Sunday, September 25, 2016

More than my BODY

This morning I shared the following video on my facebook page. I encourage you to watch the video!

In this video Kaisa Keranen is real about body image.
She goes into explaining how she is viewed by others for her body. She was critiqued for being too muscular a few years ago, but now is glorified for her body because strong and beautiful is currently accepted. But as the video plays on, she explains there is more to her. There is more to this woman than her body. Media changes and in a few years from now, the media could go back to glorifying
women who are skinny and don't have a muscular frame. But ultimately, the take away message is,

The way YOU view your body can't ride on how the world views our bodies.

Movement isn't about being able to look a certain way in a pair of jeans.

Kaisa asks the question at the end of the video, "Why do you want to look a certain way? If you accomplish that goal, is that what will make you happy?"

Deep question right?

What is happiness?
The dictionary defines it as feelings of pleasure or contentment.
Synonyms are contentment, satisfaction, pleasure.

My question to myself is, can I look in the mirror with feelings of pleasure or contentment?
I literally see this every single day. I train women daily who REFUSE to look in the mirror. They HATE and despise the person looking back at them. This breaks my heart because I look at the individual and think, do you not see what I see? Do you not see your beauty?

All too many times, myself included, we look in the mirror and see every single one of our flaws. We see that strand of hair that won't fall right, We see our hips are too wide. We see the muffin top hanging over our pants. We see our back fat. We refuse to raise our arms to wave at someone for fear that our arm flab will wave too. C'mon ladies!

If all of these things we see were magically fixed, WOULD YOU BE TRULY HAPPY?
Real question.
Happiness is an inside job. I know I'm not THAT old, but with age comes a greater understanding of WHO I am. I tweeted last week that for the first time in my life, I can look in the mirror and love myself. Let's be real, our worth isn't based off of our jean size and all too many times if we can't fit into a size 2 jean, our worth is somehow less.

Great real! Who are you? Are you a mom, daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter, god-mom, school teacher, accountant, personal trainer, stay at home mom, saleswoman, or whatever title you recognize with... YOU ARE MORE than the size pants you wear.

Ultimately, the question comes down to are you working on being a better version of yourself? Are you taking time to show your kids what healthy means? Are you taking time to show them how to cook? Are you taking time to go for a walk? Are you taking time to read or listen to a book? Are you teaching and instilling honorable characteristics in your children?

Honesty is WE ALL HAVE our flaws. We all have things we need to work on. But we all also have our strengths. We all have things we're good at and God has blessed us with. Don't try to be a robot and become someone or something you are not. BE YOU because ultimately, the best person you can be is you.

Strive to be better. Challenge yourself to be better. Love yourself. Love God. Love Others.
Be Blessed

Sunday, September 18, 2016

1st Phorm Level 1 Protein Review

Let's be honest, when it comes to making healthier changes in our lives, giving up our favorite treats are hard. I have more than a handful of my clients tell me they just can't give up such and such.I scream, you scream, we all scream for protein.
And for the most part, I don't make them. If your eating 5 bowls of ice cream a day or eating a whole pizza for lunch, yes I'm going to suggest some changes. But for the most part, nobody wants to completely give up ice cream, pastries, cookies, pudding, and so forth. It's about finding a realistic balance for many of my clients.

And as for me, I try my best to recreate some of my favorite dishes and treats in the healthiest form. For example, I love pancakes and/or waffles and on the weekend it's nice to change things up. There are various recipes one can use. Many times I steal the easiest protein recipe offline ( Then there are protein energy bites, cookies and cakes that I enjoy making and many times I will make these kind of deserts to friends and family when we get together. It gives me something to snack on as well and not completely blow my diet. (See Emily Frisella's website: for more amazing cooking/baking ideas. Her instagram is @emilyfrisella)

However, the hardest questions to answer is,
Which protein do I use?
What flavor TASTES good?
Where can I purchase a good protein at?
How do I know if a certain protein is worthy of my money?

