Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 UPDATE and walking through an open door!

It's been a while
As it seems, my last post about progress, not perfection allowed my heart and mind to take a step back from BUSY and just proceed to drink in a summer of changes at home, in my job and in my perspective. All good things, I assure you. 

Here's a QUICK rundown of the new items: 
  • We got a dog, Rascal 
  • I am NEARLY through my first go at the 12 steps of Celebrate recovery 
  • I have learned that I have a GARDENERS heart 
  • I have upped (as I said I would) my modeling
  • I got a new job at a boutique gym close to home
  • I have kept lifting, gained muscle
  • Mack and I have continued to work on our marriage, we celebrated 2 years in June (yay!!) 

There have been ups and downs, that is for sure. I haven't blogged since February...what HAPPENED?? Well, its simple...I let some business fall to the wayside as I let other priorities step forward. 

Marriage is GOOD, but it has been a challenge. We have communication struggles, we sought wise council (separate, together etc..) and because of all of that, rocky as the high road has been, I tend to isolate. People in recovery can do this when they face trials. I didn't stop going to church or doing my 12 steps, I didn't lose myself in pints of ice cream and buckets of chicken, "Fit this, Girl" stayed silent and I learned the art of landscaping and gardening. The healthiest avoidance tactic I have ever used. And as I dig in the dirt, watch some things bloom and some things wither, watch some thrive and some struggle, I KNOW that when I water, cultivate and keep the conditions right in my marriage, it will bloom year after year, better and brighter than the last, that motivates me. Keep going, keep weeding, keep watering, keep being kind, when its hard, when its sunny, when it's stormy. It will be worth it soon... 

Oh the 12 steps...I have to say, right now, in 3 groups at church, 2 for recovery, I am nearly sick of self work!! Thank GOD that I can rely on GRACE then and not works, lists, white knuckling it, but surrender and show up. When I show up, God will work in me, when I prepare my heart for change, he will step up and bring me chances to surrender self and bit by bit, see change. But what a process, it's nearly overwhelming. 

Enter Puppy: Oh, he's a rascal and now free time is spent walking, fetching and as soon as he's old enough, running! He's a Shepard, so he has as much energy as I do, minus the caffeine. 

I have done more modeling, once for a commercial for MN Tourism, a few runway shows and a pinup shoot potentially for a calendar. It's been a learning experience. I am not a runway model, but will need to walk a runway in December for AMTC, so all the practice I can get is GREAT. 

And my new job! It is at a sweet boutique gym near my house, I am going to love it. My co-workers are nice and knowledgeable and I am enjoying my clients so far... has it ever been otherwise? Not for me, I have been walking in Favor since I became a trainer four plus years ago. 

Can you BELIEVE it?? This summer was 5 years a blogger, 4 a trainer and 2 a competitor. Life is so sweet... 

Rascal and updated Family picture: 

Walking through an open door: 
I have struggled a bit this summer with my "off season" look... 
meaning, I was looking like I was on OFF season, when I don't WANT to look like that, nor do I believe that. Last figure show I did was October 2013 and as it often seems to fall, holidays follow as does weight gain for me and a look of OFF season. If it's a lifestyle, I shouldn't yo-yo (10 lbs) like I do. But I have been doing fasted cardio, working hard and really keeping my food in check. 

When an opportunity came to me, to audition for an ADIDAS print add for a "fit runner" I hemmed and hawed about it. Was I FIT? Was I fit ENOUGH?? In October yeah, but NOW? NO. But at the last minute, I submitted my name. The slots were full. I felt relieved, I was CERTAIN I would show up and be embarrassed. 

I shared this with the woman at the modeling agency and she quickly said that I WAS indeed fit enough, that competitors usually have a skewed view of what "fit" is... I did indeed. And I passed up an open door that I let my skewed self image see as a doorway to embarrassment or ridicule. 

Not again, I will from this point, walk through any open door that's within God's will for my life. I will take chances, I will leap, I will stick my neck out, I will HUSTLE, I will submit and surrender and let GOD decide how to use me, where to use me. That's the bottom line from now on. I will walk through the open doors. 

