Archive for Workouts

Workout Wednesday: Let me introduce you to the Leg Blaster.



It’s Workout Wednesday!



Today’s workout is a simple but brutally effective finisher. I say finisher, because I wouldn’t want to have to use my legs for anything else afterwards. lol 😉



I picked this one up today from the Mountain Tactical guys as part of the Military Athlete Advanced Training Program, so I didn’t make it up myself–BUT I can vouch for its effectiveness!



Leg Burner Finisher:
Perform 3 (or more!) rounds of:
20 Air Squats
20 Lunges (10/side)
20 Jump Lunges
20 Jump Squats



No weights additional weights needed–trust me.



3 rounds took just a few seconds over 5 minutes for me today, so this would be a big bang for your buck workout if you didn’t have much time, too. And trust me, you will feel it.



Can you say Jello legs??




If the reps are too high, then scale them down to 10 and add rounds. It’s more important to do them well and keep control of every rep than to push through sloppily.




You can always work up to doing more!




Try this one out, and let me know what YOU think of it 🙂


Maybe next week I’ll try 4 rounds….




Trainer Tip Tuesday: SMILE to perform better!

crazy c25k finale

Trainer Tip Tuesday

Today’s tip: SMILE when you’re working out–even if you don’t feel like it!


Smiling so that your cheeks are engaged ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking you’re having a good time.

This creates a bigger release of ‘happy hormones,’ like serotonin and endorphins, which relieve pain and make you ‘feel good.’



BUT, it needs to be a Duchenne smile to be effective:

“Duchenne smiles are the only type of smile that creates this positive effects. These smiles engage the muscles in the mouth, cheeks, and eyes and are considered to be genuine smiles.”


So the next time you’re in the middle of that wicked conditioning workout, HIIT workout, long run or heavy lift, remember to smile and make your workout AND your results even better!


Plus, smiling just feels a whole lot better than frowning during a workout or a rough day–I’ve given the ‘game face’/frowning thing plenty of testing in the past.

16kg clean and press July 2015

Case in point. Yes, I was suffering.


The smiling thing, and even laughing at myself, works out WAY better–in the moment AND the long run 🙂


But don’t take my word for it–try it out yourself! 🙂


Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Workout Wednesday: Descending, Time-Saving, Fat-Burning Ladders

Workout Wednesday Kb

It’s Workout Wednesday!

Today’s Workout is a sweet, quick descending ladder workout.


It’ll get you sweaty and out of breath quick and every joint on your body will be in on the action–which means LOTS of bang for your workout buck.


And that’s the theme of the holiday season–getting all kinds of workout bang for your buck without killing yourself at the gym or on the road for hours at a time.



You need that energy for all the other holiday goodness happening in your life!

There are two versions: one for the kettlebell savvy and one for those who prefer dumbbells (although a barbell will work, too if you like that better!)


Directions for the Ladder Workouts:
Complete the exercises in the order listed, starting at 10 reps each and counting down until 1 rep of each on your last set.


Use a weight that’s challenging but one you can also ‘keep it pretty’ with. If the reps are getting ugly, you’re not doing yourself any favors, and it’s better to downsize than have regrets tomorrow 🙂


Kettlebell Ladder:
Goblet Squat
Kettlebell Swing





Dumbbell Ladder*:
Front Squats
Alternating Reverse Lunges
Bent Rows (or staggered step if that’s better for your back)


Commercial Rubber Dumbbells


*Barbell Option: Start the ladder at 5 reps and work down to 1 rep. Keep the bar in the front-hold position (or use a cross-grip hold if that’s more secure) for the squats and the lunges (you’ll get some sweet anterior core work).


For the rows, use an overhand grip where your thumbs are just outside your thighs and really think about squeezing with the middle back muscles on every single rep, especially when straightening the arms.



**Extra Trainer Tip: Pay extra attention to keeping the tightness in your back, glutes and abs the whole time to get the most out of your workout in the safest way 🙂 **


For more time-saving workout ideas, inspiration, and brain tricks to keep you healthy, happy and centered all holiday season, grab a free copy of my Healthy, Happy Holiday You handbook by clicking the link below!

5 Ways I Stay Permanently Motivated–and YOU can, too!


We are entering that crazy, time-speeds-up/there’s so much to do part of the year.  

