My new normal…

So I have been detained from blogging due to many new things going on in my life.  My husband, went back to school in January and is away from home five days a week.  I have been adjusting to being a single parent on those days in addition to still running my business and getting in my personal workouts.  It has been an adjustment, but I think I am back.  I have included an update from my husband, Andrew, who just began his second quarter of Chiropractic school.  It is our new normal and I give props to all the single parents of the world, as well as those who go back to school as adults to pursue their dreams. I never knew, until recently, how difficult that life was.perfection

So what’s Andrew up to these days?                                 Q2 Week 1

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs. And in that song he talks about thanking the Lord for thinking about him, he’s alive and doing fine. Well, that’s how I feel when I hear about all of you inquiring about me. I’m going to do my best to keep all of you updated through this ‘newsletter’ if you will. I appreciate all of you and how you keep inquiring, it is making the process a bit easier knowing I have so many of you thinking about me.

So I finished up my undergraduate requirements in the Winter quarter, and have just started into the DC program. This is not like any other environment I have been in where so many are working towards the same goal. In other situations it is very competitive and people don’t want to talk about and share information because they feel it would give someone knowledge they didn’t already have and would diminish their own value. Here, those who have gone before are trying to help those who are new, and those of us who are new are essentially bonding in the fact that we will be attending almost every  class together, all 68 of us, moving from one room to the next trying to absorb all that we can, and if we miss something then someone else will have picked it up and will help the others. This is awesome.

My living situation has changed from the first quarter and I am now on campus so I can walk to any and everything. I was having to drive 30 minutes one way to get to class, and planning how I was going to eat and study and work (yes, I got a job at the wellness center as a trainer.) Things are easier now by being on campus, and with there being more adult learners than most colleges have I don’t feel I out of place in any way.

The course load for this first quarter is a bit strange, there are some classes that we will only meet face to face once, and other we’ll meet once a week, and some we’ll get together three times a week. This is really testing my planning and organization skills. As Radley keeps telling me, I’ll already know some of this stuff, and that willl ease some of the work necessary for those classes and allow more time for those  I need to work on more. It is all coming together and I am finding my way pretty well.

I appreciate all the suppport that everyone is sending me, I can feel it everyday and in each class I go into. Please keep the good vibrations coming and I will see you all real soon.

Another Blog about New Year’s Resolutions…

Yes, here it is. Another blog about New Year’s Resolutions.  Why do we feel strongest about setting goals at the beginning of a new year?  Why when our new year’s resolutions go off the rails do we feel like we have failed and we throw in the towel?  How can we make this the year we actually make progress towards our goals?

new yearFirst of all, I believe that most people set unattainable, pie-in-the-sky goals for their new year’s resolutions.  These people are destined for failure just by the sheer nature and out-of-reach status of their goals.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for a “stretch goal”.  I live by the phrase “shoot for the moon and even if you miss you are still amongst the stars”.  However, I also know how reality will quickly derail even the best of intentions.  So my first suggestion is to set a realistic, attainable and measurable goal.  If you reach your original goal, set a new goal. There is nothing wrong with that.

Next, make sure the goal is something YOU want and you are not doing something to please others.  Losing weight in order to make a spouse or boyfriend happy is not going to fuel your fire every day to take the necessary actions to make that happen.  One of my goals is to tithe each week this year.  I am not doing this for anyone other than me and my relationship with the Lord.  I am going to set it up by automatic draft, in addition, since I travel frequently and miss services many Sundays.

Finally, if you find yourself sliding off the rails, don’t fret.  Pick yourself off, dust yourself off and start tomorrow fresh.  Everyone fails.  Even the most successful people on the earth have experienced failure.  The difference between success and failure is the ability to pick yourself up and start again.  You must learn from your mistakes and plow forward.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and you will not reach your goals in day.

Another favorite quote of mine is “Behold the turtle who makes progress only when he sticks his neck out”.  Sometimes you will be the turtle. Stick your neck out and keep moving.

The joys of a “tween”-ager!