Level-1 Meal Replacement Protein
Honestly speaking, 5 years ago when I started my fitness journey I had absolutely ZERO guidance. I just started and began reading everything I could about diet and nutrition. Couple magazines I followed were, Oxygen Magazine, Women's Health, and Clean Eating. Oxygen always had a "Shake of the Month" and I would always find myself trying to recreate them. So many articles I would read out of these magazines stressed the importance of protein. There were advertisements for days at each magazine and I would just go to Walmart and find a flavor that looked good. That was until I read a research article were protein distributors were being investigated and found that many times the content in the containers didn't match the nutrition. The tubs of protein were full of fillers and I wasn't getting out of my protein powders that I thought I had been.

This is when I started buying my protein at an actual supplement store and taking recommendations from trusted individuals. So yes, I'm picky! I want to know what is in the protein, is it real, is the brand a trusted brand, does the company hold high standards for the the product they create? So the answer is no, I don't just buy a cheap protein anymore, I do my research. And when I find a company I like and flavors I can appreciate, I buy 4 tubs in various flavors!

One product I had seen at several bodybuilding competitions is 1st Phorms Level-1 protein. I tried their Peanut Butter Cup Level-1 Protein sample when a guy handed me a small cup, but due to the fact that nobody in the area which I live actually sells the product, I didn't want to buy any. What if I ordered something I didn't like? Heck no I'm not paying for shipping! ;)

Click here to get the Level-1 Protein to start making!
Click here to get your Level 1 Protein!
However, few months ago 1st Phorm released a flavor that caught my attention. How does Level-1 Cinnamon Cookie Batter not sound like love? I had to check it out as well as Level-1 Ice Cream Sandwich. First off I had to
try Protein Oats with the Level-1 Cinnamon Cookie Dough. This is one of my favorites because usually I'll mix cinnamon in with my oatmeal. However, when the protein got here I dove in and didn't even had to add my cinnamon. It gave me life to say the least! That night, my sweet tooth was getting the best of me. I saved enough protein macros up for protein pudding. I literally mixed the Level-1 Ice Cream Sandwich protein up with low fat Greek yogurt, some almond milk and then drizzled a little Waldon Farms Chocolate Syrup on it. HEAVEN.

This is how I stay on track from day to day which adds up to weeks, months, and years. Small tweaks of finding things that TASTE good and playing around with recipes. After all those to flavors made their way into my home, it lead me to getting a few other flavors. I'm going to have to give the flavors that I've personally tried a high rating. I've tried many proteins where it upset my stomach or made my stomach boated. I've tried other proteins that I've had to add Stevia to because there was barely any flavor. There's other proteins I've tried where the artificial sweetener left a bad after taste. I can honestly say this is one top notch company that stays in touch with it's customers. They're about creating the best high quality protein out there.

Lastly, one thing I appreciate about the company is when you visit their website, you are able to contact 1st Phorm They have individuals on staff if you have questions about their Meal Replacement (Level-1) or Isolate (Phormula-1) proteins or if you have a nutritional based questions. I'm positive if I was just starting my fitness journey out like I did 5 years ago, I would be messaging them. There's so many myths out their surrounding nutrition and proper supplementation that I would highly recommend individuals using this tool.

Overall to summarize this product I'd have to give it a 5 star rating. I actually wish I had given the product more of a chance a while ago! Level-1 Protein is an awesome meal replacement and for a personal trainer like myself, I wish I had more time to sit down and eat my meals. But reality is, I don't. I train 10-14 clients a day and if I'm not training clients, I'm teaching Boot Camps, TRX, Spin, and Yoga/Pilates. I wake up at 4 am each day and many times the day doesn't end until 9pm. I also am working on my personal goals of stepping on stage to compete in Figure. I can't afford to skip meals and Level-1 Protein has helped me to stay fueled. I know I'm not the only one who struggles to get their meals in each day between running to work, meetings, workouts, taking classes, doing laundry and for many of you also are chasing kiddos around. I don't have any doubt in my mind that you'll love the flavors as well as be able to do a better job at staying on track with your diet!

