Bikini & Bodybuilding: Why Compete?

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterDespite my appearance, or the fact I have been in the fitness industry for most of my life, competing was the very LAST thing I ever wanted to do. A matter of fact, it was at the very TOP on my list of things I NEVER wanted to do. I never wanted to compete in any kind of fitness competition, much less the kind that involves you getting on stage half naked so people could judge you. That sounded completely horrifying and miserable to me.

Nevertheless, Steve continued to ask me to compete with him (more like beg). I always said I wasn’t competitive. Steve says I’m too competitive, saying I don’t want to compete unless I can win. Fear of failure is definitely one thing that kept me from the stage for sure, so maybe he was right.

I already knew all my flaws. I would just rather judge myself and turn in my own score cards, which would be pretty low. I was very well aware of all the things that were wrong with me. I didn’t feel like I needed to be subjected to other people pointing them out. However, I would go on to compete and I would learn a very valuable message; a message I will share with you right now.

“Training for competition is the race and the stage is your finish line.” –  Bonnie Pfiester

Bonnie Pfiester7 Reasons to You Should Compete

1. Competing Increases Intensity

“I’m never at my best unless I’m getting ready for a contest.  I never train as hard as when I have a substantial goal, like a bodybuilding competition.” – Steve Pfiester, Body Building and Men’s Classic Physique Competitor

Steve always told me that I’d never be as disciplined with my diet and training as I would if I competed. I scoffed at the idea since I’ve trained very hard for various jobs and photo shoots. I’ve dieted my body down to what I thought was pretty darn lean. But, as always, he was right.

Goals memeI’m not the only one that thinks that they could go through the same diet and training without competing and get the same benefits. Many people want to look like a competitor, but they (like me) don’t want to actually be one. That’s why we created Bikini Boot Camp – to teach people what we do to get ready for a competition even if they don’t compete. While our boot campers do get great results, the most dramatic transformations are the ones who actually compete. And I saw this for myself when I dropped 5% lower than my lowest body fat percentage when I prepared for competition.

Unlike many other sports or competitions, you physically wear your dedication for all to see. How hard you dieted shows on stage. Every cheat, every skipped cardio – it will reveal itself on stage. Every workout, every extra cardio and every day you nail your diet – it will also reveal itself on stage.

Competing is the ultimate accountability. You can weigh yourself every week, you can join a weight loss contest and you can even compete in marathon or other performance-based competition, but the accountability still won’t be as intense as getting on stage.

2. Competing Increases Chance of Success

Heather before and afterIn a way, competing forces you to succeed. It puts you in a place where you have more motivation to say “no” to the extra calories and “yes” to more workouts. There is more on the line. The stage exposes your body, your goals and your progress. And, when you tell your friends you are competing, it even increases your chances for success simply because of pride. No one likes to fail publicly. Sometimes reaching a goal publicly is just what we need to succeed.

Do you want to lose weight? Do you really want to get in the shape of your life? Maybe you need to compete to help you reach your goals. Maybe, just maybe, competing is exactly what you need to give you the intensity you need to force yourself to get the body you want.

3. Competing Holds You More Accountable


Working out with my dad while out of town.

I’ll admit it. Accountability is no fun sometimes. Most people run from accountability. We don’t want people holding us accountable for our actions, our words, our food choices and our health. That is also why a lot of people won’t admit they are even on a diet, because they don’t want anyone to know if they fail.

We don’t like getting busted for slipping up so we tend to keep our goals, and even mistakes, private. We hate it when someone tells us what we know is right and what we need to hear, especially when it requires hard choices and a lot of discipline. BUT, we all need more accountability.

We NEED more truth and less fluff. We need more people to say “stop eating!” and less people dragging us away from our goals because they have no goals at all. We need our loved ones to help us get healthy, not enable us because they are scared our feelings are going to get hurt. We need support, even when it hurts. We need discipline, even though it’s hard. We need to set higher goals and expectations even if we have a fear of failure.

Daytona ClassicThe fact is, the higher we aim, the better we become. Even if we don’t quite reach our goal, we’ll surpass any lower goal we’ve ever set before. Aim high! You are worth it! Brave the stage if it can help you break your weight loss plateau.

This is why I love being a part of a team. We are accountable to one another and we are not alone. We’ve made a commitment and we are following through together.

Kimberly Mudge4. Competing Builds Confidence

Kimberly Mudge (in the blue suit) is a wonderful example of how competing builds confidence. Kimmy wowed all of us when she graced the stage for the first time despite her handicap. Not only does she have more confidence, she gained so many friends and workout partners in the process. She was part of something special and it changed her life, and even those who watched her.

I have to admit, the entire experience of competing improved my confidence and taught me a lot too. It taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. It taught me that I have complete control over my body and it taught me so much about science, since I was it was my own science project.

Dave MartoneIt also forced me out of my box and made me proud that I did something so beyond my comfort zone. I was so proud even just showing up, no matter how well I did or didn’t do. I loved that it made Steve proud. I melted when my dad said he cried when I got on stage – to know I made my dad proud was an amazing feeling.

It also gave me more confidence to do other things, like doing the Mrs. Florida pageant and it even gave me more confidence in my career.

