Archive for the ‘ATTITUDE’ Category

Who do you answer to?

Posted: June 4, 2011 in ATTITUDE, GENERAL

The journey to lose weight can be long, challenging and lonely.  Those who have a great support system are very fortunate.  However, for oh so many individuals trying to get get in shape, the other people in their lives are part of the problem.  They create temptations, excuses and feed negative thoughts and actions.  Not cool.  Why do people do this?  They aren’t bad people.  They just don’t know better.

So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?  Make yourself accountable to someone who will encourage your journey and put you in check when needed.  Tell that person what your diet is and what your exercise plan is and make sure they make you stick to it.  With my clients, I am always asking about their diets and checking to make sure they are getting their cardio workouts in on days when they are not working with me.  They know that if I hear that they did not show up to do their cardio, then we are going to have issues.  I actually check to see that my clients have checked in on the days that I’m not there and ask that other trainers keep an eye on them.  That gives them a sense of accountability.  They know they have to do it because they have to answer to me.  It helps – trust me!  I hear all the time:  I didn’t want to come but I knew you would be disappointed and I didn’t feel like dealing with you.  I always laugh and say good.  Because, you know what? That’s fine.  They can be annoyed if they want to.  I really don’t care if they are annoyed.  I care that they get healthy!

So, who do you answer to?  If you don’t have someone, find someone.  Do it today!  If you have someone who is encouraging you to stray from your mission, relieve them of their duties and choose someone else.  If you don’t have anyone at all, you are lying because if you are reading this you have me.  I’ll be happy to help you.  Let me know on here or follow me on Twitter.

Remember, weight loss is a lifelong process.  There is no finish line.  Each day you put in the work.  Each day you get that much better.  Keep at it and you will be forever stronger.  If you need me, I’m right here.


Many are hesitant to work with a personal trainer because they feel like “they are not in good enough shape” for that yet. Indeed,  I’ve heard this comment from clients, friends and even family members.  I can see where the misconception comes from.  Trainers are known to push their clients and people see those clients doing exercises which they think could never do in a million years.  I just thought I’d spread the word that this is not a good reason to not train.  In fact, the less of a fitness background you have the BETTER off you are getting a trainer from day one.  I hope that this will clear up some misconceptions flying around out there.

Here’s the thing.  You need not worry about those fancy moves you see trainers doing with their clients.  If you are a beginner, don’t be intimidated by these superstar exercises.  If you aren’t ready for them, a good personal trainer would never ever ever dream of having you even attempt them.  We don’t expect you to do the exercises we can or that some of our advanced clients can.  In fact, speaking for myself, I prefer to work with beginners.  I love the thought of taking someone from the very beginning and watching them progress.  One of my favorite clients is in their 40s and has barely been off the couch.  I really enjoy watching them getting better and better and the weeks go by.

Also, many think that they should take some time and learn the basics on their own so as to not “waste” their time on doing the “easy” stuff with a trainer. I love the enthusiasm of that idea.  It’s great when people want to take charge.  However, the problem is it takes about 300 repetitions to learn an exercise and about 5,000 to unlearn an exercise that a person has been doing incorrectly.  Why not make sure you are doing it the right way from step one?  You don’t want to have to work backwards.

I hope this makes sense.  As always, I’m here for questions and comments.

See you in the gym!

There is so much to think about in trying to stay fit.  Diets, workouts, resolutions, mantras, competitions, nutrition, personal goals, and the list can go on and on.  When done properly, fitness is not just something you do a few times a week, it’s a process and a lifestyle.  Said differently, it’s a commitment that you make to eat right and stay in shape.  But sometimes it can get boring or worse – you can feel beat up by the process and just need a break.  So what do you do?  Well, I know what I do.  You may be surprised to hear this because I love fitness but I too have moments when I just can’t bring myself to do yet another HIIT workout. Hey, I’m human!

So, what do I do?  I remind myself of the moment when I first fell in love with it and it helps so much.  I have a playlist that I used when I started working out four years ago.  I throw that on and I put myself through the workouts I used to do when I started training.  Because I’ve come far since then, I fly through them.  The process helps me to remember how hard it was when I started and I see the gains I’ve made.  I also have one of the first “diet” meals I’ve ever made.  I repeat the process for about a week and it helps me reset.