Low down on Level 1:
It's a whey protein.
Level-1 is comprised of the Level-1 Matrix which is an ultra bio-available, sustained assimilation protein formula consisting of Cross-Flow Micro-Filtrated Whey Protein Isolate, Low Temperature Micro-Filtrated Whey Protein Concentrate, Low Temperature Processed Milk Protein Concentrate, Pure Egg Whites and Sodium Caseinate. The Level-1 Matrix is specifically formulated to deliver the highest quality, premium proteins in a sustained release which mimics the protein assimilation rates of whole food. Level-1 uses only proteins that have been low-temperature processed to take extra precaution to not denature or damage delicate protein fractions.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Make the most of YOUR life*

I haven't been doing an awesome job at posting lately! I've been using Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat more so I can make brief posts, but as I was driving to meet with a client today, I decided I needed to get back to my habit of writing. I actually love writing for my mental sanity as well as I love hearing from those who take the time to read this blog! So thank you to you!

As for me, not a lot has changed in my life besides having started new clients within the last few months. Starting new clients is always hard for me. Somehow, people trust you enough to pay for your 1-2 hour services a week, yet don't quite want to believe or trust you when you advise them on working out on their own and guide them along on nutrition. Maybe people start thinking, "I just need to workout more and I'll lose weight". However, I try to really emphasize with my clients that it's not just about the scale. Many times before someone loses weight, they start feeling better, having a positive attitude, sleeping better, gain more strength, and their level of energy improves. But not everyone focuses on that. They step on the scale after a week or two and 3 workouts and a couple salads and magically want to see the scale say 10 pounds down. Sorry, for many it doesn't work that way. That's why I start with small habit changes like encouraging people to begin logging their food consumption, drinking more water, eating breakfast, switching out less healthy snacks for better choices.

Sometimes for some individuals, these changes are BIG and very hard. Others just make it happen! And this is my day to day life with my clients. Trust me I'm not complaining. It's constantly help others see their potential and make positive and healthy changes and not letting them give up on themselves!

Now as for a new client I started working with today. He has Parkinson's Disease and I do an at home visit with him. Today was my first time visiting his home where I spoke with his amazing wife before I got to their home. They have home health there each morning to help the gentleman get ready each day. I'm going to start working with him twice a week as well as help his wife and their home health know how to help him to continue living HIS life to the fullest.

1st off, let me just the wife of this man is an angle. She meant "For better or for worse" when she took her vows. She is 100% dedicated to keeping this man moving and healthy. I honestly had to kind of hold back tears as she did her typical daily routines with him. I basically spent today observing and watching him move so I can create the best exercise plan for him to do with me and when I'm gone and they're able to work with him.

I tested out his strength after some time of talking with the gentleman and his wife. I was impressed! I was impressed to see a man who has Parkinson's Disease, as well as has had back surgery. Best way to describe this man is DETERMINED. He's determined to make each day count. The more I was there at their home, the more he began to open up. When I was getting ready to leave, He asked if he could show me how he can do what I call sit to stands. (My clients love sit to stands- sarcasm). Here was a man doing ALL HE COULD physically. I asked him to show me his lateral movement, which we will continue to work on! As I was wrapping up, I told his wife I would write up a plan of exercises and stretches for him to do daily and when I returned next week, we'd go through all of it so she felt comfortable and had a full understanding of our goals and plan of action for accomplishing those goals.

She had tears in her eyes which honestly made me want to bawl. She said they'd been praying for help like what I have to offer and I was completely humbled. Humbled to know that something that I'm passionate about is something that is going to better this gentleman's life as well as hers to see her husband moving more and getting the help he needs.

As I drove home, all I could think about is how un-thankful I can be at times. Many times I take my daily breath each day for granted all the while this man is making the best out of each day he has. Today made me take a step back and realize how blessed I am to be able to work with some of the individuals I do. I learn a lot each day from my clients and I'm thankful for each one of them.

