Tag Archive for #getbusyliving

Finding my new happy…in an unexpected place.

Change never fails because it's too early...quote-2

I have a confession.

It’s a big one I’ve been sitting on for four months now.

But I thought it was time to come clean and ‘out’ myself.


I’ve joined a CrossFit gym–CrossFit Ansbach, to be specific.


For those of you who have known me or trained with me over the past few years, this is probably a big surprise to you! I’m still a little surprised at myself, too, but you’ll understand why I’ve made this choice when I explain in a minute.


First, a little background….I’ve been super critical of CrossFit in general.


Mostly because what I’ve seen being performed in the post fitness facility and on the internet is, well, pretty darn awful in terms of form, execution, safety; and the cost:benefit ratio is way off.


I’ve witnessed a lot of ‘go harder’ not ‘work smarter’–untrained people lifting heavily weighted barbells poorly and at crazy, uncontrolled tempos.


I volunteer in a Physical Therapy clinic as an extra set of eyes and hands, helping patients with their therapy exercises, etc.  I’ve also been the fortunate recipient of treatment there twice–fortunate because my treatment worked really well AND I learned a ton about joint function and healthy movement patterns as a result.


This experience makes me a little wary of exercise selection and people performing weighted movements in some scary (and sometimes desperate-looking) ways.


But back to my confession…and the reasons behind my possibly surprising choice.


I made the difficult (and risky) decision to leave my position as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at the post fitness center just about a year ago.


Though I truly loved my clients and class-goers, and was getting plenty of business, it was simply no longer a good fit for me for a number of reasons.  I persisted in working out there for a number of months afterwards (there aren’t that many options where we’re stationed!)…but it just wasn’t a good place for me any longer, even as a gym patron.


After some soul-searching and ego-checking, I realized a few things:

1) I needed a change.  

2) I wanted to learn and grow.  

3) I needed guidance and expert training.  

4) At 40, I wanted to test and realize my athletic potential.  I did not know what I was TRULY capable of doing, and I wasn’t getting any younger, lol!


So I followed the recommendation of a fellow trainer I respected and checked out CrossFit Ansbach.  I promised myself I wouldn’t do anything I deemed unsafe or overly risky, and that I would keep an open line of communication with the trainers if my shoulders, etc., started to feel bad.


It’s been one of the best choices I’ve made for myself in a long time.  I found that the community was warm and positive (and drama-free), and the owner and trainers were knowledgeable and attentive, AND they were as preoccupied with participant safety as I was.

And I have learned and grown–a ton already.

I’m adding new skills and knowledge to my toolkit as both an athlete and a personal trainer regularly.



I’ve already exceeded my own expectations of my abilities and athleticism, and at this point the proverbial sky is the limit 🙂

Moral of my story and confession:  

You have to do what’s right for you. 


If something in your life isn’t a good fit, if it’s not serving you or growing you, if it’s causing you internal strife on a regular basis, then that something needs to change.


It can take serious guts to pull up roots, take a chance on something unknown, to do what other people might not understand or condone, but it’s essential to living a happier, more peaceful, more full life.


Life is short.  It goes by faster than you think it will.  Do that thing that scares you. 

Make those changes you know you need to so that you can think, feel, do and live better.  Find the people who have the skills, tools and knowledge to help you grow.

Stick with the people who make you feel like a better person, not the ones who drag you down.

Don’t wait.

Get out there and do one thing today that gets you closer to the you that you want to be and the happy that you seek.

Follow your gut.  Find your happy.


Body Glide and the Big Epiphany

There is no wrong way to have a body2


This Stuff.





I’m pretty sure there’s special place in heaven for the creator of this stuff.  What is this glorious invention?  It’s Body Glide–a little bit of heaven in deodorant-stick-like form.





It’s given many a runner a great deal of comfort, and it’s given me the ability to look at my body in a whole new light.





I think I first discovered Body Glide in 2007, when we were stationed at Fort Rucker, AL, and I’d started running regularly (in 90-degree heat and 100% humidity) after recovering from my low back/pelvic injury for the prior 14 months.





