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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.

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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:


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.



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!




Your 30-Day ‘Motivation’ Fix!

***Coming August 15: The “Just Move It” 30-Day Challenge***






Smack in the middle of my birthday workout last weekend, I was struck by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude–for my health, for the support and guidance I’ve had from so many amazing people on my journey, and for the vitality I’m enjoying at 43 years old.





So I decided I needed to give back a little, or at least pay it forward.



Here’s the first step in my commitment to do what I can to support others in feeling their best, too, at any and every age.



***Coming August 15: The “Just Move It” 30-Day Challenge***



This will be a consistency challenge, where the goal is to get in some kind of movement or exercise in every single day for 30 days STRAIGHT.



I know the dog days of summer and the start of school can throw our best plans for a loop, so this challenge is aimed at getting us all committed to moving daily, no matter the challenges.



7-day challenges are great for boosting intensity, but consistency is what gets us the real results, so this one is a full-on, 30-day challenge!



What is the Just Move It 30 Challenge??

This is a challenge designed to help you build or reinforce consistency—to make some kind of intentional physical movement a part of your normal, everyday life.



The goal is to make moving or working out “just part of what we do.”



I’ve been working as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for 5+ years, and the biggest obstacles to success I see people struggle with are Mindset and Consistency.



The #JustMoveIt30 Challenge is my way of tackling both challenges at once to help you cultivate resilience in the face of challenge.



In other words, I want you to believe that you CAN do this—that you can stay active, strong, determined and empowered, even when things get tough.





Starting August 15, participants in the “Just Move It 30” Challenge will engage in some kind of physical activity each day.



These bouts of physical activity can be:
*A ‘5-minute mini’
*Taking a walk
*Going for a run
*Going to a fitness class
*Doing yoga
*Lifting weights
*OR any other kind of workout




ANY kind of intentional, physical movement counts, whether it’s 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or more minutes in duration.



It doesn’t matter what KIND of movement you do, as long as you DO it each day.



For 30 days straight, we’re going to choose GRIT over quit!



How to Participate:
–> First, sign up here:



–>And then you’ll get the welcome email with ALL the nitty gritty.



–>Then, beginning August 15, you’ll do some kind of physical activity every single day for 30 days straight.



Outcomes of participating in the #JustMoveIt30 Challenge:
+ Increased determination
+ Find new ways of sneaking in workouts—even on busy days
+ Get out of the ‘all-or-nothing’ exercise mindset
+ Increased self-confidence
+An ‘I got this!’ attitude
+ Feelings of pride and accomplishment!



AND you can win prizes, too!



  • EVERYONE who completes this challenge and submits a picture with the #JustMoveIt30 hashtag each of the 30 days wins a FREE 4-week CUSTOMIZED fitness plan designed to meet the unique needs of YOUR body and lifestyle (a $300 value)


Really! It’s my way of ‘giving back.’



I just celebrated my 43rd birthday, and I’m deeply grateful for another year on earth, and for being able to move and enjoy having a healthy body.

standing profile pic


One of the ways I’m choosing to show gratitude for the gifts I’ve been given and good health I enjoy is to give more of myself to others as well–to help women move more, feel better, lead more satisfying lives, and feel strong and vital, inside and out.



The Result:  The Just Move It 30-Day Challenge!



Sign Up HERE:

to Just Move It for 30 with me, too!



Questions? Message me OR email me at



Here’s to becoming our best at every stage of life!


How adding more gets you better results.

