LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Bloated Beach Bod
Remember, Craig said ever so casually while loading the incline bench press, you may be able to squat 365lbs and deadlift 400+ etcetera, but no woman will come up to you at the beach and ask you what you squat.
Sobering. I gazed downward towards my barrel belly. At nearly 36 part of me had embraced the “Dad Bod” way of life, sans being a dad coming out of Covid. Ukrainians are built to move boulders, and pull cars and trains with rope, you know, normal everyday tasks. Myself being born as a heavy baby, or with the mass of a dying star so I’m told, I am apparently no different. With lifting heavy coming naturally to me on construction sites or in the gym, I never really had dug deep into the fundamentals, the proper technique and getting curious about my own body and more importantly, my own flexibility. For years my attention was numbers and core strength, however post covid it was in my latest crisis.
At 27 I started to come into my own of who I am in this world, and my contribution to others, the bigger picture. Nothing big, just a small existential crisis if you will… I could have been this, I should have done that, is this the right path, who am I?… you know, normal, right? A decade or so later and I have more of an understanding of all that and then some. My latest crisis, the weight, well that’s why I have Craig and a holistic approach. And for the Slovakian sensation that is Gia in the pages that follow, it took this session, and her powerful prose to provide the raw underbelly of what beauty is and isn’t in a world of voyeuristic obsession, and a little healing in being seen.
The Virgin Mistress
RAW: How to be the Virgin Mary and the Whore of Babylon rolled into one with GIA BARBS.
Being trapped in a goddess body using my sexuality as a means to gain power, but still too afraid to let it rip because I care so much about what other people think, would just kill my already fragile ego. So I’m trying to walk on the fine edge between the erotica & art to gain approval of both camps. At the same time, getting my weekly fix of love wrapped up in the admiration from yet another photographer as a substitute for love I craved as a child. Keep rebuilding my ego, over and over, scared shitless of a negative review or a comment on social media. Not finding the courage to be the biggest attention whore, because I’m still trying to stay the whitest of art brides.
I fight every day… mostly with myself. Sometimes with stupidity around me, but that’s just life. Mostly with some conservative part of me, which represents my proper upbringing. What will They think? I shouldn’t do that! I should! I should because it feels right. Or maybe I believe it will feel right once I brave it. Unless it will end up being too much, and I will get phone calls from my family about how disappointed they are in my decisions and when am I going to get a real job? This is my real job. Although I certainly hope it’s as far away from real as possible. I’m afraid of being shallow but at the same time of being too incomprehensible. I’m afraid of being perceived as stupid, but I will wear mascara to take out the garbage. And I do take the garbage out. All those steps count towards my daily goal of 10,000., and my mascara is my armor. Because I need to not feel naked.
Naked Weapon. I’m learning. I’m learning about how to shed that armor and use my body as a weapon. Naked weapon. I’m dipping my toes in the water. Overcoming the intense feeling of ultimate vulnerability and melting it into power. Kind of vulnerability that suddenly gives you the feeling of complete control. All eyes on me! Complete control not only over yourself, over everything. I am the center of this micro-universe of my photoshoot or art studio. I am The Sun, The Moon, The Everything.
Everybody will love this. Until someone doesn’t.
I have to flip my priorities. The world needs to do it. Because right now, we care about the wrong things. We care about what people will think, but not so much about what we are actually creating. I just have to flip those two. Care about what I’m creating and screw what others are thinking about me. That’s why I stopped making my music for now. I’m searching for the answer in the photographs I’m making, one photo at a time, which will, in turn, lead to better acting as well. It’s all intertwined, and I want to go deeper. That’s why I love Black & White. It’s much more colorful. There is this mystery in it. A red dress looks incredible in B&W. It shows more and at the same time hides more. I want my photos to have a secret because when you see color, everything is already said. And I don’t want to spoil it with words.
Shut up! Just squeeze the shutter button and take me all in. Let my body and soul do the talking. I want to change the world one day, but so far, the world is changing me. And around me. So many stupid people. Still, God loves everybody the same. Stupid or pretty. Or both. -GB
Transformations: A Quick Hobby or Lifetime Changeover with Craig Thomas
Transformation. I used to hate that word. I’m still not fond of it. However, there is a common understanding in the fitness community and prospective clients seeking to undertake a fitness program. Transformation usually means a new beginning entailing a physical metamorphosis. To a vast majority, it can mean a better weight on the scale and fitting into your old (smaller) clothes. To some others, it can mean a tighter fitting sleeve but looser waist bands on pants. And yet to some others, it might indicate a longer day coupled with a tedious date of uncomfortable effort.
To me, the quality that the term “transformation” mostly signifies is a willingness to stick with a program design for a pre-determined length of time. It indicates a choice to dedicate a designated block of time each week to adhere to a workout schedule that targets a client’s goal(s). The most important aspect of a transformation period is respecting—perhaps even enjoying—the process to reach that goal. Transformation periods should be something that isn’t just relegated to the time of the actual transformation, but it should be an introduction into the larger picture of adopting a workout regimen as a lifelong commitment. And that isn’t meant to be an intimidating idea.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about transformations—if they are successful—is what to do after it’s completed. Many clients don’t know what to take on next and once they’ve achieved their goals they have turned to destructive habits like unending celebratory periods of overeating and under exercising. Some clients will even talk about their accomplishments and hang their hats on their laurels for the next 10 years until they’re ready to take on….another short “transformation” period. For 3 months. And then remind themselves of the difficulty of the struggle in the beginning and then quit after the 3 months are up again.