The next time you feel yourself getting frustrated – take your own journey backwards.  I promise it will help.




So you had a bad day…

Posted: December 12, 2010 in ATTITUDE, GENERAL

One of the most common reasons for people not wanting to work out at the gym is lack of motivation.  I think this problem is most common with those who are new to the gym floor.  Newbies join the gym ready to go and after a few weeks the newness wears off and reality sets it.  All of a sudden these newbies start having those days when they just don’t feel like working out.  Or, no matter what they do they can’t seem to get into their workout.  If this is you, let me guess.  You start to beat yourself up for not meeting your goal for the day or not being able to complete a workout.  Exhausted and frustrated you look around you at the gym and see the gym rat next to you running with ease and the bodybuilder behind you benching twice his bodyweight.  You think what is wrong with me?  Why can’t I be them?  Or, how come they can do it and I can’t?  The negative thoughts start to swarm around like vultures circling above a dead animal. Defeated, you decide the best thing is to just give up and go home.  The next day these memories are still lurking and you begin to think why bother.  It becomes harder and harder to get to the gym and your motivation continues to dwindle.  Sound familiar? How did I know?  I’ve been there.  Though I am fit now, very few people know, I was once 200 pounds at 5’6″ and couldn’t lift a weight to save my life.  Though that was long ago, I haven’t forgotten.

Now, if none of this sounds familiar, wonderful!!!!  You’ve already moved past or perhaps were never in this stage.  Congratulations.  Read no further.  For those still with me, this secret is for you.  What you probably don’t know about gym rats, personal trainers and athletes that you are so envious of is that WE FAIL TOO.  Yes that’s right! We have our days when we don’t want to go to the gym.  We have our days when we think why bother with working out today.  We have those moments when we feel inadequate and insecure.  There are days when we don’t meet out goals or get through our workouts.  There are days when we cheat our diets or perhaps don’t do a full rep or two to make it easier for us.    So, first please know that you are not alone at all.  I am definitely a gym rat – I live and breathe fitness and am now working as a floor trainer at a gym.  I can tell you I have these days.  I know for a fact that other trainers struggle with this as do elite athletes.  Remember, we are all humans and we battle with the same emotions and stresses that you face.  So stop being so hard on yourself! It’s not that strange to have a hard day.  It’s how you deal with it that matters – more on that in a bit.  At any rate, I hope it provides some relief to know that you are not alone. But wait – as they say on those annoying infomercials – there’s more 🙂

I think what separates the experienced person (for lack of a better term) from the beginner (again for lack of a better word) is that we KNOW that it’s ok to have an off day or two and that it is really ok to not ALWAYS be successful.  We may have our moments but we do our best to keep it to a moment.  We try to begin the next workout fresh and leave that bad workout in the dust.  Try to adopt the same logic.   In other words, you may not be at the athletic level that you wish you were.  That’s fine.  But self-loathing behavior doesn’t help at all.  Indeed, it hurts your progress.  One, if you allow it to, it can keep you from continuing on your journey.  Two,  when you are stressed, your body realizes a hormone called cortisol which prevents weight loss and can actually cause weight gain.  So, while we can’t change our circumstances, we CAN absolutely change how we deal with them.  The next time you have a defeating day start the next day fresh without carrying yesterday into the present.  It takes practice but it is quite effective when used often.  Here’s some help.  When you feel the stress creeping in, remember the magic word “RELAX” and follow it with “So what!”   Ok so you ran three instead of four miles and you freaking out.  Now, take a couple of breaths – that’s the relax part – and follow with so what!  I’ll run four and half miles tomorrow.  Trust me – It works!  Apply carefully.

Another critical point is that on the days when experienced people don’t feel like going for it – we do it anyway.  Think about it – would you skip brushing your teeth, eating, using the bathroom as opposed to a diaper because you didn’t feel like getting up?  Probably not – at least I hope not.  My point is that people that are committed to fitness think about it as a necessity no less important than any other necessity.  So on those “off” days we just do the best we can to get through the workout.  Granted, it may not end up to be a workout for the record books but it WILL be a workout and that is still a win in the game of life.  The take away here is just do your best on those days.  Try to get in 20 minutes instead of that hour.  Just do something!  You will feel less guilty AND what often happens is once you start moving you realize that you actually can get through the workout. You only get one body so you might as well be as good to it as you can.