Events around every corner, presents to be found/purchased/mailed, fewer hours of daylight…it’s enough to mess with the most focused of us!
Interruptions and extra tasks can suck the wind out of our ‘motivation.’  Which is exactly why I say that we don’t really need motivation–because that’s a fleeting feeling, we need PURPOSE.

With an impending household move in the next two weeks, holiday preparations to be made, extra holiday events for each of the kids, and a bunch of doctor’s appointments, vet appointments, my life is a story of total disruption.


It would be super easy to just throw my hands in the air and say ‘I give up until January 1,’  BUT over time I’ve fostered a sense of purpose instead of relying on feeling ‘motivated,’ and  it’s this sense of purpose (aka: motivation) that keeps me positive and proactive about my health and fitness 🙂


There are five key things I do to maintain my ‘motivation.’  

If you’re in a hurry, you can scroll right down to the list 🙂 

If you’re in the mood for a little story, then start reading here!


Although I dabbled in strength training and fitness in my 20’s, it didn’t ‘take’ completely until later.


I worked with a personal trainer to learn how to strength train in the first place, because I was clueless, and I saw some remarkable changes in just a few months.  Combined with playing (co-rec) soccer, lifting weights three times a week helped me lose 10 pounds and sculpted muscle I didn’t know I had.


Then I graduated from college.

The sudden lifestyle change completely unsettled me;  the uncertainty of that time in my life, combined with the feeling of going it alone knocked me off every workout routine I had and stimulated an emotional eating response.  The result was a significant body change in the opposite direction!


Eventually, I became frustrated with feeling soft and stuck, and I hired another trainer.


Katherine changed how I looked at my body.


While I definitely trained to look better so I could feel better (because that’s how my mind worked then!), Katherine was the first person to introduce the mind-body-spirit balance concept to me.


It was her supposition that when one part of your life is way off-kilter, the others suffer as well.  You can’t try to ‘fix’ one aspect of what I now call the ‘Human Trifecta’ without addressing the other parts.


I ‘got’ it, but wasn’t emotionally mature enough at the time to really deal with it.

Fast forward several years, two jobs, marriage, an overseas move, a deployment, another overseas move, a new baby, years of yo-yo dieting and inconsistent and ineffective exercising, and finally a devastating injury to where it all started to change.



In 2006, when my daughter was just 11 months old and I was just starting to ‘get back in shape’ by doing fitness dvd’s at home,  I went riding with a friend who owned barrel racers.


Having seen me ride a few times before, she thought I could handle her mare.


Unfortunately, the mare was cranky and disagreed, and she darted out of the safety of the sand ring, across the hardened red clay furrows of the Louisiana fields, at Mach 5 in true barrel racer style.


Not wanting to wanting to break my neck should she trip and fall, I ditched and landed on my right side, causing tons of soft tissue damage/trauma to my right hip, lumbar spine/both SI joints/pelvis as well as two broken ribs.


After the initial recovery, I was faced with a choice:  work hard and do what it took to recover or be in pain or on pain meds for the foreseeable future.

I chose to learn what I needed to do to get better.


I started working with a physical therapist, and after a few weeks of that I hired a personal trainer.  This time around, I was motivated to change and invested in learning so that I could rebuild my body.


I became acquainted with basic human anatomy and muscle groups, and learned different exercises to strengthen the various muscle groups effectively.


I started to run again, in one minute increments, until I could run one mile without pain or stopping.  I started reading fitness magazines, Oxygen in particular at the time, and added to my base knowledge.



I took OWNERSHIP of my body, of my fate, of my future.

It was the first time I found a deep purpose for working out and running. 

Without consistent strength training, core training and running, my SI joints would cause me pain.


With consistency, though, my back was pain-free, even through my second pregnancy.  My purpose was to stay healthy, mobile and pain-free so that I could take care of my kids and family and live a full, uninhibited life.


39 weeks

39 weeks pregnant with baby #2

There is power in that purpose.  


Purpose is what keeps you going, what keeps you working out, long after the initial ‘motivation’ has passed.  And routine is what cements it into your life.

Making exercise routine in my life, consistent activities on consistent days—to the very best of my ability, is how I stay ‘motivated.’


“Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.”

~ Zig Ziglar


Initially motivated by the desire to look better in college, then reinforced by the desire—no, need—to stay healthy and pain-free, I have ‘cemented’ fitness/exercise into my life through these routines.


The Top 5 Ways I Maintain Lasting ‘Motivation’


1. Identify my deepest PURPOSE(S).

I put them into words, write them down, and reflect on them often.


