Monday, December 29, 2014

2014, A Year of Growth

Just the other day as I was working with one of my clients and he asked me why I hadn't blogged in a while. Besides being busy, I really didn't have a reason. I responded with,

"My life is boring. All I do is train, train clients, teach classes, go to the grocery store, meal prep, eat, sleep, repeat."

Then he asked me, "well... what else would you be doing?!"

I laughed and said, "I don't know, something FUN!"

And that's how my attitude has been these last 6 months. I've set my goal to compete in Figure and as I would like to have been able to look back at 2014 and say I accomplished that goal, I haven't yet. This year of 2014 I don't have a huge accomplishment like I have had in other years. I've gained muscle, weight, knowledge, but I keep comparing myself to when my goal was weight loss. I was running daily then and always looking forward to a date, a run, training, and the excitement that goes along with running a race.  And this new goal I have for myself has taken more of a dedication and commitment than I actually really knew about before I dove in. This last year I've had no huge competition thrills, nothing big and exciting going on, no dramatic life changes, and I have based my so called 2014 success on the 'Mountain Top Thrills'.

So then there I was sitting in church and I was thinking more about my so called "2014 lack of achievements" during worship and the story of the 40 years in the desert came to mind. And then I remembered a quote I had once seen, "You can't live life on a mountain top, real life happens at the base of the mountain". I guess this is what I call the 'DAILY GRIND'.

In a world of social media we see people sharing their engagements, wedding pictures, baby expectancies, graduations, new cars, homes, and the list goes on. And I think we as a society, myself included, base our success and self worth on what we're able to show and tell for the year. And today's thoughts reminded me that if it takes me 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years to accomplish 'MY PERSONAL' goals... so be it! My goals are my goals and my success and self worth isn't based off of anyone but Jesus and that he died for me. I'm placed on this earth to serve and honor him not just for a year and then that's a wrap... but for my life. Good years, bad years, boring years, grateful years and eventful years... That's how I see my fitness lifestyle being similar to my walk with Christ. It's my lifestyle. It's who I am. I may fail at one, and I may fail at both. I come up short and I don't have success all the time. But the bottom line, I'm attempting at becoming a better me daily and I refuse to give up on that. And so for that, I can look back at 2014 and say, yea, I accomplished something. I grew as an individual.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Change Isn't Bad

Last weekend I went out of town and trained at another Genesis facility. About the same set up, a few different machines, but overall nothing out of the ordinary. It was my leg day and I had 3-4 sets of 20 reps. I warmed up and then got to work. About an hour and a half later my friend and I wrapped up our workout and hit the shower. When I was grabbing my things to shower my legs were still shaking. It was nothing new to me, but the soreness the following day was a surprise! I hadn't been that sore in a while! I was more sore than usual. Then Monday, 48 hours later, I was basically immobile. When it came to demonstrating exercises to my clients at the gym, I looked ridiculous and chose to verbally walk them through what they needed to do. I was stretching and foam rolling like it was my second job. HOW did I make myself this sore?!?!

Then it occurred to me, I didn't talk to anyone while I was working out a the other gym. I didn't know anyone but my one friend that went to the gym with me. So I went in, put heavy weight on, finished each set and rep to my fullest, and walked out. I guess one would say, "I killed that workout"!  I wish this is how all my workouts went, but when you work where you train, one must also be approachable. Last thing I want is one of my new clients having a question and feeling like they can't ask me for help. I remember the feeling of entering a gym setting and not being sure where or what to do. I newbies feeling welcome, as well as other gym goers I'm surrounded by.

So then this last week I saw a woman I was familiar with from outside of the gym. She was working out and I hadn't ever seen her in the gym before. She was doing her thing! Then while my client was getting a drink she walked by me and I asked how her workout was going. Not the typical response, she said, TERRIBLE! I responded with, "oh yea?! Your killing it huh?!"
No... She said, 'this isn't my gym. I miss MY GYM!'

Heck, I have no idea WHERE she had been working out at before... but I sincerely felt bad for her. All night long while I was getting ready for bed, I kept thinking if there was anything I could do as an employee at the gym to better her experience. And I still haven't come to that conclusion.