I have no idea when it happened.  However, sometime within the past year my beloved daughter became a snarky, moody tween.  The saddest thing for me is, sometimes she is the wonderful little girl I have known for 11 years and sometimes she is this awful, whiny mess. I never know what is going to come out of her room each morning.

tweenI find myself getting so frustrated with her moods that sometimes I welcome the babysitter that comes in the form of the iPad.  I know. It’s not good parenting, but it is important to my sanity.  I remember the days when people who had older kids told me to enjoy her while she was young. They warned me about the tween and teen age years where girls become moody and borderline evil.  Of course, I did not listen.  What could cause my wonderful, behaved daughter to become this person?

Somewhere along the way, my daughter became a picky eater. When she was young, she ate everything we gave her.  She loved raw vegetables without any dressing on them. Now, she complains that the cheese on her eggs in the morning is the wrong color. It does not do any good for me to explain to her that the same cheese is found on her beloved pizza.  Also, she refuses to eat the “ends” of the loaf of bread.  Where did this come from?

This is just the beginning, from what I understand.  I love my little girl and take joy in being her mother…most days.  From my perspective, I can (kind of) understand. I would hate to be a dad in this situation. To all the other parents of tweens, just keep in mind…”this too shall pass”. After all, Life’s a Rad-venture!

Slosh Pipe Exercises

Slosh pipe workouts are great for gaining strength, toning muscles, and developing functional balance and body control. We have a slosh pipe at the club and you can find out how to make your own here.  It is an inexpensive way to get some great work done at your home.
slosh pipe
If you’ve never done any exercises using this unique piece of equipment, you’re missing out. Even the simplest exercise becomes more dynamic and challenging when you doing it with a slosh pipe.

When you do squats with one, you are not only adding the challenge of the weight of the water filled pipe to your workout, but you also create a situation where your body must balance and adjust to accommodate the imbalances created by the sloshing of the water. Even a basic bicep curl becomes more difficult because your muscles are engaged in a more comprehensive way than with a regular dumbbell.

The Best Slosh Tube Exercises

Alternating lunges – Turn up the calorie burn, the toning benefit and the difficulty of a traditional lunge by hefting a 6-10′ water filled tube across your shoulders. You can also get creative and turn any of the lunge variations into a slosh tube exercises; clock lunges, and crossover lunges are good options to mix things up.

Squats – Distribute the weight of your slosh pipe evenly across your shoulders, dip, and repeat. Especially with the added weight and balance component required, be sure to keep your knees from going over your toes. Try the different stances of sumo squats and ski squats to keep your muscles guessing and your workouts varied.

Walk or jog lines with it across your shoulders – Even the act of walking or jogging turns into a decent workout when you use the right length and weight of a tube. The longer and/or heavier the pipe, the more difficult it will be, as long as it is not filled any more than ½ to ¾ full. Make an obstacle course layout in the form of things that you have to quickly maneuver around (chairs, for example) in order to make the workout really engage your core muscles.

Bicep curls – Executed just like a regular bicep curl, you can either do the curls simultaneously (if it is long enough), or singularly (if you’re working with a short slosh pipe).

Tricep overhead extensions with a slosh pipe – Heft the it up and over your head and keep your elbows out next to your ears. Keeping your elbows static, bend at the joint to lower the tube down so that it is near the back of your neck.

Chest press – Using a physioball or a bench for a back stabilizer, do chest presses. Doing this exercise will leave you sore, even if you’re an avid exerciser.

Toe touch crunches – Hold it in your hands above your body and crunch upwards towards your toes while trying to balance the unsteady tube. Also try Russian Twists (if your pipe is short enough) as a slosh tube exercise for the core.

Pullovers – Lie on your back and hold it in your hands out over your body. The movement will have you move the tube from over your chest to the ground out above your head, and back.

Overhead press – Start with your hands at shoulder height, 2-4 inches outside of shoulders, slosh tube weight evenly distributed to each side of the body. Press straight up, then lower and repeat.

There are many more slosh pipe exercises that you can do, mainly depending on your own strength, and the weight and length of your pipes.

Having a spotter handy is not a bad idea for any of these exercises, especially the first time that you try to do them. For the same reason that slosh pipe workouts are so great for using to get into shape (trying to balance unstable, rushing water in a tube), they can also end up being a little hazardous to use in the house or anywhere where you don’t want to put a hole in the wall.

