top of page

690 items found for ""

  • Again?

    Hey, Friend. Exactly a year ago I sent out an email, talking about the things I could control and the things I could not. Could: my writing, my coaching work, bringing you Operation Tigger Could not: news, headlines, scary things happening all over the world I wasn’t really expecting that email to be relevant again - ALL. OVER. AGAIN. - exactly a year later. There are three countries in the world where I have family: Canada Russia Israel So here you go. That same email. A year later. I finally called grandma this week. Everyone is scared. Meanwhile, I am here in Canada, reciting the Serenity prayer yet again with my very-atheist-lips, trying to focus on the things I can control and accept the things I cannot. One thing I can control is my own behavior. I almost typed “my own mental health”, but that’s not entirely within my control, obvs. Buuutttt, the behaviors, the things I do, the words I type with this very keyboard - those are within my control. Supporting others - in my personal life, in my coaching work - that’s also within my control. Supporting others is within my control. THIS I can do. THIS I know how to do. I can help you to have a winter that does NOT suck. I know that managing winter when you really struggle in the winter goes wayyy beyond “dressing for the weather” and “positive mindset”. [Tell me who the last person was who told you to have a positive mindset, so I can punch them for you.] I have been managing seasonal affective disorder for the last ten years. I have been running this group coaching program for the last three, (scratch that) FOUR years. This year I will support a group of folks like myself, as we winterize the shit out of our behaviors, habits, days, diets and workout regimes. Is this you this month? This year? If it’s not you or FOR you, I’ll be here for you in a different way, continuing to write you letters about braiding my children’s hair, and “not-reading-the-news”. Either way, I will see you IN here. In your inbox. Sending hugs. Hugs,

  • I Was Horrified (And I Don't Want YOU To Be) - A Special Playlist For You!

    Hey, Friend. HORRIFIED. That's the only word for it - I was truly horrified by what I discovered. Last year I took the time to listen to every single interview and podcast episode there was on seasonality, winter, managing winter, managing seasonal affective disorder, and all the other adjacent topics. I have already read every single book on the topic, and dove into the research, but I also knew that most people do not have TIME to do that, and will probably resort to information that is easy to find and easy to consume. Right now, that's podcasts. Let me save you hours of your life with a brief report on what's out there. The audio content I sifted through falls into three categories: 1. fellow sufferers bitching about winter Imagine an hour or two of people talking about how much winter sucks. Relatable, but not helpful. 2. clinicians discussing their research Awesome, and helpful, BUT after hearing "circadian rhythms" AND "glucocorticoid signalling" in ONE sentence, my eyes were glazing over - and it was July! No way anyone struggling with winter is going to find the energy to get through this IN the winter. 3. the woo-woo abyss I had to take breaks to get through some of these. But you know I am dedicated to the cause, so... I marched on, fueled by coffee and hate. One medical medium(whatever the HELL that is) suggested that you just have to detox your liver to stop struggling with winter, because.... wait for it.... the antibiotics you took thirty years ago are killing you. <--- I so wish this particular point was an exaggeration for comic effect, but it is not. I was "thrilled" to hear that the only thing we need to do here is to take zinc (because who doesn't take random supplements based on a random podcast episode, amirite?), and... WAIT FOR IT ONCE AGAIN.... not only you have to take zinc, it has to be this very special zinc, the one that this person conveniently sells on their website, because other zinc supplements have preservatives and additives, and if you were taking THOSE supplements, you might as well be taking poison. I know.. I know.. I'm crying from the predictability of this particular fucking cliche too. Isn't it amazing? This fall I decided to make sure to dilute the bullshit on Spotify at least somewhat, and appear on a handful of podcasts with trusted colleagues. May I present "Winterizing 101"- a Spotify playlist with five interviews(and more coming) where I discuss seasonality, managing winter, adjusting movement and nutrition to the seasons, self-compassion, changing appetite and cravings, and more. Listen to "Winterizing 101" instead. For the love of all things evidence-based. Hugs,