“Team Max took this guy, supported him, gave him guidance, boosted his self image and not only got him up on stage, but also (on stage) alone!!” - Dave Martone, Over 60 Bodybuilding 1st-Time Competitor

5. Competing Made Me Strong

Men's Classic PhysiqueIf we avoid all the things we are weak in, we will never get stronger in those areas. Competing made me stronger. I learned I could be stronger in the gym and in the kitchen. It made me stronger with my walk with the Lord, as I relied on Him even more to keep me grounded and focused on His will for my life, in the midst of all that extra training and time working on my outer shell.

Grace became stronger in our home because nothing brings out the ugly in you like being “hangry”. Steve and I learned to extend even more grace to one another. And, doing it together made our marriage even stronger too!

“Competing strengthened more than my muscles. It strengthened me in ways I never would have imagined.” Bonnie Pfiester, Bikini Competitor

Jill Howard competes for the first time in her 50s.

Jill Howard competes for the first time in her 50s.

6. Competing Is For Anyone

There is a division and class for every type of person – from wheelchair to an Over 60 class. You can compete in your age group or compete by weight or height. There is a novas group, for all the people who have never competed before, and more advanced “Open” groups open to all ages for national qualifiers.

7. Competing Makes You Improve

You don’t have to win the competition, you just have to play the game! And, with practice, you can only improve!

You compete FOR you and AGAINST you – not for a trophy or against others. Training for competition is the race and the stage is your finish line. It’s not how you finish that matters most, the real prize is that you finish.  Anyone can do it – and everyone who does do it finishes better and stronger than when they started, making everyone a winner on competitiom day!

Maybe this is YOUR YEAR to COMPETE! You Against You!

Meet some of our Team Max competitors…

We have put over 75 competitors on stage. Here are just a few competitors’ before and after photos, past and present. Follow our team on instagram and facebook to see more transformations!


Brian Moore“A lot can happen when you stay focused. On the left (October 10th), I was only a runner, didn’t focus too much inside the gym or followed a healthy diet. On the right (April 2nd) I am still a runner, but I’ve added weight lifting with my friend Will, boot camps at Max Fitness Club, a healthy diet, and AdvoCare Products. I’m a much faster runner than I was before, stronger than I’ve ever been, and feel amazing! I used to be on allergy shots and medication, horrible cholesterol, and pre-diabetic. I’m happy to say that I’m healthier than ever before and off all medication/allergy shots. On April 16th, I will be competing in my first NPC Competition as a part of TeamMax and I couldn’t be more excited! Fitness and Health is important in everyone’s lives and I hope my story will inspire others along the way.” - Brian Moore, 1st-Time Men’s Physique Competitor.

Heather Horwitz


Mrs. Florida United States: Shock, Awe and Awesome

cinderellaOnce upon a time, in a land far away, there was a middle-aged married woman doing middle-aged womanly duties one quiet Sunday afternoon, when she received a message from the Queen. Ok, she wasn’t “the Queen” and it wasn’t a verbal message. It was a former Mrs. Florida United States and it was a facebook message saying “You should SO be in my pageant!”

If you haven’t figured it out, the middle-aged married woman was me. I quickly replied without blinking, “you are sweet, but I don’t think I’m really pageant material.” That was March 11, 2012 and every so often she would send me new messages saying “still hoping”, despite my efforts to convince her I was not interested.

Two years past and someone recommended my mom do Mrs. Senior Florida. My mom’s first response was also a big fat no. But, after the thought about the opportunity to encourage ladies her age, she decided maybe the answer should be “yes”. I told her if she did it, I would do Mrs. Florida if “that woman” approached me again. Darned if she didn’t facebook message from her that NEXT week!  That woman’s name was Pam Bolter, the director of Florida Georgia United States.

It took me 2 more years to commit to doing Mrs. Florida, but I finally took the plunge. This is my story about the entire experience; what I learned, and the inside scoop on what the Mrs. Florida pageant is all about.

3 “P”s to Pageant Prep

bonnie pfiester

I only decided to do the pageant 4 weeks before the big weekend event. Talk about procrastination! So, after I decided to do the pageant, I hit the ground running. Here were a few things I had to do (and very quickly) to prepare for the pageant.


First up, I needed all the right clothes which included a full length gown, a cocktail dress, a bathing suit, a sarong and a fascinator for the dinner party. I also needed the right shoes, the perfect big blingy jewelry, makeup and hair accessories…and the list goes on. This required time. I had to shop, search, borrow and do whatever I needed to find what I needed, which was a LOT harder than I expected.


Next, I had to get sponsors. I had to come up with ads (with my picture on it, which was even more awkward and embarrassing). Asking people to put money on the line for me was incredibly difficult. Then sticking my picture in their paid advertisement was even more uncomfortable. I was completely shocked that anyone said yes quite frankly! This is when it got real. Not only did this mean I couldn’t back out, I needed to do well. This is where the personal growth began. I was officially out of my box.

A BIG THANK YOU to Ayers Wireless, Caribbean Lawn, Route 60 Hyundai, Tom & Julianne, Vein Therapies (Dr. Beckett & Kim Beckett) and Jeanne Mudge from Max Fitness. You guys made me feel SO loved!!!!!!


Florida United States PageantFinally, there was mental preparation. As I was reading my 65 page 2-part manual, I discovered the sample interview questions. I admit, I read every single question and did not have an answer for one of them; at least, not an intelligent well-spoken one.