2. Get real with my schedule every week.

I identify when and where I will be getting in my workouts (I ‘sharpie’ these into my schedule), and then create my Plan B’s for those days in case my best laid plans go awry (thank you Army for teaching me this skill!)


3. Keep motivational, inspirational and purpose-oriented quotes around the house where I can see them in the morning and evening.

These are words that have deep meaning for me, that resonate with my current challenges, that redirect my thinking to the positive even when I’m feeling frustrated or unsure. They are up on my medicine cabinet, on my fridge and above my computer—kind of hard to avoid them!


4. I seek out a community of like-minded people—people who can relate to where I’m at in life, to the goals I’m pursuing, who are experiencing some of the same feelings and challenges as I am.

Community support—in the form of running buddies, fellow trainers, people who attend the same classes, and experts I can learn from all contribute to keeping me on track and moving me in a forward, positive direction.


5. I learn a new skill.

Losing 5 pounds or looking better in a bathing suit lost their allure for me a few years ago—what was initially ‘motivating’ no longer held meaning for me.

Over time, I’ve discovered that learning a new skill, a new sport, a new technique or a new training approach to one aspect of my fitness regimen keeps it fresh for me.

Learning and acquiring new skills is exciting, and mastery of a skill is fulfilling and confidence-boosting.  Plus, it helps me be a better trainer for others!

It’s win-win, and it’s also a long-term objective that will never expire or be extinguished, because there will always be new science, new skills to learn, new tools to use, new training interests to pursue.


“In every great act, there is a challenge. In every challenge, there is a reward. In every reward lies the product of our efforts. In every effort lies new beauty to be born.”

~ Mohammed Onotu


If YOU’VE been struggling with motivation, then give these 5 tips a try!


Identify your deeper/deepest PURPOSE for exercising/working out/eating better.

Search your soul a bit.  Sit quietly with your feelings.  Ruminate while you commute….Then write it all down.  Don’t edit yourself, don’t judge, just write it down.  Solidify that purpose in your mind and deep in your gut.


Get real with your schedule.

Map out where your time must be spent throughout the week, then map out where you WILL spend your time acting on your purpose (exercising).  ‘Sharpie’ it in.  Then make your backup plans.  Bend if you must, but don’t break.  Find a way to make something work.


Find and post quotes where you can see them easily morning and night, and maybe even in places you’ll see them throughout the day—in your office, in your car, in your wallet….

These are those galvanizing reminders of your PURPOSE for exercising.  They should be strong, positive and purpose-reinforcing.  A couple of fun apps you can use to make your own


Find a workout buddy, walking partner, running buddy or just an accountability buddy.


Find a fitness class or group you really enjoy where the other participants are right up your alley.  Check out other gyms if yours isn’t cutting it.

Start a neighborhood exercise ‘tribe’ if you don’t belong to/have access to a gym.  Hire an online coach/trainer for guidance, support and accountability.

Take part in an online fitness community with like-minded people.

Do whatever works best for YOU but find that support, because social support is a great predictor of long-term adherence, even for the most independent of us 😉



My new ‘tribe’ of like-minded people where I get to learn new skills, too.

Try something NEW.

A new class at the gym, a new piece of equipment (kettlebells, TRX, and sandbags can add some spice into any strength training regimen), set a new goal.

Try paddle-boarding or indoor rock climbing, join a community sports team or running group, take kickboxing or karate or tae kwan do—take on a new challenge which forces you to engage your body and mind in the process of acquiring that new skill, so that the aim isn’t so much to reshape your body as to just get better at something (your body will respond, no worries!).


“If  you can learn to motivate yourself, you can always tap into an abundance of energy that will drive you to the success you dream of.”

~ Rachael Bermingham


Try out a tip today!  Maybe take one of these quotes and slap it up somewhere it will stare you right in the face and remind you of what YOUR purpose for moving forward is 🙂

Talk to you soon,


Trainer Tip Tuesday: Keep The Butt Tight–in BOTH directions



It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s tip comes from a lesson I’ve recently had the opportunity to revisit as both a trainer and a ‘trainee’: Keep the tension in the butt in BOTH directions.





What does THAT mean, you might ask??




It means that to make exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, push ups, planks, glute bridges and hip bridges (plus a mess of other exercises) MORE effective and even safer for our hips and backs, we need to keep our glutes/po-po’s/butts squeezed tight when we’re lifting AND lowering.