Reset ButtonSo you got off-track.
Your best intentions for getting or staying on a regular exercise schedule didn’t pan out.
Maybe your ‘I’m going to start eating better’ plan didn’t come to fruition.
And you might be feeling a little disappointed, maybe a little lethargic, maybe a lot unmotivated.
What do you do now?
Go on some crazy, extreme ‘quick fix’ to get yourself ‘right’ again?
Throw out the baby with the bathwater in the process, while you throw yourself headlong into a massive diet-and-exercise overhaul…only to have it all backslide after 3 weeks of ‘being good’ and ‘on-plan’?
Or maybe you start over, TODAY, with just ONE small change that’s pointing you in a healthier, happier direction.
One small improvement you can make each day:  a ‘plus ONE’ approach.
Now, making one small change might sound, well, kind of insignificant, or maybe even a little wimpy.  It’s not the grand, brag-worthy, intense, restrictive, grueling ‘fix’ that you can tell everyone you’re toughing it out through.
Then again, how long would that grueling, Herculean effort actually last?  In my personal and professional experience, about 3 weeks.  Sometimes 4, but that’s pretty generous.  And it inevitably leads back to square one, in a hurry, with the extra mental baggage of having ‘failed’ once again.
So instead of trying to ‘right the ship’ all in one fell swoop, maybe using a more reasonable, realistic and just plain long-term effective approach, like the Plus ONE approach, is a better way to go right now!
Here’s the deal:
–>  +1 is always greater than zero
–>  +’everything all at once’ can only be a painful sprint effort at best
But Plus ONE?  Plus 1 is do-able.  It’s a small win, a consistent measureable sign of doing better that we can handle, that we can stick with, that we can feel proud of.
So what does this Plus 1 approach look like in real life?
It might depend on what your biggest challenges are currently, or what’s the easiest thing for you to tackle right away—because taking action is key to making this kind of approach work.  It might be something that you are super confident you can do consistently right now.
Possibilities, based on the challenges I regularly hear my clients and readers face, could include:
  • drinking one more glass of water each day
  • changing their after-dinner snack
  • adding in just one more serving of veggies each day
  • adding in just 10 minutes of movement to each day
  • adding in one strength training workout per week
  • adding a short walk to the after-dinner ritual
  • adding one serving of protein to breakfast (or lunch, or dinner…)
Notice it’s ALL about ADDING 1 thing IN, as opposed to taking things out, excluding or restricting or avoiding.
It’s about making workable additions and ‘crowding out’ old behaviors with new ones—because our brains aren’t wired to ditch old patterns of behavior (kind of inconvenient, I know), but they ARE wired to learn new patterns of behavior, and when these patterns are repeated many times over time, they become the ‘new normal.’
That’s why consistency is such a big deal—and engaging in small, easily repeatable behaviors is so much more effective in creating the habits we want to have so that we can lead the kind of life we desire to lead.
It’s like what Tony Robbins says, “In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”
Extremes, by nature aren’t sustainable.  Plus 1?  Those we can do every day.
And when the first Plus 1 becomes normal—just a regular part of daily real life, then you get to Plus 1 another thing.  By ‘plussing up’ regularly and consistently, you will effect massive change over time—on your mind, your body and your life.
Give the Plus 1 approach a shot TODAY!
Remember to think about ONE thing that either challenges you the most right now, or is the easiest to act on right now, or one positive change you are super confident you can do and stick with right NOW.
Maybe one of the suggestions above can be a great place for you to start!  Whatever it is, take action—don’t wait or hesitate.  Because it’s what we DO consistently that shapes our lives.
What are you waiting for? 🙂
Keep ‘plussing up’ and I’ll talk to you soon 🙂
PS–Here’s a link to a workout to get you moving.  It’s a fun, simple boredom-buster that you can do at home or in the gym!


Why I talk about eating so damn much.




Confession:  I am a very reluctant eating habit/nutrition coach.


I really don’t naturally love the topic of nutrition—it doesn’t get me fired up, and it took me a really long time to accept the role of nutrition in my personal fitness.


Like, a LONG time.



I was a very stubborn horse that had to be dragged to the water, and had to be dying of thirst before I would drink.


But, at a certain point (and I remember that pivotal moment—it’s what I call my ‘tiramisu epiphany,’ and you can read about it here: The Tiramisu Epiphany), I realized that I could not make any weight loss/fat loss progress without making some dietary changes.



That doesn’t mean it happened overnight!



My ‘tiramisu epiphany’ was in March of 2006.  Which means that my personal journey to eating better and in a sustainable way (that causes me little life stress, but still gives me the health and results I desire) started over 10 years ago.



Did it take some time? 


Was the time it took worth it?




There was no major diet overhaul; I simply surrendered the illusion that I could ‘work off what I ate’ and started to pay more attention to what, when, how, and how much I was eating a little bit more. 


I made the changes I could tolerate slowly, and began a process of self-education that definitely accelerated once I started working with a personal trainer who provided me with better resources with which to help myself.


So I honestly don’t LOVE the subject of nutrition like some people do (which is why they are diet experts with all those credentials behind their names!), but I understand how necessary balanced nutrition is, and the giant role it plays in how we feel, the energy we have, and in weight loss, fat loss, and overall athletic performance.


I don’t love nutrition, BUT I do love my clients. 