Questions like “If you could cover any news event that has happened in the past year which one would you choose to cover?” Nothing. I had nothing. I was thinking “I hate the news. It’s depressing.” Then, there was, “How do you encourage children to be individuals in today’s society?” or how about “Do you feel today’s women are becoming more aggressive and less romantic?” All I could think was “Oh dear. I’m in trouble”.

I’m a processor. I like to think about a subject and take my time researching it and answering it perfectly. However, this pageant was going to require a quick response – without any “ums” or “lengthy explanations. This was going to require practice.

Needless to say, there were many things still left to do to prepare for my first pageant.

Fast forwarding to today. I did it! I conquered my fears, I showed up and I gave it my best. And, while I didn’t take home a crown, I took home so much more. I learned so much about myself and about pageantry in general – and it was nothing like I imagined.

Mrs. Florida United States:
5 Things I Didn’t Expect To Take Home

While I didn’t expect to take home the crown, I didn’t expect to take home so much more. I went from feeling shocked, to awed, to awesome in 2 days flat. I still find myself processing it all, but here are just a few things I took from this experience.

1. Respect


Photography By: Larry Oskin, Art Beautique

I’ll admit it. I thought pageants were for pretty girls who just like to dress up. I didn’t know any better. I formulated that opinion from watching Mrs. Congeniality and seeing Honey Boo Boo headlines on the cover of tabloids in the grocery store checkout line. While I knew pageant girls were supposed to have some substance, I figured pageants attracted self-absorbed bimbos who just like to play dress up. That is a big reason I didn’t want to do a pageant. I didn’t want that to be me.

I guess I convinced myself that Mrs. Florida would be more mature. Talk about judging a book by its cover! I went in this thing really dreading being these girls and left feeling so honored to be around these girls.

I gained so much respect for these ladies, as they were prepared, educated, well-spoken, experienced, mature women who embraced being a woman, each with a desire to make a difference in their own unique way.

I realized if I were even going to “compete”, I had a LOT of work to master their pageant skills which included good interview skills, quick thinking, poise, class, elegence, stage presence, style and the ability to adapt quickly under pressure. These girls inspired me. I not only left with more respect for them, I earned a little dash of respect myself, as people realized how much this whole thing was out of my comfort zone and people appreciated my willingness to do something I was scared to do.

2. Experience


Photography By: Larry Oskin, Art Beautique

I’ve been on stage a million times. I’ve been on TV and in front of cameras plenty of times too. I’ve done photo shoots, media interviews and have done a dash of amateur modeling here and there. While I never had been in a pageant before, I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did because I thought I had experienced many of the same things before. Boy was I wrong!

Photography By: Larry Oskin, Art Beautique

If nothing else, I learned how much I needed to learn. Seriously, I learned just how much more I need to work on my professional skills. Pageants are excellent for improving your interview skills – from job interviews to handling the media. I also realized how much I needed to learn how to walk, to pose and to carry myself in public, to be more polished and professional. I am so relaxed in public, I could actually come across too casual. I needed to learn how to present myself in all kinds of situations, from on camera interviews to being introduced to the president. I learned I needed more more polishing.

I also discovered I need to learn how to “rap it up” as my BFF says. I love to write, but writing allows me to take my time with my thoughts. I can type, backspace, delete, cut and paste when I write. However, I have a tendency to talk like I write. Even though I’ve improved a great deal since I’ve had to learn how to do smaller sound bites for TV, I still need to exercise my thinking skills and practice quicker thinking.

In a nutshell, I learned I have a lot to learn!

3 . Friends

ART -- IMG_0016

Photography By: Larry Oskin, Art Beautique

In the opening orientation Saturday morning, all the girls piled in a room and we met all the prior queens and got the low-down on the weekend. All the queens said the same thing, “you are going to make friends for life”. I laughed to myself and I am pretty sure I did a really good eye-roll to go with it (at least in my mind).

I am not a girlie girl. I don’t hang out with girlfriends, I don’t go to Pampered Chef Parties (unless forced) and I avoid pretty much any all-girls events at all cost. I have a few good friends, but as a whole, I really don’t like girls. Girls can be gossipy, complainy, needy, competitive and emotional. I’m kind of into low maintenance friends. So, I have my 2 friends and husband, 2 dogs and that’s enough. lol (Note: I do know this is something I need to work on and I’m working on it – just like doing this pageant.)


Photography By: Larry Oskin, Art Beautique

Of course I was trying to figure out if there was anyone I actually would like, and I met a few right off the bat that seemed pretty likable. By the end of the weekend, I actually realized I liked a lot of the girls – a lot. I had various girls help me back stage – from Jennifer Feinberg curling my hair to various girls helping me decide on which cocktail dress or jewelry to wear. So many girls were so encouraging, happy and helpful (like my stage buddies, Deanna Silva & Kim Freeman). Then there were bunches of people happy to give helpful tips along the way (thank you Dedra Curtis), and setting me at ease with encouraging words.

To my surprise, I have already connected with most of the girls on facebook and many of them have written me, and vice versa. Low and behold, they were right. You do make friends!

4. Fun Memories


Photography By: Larry Oskin, Art Beautique

I honestly thought I was going to dread every minute of this thing. I had accepted that it was going to be completely awkward (which it was), and I was ready to hate every minute of it. My goal was just to get through it with a smile even if I was a grumpy grump on the inside. Before I knew it, I was having fun.