Last week progress pic at 124 lbs
who decides what is fit, 
fit enough and ripped? 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Imperfect Progress: Embracing what IS!

I am not perfect. 
Sometimes I fall down. 
Sometimes I let things get the best of me. 
Sometimes STILL I eat to control, I don't work to my potential, sometimes STILL feel a step behind. 

It's not about perfection: its about progress. 
Do not forget how far you have come. 

I was 162 pounds at my highest. I went through many different ways to eat and fuel my workouts over the past 8 years: everything from weight watchers to a competition diet. And today, I am just UNDER my weight watchers goal weight. But that is a little high for me. 

I feel like I eat when I am out of control: Sad, busy, frustrated, confused, tired. And not always "BAD" foods (God help us get good and bad foods off the table. Food is nutritionally dense or it is not. Period.) After doing 2 Figure shows in 2013 and being on a scheduled eating plan from February to October, I enjoyed the last few months, stayed off the scale and ate about 60% like my normal healthy self. The other 40 needed time off, enjoyed the holidays and strayed a bit. 

Here's a look at my journey: 

Overweight, to runner(again) to clean eater 


Competitor, aspiring model and close to today, up about 8 pounds 

Here is my point: I have made A LOT of progress. My journey has been one of SUCCESS. 

It's been 8+ years of Imperfect Progress (a phrase I am stealing from Lisa Terkeurst). My journey is NOT about never falling. It is like the picture above says, a HOLY CHA-CHA. Filled with sweet steps forward and a few steps back. 

Just keep those feet moving! 

I am constantly changing, maybe up a little, maybe going from a runner to a competitor, and a lean girl to one who gains because she needs a break or even to gain some muscle! It's all progress, it's all forward motion even if some of it looks like falling. 

BESIDES, the bible says that NONE of us will be perfect until King Jesus returns and we are made like HIM! He WILL complete the good works in us! 

Philippians says: "Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ!" 

Pressing toward the Goal
Philippians 4:12
I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us!

So here I am today, a little up, embracing what is, moving forward with my imperfect progress in faith, fitness and health! Onward and upward! 

Where are you on your journey? Do you feel pressed to be perfect? 

Monday, February 3, 2014

A new kind of vision board for 2014

Do you ever feel like God has been speaking to you, but then what he says doesn't happen...oh say for a long time? Or when you think it should or will? 

Do you ever hear God speak and it's shortened version of the telephone game and you interpret it how you want, hear what you want? 

This past year, 2013, I heard God say, this was the YEAR! Oh man, was my imagination FLYING with that. YES, my year, its MY YEAR! Take first in a show, get a sponsor, do this, do THAT with flying colors and fanfare. Um. No. He said it was the year. Not MY year.(Interpretation one, Mary zero)

So, when 2014 turned the corner, my vision board took a new turn as well. First, it was the first ever that my husband and I did together, with some of our marriage goals and visions on it. 

Second, it isn't crammed full of magazine pics of things I want, things I want to do, habits to create, bodies to emulate, places to go. It's simplified. Clarity is key. I don't need to SEE my desires, I need to see WHOM I desire. I have all those dreams and "things" that I would like from this world in my heart and in my sights, but GOD says....

 "Seek the Kingdom of God (his way of operating) above all else and he will give you everything you need!" God also says: "Delight yourself in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart!" 

In seeking him, I will find him. In finding him I will invite his kingdom to come into my world and his love rule. When his love rules, I will delight in him and that love, that peace that passes all and he will give me all I need and all I desire. Does that mean all the material desires I can handle? No, it most likely means all I need to thrive here in this world, mainly his love, peace, grace, his PRESENCE.  And in tasting that, THAT will become my desire more than anything. 

So my board focuses on being 
JESUS centered
Kingdom minded (this world is a short, short dress rehearsal)
GIVING generously from our abundance in him 
having a JOY filled home (Jesus lives here!) 
Sleeping sweetly...as promised 
enjoying my days and my work
do all to CULTIVATE joy
Take care of my body
be single minded as a couple: fit for Christ
being single minded in goals and in word and deed: 
Putting into practice all I talk about. 