  • Where Do You Get Your Haircuts, And The Tangible Evidence Of Our Work

    Hi, Friend. I’m waiting for my coffee at a local bakery - they are known for their butter tarts, and their coffee is just ok, but it’s that time of day when I don’t care. “Hey, Kate! I meant to ask you…” “Yes?” “Where do you get your haircuts?” The barista wants to know, before handing me my coffee. She is the third person to ask me that question in the last few months. I know why she’s asking. She has short hair herself. My hair is short, and well cut, and well shaped, AND funky. It LOOKS expensive. I shake my head ruefully. “Nowhere close to here”. The truth is… my hair is a project every time it’s cut, precisely because I love my hairstylist so much. I drive an hour to Toronto, and an hour or more back, depending on traffic. It’s worth it. The commute and the cost were both factors in me going back to dark hair - I couldn’t justify spending an entire Saturday at a hair salon, AND paying two weeks’ worth of groceries for the outcome - even though the outcome WAS bangin’. Fellow mom on the soccer field, as we are watching our precious darlings roll around on the field with toddler-sized soccer balls. “Where do you get your hair done?”. “Toronto”, I sigh. She sighs back. “Yeah, I figured it wasn’t anywhere in town.” I walk out of the store, as the car pulls up and an older gentleman rolls down his window. “That’s a cool haircut!”, he calls out. “Looks great on you!” All of this very-welcome-attention leaves me with two thoughts: 1. I should leave my stylist a bigger tip next time, and… 2. What is the coaching equivalent of this? My hairstylist’s work is visible and tangible. I wear her work on my head every day. If you see me, you see her work. It’s that visible. Landscapers can claim the same thing. “Wow, your garden is beautiful. Who did it? Can I get their number?” Some strength coaches and personal trainers go as far as lean into that as a marketing angle. “Body by Minnie”, or “Butt by Brian”, or whatever. A little self-aggrandizing, if you ask me, but ok. What about MY work? The results of my work are rarely commented on by the outside eye. How do you take before and after pictures of “thank you so much for helping me reframe this super unhelpful narrative”? Your neighbor is probably not going to say: “My goodness, you seem especially well regulated lately. Have you been working with a coach?” And often, that’s a good thing. I don’t really care if my work is VISIBLE. I care that my work is FELT. And with some things… no difference at all is the biggest progress you can ask for. Imagine being JUST AS strong as ten years ago. Imagine sleeping JUST AS well as you were before you had children. This winter, what if you didn’t notice ANY difference (for once)? In how you feel, in how you act, in how you ARE? If you are not that impacted by the seasons, this is unimpressive (and unnecessary). But if you, like me, turn into a pathetic couch puddle once October arrives, then this IS the incredible transformation you are after. You just want to continue being YOU, not shift into mere existence until the snow melts. STAY you, instead of turning into couch Gollum clutching onto cookies. Stay active, keep eating the way that makes you feel your best, keep seeing people, and doing things. I don't do anything half way, y'all. ;) Hugs,

  • Bitch, Please: Meal Planning For Lazy Rebels Who Hate Structure

    Hi, Friend. Let's talk about meal planning. And how it's stupid. Lolz. I am kidding. Sort of. A colleague at work told me once about this woman who planned out her meals a year in advance. A. Year. In. Advance. There was a spreadsheet and everything. All that made me want to do is to poke my eye out with a carrot stick. Most folks who DO meal plan and meal prep do not go to such lengths, of course. But even planning a week in advance seems like more commitment I am prepared for - you feel me? I am never going to find myself having pre-planned Cajun grilled shrimp skewers with roasted potatoes and asparagus puree for lunch on a random Wednesday in July. I am a lazy rebel who hates structure. A more likely scenario for me is some version of: “Oh shit, it’s 1pm, and I have a meeting in 15 minutes, and I’m hungry, and I am going to be in back to back meetings for the next three hours”. Resulting lunch is one banana, fourteen crackers and three pieces of ham. Not exactly the meal of champions. But also… there are now four live actual food-eating humans in my household, who frustratingly need to be fed multiple times a day, and so SOME semblance of planning is a must. Thankfully the whole nutrition coaching expertise thing helps to know that meal planning does not have to look like dozens of identical plastic containers neatly stacked that you see on Pinterest. Not just jar salads for the wee, but also handmade jar LABELS. With lace backdrop and lavender glitter. Bitch, please. That is literally NEVER going to happen. *Side note - if you are lazy in general, stay away from Pinterest - you are bound to walk away feeling sad and inadequate, as that place is crawling with people who like to work hard. I propose that there should be Pinterest for lazy people, where one is not allowed to use any more than three things in any craft project, and the most advanced technique you’d need to be familiar with would be gluing something onto a piece of paper. Generally, we, meal-planning haters, have three objections to the whole endeavor: We hate cooking. We hate prepping. We hate structure. I know, I know… When I put it like that, it seems hopeless. Crackers and cheese for life. Except, clarity allows for problem solving. Once we identify the main barriers / objections, we can plan for and around each one. “I hate cooking” = Minimize cooking. This means → precooked protein, boxed and bagged salads, strategic take-out. Roast chicken from the grocery store reigns supreme. Pre-cooked meat strips that you can throw on a salad? Those too. “I hate prepping” = Minimize amount of time spent prepping. This means → precut vegetables, fruit and berries; frozen vegetables, fruit and berries. Canned beans - regardless of what the internet says about pre…SOAKING THE BEANS? Fuck that noise. Feeling like you have to pre-soak the beans is up there with making your own nut milk - a great way to ensure that you are never eating beans. Or nut milk. “I hate structure” = Minimize repetition, and routine. This means → relying on a menu of options, rather than a schedule. A Taco Tuesday is probably never going to be appealing, just due to its cliche predictability. Instead, having taco ingredients on hand will be helpful. Same goes for having pizza ingredients. It’s an option, but… who’s to say WHEN we are going to exercise that option? All the freedom. ;) This email is about meal planning, but also… it’s more than that. Here are three takeaways that I want to leave you with: 1. Know who you are, and what your preferences are. Go with yourself, not against yourself. 2. Clarity allows for solutions. Identify objections one by one - then don’t argue with the objections, but troubleshoot around them. 3. Stay away from Pinterest. Hugs,

