Thoughts from a frustrated fitness professional/ A little personal history.

Working in the fitness industry is a rather polarizing endeavor. I’ve written about this a bit before, but lately I’ve found I’m having a hard time just “being ok” with it. I’ve said before I’m not for everyone. I’m cool with it.

Women are one of the most highly advertised to demographics, and while we are making strides in the body-positivity area the same shit still sells and it makes me REALLY ANGRY. Like Hulk-Smash level shit.

But for just a little history, I’d like to level with anyone reading this why I feel the way I do. See, I myself have a L O N G history with my body and my feelings about it. Put your seat-belt on, this will take a second.

I made it through middle school fairly unscathed. Once puberty hit my hips showed up and I have since carried quite a bit of my curve through my butt and legs. It just was what it was. I have also always been an athlete of some kind, so muscle and being able to be fairly consistent with my weight was fine.

In high school I experienced some devastating firsts that began to mold a not-so-great relationship with my body.

  1. I got cut from athletics for the first time in my life. First from basketball, then from volleyball. I was devastated. Completely crushed. For the first time I wasn’t an active particiapant, and I used food and a general lack of motivation to move very little.
  2. It was the first time my parents (who were completely well-intentioned so I thank them for that) suggested that watching what I eat become a priority. My mom helped me the best way she knew how packing my lunch and for a while it did help and some of the weight I’d put on came off.
  3. I started dating someone that would ultimately be emotionally abusive and that would take its toll. I ended up in the hospital for exhaustion, dehydration, consuming less then 1000 calories a day while in-season for a Varsity sport I loved, and then there was this guy that made me feel like I was special and at the same time like I would never be enough.

Eventually it all culminated, and for all 4 years of high school my weight went up and it went down. It changed based on whether I was in-season, post-season or preseason. I’ll also interject here that we did not lift weights during pre-season/ off-season. We didn’t want to be “bulky” so everything was body-weight, tubing and cardio based until we could get into the cages and begin batting practice.

Strength training already had a negative connotation after freshman PE class when my best friend and I both were able to bench our body-weight in class and the boys called us “Beasts”. Male fragile ego at 14-15 years old. (Insert vomit emoji here)

Also, I LOVED entertainment news. I was all about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wanted Britney Spear’s abs, and Blue Crush was my favorite movie for sure.

What no one told me about any of it was that I wasn’t built like that. I was not going to look like any of those girls, ever. But man is that what I wanted. Lots of cardio, minimal lifting, watch what I eat (to a point of starving then binge, then feel guilty then repeat). For years.

When I went away to college on a softball scholarship, I was introduced to the weight room, for a minute. It was expected but I don’t remember us actually doing it with any consistency. We shared the weight room with all the male athletes (IE the football and basketball team) it was gross and many of them were pigs so I don’t think any of us were in a big rush to run up there. Also, even then I had never been properly instructed on how to lift. I had no idea of mechanics or what I actually should be doing. We just loaded up the bar and gave it a shot. (Ugh, facepalm)
Also, in this delightful four years, I was introduced to BEER. I may have been a Div. II Collegiate Athlete but I was also a sorority girl and I could put it down with the best of them. That did NOT help me, especially my freshman year, but you live and learn.

Once I graduated I walked away from anything organized for a while. We had free gym memberships with our apartment so I’d dabble here and there but I was never able to be consistent. Cardio was what I knew and I’d try to do something here and there. I had a consult with a personal trainer and she gave me a very generic workout and told me to consume less then 100g of sugar per day. That was it.

One night my husband and I were watching a movie and the guys on screen were throwing kettlebells around in the “pump-you-up” training montage. I looked at NN and said “I want to do that.” He shook his head as he does and said “Ok babe”. But less then a month later we were both in our first class.

Meeting Dave (and his business partner at the time) changed my life. I was introduced to someone that actually gave a shit about how I moved. He helped me fix my squat (something I didn’t realize needed fixed), he showed me that load was important and that cardio or other measures of “a good workout” weren’t necessarily that great. He gave me so much from the beginning, and while it would take almost 3 more years before I would start coaching myself I was hooked.

