Power Station Review

As I’ve mentioned I’ve had the opportunity to visit multiple gyms all over Ohio. I have a growing circle of “Iron Pals” and visit them periodically. I’m not sure why the idea of writing reviews has never occurred to me before, but once the idea sparked in my mind I knew which facility I wanted to start with.

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I have ventured to Power Station multiple times now. This gym is very much an old school facility with a twist. Not only are they geared towards power lifters or bodybuilders, but they’re equipped to handle Olympic lifters and even Crossfitters.

Their motto is “Think Big” and they have definitely provided an atmosphere in which to grow big. Power Station had machines I’ve never seen before and machines I absolutely covet. They have a deadlifting platform, 2 mono-lifts, multiple squat and shoulder racks, benches out the wazoo, a handful of smith-machines, tons of dumbbells… pretty much anything you could possibly need, this place has. There is even a strip of putt-putt grass (not sure what it’s called) where you can do sled pushes/ pulls or even sprints with parachutes. There are boxes for jumping on and boxes for squatting on. There are medicine balls for throwing and slamming. There are bands and chains. Again… just about anything you can think of, this facility provides.

Power Station recently moved its location to join spaces with Xtreme Fitness & Performance Center LLC. A few friends of mine who’d given me feedback on the old Power Station were unsure of the new facilities. Now, I obviously never went to the old Power Station, but I was very impressed with the new combined gym. When you come in the entrance you walk into Xtreme Fitness. You’ll have a $5 fee (for access to Power Station), which I’ve found is pretty typical of a one day pass to any gym or fitness club. Once you’ve paid you’ll turn right and go downstairs to get to the locker rooms.

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Obviously I’ve only seen the women’s locker room, but upon entering I giggled and was sure this would be a great atmosphere in which to train. Above the sinks and mirrors is a wall decal that reads, “You won’t get the butt you want by sitting on it.” If that doesn’t win you over then surely the full size lockers, sauna, and steam room will! Oh yeah, you read right…. STEAM ROOM! Hell, this place is so on top of things you don’t even need to leave the locker room to get a pump. In a smaller side room there’s a bench, yoga ball, and set of dumbbells as well as your typical scale and not so typical chest of rainbow colored dumbbells. Oh! And don’t forget the full body mirror for all your gym selfies!

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Exit the locker room: downstairs there is a smaller training room that is equipped with enough cable machines to allow a decent full body workout. I’m assuming this room is for individuals who may be intimidated by the Power Station area (maybe women who don’t want men staring) or maybe it’s for physical therapy clients or just clients and personal trainers. In the corner of this room is an area set up for spin classes.
Also on the lower level are a few racquetball courts, the men’s locker room, and the entrance to their SPER Trained area (I’ll get to that later).

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Head back upstairs and just beside the stairwell you’ll see a door. Go through that door and you’ll enter a cardio machine area with treadmills, ellipticals, and step-mills all provided with TVs. Keep walking by and you’ll come to the doors of Power Station. Upon those doors are Mike’s rules (Mike is the owner). His rules are simple: be courteous and clean up after yourself.

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Besides the wondrous array of training equipment I’ve already mentioned there is the atmosphere of a real gym. A hole in the wall; purely made up of concrete, rubber, and metal; a chalk and sweat drenched gym. There is quite the collection of Marine Corps inspiration as the owner is a former Marine. His dress blues are on display as well as multiple USMC advertisement posters. If that isn’t moto enough to get you slinging some weight head over to the wall of Pros looking down upon a scale. Go ahead, I dare you! Weigh yourself in front of a wall of professional body builders, power lifters, and UFC champs and then have a slack-ass workout. Just not possible.

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The combined facilities offer the following: child care, fitness classes, SPER training, cross fit, speed training, sport specific strength training, personal training, weight loss training, free WI-FI, and tanning packages. Their fitness classes include: body sculpting, yoga, cardio circuit, bootcamp, spinning, pilates, abs, zumba, zumbini, cross training, fight fit, and a newly added Silver Sneakers.