Ok folks so that’s it for me.  If you take anyway anything from this, let it be these three things:

1.  Everyone struggles once and awhile.

2.  Leave bad days in the past.  Live in the present.  Remember, relax and so what – they are some of the most powerful words in the English language.

3.  If you don’t want to, do it anyway.  Take care of you.  If you don’t, who will?

I want to end here with a few quotes that I look to when I need inspiration. I’m going to add them here with the hope that someone else will find some inspiration in them:

Unless you puke, faint or die, DON’T stop.  -Jillian Michaels

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,You feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and just pull that shit out of you And get that motivation to not give up, and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face.-Lyrics from ‘Til I Collapse – Eminem

Do or do not.  There is no try.  – Yoda.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind – 2 Timothy 1:7

Failure isn’t falling down, failure is not getting back up. – Proverb

Nothing changes if nothing changes.  – Another proverb

Pain is weakness leaving the body – Tony Horton

Til next time everyone!! Take care of you.

This post was inspired by all of you fabulous go-getters who have been inspiring me with your desire to change your lives and get in shape but are just too intimidated by the free weight section to give it a try.  There are many reasons I hear for people not wanting to go into the free weight room.  By the way, for those that aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about, the free weights are things like dumbbells and barbells as opposed to the machines.  Just so you know that you are not alone, here are some examples of  what I hear ALL the time:

1.  I’m a girl.  Free weights are for guys.

2. I’m overweight. I don’t belong in there with “those people.”

3. I’m a novice and I don’t want to look stupid.

4. I don’t know where to begin.

5. People are mean to me in there.

Now, normally I’d say stop whining and suck it up but in this case I’m more sympathetic because I think people really DO want to try free weights but are scared or insecure.  Still, I could say stop whining and suck it up anyway, but I won’t.  Instead, I want to try to give you some tools that you can hopefully use to get over that hurdle and tackle those free weights.

First, if you see the reasons above, you probably noticed they are all very different.  I hope that makes you realize at least that you are not alone.  MANY people are intimidated by free weights.  Machines are a great place to start.  But once you have experience and stability, it’s time to up your game.  Truth be told, I was terrified at first.   So, I hope that it helps to know that there is nothing weird or strange about your fear.  It’s just something you have to get through.  It’s something new and different and really the only way to stop being afraid is to START dealing with that fear and pushing through it.  I really wish I could travel the country and take you all by the hand and walk you into the free weight room myself.  We’d get you over it real quick and I would be so happy.  But instead here are some tips to help get you started:

1.  Ladies, there is NO such thing a “male only” exercise.  Free weights are for you just as much as they are for men.  Do you watch workout videos?  Did you ever notice that the instructors are female and ARE using dumbbells?  Some guys will look at you funny or tell you that ladies are not supposed to do that.  That’s nonsense.  Women have come so far – don’t let the jerks take you back in time.  Be strong and show them we can do it too.  Oh and don’t worry about bulking up.  Because you are not a man, you don’t have the testosterone required to make your muscles show like they do.  Female bodybuilders have to take lots of supplements, train intensively and diet hard to get that size.  So relax – you are safe.  Indeed, a little lean muscle will actually help your LOSE body fat.

2.  Hire a personal trainer.  I know that this is not an option for all of you because trainers are not cheap.  However, if it is in your budget, it is well worth it.  I’m not going to go into here all the advantages of having a trainer but I do want to discuss certain benefits.  In the gym, a GOOD trainer serves as a buffer between you and the rest of the gym population.  With someone there, people are less likely to comment or give you a hard time.  Second, if someone does give you a hard time, a good trainer will probably put out that fire real quick.  Third, with a trainer, people realize you are learning and what’s wrong with that??  Fourth, sometimes it just helps to have someone walk you through something and to keep you company during your efforts.

