Tuesday, February 20, 2018

No Easy Button. Transformation

Back at the start of 2018 I set a goal for myself to begin incorporating more yoga. The reason behind this goal is I KNOW all the facts of how good it is for my body, but it's hard for me to just be. To relax and stretch and flow is truly hard for me. Maybe it's just me, or maybe others do this, but I'm a list maker. I wanna make a list and at the end of the day check everything off and get the most of the most done and go to sleep with a feeling of accomplishment. I find yoga hard because mentally it's tough to just be.

So I made an UNCOMFORTABLE goal. I did this because hitting the easy button means I'm ok with being comfortable. And as I was thinking in church the other day how growing spiritually can be just as uncomfortable as the physical. I've found myself reflecting back after I graduated college. My first thought being out on my own was,
1. I don't have to go to church to prove I'm a Christian
Then my thoughts transitioned to,
2. I grew up in church and I miss going. I should go.
3. Then My thoughts transitioned to being held back by fear of having to go to church by myself.
At one point I remember setting my alarm and saying to myself, "How do you expect Christ to bless you if you can't give him an hour of your time during the week?"

You see, all these thoughts were the same exact thoughts that got me into the gym. It wasn't over night that I got into fitness. It has been a process.
1. I thought, I shouldn't have to be skinny for people to accept me.
2. I thought, it's not about what people think of me... it's about being healthy.
3. Then I was held back by fear of actually going to the gym and asking for help. WHERE DOES a 230lb person start?!
4. I remember my dad saying to me, if you're not actually going to TAKE ACTION and DO something about it, gonna have to accept yourself and move on.

Soooooooo..... I STARTED. Started with portion control, more water, more veggies and lean protein and moving more... THAT WAS THE START.

The same with my spiritual health, it's been a process of overcoming being mad at God. Yes, I said it. At one time I was beyond mad at God for my life not going as "I" had planned.

And so as I was sitting there in church this past week and the pastor was talking about "Transformations" the individuals from the bible had to go through to grow and I thought, "man how I have had to embrace being uncomfortable to get where I PERSONALLY am now". I'm your stereotypical type A personality. I like to plan it all out and I'm pissed if things don't go my way. BUT I'm getting better. I learning to go with the punches and have a GOOD attitude. I'm learning that it's about you attitude through the refining process. By no means have I gone through some of the things individuals have gone through in the bible (or even my clients and friends and family), but I've had my own challenges. There has been no EASY button and looking back, I'm glad there hasn't been. I've grown through my challenges and truly have worked and continue to work on being a better individual. My scars of the past have actually allowed me to help more people.

So if you're looking for an EASY button, believe me I understand. But I'm also here to encourage you and say it's worth working through. It's worth crying out to God and telling Him how pissed off you are. He's listening and keep pushing. Know God will give you strength when you need it most. He has never left us. So be encouraged your growth in the hard times will become a blessing to you and or others.

Transformation Tuesday happens on the inside before it does on the outside.
Alison

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Scale focused or HEALTH focused?


I feel like I keep having some of the same conversations over and over with people so I figure I would share just in case someone needs to hear this message.

Last week I met with a woman who began her personal fitness journey 6 weeks ago. This woman literally has been a selfless mother and wife for the last 20+ years and her health was catching up to her. But after 6 weeks of changing her lifestyle completely, she said, "But I've only lost 10 pounds".

I literally hate when people say this. Reason being is weight loss is a byproduct of a healthy lifestyle. Sure other things play a factor, but too many times people focus 100% on the scale as the determining factor whether or not they're succeeding.

My response to this woman was,
"Focus on your habits and actions. The weight will take care of itself. Your children don't care if you're 160 pounds or 300 pounds. Your children, friends and family care that your are HEALTHY!"

I think in a world full of fad diets and weight loss products, we've lost the sight of health. We are so obsessed with a number on the scale that we forget what healthy means. We're over here indulging and trying to find the foods with the least amount of calories and forgetting that when this world was first created basic things like fruits and vegetables were IMPORTANT. And guess what?! THEY STILL ARE!



I've had quite the journey myself, and to be honest and reflect on my last 7 years I have to say each had it's own challenges. Not because being healthy is hard, but because being healthy MENTALLY is a struggle. I have allowed the thief of comparison steal my joy. I've allowed thoughts of not being "skinny" enough hold me back. I've told myself I don't deserve to be happy because I'm not this certain size. And that I will never find love because I don't look a certain way. I've literally said some pretty crappy things to myself that I would NEVER say to someone else. However, this last year, I think I can say I found myself. I've found contentment in the fact that I don't have to compete in the bodybuilding world to have value. I thought as a trainer that's what I had to do to prove that I was a good trainer and Coach. I found that I can be an educator and a cheerleader for those that I work with.  I realized that because of my journey, I can educate people. I can teach people what HEALTHY really is and show them how Whole Foods can begin healing us from the inside out!

Truth is, I've struggled more than I should because of my own damn thoughts in my head. My thoughts of not being good enough or thin enough or small enough... BUT I'm calling BS.
Happiness isn't found on the scale or a certain pant size. Happiness is understanding our bodies are the only ones WE have to LIVE in for all of OUR lives. Happiness is not taking my health for granted. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is understanding you are not a victim and that you have a choice to be a better version of yourself. Nobody can or will do it for you. If you desire to be HEALTHY, realize it's progress and not perfection. If you're seeking PERFECTION on your fitness journey, you're going to find yourself deeply disappointed.

So as 2017 comes to a close, I challenge you to get plugged in. Stop believing the diet myths and crap your fed by the media. Know the WHY. Understand the REASON your bodies need fed well. BE your own advocate. Don't feel bad or let others make you feel bad for being healthy. The confusion with diet fads creates a profit of margin. Get educated and learn how to be healthy and learn to love yourself in your own skin.

