Fitspo is dumb

Oh fitspo, the cool mashup word that’s been all the rage in online fitness circles. In case you’re not good at being hip, fitspo = fitness inspiration. Well, theoretically it does. And okay, I’m sure some people find these entirely motivating and not the least bit damaging, but I’m not a fan of the messages.

With messages about never giving up and pushing through the pain, and with phrases like “strong is the new skinny”, fitspo can be a little pushy. When those messages are then paired with images of headless fitness models, flat stomachs, and asses without cellulite, it gets overwhelming pretty fast. I understand the idea of pushing yourself and wanting to be better, but the constant barrage of the body parts of “ideal” women juxtaposed the inspiration not to give up is telling me things I’m not interested in hearing.

You can have this flat stomach if you just work harder.

You can be this skinny if you just work harder.

Eat better. Train harder.

Skinny is sexy. Strong is sexy. Fitness is about being sexy. Always make sure you’re sexy and desirable to other people.

I’m pretty over fitspo.

And I’m not the only one.

In the great technology age where women and men alike are constantly being reminded of what the perfect body looks like and how we should all be working toward that, fitspo can often do more harm than good. You may never have a flat stomach or buns of steel. These bodies we idolize are the result of specific eating patterns, exercise patterns, and genetics. The frames and the shapes of these bodies may not even resemble yours in the slightest. And that’s a good thing because we weren’t all meant to look the same.

What the hell is with separating women from their body parts anyway? I am more than my stomach. I am more than my ass. I am a person, I am working on me every single day, and I do not deserve to be boiled down into one body part as a reference for my level of fitness or my sex appeal.

I will no longer let a stranger’s flat stomach be my personal motivation.

I will probably never have a six-pack and I will always have cellulite. I can’t eat an incredibly restricted diet because it is both mentally and physically taxing for me, in ways that aren’t healthy.

I won’t work out for hours a day because my family, sleep, and my DVR are all important to me. I’m going to eat chicken wings and drink beer and get that big container at the frozen yogurt place. And I’m going to do these things guilt-free because I enjoy them and because I know I work hard to eat healthy often and exercise when I can. I won’t ever have the fitness industry’s perfect body but I can learn to appreciate my own. I can figure out where healthy habits and a healthy self-image meet to make the body in which I am most comfortable. I’m happier with that.

And so, I created my own alternative images to fitspo (click on the images to get the bigger versions).

5 6 4 3 2 1

We could all use some more love and kindness in our lives. Be good to your body. Be kind to your body. Love yourself. Love yourself no matter what you look like, no matter how many pounds you want to lose, no matter how many cookies you ate with dinner. Be your biggest fan instead of your worst enemy.

Try to be the happiest and healthiest version of you that you can be, whatever that looks like. And encourage others to do the same. Think of all of the things that your body can do today and think about how great those things are.

Be good to your body, it’s the only one you have; and treat yourself with kindness to encourage others to do the same.

You are more than a quote over a body part.

You are awesome. Just as you are. Today. Right now.

And one more, for good measure, because I see you over there, looking all good…

7

A beginner wilderness workout for your survivalist needs

So let’s get real for a second: the apocalypse is coming and we need to be prepared. When that time comes we’re going to need strength. We’re going to need to be fit so we can outrun the zombies, the people  you want the zombies to catch in lieu of catching you, and to build the new town with your favorite people (and a couple of shady people you met on the street that have skills you might need).

This is the first workout I’m building in a Pinterest pinnable format (roll your mouse over the image and you’ll see a Pinterest icon in the top left corner) so you can save it for the next time you need to get outside for a workout and have no equipment handy. While the workout is geared toward beginners with basic movements and only body weight, you experienced fitties can up the ante in sets or by modifying the exercises for increased difficulty.

I  currently have the luxury of living on nine acres of mountain so the wilderness available was more abundant for me that it might be for you but do your best to find similar substitutes when needed.

The best part of me providing these new photo workouts to you is that you get to learn more about how wonky I am. I have a lot of weirds thanks to the way my body naturally exists so pay more attention to my cues than my pictures when noted.