The Scoli Journey Continues

Last night I found myself feeling angry and frustrated because of the scoliosis journey my child is on.  We have approximately two hours of physical therapy that we do each day to avoid spinal regression.  Last night we made a decision that she needs to give up an after school activity so she can get her exercises done.  I was angry because I think it is unfair that she cannot simply be a kid.

After I wallowed in self pity for a bit, I realized that:
1.  Her condition is not terminal
2.  She is learning about discipline and hard work
3.  We are avoiding surgery which, according to the research, is just a short term, expensive treatment
4.  God is using this episode of our lives to teach us something and bring us closer to Him
5.  She rolls with the punches and is such an easy going child
6.  I would do anything for my child to help her have the best future possible

peyton exerciseToday, although still frustrated, I am in a better mood about everything.  I have turned this over to God.  I have asked him to provide us with the tools to help others learn about their options for Scoliosis.  I have asked him to give us strength and discipline to continue doing the exercises each day.

I am so thankful for my family.  The fact that my husband has the ability to be at school to pick my daughter up, is such a gift.  He can then take her home, have her homework and exercises done by the time I get home.  We are so blessed that we have so much time we can spend together.  There are so many blessings in our lives.  Often when life smacks us in the face, we forget about our blessings.

Take a moment today to:
1.  Count your blessings
2.  Praise God for all the gifts in your life
3.  Call your mother/father
4.  Hug your loved ones

Remember, God never promised an easy life.  We were never promised that life would be fair.  It is up to us to make each day the best day possible; to put our best effort into everything we do everyday.  That is what happiness is all about.


Scoliosis: My daughter’s journey – the beginning

Scoliosis is God’s way of giving us natural swagger.

peyton youngThis is the beginning of my story about how I learned more about scoliosis than any mother wants to know.

My daughter, Peyton, was diagnosed with scoliosis the summer before her kindergarten year.  The medical profession does not know what causes scoliosis and there is no known cure for the problem.  Therefore, although it is not a life threatening disease, I was devastated that my beautiful young daughter would have to undergo treatment at such a young age, with no guaranteed cure.

She was diagnosed at a young age for scoliosis.  Most people are diagnosed during the health screening in middle school.  Which, now that I know what I know about scoliosis and the progression of the disease, I question why we wait so long to do the screening.  Why is this screening not done in the young elementary years?

The question I get asked a lot is how did we catch it so early?  My husband and I have a knack for noticing the posture of others and the way they carry themselves.  This is not limited to outsiders; we also notice it in our family.  Sad, right?

One day that summer when she was in a swim suit, I noticed my daughter’s hips and shoulders looked uneven.  We decided to take her to the chiropractor that we were seeing for x-rays.  The DC confirmed our observation.  We continued to have her adjusted by the chiropractor but decided to also get an opinion about treatment from a local orthopedic doctor who is known for treating scoliosis patients.

By the beginning of the school year, my daughter was wearing a Boston Brace 16 hours a day.  As a mother I will let you know she was 100% compliant with her wearing of the brace. Thankfully, being a young child she was eager to wear it to school and show her classmates.

When she grew out of the Boston brace, the doctor recommended we convert to a Providence Brace, which is a night time only brace.  His recommendation was based on the studies that show that one is not superior over the other; primarily due to compliance.

During the years she wore the brace(s), she was 100% compliant.  We got a new brace every time she grew too big for the current brace.  Unfortunately, at her checkups with the orthopedic doctor, her curves were not getting better but were actually getting worse.

Can you imagine the frustration that comes from knowing you have done everything the doctor asks of you and finding out it is not working?  The sad truth is, this is common with scoliosis.

Rarely does a brace permanently correct scoliosis, instead the goal of bracing is to allow the child to grow before a surgical procedure is done.” according to the Scoliosis Research Society website.  What an injustice it is that the medical profession is basing their treatment on the idea that surgery is inevitable.  That is unacceptable to me and my family. In the end, she did “Brace” therapy for four and half years until we decided to research our options.

My next post will outline our therapy that we found, but is considered alternative and not covered by insurance.  [That is another topic entirely. I am so tired of insurance companies paying for items like the brace or surgery, but not an alternative therapy like vibration therapy, traction and chiropractic care.  These therapies WORK.  I will share her x-rays in my next post as evidence.]

