I would see multiple times in class. It became a supportive environment where we could challenge each other in a non-threatening way. Plus, I live for LOUD music!

Me: Was there anything about the classes you attended that you wished were different?

Caitlin: For the most part, I always took classes that were amazing and had instructors that inspired me. I’ve been lucky to study under some of the most dedicated teachers. Those teachers are the people who inspired me to want to do what I do.

I was always taking as many classes as possible to figure out what I liked, and what my body responded to. From time to time I would leave a class thinking that it was a good class and a good work out, but I didn’t LOVE it.

It took me a long time to understand the difference between a teacher and an instructor. I found I loved the classes where I felt I was being taught something – not just instructed to follow along.  

Me: When you started teaching your own classes, were you able to incorporate what you had wished was different in classes you once took?

Caitlin: I struggle with this question everyday! It is so important that I continue to learn and grow as an instructor. I want to be better for my clients with every single class.

I tell myself every day to just be authentic. This was the hardest concept for me to understand when I first became an instructor, and it is one that is present in every aspect of my life. What makes me, ME, is amazing and pretty damn special. While I knew this, I still couldn’t fully accept it. Self-acceptance is SO difficult. I’ve learned that I can only be me, and that includes all the wonderful and not so wonderful things that make up who I am. And not everyone will love that, and that’s okay, too. As long as I always work hard, and stay true to who I am as a person and as a teacher, I’m doing okay. People will see that and respond positively. If they don’t, I’ve learned that it has nothing to do with me.

Me: What is your best advice for a woman who has never exercised and is too shy to come to a fitness class?

Caitlin: Honestly, I feel like this answer is exactly the same as the one that follows this. When people begin to think of doing anything outside of their comfort zone, they might feel scared or intimidated. This means that there isn’t much difference between someone who has worked out consistently and someone who never has, if they are both shy and intimidated by a new class. We all need to just accept that sometimes we won’t be the best, or the smartest, or the most fit, and that it is okay! Once we accept this, doing something new isn’t quite as scary. We might even find that we are more successful at the new endeavor, because we have more energy to observe all the new information being presented to us. 

Me: If a woman who is out of shape shows up for class and tells you she’s intimidated by the exercise, what is your response?

Caitlin: I get this all the time! Patience really is a virtue. We all want to do it perfectly on the first try and see the results NOW! However, the number one thing I tell my clients is to be patient. No one will walk into a class they have never taken before and be perfect (no such thing).

Often times, the hardest part is getting yourself to the workout. Once you are in the room, half the battle is over, and you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for that.

I’m sorry, I just want to make sure we all read that one again.

The hardest part is getting yourself to the workout. Once you are in the room, half the battle is over, and you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for that.

If we can both agree that you won’t totally know what’s going on every second, and you probably won’t do everything correctly, and that it is okay to possibly feel a little silly, then everything will be just fine. Breathe. Be patient with your mind and body. Learning new things can be scary, but again, I stress that it’s the challenges that change us. Don’t ever let something intimidate you just because it’s challenging. And DON’T GIVE UP!! 

Me: How can women help themselves when it comes to finding the best fitness classes for them?

Caitlin: Do your research and try different things! Search the internet for what is around you. If the company’s website doesn’t give you enough information, call the gym/studio and ask questions. Try as many different things as you can.

I love exploring new workouts. It keeps things interesting, and it also helps me realize what I hate and what I love. Once you’re at the class, do not hesitate to talk to the instructor!!! Tell them it is your first time, and about any injuries or issues – even if it’s just feeling nervous to be trying something new. I’m serious. I love to talk to new people and learn how they are feeling – it only helps me help you more! The more information I have, the better chance you will have a positive experience. 

Me: Can you speak on men? How is it when they come to your class, and should women feel intimidated when men take the same class as them?

Caitlin: I actually don’t treat men any differently than woman. I just see every single person as an athlete – there in my class to work. However, I definitely think there is a misconception that just because you are a man, you are comfortable in the gym. Or that men are wired to know how to use the free weight section in a gym. Men can be just as clueless, insecure, and shy as women, and they might even feel added pressure to perform better because “they are men” and they are “supposed to be stronger”. Again, try new things and find out what works for you, and let the assumptions roll off you shoulders – no matter what gender, age, or kind of athlete you are.

Me: Anything else you want people to know about fitness instructors?

Caitlin: Sure! I can’t speak for everyone, but I can say that my favorite part about my job is watching people change. Whether it’s mentally, physically, or emotionally, watching the changes is the BEST part of my job!

