Monday, November 11, 2013

Resting my way strong...

 Rest days.  I always hated them.  For YEARS I have lived over trained...working out 6 days a week...for up to 2 hours a day.  I lived on very little sleep and prided myself on never being injured.  I felt invincible at times.  I was able to do what I wanted and push myself hard without any real consequences it seemed...and then it all caught up to me.

In March I broke my wrist when I fell demonstrating a movement in the gym.  I remember lying in the emergency room...all alone...feeling defeated and scared.  I had just come off a 2 year separation and divorce that had drained me of much of my strength and desire to take care of myself.  I often felt fatigue or broke down crying while I was trying to train during those years.  I had JUST started to feel better and work out more like my old self for about 2 weeks when I had my accident.  Alone and frustrated, I started to tear up.  I quickly wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my sweatshirt and decided that this would not keep me down.  I vowed to keep working out in whatever capacity I could and promised myself that I would not feel sorry for myself.

I did well for a long time.  I ran, did workouts with one arm, and rarely missed a day in the gym.  I was sure that I would heal quickly and be back to new in a few months.  Unfortunately, that wasn't in the cards for me.  My wrist took much longer to heal that expected and once my wrist was better, I suffered with severe pain in the elbow on the other arm.  It has been 8 months since I was able to workout like I want.  As soon as the pain starts to get better, either something else hurts or I start working out again and the pain returns.
There have been days that I wanted to give up, but I've tried to continue to fight and do what I could through constant aches and pains.  I've watched my body change and felt helpless many times.  I've tried dieting, but there's no replacement for heavy lifting and intense workouts when it comes to body composition.  All along, I kept trying to fight until something occurred to me last week.  I didn't need to fight harder.  I need to rest.  I need to allow myself to heal fully before I can start the process of getting stronger again!

So that's where I'm at.  It feels like a bit of a standstill, but I know it's not.  I decided to write this for anyone else that may be feeling the way I've felt for so many months.  I've felt like a failure.  I've felt like an old battery with no charge left.  I've felt like life is passing me by and everyone else is progressing while I go backward.  I have CRAVED change while refusing to do anything different.  So now I'm doing different.  Now, I'm going to focus on getting well and stop comparing myself to everyone else around me.  I'm going to stop feeling like no one understands how much pain I'm in daily and focus on what I can do to get better so I'm no longer in pain.

We all work hard and push our bodies in our quest to get stronger but what we forget sometimes is that what we do in the gym isn't what makes us stronger.  Its during the rest AFTER the hard work, that we become stronger.  If you are healthy and feeling invincible like I used hard but don't forget to rest as well.  Stay hydrated, stretch, and get plenty of sleep.  Don't take your strength and health for granted.  If you are injured, take the time to heal.  Take the time to clean up your diet and spend the time you would spend in the gym doing things that will improve you in other ways!  It's important to work hard, but sometimes you have to REST if you want to be strong.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Food is my drug

For many of us, it begins in childhood...maybe even as early as when we are toddlers.  When we are hurt or sad...disappointed or angry, we are taught that food...a treat...will make us feel better.  Time and time again we are taught that food makes everything better.  It's not like our parents sit us down and tell us that food will make us feel better.  We are slowly conditioned over time to learn this, and then it's reinforced over and over and over.  It was done to me, and I in turn did it to my children early on.  It wasn't conscious at the time but I think back and realize how natural it is to do this.

I remember when my oldest was 1 and I got her ears pierced.  She started to cry and what did I do?  I gave her a lollipop and it was like magic.  She became so fixated on the treat that she immediately stopped crying.  I was training her and me at the same time.  As I write this, I think back to how many times one of my kids has had a bad day and I ask them if they want to go for ice cream.  I don't ever think about it when I'm doing it.  I just think that as parents, many times we do what we know works and because our intention is never to harm...we don't think about the possible bad we could be doing.