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On top of all that they have a smoothie bar and sell some of the most delicious and moist protein brownies I have ever tasted! Oh wait… there’s more! NO CONTRACT and NO ENROLLMENT FEE!

In 100% honesty if I didn’t live 25-30 minutes away I would have already ditched my membership to LA Fitness and joined this amazing palace of pain (couldn’t help myself). If you want more information check out their website:

http://www.powerstationgym.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=78&Itemid=435

If you want to read up on what SPER training is hit this link:

http://ww1.spertrained.com/

I hope this was a help for anyone in the Middletown/ Franklin, Ohio area looking for a great place to train, lose weight, or meet a fitness goal.

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I had an idea…

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I’m not sure why this has never occurred to me before, but I’ve decided to start writing gym reviews. I figure WTH not? I have lifting buddies all over the heartland and have ventured to many iron temples to train. Often I have no clue what kind of atmosphere I’m walking into. I figure why not put my adventures to good use?

A gym, to myself and my like-minded pals, is a place of serenity. It’s a place to work out frustrations. They’re our home away from home, so we like to make sure we’re not wasting our time and I’m sure there are many people like us.

My plan is to keep my reviews as neutral as possible… mainly just relay information so people can make their own educated decisions about whether or not a certain gym is, in fact, the right fit for them.

So keep your eyes peeled for a new tab and post! And please laugh along with me at my little banners. They really are only good natured (I currently hold a membership to LA Fitness).

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Knowledge is power, but without a will, there is NO way

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Let me first state: I am no expert.

I have no degrees, at present, in fitness or nutrition. I do not currently possess any certification in either area. And yet people ask me questions about both fitness and nutrition; they ask my advice on what they should do and they ask what I do for myself. Why, because they’ve seen me go from fat to muscle. They’ve seen my transformation and they want that for themselves. They know that I’m a gymrat, that I’m lifting weights and eating “healthier,” so they figure if they do what I do, they’ll get the same results.

Now as a perpetual student I believe there are no stupid questions (as long as they are genuine), so on one hand I can appreciate an individual wanting to further their knowledge. I love seeing the spark of curiosity in the eyes of people around me. It’s contagious. When someone around you is genuinely interested in or excited about something and they share that with you, it’s hard not to become excited or curious yourself. So again, I appreciate that knowledge is power and I believe there is always room for improvement/ further education. The day that you stop evolving or learning is the day you are dead.

Bear with me, I promise this is going somewhere.

I once saw a meme “definition” of the word: Askhole. I’m sure through your cyber adventures you’ve come across the same meme. For those of you who haven’t seen, or perhaps have forgotten, this meme let me tell you what an askhole is.

Askhole (noun): A person who constantly asks your advice, yet always does the opposite of what you’ve told them.

Now again, let me reiterate that I am not bashing on people who are asking genuine questions. Honestly I’m not bashing on people at all… I’m merely expressing my frustrations. Since this is my blog spot, I guess there’s no reason for me to apologize or feel as if I have to clear any misconceptions, and yet I feel the need.

Anywho…

On hand number two I honestly get tired of repeating myself to same freaking people. Or even the same type of person. You shouldn’t ask questions if you aren’t going to:

1. Consider the information being bestowed upon you. No, the person giving the information may not be an “expert,” but more than likely (in the world of fitness) they’re putting that knowledge to daily use. If it looks like it’s working for them, made YOU take notice and got YOU asking about what they’re doing, think twice before questioning the advice they just gave you. Chances are, said person has done a lot of reading and their sources are legit (the meatheads in my circle are smart).

2. Listen… don’t zone out. Don’t sit there as this person is giving you the advice you asked for and immediately start knocking it all. That person doesn’t need to know that your schedule is hectic, that you have children to take care of, a work schedule that changes constantly… they aren’t there to figure it all out for you. They’re telling you what has worked for them. It’s YOUR JOB to try and meld it into your life.