It’s super common, especially when we’re either just starting out OR when we’re tired and not fully focused on what we’re doing, to squeeze the glutes in one direction of the movement and totally let them go slack, or ‘on vacation’ as I say with clients, in the other direction.



Example: The glute bridging movement.



Usually, we think of squeezing the glutes to raise the hips off the floor, but then ‘drop’ the tension on the way back down, and pretty much just melt back into the floor before regrouping the squeeze in our butts for the next rep.



BUT, yes pun intended, what’s WAY more effective–and nicer to our spines–is to KEEP the squeeze in the butt on the lowering part of the exercise, so that when our pelvis meets the floor again it ‘kisses’ the floor rather than smushing back into it with basically no muscle control.


Another example: The squat.



We are totally used to having to use our glutes to stand up, but many of us forget to keep it tight on the way down. Know what pays when we ‘drop’ into a squat? Our low backs. And if you add a significant load to that (eg: heavy barbell), bad things can happen–beyond simple failure to move the weight.




BUT, yes pun intended again!, if you lower slowly with tons of squeezing (tension) in your glutes, you’re more likely to have a really nice and successful squat and much less likely to jack yourself up.


A third example: The push up.



What?? An ‘upper body’ exercise?? Yep. One of the best ways to stabilize your spine and execute a solid push up is to, you got it: squeeze the glutes. HARD–as in as tight as you can. It’ll spare your back and make your push ups that much easier. REALLY!



Try it all out for yourself! See how exercises/movements feel when you’re just going through the motions with muscles ‘hanging out on vacation’ (as in WAY too relaxed) vs. how it feels when you really put some focus on keeping the glutes tight in BOTH directions.



It’s a simple change that can make your workouts more effective, safer, and that much more interesting–because when you’re concentrating hard on how much you can feel you butt working, you don’t have time to be bored!



So remember to keep it TIGHT in both directions to get the most bang for your buck 🙂

Trainer Tip Thursday: Which shoes do I wear when I lift??


It’s the special Trainer Tip THURSDAY edition 🙂

This week, by request, the topic is how to choose which shoes for which athletic endeavors and fitness activities.


The question I got was:
“I’ve been realizing that shoe choices are not just important for running, but possibly for lifting as well. Could you do a Trainer Tip Tuesday in the future about how to figure out what to look for/what is important in the shoes you wear for lifting? So far I just wear cross trainers which has proven not the best choice but lifting shoes confuse me right now. “


Such a great question, and an important one, too! So, I’ll give a long answer and a short answer. If you’re interested in the ‘whys’ of the situation, keep reading; if you just want the shoe recommendations, skip to the bottom 🙂


Many of us do know that we need certain kinds of running shoes depending on our running gait, mileage, our weight, our age, the kind of surface we run on (trail vs. street), and whether we overpronate (foot rolls inward) or supinate (foot rolls outward).


I always recommend going to a running store for a video or at least visual assessment of your running gait so you are better able to choose the shoe that fits your needs best. I can’t even tell you how much pain I caused myself and money I wasted guessing which shoe would work before I started going to running stores to tap into their expertise. And runners LOVE to talk about running, so the salespeople are usually really passionate about helping you find the right shoe. Bonus: once you find the right shoe, you can order it online (maybe even for a discount) from then on!


But the weightlifting shoe issue isn’t one that’s as well known in general fitness circles. So here goes!


I lifted weights, and even did aerobics classes, in running shoes for YEARS.


It wasn’t until after I’d had my PT certification for about 9 months and really started to get into the mechanics of movement patterns that I realized my running shoes weren’t the best choice for lifting.


The trouble with running shoes is a) they usually have a larger heel lift, b) the soles are thick and often highly cushioned and c) don’t necessarily fit the foot snugly.


a) Having a heel lift, where the heel is significantly higher than the ball of the foot, changes the standing posture.


It unevenly distributes the weight on the foot to the front of the foot, and shifts the position (the tilt) of the pelvis forward. This can both lend to a more pronounced curve, or ‘sway’ in the low back, and it also puts more of the work of standing into the quads/front of the leg.


*Check it out: stand up without shoes and feel what muscles are active when your feet are flat on the floor. Now lift your heels up off the floor slightly: What did you feel change?*


b and c) For most ground-based exercises, being perched more on your toe is not a great way to perform these exercises. It puts a little too much work on the front half of the body, and takes some away from the back half–which is usually the half we need to train a little harder!


