Archive for Author Kate

Make the Most of Your Time Here


Make the most of your time here.



Health, strength and mobility are your tickets to freedom, which also means they are the keys to a higher quality of life.



In essence, working consistently to be healthier, stronger and more mobile gives you the opportunity to make the most of your time on earth.



Eating well, moving consistently, and doing challenging strength work are not simply a means of reaching some size or scale number, they are THE means of improving our quality of life.



Enjoy the feeling of being alive, vital.



Get out there and do the things you really want to do.



Have fun, take chances, set scary goals, and get excited while pursuing them.



Remember not to take your time here on earth or your health for granted, or put off caring for one self until tomorrow.



Make the most of your time here.



Start today.



The 5 steps you need to take to fool-proof your fitness


In my 20s, I was completely and on-again, off-again exerciser.



I exercised super regularly the last year of college and got in amazing shape, but then lost interest and steam after I graduated, and all my support systems and friends who liked to work out got jobs and moved away.




Sometimes I would go for a run, but it would be hard, especially in the phases where I’d put on weight from going out and eating too much or having too many beers with friends.



Then I’d get back into a phase of working out again, hire a personal trainer for a while, lose some weight, feel better, then end up losing interest or getting knocked off track by some other life event.  (Nutrition was definitely a huge factor in all of this, but I just didn’t realize it at the time!)





I loved feeling fit, but I just couldn’t manage staying consistent for more than a few months at a time.








Until I fell off a friend’s grouchy barrel racer, landed on hard Louisiana clay, which broke two ribs, messed up my low back, and created a giant hematoma on the back of my right hip.


Well, it wasn’t the injury that got me back into working out really consistently, but the fallout.

100_1311.JPG.-22848256 100_1321.JPG.-1062302720


I don’t talk about this a whole bunch—like almost ever, really—but I was on prescription painkillers for a few weeks after the accident.



I remember the comfort of the numb, dulling feeling those medications gave, and I remember when they stopped working as well because I’d built up a tolerance.  I remember trading pain meds with my neighbor down the street because we had different meds and had both built up tolerances to the ones we had.




And, finally, I remember looking myself in the mirror about a week after that, and recognizing that I was at a fork in the road:  I could stay hooked on my pain and limitations and surrender to life on painkillers (and I’d already seen how that worked out for other people in my life), OR I could stop taking them, throw the rest away, and start figuring out how to rebuild my body.



After the hematoma disappeared, my ribs healed and my back became less painful, I went to physical therapy and hired a personal trainer.  That was in October of 2006.  I’ve been working out consistently ever since.



Because of my history of being on-again, off-again in my 20s, and my newfound determination to stay fit this time, I started taking note of the things that I did or needed to do differently to exercise consistently.  Life wasn’t getting any less complicated—being married to the Army, far from family, and having really small kids, so I needed to do things differently!




Below are the 5 steps I’ve come up with and followed that ensure I stay consistent with my movement/exercise/workouts. 




By doing these 5 things regularly and mindfully, I’ve stayed super consistent working out for the last 10+ years—through PCS moves, illnesses, deployments, injuries and more.  So these 5 strategies really are proven to work!!


1. Anticipate

One of the things I regularly do is anticipate. This means, I look at each week on Sunday, then at each day as it begins, and look to see what my obligations and responsibilities are, and where the challenges are likely to come in.


When I sit down on Sunday and look at the family calendar for the week to come, I can see how much of my time is already taken, where the ‘little windows of opportunity’ might be, and I can predict with some accuracy where things might get ‘hairy’ at the last minute.



Doing this again each morning helps me get really focused on THAT day’s business, since each day’s schedule and responsibilities is a little different.



After a while, we understand the challenges that are most likely to pop up in our everyday lives, so it’s not such a surprise when things don’t work out the way we’d planned!



Which leads me straight into…


2. Strategize

Once I’ve taken a good, hard look at the schedule for the week to come, identified my pockets of free time AND potential pitfalls/challenges, I start creating my Plan A for my workouts.SundayStrategizeSessions



Then I create Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D—I plan myself all the way into the ‘when all else fails’ scenario.



Plan A is my ideal workout, B is my backup plan, and all the rest are contingencies—usually shorter and simpler exercise options so that I know I can do SOMETHING even if the workout I really wanted to get in can’t happen that day.



I plan it out BEFORE things go sideways on me so that I don’t waste precious time and mental energy trying to figure out how to deal with the situation.  I know what to do, I don’t get so frustrated by the situation, and that means I still get something done that day!



And this brings me to this next point…


3. Have an iron-clad WHY

When things do go sideways on us—and they WILL at some point in the week, guaranteed—feeling frustrated can be a really natural, normal response.  And this feeling of frustration, ESPECIALLY when it happens towards the end of the day when we’re lower on energy and emotional bandwidth for dealing with things, can tempt us to just throw in the towel and give up.




‘It’s too hard, I’m too busy, I don’t have the energy, I just can’t deal with this, it’s just not meant to be…’are all totally normal, reactive thoughts and feelings.




The work-around? 




Having an ‘iron-clad’ WHY, aka:  having a clear sense of purpose for why you are committed to moving/exercising regularly.




When we know deep in our gut WHY it is important to us to move regularly/get in those workouts, we are SO much more likely to stick with it—to fight to overcome challenges and obstacles and do what we can no matter what gets thrown our way.




Knowing our WHY makes it SO much harder to quit. That big, deep, meaningful WHY gives us purpose—it gives us a vision or the words we need to dig deep and find our grit when it would be so much easier to just give in or give up (easier in the short-run at least!).




The thing is, our WHY needs to be both powerful and rooted in a positive source.  It needs to be a force that leads us forward and towards a goal or a feeling that makes our lives better, not simply an avoidance of negative feelings or outcomes.




Which brings me to the small stuff that let us know we’re in line with our WHY…




4.  Notice the smallest of wins—and celebrate them.

To stay consistent, we have to stay positive.  To stay positive, we have to notice the smaller, daily things we accomplish, because THOSE actions are the things that make our big wins possible, and that feed our WHY.



I like tracking these wins—in a notebook, on a consistency calendar, on Instagram, because it’s proof that I’m trying.  It’s data that shows how I’m working toward a vision or a specific goal.It’s a course of pride—it reinforces my belief in what I can do, and helps me believe I’m strong enough (inside and out) to get up and do more again tomorrow.