  • She Was Allergic To French Fries (Gimme A Break)

    Hey, Friend. Before I delve into our topic today, I want to share one of my favorite interviews I have ever given on a podcast. Those are some strong words, and I am not afraid to use them. When Ren Jones and I get together, there are fireworks, kittens and a Mariachi band. That's the vibe. In the latest episode, we discuss diet culture, change-neutral coaching and periodization when it comes to nutrition and training. Listen to it HERE. Onto this week's letter: I had a client once who indicated on the intake form that she was allergic to French fries and ice cream. Note: NOT potatoes, and dairy, but: French fries and ice cream. My first thought was… “Hmmm, there’s an allergy I have not heard about. I’m looking forward to learning more”. No. I am totally lying. THAT was not my first thought. My first thought was: “OH, PLEASE…”. Coaches that I work with often feel bad for having thoughts like these. “I don’t want to judge my clients!” While that’s a fair desire, it might not be a realistic one. Our FIRST knee-jerk reaction thoughts are rarely OURS. They are often the reflection of years of cultural conditioning, media bullshit, untrue narratives and all that fun stuff. Our SECOND thoughts are thoughts that we can mindfully choose. The thoughts that more accurately reflect not just who we are as people, but who we CHOOSE to be as people → identity as a daily choice. Humans are hardwired to perceive and evaluate information based on their previous experiences. That means - we WILL judge others. One of my personal red flags is when someone says “I never judge others”. “Ok there, Gemma. Are you deluding yourself? Or are you lying? Which one is it???” What IS a reasonable and recommended goal is that our judgments do not impact our work, and do not impact our clients. What IS a reasonable goal is that we are aware of which thoughts reflect who we are and who we want to be, and which thoughts do not. So, while my FIRST thought was: “OH, PLEASE…” (hello, there, eye rolling teenage self); my SECOND thought was “I’m looking forward to learning more”. Or, in other words: “Hmmm, that’s interesting. I wonder what they could mean by this.” When I spoke to this client, and asked her to elaborate, she said that she was convinced she had an allergy to those foods, because every time she ate them, she felt sick after. It also turned out that: 1. She did not eat those foods very often, because she viewed them as “bad” or “forbidden”, and 2. When she did eat those foods, she ate large quantities and quickly. Not a huge mystery, right? Also, probably, not an allergy. However, our conversation did not center around me, the “expert”, educating the client about the differences between “allergy” and good ol’ overeating. Instead, we talked about 1. How she felt about consuming these foods, 2. Whether she would like to include those foods into her life more regularly (and therefore, making them no longer forbidden), and 3. The situations and circumstances around eating those foods - did she always feel sick after eating them, or only sometimes? Were they any times that she could recall that she ate those foods, and truly enjoyed them? She walked away with a concrete plan of action. More importantly, she walked away feeling empowered - like she could do something about this problem that she was having. That’s a win. So, yay. But, make no mistake, this is hard. A shift from “expert” to “coach” can be a hard one to make - after all, we are passionate about what we know, and spend a good chunk of our waking hours learning more. Realizing that what we KNOW often does not matter much is a hard pill to swallow. What about you? Does hearing someone say something that you KNOW is wrong and NOT correcting them makes your head explode? :) How do you handle it? Hugs,