The photo shoot on the beach was a blast. The dinner ended up being fun too, as I got to meet more girls and their spouses. The interview process was awful, but as the other girls shared their awful experiences and crazy interview questions with me, we had fun laughing about it all.

Then there was the big day. Hours of practice in high heel shoes and running around like a chicken with our heads cut off. All of it was fun! The make-up, the hair, the quick clothes changes – all fun. And, helping each other backstage was also a lot of fun. Finally, the crowning experience, as we watched our new friends get crowned was – yep, you guessed it. Fun! I was so excited for everyone who did well because, by then, I realized how hard they worked to achieve it.

I went in convinced I’d probably walk away never wanting to ever do that again, and walked out full of happy thoughts – knowing I made great memories.

5. Inspired

Ms. and Mrs. Florida Georgia United States

Photography By: Larry Oskin, Art Beautique

Normally if I am not great at something, I avoid it at all cost. However, this experience left me feeling so challenged instead of defeated. Instead of feeling like a failure, I felt inspired to do better. I had never thought about doing more than one pageant. This was one of those “one and done” type things – or at least I thought. However, after several of the girls suggested I come back, I realized that it can only make me better.

Not only was I inspired to improve as a woman, I was inspired to serve my community where I am, as I am. I may not have a title, but I can improve as a leader in my own town and do many of the things our queens are doing across the United States.

I’ve always had a heart for missions and wanted to go out of the country, but I have a mission field right here in my own neighborhood. I have a mission field at my business, in my church and in my community. Although my time and finances are limited, there is still plenty I can do – and this pageant inspired me to reach out and find more ways to do it.


There you have it! As my grandmother used to say, “Who’da thunk it?!” I never guessed in a MILLION years this would have been such a great experience. Even though I’m still not sure if I will do it again or not, I definitely will be striving to live more like a queen – for my king (husband), for King Jesus and for my “townspeople”. I left Mrs. Florida feeling like a Queen, crown or not!

Deanna Silva“I’ve learned that my self worth can never be defined by a panel of strangers on any given day. No matter win or lose, at the end of the day I will always walk away a winner because I’ve used each experience to better myself and grow as a woman. The crown really lies in the journey of self discovery along the way.”  – Deanna Silva, 1st Runner Up Mrs. Florida

CLICK HERE to learn more about Mrs. United States pageants. CLICK HERE to learn more about Florida Georgia United States pageants.

A Ultimate Role Model: The Wife of Noble Character

 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

– Proverbs 31:10-31

Want Abs? Here Are 3 Things You Need

Although you can’t change your genetics, you can improve the shape and size of your abdominal muscles with exercise. But you may never see them if you don’t use these three surprising machines.


152966654_XSUnfortunately, it doesn’t take much to cover up a good looking set of abs. Five to 10 pounds of fat is more than enough to hide a perfectly sculpted six-pack. So if you want to see the abs you have been working so hard on, you will have to get rid of the fat that’s covering them. That’s where these three machines come in.

It may come as a shock, but these machines have the potential to shape your midsection more than any abdominal machine you can find in a gym.

CLICK HERE to read my latest article on Healthy Way on 3 machines you will need to uncover your abs.

What is YOUR favorite abdominal machine or exercise?

Awesome & Affordable: Bluetooth Headphones for the Gym

I recently got a new pair of August Bluetooth Headphones to try. I’ve never had bluetooth headphones before – and these are also my first “ear muff” headphones. LOL! I have to say, I tried them before I found out how much they were. I was recommending them to someone and they asked me how much they were. I wasn’t sure but I was guessing the’d be somewhere between $75-$100. I was SHOCKED to find out they were $29.95 on Amazon! Whaaat?! What a GREAT deal!!!  So, I decided to pass it along to my peeps!


Click HERE to shop!

Key Specs
Operating Range: Up to 10m
Working Time: 14 hours
Charging Time: 2.5 hours
Standby Time: 480 hours

Sleek and ultra-light headphones
Only 4.5 ounces with soft padded ear pieces and a headband cushion!

Bluetooth v4.0 and NFC
Connection via its Bluetooth version 4 chip is swift and simple – and it also includes NFC technology allowing you to pair simply by tapping them with your phone or tablet.

Integrated remote and Inbuilt mic
The earpiece remote control allows you to skip back and forth through your track list, answer and hang up calls. You can answer calls with the built in mic that can also be used with VOiP services like Skype and AOL for handsfree headset for internet calling or PC gaming.

12+ hours of play time
A quick 2.5 hours charge via its Micro USB connection provides over 12 hours of playback. Great for commuting, night shifts and even marathons.