YOU ARE SO UNBELIEVABLY WORTH it. You will not get it 100% correct every time. Yes, it does take work. But know you're not alone. Find and surround yourself with those who support you on your health journey.

Monday, December 25, 2017

I'm Back & Educating!

To be completely honest, this last year got away from me. My last blog was a year ago in January and I truly just stopped. I would like to say, "I was too busy to blog" but reality is, it wasn't a priority. I desire to get back to it because writing because writing has always been an outlet for me. Grammar mistakes and all, I'm going to bring in 2018 better than I did in 2017. I determined and more focus to bring my readers more food for thought as I continue to grow deeper in knowledge when it comes to exercise, nutrition, and life. I refuse to become stagnant in my growth.


So before I begin to start with the New Years this and that, I want to take a step back and look at my year in a whole. I started of January with good hopes of all these fitness related goals, but sadly enough, sickness took hold of my body.
I found myself starting January of 2017 strong with getting the flu.
Week later I got bronchitis and laryngitis.
Two weeks later I got strep throat.
Got bronchitis and laryngitis and second time.
Got a sinus infection shortly after and then each month with my monthly cycle got a 24-48 hour headache that turned into migraine.

I continued to push forward and run, I was training for two half marathons and my goal was to run my 5th half marathon by my 30th Birthday. But by the time July came around I was exhausted, low on energy, starving all the time, and not sleeping. My doctor did my blood work and my vitamin C and Iron was really low. My thyroid was low and we had to increase my medicine and I honestly was drinking 2-3 sugar free energy drinks a day.

Lets be real, I was a hot mess. I knew I needed to make a change and wasn't sure where to begin. I reached out to a Juice Plus educator, and started a Whole Food based regimen. Since the change in July, I honestly haven't felt better. I removed a lot of  "dieting" myths from my life and I guess I removed a lot of expectations that I've put onto myself.

Biggest change I've made is removing sugar from my diet and have been dabbling with fasting. I would recommend the book Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. Many take away lessons and when you know the WHY behind what you're doing, it makes the desire to follow through greater. I haven't had a migraine since I've made my nutritional changes and I'm sleeping through the night. I had previously been waking up in night sweats and barely getting any sleep. It's the worst feeling to be so tired yet not able to sleep. Feeling like crap and being into fitness, I knew I needed to make some changes. I was being a poor example of health and fitness by driving myself into the ground.

Moving forward into 2018, I plan to continue to grow in my knowledge and help others grow healthier. I partnered with Juice Plus to help educate others on the importance of Whole Foods based Nutrition. I truly believe the key to FEELING better and reducing yours and your families sick days starts with what we are putting into our bodies. Education is the key. If you desire to be plugged in and grow deeper in knowledge so you can begin feeling better and getting healthier, message me so I can get you plugged in.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Detours Happen

Imagine yourself filling your gas tank up and leaving your city to travel 1,000 plus miles. For example, me leaving Kansas and driving to California. It would be absurd of me to think I wouldn't need to stop one time or that I wouldn't hit any construction where I would have to take a detour. If you've traveled by plane, you also know that detours happen. It could be for weather or it maybe for plane maintenance, either way, we all have had to deal with a detour when it comes to traveling.

What about your journey of faith... What if one day you planned on doing my morning devotionals or attending church on Sunday morning and car wouldn't start, had a water leek, kid was sick, dog ran away, or an ice storm came through and it didn't happen that day. Does that mean that this whole walk with Christ is just over? That I have to start over next year when God forgives me or that I no longer believe in God? No! That's craziness!

So let me ask you a question, why do you think your fitness journey is going to be a cake walk? Why do you think that losing weight and getting healthy will take no work on your part and will have zero detours? Life in general is full of detours! It's about how you cope with each detour.

Few weeks ago I was talking to a couple of my clients and they were explaining to me how they were starting over "again" once the new year started. I'm not a cranky trainer by any means, but I looked at my two clients and said,

"What if you were consistent and stopped starting over every week?!"

The next day my one client messaged me asking for his workout and was going to start that day on making healthier choices instead of waiting for the new year.

Do you know how happy that made me? Not for me, but for him!

As a trainer I get frustrated with people who are constantly waiting for a good time to start exercising and working on their nutrition. Everyone has a reason why they can't start today...

Back to my analogy above. What if when you got low on gas while on your trip and had to pull off where you hadn't really anticipated? Would you just up and quit your trip? No, you'd pull over and get gas and get back to your trip right?! So why would you just quit working out and eating right if one day you slipped up and had 5 cookies when they weren't on the plan? WHO CARES! Next meal, is an opportunity to feed your body some nutrients.

I've preached this for forever, IT'S ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Best advice I can offer someone is to stop throwing your hands up in the air and paralyzing yourself. Stop quitting on yourself and focus on being consistent. Consistent may look like tracking your water, making sure your attending your scheduled gym time, or going to a class you said you would. Practice DISCIPLINE and follow through. This is one thing you can be in charge of in a world that is crazy. You're worth it, believe in yourself enough to follow through! KNOW and ACCEPT it's going to take work. However, don't do it alone. Surround yourself with others your are going to encourage you on your fitness journey. Surround yourself with people who are going to
accept your humanity and love you anyways. Far from perfect, but continuously working on being better.

BeBlessed

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!

https://youtu.be/o75DivztU1I

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?"

Hmmmm...
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
Alison

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 (https://1stphorm.com/blog/1st-phorm-simple-protein-pancakes-recipe/). 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: www.fithomeandhealth.com 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 https://1stphorm.com/contact. 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
A