I mean, not that my pictures aren’t good. They’re good. I swear. I’m just saying… do better than me if you aren’t as derpy as me. Get lower. Be straighter. I believe in you.

Oh and in case you’re wondering: no I don’t do Crossfit and those awesome socks don’t serve a purpose. I just love awesome socks.

Click the photo for the larger version.

WildernessWorkoutv2

 

 

Why I left personal training (Part 1)

dumbellsThe reasons I left personal training (as a profession*) are varied and I’m not keen on writing a dissertation to present all at once so I’m breaking my story up. For my sake and your sake.

I decided to become a personal trainer after I had dropped out of college, quit drinking (for a while, until later when I actually quit drinking), moved back home, and needed to figure out what to do with my life. I signed up for classes at a local community college but only went to a few before leaving. I couldn’t find something that fit but I knew that most days of the week I would find time to work out. Between finding a job and finding motivation for the rest of my life, I found a way to encourage myself and feel better about myself.

I tried to get family and friends to exercise with me and was happy to encourage them through it all. One day my mom suggested I become an aerobics instructor (outdated terminology, but you get the idea) and I spent the next couple of weeks researching personal training. I got a job in a gym as a sort of floor attendant while I studied and worked with other personal trainers to learn as much as I could. The gym promoted me to personal trainer once I achieved the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer credential and I thought it would be smooth sailing from there.

When I thought of myself as a personal trainer I imagined myself talking to people about their problems as I took them through perfectly programmed workouts. The person would learn to trust and listen to me, would see the changes in their body, and would keep coming back. My bills would be paid, my heart would be full, and I would have helped someone to get healthier (and hopefully happier).

Turns out I was wrong.

At no point in learning about anatomy, physiology, or kinesiology did anyone ever tell me what the actual business of personal training was like.

When you work for corporate gyms, personal training is more a sales job than anything else. When I last left a corporate gym, I was working only on commission but spending most of my time at the gym to try to drum up new sales. I spent maybe 15 hours per week training, was at the gym for at least 60 hours a week, and when all was said and done if you divided the commission up per hour worked I was making less than $2 per hour. I was trying to sell and not to train because with the tiered payment structure the gym built (as with the gym before it), I made more money selling than I did training. What is 30% of one training session when I can make 15% off of an annual package? Training I would make around $20 per hour and only when the client actually showed up for a session. When you include extras like a heart rate monitor and fitness testing if the client is interested, they could be committing to thousands of dollars easily.

When I first started I was excited to train. When I realized how much more money I could make selling training I amped it up. I impressed my supervisors with the amount I was able to bring in so early on. When I realized I had become a glorified saleswoman, I stopped selling as well. My numbers dropped. My supervisors complained, they asked what happened and how they could help me get back to the numbers I had before. I didn’t have an answer for them then because I was too scared to talk about how I really felt.

As a trainer in more than one gym, I was asked about my training protocol and programs less than 10 times. I was asked about my sales numbers daily.

Have you found a new client today? Go walk around the floor and offer to help people that need it.

Have you sold any heart rate monitors today? Talk to your 4 o’clock client about it, she needs one.

I was tired. I was tired of being the bleeding heart trying to convince a person that could barely afford their gym membership that they should invest in a $1500 training package. I was tired of working long hours for little return. I was tired of selling these massive packages or checking off training hours that cost $80 a pop for the client and seeing a meager return in my paycheck. I was tired of not being the personal trainer I wanted to be. I wanted to talk to people. I want to listen to their stories and help them overcome their insecurities. I wanted to be a personal trainer. Not a personal trainer sales machine.

If you look around the gym in most chains you might notice that a lot of the trainers are young. I’m not saying older trainers don’t exist (I’ve met some fabulous ones), I’m just saying they’re few and far between. And I think it has a lot to do with the current state of the business of personal training. I don’t think I’m the first one to get tired of the sales focus, I think I just got tired of it earlier than most people do.

The most successful personal trainers I know work for themselves.** They have created a brand and while sales are still important, they know that their success ultimately lies on the effectiveness of their training and their client’s willingness to learn. Because of that, training doesn’t fall by the wayside in the name of sales.

