I have had it on my agenda for months to bring you this series!
Baking is my first love (then hiking). But my start was actually in kettlebells. I have lifted weights since I was ten years old, although I started pleading my dad to let me lift when I was about 8, he told me I had to wait until I was ten. I’d peak into our garage where we had a bench press for my sister (who is 7 years older and was in high school at the time). From a very young age I have had a fascination with strength. And I found out I was good at it. I was naturally strong. I enjoyed pushing my body and limitations. Doing more than I thought I was capable of. Granted I think lifting things has more to do with mental strength than actual physical strength. Often we are limited by our own self-inflicted limitations. I have experienced it myself. Multiple times, times where I told myself I wasn’t strong enough, even though truthfully I was beyond capable the whole time.
I set off to college set on studying Exercise Science. Never strayed from the major.
As my parents business began to crumble, I realized I enjoyed baking and cooking more. My mother, though, she was the best trainer I ever had. She has the personality, charisma, encouragement, and knowledge. She has beautiful form and knows her way around a bell. So when I wanted to add some exercise back onto my site and into my life more, I asked my mother to help me out, to do these interview series with me. To share some of what she had learned and experienced.
So here it is, Episode #1 gradually getting into the world of kettlebells. Getting our feet wet and exploring Why to Kettlebell.
Who am I to be happy?
Who are you not to be?
I have gotten back-lash in the past for being happy or positive. Or written off. Oh Brittany she’s a hippy. She talks about love and is always trying to put a positive spin on something. Going against the grain, can mean being categorized and pushed aside.
But we have created this society. A society where we accept depression and stress. Depression is the norm. We talk more about our problems and struggles than we do our joys. We hate our jobs. We butt heads in our relationships. And we just give up on them and let them disintegrate. How else could divorce rates be so high? It is easier to give up and not deal with something or someone than it is to truly feel something. We would rather drink and do drugs, or whatever vice we may have than feel pain. We avoid it. We cover it. We blame. We accept the suck in our lives. But it is not our circumstances or lives that suck, we do. We suck. We accept the negativity as a norm.
We will wallow in our pain. We love that. To complain. To find faults. We bring depression upon ourselves. Our limited scope of the world, of life beyond a current circumstance, limits us. It’s like looking out of a dusty, dark window. As Thoreau has said, it’s not what you look at, but what you see.
Life is perspective. How you view it. Choice.
I am not happy all the time, but I am a lot better at catching myself. When I find myself having negative thoughts. Feeling stress. Being judgmental. Lacking compassion. Feeling sorry for myself. I catch it. I rebuke it. I go back to gratitude. What I am thankful for. How blessed I am. I cannot be down, when I am so blessed. We have to be self-aware. Call ourselves out. Be willing to change in an instance. You can decide not to be depressed. Not to be suppressed. To say no temptations. Reach for joy, rather than allowing yourself to be pulled down. Continue reading “Who am I to be Happy?”
Finally I am adding exercise to this site! It has been in my books for month. For those who may not know me and my personal history, we’ll start there, but my degree is in Exercise Science. Previous to being a gluten-free baker, I was a kettlebell instructor to 10 years. I will be collaborating with my beautiful mother, who is the best kettlebell trainer I have ever met, so look forward to video posts coming soon with her.
Okay, so exercise? For me this can be a slippery slope. I very much feel that we in this country struggle to balance this. Either we do too little or too much. And yes too much exercise has an adverse effect on the body. So how do we balance it? How do we start exercising for us? Not because we ate too much. Or too punish our bodies. Our because we feel obligated too. How can we approach exercise and our bodies with a loving manner?
This is big for me. Check out my blog Monday and you’ll get some insight into my own personal struggle with body image. How can I exercise and eat good to FEEL good? That is more along the lines of my thinking now. How do I feel? Not what does the scale say. I am no longer living for approval or validation based on the numbers on a stupid scale. Those do not reflect me. The beautiful, happy, content, loving person. MORE than the person you see.
