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.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Why I Post on Social Media

Many of you have been following me for a while now on either Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat and I want to thank you for continuing to follow my journey.

However, I want to take a second and explain the reasons behind my posts starting with a brief story.
The other day I was on my phone logging my food when someone started talking to me. I wasn't giving the convo my full attention because I wanted to get my food logged for the day. The individual said,

"Get off your social media, I'm talking to you! You're always posting something."

Let me just say, that comment irritated me and here's why.

When Facebook began to grow and Facebook's newsfeed came about, I remember reading post after post of negative and critical content. I vowed to myself that if I post something on social media, I want it to Encourage, Inspire, and/or Empower someone.

So with that said, the reason behind my social media posts is to share my personal journey as well as share a few success stories from clients and friends who inspire or encourage me.

Making the life changes that I have has changed my life for the better. I'm not who I was 5 years ago and I've grown mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I share my personal fitness journey because I want people to see dedication and consistency pay off. I share to keep myself motivated because if we're all going to be honest, shit is hard! Some days just getting in your recommended water consumption in for the day is a success. Maybe getting to the gym when your life feels like it's falling to pieces is a success. Maybe choosing to drink your protein shake instead of eating the donuts at the office is a success. WHATEVER, your day to day successes are, it's ok to share them! EVER wonder why this Blog is called "Success in Various Forms"?!

Because EVERY SINGLE day has it's own successes! Maybe not a weightloss goal success, but if we really take a step back and reevaluate our days, we all could find one positive... one single success.

So yes, I'll take a picture of my "healthy meal prepped" food and share it on snapchat because honestly, I'd rather be eating a dang donut just as much as the other guy.

Maybe you or someone you knows struggles with depression or anxiety? Ever think maybe somebody scrolling through their social media may see a positive post that helps them face another day?

Maybe someone sees a video of an overweight clumsy woman exercising and think, "She can do this, so can I!"

Maybe someone who has considered ending their life because they don't like the person looking back at them in the mirror? Maybe they see a positive post on social media that gives them hope and a reason to face another day.

Maybe someone is at home alone fighting cancer or some other terrible disease and comes across a motivational post that inspires them to keep going....

Trust me when I say I can relate to each and every single one of my clients. I FEEL for them and know where they are coming from. Maybe I haven't had cancer, but I have fought through a lot of personal struggles to get where I am. I don't have to share every single damn struggle of mine because complaining gets me NOWHERE. However, what does get me somewhere is the people I choose to surround myself with. I choose to surround myself with people who encourage and believe in me and the same goes for my social media. I follow positive and encouraging people and their stories because that CHALLENGES me to be a better individual.

So if you're wondering why I post, it's because of the love I have for others. I may not KNOW you personally, but I can honestly say we're all fighting a battle and we all have our struggles. But it's my goal to share my successes and the successes of other to ENCOURAGE, INSPIRE, & EMPOWER others.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weight Loss isn't supposed to be EASY

Many of you who follow me on Twitter, IG, and Facebook know that I just finished reading, "The Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes. And if you have the opportunity to read or listen by audio books, I highly recommend you to check it out. Her book chronicles a year in which the self-professed introvert said yes to unexpected invitations that came her way.

The one chapter that really grabbed my attention was chapter 10 where Shonda explains her journey and struggle with weight loss. She specifically explains her 110 lb weight loss was actually a byproduct of her saying yes to her health. (Attached is her interview with Oprah) 

She says in the interview,
“[The weight loss] came from, sort of, having an epiphany of ‘I work hard to succeed at every single thing I do. I work my butt off at work. I work really hard to be a mother. I work really hard at everything. Why do I think that losing weight is supposed to be easy?'”

Her words struck me. This is what I try to explain to my clients every single day. So many times people set out to lose X amount of pounds because they have this idea in their mind that they need to weigh X. That's awesome people are setting goals, but how realistic is that? In a world with diet fads and gimmicks, so many times people start two weeks in and and lose no weight or 1-2 pounds and THEY ARE PISSED! "I quit, I should have lost more!" is usually what I hear from 80% of people. I guess people assume or they've watched so many episodes of The Biggest Loser that they think 
Week 1= -14 pounds 
Week 2= -18 pounds
and after 3-4 weeks they should be sitting around -50 pounds.
Is that the weight loss math people do in their heads? Listen, that weight didn't just happen over night... you probably have been packing on the pounds over the years. So reality is, don't expect to drop 100 pounds over night, or even in a month!
HONESTLY, IN ALL HONESTY... If a person is losing that much weight in that short amount of time their calories are going to be drastically cut, they're going to be spending ungodly amounts of time in the gym doing ungodly amounts of cardio, and they're going to be losing muscle along with any fat.