I've never done an illegal drug in my life, but I know first hand what it feels like to be addicted.  It's something I've struggled with since adolescence.  Food has always been my drug.  When I'm sad, I eat.  When I'm stressed, I eat.  When I'm mad, I eat.  And you know what?  It really DOES make me feel better.  Just like any other drug, it numbs the pain and dissipates the frustration.  But just like any other drug, the effect is temporary.  And when it's effects wear off, the problem or stresses that created the need in the first place are still there and the desire for more grows.

A drug addict can stay away from situations and people that will tempt them or make it easy for them to use, but I can't avoid food.  It's around me every day and I need it to survive.  I've spent the better part of my life having a love/hate relationship with food.  It's my best friend and my worst enemy.  It wasn't until I hit a very low point in my life that I found an alternative.
I was raising 3 small children with a husband that worked long hours to provide well for us.  I spent many hours alone or with no adult companionship.  My whole life was about caring for others and I never made time for me and things were happening personally that left me feeling unloved and worthless.  Some days food was all I had to keep me console "love" me and make me feel better.  And just like any other drug, my addiction became worse until I could no longer control it and spiraled into a very deep deep it required an anti depressant.

As I started to feel better from the medication, I started to realize that food was not the answer.  I had been so depressed that I was physically fatigued and never worked out.  Once I started to get some relief from the symptoms of depression, I began working out.  I found a new "high" and a new way to live.  I began noticing that when my stress was building, a workout relieved the symptoms just life food had before...only I was not only making myself feel better, I was improving my appearance and health at the same time.  I found a sense of inner strength that I had lost when I let food and depression take over my life.

As hard as that time was, I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world.  It made me who I am and taught me things I wouldn't have learned otherwise.  It helped me become a better parent and a more understanding person.  I still remember the day my daughter wanted to skip swim team practice because she was sad and had had a bad day.  I promised her that if she went and worked out as hard as she could, she would feel better.  She didn't believe me but went and came out smiling an hour later excited to tell me that I was right and she felt better.

Remember this.  Remember when you are sad or frustrated or stressed.  Avoid what comes natural or easy.  Don't console yourself with food.  Make yourself better.  Workout.  Think of it as a gift to yourself...time for just you to get away and make yourself feel better.  Food may be the most abused anxiety drug and exercise may be the most underutilized antidepressant, but it doesn't have to be that way.  You know better.  Now go do better and set an example for others as you do!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Learning to be grateful...

 We all do it.  We take things for granted that we just assume will always be there.  I have.  I have many many areas of my life.  I always appreciate things as I am working towards them, but then when I get to my destination...I suppose I become complacent.

I'm not an athletically talented person.  In fact, I'm a hot mess in the gym at times.  I'm clumsy and uncoordinated...inflexible and easily frustrated.  Every movement...every success I've had in the gym...comes solely from hard work and determination.  As a result, I have always been very excited and grateful when I first mastered each movement that is difficult for me.

It's been a while since I've had to learn new movements myself.  I spend my days teaching and correcting other people's movements.  I guess I began to take what I am able to do for granted.  I would do what we all do from time to time...whine about a workout or find excuses to skip.  I always knew that tomorrow was a new day and I could start fresh.  I never thought about the possibility that maybe some "tomorrow" would come where I was no longer physically able to do what I wanted, but unfortunately for me it did.  I broke my wrist in the gym and nothing there has been the same.

I remember lying in the emergency room alone the morning I drove myself there after falling in the gym.  I felt so frustrated and alone.  I wanted to cry but I was determined to remain as tough as possible in front of the doctor and nurses there.  I couldn't help but think, "Why me?  Haven't I had more than my fair share of struggles in the past year?!?", but we all know that kind of thinking doesn't accomplish anything worthwhile so I tried to quickly dismiss it and be as positive as possible.  It's a setback and I WILL heal, so I went forward committing to myself that I would do my best to continue to workout in whatever capacity I could.