Awesome Abs & Arms Workout

This is the workout we did on LiveExercise today! Do it WITH US on our BCx Boot Camp show on or follow the written workout below. It should take just a little over 30 minutes to do.

horizontal kneeABS

10 Weighted Crunches
10 Sit Ups
10 2-Count Bicycle Crunches
10 Diagonal Knees


sqaut pressRIght Arm:
1- Arm Squat Press (also called a Thruster)
1- Arm Burpee
1- Arm Bent Over Row
1- Arm Lateral Raise
1- Arm Bicep Curl
1- Arm Tricep Kickback

bicycle crunchABS

10 Weighted Crunches
10 Sit Ups
10 2-Count Bicycle Crunches
10 Diagonal Knees


1 arm shoulder raiseLeft Arm:
1- Arm Squat Press (also called a Thruster)
1- Arm Burpee
1- Arm Bent Over Row
1- Arm Lateral Raise
1- Arm Bicep Curl
1- Arm Tricep Kickback

sit upsABS

10 Weighted Crunches
10 Sit Ups
10 2-Count Bicycle Crunches
10 Diagonal Knees


3 Position Shoulder Press

15 Standing Shoulder Press
15 Kneeling Shoulder Press (On Knees)
15 Sitting Shoulder Press (back straight, long sitting, legs straight in front of you)



Shoulder Sculpter Workout

thermo heatI can’t raise my arms today. I actually can’t really use them at all after my shoulder workout from Tuesday! I had the BEST workout, so I had to share it. I think it was extra good partly because I started taking Thermo Heat again AND I was jamming music on my new August EP636 Bluetooth Headphones (I never wear headphones at the gym because I hate dealing with the dang chords) – but I had such a great workout, I think I’m hooked on training with these bad boys!! They are super affordable! You can get them online for $35-$42 and they sound great! AND, they aren’t HUGE on the ears like the big earmuff kind. lol Steve and I both have a pair and LOVE them!!

Here was my workout!!

Barbell Shoulder Presses Set

  • 12-15 Military Press (warm up with just the 45lb bar)
  • 12 Military Press 55lb (bar + 2 5lb plates)
  • 12 Push Presses 65lb (bar + 2 10lb plates)
  • 10 Push Presses 75lb (bar + 2 10lb and 2 5lb plates)
  • 10 Split Jerks 85lb (bar + 4 10lb plates)
  • 8 Split Jerks 95lb (bar + 4 10lb and 2 5lb plates)
  • 10 Push Presses 65lb (bar + 2 10lb plates)
  • 10 Strict Military Press (just bar, no weight)

Here is a video on the different types of pushes – press, push press, push jerk and split jerk. :) It’s a little hokey, but it gets the job done! If you’ve never tried all of these, give them a try! I bet you can do more weight than you think!!

Upright Row Set

  • 12 upright rows (with just the bar)
  • 12 upright rows 55lbs (2 5lb plates)
  • 10 lateral raises with 2 5lb plates
  • 12 upright rows 55lbs (2 5lb plates)
  • 10 lateral raises with 2 5lb plates
  • 12 upright rows 50lbs (2 2.5lb plates)
  • 10 lateral raises with 2 5lb plates
  • 12 upright rows with no weight
  • 10 lateral raises with 2 5lb plates


3 Sets of Cable Front Raises with rope (20-25lbs)


Shoulder Raise Super Set

  • Lateral Raises (5lb dumbbells)
  • Rear Delt Raise (5lb dumbbells)

rear delt raise

3 Sets of Face Pulls with Rope for rear delts (45-50lbs)

face pull


Massage Your Muscles Into Shape

This blog is part of a sponsored Moji campaign. All of my opinions are my own.

VITAMINSI recently got into muscle rolling. I know! It’s been around for a while, but I’m a slow learner!

Let me be honest! The only thing I don’t like more than exercise is prevention and rehabilitation. It’s not that I don’t like it. I’m not good at it. Prevention and rehabilitation takes time and patience, which I have none of. So, it’s like pulling teeth to get me to ice an injury, take a yoga class, stretch and take my vitamins. I know, you are probably screaming “BONNIEEEEE!” Hey, I may be into fitness, but I still have my struggles and weaknesses too.

Since I’m married to a guy who really cares about me and has a degree in Physical Therapy (so he knows the importance of preventive health and therapeutic modalities) I am working on these weaknesses. While I do admit that he still sets my vitamins out so I don’t forget to take them, one thing I’m actually being proactive with is muscle recovery.

Muscle Injury Cycle

BonnieI’ve had several injuries over the last year. It started with a sprained ankle and that old injury is now affecting my entire body – all the way up to my neck. It’s funny how one injury can throw your whole body out of proper alignment and mobility. Ok, so it’s not “ha ha” funny, but it’s “interesting funny”. Who would ever think an ankle could eventually cause a back spasm?

My ankle threw off my gate. Before I knew it, my gate put extra pressure on one knee. I didn’t even realize it was changing the way I moved…but it did. I was overcompensating on the other leg and eventually pulled a hamstring. This tight hamstring pulled my low back out of whack and now I’m dealing with back and neck issues.

I sound like a hot mess, don’t I? The truth is we all struggle with things like this. Sadly, most people just think they are stuck with it. Even worse, they tend to avoid exercise altogether in fear of further injury. I knew I needed to work through it, and I am confident my weight training prevented it from all becoming much worse.

The lesson I learned was that a lot of it could have been prevented if I was more proactive with my original injury and muscle recovery. And, while it took my injury snowballing into more issues to learn my lesson, I did learn – and now it’s time to start repairing my broken body.

Sore-Muscles-After-WorkoutI have always known that everything is connected but I’ve not personally experienced it for myself. As I was explaining my little revelation to someone, Steve said, “Come on, you knew that!” and began singing, “The thigh bone is connected to the hip bone. The hip bone’s connected to the backbone. The backbone’s connected to the neck bone. Doin’ the skeleton dance.” (LOL.)