Lungeing is less stable, deadlifting is harder (on the spine), standing overhead exercises require greater knee and pelvis position changes to avoid adverse pressure on the low back, and the landing aspect of lateral movements and jumping activities is MUCH less stable.


The exception? Squatting. Squatting is one of those exercises where having a heel lift *sometimes* helps, or is advantageous. This is where those special ‘lifting’ shoes come in.


The mechanics of the squat require that there is flexion (bending) happening in three main joints: the ankle, knee and hip. When someone is really stiff in their ankles (often from very tight soleus or gastroc muscles/facsia), they are not able to bend enough in their ankles to allow the knees to travel forwards enough to allow their hip to then lower into a full squat position.


The lack of ankle mobility translates into having a harder time achieving optimal depth (parallel and below), which often translates into someone compensating for their inability to move the knee more forward/sink into the squat by rounding in their lower back to sink their hips lower….which is a story that will never end well, especially when higher weights are being used.


So many people, especially those who are more into lifting heavy or powerlifting, will opt to use lifting shoes to give them a heel lift while also giving them a flat sole with lots of ground contact.


BUT not everyone who lifts heavy NEEDS to have them! Some people do, some people like wearing ‘the right gear,’ and some people think it gives them an advantage. **BTW, I made sure to double-check my assertions with a local powerlifting champion and trainer, Rob Powell of CrossFit Ansbach, because while I understand the mechanics, I’m not a powerlifter and it’s always best to ask a seasoned pro when you need specific and expert advice**


Bottom line on the lifting shoes recommendations:


*Try to get shoes that have a flatter sole and less cushion. Many people who are hardcore lifters wear low-top Converse 🙂

*Make sure the shoe has enough arch support, if you have super high arches, but not too much extra padding inside.

*Try to get shoes that are ‘zero drop’ or only have a small drop, like 4mm. (Drop refers to the amount of height change between the heel and ball of foot)

*Make sure the width of the shoe is a good fit for your foot. Too wide means sliding around and can cause further foot discomfort/issues–trust me on this one!

*If you’re lifting and doing HIIT or Metabolic Conditioning in the same workouts, make sure the soles have enough flexibility and just enough cushion to make movements such as sprinting, jump squats, box hops and any other impact activities comfortable.



My preference (so far) are the New Balance Minimus shoes. They come in multiple widths, aren’t outrageously expensive, have just enough cushion and either 4mm or zero mm drop.


They’ve been a fantastic shoe for heavy lifting and for conditioning workouts of all kinds, AND my last pair lasted me two years (no cushion means not needing to replace them as often as running shoes!).


Other people who train at CrossFit Ansbach wear INOV8 and love them, some the Reebok line of ‘CrossFit’ or lifting shoes (trendy or a great fit? No answer there), as well as just the classic Converse, or just lift barefoot.


Merrell also makes some great minimalist shoes that might fit the bill, too.


And my very last recommendations:


–>Go a try a bunch of them on. Walk around in them, so squats in them, do side lunges in them. See how they move and feel!


–>Look for people who are built and train like you at the gym, and ask them about their shoes (I did that when I wanted to know more about the Inov 8 shoes!).


–>Make sure that whatever you choose meets YOUR particular training wants and physical needs.


And, PLEASE, don’t do deadlifts in running shoes or shoes with big heel lifts–that means you, soldiers at lunchtime wearing your uniform boots!!!

Why get smaller? Workout to be MORE.

I work out to be MORE of myself, not less.

Day before yesterday, I had a conversation about what my deepest fitness beliefs are.


It was a little hard to put them all in words at that moment, but there are a few primary, cornerstone beliefs that guide my own fitness and how I train and coach others.


One of those primary beliefs that came to mind first was that I believe in working out to be more of oneself, not less.


I know that can sound weird at first, because we’re so socially programmed (especially as women) to exercise to make less of ourselves in terms of size, weight and body fat.


The objective is always to get smaller in some way.


Now, I’m not saying ‘hey get out there and get as BIG as you can’ instead (unless that’s your thing, then by all means, do!).


I’m saying that maybe if we shift our attitude towards the purpose of exercise in our lives, we will be happier with our bodies, our selves and our lives.