I once worked with a trainer who swore that someday he hoped to open a chain of gyms that paid trainers hourly or salary and that personal trainers would be kept from all aspects of the sale. It’s a nice dream and I hope he makes it happen someday. For all of the future personal trainers that genuinely want to empower other people and focus on fitness instead of on sales goals.

 

 

 *I still happily train friends and family, and – of course – give fitness guidance online. I love fitness and personal training on my own terms,in my own time, and under my own brand. I still maintain my ACSM certification and renew it when applicable.

**Disclaimer: My experience relates to working for big box gyms. Working for yourself is a whole different kettle of fish that I have only minimal personal experience with and cannot speak to well enough to comment on in detail.

3 tips to help you stop annoying me at the gym

gif21. Don’t drop the weights. Listen bro, this isn’t 1982 and you’re not Mr. Olympia. This is a gym in the suburbs with a bunch of moms and old dudes. So how about you take a moment to consider the people around you, eh? The people next to you don’t need to be startled every time you finish a set. The people on the first floor don’t need to worry the ceiling is going to cave in during your rest period. It’s so many shades of unnecessary.

Here’s the thing: if you can pick that weight up and put it back down multiple times throughout your set without dropping it, then I promise you that you can set it down like a decent ass person when you’re about to rest. Take two more seconds to decide not to be that guy, set your weights down nearby, and stop irritating the piss out of everyone else.

2. Don’t fart on the machines. Hey, we’re all adults here; I get how the human body works. I also understand that exercise revs up the metabolism and for a lot of people that means some pretty less-than-desirable bodily functions. I’m not mad at you, Machine Farter, I just think you’re making poor choices. When you’re in a crowded space, like say a row of treadmills or on the chest press machine in the middle of the machine floor, it’s just proper manners to take a moment and step away.

You don’t have to run off in shame. I’m not even requesting that you need to go to all the way to a bathroom or private room. All I’m saying is that maybe you shouldn’t fart where all the people are. If you need to run off for a second and come back to finish your workout, no one is going to notice. Nobody cares that much. But they do care when you stank up the place. It’s not right and it’s not fair to the rest of us. Step to the side (maybe on the stretching floor – no one is ever stretching, that space is dumb), do what you need to do, and get right back in the swing of your workout. It’s a service for the world that will go unappreciated, and it’s best that way.

3. Don’t make eye contact with naked people in the locker room. Maybe this is just the introvert in me, but when I’m naked (for the millisecond I’m not covered with a towel), I don’t need you looking at me. I have very strict ”Who can see my butt?” guidelines and you, person in the locker room, are not on that VIP list. I mean, I guess if you’re making eye contact you’re probably trying to avoid looking at my bits but really, wouldn’t it just be easier for everyone if you were looking a completely different direction?

Are we having a conversation? That’s fine, we can talk at the lockers about our weekend plans. We don’t need to be looking at each other, naked as jaybirds, to understand a conversation. If I’m spending our conversation running naked circles around you, then fine, you can take a peek. I’m being weird and also generous and you’re welcome.

Are we not having a conversation? Then stop looking at me, ya weirdo. These running naked circles are not for you, my friend. 

 

Boot life and birthdays

bootlifegApparently working out really hard all the time isn’t so good for you.

Oops?

My affection for high impact, high intensity, interval training has left me all stumpy. I have a stress fracture in my foot because of excessive running/jumping/high impact movements. Thanks to my obsession with balls-to-the-wall workouts, I now have a sweet new accessory to rock for three weeks.

#bootlife

I am to wear the boot whenever I am walking or standing and I am to avoid any high impact exercise. No running. No jumping. No running and jumping at the same time (high school long/triple/high jumper in the hooouse). This means a big shift in my workouts is required so I updated my plan and wanted to share it with anyone else that just so happens to not be able to do things that might injure their foot (my people!).