And those wins on the days when I wasn’t feeling it, or everything went sideways on me right up to the kids’ bedtime, those moments where I did something anyway?



Those are the ones I value most, that have the most meaning for me—and when I revisit them on other hard days, I know I can handle it again, even if it’s REALLY hard at the time.




And when worst comes to worst, and all these other tools aren’t working for me for whatever reason, I call on a friend.




5. Find a Fitness Friend/Have a Fitness Friend



Fitness Friend, supporter, accountability partner, or in my case:  pain partner.  These are the people that can make a world of difference.



Having someone in your corner, who really does have your best interests at heart, who’s ‘in it with you,’ who celebrates your wins with you, and who picks you up when you need a lift can be the difference between us giving up when things are really hard, and digging in to get through that tough time or phase.



I had one in Germany, and she’s been the biggest support for me throughout this transition.  She still is!We share our workout successes and struggles, she helps me figure out the crazy new exercises in the Kettlebell Strongman program we’re both doing now, and all from the other side of the Atlantic.




I knew what it was like to have in-person fitness friends, and to be one for others, too, but now I’m convinced of the power and effectiveness of the long-distance/online form of fitness friendship!



So if you don’t already have a fitness friend, find one.



Connect or reconnect with someone you know who cares about your health and fitness.



Find a supportive group or community—in person or online.  There are many FB groups created just for that purpose, just like mine.



And I’m always here for you!  Send me an email to, FB message, whatever, any time. I’ll be your fitness friend if you need one!



I know there are things that can threaten to knock us off track, and that life, well, just happens sometimes.  Really, I do. I’ve been married to the Army for 16 years, lived in 3 different states, two different continents and gone through 4 deployments.



I also know, from lots of trial and error and life experience, that when we have a plan, put strategies like the 5 I’ve shared today into action, and adapt as we go, we can get fit, and stay fit no matter what life throws our way.  It’s not always easy, but we CAN do it!



Here for you everyday, and cheering for you all the way!



I’m just a message away:

The secret to change



Self-compassion isn’t complacency.


Giving yourself grace isn’t the same as giving yourself excuses.




Appreciating, even liking, your body as is, right now, even if it’s not socially approved OR looking or feeling the way you’d like it to isn’t giving up or ‘lowering your standards.’




These practices, these mindsets, aren’t wimpy, they aren’t failings, they aren’t weaknesses.




These practices are actually the keys to being able to truly change, to create transformation; they are the necessary tools for creating a positive impact on your body composition, health, and fitness.




“Transformation cannot happen in a hostile environment.”





These were the words one of my beautiful clients said to me after our first few weeks working together.  She’d attended a weekend seminar, and this was one of the ‘a-ha’ moments she came away with.




The seminar had nothing to do with weight loss or fitness, but the message stuck with her loud and clear:  Harboring negative thoughts about herself and her body was not going to make any kind of real, meaningful or positive transformation possible.  It would simply sabotage her efforts and keep her stuck.




Why is it that can’t we settle and create living communities on Antarctica as we have in so many other places across our globe?



Because the conditions are so hostile, just surviving in small numbers for limited amounts of time with training and supplies is a difficult task.




It’s not impossible to survive, but it’s extremely challenging on a daily basis, even for trained and prepared scientists.  Forget planting crops, or building long-term shelters, or thriving and growing there—survival is the name of the game.




You can think of mindset as being the same way.




If we are harboring consistently negative, harsh, judgmental, even hateful feelings towards our bodies, we are setting up hostile conditions, not unlike the extremes of the Sahara or deserts in Mongolia, or that of Antarctica.




Survival is possible.  Thriving, growing, and positively transforming is not.




On the other hand, if our mindsets, the way in which we view ourselves, the quality of our self-talk (and we ALL talk to ourselves, all day long), are more nurturing, calmer, less of an assault on the senses, even—dare I say—a bit more positive or at least accepting, then that’s a place where something beautiful can grow and thrive.




We often think that we change first (lose weight, or body fat %, or inches, stick to that diet or that fitness program), and THEN we get to start feeling okay about ourselves.  We think we have to ‘behave’ first, then we get to say we like ourselves.




The trouble is, if while we’re trying to ‘behave’ ourselves into that state where we’ll finally be acceptable, or get to feel good about ourselves, we spend all our time harassing ourselves, calling ourselves names, focusing on shortcomings, small ‘failures,’ and harboring negative and harsh thoughts about ourselves and our bodies, we become SO much less likely to actually reach that place where we’ll finally be okay.




Even if we DO reach that magical end point at which we finally deem we’re good enough to like and be proud of: that weight loss goal, seeing that 80- or 90-day program through, finally fitting into those pants, we might just find (thanks to that hostile mindset) that it’s not enough.




“Wait, I was supposed to feel good about myself when ____________________,” we might catch ourselves thinking.  But we still don’t.




We don’t because we’ve continued to harbor that hostile environment that lives in our own heads and hearts.  




We still carry the NGE around with us, and it can warp our view of ourselves.  It can drive us to take on another diet, chase another workout or body change goal, to restrict what we eat overzealously, or to just give up altogether because ‘nothing we do really matters anyway.’




Siberia in our hearts, and the Sahara in our minds doesn’t create an environment where positive transformation can happen.


“What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny.” ~ Robin Sharma



When we nurture self-loathing, or negative body image issues, we get more—deeper, more pernicious amounts of it.  It grows deeper roots, spreads, and takes even more effort to remove.



In contrast, what if….



  • What if we nurtured a different mindset and set of feelings, of self-beliefs?
  • What if we used that same energy, gave that same level of attention and depth of feeling and belief to feeling good about ourselves?
  • What if we focused more of that time and precious mental space on nurturing self-acceptance—without qualifications?



“Do we place our attention and energy on the behaviors and outcomes we want in our children, co-workers, and diet and exercise regimes in order to create that which we desire, or do we place our attention on the things we want less of? 


When we place sincere effort on the attributes we want to see, and can let go of those that no longer serve or support, we have greater chance of success in achieving our desired outcomes.”

