It’s a month before our wedding. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to a race. All the excitement, emotions, and prep! Just like before a race, the wedding dreams have started. Mostly it’s where a hairdresser, musician, or the dress is not to be found. Luckily in my dream, I’ve laughed it all off and smiled my way down the isle regardless. Because, if the programs don’t get ordered who really cares?! All I can think about is Jason’s smile and being surrounded with our nearest and dearest. And of course the amazing honeymoon we have carefully planned to follow.
I am coming off of one of my most treasured weekends. Much attention to detail was paid in order for me to enjoy my most favorite of things and just relax. I spent 48 hours in one of my dearest places, with some of my most beloved people.
This is the tribe. These are the girls I talk to weekly if not daily. They make time and want to be a part of things, automatically, even in the midst of their extraordinary busy lives. They are my safe space. No one judges and no one is easily offended. No two are the same. As I prepped myself for the weekend away, I found myself reflecting on the uniqueness of each woman and my one of a kind relationship with them. The length of friendships range from 5 years to 30+. They have embraced each other over the years and jumped in with two feet from day one, including the newest member, my soon to be sister in law.
At surface, you may think this group seems vastly different. Some mothers, some runners, some wives, and some business owners. But there are two characteristics they all share that sets them apart.
- They all are Christians.
- They all live brave, bold lives they are carefully crafting along the way. These women dare greatly as Brene’ Brown would say. They chase dreams, goals, and accomplishments many only talk about.
As our weekend kicked off, I couldn’t help but toast them. Over the years they have thrown birthday parties, supported my business, listened to dating horror stories, and gushed and celebrated with me when I finally met Jason. My tribe is large. They are strong. They are solid. They are party planning masters! Over the past several months, they’ve lovingly collaborated, organized, and nailed an engagement party, a pajama party, and now a bachelorette weekend. As per their usual, they truly have gone above and beyond showing kindness and offering help.
What made it so great…
A bachelorette party at 39 is probably very different than you may picture for that of a 20 something. I spent hours lounging on a couch or in a beach chair.
I rarely used my phone. I was surrounded with special girlfriends. I sipped plenty of my signature spicy skinny margs. There was plenty of snacking, some cursing, and a fair dose of praying. I wore make up once. I tackled a morning workout on the beach.
The next month will be busy and full of appointments of every kind. I may have come back completely tired, but in my own way I am energized to push through the final mile of this wedding planning while running my business, and prepping to wife up!
It is an honor for me to share not only my upcoming special day but these past few months with these gals. I have fallen deeper in love with them all.
Last week I posted a little food challenge on the blog. It was designed to do a few things.
I’ve always been a late bloomer as they say. Late in comparison to others for a first kiss. Late in comparison to others to find my career path. Late in comparison to others to learn many lessons both financially, faithfully, and in fitness. Late in comparison to others to get married. Possibly late in comparison to others to find motherhood. I am not done blooming or learning, nowhere close. It has become clear that I just require a little more time in God’s molding. These moments of waiting have built my trust in him and proven his glory in my blessings. This is what makes the waiting bearable, tolerable, and doable.
So much of what I do spills over into each and every bucket of my life. I’m always scanning the internet for new workouts, taste testing out new recipes on Jason, and crafting skinny cocktails in my own kitchen…I consider this to be significant research! I even spend time each week praying with clients. I’m eating, sweating, sipping, and most definitely praying my way along this fit life on the regular. The teacher in me prompts me to consistently expand my learnings and share my findings with my tribe. That spirit is what lead me to initially create this virtual space so many years ago.
Professionally, the path has been winding and at times unclear to bystanders. But to me, each step has been intentional and necessary leading to the next one.
It’s been a year since I’ve been personal training on my own and it’s been a true joy. It took me years to get here, standing on my own two feet. There have been too many financial struggles, copycats, and even naysayers to count. Each creating their own set of challenges. More notable though are the supporters, steadfast friends, family, and now spouse. Now on the other side, I know these circumstances made me tougher, more tolerant, and more determined to keep after it. Proving just how much I really wanted this. Never settling. Learning what is worth negotiating and what I hold as true value.