A new kind of vision board, one on a white board, so we can add or modify what doesn't fit with our lives and the Lord leads us. And one that is CLEAR in our focus, vision and mission. The details, those other magazine picture oriented goals and dreams, they will come and they will fade. Be THOU my vision. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Success Story: Kali Finger

WOW, you guys, this is one of my fave success stories that I have done so far. I use a little app called Instagram and it is SO much fun! I have "met" some really cool people and Kali Finger is one of them. 

She caught my eye when she posted a #Transformation Tuesday picture where she used to be under weight. NOW, she is a healthy weight, with healthy eating habits and loving a balanced life. 

THAT is the best kind of success. I asked Kali to share with me her journey from restricted thinking and eating to balance and health. Talk about finding true freedom and success, her story is below and its amazing. You can follow her on Instagram @kalifinger! (she likes coffee and quest bars, she could be your BFF)

Kali's story : 

I am 19 years old and I have been "struggling" with food issues since I was 13 years old. I was always an active kid and I was NEVER an overweight or a big kid... I just saw myself as "not skinny" so I thought that if I stopped eating as much, but still kept working out like I was that I would become even "skinnier" and be even more happy. 

In high school I was a competitive swimmer and worked out 6 hours a day in the pool.  I  was burning tons of calories. The downside was, I was not nearly consuming enough calories to make my body or myself feel good. I remember counting out 11 pretzel sticks, chewing on gum, or making snacks or meals smaller and smaller so that I was cutting more and more from my diet and overall intake. Truthfully,  I was not even eating healthy food, I was eating empty calories which ultimately left me feeling hungry. I would go to bed before 8pm so that when I felt hungry, at least I was sleeping and would not wake up to go and eat.  

Kali on the left, under eating and over training. 
That was nearly 2 years ago. 
On the right, today, at a healthy and 
happy weight and place in life! 

My lowest weight was at 100 pounds and then my family stopped me before it got too serious. They watched me eat everything and made me eat often, which to me felt like a punishment and of course I didn't want to do it because I worked so hard to get "skinny". 

My parents finally just sat me down and told me that they were too worried about me and that I  had to start eating more, they were afraid that I was going to become really sick. Of course when they convinced me start eating more, I thought "this is too many calories, I'm going to get fat, gain weight." 

But once I slowly started getting used to eating more, I started to feel SO much better and had a ton more energy than ever before. Then I looked into eating more healthy foods, with lots of nutrients and foods that were GOOD for my body. 

Today, I'm a major health nut and I don't deprive myself at all. Food shouldn't be a fear for anyone, it should be something that we can enjoy! There are still foods I don't want to eat and will never eat again. My relationship with food is better and I constantly have fruit, veggies or a quest bar with me everywhere I go so I always know I have a healthy go to snack.

Now a days I go to the gym regularly or workout in my basement. I also eat healthy, good for me foods and I eat a lot!  My weight now is higher and healthier and sure it fluctuates a little but never that much. I am gaining muscle which makes me so happy. I love where I am right now and I still constantly think about food and I still NEVER  things that make me feel bad or are bad for me. I want to give my body what it needs, because if you eat crap you will feel like CRAP! Food is supposed to be enjoyed and everyone can enjoy it if you eat the right things! 

I am STRONG and HAPPY and so blessed to be healthy and I look forward to life everyday as it comes! 

Kali lifting at the gym! 

Kali--thank you so much for being open to share your AMAZING transformation and success story.  This is so important to me to share, your finding a healthy balance and coming back from unhealthy, harmful behaviors will speak to so many. 

Guys, we have to keep in mind,  anytime you see someone underweight, we never know why.I know girls who TRY to gain weight and it's a slow journey, but we are all on our own journey. Like someone said once, "we ALL have room to rock" and I think embrace each step we take. 