But here's what I did conclude, we can accept a change... a different environment or we don't. WE have the option to decide how we will respond. From things like diet to things like workouts. So many times we get used to doing the same thing over and over, that we actually back slide. No, change isn't always fun or comfortable, but like I was reminded today at church... There's this refining process that actually makes us better. Diamonds are made out of coal and only through pressure are they made into diamonds. That's how I view fitness. If your tired of the old you, step outside of the comfort zone and try something new. Change things up. Try a new workout. Add more weight (with good form)... Do your workout backwards from how you do it.

I'm no expert, but even as I embark on my journey of making my way to the stage, I've learned that there are other ways of doing things. Sometimes it uncomfortable, but the outcome is better with a little sacrifice. So I ask you, what do you need to change to step up your game? I challenge you to try something new this week...

Happy Training to everyone working towards their goals, #YouGotThis!


Sunday, November 9, 2014


A couple weeks ago, a client of mine showed up to train and seemingly shy, said, "Oh hey, I bought a pair of them tight shorts you wear!"
Me: Oh Really? Where are they?
Her: I didn't wear them tonight because they are needing washed, but I think I really like them! They hold everything in when your working out!
Me: (((Laughing))) Well good for you! :)

When I 1st started to workout, I wore the BIGGEST hoodie and the BIGGEST pair of sweat pants I owned. I often would wear my hood up also because I didn't want anyone seeing "the fat girl" working out. I SWORE from top to bottom I'd NEVER wear them "skanky" shorts and yoga pants. I thought that any girl wearing that stuff at the gym was really just wanting attention.

BUT, here's a little lesson learned on my weight loss journey...
1. I realized I needed an ACTUAL sports bra that held everything in. That running and jumping around with a crappy bra is UNCOMFORTABLE.
2. I realized I needed some real underwear when training. Wedgies are NOT cool. When you have to adjust yourself after each burpee, it's time to make an investment in some new undergarments.
3. I realized wearing a hoodie to "train" was BLAZING hot. That came off REAL quickly!
4. I needed some real hair ties and head bands. Nothing is worse than when you have sweat in your eyes and hair in your mouth.
5. I needed a good pair of shoes. You can't wear your 1980's shoes and not have blisters. I've been there, get new shoes and get new shoes often.
6. If you look cute AFTER your workout, you didn't work hard enough... You workout to bust through plateaus and doing easy exercises doesn't get you anywhere!

And #7, wearing SPANDEX isn't a sin.
After a few training sessions of the above issues, I got smart and bought some material that was a little bit tighter, but I was able to move in it. I didn't die sweating to death because the workout material was breathable. So when I hear people tell me, "I wish I could wear them pants... my legs or butt are too big for that!" I get irritated. The mindset I had to get over was that I'm here to workout and have fun. And having fun at my workout means wearing something that I'm 100% comfortable in. If your fine in sweats, cool. Do what works for you. But if your a woman waiting to buy a slimmer fitting pair of pants but are waiting

because you don't weigh 130 pounds or because you have cellulite... I have news for you. Who the heck cares! Love yourself, have confidence, and work to be better than you were yesterday. I think that is why SPANDEX get a bad wrap... people who wear yoga pants have worked their tail off and they really don't care. They want to be comfortable and they want to kill their workout. They have confidence in who they are and what they're about. They're at the gym to be better and hats off to you!

Happy Training to all those working harder each day!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Staying Motivated

As many of you know, this past weekend was the Genesis Fights Cancer Fundraiser. I personally was stressed about it because teaching new releases for classes can be time consuming as one has to learn the music as well as the choreography. But I do it because I love it! I love teaching classes. I love training clients. I love being at the gym! And for someone who was once nearly 230 pounds and wouldn't set foot into a gym for fear of being made fun of, that says a lot!

I didn't start off loving the gym though! I started off by setting a goal for myself of getting healthy and having a plan of action. I set my mother as my accountability partner where she'd always ask if I had worked out for the day. If I had any doubt in my voice about working out, she would respond with, "Just go, once you get there and going, you'll be fine!" And that was true. I'd grumble all the way to the gym swearing I wouldn't do more that 20 minutes of cardio. But 15 minutes in, endorphins where pumping through my body, I would tell myself I was already there... I can stay a little bit longer.