  • 100-Mile Experiment - What I Learned From Eating Only Local Foods For 30 Days

    HEY, Friend. This week I’m sharing some takeaways from my 100-mile experiment - all the things I learned from eating only local foods for thirty days. But first: I am appearing in a handful of podcast interviews this month to talk about seasonality, and seasonal approach to nutrition, movement and running your business. Given how impacted by fluctuations in light and temperature humans are, expecting ourselves to eat the same way, move the same way and make money the same way year round makes absolutely no sense. Our mood will fluctuate, our energy will fluctuate - heck… the availability of ingredients for your salad will fluctuate. Soooo, if you have a podcast, and think this will be a good fit, holler at me. Now, back to the 100-mile experiment! This remains the most drastic food-related experiment I have undertaken to this day, and I have shared the specific rules that I laid out for myself, as well as the foods I gave up in the last week’s email. If you missed it, you can catch up HERE. Given the extensive list of rules and restrictions, I knew this was not going to happen willy-nilly, so the night before the first Monday included an extensive grocery shopping trip, as well as the fridge clean out. The first morning arrived, and I got out of bed, instead of lounging around as usual. I knew that my regular coffee was not coming. Instead, I headed to the fridge to start making breakfast. As I opened the fridge door, I marveled at how uncluttered the shelves were - every single item was fresh. And, of course, local. Breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon and greens from the garden. Later for lunch - another salad with chicken and tomatoes (again from the garden). Not bad! How hard could this be? I had this 100-mile thing in the bag. The reality check hit on the second day, when I was hit with a raging caffeine-withdrawal headache. Boo! That did put a bit of a damper on the next couple of days, however, headaches subsided; meanwhile, every meal continued to taste amazing - delicious home cooked meals - everything made from scratch - from chili to soup to stews. I could eat like this forever! If only I could have coffee back. And peanut butter. A week into the experiment, I found a “100-mile store”, and made a pilgrimage downtown Toronto, both curious and hopeful. The thing I realized about both farmer’s markets and grocery stores, specializing in local food is that you still have to read the labels. It is not uncommon to find bananas sold at an Ontario farmer’s market alongside apples and carrots. Now Niagara region is known for warmer climate, but I am pretty sure they ain’t growing bananas. The farmers may choose to sell some nonlocal items simply to meet the demands of the shoppers - if a busy parent is shopping for apples and bananas, and they cannot find both at a farmer’s market, they will head to a grocery store instead. With that in mind, I cautiously approached the fully stocked shelves of the store, ignoring the tall bottles of flavoured olive oil. Olives and Canada do not mix, that much I knew. Same went for bags of brown rice. The grains section had me interested. If I could find local flour, we’d be golden. Flour means bread, buns, wraps, sandwiches, pasta and whatever else my partner’s creative mind comes up with. Local sources of fat were limited to bacon grease and butter (oh how I missed nuts and avocado!), so we needed the carbohydrates to balance out the meals. And I have had my fill of white potatoes and butternut squash. When it comes to local foods, there is a difference between locally produced (grown, created) and locally manufactured (roasted, milled, packaged). You may find locally roasted coffee beans - and that’s probably the way to go, as they will be fresher - however, the beans are still traveling from Costa Rica or Ethiopia. Long way to go. Way more than 100 miles. Finally, I spotted a bag of flour - wheat milled and grown in Ontario! Score! We would have bread! I could hardly contain my excitement. A man in his 50s, who was restocking the shelves, saw me reading the labels with a determined expression on my face, and came over to offer help. He turned out to be a wealth of information (note to self - ask for help more!). I told him about the 100-mile experiment and my coffee and peanut butter woes. “Well, you are out of luck with coffee”, he said. “But I think I can help you with the other thing”. He pulled a jar off the shelf. It was… peanut butter. Actual real peanut butter made from Ontario peanuts. I squealed, as I clutched the jar. And then hugged the man. He seemed pleased - I imagine it wasn’t too often that the customers would get this excited over some ground up peanuts. Not to bury the lede, but… we did make it the entire month. Anything surprising to you in that list? Let me know. :) Stay tuned for the last part of this blog later this week, where I answer the questions YOU sent in, and share a few specific things YOU can do in terms of incorporating some local foods into your diet without going all 100-mile diet. :) Hugs,