My workouts for the next three weeks will be comprised of three different full-body strength circuits, cycling, and swimming. I did the first strength circuit last night in one-minute intervals. 50 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, then on to the next exercise. I did that three times through (for a 30 minute workout) and I kept an easy-moderate pace because I was easing back into my workouts. The next strength day I’ll up the pace or the weights to make it more difficult and I’ll vary the intensity of my workouts throughout.

LI1g LI2g LI3g

(click the images to expand)

Today I’ll be cycling at the work gym (top five favorite work perks of ever) on my lunch break and tomorrow I’ll either hit up the pool or rest. My former-water-polo-playing friend came over last week to teach me how to swim like a real adult so now I know how to do the break stroke, crawl stroke, back stroke, and I think some other stroke but I can’t remember (I’m a great student). I’m hoping to get some more time in the pool soon to a) have an excuse to enjoy the pool before we move out and b) to get comfortable with another form of exercise.

If I’m being honest though, tomorrow is 90% chance of a rest day because it’s David’s birthday <3 <3. Love that guy.

His birthday is always a fun adventure around our house because while David’s all like

what birthday?

 

I’m all like

party party party party!

and I make him celebrate his birthday every year, even when he doesn’t want to. As far as I’m concerned it’s one of my wifely duties (hehe duties) to force him to celebrate life. And celebrate we shall! We both have the day off work Thursday and the world is our oyster!

I have no idea what that saying means. Also, I don’t like seafood. So maybe we’ll just do something fun instead, sans oysters…

 

A Sherlock inspired HIIT workout

This post was originally written for and posted on the Geeked Out Fitness blog.

After two years on hiatus, BBC finally aired Season 3 of Sherlock (thank you, Moffat) in January.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or a new viewer, you have probably noticed the episodes are lengthy. Each episode could be it’s own movie – but we’re grateful that it’s not because then who knows how long we would have to wait between episodes and seasons. Episodes with commercials run about two hours in the states which provides a great time to sit down, relax, and enjoy yourself.

Or not.

It’s also two hours that you could spend mostly sitting down but occasionally working out too. I’ve created a Sherlock workout for you to bring to any episode of Sherlock and get some exercise in. Any movement is better than no movement at all and it’s a two hour period with occasional exercise which makes it a workout with plenty of breaks to get your wits about you before the next exercise.

The instructions are easy. Any time something listed on the left happens, you move your cat off your lap, get off the couch, and do the exercise listed on the right. Use commercials to get yourself some water and stretch out. Invite a friend over and make a game of it. Not only will it help you get moving but it will also help you focus more on the show so you can catch all of the cues.

The workout is designed for Sherlock as a show and not specifically the next episode to air in the US so feel free to use this workout anytime you watch Sherlock – old or new. Just remember to shower afterwards so you don’t smell funny when you meet your friend later for coffee and crime solving.

sherlockworkout2

Need an explanation for one of the exercises? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back: push up, tuck jumpwalking push upplanktriceps dipreverse crunchwall sitSupermanjump squatmountain climberburpee.

Warrior Dash: A once in a lifetime experience

warriordash2No seriously. Once.

We’re not ever doing that again.

David and I have always wanted to run a mud run. It’s something that seemed like oodles of fun and our friends that have run them can’t stop raving about it. I’ve even volunteered for a mud run before (the goal was to get the free race – that I never got – but that’s another mess for another story time). At some point we made an agreement that on our anniversary each year we would try to seek out new experiences so we thought this would be a great inaugural experience.

We chose Warrior Dash because it’s fairly well known as one of the “easy” mud runs. Other mud run organizations like Spartan Race make a point at their races to insult Warrior Dash and how easy it is in comparison. Warrior Dash doesn’t time their races, making it pretty clear that the focus is about the fun and the experience, not the competition. With no desire to jump in ice baths or run through electric wires, we thought this would be fun.

We thought wrong.

Here, in list format, are all of the problems we had with the Warrior Dash we participated in. Some are related to the race organizers. Some are my own gripes. All are reasons we won’t be going back.

No signs pointing to the racer area. Party central (where all of the booths are) was about a mile from the parking lot, winding around some other buildings and sectioned off fields. There were no signs pointing us in the right direction and there were people walking in every possible direction around the parking lot. Eventually we just decided to follow some other unmuddied couple in hopes they were going the right direction.