~ Robyn Stratton-Berkessel,




Instead of getting caught up in the ‘fear and loathing’ game, when we focus our attention and energy on what we DO want more of in our lives, we are so much more likely to make the choices that align with that vision or intention.




Instead of thinking that we have to be ‘x’ pounds, or ‘x’ size, etc. to be good and worthy, we can focus on what we are already doing to bring ourselves closer to that vision of who we want to be in this world—on the inside and the outside.



We can continue to prioritize and strategize ways to build the body and life we want, and devote our attention to making those choices happen day by day.



We can practice shaking off the old, ugly, unhelpful messages we may have learned and ingrained for so long, and replacing them with a proactive and positive mantras or affirmations.  We can cultivate a gritty, forward-thinking mindset that gets excited about creating the transformation we envision for ourselves.




We can cultivate laser-like focus on becoming more of ourselves, stepping more into our own talents, skills and personal superpowers—those cool things we’re just really good at doing.




We can focus on being more, and not less.




And we give ourselves both permission and motivation to pursue those goals of being more, better, happier, more accomplished, more at peace and more satisfied through rejecting old thought patterns and harnessing the powers of self-compassion:  treating and talking to ourselves kindly, recognizing our humanness, forgiving our mistakes, and appreciating our strengths and gifts.




“There is nothing noble or productive about smacking your inner self around when you’ve made a mess of things.  But a kinder, gentler approach will help you feel better and do better.” 

~ Polly Campbell, “Self-Compassion Can Soothe the Inner Critic”



So really, in the end, self-compassion isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity:  if we are truly going to do better, to grow in our abilities, to change our habits for the better (and for good!) we have to drop the inner critic and enlist our compassion. 


  • Have you been in the habit of berating yourself for your mistakes, past and/or present?  


  • How can you use self-compassion to help you do better in your life right now?



Can’t wait to hear all about it.


As always, send me a message anytime you need support OR want to share your ‘a-ha’s’ or successes.  Here’s my email:


I love helping when I can, and cheering right along with you when you have these mindset and behavior change wins.


Keep focusing on what you’re building,

<3 Kate


And to get more encouragement, guidance, support, fun workouts and more, sign up here:


You’ll immediately get a copy of my Jump Start Your Fitness workout menu, plus new ideas, strategies, and systems to increase your quality of life delivered to your inbox each week.


DSC_4126copyAre you MMP?


That is:






The more I read, learn, coach, teach, train and develop as an athlete myself, the more I find all roads lead back to these 3 fundamentals, and that cultivating these traits in ourselves is the key to succeeding.


And not just succeeding in the short-term or crushing just one goal, but in really creating the life, body, and satisfying experience that is the thing that’s truly at the root of our diet and fitness efforts.


We have to be present in our bodies and aware of our own thinking and behavior patterns before we stand a chance of really changing. If we act without awareness, and just do things for the sake of ‘doing something’ we miss the target, and we waste a lot of time and energy in the process.


We go on diets because they promise big things, even if it’s not really what OUR body needs, or we make ourselves start running, or follow some famous fitness professionals program because it promises big changes. And it doesn’t stick because it’s not what we REALLY need, we aren’t invested in it, and we get frustrated with ourselves for ‘failing again.’


But if we are MINDFUL instead, if we listen to the feedback our bodies give us from the meals/foods we eat, if we engage in activities that we like and are constructive for our bodies’ current needs, and spend time understanding our own behavioral tendencies and cultivate more positive thinking and helpful habits, then we are able to do the things that will stick, that will make us feel more successful and better all over instead.




To be successful, to feel successful, to create and maintain those desired changes in our bodies and lifestyles, we have to be PERSISTENT, because nothing comes easy–and it never comes right when we want it to.


As defined by Merriam-Webster:

“Simple Definition of persistence

: the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people

: the state of occurring or existing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time”


We just plain have to be willing to ‘hang in there’ longer than we want to, and in the face of opposition or difficulty.


This isn’t some god-given quality bestowed upon us or some crazy character trait only some people possess, but choices that we make day after day–we simply decide to persist, to keep trying, rather than throw in the towel. Sometimes we may take a knee, but we never give up.




And last, we must be PATIENT. When we are making the small, simple but significant lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, mindset) that must happen to create those larger changes we seek, we have to be patient. I know we all want our results like yesterday already, but it takes time for those results to manifest themselves.


Sometimes, it takes a REALLY long time for those results to manifest themselves in the ways we seek–the evidence we can see and measure with our own eyes.



But if we give up too soon, or switch up our approach, or jump ship to start another plan, we often never reach our goals because we don’t give the results the time to develop. So we have to ‘slow our roll’ a little, and keep putting in the daily, incremental work that is in line with the changes we seek to create.


So in the end, real and lasting success is going to come from being more MPP–Mindful, Persistent and Patient:

–> Self-aware enough to make consistently helpful choices that are right for US, and to make different choices as needed

–> To stick with it, even when it seems like there’s no hope or it’s not working

–> To be able to wait longer than we want to see the evidence of the success of our hard work and consistent, helpful choices and behaviors


Be more MPP, be more successful–and happy and satisfied along the way.



What we’re REALLY in charge of

dempsey and gordoWhen we moved into our second house German home, back in December 2016, we found that we’d inherited this little cutie along with it.  Of course, as soon as he (el Gordo is his real name!) found out about our dog, Daisy, he didn’t like us so much.

That was in December of 2015.  Fast forward to the beginning of the fall of 2016, when his outdoor cat lifestyle caught up with him, and he wasn’t so ‘gordo’ anymore; he was skinny and hungry.  We started to feed him, and over the next couple of months he adopted us.  He not only let us pet him, he demanded our attention, marched into the kitchen and yelled at us if the back door was open, and just generally thought he should be attended to at all times.
At that point in time, we were already speculating what would happen when we moved In the summer of 2017.  My daughter, Taylor, asked me, ”What will we do when we move?  Do we take him with us?  Will he get along with Daisy?  Do you think he’ll turn into a housecat by then?”
My answer was that we would just have to wait and see.