Instead, I believe a transformation should be something that acts as an introductory phase of exercise that becomes part of a client’s every day life. It should be a tenable task that doesn’t interfere or hinder the rest of the client’s day but instead reinvigorates and supports that client’s productivity at work and their energy at home. It doesn’t necessarily have to be loved—although some do—but it should be something that is valued and recognized for what it is: a portal to a more mobile, healthier, productive and balanced lifestyle.
The exercise segment of a transformation is only about 2-5/6 hours or so a week, depending on availability and ability. A full week is 168 hours. How does the a client conduct the rest of his or her week to maximize the gains attained on the gym floor? One of the more recent bits of advice I doled out to clients looking to complement their challenging workouts was feel good for every willful decision they make each week. They should feel good after working out. They should feel good (not stuffed or bloated) after eating. They should be refreshed and rested when waking up in the morning. They could even feel more patient and think more efficiently during work. And they should feel more harmonious in their relationship. Okay maybe the last one is a stretch. But, if both partners are working out a more understood and connected relationship could be a measurable part of their goal as well.
As much as I feel the the idiom “transformation” is overused, it does serve as a vital segue into the larger world of physical fitness. For those that sign up for a transformation, I hope they commit to a life-style choice as opposed to a short term fix. Nothing in life is sustainable and we are only as good as what we’ve done most recently and not what we did 10 or 20 years ago.
Step out in Style this Holiday Season with Tavia Sharp
Last year, the Holidays were tough on all of us. Some of you might have been quarantining in your sweats and pjs while some might not have been able to celebrate with loved ones at all due to Covid 19. This year, we are ready to gather again and CELEBRATE! Most likely you’ll be celebrating with friends and family so why not take this opportunity to ring in the new year in style. It’s time to turn it all the way up!
That being said, you’ll want to make sure you look your best. No more leaving the house in a wrinkled top, stretched out jeans and baggy sweatpants which have you feeling ‘blah’ all day. If you’re leaving the house, might as well make it count. Afterall, dressing up has proven to have the ability to not only boost your mood but your confidence overall. Nothing feels better than looking good! And the holidays are the perfect excuse to have a little more fun with your wardrobe and treat yourself to something extra special this year to make up for last year.
With the return of party season, it’s time to bring on the sparkle and shine. Ladies, it’s all about sequins this season. From tops to dresses to accessories all the way down to the sky high heel. And let’s face it, getting back into heels again after 18 months of not leaving the house is a feat all on it’s on. But so worth it! Bling up your look with a metallic purse, dangling earrings and a bold lip. Now, you’re ready to paint the town red.
Guys, it’s all about tuxedo jackets and sleek suiting for you. Nothing screams party like a velvet jacket in a bold color. Pair it with a classic black tuxedo pant and a slip on loafer and get ready to turn some heads wherever you go. Don’t forget to accessorize your personality whether that be a statement watch, a bold pocket square or a cool piece of jewelry. Men who aren’t afraid to take more risks with their style are guaranteed to have more fun this holiday. Why not just dress up for the sake of dressing up?! I mean, we could all use a little more holiday cheer this year. And if you’re ready to step up your style but have no idea where to start, let’s talk! Book a Complimentary Image Accelerator Call with me to learn how I can help you sharpen up your look not just this holiday season but for good.
Composers in Crisis: Music in light of the Pandemic
During the pandemic we all took a hit. Many things we were used to having and doing were suddenly gone. The underpinnings of everyday life were taken away and we had to decide how to move forward. In the arts we had to confront the sudden and serious impact to our medium and how we would move forward. Many of these challenges are being felt even today. A lot of the pandemic left artists re-evaluating their art and their purpose as creators and performers. It had brought upon us a time of self-reflection. My choice has been to compose a requiem, not just to the people we so needlessly lost during the pandemic, but to a way of life and perhaps a mindset that has passed as well and left in its place is a need to re-evaluate purpose and course. I think this has created a great opportunity to begin to examine some of the areas of our lives that we normally ignore and distract ourselves from with the normal diversions of everyday life.
Such undertakings are never easy, but I think that’s what the pandemic has done, it has highlighted the inflection point in history in which we find ourselves. As Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a changing” and I think the pandemic has only accelerated the fundamental changes that were already going on in our society. My approach to this has been to face these changes head on and examine what it is I really believe about the world, about the reason I create, and the fundamental beliefs I hold about myself. In some ways I think the time after the pandemic has been harder than the year during it. Because now we have the stark reality that there is no going back to the world from whence we came. There is a new reality and it is foreign to many of us and we now have to figure out how to operate in it.
Transitions are never easy they are one of the hardest things to navigate in music just as they are in life. I don’t have any definitive answers. The best I can do is to suggest that this time be used to reflect on what we believe and why we create. To better strengthen our understanding of our motivations and goals. I’m not sure there’s an article here, I think it’s more of a postmortem. But what we do have is this moment, right here. You, sitting there reading this article, me sitting here writing this article. This is what art comes down to, the shared moment of now. The moment of connection between creator and audience. That hasn’t changed and I hope it never will.