No signs indicating where start line was. This one still blows my mind. The start line was small and was under some metal scaffolding with a Warrior Dash helmet on it. This same exact set up was at the finish line, near the stage, and at two other places in the same racer area. Nothing said “Start.” No arrows. No help anywhere.

Paying for parking. We had to pay $10 to park in a field. This fee? Maybe it’s to encourage carpooling but really it’s just more dollars in the bank for Warrior Dash.

No photographers. Do you follow Warrior Dash on Facebook? Or Twitter? Have you seen all of the photos of people having tons of fun running and climbing and jumping over fire? Yea, we won’t be in any of those. There wasn’t a single photographer when we ran and the hired photographer company even has the photos posted with waves stopping at 3PM. Apparently the 5+ later waves just weren’t worth the trouble and didn’t matter.

The mud. Okay, I know, this is a stupid thing to complain about because I signed up for a mud run. But that’s just it, I signed up for a mud RUN. We mud walked. And mud waded. And mud dragged each other through the course. At least half of the course was covered in mud more than a foot deep. For many parts of the course I was just wading through muddy water that was up to my knees or my hips. Running wasn’t even an option. Every now and then someone would try to run, would take one step, slip and fall. There were no shoes with powerful enough grip, no strong enough running technique. You physically could not run. Nearly everyone used the trees along the outskirts of the course to pull themselves along. It was pathetic. When I imagine mud run I imagine a trail run with obstacles that require me to get dirty. I don’t imagine I’ll spend an hour walking in mud and sometimes jumping on wooden obstacles.

Minimal supervision on the wooded part of the course. Speaking of slipping and falling, the wooded course supervision was paltry. I saw one singular volunteer in the woods where it was the deepest, muddiest, and least safe. And that guy was wearing a backpack wandering around the woods not even looking at the course so he was probably just looking for his beer or something and not there to watch the course. With how unsafe that terrain was there should have been people watching.

Missing obstacles. The Warrior Dash website says this location has 12 obstacles. Some of the obstacles listed on the website weren’t even at the race. Or maybe they were and they broke earlier in the day…

Broken Obstacles. Many of the obstacles are made of wood. I assume they’re made in the week leading up to the race, on site. I skipped many of these obstacles because wooden beams on the bottom were split, falling off, or gone all together. I went on one that had some broken beams and refused to get on another one.

Guys calling me cheater. This isn’t Warrior Dash’s issue but it made me really angry. David and I reached a tipping point in the first mile of the race where we were super over the whole situation. When there were large areas of mud, occasionally we would walk on the outside of the red tape designating the course limits. We did this in an effort to finish quicker, to get around the more dangerous hills or deep water, and we never ventured far off track. During one part two guys called us cheaters. Newsflash morons, you can’t cheat if it’s not a competition. The race isn’t timed. We weren’t in the competitive wave. And nobody cares. Get off your high horse and go to actual competitive events if you want to be an ass about it all. Besides, we were walking. If we really wanted to “cheat” we probably would have put some damn hustle in our step.

Crawling and more crawling. I counted at least three obstacles that required crawling on hands and knees. Have you ever dug your knee into gravel and mud? It’s just as much fun as it sounds.

Goliath volunteers not paying attention. I was two seconds from getting onto a broken slide because the volunteers at the top were too busy talking to each other to realize I was getting on an unmarked broken slide. As I mid-hop on the slide, I was sternly told not to use the two slides on the left because they were broken. Not labeled as such, with water still running down the slide. I got out and took another slide and wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t caught me last minute.

Fire jump obstacle volunteers not paying attention. At the start line we were told that the volunteers at the fire obstacle would give us very clear and specific instructions when we got to the obstacle to insure our safety. This didn’t happen. David and I ran through the fire and on with our race. The entire time the volunteers had their backs to the fire and were watching a helicopter land in the distance. I could have literally stood inside of the fire and they would not have noticed until I screamed for help on account of the whole being on fire thing.