In the weeks since it happened, I have continued to work out.  I have had to adjust and scale movements, but I'm still working hard.  I get funny looks when I go into a gym or run on a trail with a cast or now brace.  I worry a lot about where I will be and how much I might loose by the time I'm fully healed.

Everything has changed.  Things that use to be easy are hard.  I've had to learn to live with one hand to do the work of two.  The funny thing is that the harder I struggle...the more I appreciate the task.

I got an answer to the question I asked myself on the hospital bed that morning.  "Why me?"...because I needed to be reminded just how precious it is to be able to walk in a gym and pick up a barbell.  I needed to find the humility that I once had...many years ago when I myself was just learning.   I took my ability to do anything that I wanted to do in the gym for granted.

These days, I long to do things that I once did.  I watch people in the gym sweating and struggling with barbells and I can hardly stand it, because I want to do the same.  My wrist may be broken, but my spirit is unbroken.  I hate being hurt.  I hate being held back.  I hate the pain and fear of the unknown, but I'm grateful in some strange way.

I'm grateful because my perspective is forever changed.  I now know that working out is not a chore or a burden.  Working out is a privilege and that is how we should treat it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Start today!

 A year from'll wish you started TODAY! Stop waiting. Stop making excuses. Stop focusing on how long it will take and get started! It took me almost exactly a year to lose all my weight and get my body where I wanted it. It wasn't fast or easy, but it was worth it. The time will pass anyways so why not have something to show for it in the end!

Monday, April 15, 2013


"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence." ~Confucius

You can always try to be a little better, but are you working towards your true potential? Do you push yourself? Are you constantly giving your all? Be honest with yourself. Take a moment to ask these questions and assess where you're at. Find that will and desire within yourself and reach your full potential!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Are you in your prime?

 Reasons To Be Fit #156..."because this should be your prime."

You don't have to be in your 20s to be in your prime. You don't have to have a weight loss story to be a success. No one has to know who you are for you to be an example. Ask yourself, "Am I in my prime?"  If not...why?  If not...make right now your prime. Make RIGHT NOW the happiest, healthiest time you could ever imagine!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Failure is not fatal.

“Failure is not fatal. Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It should challenge us to new heights of accomplishments, not pull us to new depths of despair. From honest failure can come valuable experience.” ~William Arthur Ward

Don't allow failure to be the death of your dreams. Use your failures to become the birth of a new way of thinking and being. Cherish the opportunity to try learn more about yourself...and to become stronger in the process!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


 A link below to my newest blogpost on my STRONG LOLA® blog!  Go read it!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"You're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore"

Sundays are my days to lie in bed and think when I first wake up.  I like to reflect and have honest "conversations" with myself in my head.  Here's what I'm thinking today...

I used to avoid anything that I couldn't do well.  Everything was about perfection.  When scary things or situations would come up...I would run away.  I was always living up to this image of myself I had created.  I think we all do to a certain extent.  That gets old, because it's a lot of work.  I'm ready to tow the line.  I'm ready to face my open myself take more chances.  I am lots of things, but I'm ready to add BRAVE to that list...and not in a tough, fake confidence, "call my bluff" kind of way.  I wanna become brave in the most honest, true sense.

  My kids love the movie "School Of Rock" and one of the lines that we quote quite often is, "You're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore".  We laugh about it, but it's a true statement.  If we say we want to be strong...we need to live that way.  Being strong...being not just about being that way in situations that we feel confident in.  It's not about picking and choosing workouts that we know we can do well.  It's not about avoiding situations that challenge us or people that COULD hurt us.  You can lift heavy weight.  You can run fast and talk smack, but it doesn't make you a STRONG person.

Bravery and strength sometimes come at the expense of our pride.  We will get hurt.  We will fail.  Some of the most successful, strong people have failed the most...have been knocked down...have faced difficult situations that would've been easier to just avoid.  Some of the most respected people have been laughed at or looked like fools in their quest to become something great.  If they had run away or given up...if they hadn't been brave...they may never have met their potential.

