Category Archives: Healthy Priorites
Don’t Throw It All Away
I have met so many people, on the successful end of their fitness journey, who once had a story of failure. Time after time, I’ve heard stories of how people didn’t stick to a diet, how fitness didn’t work for them, how they wasted a gym membership, quit a program, lost weight only to gain it right back, gave up, quit or failed. And then, they made that decision to give it another try – and they succeeded!
My mom tried every diet in the book over a 30 year span, resulting in one failure after another. Today, she stands tall and proud, 100lbs lighter – and has KEPT it off for several years. BUT, what if she never kept trying? What if she decided she was doomed for failure? Do you think she, or any of the people around her who knew she had a history of being on a life-long diet, believed THIS would be IT? I don’t even know if she believed she could do it when she started, but she started anyway.
Ready for Success
What makes someone succeed THIS time? As much as I’d love to believe it’s our awesome training, our BCx Boot Camp or our gym, they cannot be successful until YOU are ready to be successful.
One, I think you have to let go completely of all your selfish desires. You have to decide that the heavy you, and how you were used to living, is dead and gone – and a new improved you requires drastic change. After you let go of what you think your body wants (food, laziness, not to “miss out” on “living”, etc), then you can focus on what you really want – and what that requires. Once you get your head in the game, you have to commit to it. You have decide you are not stopping no matter how rough it is, how slow it is, and how frustrated you get. Sometimes, you have to purposefully be reminded of where that old destructive path led you.
Strip Away the Old You
I believe you have to get SO sick of the old you, that you realize there is no other choice. Something’s gotta change – and the only thing that YOU can change, is YOU. You realize all your old ways brought you to this ugly place. You recognize the destruction. You acknowledged the unhappiness it has caused. Once those things are very real to you, then you embrace change. You welcome the stripping of flesh, lies and comforts. Once covered with excuses, now you are “naked” and exposed for who you really are and what you have really been allowing in your life that needs to go. You confess (admit) that maybe you have been doing things wrong and that it’s nobody else’s fault. Then, and only then, can you start working on you. You will welcome the clothing of everything healthy. You will be excited about your “2nd, 3rd, or 99th chance” to change – and once you put those healthy things into your life, you realize how good it feels do treat your body right and to do what is right. Then, when you start getting results (which you will) you will never want to go back.
Once you have gone through the mental preparation that success requires, you are ready to show up. You will still have doubt. You will still have temptations. You will wonder what is on the other side, and wonder if this time will be different. You will likely fight the old you every day in some way. BUT, if you keep showing up, you WILL win.
As I reflect on my 19th Wedding Anniversary, I think of all the days we didn’t know what was next. We didn’t know if “this time” it would be better. We didn’t know if we could succeed. BUT we decided to keep showing up. We’ll never forget a scene in a TV show where the main character asked his boss, who was celebrating his anniversary, what the secret to his marriage was and he said “I just keep showing up”. This is not just the case in marriage, but it is the case in fitness – and many other areas of our lives. It became our motto.
There will be many days we don’t want to go to the gym. There will be numerous days we don’t want to do the same job, be married to the same man, or even live the same life. We all have days we don’t want to “show up”, BUT you also never know if the next time you show up, it will be the beginning of success.
Like a dieter who failed 100 times, or the gym member that quit too many times to count, the NEXT time may be the BEST time – and you will NEVER know, if you don’t show up.
Thank you Steve for continuing to show up, even when you didn’t feel like it. Thank you for teaching me to never give up – on us, on fitness and on life. Happy Anniversary!
Sundays are the days I really reflect on my prior week – what i did, what I didn’t do, what I want to do better, what I have to change. I think about the things that need to be removed, and the things that need to be added. This requires me to strip away the flesh (the skin, muscle, clothing, make-up & appearance) and think about what is underneath it all. Then I ask myself, “what needs work?” Of course, my answer is a loooong list, but I know the things I need to tackle first – I think we all do.
However, if we don’t stop to purposefully analyze our life and give ourself a little spiritual “check up”, it is so easy to let the days slip by, the problems build up and our soul deteriorate. Just in the same way our muscles deteriorate when neglected – so does our relationship with God when we neglect Him.
The question for me today was “Are you where God wants you to be?”
Am I doing what God called me to do?
Am I being obedient – in the big and the small things?
