Training For Real Life

A lot of people are motivated by ripping their six pack to shreds when they lift. I think about something much more elusive.

Two reps to done and my life is flashing before my eyes. Not in a “oh shit I’m-a die” kind of way, but my literal life.

Traffic jams.
Toddler tantrums.
Diaper explosions.
Learning California is imposing yet another tax on small business owners.
Difficult clients – and people in general. (You know who you are – much love!)

I’m thinking of how I’m going to finish this set, and I contemplate if I should just call it quits a few reps early.

Instead, I stiffen.
Breathe in.
Push through.
And finish.

There’s more than just a sense of accomplishment and the physical transformation that comes with persevering through the struggle of lifting weights. Long after the workout is done I’m facing these mountains I’ve mentioned, and I have a choice to quit or endure. Weight lifting is more than an exercise for the muscles – it’s a workout for the mind, will and self-discipline. Continue reading Training For Real Life

A Tale of Two Pregnancies

I want to start by saying it took a lot for me to write this post, partly because I really struggle with the whole ‘before and after’ photo thing – everyone’s transformation story is different and can’t adequately be captured in a photo – but also because I shudder to think that anyone may feel discouraged or diminished because of my story. Everyone’s body type and experience is different. However, the big reason is I just don’t like to admit that there was a time when I was doing things the wrong way. But, perhaps that will prove to be an encouragement.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m a couple thousand richer – although many of them don’t elicit happy, joyful emotions.

post partumThis is me one week after my son, Monta, was born. I have a love-hate relationship with this picture. As someone who has always been fit and active and relatively healthy, this photo elicits feelings of failure and self consciousness.

While pregnant with Monta, I gained roughly 50 pounds. I was teased by co-workers for the size I had become. I felt sluggish and without energy. My back and knees hurt beyond that of normal pregnancy because they couldn’t support the extra weight.

And nothing fit. Not since 10 weeks pregnant, and not for months after I gave birth. Getting dressed was an uncomfortable, stressful ordeal because I had so few options and none felt flattering. Adjusting to my new role as mom was already uncomfortable, and feeling as though I didn’t look the part was even more defeating.

All through my pregnancy I kept telling myself the weight would come off easily. Heck, I’m a personal trainer for crying out loud. If I could get results for others, I certainly could do it for myself. But it wasn’t that simple. Continue reading A Tale of Two Pregnancies

Why The Morning Is Best For….

I’ve never been a morning person. I’m not one of those rise-and-shine-with-a-smile folks who thrives in the early hours. I have no idea how many of my clients perform so well so early.

In the past couple years, I’ve certainly improved my ability to function and finish tasks in these hours, and it’s because I’ve realized how precious this time is for accomplishing important things.

Lately, I’ve added workouts to this morning routine. If it doesn’t happen in the morning these days, it doesn’t happen at all. This might sound arduous, but it’s far from it. I don’t exercise because I want a six pack or sculpted arms. I exercise because it gives me energy, improves my functionality, and it reminds me of what my body is capable (if I can lift heavy weights over my head without killing myself, or run further today than yesterday, certainly I can handle my toddler’s screaming tantrum because he wanted the yellow one and not the green one, even though the green one was what he requested.)

When I’m stronger and more functional, my back doesn’t hurt from carrying my babies, and I don’t have to make two trips up the stairs with groceries. My workouts are important to my daily life – and I bet your days would improve dramatically if exercise was a staple.

If you’re finding day after day your good intentions for fitting in a workout aren’t enough, may I present a case for that dreaded early morning routine? Continue reading Why The Morning Is Best For….

Free Donuts

We all love a good donut. And for those of us on a weight loss or transformation journey, the decision to indulge can be guilt-inspiring and a real struggle. So how about take the guilt away, enjoy the donut AND make it work FOR you?

Here are three tips:

1. Save it post workout: this is the best option, because an intense workout allows your body to store sugar into the muscles, rather than fat cells, to help you recover faster, gain more energy, build metabolically active lean tissue AND burn fat. Sound enticing? Here’s the catch: you need to open your window properly. That means lean protein and fast digesting carbs pre-workout (whey protein isolate and a banana/toast/rice cake are a great choice), then perform an INTENSE exercise session (20 minutes is ideal) and finish with the same pre-workout concoction you enjoyed to fuel up. For three hours, your body is a muscle building machine, so enjoy responsibly. Try this body weight interval workout, or hop on a treadmill/elliptical or the pavement and go as fast as you can for 30 seconds followed by 30 second recovery for 20 minutes. A strength training session would be supreme.
2. Abstain. I know, I know, the point was to tell you how to indulge without the negative effects. Oh wait, abstinence lets you do just that! I’m not saying avoid all treats, just the ones that are bad for you. You deserve to do good things for yourself, and donuts aren’t really in that category. What if you re-programmed your mind to find yogurt and fruit indulgent, or a piece of dark chocolate (because more IS better for you), or red wine, etc? Yes, clients living a metabolically precise lifestyle enjoy tons of goodies (the MP Cookbook has an entire dessert section!). Living healthy doesn’t really mean abstain from all goodness – just the ones that don’t make you better.
3. Add black coffee: okay, so this one won’t help you stave off the negative effects of that donut, but it will at least make your pancreas work a little less. Black coffee has been shown to slow digestion, along with other benefits, which in the case of a donut means your blood sugar won’t spike as quickly and perhaps your body will store less of it as fat. Have some protein with your treat and you can make it a little less sinful…. Just don’t make it a habit.