No water at the showers. There was a pool and then a shower station built with hoses and PVC pipe. When we were done with the race there was no water to be had. How does that even happen? You’ve been running this race for how long now and you can’t calculate how much water you need?

Muddy water at the showers when they were finally refilled. On our way out about 40 minutes later a water truck was just arrived. The truck pulled up, plugged in, and about 4 of the dozens of showers started spraying water. Muddy water. It was super gross and people were still bathing in it. I still can’t figure out why.

Party was shut down before people were off the course. When we got our free beer we were told we had 15 minutes to drink it. On our way out we heard them tell everyone the party was shutting down. There were still people all over the course and I have to wonder if they still got the beer. I wonder how upset they were to get to the finish line to find the food, beer, and vendor booths shut down.

Removing the exit signs. When we were leaving the “parking lot” the volunteers were all taking the exit signs down. The parking lot was only about half empty if that so everyone left was going to just need to figure it out themselves and hopefully not run into each other. I get that you guys want to go party your Saturday night away, but would it kill you to wait until the parking lot was legitimately near empty to start removing signs telling them the direction to go to safely get out?

Cost too much money for what we got. I’m glad part of my race fee went to St. Jude although I have no idea how much. Outside of that, this was a whole lot of money for a poorly run race. Maybe it was awesome when they opened at 8AM but that doesn’t warrant giving up on anyone that came later in the day and providing a crappy experience for anyone in later waves. It cost over $160 for the two of us to run in a race that showed no indications of being a race that’s happened many, many times over. The organization and presentation were piss poor.

We have a cute picture thanks to a nice guy in the parking lot and that’s it. We smiled because we were happy to be heading home to shower but we were both pretty disappointed in the entire experience. It didn’t ruin our weekend – we spent the next day out in beautiful Charlottesville having brunch at a brewery – but it definitely wasn’t worth the effort or the money.

As I mentioned before, we have plenty of friends who’ve had great experiences with mud runs, Warrior Dash included. More power to ‘em and I’m glad that they had great experiences but it’s just not for us.  It wasn’t our cup of tea.

Suffice it to say we won’t be running in this or any other mud run ever again.

Now the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge (ROC Race) on the other hand? That one definitely caught my eye…

My healthy living story

This post was originally written for and posted on the Geeked Out Fitness blog.

Recently, someone on Twitter asked me how I got into living healthy and making my fitness a priority. I started to respond and then I realized that my story was going to take up much more than 40 characters so I wrote something to the effect of “Long story but started to hit rock bottom and changed.”

Worst storyteller ever.

But that really got me thinking about my story and all of the stories on the Geeked Out Fitness team and I think that it’s important that we share our stories with you.

I’m not sure at what point in my life I learned that I needed to be skinny or how I learned it or where I learned it. I just remember knowing it. It was a thing that was fact. I needed to be skinny. The oldest memory about my physical self that I can remember involves softball. I played softball in fourth and fifth grade and I remember shopping for softball pants being one of the most mortifying experiences of my young life. I remember trying pants on and telling my mom that my thighs were fat and that I was fat. I don’t know if my mom remembers this adventure, I’ve never asked.

pic32

I look back on the pictures now and I can see that I wasn’t the same size as my very small framed best friend, but I wasn’t particularly fat either. My body image was distorted.

Throughout middle and high school I went through random bouts of not liking my body all that much – as I suppose young girls are unfortunately wont to do – and again now I look back on the pictures and think about how crazy I was. I was a tiny little stick person and I was convinced I was too fat. I had no real concept of exercising or eating healthy or anything. I didn’t know what a calorie was and I refused to run the mile in gym class.

When I got to college I met a boy who rode bicycles. I started riding bikes too and started to see my body differently for the first time in my life. I saw muscles in my lower half and I was proud of my curves. I was also eating ramen, chicken nuggets, and ice cream though so the change wasn’t overwhelming. After we broke up I continued to ride although not as much as before.

After my freshman year of college I left school and didn’t plan to go back. Then at the last minute I decided to go back anyway.  Sometime during my tenure at school I got a job as a waitress at Hooters (I was hired for my personality).  The tight uniforms only encouraged my self-judgment and I stopped eating as much and started working out. I was running and bought a ballet barre with an exercise DVD.  A guy I had been with off and on during my entire time at school commented on the change in my body and I felt that it was a win. I was looking good!