  • The Most Extreme Food Experiment I Have Ever Undertaken

    Hey, Friend. Today I want to tell you about the most extreme food experiment I have ever undertaken. This was a number of years ago, and the lessons from that one month persist to this day. I am notorious for self-experimentation. I love, love, LOVE experiments. I love trying new things. New sports. New activities. Different ways of eating. The latter is especially fun for me, as I work with a variety of clients who have all kinds of food allergies, intolerances and limitations. I first learned about the 100-mile diet a few years ago, and the seed of the idea has been in my mind ever since. The original experiment is described in the book “The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating”, written by a couple from Vancouver in the early 2000s. I never understood why people made such a big deal out of local food. “I can have strawberries in February, even though I live in Canada”, I thought to myself. “Who cares where they come from?”. That all changed on a beautiful spring day a few years ago. I walked into a local grocery store to pick up a couple of staples, and was stopped in my tracks at the entrance. “What was that smell?”, I wondered. It wasn’t a smell, but rather scent, aroma, an intense hug of deliciousness that entered my nose. My senses demanded to know where it was coming from. Whatever this was, I wanted it. And then I found the source of that sensational overload. Strawberries. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Or nose, rather. Could this be? I’ve been eating strawberries all year, but this… These strawberries were something else. The month was June. I just came across the first batch of local Ontario strawberries, picked a day before at a local farm. And just like that I understood why people made a big deal out of local food. My mind was blown. Ok, but eating 100% local? That sounded really hard. I wanted to do it! I wanted to learn more about where my food came from. I wanted to choose fruit and vegetables that were grown close to home - both for environmental impact and taste. I wanted to see whether eating locally is plausible - logistically and financially. While undertaking a diet like this for a year seemed drastic, I was confident that I could eat this way for a month. I can do anything for a month. Being based in Ontario, the month of September was the best month to do it with abundant produce and all the bounty of the farmer’s markets. The best part? My husband got on board!!! Perfect. We were going ALL IN! Those of you who know me well are gasping at the list above, because it contains two of my favorite things in the world: coffee and peanut butter. But then if you know me well, you also know that I will sometimes do very very uncomfortable things for the sake of curiosity (and then an opportunity to share what I learned with others). I was determined. Planning ahead was going to be key here. This was NOT an experiment we could wing without preparation. Curious how the experiment went? Did we finish it? What were some of the surprises? How expensive was it? Hugs,

  • The Secret Ingredient In Clients’ Success, And That Time The Cyclist Hated Her Workouts

    Hi, Friend. Today I’ll talk about about clients’ successes and the one thing that I found to be key to those successes again, and again. But first, real quick… I have announced a few weeks ago that I had one coaching spot remaining for the month of September - that spot was gone the same morning, so I never even announced any availability on social media. I am now kicking off a waitlist for 1:1 clients, so if you are interested in potentially working with me in the next 3-6 months, you should totally absolutely hit Reply and let me know. There is never an expectation or a commitment to anything, rather I will just make sure to ping YOU first, if/when I have a spot. Of course, Operation Tigger is also kicking off in the next couple of months, so if you are the winter-hating type, we might just end up working together in that program too. ;) There. All business. *adjusts her shirt and tie. And now back to our regular programming: When it comes to a client-coach relationship, and the client’s SUCCESS, there IS a secret ingredient. Every single client I worked with who has been successful in achieving the goals they set out for themselves had this ONE thing. OMG, KATE, JUST TELL ME ALREADY! THIS IS WORSE THAN LOOKING UP A RECIPE ON THE INTERNET AND THEN BEING FORCED TO READ ABOUT YOUR GRANDMOTHER. No, no… these are “letters”. Snail mail. Hot tea. Sitting by the fire. We are doing it the long way. ;) A while ago I had a conversation with a woman I met at a dinner party. She was asking me if I had a recommendation for a strength coach in town. “Of course”. But first, I wanted to know what she was looking for. What was she doing already? Why did she feel she needed the change? The woman is a competitive cyclist, who has been training with a cycling coach. So far, so good. Going forward, she would like to get stronger. Ok! Still following. Her cycling coach has developed a strength program for her. Awesome. She is working with someone who knows her sport, and knows it well, and who has years of experience helping athletes just like her! She does NOT feel like the workouts are what she needs. Hmmmm… Hold the phone. This is where I need more information. Were the workouts that her cycling coach put together for her hurting her? No. Were they unreasonably long? Gruelling? Unrealistic, given her schedule? No. Did they require equipment that she did not have? No. So… WHAT WAS MISSING? The woman shrugged, and told me that the workouts just did not include the movements that she thought she needed. Now – I am all for taking ownership when it comes to decisions about your body. YOU know what it’s like to BE in your body, to LIVE in your body, and sometimes, things just feel off. Yet it’s hard to imagine a similar scenario taking place with any other industry. “My tooth was hurting, and my dentist told me that I needed a filling, but I didn’t feel like that’s what I needed”. While no one would dispute your expertise as a dentist, things are different when it comes to nutrition, health and exercise. We are ALL experts. Except… we are not. Every single client I worked with who has been successful in achieving the goals they set out for themselves had to TRUST me as their coach, TRUST my expertise, and TRUST the process. One former client who lost 100 pounds and has undergone an incredible inner transformation says: “”Trusting in the process” was my mantra for this year. I must have said that to myself 100s of times. Every time I was unsure about something, frustrated, or impatient, I repeated those words to myself. They were powerful words and made all the difference for me”. Many folks want to know exactly why they are doing what they are doing. Why this exercise, and not that one? Why am I doing this movement in each workout? Why this order? Why this sequence? While I am always happy to provide some information on the why, I also ask the client whether they want to focus on getting the results, or on learning what brings the results. The two are different. They both take time. And, most clients do not have time for both. And, while I would still be happy to recommend a strength coach for this woman, there are few questions that I would ask her to consider first. What am I trying to do here? What is the goal I am trying to achieve? What qualifications am I looking for in my coach? Am I ready, able and willing to trust their expertise? What will it take for me to trust them? How will I know once I achieve my goal? What will be my indicators? Measured outcomes? What have I done already to try and accomplish this goal? What has worked? What has not worked? How do I know? How did I decide that something was working? How did I decide that something was NOT working? [It is not uncommon for me to hear from folks who give a training program a week before declaring that it does not work.] If you are considering hiring a professional in the new year, be it a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a running coach, or a website designer, I suggest you consider these questions as well. It would make your success and their job much easier. :) P.S. The photos? They are most definitely NOT AI generated. :) That's my best friend Aubrie. She is a kickass cyclist. She is NOT the cyclist from the example, but you gotta admit that these pics are fire, so you're welcome. Hugs,