I’m saying that using exercise to grow into more of our human potential, into more of our best selves–the strongest, most capable, most courageous, whole-hearted, inspirational versions of our selves can be SO much more fulfilling, while STILL yielding those aesthetic results we seek.


It’s not an ‘either-or’ prospect: the goals of growing stronger, becoming more AND changing one’s body composition are mutually agreeable.


My bottom line: life is fuller and better when we approach exercise and fitness with a growth mentality full of joy and hope, rather than with a ‘shrink’ mentality full of fear and dissatisfaction.


It’s why I say: Work out to be MORE of your self, not less.


Trainer Tip Tuesday: Make your warm up work for YOU.


It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!


This week’s tip: make your warm ups work for YOU.


Once upon a time, my warm ups consisted of a few minutes walking on a treadmill or pedaling on an elliptical–and that’s what I recommended my clients did for their warm-ups, too!

Then I learned better and started doing better.

A warm up isn’t just for the purpose of ‘warming up’ and elevating the heart rate to prepare the body for some extra exertion.

  • The purpose of a warm up is also to prepare the joints that are going to be moving more, and get them releasing more synovial fluid to ‘grease’ the joint and make all that extra movement more comfortable.
  • The purpose of a warm up is also to prep the muscles, tendons and ligaments involved that will be involved in your workout, to get them a little more ‘bendy and flexy’ as I like to put it.
  • But one of the purposes that gets overlooked sometimes is the prepping of the brain that is super important to the quality of one’s workout. It’s two-fold: first, you’re prepping your neuromuscular system to react and respond better AND you’re also setting your conscious intent for your workout–taking a moment to set goals, envision your success and become more present in your body.



Mindless walking on the treadmill doesn’t effectively accomplish these things!

What does is a series of movements that mimic the movements you’ll be engaging in during your workout–often called a dynamic movement warm up.


There are about a million different variations you can do, because the movements you choose are specific to your needs!


BUT it’s always a great idea to include exercises that take you through the major movement patterns (push, pull, rotate, hip hinge, squat) and get all the major joints of the body moving, too–ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists.


During these dynamic movement warm ups, you’ll have the opportunity to start noticing how the different parts of your body feel and start dialing in your mindfulness and turning off all the other busy thoughts of the day.


It’s also a great time to quietly review the elements of your coming workout in your mind, and set your intention for how hard you’ll be working, how smooth your movements will be and how you’ll achieve the success you seek by the end of your workout.


And who doesn’t want to walk away from their workout feeling satisfied and successful?!


One of my new favorite and TIME-SAVING dynamic movement warm ups is a combination of 5 elements that turns into a ‘flow’ warm up:

-Spiderman Lunges
-Hip Flexor activations
-Hamstring ‘stretches’
-Thoracic twists


Perform the sequence 3 to 5 times each side while dialing in your body awareness and setting your workout intention, and you have a super winning, effective and time-saving warm up.


Bottom line: Skip the treadmill/elliptical/bike warm up and up your workout mojo with a dynamic movement warm up! It’s win-win-win.

Trainer Tip Tuesday: The ‘Just-One-Rep’ Plan


It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s tip is a little mindset shift that can go a LONG ways for your confidence and strength development: take on your workout ONE REP at a time.


You’re probably saying ‘Duh, lady, heard that before and I have the t-shirt,’ but I mean it a little differently 🙂


I’m going to make a little confession here before I illustrate my point: many of the exercises I do these days in my Kettlebell-CrossFit training are really challenging for me, and in all truthfulness, they kind of scare the crap out of me. Not because what I’m doing is inherently dangerous, but because I still work to quiet that little voice of doubt in my head that says ‘I don’t know if I can do this/can handle this.’


That doubt has overwhelmed me on many occasions, and threatens to from time to time still.


It has shut me down and caused me to say ‘I can’t’ before I’ve even tried.


There’s nothing quite as disappointing as going home thinking you really didn’t try your hardest/give it your all.


Eventually, I got sick of selling myself short all the time out of fear and doubt. But I still needed a thought process, a mantra, to help me think my way out of my fear and doubt.


I made a deal with myself: I would simply tackle each workout one rep at a time.


Instead of letting the workout as a whole overwhelm me, I would make myself fully present in and only aware of each repetition, and when I’d executed that rep, I’d allow myself to take on the next one.


And it worked.

I would be so focused in the execution of one rep at a time that three things would happen: a) I’d produce some really high-quality, full-effort reps, b) my fear would disappear, and c) my confidence in my own abilities skyrocketed. I was definitely on to something here.