If you live in the south of the US, or have visited in the south during the summer, you’ll understand how as soon as you walk out the door, your body bursts into a total-body sweat instantly.



Now compound that with actual movement and exertion–in a climate where your sweat never evaporates, just collects on every millimeter of your skin until it pours off of you.  What you have is a formula for some serious chafing of any place where your skin rubs your clothes–at all.




2008 Gate to Gate Run Finish


Well, for a girl whose thighs have always been very friendly, and whose triceps are a little on the bigger side, this does not bode well.



I’m definitely ‘well-endowed’ in the tricep department!


There were more than a few occasions where I rubbed my inner thighs and below my armpits raw after just a couple of miles.  Yeouch.




Well, I wasn’t quitting running, and we weren’t being relocated anytime soon, so finding a solution was critical.


Enter:  Runner’s World Magazine and THE solution.



Body Glide.



Lucky for me, the local sports store in Enterprise, AL, had some small sticks available right up at the cash register.  For about $5, I snatched one up and prayed for relief.




Body Glide did not disappoint.



For the first time in pretty much ever, nothing chafed, nothing rubbed uncomfortably, despite high temps, horrific humidity (I’m a Seattle girl.  We don’t do humidity.), and a massive amount of sweat.




Victory was mine!





Fast forward a couple of years to a very warm stretch of summer in Germany, and the rare event where it was both warm enough for me to don a sundress and I actually had the desire to!




Although I only went out to dinner with a couple of friends that night and there was MINIMAL walking involved, by the time I got home my friendly thighs had ‘road rash’ once again!  OUCH.




I was pretty disappointed and annoyed that my thighs touching made it hard to comfortably wear a dress in the summer.  Damn friendly thighs….




Then it dawned on me, as I stared into my medicine cabinet later:  Body Glide isn’t just for athletic use.  It’s for ANYTIME use!  Duh!!  Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?!?




Friendly thighs were no longer going to stop me from wearing skirts or dresses in warm weather.  With the assistance of some Body Glide, I could wear what I wanted (skirts, dresses, shorts, bikinis) with comfort and confidence.




Around this same time, I started having trouble with blouses and dresses with sleeves fitting.




Specifically, all was well until I tried to get my shoulders in them, or the blouse or dress to close.  About 6 months before this, I started doing pull ups regularly and having alot of fun with push ups and upper body training.


Spring 2014


Seeing as I’m ‘gifted’ in the delt department (they gain size really easily), my shoulders had shaped up and grown a bit.




At first, I had the urge to blame my shoulders for being too big or muscular–but only for a second.



Then I took a look at myself.  




I liked what I saw.  





I didn’t like the way the dress fit (or didn’t).









I’ve got some delts…and I like them.

Epiphany:  The problem wasn’t the size of my shoulders or the way my shoulders and arms were shaped, the problem was in the design of the clothes.



Well, you know how feelings can snowball….Pretty soon I was looking at the rest of my body in the same way, starting with my friendly thighs.




I started to take the view on things that if clothes didn’t fit, it was because the clothes were the wrong design, not that my body was flawed.




My thighs have touched for as long as I can remember–seriously way back into childhood.




There have only been a few (three, maybe) phases when I remember my thighs NOT touching, and these were all related to drastic weight losses, one stemming from abdominal surgery and losing a ton of muscle, and two really stressful life events when I ate very little and ran a lot.




My thighs are the way they are and they’re not changing anytime soon.  And you know what?  I’m totally cool with that.  




Because they are strong and shapely and capable of some amazing feats.





It hasn’t been an overnight mental transformation, though.





Building better body acceptance has been a bit-by-bit, over time project.  It’s required me to catch myself when I slip into negative thought patterns, when I pinch my belly, or grab at my outer thighs, or mentally berate my cellulite, or fall into any kind of #comparisontrap, and to replace those negative thoughts with body-positive statements.