DUring this time I also got pregnant with my first child. This is another post for another day, but I will say that pregnancy was a whole new struggle for me with body image. It’s something that should be talked about, but I felt so much shame that I didn’t know what to do. Postpartum, dear Lord that will be several future posts. But back to the actual story…

I was introduced to a community of professionals that took their job seriously. Yes, there are always polarizing opinions, and I had to learn some things the hard way. But at the roots, I’d had a long-standing viewpoint of my body that was driven by shame and by this ideal that I would never achieve. At 24 that began to change and I’ve spent the last 12 years trying to encourage a different dialog.

What I preach is wholly what I practice, and if I’m being honest it isn’t sexy or glamorous.

I don’t have a six-pack, I’m not a size 4, and I still hate long cycle cardio.

I move everyday. Even when all that looks like is walking. Some days that is all I’ve got in me. AND THAT’S OK. Other days I swing kettlebells (because I freaking love it) or I move weights around. I’ve started hitting up a Crossfit class a couple times a week. My relationship with that has been a moving target for years, but at the moment I’m in a good place with it.

I try to eat foods that come from the outside of the grocery store. Bread and pasta are delicious but they don’t agree with me and while I have always loved cereal and ice cream both make me feel like absolute shit. I very much have to weigh the pros and cons of consumption. I also love cheesecake. It is a non-negotiable in my life. The trick is not eating the whole damn thing, but instead a slice here and there.

I share all of this because it is a small example of what works FOR ME. It has taken me years to get a handle on it, and I am constantly tweeking and experimenting.

That mentality and approach is how I approach my clients as well. We establish goals, and then we reverse engineer how to get to them. It is a long road, if you’re being honest with yourself it is a lifetime decision. What you choose in your 30’s and 40’s will have an impact in your 60’s and 70’s. It’s never too late to start, but the sooner you do the better for YOU it will ultimately be.

I will continue to be annoyed and often angered by the bullshit I see people putting out about “30lbs in 30 days”, Detox Teas, Magic Wraps, and all the cardio. And while I sometimes feel like a broken record I will continue to educate, support, encourage, and hopefully inspire other women, especially Moms to find what works for them and allows them to live the life they DESIRE to live.

Thanks for reading Awesome Humans

~S

Welcome 2020

It’s finally here!

Did anyone else feel like the last couple months of the year simultaneously flew by and also never wanted to end? I’m not one to wish time away but holy hell, it’s been a crazy couple months.

Anyway, new year, new decade. Lot’s to look forward to while also just being another day in the life.

I personally am excited about my plans of what’s going down in 2020, at least for ALA. If I’m being honest, I think that’s why this last quarter has been so antsy for me. Several of the things I’ve been waiting to be able to start moving forward on have been in purgatory. But now I can finally share what’s on the horizon.

B!RTHF!T classes to be offered in the Lone Tree, Parker, South Denver Suburbs. I have been waiting to be able to officially coach the curriculum and that is now a GO. Stay tuned for class dates and times for Prenatal Fitness Foundations, The Post Partum Series and Post Partum Breath and Flow. I am passionate about getting this information out to as many moms as possible, it is a game changer in all the best ways possible.

Online Coaching with my program The Mom First Project. This has been in the works for years and it is finally in a space where I am ready to scream about it and welcome women into a community that I have wanted to create. I got sick of wishing, so I decided to make it myself and put it out there for others. Lots more to come on this in February and March.

Lastly, I’m looking forward to having a kettlebell group again. It will be on Monday & Wednesday evenings in Lone Tree. My first love in fitness has always been kettlebells. It’s where I started, and when I get the privilege of watching someone I coached throw a bell around with confidence and great form it’s like a proud mom and her child. I see so much bad kettlebell form and hear so many disappointing stories that when I have to opportunity to influence positive change I jump on it.