December Q & A

question markDecember Question and Answer
Expert answers to your health and wellness questions

Question:  What’s the difference between someone eating vegan vs. eating vegetarian?

Answer:  Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat (including game, slaughter by-products, fish, shellfish, and poultry) and within this practice of eating there are four categories.  Vegans only eat plant-based food, eliminate not just meat, but also dairy (and all by-products), eggs, and honey.  The most significant difference when someone says they are vegan vs. vegetarian is the philosophy behind the vegan way of life, whose adherents seek to also exclude the use of animals for clothing, or any other purpose.  Lacto-vegetarians eat plant-based foods and milk products.  Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat plant based foods, diary, and eggs.  Flexitarians eat plant-based food and occasionally or limited their frequency of eating meat.

Question:  I keep hearing that CrossFit workouts are unsafe.  What should I be aware of if I decide to try CrossFit?

Answer: The possibility of injury is an increased risk with participation in any type of exercise, especially a high-intensity fitness regimen like CrossFit.  A CrossFit workout combines strength training, explosive plyometrics, speed training, Olympic and power-style weight lifting, kettlebell work, body weight exercises, and endurance exercises. Training the CrossFit way requires you to workout 3-5 times per week at a very intense pace.  Most workouts are performed in a circuit style, moving from one exercise to another with little to no rest.  It’s best to have a sufficient strength base before starting CrossFit.  If you are new to Olympic weight lifting and plyometric exercises, don’t worry as each CrossFit affiliate has a one-month initiation course, which newcomers must complete to learn proper training technique for all of the major exercises performed in the CrossFit program (or, they SHOULD and you should participate for best results).  Ask about credentials and references for any affiliate coaches and personal trainers who will be responsible for teaching you the essential CrossFit exercises.  You’ll want a coach that is trained in sports and conditioning and has a degree in exercise science or related field of study. Not all coaches are equal. Check references, see if there have been excessive injuries. A coach that pushes to a limit that consistently see injuries is not a coach you want.

Another idea is to seek out training gyms that have Small Group and Large Team Training. These training facilities, often found in Anytime Fitness locations also, have fun and functional groups led by Personal Trainers, not just coaches. They are safe, tailored and personalized. Check out this video to see more.

The Thigh Gap Controversy

Lately if you have been watching pop culture news, you have seen some of the controversy regarding thigh gap. There is a lot of conflicting information; some that shows thigh gap is impossible for some of us to attain. While I agree that thigh gap is just another body image area that young women are focusing on instead of the big picture, I hesitate to give anyone yet another excuse about why they cannot be thin and healthy.  Don’t tell me I am genetically predisposed to have big thighs, stomach, etc.

I don’t need more excuses about why I cannot be successful. I need the tools and accurate information about what it takes to create success in my life!! I need a reason why I can and should be healthy. If the reason I find is cosmetic or vanity related, I am much less likely to find a healthy way to attain proper health and dress size.  However, if I am faced with a personal reason, i.e. to be a healthy example to those around me, to honor God by treating my body as a temple, to be able to run a marathon, or simply just to be the best me I can be, these reasons are lasting and true.

Once you have found a reason why you need to be the healthiest you, now you need to arm yourself with accurate information. This is where things get difficult. If you use the Internet for your research, there is a lot of information although not all of it is accurate or trustworthy. There are a lot of people trying to sell things that,fitspiration although they work for some, are really more scams to take your money than anything else.  The best source I have found is heavily researched and backed by thousands of people who have put the practices in place and found significant success. This information can be found here.  It does come with a price, but in my opinion it is well worth it!

You are NOT going to find the comprehensive information you need in a $3 magazine that has the ultimate goal of headlines that sell more magazines.  Although there are some good nuggets of information in here, it would take a LOT of research and time to accumulate all the information and tools that can be found in this publication.

Let me warn you, if you are not ready to make a COMMITMENT that is backed up with DESIRE, DEDICATION and DRIVE, don’t waste your money. Making a change like this where you focus on losing fat NOT weight, takes time, effort and sacrifice. You can continue making excuses by saying “I don’t want to give up everything I love in order to be healthy”, however keep in mind that EVERYTHING YOU LOVE IS KILLING YOU.  This includes, but is not limited to, soda, junk food, processed food, high fructose corn syrup, and alcohol.