Breaking out of harmful behaviors, loving your body, giving it GOOD foods and forgiving yourself is a gigantic success. Thanks to Kali for showing us a little of that. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Injury and energy: Energems

Being injured is a MAJOR bummer. 
My heart goes out to those with severe injuries or chronic pain. In the last 6 weeks I have been healing from a "minor" injury, but it brought much of my day to day training to a halt. 

It's not something I have talked about on this blog or facebook much. 

6 weeks ago, I strained my adductors badly and have had to reduce my leg/ab workouts to nearly nothing. Even heavy weights on upper body where my abdominals engaged was iffy. 

So I was sticking to bands and body weight upper body, no legs and trying NOT to engage my core. I strained my adductors when I did a routine lower body workout. I didn't do any NEW exercises and didn't do heavier weights than I have before. Yet, when I was almost done with my sets, I felt more sore than usual and cut the workout short. I am glad I did. Within 24 hours, I couldn't roll over in bed, stand on one foot without searing pain or lift my knees more than a few inches off the ground. 

I went to the Dr. thinking I had a hernia, but it was an adductor strain. Enter pained flextion and rotation= walking, twisting, pushing and lifting (rolling over). With a job as a trainer where I am demonstrating  exercises and moving weights, benches and spotting clients, it was a problem. Dr. orders were ice, ibuprofen for anti-imflammatory and rest, all of which I did.

I had trouble rolling a bench, because it meant pivoting with one foot planted while holding weight. I couldn't do even moderate presses without engaging my abs, my psoas etc, any ab work was out of the question.  

Three weeks afterwards, I did a light leg workout and with no luck, I was feeling the strain, not as bad as the first time. 3 more weeks and I added in body weight, lower body work. It was FINE this time. Last week I added in a 15 min SLOW run. Success. 
See that little guy in the front, the pectineus? He was a huge culprit in my strain and continued to send shooting pains when I was doing the lightest of work. 

As hard as it was physically to rest (wanted to grow legs, here I am resting them!) and mentally not working as hard as I want to and know I can, even with my upper body, uninjured, it had to be done. NOW, I am so thankful I did. It's still slow going, I can do body weight work on legs and it leaves me gassed. I can do my full range of upper body including pressing. And I can work weighted abs without issue.  Injury is serious and you may feel discouraged by having to rest, but in the long run, it pays off! Don't rush your recovery!

What are Energems?

First, THANK you to Energems for sending me a sample and a few to send to readers ( facebook winners were contacted) I thoroughly enjoyed them, three little bites really packed an energy PUNCH!! Energems supplements are bite-sized, hard-coated gems made with real milk chocolate. They contain caffeine, B-vitamins and a unique energy blend.


  • Made with real milk chocolate
  • Contains caffeine, B-vitamins and a unique energy blend
  • Only 15 calories each
  • Enhances energy, focus and concentration
  • 1 serving (3 gems) = 1 energy drink
  • 3 servings (9 gems) per box
  • Available in 3 flavors: Chocolate, Mint, Peanut Butter
  • Energems are classified as a dietary supplement

Check them out at energems.net to read more about them and even order yours! The Peanut Butter ones are the best, but all of them are fantastic, thank you again to Energems for the chance to try your fantastic product! 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

YES to resolutions!

The fitness industry will say, "Don't wait till Monday to START", Nike Says "Just Do It" and Facebook is riddled with implied shame for those with new years resolutions. Crowding to the gym like the promised land, eating healthier, detoxing, getting organized, reading more, sleeping better, you NAME it and people will vow it and those who have it all together look down there noses. 

I SAY DO IT! With resolve, leap into your NEWNESS this January 1st! Here are 5 great reasons why:  

1) It's always mentally refreshing to prepare for change. Nothing FEELS better than to prepare for that start date. That moment when you know that you are ready to change. Just BE ready and leap into it confident you can keep your change! Every great step, project and success story has a start date, don't be sheepish if yours is January 1st! Sit down, create a game plan, get on your game face and ring in the new year prepared! 

2) writing out your goals and visions for a period of time will prove more LIKELY for your success!! 
You are 70% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them out, so why not try! Make your list, check it twice and even if you never see it again, you are more geared toward success. Just like tracking food, writing your workouts, journal writing and creating vision boards, writing resolutions will give them staying power than just an "inner vow" to do/be/feel better! 