Then there came the routine. I always went to the gym at the same time. And there were other people there at the same usual time. After a while, you talk to them and then if you miss a day, they ask where you were the day before. And "too tired to come" didn't seem like a good excuse after a while. Whether or not the other people at the gym liked seeing me or not, I felt accountable to them because they were always there to say, "Hey! How are you doing?!"

Once I became a trainer at a gym though, my motivation changed. My motivation became my clients. My clients who were working 60-70 hours a week. My clients who worked two jobs and had a family. My clients who had lost a significant other. My clients who lost a family member. My clients who were fighting or had fought a disease. My clients that continue to fight... THAT'S WHY I STAY MOTIVATED!

Yes, I've made the changes to get healthy. But the outside change isn't as great as my inward change. Being nearly diabetic because of my pour health choices and getting myself healthy had more to do with my mindset. Getting healthy is more about realizing where I was, and where I don't want to be again. Taking my health for granted is not something that I want to do again. Getting healthy is about the individuals I work with and seeing them fight day to day with far greater struggles than I have. Some days my clients come to train with me and with a deep sigh, I hear something like, "I couldn't wait to get here today, my day was horrible!" It's humbling to hear that an hour with me working out and allowing them to blow off some steam is all they need.

So how do I stay motivated? My clients. Their daily grind IS my motivation. I had created the healthy habit to reach my PERSONAL goals, but sticking with it was do able because of the positive people I surround myself with. My favorite word is 'Relentlessness' and hearing that reminds me when you least feel motivated, think of someone who is fighting for something greater. It's very humbling.

Please take the opportunity to look into Oscar Health Insurance.
They provide health insurance to those living in New York and New Jersey and they understand and know the importance of being proactive about your health. Oscar encourages healthy behaviors through things like gym reimbursement programs. A few of my clients actually have benefitted greatly from this type of insurance and make amazing progress. Take the time to be proactive verses reactive when the time comes.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Burpees, Real Life

We all have our weeks and days, the time passes us by and before we know it-another year goes by. However, we've all had those days where you look at the calendar just to see if it's Friday yet. To be honest, this week has been just that. I was ready for the weekend on Wednesday. And if you know me, you'd know that I love life. I look at each day as another blessing, and another day to be better and do better.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a super overly emotional person. I've gone through and seen a lot so me crying, well it takes a lot (maybe I'm a non typical woman? lol I don't know!?) But after this week of hearing sad news in various peoples lives, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I kept thinking to myself, Why God? So before I returned to the gym Wednesday night, I sat down with my devotional and bible and did some reading. The title just so happened to be called was called "PROTECT" and the scripture was the following;

Psalm 91:1-13The Message (MSG)
91 1-13 You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
    drop like flies right and left,
    no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
    watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
    and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
The blurb at the bottom said, "God is bigger than our problems, bigger than our sicknesses and struggles. He outmatches our money issues and outmuscles our strongest foes. There is nowhere safer and no one stronger than our God. While difficulties may still come, nothing and no one will overcome us. While the battles may ebb and flow, the was is already won."

('Live Second' by Doub Bender)
I prayed protection over my clients and peace over my heart. I told God, I can't protect the people I work with, but I can cover them in prayer.
So waking up Thursday morning, I felt beat up, but knew with God's protection the day was going to be a good day. Client one, client two, then I got to workout. Took an extra scoop of preworkout and had some aggression to put forth to my workout. Just as I was starting, one of the military guys in the gym was just finishing his workout. He's a straight beast! As I walked by him, I hear him say, "Come do burpees with me!" (Eye rolling) I said, "Excuse me?" (REALLY the last thing I was in the mood for)
Him: C'mon, it'll just be a minute!
Him: Yea, a minute. It'll be FUN!
Me: Burpees are never fun...
Him: Just come on!
Me: (Head drooping down) ok, fine...
Headphones in, he signals to go. We start and about, ohh... 20-30 seconds in he turns his burpees into push up burpees. SHOW OFF! lol
We finish and he has the hugest smile on his face and said, good job! My response, thanks, I told you I could hang! And then he said, yea... yea you can... don't be surprised in the future if I have you come do more burpees though, I know you can do them...
I have no idea why burpees changed my attitude completely around... could have been the endorphins? But first and foremost, I walked into the gym with a slight chip on my shoulder. I walked in thinking about all the sadness and bad things going on even though I had prayed and left it up to God. Then, I realized, once I give those burdens up to God, they aren't my burdens anymore. Those are Gods and I prayed that His will be done. I'm not sure if it was the That burpees or not that changed my attitude, I came to the conclusion that life is life. One shot, one chance. Have fun, don't be so serious. Love God and Love His people... And lastly, when life knocks you down, do a burpee and get back up!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Typical Amercia?