Health is important though, but it starts inside. My outlook now is to look at health from a respect perspective. I respect by my body by feeding it certain things. By hiking and walking. By working on sleeping enough, stressing less, and lifting heavy things and remaining flexible so I CAN LIVE. My health helps me accomplish my goals in life. Plus you can not be of service to anyone else if you are not here. We can create and bring on illnesses in our lives. Use health as prevention.
So exercise? I have always been drawn to the human body and it’s great potential. From drawing sports pictures growing up. To playing sports. I watched my sister lift weights in our garage growing up (she is 7 years older than me). I was intrigued and pleaded with my father to let me lift too. He told me when I was 10 I could. I was hooked right out of the gate. I am very strong naturally, something most wouldn’t suspect as I am so small and smiley. Very assuming, but I have spent my life lifting weights with men, and I have kept up or surpassed many of them. Continue reading “Exercise & Kettlebells”
Last night Zach started telling some stories of what I have always referred to as a phase I went through. But it stuck in my head beyond the conversation. And reading this morning, the message I received ran deep.
This phase I ran through had me jumping out of planes, traveling and camping by myself, hitchhiking, couchsurfing and more. Also did I mention I had given away 75% of my possessions and was living in a shed. To many people I was crazy. Telling the stories now, I receive that a lot. And a lot of disbelief.
Why did I do all of this?
Obedience. For the first time in my life I was really listening and living. And by listening I mean to my calling. I stopped listening to societal pressures and norms. And I started learning to be comfortable with God’s plan for me. He was showing me to stop living in fear. Because that’s what I was. A quiet, shy girl, trying so hard to be good and perfect. To be liked. I cared SO much what others people thought of me. And I let this guide my choices. I made choices out of place of fear, rather than a place of love. I went to college because I was told I had to, I was too smart not to. I was obsessed with losing weight and the perfect body. The numbers on the scale dictated my happiness and self-worth. God was leading me away from fear and into the light and into a space for love.
And then one day, I was sitting in the back of my parents shop in Avon reading, when a voice spoke to me. I was reading a section talking about simplifying and letting go. Of thinking of your things being attached to you like strings. All of a sudden I felt very heavy. And that voice came in loud and clear. It told me to get rid of things. To simplify. So I went home and ACTED. I packed up my stuff and gave away 75% of it. I was starting to plan building a cabin, when I shared my vision with my granny, she told me she had a shed the perfect size to try it out. Everyone thought I was nuts and kept telling me how hard it would be. But I didn’t listen to nay-sayers. I listened to that voice. And I never dwelled or thought it was going to be hard. I just did it.
Getting rid of my stuff allowed me to truly see in my life. Like I had been living with dust covered glasses. I learned quickly that value and wealth in life do not come from accumulation of money and things. I started seeing and loving people as they are. The practice of gratitude became essential to my life.
And I started listening to that voice. And I acted on it, without question. Continue reading “Developing Unwavering Faith”
It is the presence of love in our lives, not money that makes us wealthy in life. Do that fiercely.
~Me, Brittany Polifroni January 24, 2017
So I have been winding this piece on purpose and following God’s calling for a couple weeks. All things lead me there. Every sermon each Sunday. Every worship. And it’s coming, but this morning I got a little derailed with a phone call from my father. And this piece weighed heavily on my heart and I had to share. And this little quote came to me on my walk here to write.
Even though I have been thinking a lot on purpose and calling and talents, like I know I have a talent for cooking and that I am supposed to share that with people. Today, though, I can’t help but delve a little deeper. The purpose driving me behind my way of expression. What is my message in this life?
My whole life I have felt this strong relationship with God. Even when I was exploring or reading other religious text, I prayed to God (harder). The mindfulness and meditation that I took away, cleared space for me to truly listen. It gave me the stillness I needed. And he has always spoken and guided me on this journey. For I think I have known for a long time that I (we) are not in control of anything. But I have always been guided by a strong intuition, which I obediently followed, because I was being pulled by something bigger and stronger than me. Because I have done some pretty out-of-the-norm things without really knowing at the time why (although I can see why now). And it’s amazing to look back and see how we are being guided and taken care of. How even our greatest struggles, are leading us to our biggest revelations.