3.  Use dumbbells at home.  If you learn how to do exercises at home, all you have to do is repeat what you already did in the gym.  If you don’t know what to do, there are great resources online.  Start using Google and YouTube.  You’ll be surprised what you can find by just searching the word workout.

4. Don’t let the jerks bother you.  Unfortunately, the gym, like elsewhere, does have a few bad seeds.  There will be people screaming “yeah baby, I’m the man” or “you can’t touch this” or some other nonsense.  There will be guys flexing and showing off. Note that bodybuilders actually need posing practice so sometimes that’s what’s going on.  Other times, people are proud of their progress which is great.  But then there are just the retarded ego maniacs who are overly pleased with themselves.  And, while I don’t believe this is anything wrong with an occasional grunt while trying to push a rep out or checking yourself out during a workout, I actually laugh at the screamers and show offs.  I think, really?  REALLY? Come on! Who are they talking to anyway?  And who cares?  They are the ones who should be embarrassed – NOT you.  If it’s any consolation, I’d much rather have a beginner next to me than some moron showing off.  So, just think of me and KNOW Rachael wants me here.

5.  Here is a simple trick that will just get you used to the feeling of walking over to the free section – rack the lighter weights.  People often leave the weights all over the place when they are done with their workouts.  To get used to walking over there, pick up a “loose” dumbbell on the floor and put it back on the rack.  Then, do it again.  This will accomplish a few things.  One is guess what – YOU JUST TOUCHED A FREE WEIGHT AND DIDN’T DIE!!! Who would have thought?  The second is you entered the free weight section and the heavens didn’t come crashing down.  Wow, right?  Haha.  The third is you may realize that it’s not so bad walking around the gym with weights in your hand and you will at the very least get used to the feel of it.

6.  Finally, stand up for yourself.  Now, sadly there are some bullies at the gym.  I’m sure you know who I am talking about.  They act like they own the place and like you are in THEIR way.  They may subtly or not so subtly take machines or equipment from you, push you, or try to rush you.  They will treat you like you don’t belong there because you are not in shape yet.  Guess what? Because you are not in shape yet is EXACTLY why you DO belong there!!!!  Because of that, these are the people that really get on my nerves.   The reason is that they often turn people away from the gym because beginners’ fears are confirmed by these idiots.  What a shame.  Here are my words of wisdom for dealing with these people.  DON’T LET THEM WIN.  You have as much right to be there as they do. Last time I checked, you paid the same price for your gym membership that they did, right?  So, why then do they have more rights in the gym than you do?  Simple – they don’t!! Maybe their parents never taught them to share.  Perhaps, they didn’t get enough attention growing up. It could be that they are overcompensating for other shortcomings.  Who knows?  But, more importantly, WHO CARES???  They need to learn to share the gym with you – PERIOD.  And we need to get you to realize that so that you can stand up for yourself and not be intimidated.  Now, I’m going to share with you a few of my experiences.  I must admit that I DON’T like bullies so I have a bit of a bad temper when dealing with them.  I don’t recommend any of you try this stuff at home.  Hahaha. I’m just sharing to either make you laugh or to help you realize that yes I’ve been there – preferably I’d like to accomplish both.

Once when I first started training, I was doing 3 sets of barbell bicep curls.  After my second set, I put the barbell down for a quick rest and this jerk picked it up and started walking away with it.  I said, “Hey I was using that.”  In response, he said, “I’ll give it back when I’m done.”  I said, “But, I wasn’t done.”  Annoyed, he actually threw a medicine ball at me and said, “Here work with this for a bit.”  I caught the ball and didn’t get hurt.  He walked over to his friends on the other side of the gym and by their laughter and stares I could tell they were making fun of me.  I could have done a lot of things in that situation.  But, it occurred to me that me and my trainer (who wasn’t there that day) were working on chest passes with a 12 pound medicine ball and this one was 12 pounds. ***Evil laugh*** The gym wasn’t crowded so I knew I had a clear shot in his direction.  So, what does this girl do?  I yelled, “Hey _______ (insert a very bad word I would say on my blog)!” When he turned around I threw the ball hard straight at the wall right next to him.  I didn’t throw it to hit him.  I knew it would hit the wall.  I threw it to make a point.  He was so shocked that I had enough power to do that his jaw dropped and he put down the barbell and said, “I can’t believe you just did that.”  I walked over and said, “I can’t believe I thought you were going to take MY barbell and get away with it.”  I snatched up my barbell, walked away, continued my curls, and surprise, surprise he didn’t bother me any more.  In fact, after that, he was always friendly to me.  Like I said I have a bad temper when it comes to bullies, please DON’T ever throw anything in the gym!