And I love to help others have less stress, more fitness success, and more confidence and independence in their own lives, so talking about nutrition, eating habits, and eating strategies has become a ‘necessary evil’ of sorts.



It’s important for me to share what I’ve learned, through formal education as well as professional experience and personal practice, because it just might help a client, friend or reader like you to shorten the ‘eating habit learning curve. ‘



Sharing this information might just help you or someone you know to stop depending on the next diet for the solution—from engaging in stressful, restrictive, all-or-nothing approaches, and to make the needed small changes in daily practices that will yield the results we’re looking for.



And that’s HUGE in my book.



After I surrendered the illusion that I could ‘outrun my fork,’ so to speak, I also had to learn and come to terms with the fact that my eating habits/patterns were shaped by:  a) the messages I told myself, b) unconscious tendencies, c) compulsive behaviors, d) the urge to self-soothe.




Funny that NONE of those things has anything to do with macros or calories, right?



The biggest realization I’ve had about the subject of nutrition is this:  Lasting results only come from conscious eating habit change, which can only happen when we first change how we THINK.


So really, when we talk about eating habits, we’re really talking about thinking habits—our thought patterns and beliefs, aka: our mindset.


I talk so damn much about eating because I loathe people getting all hung up on the idea of the ‘perfect diet’ or that they NEED to go on another kind of diet, or, conversely the belief that they’re helpless in creating lasting change in their own lives, that they’re powerless over how they eat.



Why do I loathe diets

Because diets breed helplessness and take away from ownership of our behaviors. 




They put the solution outside of ourselves, in someone else’s hands, when the real solution can only be found by doing the ‘inside job’ of changing how we think so we can change how we act.


So when I talk about eating, I’m really talking about thinking—about our attitudes about food, helpful or unhelpful beliefs about our selves. 

I’m talking about improving awareness of our self-talk (e.g.:  I always, I never, I just can’t help myself, nothing works for me, I’m just an ‘X’ addict, I’m a stress-eater, I’m an emotional eater—any of these sound familiar to you??), so that we can change our truth, and therefore make it possible to choose differently and make more progress with our nutrition.



I talk about awareness and attitudes because they create the possibility for ownership—taking full responsibility for all our own food choices, the chance to be ‘the captain of our own ship.’



Yes, we all come to the table, so to speak, with a certain set of genetics, a certain family food history, and whatever adult eating patterns we’ve developed so far.


But these pieces of the puzzle don’t dictate our future—only our consistent choices do that.  Only our consistent CHOICES.  We are in charge of our choices, especially when we take the time and make the effort to become aware of our self-talk, food history and current patterns of behavior.






In the end, I talk about eating so damn much because it has such a huge impact on our lives, and I talk about mindset and mindfulness around eating because this is what dictates our relative success or limitations.

As Mahatma Gandhi said,
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” 



When we are mindful, we are fully in charge of our choices; we can choose to change our minds about ourselves and food, and that’s when we can REALLY start changing and making those lasting, impactful nutrition choices.








What do you do when you F— it all up?

 What do you do when you F- it all up?


You had the best of intentions. 

You were off to a great start.

You’d made so much progress.

You’d gotten so much stronger.

The workouts were easier.

The pants fit better.

Things were really starting to fall into place…and then.