For a decade the words and messages I have been receiving are much like this one I got this morning. Always telling me to:
LET YOUR MESSAGE BE ONE OF LOVE. Continue reading “Let Your Message Be Love”
I once heard that if you only say one prayer a day, let it simply be “thank you”.
I do love me some Thanksgiving. Not because I am a Thanksgiving baby. Or the food. Holidays can get lost in the commercialization. I love what it represents, THANKS. Gratitude shines bright in my life as an essential practice. So even though this time of year is synonymous with food and large gatherings and football and shopping, I like to go back to the name itself. Thanks. It is our perspective about holidays that matters. What it reminds us to practice daily in our lives.
Gratitude has helped me during my biggest struggles. I have said it many times. Practicing gratitude reminds me of how blessed I am. How much I already have. It allows me to fill blissfully content.
I go back to a conversation I had with a nice wood-worker two weeks ago at the farmer’s market. It is easy nowadays to get lost in monster of MORE. We want more constantly. More stuff. More money. More food. More ‘friends’. More time. We get greedy in our lust for more.We pack our schedules with more. And then we become slaves to our want of more. We work more. We get lost in the cycle of a job. Chasing money, so we can have or seem like we have more. But then we never actually enjoy our time. Because we waste it at jobs that don’t bring us joy. Or we never take the trips. Or see our families. Or we are tired and grouchy when we do see them. Forget being present, we are ready to numb ourselves out by the time we get home. Have a drink. Get lost in TV. The nice wood-worker was telling me that he retired and started his little business. He also explained how he didn’t have nor did he want a website because he didn’t want it to become a job. It was something he enjoyed doing. And I think about this in my own business, because he is right. Spend time doing what you love. Be more content with what you have than constantly wanting more. Because this also can create a feeling of not having enough. And further of not being enough. Continue reading “An Attitude of Gratitude”
I am in the process of refining and redesigning my brand and the direction I want to head in the future. This little sketch above is kind of where my thoughts are going, as well as selling and growing. When I trained kettlebells, one of our principles to training was: DO FEWER THINGS BETTER. Sounds easy right? It is easy in life to get overwhelmed and overloaded with dreams and goals and ideas. We can be a little scattered sometimes and all over the place (myself included). Bombarded with options and obligations. That is why I think it is essential to go back to this principle. To narrow it down, dig deep, and get real. What do I really want to do in life? With my life? What brings me the MOST joy? Focus on that. Close the gap between wanting and living it. I have this beautiful Thoreau tattoo on my arm: Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake. Make your life so freaking awesome that it is better than your dreams. So that when living moment to moment, you feel this. You feel alive and invigorated.
I have also found out that pulling away and looking at your life so far, it is amazing how set up I have been for where I am now. Connecting all the dots. The journey wasn’t necessarily graceful or even embraced and it hasn’t been without challenges. But it all lines up.Before I was born my dear mother was craving and digging into Italian food while pregnant with me (possibly why I make so many pizzas?). I distinctly remember a week when I was around 10, when I made a pie EVERY day, just for the mere pleasure of making them. When our kettlebell business was fading, I turned to a bake sale to earn funds for a move to Colorado. While in Colorado, while hiking up Pikes Peak Highway through the changing Aspen trees, I was stopped by my vision for my future. A gut feeling that stopped me in my tracks, and I looked up to those snow-capped mountains and cried with the certainty of it all. I wanted my own business. Something authentically me. I wanted to cook. I loved doing cooking classes when we had our business, and clearly all my life I had a knack for baking. When I came back to Indiana I applied for the farmer’s market and started my gluten-free business (granted they turned me down twice, don’t accept NO’s, just realize that maybe the timing was off). My first job in a kitchen was at a pie company, where I made 100’s of pies. Pies just like pizzas, are my thing. I am an artist. Growing up everyone asked me if I was going to be an artist. Now food is my art and pies are one of my favorite ways to express my creativity. Last week I was pumped to make pies for the boys at the fraternity my husband works for. Racking my brain for flavors. Taking my time to braid the edges. Every ounce of my creativity and energy going in to those pies. I was on a high, yet wiped by the end of it all! So as I pull back, my life has led me to today. To this vision of a gluten-free pie and pizza company.