Seriously though, in order for us to be truly fit, we have to address it all. We have to address our body as a whole unit – all of our parts working together as a team. This means we can’t just expect to break down muscles in the gym and not make the effort to help them repair. (no change!) One of the best ways to do this is with massage and ice.

3 Ways to Massage Your Muscles Into Shape

Moji Muscle RollersSo I’ll start this section off with another confession. I have a really hard time spending money on myself, especially when it comes to “pampering myself”. At one point I even owned a spa where we had massage therapists on staff and I only got a massage when I was interviewing new practitioners.

Not only do I feel guilty for just laying there for an hour while someone works on me, but I have a hard time even staying still and quiet for that long. I guess that is another thing I have to work on. (Note to self: learn how to relax.)

With that said, owning muscle recovery tools is essential for me. Since I will never be the one to spend money booking regular massages, I need to have the right tools at home so I can do my own muscle therapy. That’s where Moji massage products come in.

I had the opportunity to put their products to the test and I really LOVE them! They are totally different than any of my other products. Each product has these awesome stainless steel balls that roll across your body with such ease. Unlike some muscle rollers that distribute more even pressure, Moji Massage Products can give you that muscle roller feel while also addressing trigger points.

Moji Mini ProFor instance, I used the Moji Mini Pro like a muscle roller on my sore legs, applying even pressure across my quadriceps, but I applied deeper pressure on my VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique), which is that tear drop shaped muscle located just above and to the inside of the kneecap.

Since the rubber material that supports the massage balls is flexible, you can determine what areas get most of the deeper pressure by simply bending your hands and pushing on the exact area you want to address, unlike fixed muscle rollers.

I pretty much have used the Moji Mini Pro everywhere, including my legs, arms, neck and shoulders.

Moji Pro CurveThe Moji Curve Pro is more like a traditional muscle roller. It has 2 sturdy handles on either side, so you can control your pressure with ease, and 4 large massage balls in the center. I personally like the balls over the rolling discs because they don’t just roll in one direction. Not only that, they seem to dig in more for a deeper massage.

I really fell in love with the Moji Curve Pro when I used it on my neck and low back muscles. The slight curve in the Moji Curve Pro conforms more to your body and gives you a much more comfortable massage. It also seems like the balls are just perfectly placed so you can navigate around your spine. The curved body, along with the nice big handles, makes it easy to do a self-massage.

Moji Foot ProFinally, I got to try the Moji Foot Pro. For those of you who followed Steve’s Fat To Fit To Fat journey on A&E, you might have seen him walking around in a boot for plantar fasciitis. The Moji Foot Pro is PERFECT for treating plantar fasciitis. He was rolling his foot on a lacrosse ball for myofascial release and then applying ice to manage inflammation. Now, he can get all of that using one product.

The sturdy non-stick base makes it easy to use even on tile floor. By massaging the heel area, you can use the Moji Foot Pro for myofascial release to reduce pain. But wait! That’s not all! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself! LOL!) I’ve been saving the best for last. Mojo Pro products are made so that you can put them in the freezer for ice massages. That means Steve can massage AND ice in one sitting.

Ice massagerIce massage is the most effective method for applying ice. Ice massages are proven to drive the ice-cold healing temperatures deeper into the tissue. It also doesn’t require as much time as applying an ice pack. You can get some serious healing with one 10-minute ice massage – and it feels good too.

Steve did ice massages on patients all the time in physical therapy, but we haven’t done it much at home. It takes time to prepare your ice cups and you have to wait for them to freeze, which takes awhile. Moji Massage Products make ice massaging easy and less messy, since there is no melting ice to deal with. And, they’re ready for use again after just a short visit back to the freezer!

As I write this blog, I’ve been periodically using my Moji products while I read and proof everything – and really love how easy they are to use. They aren’t as bulky and awkward as some other products I’ve used.

I’m really excited about being more proactive with muscle recovery and having all the right tools to do it. And lastly, I’m excited about the Moji massage Steve’s going to give me tonight (even though he doesn’t know it yet).

Moji products get 2 thumbs up and a fist bump!

This blog is part of a sponsored Moji campaign. All of my opinions are my own.




Love Fitness? Then #GetACECertified 

This blog is part of a sponsored ACE Fitness campaign. All of my opinions are my own.

1989 Nu Life GymI worked at my first health club at the ripe young age of 18 in the late eighties (don’t judge the hair! lol). I knew nothing about fitness; I just thought it was cool. The club I worked for seemed to attract out of shape people who really didn’t know anything about exercise. Within just a few days of new-employee training, I knew more than the members – but that wasn’t saying much.

I didn’t know names of muscles. I didn’t really know how many repetitions or sets to do. My job was just to show people how to use equipment and that’s about it. My title was “fitness instructor,” which was a pretty accurate title. I gave people instructions, but no explanations or context. I just regurgitated what I was told.

walton fat rolling machineThe manager of my first gym was far from fit. He was all about signing up new members and tracking sales. He was the type of guy who would celebrate a new sign-up with a smoke break. There was no one to look up to and no one to learn from. I was on my own.

Our gym didn’t have any personal trainers. As a matter of fact, I had never even heard about personal training. After a few months of working the gym, I realized I wanted to learn more. It became quite clear that a gym that used old fat rolling machines wasn’t exactly what I needed.