And then something knocked you off-course or for a loop.
A vacation.
An illness in the family.
A super stressful event or period of time.
And then…you find yourself struggling again, feeling like a failure, feeling shame you ‘couldn’t hack it,’  that you let yourself down, or family or friends down….
It happens!!
To even the best of us.  From time to time, we all struggle.
Some life event impacts our routine, disrupts our ‘normal,’ causes resistance, or throws us back into old coping mechanisms.
Sometimes this means we stop working out—or working out as much.  Sometimes this means we stray too far and too long from our better, more healthful eating patterns.  Sometimes this means we burn the candle at both ends, leaving ourselves a fried mess unable to cope—or using unhealthy or unhelpful coping mechanisms.
  And we feel bad—because we KNOW better, right?!?
Again—it happens.  What matters more, what matters the MOST, really, is what we do next.
So we F’d it up again.  Well, done is done.  We can either wallow in it, tell ourselves how weak and pathetic and stupid we are, thinking that berating ourselves will lead us to ‘behaving’ again, or….Or.
Or we can do a few of these things:
1.  Acknowledge our F-Up. 
Name it, own it, then leave it behind us.  Done is done, and no good comes from beating the proverbial dead horse; clinging to our ‘failings’ actually prevents us from growing and changing.  Move on!
2.  Look for the Lesson.
As much as we might hate it, there’s always a lesson in those hard moments and times, or an opportunity for personal growth.I’ve learned over time, through dealing with and recovering from numerous injuries and health issues over the years, that there’s always something that can be learned out of an illness or injury.
Sometimes that means learning to literally DO things differently—in the gym or at home.It can mean learning how much eating well impacts how we feel or makes or breaks our health.
Sometimes it means reevaluating our lifestyle, and cutting out the things that really aren’t working FOR us, even if those changes are unpopular.
Sometimes it means checking our ego at the door—either the ego that’s prompting us to do things that aren’t good for our bodies because we think we can or should or have something to prove, or the ego that screams at us: “I want what I want and I want it right NOW and I deserve it right NOW,” like an angry toddler would.
Whatever knocked you off-track, hung you up, derailed your efforts, or sidelined you (temporarily), there IS a lesson in there.
Look for it, ask the hard questions:
  • What did I do to get myself here?
  • What do I need to do to get myself OUT of here?
  • And what can I do to avoid doing this again??
3.  Take action—NOW.
It doesn’t have to be huge or perfect, it just needs to be action.
  • Start by eating a veggie at your next meal or snack.
  • Get up and go for a walk.
  • Do a few squats or push ups.
  • Read an article or book that helps you ‘grit it up’ a bit more.
  • Listen to a podcast that inspires you.
  • Call someone who supports you (not an enabler, but someone who loves you and will help you take the next step forward).


DO NOT TEXT OR EMAIL OR SEND ANY KIND OF ELECTRONIC MESSAGE—CALL THEM.  You know, in real time, just like the good ole days 😉
4.  Use the Lesson(s) to make a new plan. 
  • What did you learn from this experience? 
  • Where did you ‘fall down’ or where did things go sideways on you?
  • What can you do to be derailed LESS by this same kind of situation, should it happen again?
  • What can you do to avoid the same, or a similar, pitfall?
  • What resources do you need?
  • What kind of planning do you need to do?
  • And how are you going to go forward, from right where you’re at, right now?
5.  Just get moving.  Keep moving.  Find a mantra or create a mantra, and put that puppy all over the place.
Mantras can add to our grit, shore up our commitment to a goal or project–even when it’s not going well; mantras can help refocus us when we feel like we’re on the ropes. They can create positive energy, and keep us focused on moving forwards and doing our best.
And if you don’t have one yet, maybe finding a short, meaningful and memorable saying is just the thing you need to help keep you motivated, focused and positive!
As Mahatma Gandhi said,
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
And remember this, above all else:
“Failure is not in the falling down, but the staying down.”
~ Unknown
If you’re not sure where to start, your fitness or nutrition have been lagging, let’s chat!
We can get on the phone, or email or FaceTime or Skype, etc, and start working out a plan to get you heading in a better direction again.  20 minute ‘Recharge’ chats are totally complementary 🙂
You can reach me at
And if you’ve fallen off the workout ‘horse,’ try climbing back on with this simple ladder workout you can do pretty much anywhere!
Keep your head up and keep moving forward!


The Tiramisu Epiphany

My Tiramisu Epiphany…and how it changed how I thought about eating.


It’s funny the moments that stick with us.

Those little snapshots in time where we can recall so clearly where we where, what we were wearing, who we were with, what we were doing, what we were thinking…especially when we also spend a fair amount of our lives wandering up and down the aisles of the grocery store, trying to remember that one item we were supposed to get.

(It recently took me 5 separate trips to the commissary to remember to get cinnamon. True story.)



My tiramisu epiphany was one of those moments.



It was the first of March 2006, and I’d made my husband the birthday dinner and dessert he requested (it’s a tradition in our family), and we’d just finished a peaceful dinner together, as our 9 month-old was already in bed.



It was time for dessert—a tiramisu recipe I’d found in a University of Washington Husky Alum cookbook. By the way, this recipe is to die for…and sure to elevate your blood alcohol level. Go Huskies, lol!



About mid-way through dessert, I noticed the meal planner lying on the couch next to me that had come from The Firm’s kit I’d purchased back in November. I’d flipped through it recently, but was really less than thrilled about their diet recommendations—dessert was a granny smith apple, definitely a far sight from tiramisu!





