Homework: Do What You Love

Homework: Do What You LoveA little over 10 years ago, I was struggling with some issues, and ended up hiring a life coach to help me work some things out. After getting to know me a bit, he gave me an assignment to write down 50 things I was “wildly passionate” about.

Seriously? Wildly passionate? That sounded both corny and impossible to me. After much negotiation (I was a horrible client I now realize), it ended up being 25 things I liked or that made me happy.

My next assignment was to pick the 10 I loved most. That was easier. Since I already had a list of 25, I just picked the 10 I liked most. And “loving” something was easier than being “wildly passionate” about it!

I still have my original list (I had it pinned to my wall until we moved into the RV 3 years ago) and it looked like this (in no particular order):

  • Setting Goals
  • Eating at Taj
  • Getting a Massage
  • A Super Hard Workout
  • Watching a Movie
  • Being with my Family
  • Making Money
  • Personal Development
  • Competition
  • Organizing/Planning/Scheduling

I even went as far as calling it 10 Things That Make Me WILDLY Excited About Life. Excited was OK, passionate was still a weird word to me at the time! Baby steps.

The next goal was to incorporate AT LEAST 1 of these 10 things into my schedule every single day. This was a challenge at first. I was working too much, I was tired all the time, I had no money, I wasn’t taking time for myself or my family, and I was living day to day trying to prove to “someone” that I was “something”.

But I stuck with it and looked at the list every single day while making my schedule. Some days I did ZERO (such a failure), but over time, with practice and awareness (baby steps), I was incorporating more and more of this list into my daily life. And something amazing started to happen. The more I did these things, the more I did these things!

Now, 10 years later, I am extremely good (sometimes too good) at taking care of myself and making ME a priority. There are days where I am incorporating 3 or 4 of these things into each and every day! And if I were to make a list of 10 Things That Make Me WILDLY Excited About Life, it would look pretty much the same as it did 10 years ago. AND…I think it would be easy these days to make a list of 50 things that I am wildly passionate about! What’s-his-face (my coach…can’t remember his name) would be proud.

So I want to give you this gift! I challenge YOU to make a list of 25 things you like. I challenge you to pick 10 that excite you. Write them down. Hang them up where you can see them every single day. And start doing AT LEAST one of them every single day.

Oh and PS…you need to schedule them into your day. If you are waiting for “spare time” or “extra time” or your day to “open up”, that’s not going to happen!!!

I would LOVE to see your list!!!

And CONGRATS for making yourself a priority!

See you SOON!

If Kir Can do It, Anyone Can do It

If Kir Can Do It, Anyone Can Do ItI used to think that was an insult.

“If Kirsten can do it, anyone can do it” said to me that I was nothing special. It said to me I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, fast enough, skinny enough, strong enough, rich enough, or any other ridonkulous things we tell ourselves when we are desperately trying to be “enough”.

Enough for what? I’m not skinny enough to be a model, I’m not smart enough to be an astronaut, I’m not pretty enough to be an actress, I’m not strong enough to be an Olympic swimmer , I’m not fast enough to be a pro triathlete, I’m not creative enough to be a musician, I’m not important enough to make a difference, I’m not savvy enough to build a big business, I’m not disciplined enough to have a savings account, I’m not rich enough to hire a personal chef or to get a massage every week or to buy AC for my house so I can sleep at night without soaking in a pool of sweat.

Crap! I am exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed just thinking about it.

Although I consider myself a recovering perfectionist, the fact that I have tears in my eyes and a sick feeling in my gut tells me I have a long way to go.

I guess that’s what it’s called “recovering” and not “recovered”. Boo!

OMG…where was I?? Oh yes, I used to want to be better than everyone, I used I want to do things no one could do, accomplish feats that others wouldn’t even dream of attempting.

How foolish and naive I was thinking there was even such a thing. And if there was such a thing how little it would matter in the grand scheme if life.

That in itself makes me sad that I spent so much time and energy in the first 30 years of my life working toward something that’s only purpose was a false sense of love and adoration from others. And it makes me even sadder to know there are so many others still going through the same struggle that never ends in perfection…because there is no such thing.

I have proof! Let’s use women’s bodies as an example since I’m clearly obsessed with them.

The following 4 women have the “perfect” body for what they do…

Shawn Johnson: Olympic gymnast, 4’9”, 90 lbs, strong, muscular, and compact.

Gabby Reece: Olympic Volleyball player, 6’3”, 170 lbs, long legs and arms and long lean muscles.