I pointed out that el Gordo had already made a pretty big transition from being an outdoor cat back to being kind of a pet, getting used to Daisy, trusting us, and feeling mostly comfortable in our house just in the past two months alone.  “All we can do is be patient, keep trying and doing our best, hope for the best, and wait to see how things turn out.”
Be Patient.  Keep Trying.  Hope for the best.  Wait to see how things turn out.
Not exactly a gratifying answer for an 11-going-on-20 year-old.  Then again, it’s not the kind of answer most of us want to hear—especially when it comes to making diet/fitness/health/lifestyle changes.
Which, as soon as the words were out of my mouth, was exactly what I thought of.
We so much of the time want to control the outcome.  We want guarantees that our efforts will give us the results we want—the exact results we want, no ‘side effects’ included.   We want the exact formula and timeline for successfully reaching our goals—and the faster and with the least amount of effort possible, please.
Trouble is, that’s just not the way things work.
It’s the reason I NEVER tell a client they’ll be X pounds lighter, able to do pull ups, down a size, or lifting pounds in a certain number of weeks or months.
There are just too many factors that are out of our hands, unpredictable, beyond our immediate knowing or understanding.
  • We never know when we might get sick. 
  • We don’t have guarantees that a certain diet or nutrition change will work exactly as we envisioned, or were told, or as it did for our mother/sister/friend/coworker. 
  • We don’t always know how much exercise we need or can tolerate, realistically. 
  • We often don’t realize there’s a postural issue or nagging injury we need to resolve before we can keep up with our fitness regime, or make progress.
Some people might freak out and throw their hands in the air and say, fine, if you’re telling me there’s no guarantee this will work or turn out the way I want it to, what’s the use?  Why bother?
First, if we never try then we can guarantee that we’ll never succeed/reach those goals—THAT is one guarantee I can make you!
But moreover, what we can control—well, influence is a better word—is making a positive impact on our own lives, and often the lives of others, through our continued efforts.
Actually, the more we try, the better we can make ourselves feel—inside and out, which to me means cognitively, emotionally and physically.
One of my favorite books is SPARK:  The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey, and I have ‘dog-eared’ the heck out of this book.  This book has reinforced what I already felt/knew to be true about exercise:  its benefits are far beyond simply burning fat and making lean muscle.
Turns out, we are hard-wired to move—it makes our brains happy, calms us down, helps the brain create new neural pathways (keeping dementia at bay), stimulates heart-healthy hormone creation, energizes us, and makes us feel strong, capable, powerful, resilient and successful.
That is HUGE. 
And, honestly, it’s those feelings and outcomes that most of us are probably after when we go on diets or start new exercise programs or plans—we want to feel GOOD. 
  • We want to feel strong, capable, powerful, resilient and successful—we just get caught up in thinking that’s the result of certain outcomes, not the impact of our continued effort. 
  • We get tricked into thinking our happiness is at the end of the rainbow when we meet our goals, fit into those jeans, hit X pounds on the scale. 
  • We don’t realize that our happiness actually lies in what we do for ourselves through our daily/weekly exercise efforts.
The good stuff lies in our consistent efforts.
That’s where we get the happy—not just when we hit that ‘final’ goal.
And the funny thing is, that when we start paying more attention to that daily work, celebrating our little wins, enjoying the positive impact we’re making in our own lives, that’s often when those results start to show up.
OR it’s when we stop being so attached to the outcome we wanted in the beginning, trading it in for enjoying the process instead.

Be Patient. 

Keep Trying. 

Hope for the best. 

Wait to see how things turn out.

AND enjoy the process—dial into that positive impact you’re creating.

Because at the end of the day, that daily positive impact is stuff that counts; that’s the stuff that shapes how we live so much more than simply what we might weigh, how we might look, or what size we might wear.


“If you fall in love with the process, the results are a foregone conclusion.”
~ Jen Sinkler
If you need a couple of workouts ideas, here are a couple that you might enjoy as part of your daily, continued efforts!
And if these don’t suit your needs, I have a whole library of Workout Wednesday videos you can choose from here:
If you’re looking for support getting started on making lifestyle changes, to build a stronger body and sustainable healthy eating habits, shoot me a message at!  I’d love to talk. We can set up a discovery call and get you on the path towards creating a body and lifestyle you love.
By the way, we never did have to make any hard decisions about el Gordo.  Shortly after the winter weather ended, el Gordo decided he would be an outdoor cat once more.  He’d come for visits, and to have his food bowl filled–out on the patio–but there was no way he would become our housecat.
So when we left Germany in June of 2017, we left el Gordo, too, hoping that the next tenants would adopt our cantankerous little friend.  We still wonder about him from time to time, and hope that he’s well and happy.



What’s your word for 2018?

What’s your word for 2018?


I know, this is probably something you’ve seen floating around in social media the past couple of weeks.


And maybe you think this whole thing is pretty cheesy.  Or maybe it’s a practice you swear by annually.  Or maybe it looks interesting, but you’ve never done it before.



Here’s the deal:  this practice can be powerful, or it can be superficial and trite; it all depends on what you invest in it—like everything in life, right?



If you just ‘pick a word’ and write it on a post-it somewhere, or paste it on fb, then never revisit the meaning, intent or purpose of that word, it won’t be much use to you, just something cute to do.



BUT, if you take your time, choose a word with meaning, substance, and gut-level impact; it can make all the difference.


The purpose of the ‘choose your word’ exercise is to focus your goals, your dreams, your deepest desires into a powerful word or phrase which empowers you to visualize, and feel at the visceral, gut level that which you want most for and from yourself throughout this year.


Your word (or words, or phrase, or mantra or motto) acts as both a spotlight and an anchor.


It can guide you towards, and keep you focused on the choices and actions that are in line with your deepest desires and most important goals.



Your word can hold you fast to those deepest desires and most important goals when life throws curve balls at you, or you get discouraged, or distracted by some shiny new object along the way.



Your word can be a cutesy meme buried on your fb wall in January, or it can be a hot, glowing ember that fuels your fire and sparks action again and again.


It simply depends on what it means to you and whether you ‘buy in’ to the practice.



The first year I chose a word for my year was 2016, when I was entering my second year of Jill Coleman’s Best of You coaching program.  It was a year that followed two years of deep personal and professional struggle that challenged my beliefs, choices, and confidence.