Am I ignoring Him?
Do I even know what I am supposed to be doing?
Am I giving Him enough time in my week to even let me know?
These are all things I am reflecting on today, and just wanted to share my thoughts with you. While we are on a quest for physical fitness, we should want to improve all areas of our lives – not just our body. I don’t know about you, but I have a LOT of work to do! :)
Have a great and reflective Sunday!
I’m too old
My stomach will never look like that
I bet she never had kids
I don’t have that kind of time
I have a full time job, plus 2 kids to raise
I don’t know what to do.
She was probably always fit
She’s probably a lot younger than me
She just has good genetics
I don’t have the discipline
I wouldn’t know what to eat
My body could never get that lean
I’ve never done anything like that before
I wouldn’t even know where to start…
These are all common excuses and comments I hear when people see a bikini or figure competitor. People almost talk themselves out of even wanting that kind of body – just because they don’t think it’s even achievable for them. However, Ursula Kepferer, knew what she wanted and she made the decision she was GOING to compete, no questions asked. No excuses.
Ursula, a 42 year old working mom, came to my husband Steve late last year and told him she wanted to do a competition in the spring. She had never done anything like that before, but she knew she needed to lose weight – and she knew a competition would force her to follow through. 30 pounds heavier than she is today, Ursula did everything Steve asked. Many times I would see her training with Steve in the gym, and I’d see the look on her face that said “I hate him right now”. No matter how tough the workout was, she never stopped and she never gave up. It wasn’t easy, but she always left proud (and little more fit) each day.
“Although most people realize what fitness can do for someone’s physique, I don’t think most people truly realize what training can do for their OWN body.”
She had a lot of fears and a lot of doubts I’m sure. Could she really do this? Would she be able to lose that much weight in 90 days. What would her skin look like? Could she get lean enough? What was hiding under that fat? Much of it was sort of a mystery.
When someone commits to being on stage in the smallest bikini they’ve ever worn, even thin people get nervous. You notice every little bit of cheese you still have no matter how fit you are getting. And when you are just starting out, you wonder if your butt will ever look OK in that teeny bikini bottom that you have to wear AND turn your back to the judges so they can examine it. THAT’s a frightening thought all by itself.
Although most people realize what fitness can do for someone’s physiques, I don’t think most people truly realize what training can do for their OWN body. I believe many people actually think their body is just built a certain way and they are stuck with it. That is SO untrue. Although you may be prone to easily build muscle or not, have a smaller waist or bigger hips, etc you CAN greatly improve your body no matter how it looks now. Fitness works for everyone.
On April 6th, Ursula found out just what her body was capable of. She hit the stage, admittedly shaken and nervous, but also excited. She did it. She crossed the finish line! All those cardios – were worth it. All the dieting – was worth it. Trusting her coach – was worth it. Following through – was worth it.
Ursula finished 1st in her class. But she says she’s wearing her real trophy, and that is so true. Your best reward is your new and improved body! Congrats Ursula!!
Why do you train? Sometimes that is a question we have to not only ask ourselves when we start a workout program, but we have to ask ourselves that over and over again on our journey. Why? Because we get off track. We often start with a clear and specific goal in mind. It’s normally very simple. We want to be better. We want to be a better version of our old self.
Then, as we pursue that goal, we tend to get off track. We begin to compare ourselves to others. We can easily begin to see what we are not, instead of what we’ve become. Sometimes this can make us push harder. For many, it can do the opposite. We can become discouraged or overwhelmed. Sometimes we can become obsessed.
I encourage you to step back. Look at why you started this. Look at how far you’ve come. Look at the big picture. You are not a better woman, mom, worker, friend, spouse or neighbor if you hold a trophy. No trophy, prize or title makes you better. Being better than someone else doesn’t make you better. Being better than the old you makes you better. That’s what makes you a success. Your greatest accomplishment is beating your own records and accomplishing new goals. THAT makes you a winner.
There is no greater reward than a healthier you. There is nothing better than feeling stronger than you did a few weeks ago, leaner than you’ve been in a long time, healthier than you ever thought possible.
YOU are your reward.
YOU are your prize.