Seeing the meal planner made my mind leapfrog to earlier in the day when I’d weighed myself, a little disappointed to find I’d only lost a pound since New Years, despite the fact that I’d been doing The Firm videos religiously and my stamina had improved dramatically. It also made me realize my pants weren’t fitting any better than they had been—I still felt ‘thick’ around the middle.



And it hit me like a ton of bricks: I just couldn’t exercise off my eating any longer.



In my 20’s, it was relatively easy to just exercise more to make up for eating indulgently. I wouldn’t lose weight without changing what I ate, but I could at least keep kind of an even keel (although, hindsight being 20/20, I doubt I was ever on an even keel).



After I turned 30 and had my first baby, all in the same year, this was no longer possible—it just took me 9 + months to realize it.



Why am I telling you this story?


Two reasons: 1. To illustrate that many of us have those pivotal moments/moments of clarity or epiphanies, and 2. I had ZERO idea what to do next to help myself. ZERO—because the way I cooked and ate tasted good, but I had NO intention of trying The Firm’s diet plan (again—a granny smith apple for dessert?!?).



It took me another 8 months and the help of a personal trainer and her food journal to even get half a clue about where to start. And it’s taken me another nearly 10 years to get to the reasonable and sustainable way of eating I practice today.



Man, how awesome would it have been to have a few tips, tricks and shortcuts instead of having to go through years of trial and error and self-education to figure things out!!



But the gorgeous thing about that story and my process is that I get to share what I’ve learned with you, and maybe cut your learning curve down a bit, getting you on a path of sustainable, reasonable eating habits sooner rather than later.



Which leads me back to the food journal.



While exercise will make your fitter—and happier, I’d argue—improved nutrition and healthier eating habits is the only way to truly lose weight, lose body fat and inches, and just plain feel and perform better all around.



We just can’t out-exercise a poor, or unhelpful diet.



Knowing where to start, though, is different than knowing you need to start, and that’s where the food journal comes in!


(Don’t have a good one?  Get one sent straight to your inbox with this link:  Real Life Fit by Kate Food Journal )




Once you’ve completed a few days of full, honest food tracking in your journal, you have data with which to start making choices and changes. Specifically, you have solid information about all of the following, influential diet factors:


  • The time(s) of day you tend to eat most often
  • Length of time between ‘feedings’
  • Typical foods you eat/foods you eat the most of
  • Foods you eat the least of
  • Kinds of beverages you drink, and how often
  • How your emotional state affects your food choices
  • How your environment affects your food choices


These are all REALLY important pieces in our eating habits puzzle, and all relatively easy to identify and understand when they’re in black and white on the paper in front of us. It’s like we get a little peek into the way our minds and bodies work—super cool.



But what’s best about all this information is that it puts us back into the driver’s seat—it gives us a place from which to start making the most meaningful and helpful changes.



So when you look at your food journal, what patterns leap out at you?

  • Are there times of day where you don’t eat at all, or that you tend to eat large amounts of food?
  • Do you go for hours and hours between ‘feedings,’ or are you grazing throughout the day?
  • What foods are you eating the most?
  • Are you drinking lots of sugary or high-calorie drinks?
  • How much water are you drinking?
  • Do you tend to eat more when your emotions are amplified in some way (angry, sad, stressed)?
  • Do you eat at your desk, in front of the TV, while driving, while standing in your kitchen, while wandering around somewhere?
  • Do you eat at home more or out at restaurants? What kind(s) of restaurants?



All of these simple, but important factors—our scientific ‘data,’ give us some insight into what our current patterns REALLY are, versus the impression we might have had of how, when, what and how much we’re really consuming on an average day.



That insight, in turn, gives us a starting point for making reasonable, personally meaningful and impactful changes—ONE at a time.



So if you haven’t been ready to use a food journal until now, maybe this perspective on how it can be a hugely helpful tool for positive change will give you the nudge you needed to get started.


And if you’ve already started your food journaling efforts, I hope this gives your food journal evaluation a little more focus!



If you have any questions at all, or need a little more guidance, shoot me an email! I’d love to chat with you—either through email OR on the phone for a 20-minute coaching session 🙂


If you’re wanting/needing more support, we talk nutrition, eating habits, and helpful mindsets all the time in my Real Life Fit, Healthy and Happy Facebook group.  Click here to check it out ==>  Real Life Fit, Healthy and Happy




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