For 2016, I chose the word ‘FEARLESS,’ because it had two meanings for me:  I wanted to go out into the world and do the things I was passionate about doing, to shed more self-doubt, to ignore any naysayers or critics, and to do this I needed to be fearless.  I’d become a chronic worrier, seeing ALL the ways in which something can go wrong, being too sensitive to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others, so I honestly needed to fear LESS—fear less often, fear fewer things, take more action instead.



‘Fearless’ was a grounding force for me—it was a word, feeling and concept that I revisited again and again and again when the urge to shrink and hide, personally and professionally, struck.



The end result was that I jump-started my career again, teaching a functional fitness class I loved, working with the most amazing in-person clients, and creating the strongest, most athletic body and determined mind I’d ever had.   By the end of 2016, I made fearless choices, took action, and learned to fear less and do more.




What’s more important is that this change in me had a ripple effect on those around me, too.  I spread ‘fearless’ without even realizing it at the time.



For 2017, I chose the word BLOOM in anticipation of the rock-my-world life changes I anticipated happening throughout the year.  We were scheduled to move somewhere in the US mid-year (after living in Germany for 8 years), and I was determined to ‘bloom where I was planted,’ as the saying goes.



In June, we relocated to Fort Riley, KS, and the move DID rock my world.  And I bloomed anyway.  It was hard, it was at times painful, but I grew where I was planted, earning my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer cert, and starting to work as a coach at Get Mean CrossFit in Manhattan, KS.

crossfitcertOh yeah, I managed to get my kids started in sports and off to a positive beginning in school at the same time…and we adopted a puppy somewhere in that transition, too.




So when I started to consider my word for 2018 way back in the last week of 2017 (it’s so funny that that was just last week), I reflected on where the journey has taken me the past two years in particular (which were really good years, btw), what I can take from the experiences of those two years, and where I want to be headed in 2018.



Before I could choose a word, I needed to get a solid handle on what it is I want to accomplish most, what behaviors, goals and objectives are THE most meaningful for me right now—you know, that whole WHY thing 😉  So I ruminated and reflected for a few days.



My word for 2018 is BUILD.



I want to build on the foundation I’ve laid for myself the past two years. 


I want to build a stronger body, a better business, to become the best coach and trainer I can be. 


I want to build stronger and deeper connections with the people in my life who mean the most. 


I want to guide, encourage and inspire others to build the best life they can for themselves. 



I haven’t fleshed out the specific objectives for all this building I’ll be doing yet; that’s what this coming week is for!


What I do know is that all of my choices will be based on building, that I have both a spotlight and an anchor for my actions and my journey.



So if you’re wanting more focus for your choices, to make more conscious and purposeful decisions this year that make achieving your most meaningful goals possible, you may just want to spend a little time this today, tomorrow or this weekend reflecting on those goals and your deepest desires. 


  • What do you REALLY want to do this year? 
  • What changes are MOST important for you to make?
  • What’s something you’ve dreamed about doing, or becoming, but maybe were too scared to try?


  • When you look back on 2018, what do you want to be able to say about this year? 


  • What do you want to be most proud of? 
  • How do you want to feel about yourself?



If you’ve struggled with follow-through on goals in the past, taking time to choose your word for 2018 might just be the thing you need to do most right now.



Find that word so you can find your spotlight, find your anchor, and find your way to the most purpose-driven, meaningful and satisfying year you’ve had yet.



Building with you in 2018,



AND I would LOVE to hear about your word and the story behind it—don’t hold back!


PS–while you’re busy reflecting and ruminating on your word for the year, try out this ‘building’ workout 🙂


In 15 minutes see how many round you can complete of this +1 chain:


1 Turkish Get Up each side, followed by 25 HEAVY kettlebell swings.  Each round, add one more TGU per side, but keep the swing reps the same throughout the workout.  Stay very focused when doing your TGUs as the reps start to add up!  Here’s a TGU demo, in case you need one:



Trainer Tips:

Chances are, if you’re like me, your heavy swing weight is bigger than your TGU weight, so it’s probably best to use 2 different kettlebells.  I used a 12kg for the TGUs and a 24kg for the swings.



BUT if you only have one (lighter) weight available, you can just double the number of kettlebell swings to get the same level of training effect 🙂



OR if you only have one heavier bell, you can use a ball, shoe, dumbbell or any other object for your TGUs.



Get creative and stay focused on building that stronger mind and body!







Your 4-step system for making 2018 epic


If you’re anything like me, you’re probably excited about the prospect of a new year, full of new opportunities to make big things happen.  




And, if you’re anything like me, you might also be feeling a little bit nervous or intimidated by the thought, ‘Now HOW am I going to make this happen??”




2017 was a growth year.  Awesome at times, so brutally painful at others.  I’m always grateful for growth, but rarely do I actually enjoy the pain so often involved in the process.



first muscle up



But, over the past few years, I’ve learned to ’embrace the suck’ and press on–whether it’s in a workout, through a transatlantic move, during recovery from an injury, rocky times in relationships, and especially when nagging self-doubt shakes my convictions and leaves me wanting to turn away from my goals instead of pursuing them.




2017 forced me to embrace the suck in ALL those areas, from start to finish.  As a result, I am a better person, coach/trainer, athlete, and human than I was on this day one year ago.




So as I set forth my new goals and objectives, both personally and professionally, and that nagging, fear-fueled question pops up–Now HOW am I going to make this happen???–I have an answer.




And a plan.



Born out of need and challenge and growing pains, here’s my 4-step system for making this next year epic.  



  1.  Reflect on your 2017 wins, then celebrate them.



When we look at how far we’ve come in the past year, how many new skills, abilities, strengths, and pieces of knowledge we’ve acquired or developed, it’s pretty impressive AND inspiring.  It makes us more conscious of what we are really capable of.



  1.  Find your WHY.


Or, if you already feel you know your WHY, revisit it.  Make it stronger.  Define it even more.  Know how your WHY impacts your life for the better, then make it your anchor.



  1. Let yourself dream.



What is it you want for yourself in 2018?  What gets you fired up when you think about doing it?  What goal(s) would be so amazing to accomplish this year?



  1.  Make THIS your 2018 Resolution:  Resolve to have Resolve.



Resolve to just keep showing up and doing the hard work in the gym or in the kitchen, even when the going gets tough and messy.  Resolve that you will have the resolve to press on even when it’s super hard to stick to your plan, and abandoning your objective seems necessary or logical in the face of resistance.