I believe many people are waiting for motivation to show up – as if they can’t make any progress without it. Feeling motivated comes and goes, so you can’t rely on it to keep you going. Science, however, is constant. The work you put in will always reap a reward. If you are one of those people who keep waiting to “feel” motivated, STOP. Stop wasting precious time waiting on a feeling to show up. Instead, use your noggin. Focus on the facts. Focus on the reward, not the work.
Although there are times I feel energized to run, and jacked to lift – they are too few and far between to rely on those feelings to keep me going. So, I rely on routine, discipline, commitment and follow through to get me where I want to be.
Why do I focus on motivational quotes and photos to help others? Because I’m the most unmotivated person I know. I know what I have to tell myself day after day to get to the gym. I know what it takes to talk myself out of ordering french fries. Fitness does not come easy for me. I’d rather lay on the beach and eat a burger like this chick! But I know how it will make me feel afterwards, and it ain’t pretty. Do you want to know where all my motivational quotes come from? They come from my own daily struggles, lessons learned and many failures.
Feeling motivated can be pretty magical, but being disciplined is way more powerful. No matter how you feel or how you perform, as long as you keep showing up and doing the work, you WILL get the reward. Keep Showing Up.
You know how much I value fitness, and how much I believe we should take care of our body and work to be the very best we can be. That will never change. However, how silly would it be to work so hard to be fit for this world and neglect our soul?
As a fitness professional and a Christian, I cannot help but think of the people who I have helped get in the shape of their life, but missed the opportunity to help them get in shape for eternity. I believe in heaven. If you don’t, I will hopefully continue to help you on your journey to be the most physically fit you can be. However, I will personally still strive to work on both my body and my spirit because I don’t want to just work to better myself for earth, but I want to be ready for heaven – and I know God doesn’t look at my body, He looks at my heart.
Today is a special day. It’s Easter. For me, that has nothing to do with bunnies and everything to do with heaven. God sent his son to die on a cross for me – and for you. He did that because He knew we could never be truly fit for heaven. We needed a Savior, and all we have to do is believe (if only being physically fit were that easy!) I do believe. I believe that with all my heart and today I celebrate. I celebrate a God who loves me despite all my stupid ways. A God who loves me like a father loves his daughter – unconditionally.
If you are spending a lot of time on sculpting your physique and improving your health, that says a lot. It means you care about your future. It is SO easy to focus on what we see in the mirror and forget what lies underneath our skin. I struggle with this daily. It’s not like i look in the mirror and go “Oh my gosh! I’ve GOT to get rid of that envy and pride”. No, I see body fat and physical flaws – but I have more work to do beyond what I see in the mirror.
This Easter, I challenge you to think about eternity and your spiritual fitness. We will never be perfect, but we can always be better.
How many important things get tossed to the side because life gets in the way? Too much probably. If you are like me, workouts, church, rest, friends and even family often get neglected or put off ’til “tomorrow” because life happens.
It’s easy to convince yourself that each thing that pops up and gets in your way is very important – but is it really that important? Is it important enough to get in the way of your goals? Is it important enough to get in the way of your family or friends? My favorite (or I should say least favorite) thing Steve asks me is “can it wait?” Darn it! I hate answering that question because nine times out of ten, if I’m honest, it can wait – I just don’t want it to wait.
There are things in life that we often define as optional. It’s optional to go visit someone in the hospital. However, when my grandfather passed away, I beat myself up for letting life get in the way of seeing him more often.
Most of us would consider working out an option. However, when you face illness due to an unhealthy lifestyle you quickly realize exercise is no longer optional. Lastly, how many things get in the way of spending quality time with our family and friends. I don’t know about you, but there are so may important people in my life that probably have no clue just how important they truly are because I’ve continued to let “life” get in the way.
Today is the day for change. The day you say “no” to every distraction that comes your way. The day to put your health first and MAKE time to workout and eat healthy. Today’s the day you purposely set aside time with friends and family to cultivate valuable relationships. It’s the day you act like what you do actually has an eternal purpose instead of acting on living in the moment.
Although I fully expect challenges to still arise, today is the day I am prepared for them. If I fail tomorrow, all that matters is I get back on track. Ignoring an unhealthy lifestyle is no longer an option because we can’t stand at Heaven’s gates and say “I’m sorry Lord, life just got in the way, I was going to do it tomorrow” and get away with it.
Tomorrow is not promised, so don’t put the important things off until tomorrow, as tomorrow very well could be too late.