I began doing homework and learning about weight training, supplements, and the whole fitness lifestyle. I continued using my body as a science project, putting everything I learned to the test. I still had no idea I could make fitness a career. Fitness was just fun for me and it made me feel great.

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterA few years later (1994) I met my husband, Steve Pfiester. He attended Florida State University to study Exercise and Nutrition. During the first year of our marriage, Steve decided to become a certified personal trainer. I remember we traveled three hours away for him to attend a weekend training certification course. At the time, we didn’t know the difference between certification programs. Steve came home with his piece of paper, but he was completely frustrated with how little he learned.

Steve responded to his frustration by seeking more knowledge. He continued his education, graduating with a degree in Physical Therapy. After his finals, we bought our first gym. Since Steve was the brainiac of the family, I relied on him to stay up with all the trends and credentials. He would teach me everything he learned and I soaked it in. I even took some small specialty certification courses along the way, but it was not enough.

Taking My Profession to “The Max”



Steve and I own Max Fitness in Vero Beach, Florida, where we run BCx Boot Camp and Team Max competition team.

A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted more. I wanted to start teaching our boot camp training program with Steve and to be more hands on with gym members. I wanted more credentials and more respect. It was time to get certified. I took it very seriously (what I really mean is I was terrified). I was so scared of school. I was never a great student, but now I realize I never really studied something I love the way I love fitness.

ace personal training materialsAs I thought about getting certified, I knew I didn’t want a piece of paper from just any online or weekend certification company. I wanted to get certified by a respected school with a great track record. I knew this meant it wouldn’t be easy, but I also knew it was the right route to go.

I studied so hard and was so scared I wouldn’t pass. Testing has never been something I’m good at. And while I was a nervous wreck come test day, I passed with flying colors.

Why do I tell this story?

Because as I look back, I can’t believe it took me over 25 years to get certified in a business I love. Sure, becoming certified took time. It was a commitment, but the feeling I got when I hung my certification on the wall was so worth it. I was no longer a businesswoman who was a fitness enthusiast. I was a fitness professional.

personal trainerThere are so many trainers out there who are either not certified at all or not certified by a reputable school. There are a lot of people (like me when I was 18) who enjoy working out and helping people but have no real clue what they are doing. And there are people (also like me, later in life) who have a ton of experience but lack the credentials to take their passion to the next level and make fitness training a solid, respected career.

If you want to be respected in your field, if you want to be proud of your career and if you want to be taken seriously, you need to take your education seriously. You need to get certified by a school that will give you a certificate you will be proud to display on your wall. Don’t procrastinate the way I did!

Start Your Fitness Career Now

Now is the time to start your career off right. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a personal trainer, don’t put it off any longer. The longer you put off your education, the longer you put off the success.

ACE Fitness Blogger Image02 (2)

There are hundreds of personal trainer certification options on the market, but only ONE rooted in 30 years of science-based research from ACE, the world’s largest nonprofit health and fitness certification organization. The ACE certification is created to help health and fitness professionals deliver the type of individualized programs people need to adopt long-term, healthy behaviors.

Max Fitness5 Reasons To Get ACE Certified

  1. Personal training matters. There are a lot of jobs that seem to be centered around meaningless tasks. However, personal training is a career with purpose. You get to impact people’s lives in more ways than one. You get to help your clients become healthier, stronger, faster, thinner, happier, smarter, more confident and simply better. Every day you plant seeds of health in people’s lives. You may not always see that seed grow fully, but you can know you are making a difference no matter how big or small.
  1. Live ExercisePersonal training is fun. Fitness is fun. Unlike working in a cubicle, personal trainers get to work in a fun environment. Personal training is very social and a great opportunity to surround yourself around like-minded positive people. Your clients become your friends and family.
  1. dollar days HEATHER5Personal training is rewarding. There are not a lot of careers as rewarding as helping people get healthy. Knowing you have a career that has a very clear purpose is so satisfying, but the real satisfaction comes in when you and your client get to celebrate success together. You not only get paid to do the work you love to do, you get an additional reward watching your clients’ hard work pay off too.
  1. Personal training is successful. Personal training is projected to be one of the fastest growing professions in the next 20 years. With the help of reality TV and social media, people have seen what personal trainers can do for their clients. Those results motivate people to also get the help they need to succeed.
  1. Personal training is flexible. Whether you are a stay at home mom or you work another job, personal training can be very flexible. You can set your own schedule around your family and other jobs. You can work at home, in a park or at a gym. The sky is the limit.

CLICK HERE to Get Your Career Guide

Follow ACE to get more industry news, fitness tips and career help!

Follow #getACEcertified to see what’s trending in the biz!

This blog is part of a sponsored ACE Fitness campaign. All of my opinions are my own.


Monday Motivation: It’s Time To Refocus

nearsightednessAre You Near Sighted?

What if every decision you made was not based on how you feel now, but how you would feel later? I believe too many of us approach our life with a near sighted view. We only make decisions based on what we can see up close, because everything far away is a blur.

If we want to succeed in ANYthing in life, we MUST take a far sighted approach. We must look way off into the distance and see how the decisions we make NOW will affect us LATER.

Keep your eye on the prizeSuccess Is Easy (IF)

If we keep our eyes looking ahead, succeeding is EASY!