I started this blog in 2011 and my hopes were to create a business that could ebb and flow with my personal seasons of life. One that would fit and compliment a life as a wife and possibly one day mother. At the time the blog began, there was absolutely no sign of either.
Now I sit, 60+ days from wifehood and if God’s plan for me includes motherhood, I imagine that’s not too far behind. But for today, I’m focused on the now, while paying respect to the rearview mirror.
My personal training business allows me to offer options attractive to those looking to broaden their health and fitness program. God has been beyond good this past year. And while daily, I struggle and continuously ask for personal guidance, peace, grace, forgiveness, and patience…I acknowledge the long list of items in my gratitude prayers. A list that grows daily.
Perspective is key to finding joy. Sometimes you must choose to look for it. As do most of us, my clients face illness, divorce, death, motherhood, loss, injury, and even financial/career struggles. That doesn’t make them unique. What does is their ability to dig deep and show up anyway. I consider that to be a form of faith. That is crosstraining.
That’s the thing about life and fitness. They parallel each other. Some days are easy. Many days are hard, forcing you to keep fighting and praying for those wins! By flexing your muscles for faith and fitness, you’ll attract the tribe and life you really want.
Ok gang. Who’s up for a little challenge? A slight nutritional remix. Basically it’s a way of getting out of your kitchen comfort zone. I do these from time to time for various reasons. No matter my why, it always has purpose. It’s always well thought out. This week my WHY is to fight some overall body inflammation and belly bloat. After 3 road trips in 1 week, my body is physically feeling it and the signs are visible.
Participating in a nutritional remix is a great way to bust through a food rut. It forces you to incorporate different ingredients, create new recipes, and try some new things.
I use the same concept when approaching a workout rut. You want some different results? From time to time we have to shake it up. Make up a new workout circuit, swap your cardio, or pick up heavier weightsThat’s why I created a beach boot camp option for my clients starting this week. We will work differently and on new terrain.
While I spend time today re-vamping my meal plan and prepping new food for the week, here’s what I’m keeping in mind.
- GLUTEN: gluten is an inflammatory agent. Pasta has become a bit too easy for me lately. I bet I could find an alternative that’s more nutrient dense and is more of a complete meal, not just a bundle of carbs.
- SUGARS: keep your fresh fruit, but check any processed foods & go without any artificial sweeteners. Goodbye sodas and salad dressings! Go for flavored water instead. Use vinegars and sweet/savory spices to sweeten or flavor foods.
- ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: I’m not a drinker during the week anyhow so this is a bit easier for me. Try bubbly water or diy fruit infused spa water. I love adding sliced cucumbers, pineapple, and even left over watermelon rinds to a large pitcher of water.
- DAIRY: I’m eating a bit too much cheese and eggs and in order to gain perspective and portion awareness I’m challenging myself to find alternatives. Think guacamole, Greek yogurt, or nutritional yeast. Leaner, greener, and cleaner!
- ALLOW FOR INDULGENCE: We can’t buy the expensive shoes every month. We can’t sleep in everyday. We can’t have cake and wine every night. But from time to time, it’s not only appropriate – it’s necessary. Perspective and priority my friends!
You don’t need to try all 4. Maybe pick one or two. Maybe you have a completely different swap in mind. Make it fun, not forceful. Start small. The purpose is to bring awareness and attention to some habits that may need changing. When you swap out some of your weekly staples, you’ll probably notice some physical changes. Your skin may clear up, your belly may shrink, your energy rises, you may have lowered anxiety, and you may even better sleep!
Focus on these.
- Can you make it a week without X ?
- What did you put in it’s place?
- Did you miss it?
- How are you feeling without it?