Life is short, live it with purpose. If you're unhappy, you're in control. Get up an change the channel. Get up and change WHAT YOU HAVE control over and let God have the rest.

With Love

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fitness Devices/Trackers

Couple months back I had posted a picture of my Polar Heart Rate Monitor on Instagram and the caption I posted below it said,

"Anyone else use a fitness device to push themselves?!"

Several people like the picture and few people commented. One specifically slightly caught my attention with their comment. It said,

They went off self motivation and didn't like stressing about a machine. All the person needed was their music and the mirror.

That's cool. We are entitled to their own opinions. Personally speaking, as a personal trainer who has a fitness tracker, yes I just bought the FitBit Blaze, I have loved having the FitBit. I actually didn't know so many of my clients had one until I got mine.

Here's why I love the fitness trackers:

1. Just like I recommend clients to log and track their food, the same goes for exercise. So many people "THINK" they're doing more than what they actually are. For example, before I got my fitness tracker, I would do some kind of workout on the stair mill, elliptical, or treadmill and when I finished it'd say something like I burned 600-900 cals in that hour. I always walked away thinking, "Man, I killed it!" However, after I got my fitness tracker, I realized the machines aren't all that correct. Sometimes your working harder than the machine will give you credit for or machine would give you a lot more credit than the effort you where really putting out. Depends on the person and the kind of shape they're in, in conjunction with weight, age, and height.

2. Yes, I know there's 100 articles out there telling everyone how inaccurate the fitness trackers are. HOWEVER, it does give people and IDEA of where they are. It's on your wrist reminding you to get your butt to the gym. It reminds you to get up and walk more. Reminds you that maybe you don't need the first parking stall at the store and a little longer walk would do you some good.

3. Yes some people get obsessive with it, but honestly, if my clients are setting daily goals to walk more than they did yesterday, I'm ok with it.

4. I like my fitness tracker as personal accountability. Sure, anyone of us can walk into the gym and use facebook to check in and say we were there, but how many of us do our VERY best when no one is watching? I'm guilty! To me I like being able to see what I've done, see an approximate of what my heart rate is when I'm performing various exercises, see an approximate of how many cals I burned and so forth.

5. Lastly, I like it because it builds community. Up until I got this new FitBit, I didn't know of the various challenges Fitbit offers. My clients and friends started inviting me to the "Work Week Hustle" Challenge and then there's a "Weekend Warrior". These challenges get intense when you have 10 of your clients tuning in and watching every step you make trying to keep up with you (or me trying to keep up with them). Better yet, on the days I'm not training clients, my FitBit reveals I don't move as much and that's fine, I move a lot during the week. But I love the community and the challenges this small little tracker has built. I helps me personally to stay accountable. Same goes for my clients. I've had some come to train with me and say, "ya know, I should go on a walk before or after work to get moving more".

YES I love my clients, however, I don't want to create a bunch of individuals that can't workout when I'm not around. My job is to educate and guide them. I want to make sure they can do it on their own when I'm not around and I challenge them even more when I train them. However, the FitBit has been cool from my perspective because they visually see how hard they are pushing themselves on their own verses when they are with me.

So are Fitness trackers stupid and lame? For me I have to say no. They give people a better idea from day to day what they are or aren't doing. No they're not 100% accurate either. I GET THAT. BUT it gives all of us the opportunity to challenge ourselves and others to be better. And isn't that what fitness is about? Being better.

As always, continue to be a better version of you. Whether or not you need or want a device to track what you're doing, that's up to you. But I personally like mine.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Relationship w/ the Gym

I know I correlate a lot of church analogies with the gym, but this morning it was so evident to me. The pastor has been going through a sermon series called Relationship 101. We've gone through various scriptures learning about relationships with parents, children, coworkers, marriages, and today was about friendships.

The pastor read the following scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, own can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Like the pastor stated, many times this scripture is chosen for a wedding ceremony, however he opened my eyes to the importance of surrounding yourself with others who are willing to pour into you and vice versa. 