Fast forward to the beginning of junior year. I dropped out of school – for good this time – and stayed in my apartment with my friend. I had a job as a waitress at a small restaurant and I spent a lot  of time drinking. Sometimes I ran. Mostly I drank. And drank. And drank. The only time I remember being sober was between breakfast and driving to work.

Until one day two months after dropping out of school I called my mom asked her if I could move back home because I thought I was becoming an alcoholic. She said come on back but my parents were going to be out of town when I planned to come back so the only things I could bring back home with me were what I could fit in my 97 Pontiac Sunfire. It wasn’t a lot but that’s what I needed. It was the first step in letting go of a lot of physical and emotional baggage.

When I moved back home I started to search for a job and I didn’t have much to do in my free time so I started to work out. I started with Jilian Michaels DVDs and running and random weight lifting in the apartment gym. My mom joined me in working out sometimes, which I thought was fun. When she would join me I used to encourage her during our workouts. Helping her with her form and cheering her on. One workout she suggested I should become a personal trainer. Although I think she said actually said athletic trainer. I sort of took her advice and started looking into becoming a personal trainer (not a jock strap / athletic trainer).

Over the next six years my whole life changed. I started working in gyms. I completed my ACSM certification and later my NASM certification. I helped friends and family and strangers that became friends and family. I didn’t drink for a while after coming back home but eventually it snuck its way back into my diet.  I learned how to work out and how to appreciate my body for what it could do and not what it looked like.

I still struggle with my eating habits. I eat weird and sometimes like a bird but also sometimes I eat 20 chicken wings. I’m not always perfect. I don’t always workout and I don’t always stop at 1 piece of pizza and I don’t only eat unprocessed food. I’m still a work in progress. I would like to look back five years from now and say that Husband and I have enough money to eat only unprocessed, organic foods and that we are eating and living healthier than ever before.

Five years. That’s a long time. I’m not pretending that things are going to change over night. It took me a long time to really respect my body and stop judging it so harshly and I know my diet isn’t going to change overnight either but it’s about 400 times better than where it was before.

I work out and I eat healthy because I want to live a long and happy life. I don’t want the 1800 ailments that run in my family line on both sides. I want better for myself and I deserve better for myself. Living healthy is so important to me and I try to be there for anyone that is trying to make the steps themselves because it’s not an easy task. But it is so worth it. My resting heart rate and my blood pressure are low (in a healthy way). My body fat percentage is healthy.  I have trouble sleeping but that’s an anxiety thing and not a healthy lifestyle thing. I’m making these changes – these long-term lifestyle changes for me. Because I love me. And for the people that love me because I know they want me to stick around and bug them for as long as possible.

There are so many details and twists and turns in my story but I wanted you to understand at least from a big picture perspective where I come from. If you ever want to hear all of the sordid details I would be happy to share them with you over a cup of decaf tea sometime. In the meantime, I’ll just be here working on my own lifestyle change, helping people kick ass in the gym, and encouraging you to make the best of your own life too.

sabrinaandalex

A Doctor Who inspired HIIT workout

This post was originally written for and posted on the Geeked Out Fitness blog.

How are you feeling post-Doctor-Who-Christmas-special? Sad? Excited?

Ready for a workout?

I don’t want to scare you too much so I’m going to keep it simple(ish) and throw a short (but hard) workout at you inspired by my personal favorite geekery. Although I look forward to the Christmas episode every year, this year was particularly heartbreaking/exciting as we ushered out the latest Doctor and made room for the new. Adieu Matt Smith and your perfect hair, and welcome Peter Capaldi and your new kidneys.

Using the TARDIS herself for inspiration, you are going to run through a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. I’m a huge fan of HIIT because you work smarter. Instead of hours at the gym, your workout intensity gets raised and the length of time shortened. It’s a great way to get your metabolism pumped as you work in strength training with your cardio training, increasing your strength and stamina at the same time.