If you’re someone who gets overwhelmed or intimidated by a workout or by certain exercises, try giving the ‘only one rep’ perspective a try.


Imagine that heinous exercise that seems to be your nemesis or just intimidates you.


Maybe it’s burpees, or back squats, or push ups, or pull ups, or barbell cleans or kettlebell snatches.


Imagine you’re supposed to do 5 or 10 or 15 or even 30 reps of that exercise. How do you feel when you hear you have to do THAT many of the exercise that torments or scares you?


Now imagine you only have to do one rep. One fantastically focused and gorgeous rep. How do you feel now?


I’m betting, if you’re anything like me, the second scenario was welcoming and relaxing, while the first scenario was more like having a large brick wall thrown in your path.


So if you’ve been intimidated by trying a new exercise, completing a tough workout, increasing the amount of weight you’ve been using for a particular exercise, or just plain testing yourself to see how many reps you can do (like with pull ups!), I suggest trying the ‘one rep mindset’ trick.


Buy fully into that one rep, show yourself you can do it, and keep buying in to each next rep until you’re hitting–then surpassing–your goals.


Think yourself stronger, action yourself forward.

You got this!

Sharpie yourself in.

scheduling for the win!

Remember the saying, “I’ll pencil you in”?


I always thought that was funny, because writing anything in pencil implies that it’s able to be easily erased–hello, math class!



While the actual act of ‘penciling’ someone in is probably on the decline due to automated calendars, reminders and alarms on all kinds of electronic devices, the saying is still out there–in certain circles at least 😉


But it’s this saying that comes to mind when talking with clients, family and friends about ‘finding’ time to work out.


One of the first obstacles many people find where fitness matters are concerned is in the scheduling of their workouts.


It often seems like everything under the sun gets written into a schedule before any consideration of workout needs happens at all.  Which, of course, leaves very little reasonable opportunity to work in those workouts!


Notice I said ‘reasonable’ opportunities–not the odds and ends fragments of time left after you’ve plugged all your other variables into your day. The likelihood of a workout happening at those moments tends to be pretty slim.  Those are the ‘catch my breath’ moments!


Writing anything in pencil screams ‘indefinite’ to me.  It can be erased and replaced so easily.


Which is why I adopted the saying, “SHARPIE yourself in.”


Ever try to erase something written in Sharpie?  (I’m betting some of you parents have some interesting attempted-Sharpie-removal stories)


Yeah, that stuff’s not going anywhere–which is exactly my point.

When you write something in Sharpie, it’s not going anywhere–no erasing, no replacing.


Which brings me to you and your workouts–rather than penciling yourself into your schedule of responsibilities, work, family, household, community or otherwise, make your own fitness and wellness a priority and Sharpie your workouts into your daily and weekly schedules.


In my life, putting those workout plans first thing in the day is the best guarantee of a good outcome because there’s less likelihood of having to deal with outside interferences.  But if your workout time is in the afternoon or evening, stick to your guns and really SHARPIE it into your day.


Each week, I sit down, usually on Sundays, and evaluate the week’s plans.  Aside from the set-in-stone events:  recurring school and sport stuff, I won’t write anything else in my schedule until I’ve ‘sharpie-d’ in my own workouts.



After that, I’ll plot and plan in all the other household and business to-do’s, and most of these are flexible events that are much easier to fit in around my workouts than vice-versa.


*Quick side note:  I work from home currently, and I totally acknowledge that if you have office hours you’ll likely have a different scheduling challenge than I do at the moment.  The ‘Sharpie’ approach might be even more beneficial for you in building consistency and relieving stress :)*


Of course we know Plan A can sometimes fall through, for whatever reason, so having your Plan B’s in your backpocket is necessary, too.


I’d liken this to ‘Sharpie-ing’ your backup plans into the margin under the ‘notes’ section of your calendar–it’s there for reference if you need it, preplanned and ready to go.


By getting in those workouts, you’ll physically feel better, be more productive, and be more consistent (which means feeling more successful), so carving out that time, making those plans indelible is the worth effort it might take to make it happen.


Make your own wellness, fitness and health a priority.  Try the SHARPIE approach, either mentally or on paper, (if you’re ‘old school’ and have a day planner like me), and make your workout plans indelible.


Let me know how it works for you!

Talk to you soon,


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