Resolve to keep your word to yourself.  Like Marie Forleo says, “To be responsible, keep your promises to others.  To be successful, keep your promises to yourself.”




And when quitting gets tempting, which it so often does in the ‘messy middle’ of change and progress, revisit your WHY.




Call on that big WHY that is your anchor to hold you on course.



Dream again about how it will feel when you continue to see your plan through, when you can see and/or feel your progress showing itself, how it will feel to reach that goal.  See it, feel it, live it.




We all start with grand aims, good intentions, and a whole bunch of ‘motivation’ at the beginning of a new year, or a new project, or any of many new starts.  It’s exciting, and fresh, and new and we are sure that our ‘future selves’ will be able to overcome the challenges that plagued our past selves.  That it’ll be different this time.




Then only way it will be different is if we are different–if we make our resolve (aka: our GRIT) greater, ‘stickier’ than our fears or human failings.



Again and again, I find that’s where the magic lies, where the big changes happen–on the inside and the outside.





When we know our why, grow our grit, dream big and live with conviction and passion and persistence, and choose to press on instead of give in or turn away from the path we’ve chosen, that’s when we grow.




That’s when we win.  And that’s how we KEEP winning, all day, all week, all month, and all year long.




To recap, your new system for greater and epic success in 2018 is this:



  1.  Reflect on your 2017 wins.


Be proud of yourself, be proud of the choices, the commitment, the determination that made those wins happen.  Let those wins energize and fuel your 2018 objectives and continue to grow your confidence in your own ability to make things happen in your life.



  1.  Really dial in on that big WHY.



Have it so defined you can boil it down to one word, or a motto, a mantra or a phrase.  Make it so solid and clear that you could spit it out as a ‘grocery store line answer’ to anyone who might ask you about it.  Make it your ‘anchor.’



  1.  Spend time visualizing yourself ‘winning,‘ imagining and seeing yourself hitting those little goals that lead you to the bigger ones.  Let yourself feel the emotions attached to those wins.  Let yourself really, viscerally feel how it will be to win with each of those small success, then those really big ones.



  1.  Resolve to have resolve above all else.


Grow your grit.  Become the most determined, fierce version of yourself in the face of adversity–not angry fierce, but “I will not be moved” fierce.  When faced with doubts or obstacles, go around, go under, go through, climb over, and take a knee when you must but do not quit on yourself, your dreams, your objectives.



Wash-rinse-repeat as much or as often as needed throughout the year.




So what are your biggest hopes, dreams, goals, and/or objectives for 2018?  I’d love to hear all about them.



Remember, life is for the living–both in the noun and verb sense.



Get out there and really live this year.



Chase those dreams with consistent action.



Be the most determined, persistent version of yourself possible.




Make this year epic, so when you sit down to reflect on your 2018 wins, you’re blown away by all you’ve done <3




Here’s to living epic lives, and Happy New Year!





Are you relying too much on the ‘M’ word?

I’ve got a question for you:  Are you relying too much on the ‘M’ word?




‘Motivation,’ that is.




And another:  Are you one of those people who’s ‘waiting for the New Year’ to take care of your health and fitness?




Or:  are you one of those people who tends to say, “Oh, it’s the holidays, I’ll start working out again after January 1”?




One of the words I hear tossed around frequently (especially when it comes to working out when things get busy) is ‘motivation,’ as in:  “I don’t feel motivated” or “I just don’t have motivation” or “I just can’t get motivated.”





And I get it–really, I do.




Except….Except motivation is one of those ‘sprint’ emotions–it’s there all in a flash and feels hot and exciting, but flames out fast.




So ‘motivation’ isn’t a very good long-term way to achieve or maintain successful exercise or healthier eating habits (sorry!), especially during the holiday season, aka:  the rest of 2017. The hours of daylight are getting shorter, the list of to-do’s is often a bit longer, we feel less energetic in general, and then we have all these ‘extras’ to figure out–parties, gifts, family get-togethers, travel plans….




At the end of the day, motivation isn’t going to see us through, especially when we feel pressed for time/energy and pulled in many directions at once.




What we need instead is a whole lot of purpose–we need to know and have a really good handle on our big WHY for continuing to make healthier choices for ourselves instead of putting our health and fitness on the back burner until the magical ‘new year’ arrives.





It’s our WHY, our deep, gut-level purpose, is what really gets us moving and keeps us moving.  


  • It’s what makes us rise up bravely from our falls.
  • It’s the voice that whispers, “try again” in our ear when we want to stay down.
  • It’s what gets us to the gym at those odd hours, or picking up the dumbbells or kettlebells at home to get in that much-needed workout instead of ‘throwing in the towel,’ because we’re tired or it’s no longer convenient.




Motivation is long gone at these times, and if we wait to find it again so that we can act, so we can get moving, and do the (sometimes) hard things we need to do for ourselves, we will be waiting a VERY long time.




I know I sure don’t feel motivated to do anything but camp out on my couch under a blanket in comfy clothes most evenings.




also know that if I let motivation dictate my evening choices, I won’t get in that much-needed workout, or read that extra article or chapter of an exercise science book, or cook a healthy dinner for me and my family.




But if we call on our WHY instead of ‘finding’ motivation? 

Our why is always there for us–we just have to look a bit deeper to find it.




So instead of leaning so heavily on motivation to keep up with our health and fitness goals through the holidays, we can turn the ‘M’ word on its head–literally–so that it becomes much more useful.




When we turn it upside down, that M becomes a W, which stands for our big WHY.




And NOW is the time to do just that.




If you don’t yet have a solid grip on your big WHY–if you can’t say your why out loud, if it’s not right there on the tip of your tongue, then it’s time to pause and define it.




Here’s how to get to that big WHY!




First, start with this:

What are your fitness goals?


Then ask:

  • Why does this/do these goal(s) matter?
  • How do these fitness goals affect your life?
  • How do these fitness goals impact your health?
  • How do these fitness goals impact how you feel each day?
  • How do these fitness goals impact how you feel about yourself?
  • How do these fitness goals influence your energy?
  • How do these fitness goals influence your happiness?
  • How do these fitness goals improve or affect your overall quality of life?