Another day, a couple of years later, I was working on tricep pulldowns and some huge musclely (yes, I made up a word) guy walked up to me and actually said,  “Sweetheart I need that and pointed to the cables I was using.  You can work on your triceps somewhere else.”  I said, “Yes I can but I can also work on it right here honey.  Is that ok with you baby?  So, I’m not going move sugar.  And when I’m done, you could have it.  Now, if you don’t mind sweetheart, I have a few more reps to do.”  And, I looked away and kept going.  He waited quietly – like he should have in the first place.

One more story.  Several months ago, I was working on the elliptical and there was this guy teasing these two obvious newbies.  All three were on ellipticals and he was yelling “look at me, you ladies can’t touch this, no one in this gym can do better than me, I’m the shit.”  And, to make it worse, he was making fun of their attempts.  He really reminded me of a cartoon character and I secretly wished that an animated anvil would drop on him.  The ladies were struggling to make the machine even move and I could tell that the guy was not helping.  So, I couldn’t help it.  I had to say something.  I told him, “What is your problem? Why don’t you back off?  Can’t you see they are just trying to learn?”  He said, “Whatever no one can touch me. I can’t help it if they can’t keep up.”  I said, “Oh yeah, I bet you can’t keep up with me.  Mind you, the elliptical is one of my strengths and I already peeked at his speed and knew I could top it easily. He took the challenge adding that “no girl was going to beat him”.  To make a long story short, he kept up with me for a bit ,but when I went backwards, with no hands, and hit max speed he lost his balance and fell off.  I said, ” “How does it feel to be beaten by a girl”?  He said he was sorry and I told him don’t apologize to me, apologize to those two ladies who were being mean to. He actually did apologize.  The ladies thanked me and a few weeks later I noticed they improved a great deal.  I never saw that guy again.

These are just a few of my battle stories. So, I challenge all of you to really try to get over this fear.  Remember what I said in another post, try first, be afraid second. You should know that free weights are a great workout – much better than any weight machine in the gym.  You are paying for a gym membership not for simply treadmill access.  That means you are paying to use the entire gym!  I suggest you at least try to do so.  I’m always here if you have any questions or you can hit me up on twitter @brooklyn_1012.  Now get to work!

Gotta Love Them – But YOU COME First

Posted: November 22, 2010 in ATTITUDE

Family, friends, significant others.  In no particular order, these are the people that mean the most to us.  We laugh, cry and spend our free time with them.  These are the people with who we share our lives and are so grateful to have them around.

Guess what?  These ARE also the people who could severely hinder your fitness goals. Why?  There are many reasons. First, they may not have the same goals as you.  Second, they may have the same goals but lack the motivation to do anything about it. Third,  they may simple not care about fitness at all.  The list can go on and on.

If you have a loving support group who is 100% behind you, congratulations!!  I envy you and you don’t need to read any further. For the rest of you, you know what I mean.  I’ve been there.  Hell, I’m still there. I’m definitely the fitness example in my family and it’s often hard to hold firm to my beliefs.  But, I think that if I’m not the example then who will be?

Why do we let our loved ones get “in the way”?  There are many reasons I imagine.  If you are anything like me, then HUGE reason is time.  It feels like after everything I do for THEM there just is no time to eat right and exercise.  However, the fact of the matter is you are completely wrong.  There IS time – you just have to exercise your right to SAY NO!!!!  Take that one hour to yourself to exercise.  Say NO to McDonald’s for dinner and YES to grilled chicken and spinach.