Lyrics from the Song by the Wynans:
And who said that tomorrow would ever come for you
Still you laugh and play and continue on to say Tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Forget about tomorrow
Won’t you give your life today
Oh please, Don’t just turn and walkaway
Tomorrow, Tomorrow is not promised
Don’t let this moment slip away
Ooh, Your tomorrow could very well begin today
So you set out on a path to get healthy, lose weight and get fit – but how committed are you really? Do you have a back-up plan or an escape route already in place? Maybe you have a few pit stops you’d like to take along the way to make your journey a little more fun. By the end of this blog, you will be able to determine if you have prepared yourself for success, or set yourself up for failure.
People do not like commitment. Ironically, pretty much anything that’s amazing requires it. Marriage, work, family, finances, where you live – you can’t be successful in any of these things unless you fully commit. But commitment is not just about what you hold on to, it’s about what you have to let go of.
When someone gets married, they say “I do” at the alter. They list all the things they promise to do, but they don’t list what they promise to NOT do. Of course, that does without saying but, with fitness, I think we need more closure. We need to remember it’s more than just what we plan to do – but what we plan to stop doing.
Can You Let Go?
When we set out to get fit and eat healthy, I believe one of our biggest problems is that we refuse to let go of certain things. There are still foods we want to eat, things we want to do (or not do), and a certain lifestyle we want to lead. Even if we plan to get rid of stuff for a while, we still have plans to go back to them, or at least make it an option. The evidence of this may be in your pantry, or it maybe in the big clothes you still keep in your house (just in case). Holding on to some of these things might be holding you back from faster progress.
When you hold on to these things, it’s like you have a back-up plan – a Plan B (or what I’d call a Plan F, for Failure). If you truly want to turn your life around, there should be no option to “going back”. You need to completely let go of the things that created the old unhealthy you, and grab hold tightly of the new you and new healthy lifestyle.
Breaking Your Food Addiction
I’m going to give you 2 examples to help you think a little deeper on this. First, let’s use a recovering drug addict as an example. Even if the addict gets rid of all the drugs in the house, how successful do you think he will be if he keeps all the paraphernalia and friends that enabled that lifestyle? There must be a complete disconnect with that world in order for most addicts to kick it for good. In many ways, living healthy can require some of the same steps – and overeating can be a very real addiction.
Ending Your Love Affair
Second, let’s look at marriage again. What if you still kept a relationship with your last boyfriend or girlfriend? What if you were faithful for a few months, but allowed yourself to kiss someone every once and a while? Do you really think that marriage would work? I don’t think so. Marriage is a total lifestyle change. There are things you simply cannot do if you plan to stay married – and there are things you simply cannot do if you plan to stay healthy, fit and trim. However, many people treat fitness like a temporary fix – not a completely new lifestyle. Of matter of fact, many people actuallly plan to return their old ways. They count on it – like a “prize” for their efforts.
Can you imagine saying “honey, I’ve been so good for so long, so I was thinking I really deserve a treat”? (and they weren’t talking about having an ice cream sundae!) Of course no man in his right mind would say that, but they may change their behavior. They might not be quite as careful maybe as they used to be. Like in marriage, what can start as just having a little fun (a “treat), and having an innocent relationship, can turn into a full-fledge affair. I believe the way we treat our relationship with food has many similarities. We put our guard down, we “play” a little, and we ultimately fail.
No Going Back – The Ultimate Example
If you want the perfect example to follow, I’ll give you a great story to think about. It’s the story of Elijah and Elisha (thank you Jim for touching on this yesterday!). Elijah was a regarded prophet by all faiths who did many great works. When it was time for him to “pass the baton”, he found Elisha plowing the fields. When he shared his plan to pass his ministry down to him, check out Elisha’s response. Not only did he say “yes” (that he’d leave his life there and follow Elijah), but it’s what he did next was simply the most perfect example of being sold out and whole-heartedly committed.
He went back to his family to say goodbye and threw a party – but it’s what he served at the party that made the biggest statement. He grilled Oxen. Not just any ordinary oxen – he actually used the oxen he used to plow his field – and grilled it over a fire that was fueled by the tools of his trade. This was his way of saying “I’m not coming back“. Even if he was tempted to, it wouldn’t even be an option. (1 Kings 19:19-21)
THIS is how we should be when we decide to turn our life around – whether we are talking about getting spiritually healthy or physically healthy. We need to fully commit, become sold out and be able to say goodbye to the things of the past.