Now your job is to take all the answers to those questions, and distill them down into what I’ve started calling your ‘Anchor’:  a clear, strong, solid one-sentence answer that sums up powerfully WHY your fitness goals REALLY matter to you.



Finding and defining your Anchor matters, because:

  • There are going to be a lot of times you feel like skipping the gym or hitting the couch instead of the weights.
  • There are going to be times you may want to quit.  
  • There are times when working out doesn’t feel great, or you aren’t happy with your performance.  
  • There are going to be times where other people might interfere–question why you have to work out, try to get you to skip your plans and do something else, try to commandeer your time.



The difference between the path you choose at these times will likely be determined by your Anchor–that big WHY statement that you can ‘reach back to’ to hold you fast to your goals and purpose.



So before the week is over, I encourage you to find a few quiet minutes (yeah, I know, ‘quiet’–hahahaha….) and build your Anchor.



Make your anchor something you can repeat easily to yourself, something that ‘hits you right in the feels.’  Post it on your bathroom mirror, on your desk, on your fridge, in your car and anywhere else you might need to see it each day.



Then stick to your fitness goals tenaciously for the rest of this holiday season and clear through 2018 to feel your best and come out feeling proud and accomplished instead of sluggish and feeling bad about having to start all over.


“Have an anchor so that life doesn’t toss you around.” 

~Debby Ryan


You’ve got this–and I’ve got your back!  Just shoot me an email if you need a little more guidance, support and accountability getting started and sticking to your fitness goals!!


Simply click this link, and we’ll get you started on an amazing 2018 ==>


And in case you needed a solid, get-er-done, do-anywhere workout, I’ve got you covered with this fun, simple and sweaty circuit:


Stay Anchored!!





focus on your CANs



When we’re injured, or off our game, or feel like our hands are tied behind our backs by life and we’re not able to do all the things we want to be able to do, it’s easy to get discouraged.



It’s so easy to get tunnel vision about our situation, fixated on our pain, or our injury, or all the ways we’re penned in or inconvenienced. Actually, it’s a natural reflex of the brain to have a ‘negativity bias,’ or immediately shift into thinking about what’s wrong.


So you’re not a Debbie Downer or a Negative Nancy if you find yourself getting sucked into ‘what’s wrong’ mode—it happens.




I know this one all too well, from having train-wrecked my low back/pelvis in a riding accident 10 years ago, from breaking my big toe 6 years ago and then developing a bone infection, from tearing a meniscus and needing surgery and six months of rehab to fix it 5 years ago, from needing 14 weeks of physical therapy to overcome tendonitis in my shoulder, and from recovering from tweaking my back last year, and from years and years of dealing with an all-too-often unpredictable and inconvenient Army lifestyle.


I get those feelings. I get how they can pull you under, how it can be tough to see anything but where you’re ‘stuck.’


This is exactly the time, however, when we need to refocus—to shift our perspective to one that searches for our CANs rather than dwelling on our can’ts.


Fixating on our can’ts keeps us stuck and struggling—at least mentally and emotionally. But refocusing on what we CAN do—that’s uplifting, empowering, and pushes us back into action.


If you’ve got a lower body injury, shift your focus to what you can do with your core and upper body.


Running might be out for you, which means it might be a perfect time to dedicate yourself to training for doing those pull ups, push ups, nailing down a bulletproof heavy kettlebell swing, and developing those rock hard abs.





If some part of your upper body is giving you the business, it’s a perfect time to start doubling up on your ab and glute work while you heal that elbow or shoulder.




If your back is on the mend, it’s an ideal time to refocus all your training efforts on creating a super strong core and learn to make your hip muscles work better for you.


Here’s a short workout that might be right up your alley:


Focus on your CANS. Take back your power. Find the things you CAN do that keep you in the game—that keep you positive and proactive and building/maintaining muscle.


Then put all your energy into those projects with laser-like focus. Do what you need to heal or make it through the situation you’re in, but don’t let it suck you down.


Find your fight. Find your power. Find what you CAN do. Then CAN yourself forward.



I wasn’t going to talk about these things…


you have to be brave


I wasn’t going to talk about these things.


I was just going to keep my social media posts ‘business as usual,’ which, these days, is all about how and why you should (at least consider!) work HIIT or interval training into your life.



And I will—and soon–because high intensity training, both strength and cardio, and interval training really can have some *fantastic* benefits for all of us at nearly every age and stage of life (we just have to structure these workouts a little differently, depending on the stage we’re in!).



But I feel compelled to talk about these things that I didn’t want to talk about because concealing them is a disservice to others.


It’s also perpetuating an image of ‘everything is fine and great and perfect and I have it all under control’ that doesn’t exist, and so to omit the not-so-perfect, potentially embarrassing stuff that also makes me feel extremely vulnerable is, well, lying. Because omission is more often than not a form of dishonesty.



I named my business ‘Real Life Fitness’ (which, being too generic, evolved into ‘Real Life Fit by Kate’) because my teaching/training/coaching is about being real, serving real people with real and messy and complicated lives—NOT perpetuating the glossy image of perfection and then dangling that falsehood as a carrot for clients to struggle to reach themselves.



I started running my in-person personal training business back in heyday of bikini and figure training, when Oxygen magazine ruled, and being ‘fit’ was synonymous with 15% body fat, having visible abs, tanned skin, and sculpted glutes.



2012: My first year in business

That wasn’t something that was attainable for me—with a 5 and a 2 year-old, living overseas, dealing with deployments and the other rigors of military life—well, unless I was willing to go to some massive (and obsessive) extremes.



So my business was built on the crazy idea that we can all become fitter, stronger, more capable and satisfied versions of ourselves without needing to meet that aesthetically perfect ideal—that we get to define what’s fit and ‘ideal’ for ourselves, and we get to feel good in our own, perfectly imperfect, amazing bodies.



These mil spouses are some badass ladies, btw.

Let me just tell you, by the way, that’s hard to sell as a catchy business slogan, lol!  



Long story short, by hiding my own struggles, I’m failing to be real, to be genuine, to be the person I’ve set out to be—online and in ‘real life.’



So here it is—one of the things I wasn’t going to talk about.



About 6 weeks ago, I tweaked my back (again).  The kind of tweak where it stops you dead in your tracks, makes you walk like a 90-year old, and makes normal, basic movement really slow and challenging.