I saw this photo the other days as I was scrolling through my news feed. For a second I smirked inside because I thought that is true for many Americans. However, I continued scrolling and then I decided I wanted to take a closer look at the picture. I really don't care who posted it or shared the picture, but after looking at the picture it really irritated me. As I thought about it, I thought how much time has changed.

One morning while training one of my clients, we started discussing her diet and how several months back she had purchased the whole NutraSystem meals and how she felt it has personally helped her. She didn't have a ton of weight to lose by any means, but after losing about 20 pounds she is now maintaining a healthy weight for her. She is off NutraSystem now, but maintains her weight by continuing to practice the same things that the program taught her. She learned and practiced eating more protein, consuming more veggies, getting active EACH day for AT LEASY 30 minutes, and lastly it taught her to eat several small meals a day WITH portion control.

Years ago typical Americans lived or worked on farms and had to work for their food. Typically, the mother stayed home and made 3 main meals. I find stories of how things were 50-60 years ago quite interesting and I have to process what has been the game changer for so many people now days. So much research going on and proving that people are more unhealthy now than they ever have been. Number one reasoning being that it's true, we move less. We aren't farming, we're walking less, riding our bikes less, and sit in front of screens several hours a day. Our TYPICAL 3 meals have turned into 3 buffet meals from a restaurant from down the street and you're told to eat as much as possible to make sure your getting your moneys worth. Upon thinking about all the factors, I asked my client if retirement played a roll in it all as well. She explained that when you retire, sure you think you are or will work as hard as you were previously, but you don't. One gets lazy sleeping in, reading paper, coffee dates, vacations, baking, cooking, and or whatever and you let your health slip up.

It is my understanding, that you can make a VARIETY of reasons (AKA excuses) of why you don't have to get active or eat right. No matter what age your at. Everyone wants to put in off! I've heard it numerous times, "When my kids leave the house, I'll start working out again", "I just don't have time", "I deserve this cake because I had a bad day" Or "I'm just going to sit here and veg out all night because you don't know what my day was like!"

My response, no I don't, but your day shouldn't be the basis of whether or not your going to have a good attitude, eat right, exercise, or treat people kindly. WE are in charge of our day to day grind. We are in charge of our habits, and we can change the poor ones. Bottom line, WE ARE IN CHARGE. And I hate to think that America equals being "Over the Hill" and unhealthy. I think the change needs to be in our thinking, that being Barbie isn't ideal either. However, what I PERSONALLY feel IS IDEAL, is that you make the goal to be a better person when it comes to your mental, spiritual, emotional, bodily wellbeing. Constantly begin each day asking how can I be a better person and end your day answering that question.

I wish you all an awesome week, stay focused on your goals.


Friday, August 15, 2014

"Your weight loss doesn't make you a personal trainer or coach."


Just recently I had a friend post a status on facebook that said, "Your weight loss doesn't make you a personal trainer or coach." I liked the status, but as he is also a fitness guru himself, I wondered how others would respond to his post. 16 comments later, I saw a good majority of his facebook family agreeing with his statement. However, the one comment that caught my eye was the one that said, "True, not everyone can teach and coach, it's a calling from God".

I thought about that statement a lot as this week. My schedule changes a lot from season to season depending on what my clients have going on. As a trainer, I do my absolute very best to be the most flexible and understanding with rescheduling and scheduling clients so everyone is getting their workouts in. Now that school has begun, another change and more craziness of figuring out when everyone can train. (It's like a level 5 puzzle)

However, this last week beat me up as a trainer/coach/friend. I spend hours and hours on end with clients not only exercising, but texting to check up on them, emailing, helping to send out family friendly recipe ideas, family meal planning tips... and have gotten to know client's husbands, wives, children, and coworkers. In an hour of working out, clients will cover a multitude of things that's on their heart. Clients face family issues, work issues, money issues, personal self issues, death, stress, anxiety, guilt, or numerous other things. And besides the fact that I'm there to tell them the exercises that they are to do and how many, for how long, make sure they're safe, and mainly listen to them. I hear what's on their heart. I listen to what's going on in their lives, and sometimes I'm the voice or reason, or alternative perspective.

