Above the TOXIC

Early training years flashback… As a new trainer, still finishing my degree in Kinesiology at Penn State, I wanted to dive into the fitness industry–excited to learn and grow! Almost all of my clients were older than me at the current gym I was training at. (Side note, I left after 5 years because of the toxic environment).

I remember that I had a handful of female clients, we will call them Karen, who came to me wanting to work off their baby weight from having children. I was pumped to work with and inspire them. I cautiously asked, “Awe, how old?” To my surprise their ages were close to double-digits! Well, I thought, then I have my work cut out for me!

When I was training them, I saw their struggle with self-image and battle the yo-yo diet affects. It was more than just weight itself, it was their self-confidence and their mind set.

They would say to me “I can’t wait until you have kids, gain weight, and have no time!” Instantly, two things ran through my mind. First, I had no intentions on giving up on myself or my fitness and goals just because I want to have kids. Second, that’s kind of a mean thing to say to someone.

These women had that ‘if I can’t have (or achieve it) mentality then you can’t either’. That, right there, is TOXIC. That type of thinking and talking will eventually break you down, and one day you may even believe that you can’t do something that you had your mind set on. Misery loves company, no matter the cost.

I hate to use the word jealousy, but it could be a little part of it. Mix it with the “Karen” mind set of bringing other down, and you have a toxic tornado that could carry over to relationships, workplace, and other aspects in your life.

If you’re in the path of a toxic tornado, I urge you jump, leap, or run as fast as you can to free yourself of the negative Nancy’s and Karen’s in your life. Sometimes it’s those closest to you. Sometimes it’s an acquaintance. You can feel the effects, and it could be the one thing holding you back from being the best you.

Surround yourself with love. Surround yourself with positive Penny’s in life. Surround yourself with those who lift you up to get you closer to your goals. End of story.

THIS is the Diet for You!

Yikes! There are so many diets to choose from these days…which one is for you??? Have you been to a book store lately? There is an entire section on weight loss programs, magical nutrition plans, and strategic diets plans based on this or that; It can be a little overwhelming to start.

You might turn to a diet that currently has a lot of hype at the moment, and we call them “fad” diets. The trendy diet that work for some, but not many. Just because something is popular, doesn’t always mean that’s the “golden ticket”. I like to use quotations to express my point, I hope you’re picturing my fingers dancing in the air while you read that.

The only diet that is right for you, is the one you can understand and follow, and this magical diet is called Discipline. If you check out a diet, I’ll use a Keto diet for example, and think to yourself, I like and enjoy eating rice, potatoes, and other healthy starches, but think you would be able to give them up for a little while–the diet is not for you. You can’t half-follow a diet plan. In the case of Keto, it just won’t work and you’ll end up frustrated and defeated. Your body actually needs to be in ketosis–a metabolic state where ketones become an important source of energy for the body and brain–and you may never reach that state if you’re consuming more the 20-50 grams of carbohydrate daily.

I see people half-follow diet plans all of the time, and they wonder why it’s not working. No offense, it’s not usually the plan itself, it’s the person in between not wanting to follow a diet and follow it at the same time. If you log your food and only eye-ball the amounts and never actually measured anything, you’d be surprised to see how many extra calories you’d be consuming. Or not logging all of those random bites of food or sips of sugary or alcoholic beverages. Just because you didn’t log it, doesn’t mean you didn’t eat it! Whatever you’re eating plan is, make sure discipline comes first. Eat to live for the long run. Pick a way of eating that you can do with your whole family. I will be the first person to tell you that I DO NOT cook separately for my children. What people feed their kids is junk, and it’s funny how the adults see it that way too. Parents will go out of their way to whip up easy, prepackaged, full of preservatives food for their kids, then they will eat something healthier. I feel like saying “DUH!” Healthy eating and habits start while they are young. That is the worst thing you can do for your kids, so do them a favor and feed them those roasted vegetables, turkey breast, and quinoa you have cooking on the stove. Trust me, the battle of hunger will be short lived.

One last note, after my parenting tangent, thanks for letting me get that out by the way, be disciplined using the “3 W’s”. The way, what, and when you eat can make all the difference on making changes. Go through your check-list: Can I sustain this way of eating? What do I have to eat to meet my goals? When and how often am I eating? After you ask yourself these questions, I think it’ll be pretty clear for yourself what diets would and would not suite your lifestyle.

Need help figuring out what eating plan is the best one for you? Reach out! I’m a certified nutritionist and I want to help you find the best way to eat to reach your goals and maintain it!

It has to Start Somewhere!

I felt this title was particularly perfect for my very first blog about where to start or continue your fitness journey. I bet a lot of you can probably say that you have started your fitness journey over and over again a dozen or more times.

There is a difference between completely starting and stopping to work on your fitness and changing or redirecting your fitness goals, which may feel like you’re starting over. When you are not intentional with your health and fitness–in other words, you don’t care about exercising, getting movement into your day, carving out enough rest, or paying attention to the food your fueling your body with–then yes, I would say you’ve stopped working on your fitness. Or, maybe, you keep good intentions about maintaining your fitness by exercising throughout the week, caring about how much restful sleep you need on most nights, and you provide your body with a variety of healthy foods most of the time. In this scenario, you are working on your health and fitness, even if you don’t have a clear goal, and kudos to you!

I started putting an effort, a true effort, in my fitness when I was a sophomore in college, while attending Penn State. It was going on two years since I stopped playing sports and I was feeling it! So, in my competitive nature, I joined a weight loss challenge, hit the gym, started following a healthy eating plan, and never looked back. Fast forward 15 years and here I am…still working on my fitness!

With fitness there’s no ultimate end goal. I guess it could feel like a hamster wheel, but I hope not! That would mean there’s zero change. I probably make several goals a year for me to achieve, whether it’s something new to train for, reaching a PR, improve body composition, rehabilitate or increase muscle strength, or whatever else that would make me happy, healthy, and feel alive! Just because you have a new goal for yourself does not mean you have failed. It does not mean that you’ve “stopped” your fitness. Our bodies adapt, and sometimes our regular workout routine becomes stagnant, or suddenly weight starts creeping on even if you didn’t change your eating and exercising habits. It means you got comfortable, and when you’re comfortable, that’s when you could feel like you’re on that hamster wheel–not growing emotionally because you are not being challenged, not growing physically because now you’re gaining weight, and there could be other areas in your life that you’re just cruising on by–possibly missing some really important things. It’s really important to tune in to your body, give it what it needs, and don’t just go through the motions. But, that’s another conversation for another day!

Whether you’re new to adopting a regular fitness plan in your life, or you feel like you’re hitting the reset button once again, it’s okay to start or restart. If you have no idea where to begin, start holding yourself accountable to dedicated days when you’re going to exercise (walk, take a class, workout with a buddy, do squats, sit-ups & push-ups), I don’t care, but do something. Do something you enjoy to keep in your life, so you never have to stop working on your fitness ever again, you just may need to create new goals. Restart by signing up for a challenge (create your own challenge or find something at your local gym or online). The best way to adhere to any new goal is to hold yourself accountable. Write it down, tell co-workers, friends or family. Get excited about this new goal and embrace this change because whatever it is, it’s giving you that spark, that fire. It’s going to change you for the better.

Declare It. Start It. Because It Has To Start Somewhere.