3) It's Biblical! God is ALL about newness!!
God sent Jesus to this world so we could BE NEW!! 2nd Corinthians says we are already NEW creations in Christ. Revelation says that God makes ALL THINGS new and Isaiah below gives us hope that when promised newness of life and in life, even the driest path will spring forth life!  

Isaiah 43:19

Behold, I am doing a new thing;

    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness

    and rivers in the desert. 

4) Resolution means a course of action determined or decided on. Not perfected, not completed, not wavering. It will take all year, sometimes it can take a few. Little by little one walks far and over the course of year with a clear, God ordained, written path decided on, you are BOUND to succeed! 

5) You will inspire others. We are light to be light for others.  Don't be weary to be a resolutioner, be who you are and take someone with you, someone without the courage to go it alone! Or go it alone and see who you inspire to create their plan, step into their newness and create the life they always wanted. The effect is contagious and seeing others spark with determination and motivation is the best new years gift you can get! 

Happy new years, may the coming year be full of blessings and joy in your hearts!

 Galatians 6:9 
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

5 ways to get BACK on TRACK

Do you feel a little off since the holidays? Here are 5 holiday CHEER ups, getting back on track is not as hard as you think! 

1)Today is the first day to do it right. 
It's midday, it's after lunch even, but you can still start over, get back on track. Maybe you had that Christmas strudel for breakfast or yet another holiday party last night. You can "reset" at anytime. Drink a big glass of water and leave the past, in the PAST. Today is day one. What's your next clean meal? Go after the remainder of TODAY. 

2) Today is just another day. It's a Monday or a Thursday. Treat is as such. Holidays or not, it feels amazing to know that you are on track with your workouts and healthy eating plan just like every other day of the week. Maybe it's New Years day... no excuse to not get activity in. It's still Wednesday, stick to your regularly scheduled programing! You got this! 

3) If you bite it, you write it. Track that food. Often times, the lines of clean eating get blurred and portion sizes can grow without noticing. Track your intake and see where you have let things slide. It will make it very clear for you where you can make up lost ground. You are NEVER as far gone as you think! 

4) Pack your bags. Motivation isn't sitting on the shelf at Macy's for you, it's something that comes after investing in and creating good habits. So pack your bag, your gym bag and set it by the door, or in the front seat of your car. Winning the battle of habits starts with small steps. SEE that bag, be reminded, take action. 

5) Do what you can with what you have. The past 5 weeks for me have been tough, I am in recovery mode. Yesterday, I was able to work my legs for the first time in those 5 weeks. But I was only able to do body weight exercises. Sure I felt discouraged, but I gave it ALL I had with what I could do. Limited or not, giving YOUR 110% is what matters. Maybe you only have a half an hour or can only workout at home. GREAT, do that. Push yourself and work with what you have instead of focusing on what you can't do. You  will go farther than you ever dreamed, everyone starts small and works there way up. 

There are 4 days left of 2013. That's at least 20 opportunities to make healthy food choices and 4 days to kick butt with your fitness. 
Why wait? 
Why start January 1st? 
Do it now.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Making your own Motivation!

Making your own Motivation!
It's that time of year where people need a BOOST: to get to the gym, to put down that cookie, to stick to their plan! How do you get up in the dark, when it's cold? Sure you don't WANT TO. Gotta be honest, NO ONE WANTS TO at first. 

Action precedes motivation!
One of my Favorite quotes of all time. What does it mean? It means that we don't MOVE out of the motivation we feel, we MOVE and then feel motivated. We ACT first. And honestly, motivation doesn't even show up right then.
We create a PLAN, 
We form habits 
We see results,
and THEN motivation comes. 
Most people assume it will happen the other way around. 

What it means for us to feel motivated then? Motivation is a by product! It's not the spark. The spark is a desire for change--in ANY area! When we want something, we plan for it, we save for it, we have steps to take. When I wanted a trainer, I didn't quit my job and walk into a gym, telling people I could work them out. No way, I researched certifications, signed up, put in the work, revamped my resume and sent it out. I had a PLAN.

