Okay people (ladies & gentlemen, boys and girls…everyone inside AND outside of those categories)…it’s time to get PERSONAL. I’m “pulling back the curtain” to give you a glimpse of the “real” me, to show you just a little bit about Lauren Graham (yes, my real name and NOT of Gilmore Girls fame), the person behind The Golden Graham Girl. (For information on how I picked the name, The Golden Graham Girl, I actually kicked off my blog with a post on that very topic).
In this biz, this is called my “knowables” – little nuggets of information about me that show that I am not just a fitness automaton. Some of them might surprise you; some of them might make you like (or love!) me more; some of them might make you dislike me. And that’s okay – it’s an important reminder for me AND for you that we can’t please all of the people all of the time. I heard a great quote from Jill Coleman – if you try to be “for everyone” you will end up being for “no one” (I’m paraphrasing!). Another Jill gem is the fact that people don’t buy coaching, they buy coaches. So, c’mon tribe, let’s find one another and do this thing!
I’m a mom
Yup, I’m a breeder. 😉 Okay, okay so I managed to get myself knocked up. Now, I don’t mean to make light of a blessed and sacred event, but really, in this world, some people are parents and some are not, so this fact might or might not make my content more helpful and relevant to you. Just to spice it up a little, I’m doing a variation on a theme of the not-so-nuclear family:
I have a 15 year old stepdaughter (almost 16) so I know about driver’s licenses and high school drama. Plus, there are the ever-challenging conversations and role-modeling to navigate around making healthful choices and feeling good and confident in one’s skin, without being consumed by vanity or getting the idea that fitness is about looking a certain way so that your physical body can be “consumed” like a commodity. Trust me, as a woman in this exciting age of gender-dismantling and conversations about fat shaming, self-love, body positivity and more, it’s all content I consume regularly and work through so that I can present a balanced view to my stepdaughter and to other female-identifying persons around me.
On the flip side, I also I have an almost seven-year-old son, so I also know about elementary school and little league, and about trying to raise a young man who treats himself and others well.
On top of all of that, I know what it’s like to try to create family-friendly nutritious meals in a hurry to meet the suppertime rush AND trying to squeeze exercise in as well. I do happen to be a gym-rat in that I love spending time there (weird, I know), but I also know that I don’t really HAVE that much time to spare and many of you don’t either. So I’m really focused on creating fun, fast and EFFECTIVE workouts (hence the “eight-minute” theme in so many of my posts and hashtags) and fast, delicious, HEALTHFUL meals. There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears (hallmarks of any parent, amirite? Hallmarks of most human beings in general, in fact) and I’m excited to share with you what I know, so that your fitness and health journey is the best it can be. Feel free to comment on this post or e-mail me with your top challenges of balancing fitness, nutrition and parenting in any of its various forms (pet parents included!).
I’m a motorcyclist
My very first (motorized) vehicle was a motorcycle. My high school boyfriend decided to get into motorcycles (probably because some of his friends decided to get into motorcycles) and I was (am?) such a control freak that I had a really hard time as a passenger (probably a bright idea when the driver was a seventeen year old high school junior). I had a 1987 Kawasaki GPZ 305. Belt-driven, dual exhaust…I bought it from the classifieds in the newspaper (remember those? The original Kijiji?). I paid cash and my mom thought a drug deal was going down in the kitchen when she came across me handing over bills (no, we don’t call them “Benjamins” in Canada…for obvious reasons…). The seller walked out with cash and left a canary yellow motorcycle with a Marvin the Martian sticker on the gas tank (which I later found out was a cover for a lacklustre patch job on a fingernail hole in the tank). Even when my mom saw the bike in the driveway, she was still confused. Clearly, I hadn’t consulted her. At eighteen years old, spending my own money, I didn’t see the need.
Once I had a taste of two-wheels, I was hooked. I sold the 305 and upgraded to Kawasaki’s EX-500 “Ninja” – my first crotch rocket. I went on to switch to Yamaha and started with a 2001 YZF-R6 (yes, the awesome R6). Sadly, I had to sell it for tuition money, but I bought a 2003 R6 when I graduated from university.
I finally bought my first brand new motorcycle with a 2006 R6. So, five motorcycles before I bought my first car (a 1998 Hyundai Accent, in case you were wondering) at the age of 25. I sold the fifth and final (for now) motorcycle in 2013. See fun fact THREE for the reason why.
So, really I think there is a totally natural connection between motorcycles and fitness. Having a motorcycle makes me a badass, and being fit makes you a badass, too. So let me help you be a badass! Plus, I’d love to hear about YOUR first vehicle – comment on this blog post!
I lived overseas
I lived in South Korea for three years NOT teaching English (I’ve learned to lead with that because the inevitable question when I said I was living or had lived in South Korea was, “were you an English teacher?” No, I wasn’t but I met a lot of them!). I was an “office worker” (not actually a euphemism; it was the Korean title I could remember vs. “accountant”). I sold my motorcycle because my employer wouldn’t cover the costs to ship it overseas OR to store it long-term and I didn’t see the point in footing the bill.
It just goes to show that while I might not be new to the gym, I can still relate to feeling overwhelmed and intimidated in the face of a new situation and environment (which might be how you’re feeling about going to the gym or starting a fitness regimen) and a whole new language (EMOM, tabata, HIIT, giant set, etc). If you are looking for someone to help you get on (or back on) the fitness chuck wagon or back in the saddle for that health horse (lame puns totally INTENDED), please reach out to me.
Have you ever lived in a country other than your home country? Tell me about it in the comments!
I know how to knit
Yes, indeed, I learned how to knit in Girl Guides and kept it up on and off over the years. I’ve never done a really large-scale project like an adult sweater or a blanket, but I churned out enough baby booties, baby sweaters, slippers, dishcloths, hats, mittens and scarves to fill a football field (never for my own kids, by the way. This was all in the pre-baby time, knitting for expectant friends).
It might seem completely unrelated to health & fitness, but it shows me that I can learn and be successful at a new skill, and I can parlay that confidence into picking up a new workout routine. I’ll bet you have some hobbies, skills or talent that would teach you the same thing about you!
I watch lame TV shows to relax
During my (limited) downtime, I like to watch mindless TV shows. The less educational content, the better. My favourites include America’s Next Top Model (#ANTM any cycle), So You Think You Can Dance (#SYTYCD any season), Riverdale…and my newest addition to this list would be Jane the Virgin.
This “hobby” surprises some people because I’m usually pretty active, but this is the yang to my yin (or yin to my yang). Restorative activities often have elements that are in opposition to your draining activities.
Feel free to comment or e-mail me with your favourite hobbies (the more unusual, the better!). As always, you can catch up to me on the ‘gram or on Facebook to get glimpses of where I am and what I’m up to (usually eating or working out, based on my Instagram feed. Totally true; in this case, art imitates life).
Have a fit day!