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Have you ever been told no?

Have you ever been told no, but went ahead and did the thing anyway? Just to spite the person who told you no? Maybe I’m petty, but upon reflection, I think I’m just stubborn or ‘determined’. I’m a Taurus too so, maybe that’s it?

I distinctly remember in senior year of high school, my guidance counselor told me to not waste my $65 application fee to a school I so badly wanted to attend. With my grades that weren’t up to par (a 94.98 average), only taking 5 AP courses, I’d “never get in.” In less than 10 minutes, reviewing my essay and transcript, she had sized me up and told me what my future would not be. Despite her “guidance,” I applied to my dream school, got in, and attended anyway. I absolutely loved my college experience.

I had a similar interaction with my parents who didn’t want me hanging out with my boyfriend on prom night. This was the pre-cell phone era, so I’m pretty sure every number they had from Kindergarten to high school was called that night. As I hung out with friends at a beach then played cards in my friend's living room, I felt like a rebel. Do you see a pattern here?

So- when I conceived of this book idea after getting bored of reading the same stories over and over again, I thought it would be so much fun to see animals working out and demonstrating movements they can actually do! I wanted to just share my love of fitness, teach essential movements and gym vocabulary in a fun way. I'm a visual learner, and so secretly, this book is what I wish I had when I first started Crossfit-- because it took at least a year for me to figure out the difference between the movements like clean, jerk, snatch and press, and all the power/squat combinations of it.

I‘m a nerd and since I am not an author, I read up on the publishing process and conducted a number of informational interviews. I got excited and reached out to a few publishers- indie and traditional to pitch and see what people thought of the idea. A lawyer had said no company would publish it because they’d be in a dangerous position if someone got hurt. Another asked, “Is this even safe for kids? Advocating CrossFit or whatever this book is about... I thought kids aren’t even supposed to be weightlifting at such a young age, and you’re going to show it to babies?!”

I was outraged, wanted to argue and convince them that these were functional movements! Little kids were already doing them- from swinging their book bags to carrying their little siblings or putting a plate on the counter to pushing the laundry basket full of stuff across the room. They didn't understand because they only went to spinning and yoga classes, or ran marathons. Their concept of 'acceptable' kid's fitness was sports- gymnastics, swimming, soccer. What if I could help change that concept?

I was discouraged, but I had written the rough draft, mapped out the animals with the movements I wanted to see, and Manny, the illustrator, was already sending me the cutest drawings. I wasn’t going to let someone kill my vision just yet! This passion project was just that-- and with my husband’s green light (with 2 little kids and a demanding full time job), knowing it could very well flop, I decided to march on, and self-publish this book. I wanted something good to come out of my 2020.

As for those who are still reading and thinking this book isn’t safe, these pictures show functional, everyday movements that our kids already do. My adaptations on IG are ideas on how to start learning that movement. I want all kids to grow up knowing what exercise is, and how to take care of their bodies, as so many (including myself) are lost after leaving team sports. The book’s underlying positive self-talk that they can do something plants a seed for later. If they can’t do something yet, I hope you prompt them to at least try and find a way. I went into education partially because my guidance counselor told me ‘no’. I want all of my students to fight and get their high school diploma despite their circumstances, and for everyone to apply to their dream college or pursue that thing they want-- no matter what. Michael Jordan, the basketball legend of my time (yes I’m old) said “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.” So, despite the numerous roadblocks-- cheers to self-publishing my book, kids learning fitness at a young age, and just doing the thing!

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Welcome everyone, I am so excited that you’re here- let me introduce myself. I’m Samantha (but everyone calls me Sam), a born and raised Brooklyn native and mom of 2 super-active girls (Juliet 3, Ruby


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