  • The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me (And You)

    Hey, Friend. In a recent work meeting, the check-in question was: "What is something that most people do not like, but you do?". Immediately I thought of grown-up birthdays. Most grown-ups do not seem to like their birthdays, nor do they seem to celebrate their birthdays. Well, I could not feel MORE differently. The best thing that ever happened to me was not meeting my husband. It was not having my children. It was not moving to Canada. It was being born. I am going to say that again (and probably again for good measure): My birth is the best thing that happened to me. None of the good things that happened TO me would not have been possible without there being a ME. A moot point, perhaps, but a helpful one to consider at least once a year ON my birthday. Another two cells could have joined, and then my mother's belly bump below would have yielded a different person entirely. I could have very easily NOT been here at all. And yet... here I am, hugging strangers. If you haven't seen that video, see below - I share it once a year on my birthday, and it truly is one of my favorite days ever: I'm thinking a re-do might be in order in a couple of years. What do you think? You in? ;) If you are also glad I was born, hit Reply today and let me know. Because the second best thing to the birthday itself, is receiving birthday wishes from awesome people. Hugs,

  • Laughing Over Salad, And AI-Generated Images

    Hey, Friend. I hope you’ve had a chance to play around with some text-to-image tools that are out there - whether it’s the app that takes your photo and creates an AI avatar based on that image, or whether you are loving the generative fill feature in Photoshop. Btw, I have taken playing around to the next level, as my AI MAGIC DUST sessions kicked off couple of weeks ago. These are 1:1 90min deep dive coaching calls, where I help coaches integrate AI tools into their coaching practice. Of course, in discussing text-to-image AI, I had to start with the quintessential fitness woman laughing over salad. Here you go. Let’s all agree that if AI’s only contribution to the health and wellness industry is going to be that no woman ever has to laugh over a salad again, that would be sufficient and worthwhile.Thank you for your service, AI. Only in the last few weeks, I’ve created kid bedroom decor, futuristic cars, mock-up logos for a nutrition business, and stock images for an upcoming event - all in MidJourney (a text-to-image AI tool). *Pro tip for parents of young children: you can prompt any image as a “black and white colouring page”, which then allows you to print it out, and voila - a custom colouring book! Like this: If you are up for some hysterical laughter, play with prompts around golf swings, athletic movements, and people eating spaghetti. Those specific scenarios still produce hilarious results, as they rub against AI’s current limitations. But… no one is really laughing at AI-generated hands any more. And we did only a few months ago, because the results looked like this... Now here’s what I am getting: Now… The photo below is NOT AI-generated. It was taken with a cell phone on my recent trip to Alberta to participate in the team relay for the Canadian Death Race. The photo does not do the view justice, of course. And while I could produce multiple stunning landscapes in MidJourney - those landscapes would not do the real thing justice either. AI-generated images and art might take a bit bite out of the stock image business, and commercial photography, but… it won’t take the place of us taking selfies, us trying to capture what we see on our iPhones (however measly the result), and us creating art for the sake of creating art. For someone who has never been creative with images, but have always been creative with words, text-to-image AI is opening up an entire new world of creativity. The same might be true for you too. Hugs,