However my clients may view me, I'm not sure. Yes, I have my degree and my certifications. But I also have established RELATIONSHIPS. For example, the other day I had a woman come up to me just to thank me for always being encouraging, always smiling, and always challenging her. She informed me that the hour with me is the best time of her week. WHEW! I was HUMBLED. There are days when I FEEL like not smiling, and I FEEL like telling people to stop making excuses, and I DON'T FEEL like getting up at 4 am, and I don't FEEL like teaching another class, and I don't FEEL like talking, I'm reminded that God has allowed me to go through what I have not for my personal glory, but to glorify Him. That my struggles and triumphs are to help others so they may love and appreciate themselves. And I'm humbled because I KNOW that I couldn't do the crazy day to day hours with out his strength. So to everyone who asks me how do I do the early mornings, evenings, split days, my own personal workouts, and teach class... I DON'T DO it, God does.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Who Me?

Couple weeks ago when the gym I work for released their new quarterly music for Group Kick (mixture of kickboxing), I fell in love. The music, moves, intensity, and energy is fun and motivating. Anyone at any fitness level can walk into the class, participate, and leave feeling like they might need to wring out their shirt.

But last week, I actually had the opportunity to sleep in. I slept in till the very last second and then had to hurry up and pack my gym bag, get dressed, and make a quick protein shake. I wanted to do kickboxing because I knew I would work a lot harder and I was just feeling like I needed a 'GOOD' intense cardio workout before lifting a little later.

The class had just started and was packed so I slipped in the back. I knew the warm up pretty well and as we kicked and punched our way through song two, I noticed two new ladies beside me. I figured they were new to the class, but not knew to fitness. Both of them (in my eyes) were quite fit. Sure they didn't know the routine super well, but they picked up fast. I moved in front of them for song three since we do a lot of moving and traveling on the floor. As we finished the forth song, one of the ladies pointed her finger from my bottom half to my upper half and said, "CLEARLY, you have this fitness thing figured out. Can you leave, your making the rest of us look bad!" I laughed and explained to her that I had taken the class several times and was getting the choreography down. She said, "NOOO, YOUR BODY THOUGH!!!" (Need I remind you this is a woman that 4 years ago I would have killed to have her body. Bikini PERFECT!) I laughed and awkwardly grabbed my shoulders and said, "ohhh, you mean muscle?!"
Her response, "yes, whatever your doing, your doing it well because your body looks amazing!"
I thanked her with doubt in my mind because I wondered if we were looking at the same person.

Her comments made me think though. I later went back into my pictures on my phone where I had initially lost my weight. I wasn't lifting nearly the weight I was then, mainly doing cardio. I was a tiny 134 lbs and looking back now, think I had reached a moment of a sickly "too small" trying to reach a specific number on the scale. Sure I'm bigger now after squatting, pressing, and pulling more weight, but we see ourselves bigger or smaller than what we really our. When I was 134 pounds I thought I needed to lose another 10 pounds. But now I know I needed to gain some muscle! It's a hard concept and balance to understand. This lady saw me as perfect, when I saw everything BUT perfect.

And that's where I encourage each of you. Set goals, share them with others, and encourage each other. . Surround yourself with like minded people who are working on being a better them with mind, body, and soul. Surround yourself with people who see you for you. Surround yourself with people who want to see you be better. This woman didn't know my journey, but her words definely encouraged me. I was encouraged by the fact that she saw muscles as a positive. I was encouraged by her words. Not because I'm conceded, but because she saw being beauty in fitness. Don't keep looking at the mirror and hoping for a change. Get after your change and challenge yourself. One of my friends always says, "If it doesn't CHALLENGE you, it doesn't CHANGE you".  Start challenging yourself to lift more, do more, eat healthier. Each day is a journey!

What are you waiting for? Today is your tomorrow, start now and start bettering yourself one activity and meal at a time.

Be Blessed