So my Attitude Challenge to you is this:  The very next time someone who care about ask you to make an unhealthy choice say NO.  Explain that you are making some changes and you are very sorry but you can’t do what they want. Encourage them to join you instead.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  It could be them asking you to skip your workout or to join them for junk food when you know you don’t want to cheat on your diet.  It could be an invitation for drinks when you know you shouldn’t.

Whatever it is – JUST SAY NO.  It’s only one time.  Try it.  When you see that the world does not come crashing to an end and your loved ones still love you, you will realize it wasn’t that bad.  And, DON’T feel guilty about it.  They may resent you at first but I promise that you aren’t doing them ANY favors by enabling their bad habits.  If anything, by enabling them, you are actually hurting them.  Poor health choices ALWAYS have negative consequences.  Good luck.  And BE STRONG!!!

Check Your Vocabulary

Posted: November 9, 2010 in ATTITUDE

One thing that always catches my attention in the gym is when I hear people say “I can’t.”  I got news for you – 90% of the time the person who just said it is a liar.  That’s right, I said it – THE PERSON IS A LIAR!!!  But, here’s the thing –  they don’t  know they are lying.  In fact, they have likely convinced themselves that they can’t do something that they probably haven’t even tried.  What a shame!!

The truth is that 90% of the time “I can’t” really means “I won’t”.  What is usually going on is the person facing unfamiliar territory.  So, their instinct is to back away.  That’s fine and quite natural. The problem is that this mindset could be exactly what’s holding you back from your fitness goals.

Am I saying that “I can’t” is never true?  Well, if you asked me if I could fly I’d have to say I can’t.   So of course, there are times when I can’t is appropriate.  However, what I’m really getting at here is that the expression  is used way more than it should be.  Not a little more. A LOT MORE.

Here’s an example.  In my family, I’m the gym rat.  My husband is way bigger than me but doesn’t work out anywhere near his potential.  That’s fine.  He has made his choice and I have made mine.  I don’t love him any less.  His favorite phrase in the gym is “I can’t” and it is the source of much irritation for me.  Nevertheless, one night we talked about his habits at the gym.  I explained that he could go wayyyyy heavier than he was lifting.  Of course, he didn’t believe me – I’m not a trainer.  He said he can’t and blah blah blah blah blah.  So, I told him, “Do me a favor the next time you are at the gym I want you to add 10 pounds to whatever you are lifting.  Also, when you thinking you can’t do any more reps, I want you to dig down deep and press out just three more.”  He reluctantly did it. Guess what happened?  That day he did way more reps than he ever did AND said he able to almost DOUBLE (yes DOUBLE) the amount he was lifting. See what I mean?

So, my challenge to all of you is for one week while working out DO NOT SAY I CAN’T.  It’s just one week.  Try it.  Here’s a few things that I hope will help:

1.  Think: What are you basing your “I can’t” on?  Have you ever tried? No?  Well, then how the heck do you know??

2.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Use your common sense here.  If you can really get hurt, don’t do it.  BUT, if the odds are in your favor, I’d say go for it.

3.  This is probably my favorite.  Try adopting this mantra: try it first, be afraid of it second.  Now people – be careful how you apply this one.  No  attempts to fly here please.  Again, use your common sense.  Let me give you an example of the type of thing I am talking about.  There are probably certain machines you wish you could use or exercises that you see people doing that you would like to try.  What stops you?  Fear.  The “I can’t” expressions start flying all over the place.  Not this week.  Try that new machine.  Give that new exercise a shot.  If you tried it and failed, then fine not every exercise is for everyone.  Move on.  But no whining unless you really tried, ok?  Most likely you will like the exercise.  Let’s face it – it already has your attention.

I’ve been there many, MANY, MANNNNNNNNNNNNNNY times.  I still find myself there on occasion.  I look at something and say, “Oh come on.  There’s just no way I can do it.”  Fortunately, my first personal trainer pretty much got me out of the habit of that kind of thinking real quick.  My mind still always goes back there four years later.  And, as a result, five seconds after saying “oh come on”, I always give the exercise a shot.  Nine out of ten times – I NAIL IT.  After years of these types of experiences, I actually find myself attracted to the “crazy” looking exercises.  SO DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT.  I promise you can do more than you think you can!