I love my job, and I’m here to help you. I’m here to answer your questions. I’m here to challenge you. I’m here to teach you something new. I’m here to play the music and facilitate a fun class. Most instructors are here to do the same. Trust us – we love what we do and we want to share it with you – not judge you or intimidate you. Do your best and remember that the class is for YOU, not for me, not for your peers. It’s for YOUR body and YOUR spirit. You deserve to treat yourself!

Live in NYC and want to try out some of Caitlin’s amazing classes? She teaches Figure4* at Pure Yoga New York as well as Megaformer** at SLT Strengthen-Lengthen-Tone. If you don’t live in NYC, take Caitlin’s advice and search for classes that sound interesting to you in your area. Try googling “barre fitness”, “pilates reformer class”, “TRX”, “Urban Rebounding”, or simply “group fitness” followed by your zip code or town. You might just find the niche you’ve been looking for, and a whole new group of friends.
*Figure4: Pure Yoga’s exclusive barre class incorporating weight bearing exercise, dance technique, and strength training. This combines into a high energy and fast paced workout that produces a long, lean, and toned body. Through interval cardio and choreography, the metabolic rate stays high and the student remains energized and engaged while creating a sculpted physique.
**Megaformer: The innovative Megaformer/Lagree Fitness workout is specifically designed to strengthen, lengthen, and tone the body quickly and safely. This workout is largely based on the holistic principles of Pilates, but also emphasizes the strength training and cardio elements not inherent to Pilates to achieve muscle definition faster than traditional Pilates and or weight training alone all in as little as 50 minutes.)
And my loves – if you haven’t submitted your masking tape positive word picture to roarmovement@gmail.com, you only have a week and a half left to contribute a photo! Be sure to read all the guidelines here: And You’re Gonna Hear “Us” Roar. (if you’re short on time, skim the beginning and find the project guidelines mid-post).
Much mahalo to Caitlin Krause for offering her time and wisdom to this week’s post. Much mahalo to all of you for contributing to the next Roar video. Next week’s posting will be a good one – it’ll really make you think! Aloha and have a great week!

And You’re Gonna Hear “Us” Roar

Awwwww shucks.

It’s literally all happening, you guys.

The Roar Movement continues with a second video that involves all of your fine asses.

Yes.

Yes.

My dearest badasses and beauties – alohaaaaaaa, and here we go.

I often speak about continuing “The Roar Movement” as though it’s actually a thing. I feel as though Regina George would tell me to stop making it a thing – that just like “fetch”, it’s never gonna happen.

It’s happening though.

The true mission statement for The Roar Movement is as follows:

It takes courage for every woman, and every man, to remove the negative labels we’ve allowed society to stick to us. Once we are free of the labels, we find that love is way more powerful than hate – in regards to the way we treat others and the way we treat ourselves.

The Roar Movement exists to encourage empathy. To encourage self-love. To encourage change. To encourage embracing what we have. To encourage dancing. To encourage finding happiness on our personal journey – no matter where on that journey we may be. And to encourage a positive way of looking at our body.

Above all, it is important to know that the body image positivity party is happening whether we like it or not. So we might as well jump on the dance floor and do what we can to spread the message that love will always conquer hate – and it starts with us, every morning that we look in the mirror.

Or, something like that.

So this is what’s happening.

You’re going to be the next Roar video.

Yes. You.

Listen up, gorgeous.

This is your homework assignment, you sexy thang.

  1. Go find some masking tape.
  2. Find the thickest Sharpie in your office, or ask to borrow it from your kids’ craft drawer. Nicely.
  3. Take off your clothes.
  4. Stop looking at me like that. I’m serious.
  5. Place two sensible pieces of masking tape on your favorite body part (get your head outta the gutter, bro), just barely overlapping.
  6. Have a friend, a husband, a cousin, a dance teacher, a booty call, a neighbor, a teenage daughter, a wife, whoever is around really, write a POSITIVE word on that masking tape on your body.
  7. Take a clear picture of this.
  8. Email it to me.
  9. Watch yourself be featured in the next Roar video in March.
  10. Share, spread, and splatter that Roar video all over the net to make The Roar Movement a thing, and help make a difference in thousands of people’s lives this year.

Questions? I know you got ’em. Let me take care of that for you.

We (and by “we” I mean you, me, your Facebook and Twitter followers, my Facebook and Twitter followers, an amazing video editor, my musician friends, and my boyfriend) are making a new video that is going to do the complete opposite of the first Roar video.

Instead of removing the negative words, we are adding the positive words.

People are catching on to this whole new resolution fad of adding things to our regimens this year instead of taking things away. We’re always being told what not to eat and what not to do. But we have to supplement all that shit with something that we can do. Which is, to shed light on the positive.

I mean, truly, if all of us added one positive word to our morning regimen every day, things would drastically change.