These days, when I’m shopping for jeans, or dresses, or even bikinis (still not a fun project for me!), I don’t harsh on my body when something doesn’t fit well or look good on me.





I blame it entirely on the cut/design of the clothing.  Fashion trends and social media be damned, if it doesn’t fit my body, it’s not because my body is flawed!!





My body is healthy strong, capable and amazing–stretch marks, mommy tummy, cellulite and all 🙂



Thank you, Body Glide, for starting me on the path to greater body acceptance and for helping me realize that products and clothing need to adapt to ME and my body, not the other way around.  



And in the immortal words of the Dread Pirate Scott, from one of the best movies of all time: The Princess Bride, “…anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.”



Some of my favorite body-positive mantras are:


  • Just Do You (to pull out of the comparison trap)
  • You’re amazing; the clothes suck
  • I love my strong ____________ (fill in the blank with body part)
  • I’m more than the sum of my parts


So if you’re out there carrying out that sometimes traumatic task of shopping for a bathing suit, or any other piece of clothing that has stressed you out in the past, keep this in mind:





It’s not your body that’s flawed. It’s the clothes.






Ditch what doesn’t make you feel good, and move on!!





{PS—2016 update} Body Glide now has an even better partner product: Body Slide.



This stuff is super easy to apply to our rounded bits and gets into any ‘nooks and crannies’ more easily. Plus, it wears amazingly well through sweat and water exposure.




Body Slide saved me so much pain last summer, and made wearing a bikini in saltwater a pleasant experience!



Summer 2015: rockin’ the bikini with the help of more body positivity and a bunch of Body Slide :)

Can’t recommend it enough.




What are your body-positive mantras??





Add yours to the comments below–I’d love to hear what works for you!

Mind your OWN business!

Today’s Trainer Tip:  

Mind your OWN business.

And, yes, this IS a fitness-related issue! Hear me out.


Last year was a challenging year on all levels. During that time, I sought resources to help me to be more resilient, and I participated in a 10-week Mindset Makeover course (conducted by Jill Coleman).


One of the greatest lessons I learned from the course was that of minding your own business–being dialed into what YOU are doing, not concerned about what others are doing, or thinking (about you), or saying (about you).


What others think about you, or say about you, or do is THEIR business–it’s about THEM and THEIR issues, not yours.


What’s more, when you buy into this philosophy, of being actively engaged in your own business and less concerned (or not at all concerned) about what others think/say/do, you find you don’t even have the time to be concerned about them.


When you really start turning that attention you may have been giving others inward, you’ll find that you’ve suddenly been freed to pursue your own desires, wishes, goals with more energy and intensity than before. You’ll find that you develop a greater sense of peace in your mind and your spirit.


And when you’re fully invested in and really minding YOUR own business and no one else’s, you won’t have the TIME to pay attention to anyone else’s business, because you’ll be living a life that is authentic, intensely interesting, and you’ll be accomplishing small and big goals right and left.


You will be a force to reckon with, and you will wonder why you ever spent time being concerned about what others are thinking/saying/doing.


Where I see this fitting into fitness in an everyday sense is in the fear that I’ve heard so many people (mainly women) express about going to the gym, and especially about using the weight room. I’ve heard women say they feel stupid trying to figure out which weights to use for what. I’ve heard women say that they are intimidated by the weight room because it is full of men.

I’ve heard people say they aren’t ready to go to the gym or take a particular class because they aren’t in good enough shape.

I’ve heard people say that they didn’t want to try something (in the gym/fitness realm) because they didn’t want to look stupid.


Instead of giving attention to what others might say/think/do about you and what you say/think/do, take that attention and dial it into what YOU are doing.


Not sure how to use a machine or weight? Curious about a class or even just where to start with a fitness program? Find someone you trust, near or far, and get a little instruction.

Learn what muscles/physical sensation you’re looking for and concentrate intensely on that body part.

Throw on your ‘mental blinkers,’ and take whatever peripheral focus you might have had on what’s going on around you and dial it inwards.