Pamela Anderson: Super model, 5’7”, curvy with huge boobs.

Joan Benoit: Olympic Marathoner, 5’2”, 100 lbs, super lean, straight hips, and small arms and legs.

So each of these women is amazing at what they do, they each have the perfect body for what they have chosen as their career, but their bodies are SO drastically different. So which one is “the” perfect body? See…no such thing!

So let’s do ourselves a favor (yes, I am talking to myself) and STOP trying to be perfect, stop torturing yourself for being mediocre, stop hating yourself for being average, and know that TRULY you are affecting and helping more people when you are being YOU…just YOU!

People want to be able to relate to us, to have something in common with us, to know that we all are going through the same struggles. That is why it’s a compliment when people say “if she can do it, then I can do it”.

It means that someone is striving to be like you, but it’s realistic, it’s attainable, and it’s something they are excited to work toward!

So bring it on peeps! Anything I can do, you can do too…probably even better! And same goes for any goal or dream you have. If someone out there is doing it or has done it, so can YOU!!!

Be brave and share with me!


And I have this really awesome facebook group for those who are recovering perfectionists…


Ahhh…thanks for being here!

See you SOON!

Fitness : Why it took me 13 years to make it to the island of Hawaii

Fitness : Why it took me 13 years to make it to the island of HawaiiYes, it took me 13 years to get to Kona!

I guess I could have just bought a plane ticket and traveled to the 50th state at any time during my adult life, but that’s not how I wanted to get over there. I wanted to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI that goes on every year in October.

Let me back up a few years. Here is a brief recap of my life as a triathlete…

  • 1999: Did my first sprint distance triathlon and was hooked
  • 2001: Did my first ironman distance triathlon and was hooked
  • 2001: Watched the airing of the Ironman World Championships on TV and wanted to BE there
  • 2002: First year I trained with the ambition to earn a qualifying slot (typically top 2-3 in each age group for women)
  • 2002: Placed 22nd in qualifying race
  • 2003: Placed 28th in qualifying race
  • 2004: Placed 45th in qualifying race
  • 2005: Placed 22nd and 28th in qualifying races
  • 2006: Placed 29th in qualifying race
  • 2007-2009: Took a break from racing altogether
  • 2010: Placed 38th in qualifying race
  • 2011: Placed 31st in qualifying race
  • 2012: Broke collar bone and had to forfeit qualifying race ☹

2013: Placed 3rd in qualifying race and EARNED A SLOT IN HAWAII!!!

So as you can see, it took me 12 years to earn my slot into the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI. And what an AMAZING road it was! I’m not by nature a patient person, but it makes sense to me why it took so long.

I am naturally an average athlete. I am very active, love competing, have been in sports since I was about 6 years old, am obsessed with nutrition and exercise, and was a full time personal trainer and fitness instructor for 15 years of my adult life, but by no means did I have “natural” ability. If I did, I would have qualified at my first qualifying race like my BFF Wendy did when she was 19 and had no clue what she was doing!!

There is a NY Times best-selling book called OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS by Malcolm Gladwell. Throughout the book, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.

I subscribe to this theory and have seen it work in my own life in my relationships, businesses, personal growth, and of course, athletics. I train “in season” an average of 25 hours a week, “off season” an average of 15 hours a week. This averages out to about 1,000 hours a year. This means I would hit my 10,000 hours in about 10 years. Since I took a couple years off in the middle, it makes sense it would take me a bit longer.

So 12 years after I set in motion my dream of earning a Kona qualifying slot, I finally made it. I talk in detail in my book TRAIN SMARTER FOR BETTER RESULTS (www.KirstenMcCay.com) if you want to know HOW I did it and what I learned over the years, but it really boils down to the “10,000-Hour Rule”.

So whatever you want in life, KNOW what you want, WORK toward what it is, and be PATIENT as it takes time to become a master at anything. My favorite part is that I have control over the time and energy I put into something. So although it may take me 10,000 hours to be great, I get to decide if 10,000 hours happens in 5 years or 30 years. Like I said…patience isn’t my strength.

If you want to follow my entire “Road to Kona”, check out my videos at www.YouTube.com/FitnessDivaKir

Fitness : The First Day in 28 Years that I Loved my Body

Fitness The First Day In 28 Years I Loved My BodyWhen I started Junior High, I was “HUGE”. I mean I wasn’t overweight or anything, but at 5’7”, 130 pounds, and size 9 feet, I was SO much bigger than all my 5’ nothing, size 0, no hips, size 5 feet friends. So at the ripe old age of 12, I started hating my body.