Continue reading “Goal Clarity”
“Been thinking for a bit on body image. I once heard that only 4%of women think they’re beautiful, which made me sad because I know so many beautiful, radiant women. I believe then too that even less are happy with their bodies. I believe it is easy for women, especially when we’re younger to be objectified or to identify ourselves by our bodies.
When we had our business, I lived in this physical realm. My validation and happiness centered on my body, weekly weigh-ins, and my body fat percentage. If I lost I was happy. If not I waited for the next week. Does it not seem absurd for a scale to rule my life and level of happiness? Even when I got to a goal (I’ve been 13% with the flattest stomach and abs) it was never enough. So often we feel this way. We compare ourselves to other women (as well as our own former bodies). We are SO hard on ourselves.
I like the line, ‘promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.’ What if we did the same thing with ourselves? What if instead of dissecting our bodies and seeing ‘flaws’ we celebrated? My body allows me to get up each morning. It is healthy and rarely sick. It is strong and lets me do kettlebells. It is flexible and lets me do yoga. I’ve got powerful legs that let me bike or hike for miles. It can endure. It can climb mountains. It lets me pick up my nephews and throw them in the air, so I am rewarded with this beautiful smile. Next week it’s going to take me zip lining and to see the country. It’s let me jump out of planes and have so many adventures. It can do so much. It lets me LIVE my life. It is pretty awesome. Lately I am learning too that if you feel really good and happy on the inside, it starts to reflect and show on the outside. Stop being so hard on yourself, you are extraordinary”
I posted this about a month ago on my Facebook, it was the most I could condense the dynamic topic of body image. I will be real right from the beginning, this really hits home with me. This is a daily thing. Sometimes I am better than others. But it is easy to be tempted back down that slippery slope into dwelling in the physical. I worked in the fitness and weight loss industry, so the struggle to leave it behind is real sometimes.
I believe that men too can deal with body-image, but I really feel as women, we are conditioned from a young age. We are infiltrated with images in the media. There is a massive change I feel taking place, but it seems we often think of beauty to be synonymous with skinny or thin. Also a lot of validation comes with beauty and body image. Our outside appearance can often rule our lives and happiness level (this is true for me in the past). We are objectified for our bodies as well, condensed down to chest, waist and jean size. These numbers seem so relevant for some reason. And worst of all (personal opinion), is comparison. We compare ourselves to other women (skinny bitches). We compare ourselves to how we may have been at a lighter weight. Wrong. Comparison kills. It kills your joy. Your love in yourself. Your beauty. God created you perfectly as you are. You have your own personal beauty. Your own body. Find joy in that. Why waste time in being jealous or wanting something you can’t have? That is their body, you have your own. Be happy in what you got. Continue reading “Body Image & Feeling Joy Within”
“It’s only the new that awakens the mind. That fully engages us with the world. We become anthropologist in a new environment. We transcend the banality and boredom and triviality of the everyday. But when we are engorged by a new experience, we become alive. We feel as children. We gawk. We are enraptured. When we say we want to be happy, what you mean is. I want to continue To explore. To learn. to discover novel lands. We can never stop learning. We can never stop seeking. Happiness lives in the space of novelties.” ~Jason Silva
I am a big fan of Jason Silva and I watched this video on repeat. He is so right on it!
Last week upon scrolling through my Instagram feed, I stopped on a video of a kettlebell move I had never seen! This is rare. I have studied kettlebells for over a decade now. But here it was. And then a day later, I had a friend post a video of the same move, the very day I had intended to try it. Clearly all signs were pointing towards me adding this. The move is a kettlebell arm bar. After watching and rewatching the video multiple times, my mom and I were ready to give it a go. The whole experience. The discovery. The learning. The practice and first attempts. The newness. It literally made me giddy (it doesn’t take much). And then I remembered this Jason Silva video. It is right on.
Think of the last time you did something for the first time. When did you switch up your routine? When did you change your look? When was the last time you decided to learn something new? Try a new skill? Start a new program? When was the last time you had an adventure? When did you forge a new and exciting friendship? When did you take a new route to work? New can be small. All I did was add a new kettlebell move and look what it did for me. Continue reading “The New + Kettlebell Arm Bar”