Make what you’re doing in that moment the only thing that matters–make YOUR business of working out your ONLY business in that moment.


This practice of minding your own business is just that, a practice.

It is a new way of thinking and behaving that is developed through repeated efforts. When you first begin to apply this practice, you’ll be confronted with old negative thoughts and thought patterns popping up or creeping in, telling you or tempting you to pay attention to the thoughts/words/actions of the people around you.

Your job is to recognize those thoughts, stop them in their tracks, refocus your attention inward, into YOUR business. It takes practice–I know from experience.

But with consistent effort, you’ll find it so much easier to attend less to the thoughts/words/actions of others, to accept that whatever they think/say/do is about them and their struggles, not about you at all.



“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”





Get into the business of minding your own business.

Your mind will thank you, your heart will thank you, your body will thank you. And it will be crazy the things you dare to do, and then accomplish, as a result. It makes me excited for you just thinking about it!



Trading in Fear and Angst for Gratitude and Appreciation.

Practicing daily gratitude.

Practicing daily gratitude.

Sounds more like a psychology/counseling blog than a fitness one, right?  I hear you.


But a few years ago, I started to really see how much one aspect of living affected the others.

I really believe in a Mind-Body-Spirit connection, I’ve dubbed it the ‘Human Trifecta,’ and that when one part is out of whack, the others suffer.  I also believe that bolstering one aspect of the Human Trifecta can bring the others up as well.



What does this all have to do with trading in fear and angst for gratitude and appreciation, and where does this fit into a fitness context?


Here’s my belief, based on my past and current experiences in fitness and living as a whole:  fear and angst will shut you down, gratitude and appreciation will open you up to the greatness and possibilities that are out there.


And in the context of fitness, I’m talking about the fear and angst of not being thin enough/lean enough/hard enough/good enough versus appreciating the body you have and all the amazing things it does already, as well as the amazing things you can become capable of doing.



Angst will ‘hang you up,’ make you feel like you’re carrying a ton of bricks. It will blind you to the good fortune and abundance of possibilities before you–you will only see what is ‘wrong’ and be preoccupied or even obsessed with what you fear.  



In a fitness/aesthetic context, this can take the form of always needing to lose those ‘last 10 pounds’ or fixating on your ‘muffin top,’ ‘saddle bags,’ ‘back fat,’ body fat percentage, observable 6-pack, etc, etc, etc.



How many of us can relate to those feelings, or have had that experience?



Let me ask you this, has any good ever come out of those feelings or preoccupations?


Did putting energy into that fear/angst get you closer to your ‘goals’ or give you any sense of relief?




“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
― Jack Canfield




Gratitude and appreciation allow you to acknowledge your gifts, blessings and physical abilities and attributes–just as you are/your body looks at this very minute.



Appreciating what you have will put a little more ‘pep’ in your step; it will allow you to move forward with purpose and hope.



Knowing these ideas to be true is different than putting them into practice–believe me, I know.



In the past I thought once I was a certain weight, a certain leanness, had a certain amount of muscular development, was a legit personal trainer and fitness instructor THEN I would be confident, satisfied–I would have made it.



Only…it never happened.  



–I’d reach one goal, then there would be another flaw or fixation to work on.


–I showcased my abs and got attention for those, then I felt a massive pressure to maintain them in a visible state (be super lean) or I would be looked at as a fraud.


–I started comparing myself to other trainers who had other physical/aesthetic assets I felt I didn’t, and I felt I paled in comparison–which led to some ugly, ego-driven, fear-driven thought processes.



“Comparison is the thief of joy,” someone once wrote.  Boy, is it ever.



Comparison is also the fueler of fear.



So instead of appreciating what I had, what I could do, what I brought to the table, I lived in the place of ‘not enough’ for longer than I care to admit.



And then I just got TIRED.