Whether it’s a pink Post-it on the bathroom mirror exclaiming, “You are beautiful!”, or it’s an iPhone wallpaper screen that says, “You’re seriously fabulous. Go strut your stuff today, gorgeous!”, starting the day with positive talk can change everything. Think about it. Starting with a positive word would start our day off in a completely different way than what half of us normally do – which is try to poop before we get on the scale in the morning and then stand in the mirror and examine our cellulite.

Everything would change. Our entire day would be better. The positive words are just downright healthier for everyone.

And that’s what this next Roar video is all about.

All of your beautiful bodies will be featured in a video and they will all have one thing in common – every single body will have a positive word, Sharpied on masking tape, pictured clearly. I obviously have some tricks up my sleeve that will make the video more than a slideshow of words on skin, but you’ll just have to wait and see what that is. Oh, and have your tissues ready.

Let’s show the world how much love a couple hundred people can spread with just some masking tape and some faith in humanity.

One final thing before you go ahead and read the actual guidelines.

Enough with this “real women” and “real men” crap. I could go into this for days but I am choosing to keep my thoughts to myself at this time and simply ask everyone to contribute to this project.

Tall, short, black, white, female, male (seriously, we want males too), obese, bone-thin, gay, straight, young, old, curvy, sporty, pregnant (I’m talking to you Mallory and Talia), recently un-pregnant (ahem, Rachel), flat-chested, and everything in between. I want you all in on this.

This is not about a war on fat vs. thin, or average woman vs. supermodel, or musclemen vs. not-so-muscled-men. Everyone has their shit – and instead of focusing on how each person, no matter what they weigh, has things they dislike that we may never know about – we are focusing on how every person can focus on what they LOVE about themselves. Yes, LOVE. If you’ve never given yourself the time of day to think about what you love about your body, then this is the perfect opportunity. Everyone, no matter what size, can find something that they love. Everyone. Take all the time that you need. You deserve it. And then really, truly love it.

This video is about beauty in ALL forms and about ALL the real people. In a wheelchair, in high heels, in pajamas, in a hospital gown, everyone is a REAL woman or a REAL man. Poke any person on this planet and they will say “ow”. They are all real. All of them. End of story. No matter what they wear and no matter what they weigh.

So whoever you are, you belong here and your picture submission matters.

Here are The Actual Rules (seriously):

***By the way, if you have no idea what I’m talking about thus far, watching the original Roar video HERE will definitely help you get the jist. If you’re already on board, continue reading the following guidelines.

Okay here goes:

  • You must have clothes covering your precious bits in the picture that you send me.
  • Please use two pieces of masking tape, slightly overlapping, so that there is ample room to write your positive word as large as possible. The masking tape is mandatory – there’s a theme here, so writing Sharpie directly on the skin is not part of the theme. Kapeesh?
  • Use a THICK, black, dark blue, or dark purple Sharpie to write your word, or make extremely thick letters with a normal Sharpie. A normal Sharpie is not thick enough to be seen on camera, so you must thicken all of the letters.
  • Send me as much of a body shot as you can. Closeups of the masking tape only, are not helpful. We need as much of a full body shot as possible while still being able to read the masking tape. Not everyone will want to show their face in the shot. Quite alright. Please know that full body pictures including faces will definitely be given first priority though. (More on that in a bit).
  • The masking tape and the word can be either horizontal or vertical on your body. Creativity is key.
  • Please do not send pictures of your actual ass if you choose to highlight your ass. You can have arrows pointing to your ass with a word like “sexy” or “gorgeous”, but nudity does not help us. Use your discretion. I trust your judgement.
  • Same with boobies.
  • Note that while I can’t accept nudity, I greatly welcome your full body shots in bikinis, sports bras and shorts, board shorts, or basically any clothing that shows as much skin as possible. The whole point is masking tape on skin, showing a lot of skin, but not an inappropriate amount. It’s a fine line. Enjoy this vague request.
  • Positive words only – examples are beautiful, gorgeous, pretty, amazing, strong, fabulous, fit, tough, amazing, handsome, sexy, incredible, hot, etc. Feel free to be creative and use something I didn’t even list here.
  • I don’t know how I feel about using swear words, because I want teens to be able to see this and appreciate the beauty as well. Not that I have this crazy notion that teens don’t swear, but what I’m saying is, the less nudity and swearing we use, the less likely it is that YouTube will put an age-appropriate ban on the video. Use your judgement, or perhaps write something like “Effing Awesome”. Everyone will still get the point.
  • Five second video clips of your dog holding a sign in his mouth that says “My mama is beautiful”, or of you kicking your face with the word “strong” on your thighs will also be considered. Or ideas like this. Again, creativity highly welcomed. I love it. I love it.
  • Email me your picture or (five second) video, your full name, and a tiny paragraph (no more than 100 words) about what The Roar Movement means to you and/or why you’d like to be included to roarmovement@gmail.com.
  • I MUST HAVE THIS EMAIL FROM YOU NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 5TH. THAT’S A WEDNESDAY PEOPLE. IT’S A WEDNESDAY. Put it in your calendar as February 3rd so you don’t forget. Again, roarmovement@gmail.com.
  • Do not forget to attach the picture or the video in your email because with all of the submissions we will receive, it will be impossible to email hundreds of you to ask you to re-attach your photo. Please double check everything before you send it to us.
  • Keeping this a little hush hush would be appreciated until the video is actually posted. Telling your best friend you’re participating? Sweet. Broadcasting it across Twitter and Facebook before the video is actually posted on here in March? Less than sweet. Let’s wait to make the statement until the finished product is ready, and until then, just work on putting all the pieces together.