So those are the big ones, at least for now. 2020 is just beginning and there is SO MUCH opportunity out there I’m giddy as hell just thinking about it.

More soon Awesome Humans

S

Seasonal Fitness

Working in the fitness arena, there can be incredible singularly focused and dogmatic approaches to working out. Some people believe in one method only, and THAT is what you must do. I had some of those beliefs when I initially started this journey, and for me it had more to do with not knowing any better. Time and experience are marvelous teachers.

I’ve now been coaching others (90% women) for about 7 years, and I’ve been on my own path to figuring out what the hell works best for ME since I was in my 20’s.

In this time frame I quit playing softball, graduated from college, got married, had two kids, moved across the country, and experienced mountain-high Highs to 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea Lows. To say that how I approach working out has changed might be the understatement of the decade.

Working out, like the seasons, is a very cyclical thing for me. On a large scale as well as on a daily basis. And while that may not be the case for everyone, I’m willing to bet that this may resonate with a few of you.

I love to lift heavy. I love high intensity. I love pushing myself to do better in my current workout then I did in the last. That’s the athlete in me. She may have “retired” from her sport in her early 20’s but she never went away.

My challenge these days is that working out that way often puts me on the sidelines for extended periods of time. I am still trying to learn my limits and there are times when I don’t throttle enough. It sucks.

I have had to learn to actually listen to what my body is telling me. That some days, walking and my functional progressions is all I’ve got in me. Some days it’s following an online Mat Pilates or Yoga Flow (or getting my butt into a class). Some days it’s going to Bootcamp or Cycle so that I can be pushed by someone else. Other days it’s picking up a kettlebell and seeing what feels good.

I don’t have a set routine. I also don’t have anything that I am specifically training for at the moment. My fitness goals are to feel good, to walk over 10k steps a day, and to be able to take on any activity at will (hiking, playing at the park, doing a mud run, epic failing at a Ninja Course, etc)

As a trainer, I’m not “motivated” all the time. Maybe some people don’t want to admit that, but I have no issues being transparent about it. I recognize that movement and food play a huge role in how I feel every day, so it keeps me traveling on a preferred path. But to say I’m all in 100% of the time would be me blowing smoke strait up your ass.

So what is that I want for you to take away from spending a few minutes reading this post? It’s that I want you to think about where YOU are right now. What season are you in? What are your goals as it pertains to fitness? WHY are those your goals? HOW do they feel to you? Once you can answer those honestly, then think about what it looks like to put that in action.

If you need someone to talk it through with, lets set up a consultation. The link is below and in my Instagram Link Tree. I’m not here to sell you on hiring me (though it is an option). I want to encourage you to have an open and honest conversation with yourself about your fitness, exercise, and how you treat your body.

Let’s Chat!

We as women are seasonal and cyclical creatures. Embrace that, and know that there is nothing wrong with you if being “hardcore” all the time about fitness isn’t your jam. Exercise and fitness should be about loving your body, not hating it. What does it look like to approach this aspect of your life from a positive angle as opposed to a from a negative view???

Musings on Postpartum

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of postpartum is “occurring in or being the period following childbirth”.

I feel like this deserves some expansion, and it deserves a wee bit more of our time then just “the period following childbirth”.

Often the magic 6 week mark is what we think about. If you had a vaginal delivery then your 6 week check up is when the Doctor or Midwife makes sure all of your physical recovery look good, your mental space doesn’t appear to be horrible, and you’re off! Back to exercise, sex, and most anything else that you were doing before you squeezed a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon. Congrats!

In a conversation I was having the other day, a woman recounted a story where she watched her own mother working full time, raising children, and she had dinner on the table every night. That is what she remembered and so when it was her time to have kids that is what she assumed motherhood to be and the expectation she set for herself. At the same time she was wishing for help but felt like she shouldn’t ask for it. She felt guilty asking for help. She felt like she was drowning, and yet she didn’t want to inconvenience anyone else by asking for help.

Why do we do that to ourselves???