To add insult to injury, I was a swimmer. So I was ALWAYS in a swimsuit, and I think as a female athlete, there is added pressure to have less body fat as it is. I was pretty much doomed from an early age to constantly battle my disordered body issues.

Fast forward…to 1999 when I become a competitive triathlete, another sport where low body fat is favored. Every time I didn’t make my goal or get the time or place I wanted, I always blamed it on my body. “I guess I’m just too big to be a competitive athlete” or “If I lost 10 pounds I could run so much faster”. Whether these statements are actually true or not, makes no difference AT ALL because I believe they are true, and as long as I continue to accept that as truth, then it will always be true for me.

Fast forward AGAIN…to 2013 when I am 40 years old and have spent the last 28 years beating myself up for not having the body I want. And by the way, after 28 years of telling your body it’s not skinny enough or strong enough or fast enough or tight enough, it doesn’t matter what is ACTUALLY going on, your brain will never believe when you actually ARE skinny, strong, fast, tight, etc. It’s extremely heartbreaking to see this happening to so many people because I know firsthand how it feels to be living in a body that can never be what you think it should be. It’s a painful and hopeless battle you are constantly fighting with yourself, usually silently and alone.

September 15, 2013, six weeks before my 41st birthday, one week before racing my 10th Ironman distance triathlon, I was complaining to my husband (he’s a saint BTW for putting up with my eating/body issues for 18 years and counting) that I wasn’t at my goal race weight and I was such an idiot for not cutting calories during taper and I felt huge BLAH BLAH BLAH!

September 22, 2013, race day is here! Air temp at the start of the race was in the 30s…FAHRENHEIT. In my age group out of 174 women, only 103 finished. Most either took so long to warm up after the swim that they missed the bike cut off time or just couldn’t get warm enough to start the run after the bike. I had an amazing race and never got cold enough to even consider a DNF (Did Not Finish). Many of these DNFs were world class athletes and I finished! I was so proud of my amazing body and what it accomplished that day!

And if I’m being 100% honest, it would probably have a little bit to do with those “extra” pounds I didn’t lose before the race.

PS…If you are struggling with any sort of disordered eating/body image issues, PLEASE tell someone! You are NOT alone and there are so many ways to get help. You don’t have to fight this battle forever. PLEASE PLEASE reach out!!

Fitness: Why the Birthday Present I gave my Mom on her 50th made her cry

[Fitness blog post] Why The Birthday Present I gave my mom on her 50th made her cry I love telling this story…not because I like to see my Mom cry, but because for me it’s an inspiring story and it gives me ammo for people who tell me they “can’t” do something that I KNOW they can do.

The year was 2002. I had been a Personal Trainer since 1990 and always helped my friends and family with any health/fitness/nutrition related stuff, so they were used to that. In 1999 I did my first triathlon, and became instantly obsessed. I ended up not only doing an ironman distance triathlon 2 years later, but also got my triathlon coaching certification and started coaching immediately after.

Instantly I was signing all my friends and family up for triathlons, they were NOT used to that.

A bit about my mom…she is a teacher, a Mom, and an amazing Grandma. She is kind and loving and one of the most unselfish people I know. One thing she is not, however, is an athlete. As far as triathlon is concerned, she can swim to prevent drowning, she can cruise along on her fat tired, fuzzy seated monster of a bike, and she can walk, but not run, due to arthritis is both her hips and knees.

So when she opened her 50th birthday present and it was an entry into the Danskin Women’s Triathlon for the following year with all the training she would need to make it through, she was speechless, and scared to death, and that resulted in a silent but deafening cry.

I promised her I would train her enough to get her across the finish line. And I did just that.

We had 10 months to get her strong, fit, and confident enough to swim .5 mile, bike 12 miles, and run 3.1 miles. And we SUCCEEDED!

Watching my mom cross the finish line was incredible…now it was MY turn to cry! She is proof that it doesn’t matter how old you are, how out of shape you are, how inexperienced you are, or how scared you are, if you WANT something and COMMIT to getting there, you WILL succeed! Awesomeness!

My favorite part of this entire story is that BECAUSE of her, I have “convinced” hundreds of women that they too can do this. I would have never been able to get them to even consider the idea if I didn’t have my Mom’s victory to inspire and encourage them.

Because of my Mom, I have helped hundreds of women accomplish something they never would have imagined possible. Now THAT’S something to cry about!