I’ll be participating and experimenting with this until Friday. It’s a great way to break habits and build routine during the week. It allows Saturday or Sunday to be filled with celebration. Next weekend I have a bridal shower and I’ll def be indulging. It’s an appropriate time for treats. Once a week we need a rest day and a break from routine. I choose Saturday because it’s the most likely day for social engagements on my schedule.
How will you bust through your own rut and make your own change ?
With so many new fitness goals out there for folks to tackle, abs may seem a bit over rated and frankly might not be something you even care about. But it is one of my top questions so here is my soapbox on the topic.
The way to get them seems logical. Workout and eat right. But for many the recommendations are so hard to hear…and more difficult to implement.
While muscles are abs-olutely built during your workout sessions, the flat physique of your tummy depends more on what’s happening at the grocery store and in your kitchen.
I often gauge my own personal health, fitness, and wellness level by what’s happening with my tummy. Notice I didn’t say my self worth, simply just my fitness/wellness. When it’s flatter, I know I’m eating cleaner, leaner, greener, and have lowered my overall inflammation. A flatter tummy also means I’m keeping a solid cardio and weight training program, complimented by healthy nutrition habits. Your skin and energy levels are also great barometers of your current wellness level as well.
I have a curvy, but small build. With that body type, weight tends to be carried in places like my bust, booty, and belly. Keeping up with a clean nutrition plan keeps those curves where they should be without any added bulking, puffiness, or bloating.
During my half marathons I usually carry a little bit of a belly. I also have to be mindful of what I eat as too many raw fruits and veggies don’t mix well for long distance running. During those seasons, my weight shifts and the scale fluctuates (2-4 +/- lbs). At times I actually feel heavier and softer in my tummy. I personally find it necessary for my training. It’s where the carbs live. As you know with endurance sports, your body requires more fuel to perform. Not to mention, the mad sugar cravings I have while running longer distances. The perceived change in weight is in part a product of lowered weight training. With a few old injuries, I have to lay off of some of my favorite exercises in order to preserve the body for running. With that, we know muscle weighs more that fat. But fat takes up more space, hence feeling larger and less tight.
While I may take in more daily calories with half marathon training, I find it doable to keep those meals mostly clean. Lean proteins, plenty of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. Pizza and fries are part of the program, but not a nightly occurrence. Those options fit better as a post long run meal.
The last two weeks my fitness routine and nutrition program have changed. And as a result, pretty instantly, so has my gut.
As this post continues, here are a few things to consider:
- How are you filling your body?
- How are you fueling your body? Is your current nutrition program full of added sugars and/or processed foods? You better believe your body will rebel against that. Usually in the form of inflammation, more weight around the gut, and maybe even problematic skin.
- What’s your happy hour look like? If nightly wine is on the menu, it’s something to consider swapping or skimming back.
- I drink black coffee. No need to add unwanted calories or chemicals to my morning beverage. If you feel you need a little something try coconut oil, coconut milk, or ghee. We also love the line of Laird Superfood Creamers. The small amount of fat will be great fuel for the brain. If you choose to add any of my suggestions, I recommend blending for a frothy bev.
- I drink a fair amount of water daily. Jazz it up with dehydrated citrus powder, flavored oils, or fruit/veggie peels.
- I have dessert! My current go to is either a Yasso Bar or a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt with berries and a bit of dairy free whipped cream. It isn’t a nightly occurrence, but those times I need a little sweet treat this hits the spot.
- I hit the weights. Lifting heavier and more often burns fat. My workouts are short in length but pack a big punch. Most of my circuits include total body moves or what I refer to as “toes to nose”. For example, instead of a simple squat, try a weighted squat to overhead press. The total body move torches everything and engages the core. My theory is, if you’re gonna spend time working out, why not hit it all in one shot. My clients hear this often. A workout with me has many of these signature moves in it.
- I alternate my cardio. Get out of the same old routine. Sprints are moved to compliment a circuit. Long slow cardio may come on the form of a two hour hike in the trails. Spin or swimming is sprinkled in as a change up, again working the entire body!