There’s nothing wrong with a donut every now and then. But, the truth is that everything we put into our bodies has the power to make us better or worse. If we’re honest, it’s not the occasional donut that’s keeping us from reaching our dreams – it’s the daily habits that we don’t even realize are sabotaging our success. And usually, that donut isn’t so “occasional.”

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult or limiting. It’s all about knowing what to eat, and when, to maximize results. Hope these bits of information make that easier for you to achieve!

If you want tips like this delivered to your inbox weekly, sign up here for the Transformation Times. If you want some guidance for making your health and fitness journey easier, you can get more info here.

A Retirement Tribute

Monday marks a tremendous day for my stepdad.

Today, he woke up and went for the last time to his job of over 34 years. He will wake up Monday retired, with nothing to do but fulfill his dream of sailing and, apparently, getting a tattoo.

In the 17 years this man has been a part of my life, I’ve watched him deal with all kinds of struggles with his work – I even experienced first hand how miserable his environment could be.

Few, if any, have an ideal or utopian workplace, and his certainly was far from the mark. Despite this, he stuck it out for over three decades, something legitimately unheard of in this day in age.

A chump? Not even close. Unable to do anything else? He certainly could have. Yet, this career afforded him opportunities to do the things he loved. So, he persevered and stuck it out, no matter how frustrating and disheartening it became, trusting it would be worth it in the end.

Today, that trust has been realized. Because he stuck it out through the good and bad, not just chasing what was comfortable or glamorous or easy, he will retire at 56 with perks very few would ever be able to claim.

So what is this tribute doing on a fitness blog? I am who I am today because of the hardworking, committed example my parents set, and the last 34 years of my stepdad’s life paint a perfect metaphor for any transformation journey. Think about this: Continue reading A Retirement Tribute

Dolled Up Isn’t So Bad

It was tenth grade, first period. I was sick, and must certainly looked it. I was probably in jeans and a t-shirt with my hair in a ponytail and no make-up. I felt like crap.

That’s when the older classmate informed me it was on days like this she puts forth more effort into her appearance.

Seriously? Why would I expend more energy on beautifying the outside when I felt so nasty inside? Continue reading Dolled Up Isn’t So Bad

A Case For Nutrient Timing

At 5:17, Nutrient Timing is the foundation of our nutrition coaching – and for great reason! It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food that doesn’t involve shaming, restricting or guilt.

Science tells us there are no “good” or “bad” foods, just good and bad times to eat certain foods. That concept empowers us to control what we eat and how we live our lives so we can enjoy every aspect – yes, even what we put into our mouths!

Wondering what this nutrient timing thing is all about? Here are three great articles that explain what it is, its benefits and how your total body can benefit! Continue reading A Case For Nutrient Timing

Four Zero-Effort Health Improvements

It’s becoming more well documented that plastics and other additives are doing lots of damage to our bodies – especially in women.

BPA and other chemicals in plastics mimic estrogen and can skew hormones, leading to issues like obesity, thyroid damage, Alzheimer’s, reproductive issues, libido loss and more (Here’s a good article on how plastics affect hormones), and there are possibly endless chemicals to which you’re exposed on a daily basis.

Controlling this exposure could be a key to improving how you look, feel and function, and it doesn’t take any huge lifestyle interventions because you literally just have to swap one product for another. Continue reading Four Zero-Effort Health Improvements

Mental Health & Lifestyle

Nearly 7 percent of the US population will suffer from major depression this year, and millions more will battle some degree of it or another, as well.

There are many different ways it presents, none of which are comfortable (I know from experience!) While this post should in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM discourage you from seeking professional help if you’re struggling, implementing certain lifestyle changes could help you see improvement in your symptoms.

Know this – depression takes on many forms and impacts individuals in many different ways. There isn’t anything “wrong” or “abnormal” about you if these things don’t work. It just means you should keep trying. Continue reading Mental Health & Lifestyle