Are You Ready to Say Goodbye?
Are you so sold out to change your life, to get rid of your weight once and for all, that you are ready to say goodbye to your old ways? Or are you going to keep your “oxen” just in case you fail? I challenge you to search your heart deeply and ask God to reveal to you the things that you are holding on to that could be holding you back. A new life awaits for you – but only if you can say goodbye to your old one.
Today’s Motivational Mantra:
Every where we go we are inundated with weight loss commercials, diets, exercise gimmicks, workout fads and commercials for healthy food. Just by all the commercials alone, it is clear everyone knows America has a weight issue.
149 million Americans are overweight or obese. We suffer $208 billion in lost productivity and $46 billion in direct medical costs as a result of our weight issue. One out of three youth are overweight, and one out of six is obese. And, if a parent is overweight, their child has a startling 70% chance of being overweight or obese too. So, it would only make since that anyone who wants to make money would jump on the weight loss bandwagon to sell us something to fix our problem.
So how do diet and fitness brands try to grab our attention? They don’t attempt to hook us by listing health risks or obesity facts. No, they capture our attention with six-pack abs and hot fit bodies. Why? Because our outer body is more tangible and real to us. It’s what we see. But what about what we cannot see?
Rolls of fat are bothersome, and tight jeans are frustrating. Our outer layer of fat speaks to us every day. It stares us in the face and screams at us constantly – but what if your organs, blood and bones could talk to you and explaim how your weight affects them?
This picture (posted above) is a look inside the body of a person who is overweight vs a person at a healthy weight. Look at how crowded the overweight person’s organs are. Look at how the body fat shifts their joints out of whack and changes their posture.
Let Me Hear Your Body Talk
If your body could talk, your heart may ask you for a much-needed break, and complain about how hard and fast it’s been beating. Your lungs may tell you how cramped they are and how badly they would like to expand more so you could perform better. Your bones may cry for relief from carrying such large loads day in and day out. Your blood might be too busy yelling at your artery walls to even have time to complain to you about your cholesterol issues. Each blood drop is probably yelling “pardon me, coming through, make a way” because of all the build up it has to dodge or squeeze through every second of the day.
We take life for granted. It’s not that we forget the fact we are alive, but we neglect to realize all the work it takes to keep us alive. We have such high expectations for our body. We expect our body to perform well even when we treat it like crap. We act surprised when we have health issues when, if our body could talk, it’s probably been struggling for years.
Sure, weight loss looks great, but we can’t forget about how much better weight loss looks on the inside too. Don’t you think your body deserves a break – and maybe even a little pampering? It’s been working so hard all these years. Let’s take good care of it, so it can continue taking good care of you.
Today’s Fitness Motivation:
I’m better than you.
My training is harder than yours.
My gym is cooler than yours.
I have more trophies than you.
I run faster than you.
My class is the more popular than yours.
I’m stronger, faster, better…
I’m seeing a nasty trend in the fitness industry. It’s this new elitist mentality. I know professional athletes that are more humble than some of these people. Their puffed up heads (and bodies) make them a very easy target for office jokes. While we can all laugh at Hanz & Franz, this growing issue is no laughing matter at all. It’s serious business that deserves a serious warning.
While I might not be able to help the people who have joined whatever fitness cult they are a member of, and are in so deep they don’t even realize it, I sure as heck can help prevent new potential cult followers by warning you to not fall in this yucky trap.
Welcome! (or Not)
When it comes to fitness, most of you know I often compare gyms to churches. There is a really good reason for that. Church and gym members have a very similar characteristics. Both are there to help people. Each one provides education, support, guidance and an opportunity to socialize with likeminded people. Because of this, you see a lot of changed lives, which is very powerful.
However, since both churches and gyms are made up of a bunch of humans – none of them are going to be perfect, and people will make mistakes. All it takes is a few bad apples to ruin the happy pie. These people can either INFECT the entire group (and the entire group can take on those bad traits or beliefs), or the group can AFFECT them (in a positive way) and they can remain solid and grounded.
I’s all about how the people interact with each other. Are they welcoming, do they make you feel comfortable? Do they act better than “non-members”? Do they make you want to come back? Since both churches and gyms can be very intimidating places for a newbie, it’s super important to be aware of how we may come across to the “unbeliever”.