Society has placed this magic 6-8 week number on being postpartum, then like the magical unicorns we are, we’re supposed to *POOF* be unapologetically back as the Jaclyn-of-all-trades. It takes us over 10 months to incubate a babe to term, but then we get 6 weeks to recover. What kind of fucked up math is that? Really?

I have a point in all of this I promise, and that is being postpartum is a long term gig. Like forever. Yet this time frame is marginalized and neglected and doesn’t receive the recognition and care that it deserves. Then people wonder why mamas are overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, in chronic pain, or feeling like they are hanging on by a thread. Look no further friends, we are expecting super-heroism out of the strongest mortals and eventually even the strongest of them crack.

Ladies (And Gentlemen if you’re reading this) We deserve better then this. For ourselves, for future generations of child-bearing humans, and for the women that brought us earthside. It’s not a popular conversation, and it isn’t the easiest topic to bring up at family gatherings. But the only way we are going to see change and make it happen is by having these conversations.

I plan to start lots of them, from lots of different angles. I hope you’ll join in, I’d love to hear about other womens’ experiences during the first year of motherhood and beyond. Only by doing better can we expect something to get better. I’m on board for all of it mama, and there is space for everyone!

A New Found Sense of Freedom (and the feelings that go with it)

Today is a milestone day in my world, a milestone that I have been anxiously awaiting for the past 2.5 years. Both of my children are in school all day. I dropped them off at 8:20, and I don’t have to go get them until 3:30. I am not paying tuition or a sitter. It is amazing.

Drop off!

So what am I doing? I’m writing. I’m spending time on what I want Actively Living Awesome to be (and mapping out the HOW). I’m meeting with my work-wife and exploring what some future opportunities look like. I’m listening to one of my favorite Podcasts (about setting boundaries, how appropriate). I am enjoying the fact that my house is quiet.

I’m also hoping that my kids are having a good day.

This particular subject is one that can get people fired up pretty quickly, so I’m going to lay out my reality and then move right along. My husband works full time and has a great job. When we made our life-changing move five years ago part of the decision we made was for me to finally pursue my own endeavors as opposed to going back into a corporate 9-5. By making that choice, part of it meant that I would be home at least half the time. And for most of the past five years that has been the case. There has always been the option for me to go back to work for someone else (which I did for a minute and it wasn’t a good fit), but when it comes down to it, this was the path that worked best for us. It has not been without it’s challenges, but it’s what we decided to do.

As a mother (and this is all humans that have the title of “Mom” whether in a traditional sense or not) there is this external expectation to be all of the fucking things, all of the fucking time. In no particular order: be a good mom, be a good partner, volunteer, keep up the house, bring home a contributing wage, stay fit (or look the part), keep up with laundry and groceries, make time for self care, take care of you, take care of everyone else, the list never ends.

So as I sit here at my counter, on my computer, listening to my little dog snore in the sunlight, I feel really good about where I am right now. I am showing up for me, in ways that elevate my vibration, and I am not sorry for any of them. Does it make me selfish? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. Am I thinking about my kids? Yes, a little bit. Is there any guilt? Again, Nope.

But I wonder, how many moms do feel guilty? How many have had the sole “job” of Mom for many years and now find themselves with a quiet house? How many don’t necessarily have a business or mission to pour themselves into now that they have the time? How many have things they want to start or pick back up but don’t know where to begin?

It doesn’t make you a “Bad Mom” to welcome this new chapter. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids because for the first time in years you can sit down and not immediately have to get up for someone else. It doesn’t mean you are selfish because you want to do something you enjoy, for YOU and not for the enjoyment of someone else.

If any of this resonates for you, let me know. I know there are plenty of us out there trying to take care of ourselves and everyone else, battling through all the emotions along the way.

Chat again soon Awesome Humans

~S

Over half way to 2020

Just typing that title made me a little queezy, I can’t believe we are already in July.

About a week ago my husband and I were siting on our newly finished patio, doing a play back of the weekend, when I went a little bigger and started replaying the past 3 months. I say that I don’t know where time went, but the reality is I know exactly where it went and fuck did it just blow right by.