I did it in the gym—not doing anything outrageous or inherently dangerous, but doing too much within a 24-hour period.


On Wednesday evening at 5:30, I deadlifted heavy (my old PR is now soooo doable) followed by a hard conditioning workout, then turned right around at 10 the next morning to do some heavy Kettlebell Strongman work.



In other words, I did exactly what I would NEVER advise a client to do.



While a little, tiny voice had whispered:  ‘maybe you should wait another day,’ my big ‘ol ego shouted, ‘You are Superwoman, you can handle this!!!”




Here’s the deal:  I’ve mentioned before that a very bad fall from a horse started me down my current path of strength training, core training and consistent workouts back in 2006.  What I may or may not have mentioned is that I have scoliosis, and my back is anything but ‘straight.’



So, spinal discomfort and weird alignment issues are just part of what I deal with.  These weird ‘tweaks’ tend to happen when I’m going through times of peak stress, and when I haven’t been to a chiropractor/sports medicine doc regularly enough.



Luckily, this particular episode was less serious, thankfully, I was able to get really good treatment right away, and I was back in almost regular action in less than a week.



BUT, it scared me—it made me feel vulnerable, breakable, unworthy, and ashamed.



It made me feel like a fraud.



As in, ‘how can I talk about core strength, and keeping our backs healthy, give fitness advice, and teach CrossFit classes, for pete’s sake, when I can’t even keep my own back healthy?????’



Because of my feelings of shame and inadequacy, I didn’t say anything.  I  kept my limitations and discomforts quiet, and just focused on healing for a few days.  I didn’t want to be ‘found out’ or have people doubt my abilities or advice—especially as I was just getting started teaching classes again the following week!



And then…then I thought about some of the really outstanding coaches I know, respect, and look up to.


How they let the world know about their own injuries and/or limitations, how I actually thought more of them because they were brave enough to share, and how it definitely did not affect my respect for their coaching or athleticism.



Their injuries just made them humans, and infinitely more relatable and even MORE knowledgable because they knew what it was like to work with an imperfect body…just like me.



So here I am saying:  Hi, my name is Kate, I love to lift heavy, run hard, and do cool athletic things, and sometimes I get hurt because I have a perfectly imperfect body.  You know, like all us humans do.



I now know to double down on Dead Bug exercises when my spine gets hurt or tweaked, that sciatic nerve flossing is SUPER helpful, and that sleeping more and reducing stress really help the healing process.  I also understand that regular walks are really good for healing and stress management, too.



Which actually makes me a better athlete and coach than one who’s never gotten hurt, doesn’t know what it’s like to have limitations, and never had to recover.



“Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it- it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes.”
~ Brené Brown

Well, while I’m at it, I’ll share another ‘shameful’ experience I’ve had over the past two months—gaining weight and bloating, both without direct causes.  Well, without being related to eating changes or changes in my exercise habits/intensity anyway.



After my period at the beginning of August, I continued to feel vaguely bloated, and my boobs never stopped being tender.  That stuff usually goes away by day 3.



I kept waiting, patiently but uncomfortably, but the bloating, swelling and tenderness just got worse.


And I know it was something other people could see, but not something I felt like explaining!


Sudden 5 lb weight gain/appearance changes in a personal trainer/CrossFit coach aren’t desirable, and don’t tend to lend a lot of confidence that you know what you’re doing or can coach nutrition habits!  It was embarrassing, and I just kept choosing loose-fitting tops to help hide my bloated midsection, hoping people wouldn’t notice, or wonder, too much.


By the end of the month, I was begging to get my period, and my bras were barely fitting.  And by this point, I realized that I was in another estrogen-dominant phase, like the ones I’d gone through in 2015.  I just hoped that this phase wouldn’t be months-long, like the ones I’d been through before.


Of course, I learned well from my past discomfort, and started implementing the strategies I’d found most helpful last time this happened:


First, I prioritized sleep—skipping that extra TV show, and taking time to wind down quietly instead by reading a fun fiction book in bed for 30 minutes..


Second, I started to put more attention and effort into stress-management:  when I felt myself getting riled up or holding my breath, I’d practice 5 slow, deep-belly breaths.  I started taking walks again—slow, outdoors, stopping to admire nature, breathing calmly and deeply throughout.



Third, I added more veggies to my diet and took out some of the less-helpful, starchy carbs.  I ate more protein, drank more water, and worked harder to make sure my meats were more organic than not.  Yes, this is more expensive, but when your hormones are taking you for a wild ride, the last thing you do is want to add MORE hormones to that mix from outside sources!



Which reminds me, I’ve stopped using candles, lotions, soaps, shampoos, and all kinds of other personal care products that contain unnatural fragrances, phalates, or parabens, which can have an estrogenic effect on the body.  I figure this is good for my daughter, who is just entering puberty, too!  These products are pretty easy to find in most stores these days, and the price difference isn’t too great if you get the store’s organic brands.



Fortunately for me, acting quickly seems to have helped the situation.  My cycle is still a little unpredictable, but my bras fit (thank goodness!), my mood is more stable, and my midsection is back down to a normal size.



So, here I am, saying:  Hi, my name is Kate, I’m 43, and I am officially somewhere on the perimenopausal spectrum, as much as I don’t want to be or feel old enough to be.  But it is what it is.



I guess the big takeaway is this:  we can influence things, change and adapt our eating habits, sleep patterns, fitness activities, and training plans, but we can’t absolutely control how our bodies will respond or change.  We also can’t control on what timeline our bodies might choose to respond and change.



What we can do is continue to build self-awareness, forgive ourselves our imperfections, accept our bodies as continuously evolving creatures, and just keep doing the best we can along the way.



And we can be honest about those things, too, because when we are brave with our own lives, we give other people to be brave with theirs.



“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
~ Brené Brown



None of us need to suffer in silence, or go it alone, or feel ashamed when our human vehicles don’t act the way we want them to—or the way the media or internet or any of the ‘experts’ out there say it should.



I’ll make sure I do my part to stay brave and honest, so that other people and readers just like you can know that whatever you’re dealing with, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.


It is what it is, and we’ll just keep doing our best—individually and collectively, to adapt and evolve along our journey rather than hide and suffer in shame.



Always here for you, crooked back, crazy hormones and all!




« Older Entries