Unfortunately, many people are under the impression they are super friendly, welcoming and comfortable to be around, but that’s because they are too comfortable in their own environment to notice how anyone is feeling or acting. My Great Dane was the same way. He had no idea how big he was so, when he wanted to visit our neighbor’s chiwawa, Nikki, he had no idea why she would freak out at the site of him. He just wanted to play, but she was scared to death of him.
With my personality, I am constantly looking at how people react after they walk in the gym. I watch how they look at our staff, at the equipment, at our trainers and even our members. Do they look scared? Are they overweight? Do they appear uncomfortable? Is there anyone in the gym that might scare them like my Dane scared Nikki? How can I set them at ease and let them know we won’t bite?
It doesn’t matter how great your workouts are if you if you can’t make people feel comfortable. People HAVE to feel comfortable, confident, proud and successful (no matter how big or small the success) or they will never come back.
Why Can’t We All Get Along?
Think of various types of fitness activity as different denominations. You have powerlifting, bodybuilding, figure & physique competition training, boot camp, CrossFit, spinning, yoga, Zumba, pilates, step class, running, circuit training, TRX training, Bodylastics band training, kettlebell training, triathlon training…the list goes on and on. For some reason, people will find something they love SO much, they treat everybody else like total morons if they aren’t doing what they are doing. I guess it’s their way of trying to convince them to join their groupies, by bashing everyone else so they eventually will try it “their way”. This is where the snob-like mentality comes in. In the church, we’d say someone was acting “Holier than though” – and I’m seeing this in the fitness industry way too much.
If your foundational beliefs (like being active and living healthy) are the same, you are all the same team. Realize, there has to be different strokes for different folks. We are all very different, our needs are different, we are motivated by different things, we have different strengths and we need different workouts to fit our different personalities and goals.That’s why there is a church on every corner, and that’s why there are ton of gyms. Fitness is not one-size fits all.
We’re All Winners
Shouldn’t we be excited someone just works out? Shouldn’t we be happy that someone found something they like? The answer is YES! And the honest truth is, people should never be so narrow-minded. Thinking “your way” is the only way is legalism – and we need to break free from that. Fitness is supposed to be a healthy lifestyle – not prison. Gyms are not a country clubs for the rich, strong, fast and best. They are a place for people to make improvements and get positive support and reinforcement, not judgement.
I honestly believe this type of mentallity happens accidentally. When something changes someone’s life, they want EVERYONE to try it. Like a born-again Christian can go overboard and come across judgmental or pushy, so can a new fitness fanatic. Their heart might be in the right place, but they totally lose sight of life outside of their little world. They come across judgmental, preachy and obsessed. Then it gives the whole group, or brand they are promoting, a bad name.
Are You A Turn-Off or Turn-On?
We need to be careful how we live fitness in our life. We may be the only fitness representative of our gym, or workout program, someone sees. It’s best to lead by example rather than with our mouth. If we live it right, people will be dying to try what we’re doing – but if we don’t, we might be a complete turn off, and people will never want to step foot near our gym.
There are SO many great fitness facilities and programs out there. Although I may personally like some more others,that doesn’t mean any of them are better – they are just different. Remember, they have one awesome thing in common; they are ALL getting people healthy and making a difference.
If you are curious how you, your trainer or your gym is doing, don’t ask the members or staff – ask an outsider. If you get a lot of guests, but they don’t return – there is something wrong. OR, if members don’t bring guests, there is something wrong. It could be they know their guest won’t be comfortable. If you can make guests happy, you can make everyone happy – and really make a positive impact on your community!
Is your training a turn off or turn on?
Are your peers attracting people to fitness, or steering people away?
Do you speak a different language? Using words only “your peeps” understand?
Do wear different clothing to fit your “fitness lifestyle”, as if you live in a different country?
Do you like to show off your strength/size/flexibility/abilities, etc? If so, how do you think others respond?
Is your gym welcoming? Are your friends encouraging to newbies?
Can you remember what it was like the first day you walked in your first gym, or class?
These are just a few questions that I encourage you to ask yourself. The world of fitness is already intimidating enough, so let’s work hard to make fitness as warm and friendly as possible so we can keep making a difference!