Habits are the stepping stones to motivation. Its rare we wake up and jump right into a workout routine that we love and feel amazing at. But little by little we go far. What if you waited to feel motivated to go into your job? How long would it be? A week, a month--you wouldn't have a job left to go to! We form habits, get up, get coffee, go to work. Day in and day out. Money is a great motivator for that and habits formed that produce RESULTS are the driving force behind motivation. 

Tips for succeeding at making your own motivation: 

  •  get a partner to help you. Form habits together and insist that you stick to them. 
  •  be realistic. start small. Pack that gym bag and aim for 2 weeks at the gym. 3 days is a bonus. 
  •  keep your word to yourself. just like your boss at your job knows you are trustworthy to show up, be your own BOSS and show up for what you planned. 
  •  just do it today. Don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow you can worry about your habits for that day. 
  •  this is about YOU. Your life, your health, your strength, your longevity, your example to your kids. This isn't about an event, your spouse or even your "haters" who think you can't do it. 

Michael Jordan was once asked if all the criticism fueled him and motivated him. He said: 
"absolutely not, I pay no attention to it. To admit I listen to any critic, to say it affects me in anyway would basically be admitting I am mentally weak. My motivation, my fire burns so hot and so deep from within, there is no way in hell some random person and their opinions could ever affect me."   

Do it for you. 
See results 
Make your own motivation!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Word & Weight: Sliders and JOY

Word & Weight: Slider Burpees 

Romans 15:13

New Living Translation (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

A while back I blogged about the Fruit of the Spirit. JOY and peace are part of those "fruits" and this time of year, everyone is talking joy, peace, goodwill, thankfulness etc. But Joy and Peace are different, they are EMOTIONS. The bible tells us that our hearts, in a fallen state, often can't be trusted and I have learned over my Christian walk that my emotions can not lead the way or I will find myself at a dead end. There are days I feel sad, feel fat, feel insecure, but these feelings are false! (please note that discernment from God, and biofeedback like being tired are different than FEELINGS.)

  But the bible ALSO tells us that God makes us NEW creatures in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17) We are not simply mended, healed, fixed, updated, upgraded etc-- we are NEW! This includes your emotions--your sadness, your anxiety, your doubt, your despair. God can give you HIS emotions, NEW emotions, like Romans says above, he wants to "fill you completely with joy and peace" (his perfect emotions)because you trust him." God means business when he using words like FILL, Completely, OVERFLOW!! Let him give it all to you, he wants to hold nothing back-- trust he wont!

Slider Burpees 
(yes burpees, love em or leave em!) 
Some of the best and thrifty piece of equipment for a great workout are EZ Sliders, for moving furniture! (these are from Bed Bath and beyond!)

Using the EZ sliders at your gym or at home, center your feet hip distance apart on them. Holding 2 dumbbells under your shoulders, tighten your core and slide your feet back, ending in plank position. 

Stabilize your core and drive one elbow up toward the celling pulling the dumbbell into a row. ( you may widen your feet for added stability OR place the other hand flat on the floor as well) Perform a row on each side. 

Then engaged your abdominals, pulling both knees up to your chest and stand. Using the same weights in a fluid motion, perform a bicep curl and then a press overhead. You may take one or BOTH feet off of the slider for safety or you may keep them planted on the sliders. 

Like my basement and my CASUAL 
at home workout outfit? Awesomesauce! 

Using the EZ sliders will lessen the impact of the burpee as you slide in and out of the move and feel the exercise on your abdominals and less on your joints. It's a great way to make the Burpee better on your joints and more effective on your core.  

AND HEY! I got a little kitty! She has no name yet and it's hard to call her--HEY YOU, doesn't have a great ring to it!! 
She is curious and of course, adorable.  We are still adjusting to the BIG new house and where the best places to hide and play are. The other resident kitty isn't so happy, she is hiding and doesn't have perfect peace or joy. 

Happy Thanksgiving week ! 

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