It is EASY to get that run in

It is EASY to not snack in night

It is EASY to not hit the snooze button

It is EASY to not give up on our fitness program

Beyond the Now

distractionsWhether you are working to lose weight, improve your marriage, grow in the Lord, raise your kids right, get that promotion at work, pay off debt (and the list goes on), you will NEVER reach your goal if you focus on the now.

Sacrifice is required NOW. Pain may even be required NOW. Denying yourself things you would like may be essential NOW. BUT, LATER? OH MY! Later, is going to be amazing. Later, is when you will be so proud you didn’t let the now get in the way.

Here is one of my favorite verses that reminds me of the reward of discipline. “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11

Today is the day you are going to get your eye back on the prize!

Today is the Day

HOPE: Motivation For Success

If you are reading this and you are on a fitness journey, I need to encourage you to stay the course. I want to remind you why you have to succeed. Of course I want you to reach your goals for your own health and wellbeing, but there are SO many more reasons why you need to succeed, why you have to do what is right and why you simply cannot fail.

People are watching. Not that you should be doing this for anyone else, but you are fooling yourself if you think that no one else is affected by your failure or success to get fit. Besides the obvious people (like your spouse or your kids) who are affected by your health in more ways than one, there are many other people who may never get fit if you don’t.

The Power of the Underdog

What in the world do I mean? Well, let me give you a little story about a man who lived in the 1800s named Dwight Moody. Trust me, it’s worth reading. Mr. Moody became a famous evangelist and publisher. He started churches, a Bible Institute and a publishing company called Moody Publishers – which still thrives today. So what, you ask? Well, wait until you hear how he started!

Mr. Moody lost his dad when he was 4. As a child, his mom sent him away to work for his room in board because she couldn’t afford to raise her 5 kids. At 17 he moved to Boston to work for his uncle’s shoe store, but one of his uncle’s requirements was he had to go to church. This is where it gets good – and believe me, there is a very strong message in just this story alone that will touch your heart and impact the way you look at your life, your goals and your potential.

Dwight MoodyAt 17, Moody decided to join the church. His uncle’s church required church members to fill out an application. Can you image getting rejected by a church? Well, that’s what happened to him. His Sunday School teacher said this about Moody, “I can truly say…that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came into my Sunday School class; and I think that the committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness.”

WOW! is all I can say. He basically was voted less likely so succeed by his Sunday School teacher. However, his transformation eventually proved worthy to join the church, because he was later accepted into the church. He quickly started actually teaching and sharing what he was learning.

One man witnessed some of his early “teaching” (at an abandoned saloon might I add! ha!) He said this, “the first thing I saw was a man standing up with a few tallow candles around him, holding a negro boy, and trying to read to him the story of the Prodigal Son and a great many words he could not read out, and had to skip. I thought, ‘If the Lord can ever use such an instrument as that for His honor and glory, it will astonish me.”

Of course, you already know that his poverty, lack of education (he only had a 5th grade education) and even his past didn’t stop him from God using Him in a mighty way. He had all the odds against him, but don’t you know his testimony and his ability to reach people would impact SO many more people than a guy who group up in riches, with the best education and seemingly had not much to overcome? He was the spiritual underdog. His spiritual transformation is what was so powerful and gave so many people hope. If God could use him, He can use anyone.

Now, let me tie this into fitness, life and goals.

People Need Hope

hopePeople need real people with real challenges to succeed because they need hope. In many ways, Moody started out spiritually obese, ignorant and out of shape. However, he never gave up. He invested time and energy in learning how to live right and was obedient to what he learned. He didn’t let his pride get him down, and he applied to the church again even after being rejected. He even taught before he probably felt ready to be used in that capacity. He could have easily refused to teach because he didn’t read well. He did what he could with what he had – and it was more than enough to impact the world still today!

While this story is about spiritual health, don’t you know it applies to all areas of our life?  How many people hear what they need to do but just don’t do it. How many people simply just don’t have much knowledge about what to do, and they let that stop them, instead of just doing what they DO know? How many people let their pride get in the way of going back to the gym after experiencing some kind of failure or rejection? How many people feel like the aren’t not capable or able to accomplish certain tasks or exercises? How many people let their weaknesses keep them from getting stronger?

Moody not only reminds us to keep pressing on but he reminds us of how people need the “average person” to succeed.

“If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent.”

This is why we must succeed. Someone who is exactly where you are right now needs to see you succeed to have hope that they can do it too. No one else will be able to relate to them or impact them like you can. Whether you are striving to lose weight or save your marriage, you have to do it with all you have because your story WILL impact others – for good or for bad. Which one will it be?

moody success quote


The Need For Hope

Hope changes the mind:

“Hope allows people to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable to success, thereby increasing the chances they will actually accomplish their goals.”  - Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.D.

Hope is healthy:

“When people feel hopeful, they tend to face fewer mental health concerns.” – Good Therapy

Hope grows you:

“Those lacking hope, tend to adopt mastery goals. People with mastery goals choose easy tasks that don’t offer a challenge or opportunity for growth. When they fail, they quit. People with mastery goals act helpless, and feel a lack of control over their environment. They don’t believe in their capacity to obtain the kind of future they want. They have no hope. – Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.D.

Hope is contagious: 

“Your hope is actually dependent on your entire social network, including best friends, role models and secondhand associates. And your hope can be shared with others.” – author and Gallup senior scientist Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D, in his book Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others.


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