Other information for you:

This blog receives about a thousand hits a week. We have 1300 Facebook followers, plus my personal Facebook friends and family. What does this mean exactly?

I will be unable to use 2600 pictures in the second Roar video as it will be only four minutes long. SO. Clear pictures, full body shots including your face (this will touch people, and make much more of a statement, than a headless body shot, for realz), people who take the time to write their paragraph about what this means to them, and meeting the deadline are CRUCIAL if you’d like to be included. I want to include as many of you as possible.

SO.

Ideas to ensure you are included? Get five friends together and do a picture altogether, so that all five of you can be included in one shot. Ta da! It’s all happening, really it is. Couple shots, mom and kid shots, group shots, all welcome as long as the words are readable.

Creative entries will naturally be given high consideration.

And finally, know this. You are all amazing and have truly changed my life in the past nine months, since the birth of this bloggie blog blog. Before Roar ever became a thing, I had about 400 loyal readers every single week whose commentary and feedback gave me more insight than any self-help book or therapist ever could. Your undying love, support, and suggestions have revolutionized the way I look at humanity, this world, and myself. As this whole project continues to evolve and grow, I hope you can feel my gratitude all over the world from my humble abode in Hawaii.

Every morning, I draw three angel cards that my friend Karen made for me before I boarded my plane to Hawaii. Every morning, those three angel cards inspire my day with three positive words. To start the day off with words like “abundance”, “joy”, “transformation”, “play”, or “trust”, is something that has made for interesting mornings and inspiring weeks.

This Roar video will be a combination of my belief in those positive angel cards and my belief in the self-love movement that’s taking place around us, and it’s a gift that we all can give to the world, without doing much at all.

I look forward to reading your emails, enjoying your creative photos and FIVE SECOND count ’em FIVE SECOND videos, and sharing this next Roar installment with you all.

Roar, people, roar. And mahalo, in advance, from the bottom of my heart.

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Next week’s posting:

The Guest Blogging Begins and Coconut Water Replaces Orange Juice, Thanks


How I Learned To Go From Bitchy To Bad-Ass In 10 Minutes

You know all those Pinterest memes that say things like, “You’ll never feel worse after a workout” or “I’ve never regretted tying my sneakers”?

I see them and I’m like, yes, YES, yes, that’s so true, I’m just gonna sit here in my sweats and look at raw black bean brownie recipes that I’m probably never going to try for five more minutes and THEN, oh boy, and THEN, I’m going for like, the longest walk ever. Like a two hour walk for sure. For SURE.

It’s two weeks later and I’m still looking at the same recipes in my sweats. So…

Until this morning at 8:30am, I hadn’t moved my body for two weeks.

And I was a bitch.

Seriously. Moody, depressed, down, and quite sloth-like.

My boyfriend expresses how lucky he felt to be in my presence here:

“…………………………………………………………………………………………..”

Yea, that’s silence.

People, I’m telling you, I’ve been a bitch. I felt like a beached whale having a love affair with my own self-pity.

The thing is, I know exercise will make me feel better. I do. I know. But still, something keeps me from getting up and moving. Quite frankly, a two hour walk plus 45 minutes of Tony Horton yelling at me through my MacBook sounds awful when I could just have a date with a Law and Order SVU marathon.

For some reason, I can read the magazines and I can scroll the blogs that all tell me just ten minutes of exercise a day are enough – enough to get my blood moving, to get my brain working, to get my spirits up – but I just, don’t feel like it.

I know ten minutes a day are better than no minutes a day, but I talk myself out if it.

I mean, come on – I feel like if I’m going to do ten minutes, then I might as well do twenty, and someone once told me that a gym visit is worthless unless you are active for a full thirty-five minutes, and if I’m gonna do thirty-five then I might as well do a forty-five minute workout video, and since I’m already sweaty I might as well also go for a run and do extra squats.

I end up completely ignoring the entire “ten minutes a day is better than no minutes a day” concept because I get overwhelmed by what I should be doing, since I haven’t been doing enough prior to today.

First of all – what defines “enough”?

And second of all, the word “should” needs to be cut out of the English language.

It’s the leading cause of anxiety, unnecessary naps, and mother-daughter drama.

What’s my point here today?

I went to the dance studio this morning and taught four classes in a row – including a fitness class that kicked my OWN ass – and I feel like I could run for President.

Within the first ten minutes of moving and grooving in my classes this morning, I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt giddy and warm. And fit. And STRONG.

Oh, and, really happy.

And I find myself at home now, sweaty and thirsty, asking, why the hell do my walks have to be so long? Why does my workout video selection have to be Tony Horton calling me a pussy?

What is wrong with a fifteen minute walk or a twenty minute yoga video?

When, oh when, did I train my brain to believe that that exercise is all or nothing?

Probably when I trained myself to believe that FOOD is all or nothing.

See, I used to eat breakfast and if it was a healthy breakfast, I’d have a great day of following my WeightWatcher points and working out and avoiding “bad” stuff.

But if I splurged on the french toast, I would say “fuck” it the the rest of the day.

The all or nothing plague. I developed it quite young.

Why do we do that with exercise too?

I’m just saying, maybe it doesn’t have to be a two hour walk. Maybe it just needs to be a nine minute walk – enough time to listen to “Love On Top” twice in a row.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be an hour of P90X. Maybe it can be an hour of Law & Order SVU, doing push-ups and squats on the commercial breaks, and planking whenever Olivia and Elliot question a perp (normally a good 60-90 seconds).

Maybe it doesn’t have to be a dance cardio step class followed by pilates followed by spin class followed by a green smoothie followed by a walk home. Maybe it can just be a twenty minute Zumba work-out on a laptop.

I offer up these “maybe’s” in hopes that I’ll start following my own advice as well.

Like many women, I have this notion in my head that working out will change everything. Like if I start working out, my calories will automatically jump into the right numbers and my fat will be right and I will be fit and in shape and bikini worthy.

So I try to do it all at once. All the videos, all the yoga, all the classes, all the marathons, all the push-ups. I push myself until I wear myself out, and crawl under the covers, and stay in bed until my lost and confused inner voice craves ice cream.

I don’t follow my own advice when it comes to baby steps.

So hey beautiful, I’m putting this out there this week.

Why don’t we go back to basics, together, and break down what we know.

First of all, exercise is good for the heart, the muscles, the immune system, and the soul.

Second of all, exercise is amazing for morale, more amazing at flushing toxins from the body, and even more amazing for letting off steam.

Movement and exercise helps to fend off depression, to alleviate body aches and pains, and to calm down anxiety.

And, and, AND… it increases libido, releases endorphines, and improves sex life.

Obviously, one of the most awesome side effects to exercise is the whole, losing weight thing.

But what if we thought about all the other “side effects”, hello, like the sex and the happy endorphins that are released, instead of always shooting for that end goal of losing weight?

And what if we took the “ten minutes a day keeps the doctor away” approach with our exercise?

I immediately feel less overwhelmed by all the cardio, weight lifting, barre fitness, and TRX that I “should” be doing if I just accept that I can’t do it all today.

I can only do what I can do today – and if that’s ten minutes, it’s better than nothing.

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My wish for 2014 is for us to fall in love with the way we feel inside our bodies. And I think this whole ten minutes a day thing, is a way to do that.

Because for the past two weeks, I felt disgusting. I felt like a large blob with very sad organs working on overtime to slowly turn all the sugar I was inhaling into some sort of fuel source. And when my body finally figured out how to break down the fudge mint cookies and the banana bread I ingested, I wasn’t in the right state of mind to use what little fuel those baked goods provided me.

However right now, after a rather creative smoothie combo for breakfast and four hours of teaching fitness, lyrical, tap, and jazz to adults, I feel like I could paddleboard to LA and back. I’m on fire.

It comes down to the movement, dude.

It comes down to doing what we can.

It comes down to treating ourselves to ten minutes of movement because it makes us feel great, instead of forcing ourselves to ten minutes of movement to work off the calories from this morning.

If we can slowly, slowly but surely, switch our way of thinking, maybe exercise will become a habit that’s a part of our day.

Just like when we forget our multi-vitamin or we don’t have enough coffee and we can feel the difference, maybe we can train ourselves to put exercise on the list of “necessities” in our daily life.

And when we aren’t beating ourselves up about skipping Ab Ripper X for the past, oh I don’t know, three and a half years, maybe we can take a moment to give ourselves credit for the ten minute walk we took around the block this morning when we had a break from conference calls and email blasts.

Are you with me?

Let’s give it a go.

Ten minutes a day every day this week.

If it turns into a half hour, so be it.

If it turns into two ten minute segments a day, I won’t tell anyone.

It’s between you and your morale. You and your body. You and your intuition.

I’m just here trying to figure it all out at the same time.

Baby step by baby step.

Ten minutes a day.

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And that’s advice we can ALL take to heart, am I right?

Next week’s posting:

An Untitled Epic Must-Read – definitely stay tuned!


Ten Ways I’ve Learned to Hawaii-ify My Life

…and this is just the beginning, my loves. Look out for a bit of aloha every month from here on out – it’s about time this blog includes some sunshine!

Here we go!

Number 10: The minute I stopped wearing a bra, my boobs stood at attention again. (Don’t skip this one boys, you might need this one day when you’re much, much, much older.)

Somewhere in October, I looked in the mirror and noticed my nipples were staring right back at me – challenging me to a duel in the mirror. I haven’t seen my nipples since about 2008, so this is clearly a fabulous side effect of living in the rainforest.

Living in the jungle, we literally don’t want to be touched between the hours of 8am-4pm. The humidity makes everything cling to us, meaning if we could do all of our work naked all day long, we would (which is actually perfectly acceptable). However, our bodies would then become a feeding ground for fire ants, so, let’s just say, we’re all better off wearing minimal clothing to at least protect our most precious bits.

But somewhere around September, I started wearing all my tank tops sans a bra. I mean, I even cut out the sensible half-demi lace cami thing from Urban that I wore every day of the summer. And my boobs aren’t saggy anymore. Apparently, I’m told that when we cease to wear a Vicky’s Secret, our chest muscles engage and our boobies pop up to the surface for air… and don’t really go back! I assure you that whatever the science is behind it, it works. I have never loved my boobs more than I do since nixing the encasements and the underwires.

If the weight of your boobs won’t pull you face-first onto the kitchen floor if you let them hang free, then I really encourage you to try nixing the tittie cages. Whenever you can. Let the girls fly free – especially in the winter under those bulky scarves, sweaters, and hoodies! You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Bottom line: boobs love freedom. They will reward you if you let them free.

Number 9: Coconut oil cures everything.

Have a zit? Baby bit of coconut oil overnight. Dry hair? Coconut oil dousing pre-shampoo. Cold sore? Skip the Abreva, sub coconut oil. Add it to smoothies for a healthy dose of fat. Cook your eggs in it to eliminate any acid reflux or heartburn. Sub it for butter in baking. More uses here: Coconut Oil Tips. Bye.

Number 8: Fancy shit doesn’t make anyone look cool.

 If you saw the pieces of shit cars people drive around here, you’d think we live in some sort of Breaking Bad marathon. If you followed that same car home to the house where it resides, you’d think you walked into an episode of Hoarders. Then you’d meet the pitbull that lives there and wonder if you’re about to be lunch for him and his buddy. But if you stayed a minute, a Hawaiian dude covered in tattoos would probably come out and ask if you’re hungry for lunch. Not only are Hawaiians nice, they have different priorities than the rest of the country.

Hawaiians don’t spend a shit ton of money on shit that doesn’t matter. They spend their Sunday’s at the local beaches grilling burgers with their kids and their friends, they hit the surf right after work and live for the days that the swell is borderline tsunami warning, and they spread aloha all over town. They wear t-shirts to dinner, they wear one pair of slippas (flip-flops) until they wear them out, and their big shopping sprees only happen at Oshima Surf and Skate when they need a new bathing suit. And they’re like, the happiest fucking people I’ve ever met.

We can learn a lesson from them all. We don’t need fancy shit to be happy.

Number 7: Where your food comes from, actually matters.

The Big Island of Hawaii recently banned GMO’s – meaning that even though we can still find imported apples and lettuce in the stores, none of our farmers have to use any genetically modified organisms to grow their crops. The papayas here, on the Big island, are just Papayas. No mutations, no pesticides. There’s a passion fruit tree outside my front door and I guarantee you it’s been there since the beginning of time. Monsanto didn’t come in and put it there to please my nostrils with it’s sweet scent.

To learn more about GMO’s, read this: What are GMO’s?

At the end of the day, I understand if you could care less about GMO’s, because sometimes, ignorance is bliss. It gets overwhelming to think about how fucked up all the food is that we put in our bellies – especially if you’re anything like me and have spent years putting things into your body that could probably destroy a small vehicle with the chemicals and artificial colors inside. In my first blog post, I was nowhere near the point where caring about GMO’s was within my reach. I was just happy to keep a half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer for more than 24 hours.

But the point is, because I have the privilege of living in a place in a place that uses GMO-free products, I just wanted to share with you how I’ve noticed that I feel better. My two and a half week visit to NYC destroyed my stomach. I had heartburn every day – and I realized it’s because I’m not used to eating mutated food and non-organic produce.

Yes, I sound spoiled. Yes, organic costs more. But I’m just putting it simply, and telling you that I feel better. Everyone feels better here. Zantac doesn’t leave the shelves as fast as it does anywhere else. That’s gotta be saying something.

Number 6: Hitch-hiking can restore your faith in humanity. (Thanks for reminding me, Rachel.)

Not only can you leave your Macbook on the front seat of your (piece of shit) car with the doors unlocked and come back and find it untouched after a long stint of (GMO-free) grocery shopping here, but you can also pick up hitchhikers and ask them to hold the computer on their lap during the ride.

I’ve met amazing people by putting out my thumb and hopping in backseats, including my dear friend Matthew, and no one’s ever made me feel uncomfortable or unsafe. They’ve offered me fresh avocados from their house that they were taking to the market, a hit of their pipe (tobacco…of course), and advice on how to find the best beaches that aren’t in the guidebooks.

My point? Maybe you can’t hitchhike in Philly or Detroit, but I share this in hopes that you find a tiny bit of hope in the fact that there still are places in the world where people are good, honest, and generous. Each time we get overwhelmed by the news and the shitstorm we call the media, we can all try to remember that the spirit of aloha is being transported all over the islands, and beyond. Please be assured that the entire population of the planet isn’t going to hell.

Number 5: E ho mai, bitches. (Ay-hoe-my, bitch-izz.)

The simplest meaning of “e ho mai” is “let it come, let it flow.” Hawaiian wisdom that is ancient, valuable, and downright necessary in this day and age.

It teaches us to let the wave crash, and watch it roll away. Let the rain come, and watch the rainbow after the storm. Observe the hardship, and celebrate the lesson afterwards.

Sounds like hippie shit, I know, but like, c’mon, you know me. I’m a skeptic with a cynical tongue designed by the likes of Chelsea Handler herself. When I say some Hawaiian hippie shit saves me daily, I beg you to consider listening.

When I get overwhelmed, or pissed, or just inappropriately whiny, I have to take responsibility for myself. It’s better for everyone if I can get back to a place where I can reason with the universe, or my ego, or the driver going ten miles under the speed limit in front of me. I could flip Mr. Tourist Car off, or I could breathe the Hawaiian version of “woo-sah”: E ho mai.

Let it come, let it flow.

Just try throwing it into your vocab this week a few times, or Googling it’s origins on your lunch break. See how you feel. It’s tattoo-worthy, vision-board gold, and greeting card advice that could save the next five generations.

We chanted this every single Monday morning at Kalani (the yoga retreat I lived at for 3.5 months):

E ho mai i ka ‘ike mai luna mai e
O na mea huna no’eau o na mele e
E ho mai, e ho mai, e ho mai
 
Give forth knowledge from above
Every little bit of wisdom contained in song
Give forth, give forth, oh give forth
 

Number 4: Sleep is not just for pussies.

Sleep is the fourth thing on every Hawaiian’s list of “Awesome Things”. It goes:

1. Surfing

2. Loco Moco

3. Aloha Friday

4. Sleeping

They call 10pm here “Puna midnight.” Puna is a section of the island where a lot of kambucha lovers, feather jewelry designers, and ecstatic dance (aka hippie church) adorers reside. That’s where I lived for the first three and a half months on the island. People go to bed at ten and get up with the sun. That means we are getting anywhere from 8-10 hours of sleep every night.

Sometimes, Johnny and I would pass out at 8:30pm and sleep til 7am the next morning. It’s just, a thing here. People sleep. And they are fucking chipper as fuck the next morning and don’t need coffee to say “aloha”. Oh, and everyone is healthy. Like, the most healthy. Women don’t need concealer under their eyes. Men do still like naps here. but I think that’s just a thing that men will never get over.

I have never felt more rested and more “with it” than I do while I am here. I am also obsessed with my mornings. Not only do I need less coffee to come to life, but I am awake early enough to FaceTime or Skype with my peeps on the East coast since I’m five hours behind. I realize that it’s mean to keep going on and on about the sunshine at 7am when the winters on the east coast are…the tiniest bit different, so I just want to say, that more sleep equals better quality of life.

Look, I know audition season is coming. Sleep is a distant dream during the upcoming months. But I just wanted to give a gentle reminder that it does help with health, metabolism, and keeping depression at bay – more so than martinis, even though we don’t want to face the facts. Every once and a while, it’s okay to fake a cough and stay home for an early bedtime. The worst thing you’ll get called is an old fart, and like, it could be worse. (This advice could have saved me a lot of grief the past five years.)

Number 3: Enough with the fucking chemicals.

Lysol and Windex are things of the past, people. Get on board with the natural disinfectant – white vinegar. That’s right. That shit we use to make Easter egg dye actually disinfects the toilet, too. Everyone here uses a 50/50 blend of white vinegar and water and rags, honey. Enough with the wasteful paper towels. Reuse all your holy jeans and ugly tees and wash ’em in hot, reserve ’em for cleaning. Bada bing. Bada boom.

Number 2: All bodies are awesome (the best one).

A year ago, I would have NEVER, EVER agreed to a photo shoot on the beach – even at thirty-five pounds lighter than I am right now. My body wasn’t “perfect” enough to blast all over the net. So imagine my old self’s surprise at this series of pictures:

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The reason these snapshots are okay with my new self? I’m a recovering binge-eater and I live in Hawaii. Do you think Hawaiians give a shit about their bellies hanging over their swimming trunks? They live in Hawaii. They don’t care. They don’t buy Self and Glamour so they don’t know what they’re “supposed” to look like. They live, in Hawaii. Having a few extra things jiggle while they’re teaching their kids how to surf isn’t making or breaking their week.

I have never seen sexier men and women than I have since moving to Hawaii and I have seen all kinds of body shapes. These women don’t CARE that there’s more skin hanging out than Cosmo would allow. Their bikini bottoms cover the bare minimum and they walk around proud, loud, and sexy as fuck. They inspire me. I am learning to continuously love what I have, and in turn, I feel sexy as fuck, even though I have some jiggle-worthy parts in between bikini top and bottom. These Hawaiian women know what’s up. I wish I could take their confidence and spread it all over the world to women and men in need of a dose. Until I learn how to do that, all I can continue to share what I keep learning here in this always-inspiring culture.

Which brings me to number 1 on the list…

Number 1: Ohana. (This is actually the best one. I lied about number 2. Because I didn’t write this one. My ohana – my Hawaiian sister, Rachel did. From the heart, she tells it like it is. Remind you of someone?)

Ohana = Family

Ohana is the Hawaiian word for “family”. But the concept of family in Hawaii is much different than that on the mainland. You see, in Hawaii, family is not solely based on your bloodline or marriage certificate. Here, everyone is family.

There’s a lesson I learned during the opening remarks of ecstatic dance one week (again with the hippie church, don’t worry, we’ll explain it to you soon). The facilitator, Lino, spoke about dolphins. He pointed out that we love dolphins for no reason at all. Think about it. They aren’t really that cute with all that gray blubber… they don’t do anything for us… we can’t eat them… but everyone loves dolphins. Like, everyone. FOR NO REASON AT ALL. He then asked, why can’t we do that with people? Why can’t we look at a stranger, and, just, love them? Instead of judging them and focusing on their flaws, just love them. Like family. Like our ohana.

After that lesson from Lino, I started to look at everyone at the yoga retreat like they were family. Even the ones who irritated me and cut in front of me in the lunch line. Even the ones I didn’t think liked me. I walked around like I had 150 brothers, sisters, cousins & crazy uncles. And it totally changed my perspective.

Think about it like this. We all have have “that relative” right? Aunt Oh-Jesus-what’s-going-to-come-out-of-her-mouth-at-the-Thanksgiving-dinner-table and Uncle If-I-have-to-hear-the-story-about-your-gall-bladder-surgery-one-more-time and don’t forget Grandma-Guilt-Trip.

But we excuse them AND their flaws. We don’t write them off. We show them patience. We don’t stress as much about they’re imperfections. We give them the benefit of the doubt. Because they’re family. They’re our ohana.

I dare you to try to look at strangers in the same light. Focus on their good. Love them for no reason at all. Carry the ohana attitude with you. Like Lilo says in Lilo & Stitch (ugh, such a good movie don’t even try to argue):

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“Ohana means family. And family means no one ever gets left behind. Or forgotten.”

With love from the Big Island (and beyond),
Amanda, and newest addition to the blog fam, Rachel Brannen
 
Rachel Brannen has been called the funniest woman in the state of Ohio (by her mother). Her strengths include creating envy-worthy Pinterest boards and utilizing social media for stalking purposes. She can also juggle. Stay tuned for her monthly guest blog post on how to incorporate more aloha into YOUR life. If anyone knows how to do it, it’s Rachel – the girl who took Hawaii home with her to Ohio. This is gonna be good, y’all.