July 2012: the first time I publicly unveiled my abs
Photo Credits to Paige Kimball Photography



I can’t pinpoint exactly when I chose to change my mind, aside from knowing it was in the early part of 2014, but I do know it came from a sense of exhaustion–just being worn out by competing in the fitness instructor/personal trainer rat race of who ‘looked better’ or was ‘more shapely’ or more popular…I just could not do it any longer.



I remember thinking “What if…”  What’s the worst that could happen if I stopped being so scared and anxious and fearful of paling in comparison?



What would happen if I said (and accepted) that I was okay ‘as is’–not complacent or defeatist like ‘this is the best I’ll ever be’–but just that I was at peace with where I was at in that moment.


  • Would I gain 20 pounds?
  • Would I stop working so hard?
  • Stop caring about my physical appearance?
  • Would it mean I was less invested, less passionate than my peers?
  • What would happen if I stopped looking at and loathing my ‘flaws?’


Maybe it was turning 40 last year, maybe it was enduring another deployment (having my husband in Afghanistan, always being a little ready for that phone call or knock on my door), maybe it was the realization that the fitness center I worked at no longer served me or my needs–and in fact took far more from me than they ever gave me in terms of support and positive energy….



I think it was the sum and total of it all, and all happening at the same time.  



Whatever the impetus was, I realized it just wasn’t worth living with that gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach or with the negative/’less than’ self-concept ruling my daily existence.



So I let myself off the hook and began to try a new approach.







I decided it didn’t matter how I ‘stacked up’ against my peers, it mattered how well I felt in my own skin.



I stopped allowing myself to wonder what other people thought because it didn’t matter anymore.



How I felt others viewed me wasn’t going to be a motivator any longer.



I started actively taking note of my strengths and abilities, and to focus more on growing those, on learning more and becoming more skilled as an athlete and a trainer.



I also acknowledged both the strength and aesthetic aspects of myself that I wasn’t entirely satisfied with and on which I would continue to work.  I acknowledged them, and then made a plan of action and moved on.



And I realized fully how much I love moving, the liberty of being able to move more, lift more, DO more.



The results of my appreciation/gratitude paradigm shift?



NO weight gain, better muscular development–because I do what I love to do, not what I think I need to do to look a certain way–and a feeling of having lost 1,000 pounds off my shoulders, of living with a feeling of peace in my gut rather than a hard lump of fear.



I can’t even explain adequately the personal liberty and peace this change of mindset and thought processes (now a daily practice) have given me.



What I can say is that THIS way of thinking, this way of life, is where it is at.

This is 40.

This is 40. After my mindset paradigm shift.


smiling ghd 1

And this is 42, about 3 years after my paradigm shift.



Recently, a dear friend sent me a copy of The Five-Minute Journal, and it’s helped me to structure my practice of acknowledging the good in my life, and showing gratitude, into daily morning and evening events.



Making this a daily, regular practice helps keep me ‘in the zone,’ because little fears still try to creep in and it’s this practice that keeps in me an open heart, appreciating what I have, what I offer as a person and a trainer, rather than dwelling on what I am not.




Stronger and better at 42.


It’s not necessarily easy, and it takes a bit of mental training/practice, but WOW is it worth it.





So maybe you’ll consider starting your day or your week with appreciation practice, especially if you’re someone who’s been focused on your ‘flaws’ or living with anxiety and fear.  


Try this:  Name/list 3 to 5 things you like or appreciate or feel grateful for about your body (or your life in general).

It could be a certain body part, a certain feature, or an ability or talent.

And if it’s hard for you to find nice things to say about your body, it could be as simple as the fact that you’re still breathing, that your heart is still beating, that you’re still mobile/able to move freely under your own power.


Whatever it is, write it down.


“Cultivate Gratitude: Gratitude is the opposite of depression and anxiety. It’s the conscious experience of appreciation of the gifts in our lives and the results are tangible.”

~ The Five Minute Journal


Starting each day or each week with gratitude and a positive self-concept will free you from your fears and angst; it frees you to move closer to your goals and to a more ideal or harmonious way of living.


Get gratitude and get busy really LIVING.  You’ll never want to go back.