  • Bum Wrist, Ganesh Balls, And How We Can Always Do Something

    Hey, Friend. Did you know that In Ashtanga yoga, you show up on your mat SIX days a week - five days of self-practice, one day of led practice. No practice on full moon days. Some days, your practice is amazing. Other days, it's just okay. And then there are those days that suck giant Ganesh balls. You are happy to make it to the mat at all. The fact that you practice the same poses every single day makes it easy to compare. “Hey! What the hell - I could touch my toes in this pose yesterday! What gives?!” I recall hurting my wrist, and calling my yoga teacher to tell him I am not coming in for my daily practice. “How come?”, he asks. “I hurt my wrist!”, I repeat, feeling incredibly sorry for myself. “Ok”, he responds, “so you can come in and do everything that does not involve your wrist. See you soon!”, and hangs up. I make it to the studio that day, and get through my practice, skipping every pose that involves the use of my wrist, and swallowing tears. The only time you don’t show up to practice is if it’s a Sunday, or it’s a moon day, or if you are dead. The black-and-whiteness of ashtanga was part of the reason I stopped my regular practice - it fed into my perfectionism a little TOO WELL. And it would have been totally fine to take a day off, AND spend it on the couch feeling sorry for myself. Would I have felt better if I did that instead? Actually, I doubt it. It was a great lesson. It was never about the wrist. It was about “a little more, a little better” on that day. We can always do SOMETHING. Hugs,

  • The Art Of Asking Amazing Questions, And FOUR Specific Text-To-Text AI Tools I Recommend