Two things have meaning,
1. A relationship with Christ
2. A relationship with Others

God has designed us to find significance in community. 
What's your community? For me, mine is the gym. 
I think back to what kept me moving forward in my fitness goals and many times it had a lot to do with relationships with people at my gym. Those with similar goals as myself I'm able to relate to and build a relationship with. Yes, I'm motivated and driven, but I need accountability. I have a Coach to give me feedback and challenge me to a higher level. I have individuals that I have made quality relationships with at the gym and they challenge me to be better. And when the devil wants to get the best of me, he allows me to get into my feelings and get down on myself. The devil does a good job of driving a wedge between those who encourage me to be better by keeping me so busy that I don't make time for those quality relationships where I can be filled up again.

Don't get me wrong, I need and love my alone time, but I need to be with people to grow. Growth happens through relationships. And that brings me to my next point, my clients. Many times I feel as if I'm more than just their personal trainer. I hear a lot of what is on their heart, from the good to the bad. But not only do I pray they are growing from my relationship with them, but I'm also growing from my relationship with them. So many times the people I train know far more than I do when it comes to all things pertaining to life. I respect them and I'm truly willing to learn from them and their experiences as well.

God designed us to face life together and designed us to come together to strengthen and support each other. And this is the bottom line of why I enjoy the gym so much. It has taught me so much more about myself. I've learned to stop giving up and giving up on myself. It has taught me to believe in me. The challenges of the gym has challenged me to become stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally. I see my clients strength and their potential even when they can't see it within themselves. I've said this time and time again, but your trainer of all people should be your number one supporter. And to all my clients, I am. I see your worth and I value you. I appreciate your friendships and I appreciate your willingness to share your life with me.

So maybe many think of the gym as just the gym, but the gym is my second home. It's my place of work, but I have the opportunity to work with some really awesome individuals. I have grown in the gym and for that, I am thankful for. And I will continue to grow physically, but also in
relationships with others.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Never Doubt Yourself

This weekend has been a whirlwind of events. I worked a busy week to fit everyone in before I left town to support my friend compete in her first bikini competition. I must say that every single time I go to a bodybuilding competition I leave more encouraged and excited to get back to the gym. There's something about being around individuals who desire to take their level of fitness to a whole other level and compete.

When I first met Chania one of the first conversations we had was about her desire to compete. We talked about it several times. One day I told her about a place she could check out suits and the next thing I knew, she had ordered one. She's a gal who knows what she wants and goes full force after it and she felt this was what she wanted to do to take her fitness to the next level. After having her suit for a few weeks and no Coach, she was inspired by a show she went to in Texas and decided she was doing the NPC Midway Show in Wichita. She linked up with Anthony Sullivan and began putting in the work she needed to for the stage.

It was cool to see this girl transform not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So many times in life things get tough and we back away. We don't embrace the challenge or the struggle. We look for an easy way out instead of facing the challenge and growing from it. I saw Chania's ups and downs through her prep. I saw her doubt herself from time to time, but the girl never quit. She showed up the day of her competition and brought the best version of herself and there's something to be said about that. She looked beautiful and all her hard work definitely showed.

However, with all her glitz and glam from the weekend, here's the one thing I admire most about this girl. Her faith. As Chania was leaving for the evening show, she grabbed her bible and journal and walked out the door with all her things she needed for the evening show. I helped her with her suit when I got in the door and then during the final show before she went up on stage I got this text from her, 

"Do you ever get down on yourself and think you don't have any skills to offer? It's not true, God has given you many skills. Thinking you don't have anything skills is not humility, instead you fail to correctly see your blessings given to you by God. We even devalue our skills when we compare ourselves to others and wish we had their skills. Those thoughts are not complimenting towards God either. God has given skills to everyone and by embracing them we can truly use our skills to worship God." Referencing Exodus 31:6

I think that scripture and devotional is one so many of us can relate to. Whether it's us feeling worthy enough for a certain job or task, doubting our abilities, or bringing your best package to the stage. We can't allow fear or unworthiness hold us back. God have given each of us talents and abilities to own. I don't think that devotional was just for Chania, I truly believe it was for me and you. To know that those God given talents and abilities are His blessings to us. So if you were needing permission, go ahead and start owning them blessings your were given. Don't waste let them waste away. And if there's a dream and goal you have in mind, don't let anyone tell you it's impossible. Just start, put in the work, keep God first, and let Him bless you.

To all the competitors from this last weekend and those who will competing, continue doing your thing. Never doubt yourself. Focus on the task, put in the work, and continue to create the best version of yourself that you can. You Vs You.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

About what you CAN DO

Around 6 years ago when I first moved to Salina and joined Genesis, I remember when the spring time came around Anna Simoneau and Cindy Crehan kept asking my to do this 5K thing out of town. I really had no idea what it was or really cared to find out. I declined the 1st year, but when Anna moved to Manhattan and I was on staff at Genesis, Cindy just put me in charge or gathering women together for this 5K I had no idea about.

The first year I did it, I just kept hearing it was an ALL WOMEN'S 5K. I thought, what the heck, I'll go and learn. I gathered as many of my female clients and other gym goers together to do it. I was blown away that first year. There were 1,000 plus women there and the race was honestly to celebrate women and their health. I stayed for the ceremony after the race and found out there was a woman 94 years old who walked it. I was taken back by the age groups and women from all walks of life that participated. Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, Sisters, friends, daughters, women's cross country or track teams, girl scouts, and various others! I would say nearly 60-70% walk the race AND that's completely cool! It's women coming together to celebrate women.

So after that first year under my belt, I vowed to get as MANY of my clients and gym friends to do it the following year. It always varies and we have a team of anywhere from 15-25 women from Salina go and do it. So that second year when I was rounding up women to be on the team, I nearly told one of my clients she would do this 5K. She had never done one before. And once she committed and did it, SHE LOVED it. The next year my client was diagnosed with cancer and we actually got team shirts with her name on it. Then, there was this year. This year my dearest client who has been battling this cancer and wasn't given long, has fought one crazy fight. She CONTINUES to fight like no other person I have ever met before. So even though her cancer isn't in remission, I messaged her daughter to ask if they would be interested in the walk or even allowing us to push her in a wheelchair for the walk. Well this strong client/friend of mine refused the wheelchair, she WAS determined to walk that whole 5K....
And.., She did! I ran the 5K on Saturday and waited at the finish line for her and her daughter to cross. I'm not a huge emotional person, but when she cross that FINISH LINE and fell into my arms I absolutely lost it. No words would even come out of my mouth, We hugged and cried for a while and when she walked over to her husband, I turned around to see the rest of my clients and friends standing just a few feet away in tears as well.

So here's the lesson. Here's something that goes BEYOND just the scale.
All too often we sit on our tails thinking about everything we CAN'T do.
I can't lift weights bc....
I can't do cardio bc...
I can't wake up early bc...
I can't workout after work bc...
I can't log my food bc...
I can't eat right bc...
THE EXCUSES go on and on... and reality is, many times it's not until we realize what we're fighting for do we actually start fighting.
So many times it's not until someone hits absolute rock bottom when they decide they need to make a change.
I'll use myself as an example... I was nearly 230 pounds at 21 years old and 5'4 1/2". My hair was falling out. I was pre-diabetic. I was depressed. I wanted to sleep my life away. I spent a lot of time in my bed crying... I WAS A HOT MESS.
What changed? I was tired of being pathetic. I remember just a few days ago a good friend of mine posted on Instagram, "The mirror never lies so if you look in the mirror and don't like what you see, don't make an excuse. FIX IT."

Could it be anymore real than that? Most of us have our health and we take it for granted. The more individuals I have the opportunity to work with, the more I see shitty life cards dealt to people. With health problems, diseases, and disorders... yet these individuals don't make any excuses. They ARE my hardest working clients because they KNOW WHY and WHAT they're working for.

May you see your health is greater than just the number on the scale. May you know your worth.