Yesterday I perused the web for fitness motivation. It began with Bret Contreras, one of my favorite online fitness experts. Bret is known as “The Glute Guy,” and if you visit his site you’ll know why.

Because of Bret, I now have an ass I am more or less proud of, whereas before I kvetched about my ass in public and in private, which loyal readers and my husband can woefully attest to. With the addition of barbell hip thrusts (deadlifts, kettlebell swings and resistance band exercises like these) my butt looks full and round—youthful at any age, let alone 47. In fact, one night, a male friend—and okay, he was really drunk—confessed, “I want to grab your ass so bad.” This DELIGHTED me. So yeah. I never miss a newsletter from Bret.

Through Bret, I discovered Ben Bruno. Ben Bruno is a big fan of landmine exercises. We just got a landmine at Performance Fitness where I work, so I had to check out that article.

PS, If you don’t already know, I teach boot camp, kettlebells and TRX, and train clients one-on-one. 

I watched Ben’s landmine videos and liked what I saw. So I clicked deeper. Ben trains Chelsea Handler, Kate Upton and Barbara Fialho, a Victoria’s Secret model. Cool, right? I felt validated to learn that he trains his clients pretty much the way I train myself—with heavily loaded compound movements. I do more kettlebells and bodyweight exercises. He does more landmines and sled drags.

Anyway, in Ben’s blog—I love perusing other peoples’ blogs—he gives lists of “good reads.” I scrolled through that mother with gusto. One link in particular stood out. It was called Making Strong Connections with your Will, by Jackson Yee. The mental toughness vibe spoke to me. I’d been experiencing more anxiety and depression than I had in years, and they were seriously fucking with my ability to train, work, parent and just all around BE with any modicum of confidence.

A little further down the rabbit hole, I hit the jackpot with Jackson Yee’s two-part article called, “Enough with your Excuses.” The posts were, for me, a call to arms. A little bit Viking. A little bit rock and roll.

Jackson Yee is a self-described former “crybaby” and “chronic whiner.” He’s a Crossfitter, or at least was in 2013 when he blogged this stuff. He’s also really harsh. There is nothing gentle about his blog posts—

“If you are still stuck in your world of excuses and self-putdowns you need to stop it. If not, you will never reach your full potential and always be a slave to your lousy and demotivating excuses.”


“[Making] excuses is like calling out for your mother. Seriously. It’s time to grow up, people.”

I couldn’t get enough. As fragile as I’d been feeling, I was sick of myself. I wanted someone or something to slap some sense into me. I liked that Yee demonstrated that he was as unrelenting with himself as he was with his clients and readers—

“To this day, I still have moments where I want to grumble about unfair life is, but now, when I do, I make sure I just bite my tongue, pull back on my negative bias and silently just move forward.”

Favorite lines:

“Once I was able to stop shouting out my never-ending problems with no solutions to the whole world, I began to conquer them and more importantly, I finally grew up. I became an adult in my mid-40’s.” 

“What has worked for me, spoiled middle school students, pamper athletes and negative Debbie Downers is the old fashioned and no-nonsense-approach of just shutting your damn mouth and train.”

I bookmarked my new guru and felt hopeful for the first time in months. It being Sunday, the whole family was gathered around the dining table, each of us aglow in the light from our own personal screens. I made a decree. “Family,” I declared. “I have an announcement.” They barely looked up. “Today we’re going to perform a little experiment.” This got their attention. Barely. “The experiment is, no complaining.”


After a little clarification, we got going.

FYI, complaining in my house includes, but is not limited to:

  1. homework
  2. bass practice
  3. karate
  4. ballet
  5. messiness
  6. dirt
  7. driving
  8. weight gain
  9. cramps
  10. bloat
  11. gas
  12. boredom
  13. tedium
  14. drudgery
  15. cello practice
  16. brushing teeth
  17. making beds
  18. washing dishes
  19. laundry
  20. school
  21. work
  22. news
  23. pain
  24. dogs
  25. dinner
  26. family
  27. friends
  28. money
  29. parenting
  30. internet connectivity
  31. spills
  32. bills
  33. pills
  34. sleep
  35. stinky feet
  36. social media

I could go on. In the end we named the day “Suck it up Sunday.” It was a smashing success. We went for a family bike ride. Bryan and I went grocery shopping. We hung out, shared a meal, did our day.

We learned that not complaining equals action. It equals solutions. It cancels out victimhood. It erases negativity. It cultivates badassness. It refuses to indulge the negative spirals in which we find ourselves daily. It forces reckoning. It faces us squarely at ourselves.

We’re making it a 30-day experiment, with hopes of turning it into a lifetime. Today, in the meantime, is “Moan-free Monday.”

Maybe you’ll join us!