Stop avoiding the area of the gym where all the heavy weights and "STRONG people" are because you don't feel worthy or you're afraid of looking weak and foolish.  Stop closing yourself off from people and opportunities because you are afraid that you will fail or get hurt.  Stop building walls to protect yourself.  Those walls might protect you, but they also close you in...alone...with no space to grow.  When you feel afraid..don't run away.  Embrace it.  Live in it.  Use it as an opportunity to become brave and strong.  WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL AFRAID, THAT'S WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU A CHANCE TO BE BRAVE.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lazy me-0 Trainer me-1

It's funny how even those of us that work in the fitness industry and motivate people for a living are more like the people that we train than you would ever believe.  Well...I guess I won't speak for EVERYONE in the fitness industry, but I will speak for myself.  Some days it's agonizingly hard to "practice what I preach."  At times, I find myself making excuses that I would ordinarily call "bulls***" on if anyone else were to try and use them.  I like food...especially sweets and fried foods.  Sometimes I wanna skip the gym or do the bare minimum.  I justify my choices and console myself with excuses.  It's easy to tell people what to do, but doing it yourself is a whole 'nother thing!

Today was my first day to workout after WEEKS of being sick!  It started out as me being miserable and legitimately not wanting to get other people sick and wanting to get better by resting.  The problem was that this crap has hung on and I never got better.  After a couple of days on antibiotics, I knew that I needed to jump back in today...and I did.  I did a hard workout and although it was a struggle...I finished and felt good.  I left the gym covered in chalk and glad that I did not put off getting back into it another day.  I was going to drive my daughter to school then "finish" my workout with some extra cardio.  Once I got in my car and left, I started to think..."Wow!  I'm so glad I worked out!  I was planning to go do more cardio afterwards, but maybe what I already did was enough...I mean I HAVE been sick and I AM trying to get better."  So I decided to just go tan then go home after, shower, and be "done" for the day.  I felt completely justified in this decision making.  I mean was being "smart"...right?  Or was I just being lazy?
As I drove, the trainer in me came out and the conversation went something like this in my head...

TRAINER ME:  "Are you kidding me?!?  You can't go do that extra 30-45 minutes?  You complain that you aren't happy with your body and then you slack like this?!?!"

LAZY ME:  "But I worked out for 45 minutes!  And I have been so sick!  Isn't that a good "start"...just for today?!?  I'll do more tomorrow and more the next day.  I should take it easy."

TRAINER ME:   "TAKE IT EASY?!?!  Taking it easy isn't going to change you!  Taking it easy will keep you right where you are!  Do you like where you are?"

LAZY ME:  "No."

TRAINER ME:  "Then, make this a good healthy breakfast to fuel up...and go FINISH what you started!"

I know I'm not alone.  I know there's so many people that struggle each day for various reasons with both eating healthy and working out.  Truth's hard and it's not usually convenient, but it's worth it.  Learning to conquer yourself and overcome bad habits leads to better health and long lasting happiness.  Start asking yourself tough questions.

Would you be proud to publish your food diary?  Are you even writing down everything you eat or do you skip writing down the nibbles here and there of crap?  Did you give all you had to your workout or did you sandbag it and rationalize your decision to do so?  Would you be proud to post your workout on a fitness page? 

Lose the excuses and be real with yourself!  Answer these questions honestly and correct the areas that need correcting.  The beauty of all this is that it's never too late!  As long as you are long as you are alive another can change and do better!  I'm glad I didn't stop and buy a donut for breakfast.  I'm glad that I am going to publish this, get in my car, and finish what I started this morning.  Don't cheat yourself anymore!  Go that extra mile and start achieving your goals.  Lose the excuses and enjoy the feeling of pride that comes when you have truly given your all!  Don't just talk the talk or pin fitness pictures on your Pinterest boards.  Go DO those things yourself!  Be willing to back your words up with ACTION and you will amaze yourself with your progress!