So don’t tell me I can’t reach a certain goal.  Don’t tell me this is unrealistic. My goals should be high but attainable. The goal of thigh gap is attainable, however my goal is healthy and fit. My goal is to reach a certain body fat percentage, not a certain weight. My goal is to show others that it is possible, although it does take sacrifice and determination.

You can be thin and healthy. Do you have the work ethic and success mindset that it takes to get there? That is what most people lack.  It is evident in our culture and our economy that laziness is the core value among people today.  If you can overcome the excuses and laziness in your life, you can have everything you ever dreamed of.  Working to become the healthiest person you have ever been will transform you to levels of success you only dreamed of.  Don’t EVER sell yourself short. Give it your all and you will be amazed at where it will take you.

Good luck and good health!

Shut the Back Door!

As you know, I am in the business of helping others change their lives with health and fitness. However, so many times people make excuses why they fail.  Sometimes, they even expect to fail and so often, expectations become reality.  That is why I am telling you today to SHUT THE BACK DOOR.back door

What do I mean by this? Let me use a real example from my life. Over a year ago, I quit drinking. That’s right…I went alcohol free. I decided though, I did not want to be anal about it and would allow myself a sip of my husband’s beer or a drink on a special occasion (i.e. champagne at New Year’s etc). That was my back door.  I was allowing myself an excuse to drink or a way out of my non-drinker lifestyle choice.

I said it was for one reason; not wanting to be seen as “one of those people”. But truly, it was because I did not want to commit myself to a lifetime of being a non-drinker.  By not shutting this back door, I eventually got right back to where I was prior to making the decision to go alcohol free. It took over a year, but I still got there.

The great thing is that I realized I left the door opened and I slammed it shut before I did too much damage to myself.

Shut the Back Door! Don’t allow yourself any excuses. Don’t get a month-to-month gym membership; commit for whatever length your state will allow.  You are committing to YOUR HEALTH, YOUR FUTURE, YOUR FAMILY.  Don’t start a diet. Make a lifetime dedication to healthy eating. Don’t quit drinking soda for Lent. Use Lent as your start, but commit for a lifetime!

It sounds daunting, I know. However, when you are mentally and emotionally ready you will SHUT THE BACK DOOR. In fact, you will SLAM the back door in your weaker self’s face!!

Meal Planning vs. Meal Journaling

peppersincrockpotOn several occasions, I have suggested how important it is to keep a food journal. However, it is even more important to actually pre-plan your meal.  This is called Meal Planning and will do more to help you with your nutrition than a lot of other suggestions you may hear.

Meal planning does not have to be difficult.  For years, bodybuilders and other fitness enthusiasts simply used Excel or a notebook.  Create a blank meal plan template in Excel that has spaces for food, quantity eaten, and macronutrients (i.e. protein, carbs, fat and calories). Make sure it also has enough room for the number of meals, ideally 5 or 6, that you want to eat each day.

After you have the basic template ready, start plugging in your factors. This is the multiplier for the energy (caloric) content of the macronutrient.  

  • Protein has 4 calories per gram
  • Carbs have 4 calories per gram
  • Fat has 9 calories per gram

Use the spreadsheet’s capabilities to add up meal totals and daily totals. Get it to also give you the ratio of macronutrients for the entire day (i.e. 45% carbs, 25% fat, 30% protein).

So now you are questioning, why bother?

Well, it’s a proven fact that people who guess at their calorie intake are not only almost always wrong – they miss by a country mile! One study showed that even registered dieticians couldn’t estimate their calorie intake with even 85% accuracy when they only guessed and didn’t have a tool or method to track their numbers.

The odds are overwhelmingly against you getting your nutrition right if you don’t have a plan, by the numbers, in writing – on paper (or online, digitally).  Success is not just about having goals. Success is about having a goal and having a PLAN to achieve it… and then beginning at once to take action on your plan.

If your goal is improving fitness or body composition – half of the plan is the workout – the other part is the MEAL PLAN.  Millions of people stumble into each day with no plan for what they’re going to eat… THEY “WING IT!”  The fact is, people without a plan usually eat whatever is convenient, available and accessible.

Don’t go through life without a plan.  Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail.