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David Barton’s Fight Club

A few weeks ago I tweeted about having my personal trainer seriously kicking my butt during a recent session. This prompted a childhood friend to invite me to a class at David Barton. Never one to turn down a good workout, I took him up on the offer.

While the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club, I just can’t help myself. Everyone needs to know about this one.

Let me start by saying the David Barton gym is ridiculously nice. It almost made me feel bad for sweating in there.  I didn’t checkout the locker rooms, but if the coat check was any indication I am assuming those showers are top notch.

The class itself was incredibly intimidating. The description on the Website “Mixed Martial Arts. All aspects of martial arts packed into one class with a focus on using your body weight and momentum to your advantage. Strike combinations,partner work,kick techniques,grappling,standing holds and leverage technique.” pretty much made me want to hide in the corner. The fact that you have TWO instructors (Robert Ramsey & Adam Razak) makes that nearly impossible. P.S. They are both incredibly hardcore.

They pack you into a tiny exercise room and get you going right away, throwing everything from jumping jacks to standing mountain climbers your way. At one point we were literally expected to do 100 push-ups consecutively.  Running in place, high-knees, plyo-squats and burpees were also on the list. I was dripping sweat about 15 minutes into the class.

Then they threw the mat down and asked us to do these power somersaults down it. I lost my headband and my balance. So much so that Alex literally had to catch me and tell me he had me. Yeah, I felt a little foolish, but it was nice knowing I wasn’t the only one.

After that more push-ups and then breaking us into two groups. One against the wall to hold a squat and some sort of knee strike thing. The other group punching on the mat. Then we switched. By this time I was begging to stop and my butt felt like I had been punching that instead of the mat.

Some more punching with weights and MMA-style kicking and  the class was over. A full hour and 15 minutes later that is. The music was fantastic and I enjoyed watching the giant muscle man next to me have just as hard a time doing the push-ups as me.

If you can get a guest pass to David Barton, I highly recommend it.

How media shape the public’s thoughts on obesity

Researchers at the University of Alberta’s Health Law Institute analyzed 360 news articles from 12 newspapers in three countries. Their findings were published online in November 2010 in the Journal of Public Health Policy. The focus of the study was the media’s role in shaping public opinion and public policy surrounding obesity.

The countries were the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. The major newspapers included: The Globe and Mail, The Guardian and the New York Times. The articles, published between January 1989 and April 2009, were reviewed for:

  • “the tone of print media coverage”
  • “the characterization of obesity”
  • “attitudes toward government interventions to address obesity”

They concluded that the media does in fact shape attitudes towards obesity itself and public policy targeting the “obesity epidemic.” (Especially by using the words “obesity epidemic”). Most interesting was the correlation between obesity as an effect of lifestyle choice and coverage of personal success stories.

What do you think about the way the media covers obesity?

The full report entitled “Newspaper reporting on legislative and policy interventions to address obesity: United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom” can be read free online.


A Look in the Mirror

I recently had one of those come to [INSERT RELIGIOUS BELIEF PERSON HERE] moments about how I perceive my career. I have been working for what seems like forever, but what really is just a little more than 3.5 years.

During that time I have held jobs at two VERY different agencies. So far, I have learned a lot about the industry and working with clients (still lots more to learn). I have also learned that as much as I try to fight it, I am a freaking hard on myself.

I don’t know if I chose to benchmark myself against people who were the exception and not the norm, but I decided that I needed to reach certain points in the road on this ridiculous schedule.  Let me be clear, I am not sitting at my desk every day with the “pathways to growth” booklet open and placing a check mark next to a skill if I have completed it.

I am just saying that I set these expectations for myself and when I don’t reach them in the timely manner that I feel I should be—I spiral and I spiral hard. My perception of my skill set is completely morphed. I focus on the fact that I forgot to do something for one client. I notice that for whatever reason developing a budget is still a foreign concept that can take me hours and it still won’t be right. I look at the fact that there are times when I probably look and sound like I want to slap the person giving me feedback.  (I once got a review that said I considered myself a creative and that creatives don’t receive feedback well. I have NO IDEA what that meant.)

I DON’T focus on the fact that my bosses think I am a strong presenter, that I handle clients relatively well and can look a “social media” specialist across the table and go toe-to-toe on a strategy. (At least that’s what I heard in my most recent review.)

So why is it that my “self-awareness” stops at my faults and doesn’t include my strengths? Maybe it’s because after a brainstorm I once overheard a VP talking about how I shouldn’t have even spoken up because I was an intern (it was said with such disdain) and I didn’t know anything.  Perhaps it’s my own insecurities of not wanting to sound arrogant (because man do I hate arrogance).

At any rate, I need to learn to be my own advocate. I have to reevaluate whatever these goals I have for myself and somehow stop comparing myself to others around me. I can’t lose sight of some of the things I need to work on (I am looking at you budgets and attitudinal Laney), but I also need to pat myself on the back every now and then when I do something great.


Stick to Your Diet Even with the Biggest Distractions

I am trying to watch my weight because there is thing in September where I will be wearing a really pretty white dress. I am an active runner and I really don’t eat poorly (aside from my ridiculous sweet tooth), but in the last few months (let’s go with six) it has been really hard to stick to my eating plan.

That’s because I moved in with my fiancé, who loves Mexican food with all its burritos and rice and beans. It’s tough to stick to a healthy eating plan when those around you are indulging. These stick-to-it tricks will help you side step temptations without becoming a diet czar.

  1. Serve yourself: You can still stick to your healthy eating streak while having others are having—just adjust your portions. Fill half of your plate with fruit or vegetables, a quarter with meat or protein, and a quarter with starches like potatoes or bread. If you are eating out there is nothing wrong with asking a server for a smaller portion.
  2. Monitor your pace: In addition to Mexican food, my fiancé eats really quickly like intensely fast. While I can’t slow him down (I have tried, oh how I have tried) I can avoid getting caught up in the eating frenzy. I try to take a breath between forkfuls and drink plenty of water during dinner.
  3. Menu plan: Starches and heavy carbohydrates are not the greatest for my body. Men however just lurve to eat things like pasta, rice and pizza. I try to space out the heavy carbs for days that we won’t be eating late and add more veggies wherever possible.
  4. Exercise together: Hopefully when it gets warmer we will start running the river again. Even if we just take walks together before or after dinner it will be better than stuffing our face and sitting on the couch.


What does a productive day in PR look like?

PR is like having multiple personalities. Being able to flit easily from the mind-numbing task of building a media list, to securing a media interview, to answering a client e-mail and more is invaluable in this industry.

Given the fast-paced nature of our profession, it is hard to imagine that ANYONE can get out of work before 6:00 p.m. EVER. A debate that recently occurred over e-mail between a few agency friends—if you get out in time for a 6:00 p.m. happy hour are you really working or just highly productive?

I am still trying to figure out how I can land in the highly productive column. Here are a few things I am doing to succeed.

  • I have never been a morning person. So learning this trait has been a hard one: Get. Into. The office. Early. Get through the emails that dropped in your inbox overnight and file them away. A clear inbox can lead to a clear head. I swear.
  • I don’t live by this at all, but apparently, if you set aside designated times to check your e-mail it will save you time.
  • Same goes for your news sources. I have Tweetdeck set up and mark Tweets that I want to come back to.
  • Meetings, meetings and more meetings. They eat up a lot of my time. They cut my day and limit the amount of cruising time I get to power through my work. If you are always on time others will eventually learn to be on time too, thus saving you time.
  • I learned this one from my immediate supervisor (that is appearance No. 3). Microsoft Outlook’s calendar can actually serve as reminders too. One major time-saver I’ve found through its use is to set sporadic reminders to myself for items that are dangling in “follow-up limbo.” For example: the interview you got six weeks ago has it posted yet? Save yourself the hassle of sifting through your vast email for the last correspondence and set a calendar invite to pop up in a few weeks with the details of where the task at hand stands.

I am by no means succeeding at all of these, but I am trying. It helps you not only become more productive, but also effective and you are more likely to make that happy hour. Triple whammy.