In all fairness I knew that if I made it through March, April was going to take off, and I would wake up on December 31st and be delightfully surprised. However, when you are in the moment everything just seems to fly by faster then you ever give yourself time to prepare for.

April sent my to Columbus, Ohio to become a B!rthF!t Coach. I made the choice at the beginning of 2019 to go ALL IN on B!RthF!t (more on that in a later post) so Coach’s Training was step one. Bonus I got to briefly stay in C-Bus with some of my favorite humans, but that weekend is what made the ball start rolling.

In May I spent a week in Austin, listening to people that are smarter then I will ever dream of being, making some rad new friends, eating lots of tacos, and staying in a REALLY shitty motel. At least, that was the first part of my trip. I completed DNS Exercise 1 as another part of my B!rthF!t puzzle, and was given a glimpse at what I could be doing to already make what I get to do for a living better.

The back half of my Austin trip landed me at the B!rthF!T Summit. I don’t have the space in this post to go into everything that made the weekend life-changing, but let me tell you I drank the Kool-Aid and enjoyed every damn minute of it. I made connections with some of the most incredible people, I heard stories and passion from people just like me out there doing some Queen Shit work in their everyday. These people not once made me feel like I didn’t belong, and they reminded me again why I was called and then chose to bet all my cards on B!rthF!t and what it’s all about.

June was nuts with personal things, and now I have July to try and find peace while I also enjoy the summer that finally decided to show up in Denver. I’m still working at my normal place of employment, but in my vision my days there are limited as I look towards what I want to build in the future.

Coming up in the next couple months:

I am co-teaching a class with my Business Bestie to high school-aged girls beginning next week. I am beside myself to be able to share with these young ladies information I WISH I would have had access to when I was in high school. Obviously hindsight plays a role, but the power we are looking to give them will only help them navigate their lives both in and out of the gym for the better.

I tentatively have a new “home” to begin seeing clients. With this new space, my passion to train women, especially those in all fazes of the Motherhood transition moves to the forefront. I am currently putting together ideas and collaborations to offer the women of the South Denver Suburbs. As women, and especially as mamas we have SO MUCH on our plates all the time. It has taken me five YEARS to surrender to the fact that I need a community. I cant do to alone, and quite frankly I don’t want to. So I open my arms to the other women that feel that way too. We’re going to workout, laugh, get weird, and realize that we all have more in common then we thought. It’s going to be awesome so I hope you’ll come along.

I have exactly 5 months left make all the things I set out to do this year happen. Not sure if I’ll get around to all of it, but best believe I’ll nail the things that count.

Stay Tuned Awesome Humans

S

I’m baaaaaaaack

I maybe said that in a creepy Jack Nicholson voice. Or am I thinking the wrong movie? Likely the second, but whatever. February has been a weird ass month, and now that the final week is upon us I am done “thinking about” what I want to write and back to pushing the pink publish button.

In this over-full internet world there is so much to consume and so many conflicting messages and opinions that it can be challenging to figure out how you want your voice to sound. My brain has like 4 million tabs open at any one time and all of them are varying topics with different voices. All of them want to leave an impression and add value. Make you laugh or make you think or give you a hug. At the end I don’t know if they do any of those things but at least I enjoy sharing them.

I still have intention of expanding on the Simplification Shift, likely in March since I decided to stick my head into a text book for the past month and have neglected this little space. Can I tell you how over reading that particular book I am? I did learn some new information, but overall I found it to be rather underwhelming. I miss the money that I shelled out for it, but you’ll have that sometimes. Moving on.

So simplification, the motherhood journey, movement and health, and the importance of finding/ creating your community. To me, those things make up an awesome life, or they allow you to create the pieces that will in turn make your life more awesome. Cart or horse, either way it’s a step forward.

Stay tuned anyone that takes the time to give this a read, I have so many things I can’t wait to share here.

Later Awesome Humans

S