Sustainable weight loss doesn't happen over night. It's a lifestyle change. You cannot diet fast and hard core and expect to keep it off. If fast weight loss is what you're after, at some point your going to say screw this and dive into the cabinets at 2 am in the morning and eat the dang house down!

I've been there. I once was topping the scale at 230lbs for my 5'4" frame. Lord knows how many 1 and 2 am gimmicks I purchased off TV and how many weight loss gimmicks and fat burners I tried. Just like Shonda said in her interview, "WEIGHT LOSS WAS A BYPRODUCT of making healthy choices".

I will stand 100% behind Shonda's statement because my weight loss happened the same way. I was sick and tired of being depressed. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of shopping in the moo moo section where you just bought the biggest size hoping it would cover and mask how large I was underneath. Anyone who knows me knows I love fashion. I'm a clothing and shoe whore! So not being able to shop for cute outfits was depressing. Not being able to wear cute outfits when I went out with my friends was saddening and often I would opt out. Avoiding mirrors that's a whole other story, I just didn't look! Trust me, I know it all too well and I will never forget it. 

It may have been 5 years since I've started this whole fitness journey, but I will NEVER forget where I started. I truly started at the bottom. I decided I HAD to change my daily habits and my eating habit. I vowed to never miss a Monday and I vowed to workout AT LEAST 5 times a week. I vowed to stop eating fast food and start making my own. I vowed to LEARN how to cook healthy options. I vowed to not step on the scale and just solely focus on my DAILY ACTIONS AND HABITS. HOW did I lose 90 lbs? Honestly speaking, it was the byproduct of my daily habits.

So my question for you is if you aren't WHERE you want to be, if you don't like the person staring back at you in the mirror... Answer this, what are your daily habits like? Are they getting your closer to your goals? If not, I'd recommend making changes.

Food For Thought
Love Alison

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Judgement Free Zone

I'd like to prefaces this with saying I 'personally' feel I'm a pretty nonjudgmental person when it comes to about anyone or any situations. I always give people the benefit of the the doubt and give people chance after chance. However, maybe that isn't so true?

Let me explain...
Couple weeks ago I was in church singing along with the praise and worship team. Half way through a couple walked in with a baby. I had seen the girl before, but never her husband. They both stood as well and my first thought was, "aww they're cute". However, couple minutes later I noticed the shirt the guy was wearing. The church is "come as you are" -but on the back of his shirt was a shirtless Indian Chief hold a naked woman in his hands. In just a matter of seconds so many thoughts rushed through my head. The first being, "Are you serious! How degrading to the women in this church sitting behind you!"

Before I knew it, the pastor was closing out praise and worship. It dawned on me that I allowed something so stupid to take up my attention & my favorite part of the church service- the music! I started to think things like, "I missed the best part of the service because of this guy and his distracting and disrespectful shirt!"

Then I heard God say to me, "SERIOUSLY ALISON? WHO ARE YOU? This man came to church 100% humble wearing all he had". I put my head down and did some more thinking and praying as the service went on. I felt bad for taking all this time during worship that I could have been singing praises. Instead, I spent the entire praise and worship time hating and being critical. The ONE THING I say I don't do!

Then the next thought came to me, what if all of us who walked into church were wearing shirts with our sins from the past day, week, month, year? Would we even walk back into church? Umm probably not!

That's how the gym is right?! We hear it all the time, "your body reflects what you consume".
I have always viewed attending church and going to the gym as similar. They both seem to be a place where imperfect and broken people go. So many times, people looking in from the outside, view the people walking in as people who have their shit together. Yet, that couldn't be further from the truth. If we really take a step back, the people walking into church are TRULY BROKEN people recognizing they can't do this on their own. And the same for someone walking into the gym. They're humble people who are just dedicated to self improvement. They don't have their shit together, they're working on it. A lot can be learned about yourself when one stays focused and dedicated to a goal. The same with knowledge, it seems the more a person learns, the more you realize your have MORE to learn.
It's a PROCESS. A PROCESS of self improvement. Whether you're walking into church, the gym, a classroom... everyone has more to learn. The question is though, will we set our ego and pride aside to move forward?

Humbly moving forward...
I'm still learning...
Nowhere near perfect...