For this workout you will use an interval timer, starting with 15 seconds of rest, moving on to 45 seconds of work (the exercise). I recommend the Gymboss timer but there are also tons of free websites and free apps that you can find with a simple Google search (here’s one).  When your first 15/45 split is up, you move on to the next exercise, and so on and so forth until you have gone through each exercise twice.

Did you get that? One exercise for each letter of the TARDIS. Twice through. Hey, that’s 12 minutes! In honor of our 12 doctors!

Except – hey, remember in the 50th anniversary special when the High Council of Gallifrey is watching all of the Doctors come to save the day and they yell “All 12 of them – No all 13 of them!” ? Yea, so on that note, do a bonus round of the exercise listed (15 off, 45 on).

Oh and actually, I’m pretty sure – if I’m understanding correctly – that in the Christmas special Moffat just blew our minds and explained that with 10’s partial regeneration being a full regeneration and oh – yea that War Doctor guy – Capaldi is actually the 14th Doctor. So let’s throw a second bonus round on at the end too.

Total workout time? 14 minutes. Total Doctors? 14… maybe… I think…

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All exercises can be done with or without weight so feel free to manipulate as needed for your own fitness level. If you don’t have access to a gym, get creative. Use soup cans as weights and coffee tables as weight benches. Think outside of the box! If you are a beginner, please listen to your body and pace yourself if need be. If you need to take a second to catch your breath during your 45 seconds of work, do so. If you need to do one round and work your way up to two, do that. Remember to focus on proper form, not speed.

If you aren’t sure what each of the exercises is, check out the links below for explanations.

Tuck JumpAlternating Renagade RowReverse HypersDouble Jumping JackIncline Pushup , Sumo Squat

As always, if you have any questions tweet me @thesabrinajess. Or if you just want to talk about Doctor Who too because, well, I could talk about this show until I run out of air.

 

New year’s resolutions

This post was originally written for and posted on the Geeked Out Fitness blog.
happy-new-year-hd-wallpaper-red-and-white-1024x640It’s a new month and a new year and you know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions! This past week I took the time to ask you on Facebook what resolutions you were  making this year and how you were planning on sticking to them.

But why? Why did I ask you about your resolutions when every year another article comes out telling us the same re-hashed information about how often resolutions fail?

I asked because I care. I want to know you. What makes you tick? What’s driving you this year? What will make you feel good? How are you going to get there? We’ve all heard the same information every year about the shelf life of a New Year’s Resolution and we all had friends spouting off resolutions on the first of January and we all had friends spouting off their refusal to give into the peer pressure to make resolutions anymore. We’ve heard it all but we just keep chugging.

Some of the New Year’s Resolutions made on the Geeked Out Fitness team this year include drinking less, reading more, eating healthier, sticking to an exercise schedule. All of the same stuff millions of people around the world commit to every year. Some stick with it, most don’t. But we made resolutions anyway. I asked you about yours – that you were making despite the odds – anyway.

But why?

Because I’m an optimist. I believe in hope and change and new beginnings. I believe in the power and excitement of a fresh start. I believe that if you set your mind to it, this year you really can accomplish your New Year’s Resolutions. How?

Make SMART resolutions.

In the personal training world we encourage our clients to make SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This theory also carries quite well into marketing, project management, and just about any other aspect of your life wherein you need to set and achieve a goal. Losing weight, reading more, winning the Boston Marathon tomorrow – these goals aren’t SMART. They make a good start for a SMART goal though. Use your vague goals as a foundation to build your SMART goals. Build resolutions that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. If you need help understanding how to turn vague resolutions into SMART resolutions, the team at Top Achievement can guide the way. Give yourself deadlines and details. Give yourself all of the tools to make those resolutions to come true. And don’t you dare give up on yourself.

Throw SMART goals in with a reliable support system (your wife, your dad, your co-worker) and  losing sight of your resolutions is damn near impossible. Just remember that roadblocks aren’t a time to give up, they’re a time to prove to yourself that this is the year it’s different. You’re different. And you’re going to kick your New Year’s Resolution’s ass.