- I don’t drink cocktails every night. That is hard to hear for those nightly wine drinkers. But trust me, it can be done. Being in the midst of wedding planning makes this one a bit more challenging. It seems there are cocktails everywhere. I do partake in them on the weekends. These days, I tend to stick with clear liquors like vodka or tequila and flavored water or fresh citrus juices. If I am ordering a drink out, I ask for it in a “skinny” option. That’s about as clean of a cocktail as one can get.
- I don’t keep a stock pile of chips, cookies, or frozen meals in the house . My shopping is 90% perimeter. Meaning I don’t venture into the middle of the supermarket much.
- I don’t feel guilty about a splurge. When an opportunity for fellowship with family or friends presents itself, I take it. Then I celebrate accordingly. Life is too short to feel bad about something like that.
- I don’t count calories, but I do read labels. Luckily for me, most of the food we consume is label free. I prepare the majority of our weeknight dinners with fresh ingredients. When using frozen veggies or packaged foods, I am conscious to read the ingredients being mindful of any added preservatives, sugars, chemicals. Those extras are big time culprits for inflammation, bloating, and unnecessary fat.
- I don’t believe in exclusivity statements. “I’m never eating x again” “I don’t consume x” I find that by saying that you’ll find yourself in a situation where you may just have too. If you are invited to a friend’s home for dinner and they serve something you don’t normally eat, you have the option to decide: to possibly offend or hurt them or make the best of it. If you’re at a restaurant that only serves x, you’re faced with a choice. Do the best you can with what you have. Don’t miss out on opportunity to bond with someone or enjoy yourself. When you’re following a good nutrition program and fitness routine on the reg, these one off moments won’t be as traumatic or damaging to your plan.
Need more guidance? Contact me for consulting or training details.
Now that the half marathon is over, I have more freedom in my schedule to shake things up. I get a little squirmy when I think about switching up my routine, but I get equally excited. I spent some time this week comparing class schedules at local studios and pool availability with my current work schedule. I do this every 90 days or so. This deliberate allotted time period works well when moving towards crushing goals. It is the perfect amount of time to train for a race, a vacation, or life event and have noticeable realistic results.
The last 3 months were devoted to my half marathon training. The next 3 are designed with bridal fitness in mind. A tad leaner, slightly more muscular, and definitely more tone. Take note I didn’t mention weight loss. I truly am focusing on body composition, not a scale number. With this change to my physical plan comes nutritional amendments as well. Less consumption of starchy carbs, more focus on lean proteins, and I will continue monitoring my sugar and alcohol intake…with the exceptions to wedding showers, bachelorette parties, and weekly date nights!
Nothing is off the table 🙂 This makes the plan achievable and enjoyable!
I am a big believer in keeping the body guessing. I find it equally refreshing for the mind. There are major benefits to change up your weekly routine. Here’s why I recommend it for myself and my clients regularly:
- SWAP YOUR SESSION. Changing up the routine breaks boredom. If running on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday is your thing – take those weekly blocks and swap for another low impact cardio option like swimming or spin class.
- STAY INJURY FREE. You have pushed hard for weeks or months. If you’ve been grinding out high miles for a race or heavy weights for a competition, give your body a break after the big day arrives. To insure you stay healthy, let your body recover by adding in a yoga day or bootcamp class instead of the regimented workouts you’ve been putting in.
- OPT OUTSIDE.When looking for Springtime exercise options, think outside the gym or home! Give your body the chance to soak up the sun and all of natures surroundings. Strengthen your body and spirit by choosing an outdoor setting that suits you while enjoying the seasonal mild temps. Your muscles will work in a different way outdoors on new terrain. You can get the best of both worlds (cardio/strength) in a small group setting or personal training appointment at the bay, boardwalk, or trails.
Have fun with your shake up. If you find yourself needing some help with your own wellness re-design, read this and contact me!