    Hi, Friend. Can we talk about all the unexpected places and contexts the skill of ASKING AMAZING QUESTIONS can come in handy? Want to be a more effective coach? Ask better questions. Want to communicate with your teenagers better? Ask better questions. Need to negotiate with terrorists? Better questions. [For real, terrorist negotiators take training in motivational interviewing and similar modalities.] Like… this truly is a skill that keeps on giving. So, I really should not be surprised that the skill of asking good questions translates quite well to using text-to-text AI tools effectively. Am I going to be the new queen of ChatGPT prompts? Challenge accepted. Listen. If you are deep down the AI black hole yourself, you don’t need me to tell ya anything, mmmkay? If you are like ME, and you are listening to ALL AI podcasts, receiving ALL AI newsletters, and reading all AI books, and taking all AI courses, and experimenting with endless prompts in all of your free time, and possibly sitting your children down in front of Netflix, so you could experiment with generating a sales page for a client in their specific brand voice, and explore unique angles for another client’s marketing plan for a group coaching program. If this is you, then high fives, AI friend. Let’s keep riding that crazy train together. However, most of you are doing NONE of those things, because who the fuck has the time to learn about yet another thing? AND… because tech is overwhelming, AND where do you start? AND you find this AI shit a bit creepy honestly, and you have already wondered multiple times whether or not I have even written this goddamn email myself, and whether all of my emails have been generated by AI for weeks and weeks. Especially considering how sick I was couple of weeks ago, and how did I find the energy to send out that email with all the details of my sickness, huh? I guess you’ll never know. Meanwhile, I (or possibly Simone, my AI assistant impersonating me) want to recommend FOUR specific text-to-text AI tools. Text-to-text just means the subselection of AI tools that take text as input, and give you text as output - and function like any other chatbot, or chat window if you are old enough to have experienced the joys of chatrooms. [Next week I’ll recommend some text-to-image tools - where you input text, and get an image as output.] This is the big one. If you are going to try one and only one tool, it should be this one for a few reasons. It’s easy to sign up. It’s easy to use. It can be free. [Yep, the paid version is better. You should probably spend 20 bucks for one month to give it a try. But… unnecessary for you to dip your toes in the AI water.] Think of it as the Walmart of AI tools. It has sort-of everything, and is the cheapest. Because it does everything, you don’t have to pick and choose among all the more specialized AI tools. Do you need help with copywriting? Content? Writing a speech for a family function? Need a modification for a recipe? An easy strength program you can do from home? Yes, there are going to be specialized and possibly better tools for all of those, but ChatGPT will give you a taste of all the things. Jasper is one of the more-specialized AI tools, specifically for copy and marketing. Think marketing campaigns, email sequences, sales pages. If ChatGPT is a multi-tool, Jasper is more of a chef’s knife. If I was a copywriter, working on marketing copy all day every day, I would probably choose Jasper. You specify brand voice (based on a sample text or a URL), select specific assets that you’d like created (e.g. blog posts, emails, sales pages), and get an entire body of work generated that you can review and edit. Jasper describes my brand voice as:“a casual, conversational tone with friendly informal address, colloquial language, personal anecdotes, self-referential remarks, humor, and a conversational flow to create relatable and engaging content." Not bad! Jasper is not free, and not cheap at $49 USD per month. But there is always a free trial to give you a taste of what it’s all about. It also takes a bit more time to learn, as you are now working within an entire dashboard - place to save outputs, documents, emails and email campaigns. Probably an overkill for most users, who are not dedicated copywriters and marketers. A lot of success in Jasper seems to rely on you having clear brand assets - brief, brand voice - already developed. As someone who used to have a part time job, doing medical transcription, I will be forever blown away by technology transcribing audio, and doing it well. I remember turning on the audio file, and pausing it every few seconds, while I’d type up what I heard. Sometimes, I’d have to re-listen to part of the file numerous times to hear what exactly the doctor was saying to the pharma sales rep. Enter - a nifty little AI tool that “attends” your Zoom meetings - as an actual attendee - and transcribes the whole thing. You then have a transcript of the entire conversation, as well as the ability to chat with the tool ABOUT the conversation. I can get calls and recordings transcribed retroactively by simply uploading the file, and have the transcription generated. I have been doing this with some group coaching calls I lead, as I can then quickly review the main points, and even ask the chatbot some questions: e.g.“have we talked about cooking in this call?”, or“summarize the next actions that were discussed in this call”, or “what were some of the questions asked in this call?” The purpose is simple - you can chat with any PDF file. The tool uses ChatGPT backend to process and analyze PDF files. This is a good example of where a specific tool is better than ChatGPT, even though I could use ChatGPT for the same purpose but would have to utilize some workarounds. The tool is free, so you should totally play with it. One of the most obvious and awesome uses for the tool - helping you read and understand research articles. This ^^^ is article I uploaded most recently: "Orthorexia Nervosa, Eating Disorders, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Selective Review of the Last Seven Years". You can view it in full, and use it yourself to play with the tool if you'd like HERE. Some of the questions I asked: What did the researchers in this study do? What were the exclusion criteria for the participants? Who are the authors of this paper? What is the relationship between orthorexia and obsessive compulsive disorder? Few limitations - the tool is primarily aimed at TEXT, so it might not be as helpful if you are mostly looking at pdfs with diagrams and schematic representations. You might run into size limitations with larger pdf files (pdf file limit is 32Mb). If you are reviewing pdf files with sensitive information, privacy might be a concern. Files are uploaded to a secure server, and can be deleted after you are done using them. Of course it will be up to you whether or not that assurance is enough. Ok. That’s enough tools for one day. If you want some one on one coaching on how AI can integrate into your business, I am doing 90-min coaching intensives doing just that. Here’s how it works: ➤ We will spend the first 20-30 minutes, taking a deep dive into the specifics of your business. I want to know what your work looks like, what tasks you are having to complete on a regular basis, and what you love doing, and what you despise doing. ➤ Then I will pull out my best fairy godmother impression, as I sprinkle the AI magic dust, where it would make the most difference. I will make recommendations for specific AI tools (there are thousands on the market to choose from), and show you how to use them for the specific tasks IN your business (and life). ➤ You’ll walk away with a clear understanding of how AI can fit into your business, and make your life easier, as you keep the work you enjoy, and delegate / automate the work you do not. You will finally have your own assistant. I call mine Simone. ;) The 90-min coaching session is $399USD, or two payments of $199.50USD, and you can sign up HERE. After our session, you will be able to download the Zoom recording of our call for future reference. I will also send you the session notes (taken by Simone obviously). AI will never replace coaches, but coaches who use AI might indeed replace coaches who don’t. Supercoaches use supertools, you know what I’m saying? ;) If you want to get on this spaceship, you can sign up HERE. Can't wait to do magic with you. : Hugs,

bottom of page