3. Take it seriously. If you aren’t ready to make a lifestyle change just don’t even bother asking. That’s exactly what all this is, a life style change. You’re changing the way you look at food, how much of it you eat, how much water you drink, the fluids you’re putting into your body. You’re changing your activity level, the amount of sleep you get… you are changing your life. If you think you just want to “tone up” don’t ask a fit person what they do or eat… just stop drinking soda or sweet tea or stop eating out or whatever “vice” it is that you have and walk a little more vigorously and you’ll “tone up.”

4. Get your head screwed on straight. Not only is this a life style change, it IS the concept of “mind over matter.” NO, you really don’t need that junk food. NO, you’re really not too tired. Excuses are like assholes… everyone has at least one and they all stink. Once you get that through your head and you’re willing to throw all the excuses out the window, go ahead and ask away.

I could keep going… honestly if I do I’m just going to sound like a hag, and that’s not what I want. I want clarity, understanding.

People who “tone up” or “just want to get in shape” will never stick with it. People who jump onto the latest fad “diet” craze will lose weight, sure, but they’re not making actual lasting changes, so more than likely the weight will come back. Maybe not all of it, but they’ll gain some back because, again, THEY DID NOT MAKE A LIFE STYLE CHANGE.

There is no shortcut. Even if there was a shortcut why the hell would you want to take it?! If you took the short and easy way you wouldn’t have all the struggle and sweat to make you really appreciate how far you’ve come and what you’ve gained. If it was easy then you’d just eat whatever, be lazy, get fat and hop right on the short cut again because, OH MY GOD! BIKINI SEASON?!?!?!

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What I’m trying to express, and failing miserably to do so, is my frustration at the people who ask me what I did to change my life not realizing how big a deal it actually was. What a struggle it was. What an amazing journey it was. They don’t realize that I’m not done… I’m still learning. I’m growing in strength and knowledge every day that I train. They just don’t get it (sorry to sound so cliché). It really is a mindset… and 95% of the time the people who ask me questions don’t have the right mindset to follow through. 95% of the people who ask me questions will ask me the same exact questions a month later… utter frustration.

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Why is it frustrating? Why do I let it bother me so? Because 100% of the people that ask me these questions are people that I care about. They are people I want to see succeed and when they just half-heartedly “give it a try” I want to shake them. There is no half-heartedly in fitness… half-heartedly will get NOWHERE or worse, squished while benching! There should be no half-heartedly in life! Give it your fucking all and see where the fuck you go (pardon my French). If you don’t at least try you will never know what you’re capable of.

The #1 thing that I have learned on my fit journey is that you are your only obstacle. If you give it your all you will surprise yourself.

It took me two years to figure out that #1 lesson… two freaking years and now I kick myself in the buns every day because if I had stopped doubting myself, if I had gone balls to the wall from the beginning, if I’d started off doing it for the right reasons I would be SO much stronger and have a WAY better body fat and muscle ratio.
So from the bottom of my heart, from the depths of my soul, please stop being an askhole. You can be curious and ask genuine questions to mull over. Ask questions like, “how do you keep motivated,” “what drives you,” “why do you do this,” “was it hard to get started?” Ask things that will help get you in the right mindset.

Once you have your mind 100% made up, then sure, fire away. Ask all the fitness and nutrition advice you want. Because when you have your mind made up, when you let go of all the excuses, when you take the advice and make it your own you will be on your way. Once you get to the point of seeing actual changes it will become an “addiction.” It will become a part of your life. It will have become a life style change. Then you’ll be in my boat with a bunch of askholes that you care deeply about driving you nuts.

Stop holding back and get out of your way

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Too much time has passed since I’ve drafted or posted a blog. When I started this venture I had made the goal to post at least once a week. Well, since some of my earlier blogs have determined that failure IS an option I guess there’s no real need to apologize, and yet I still have this nagging need to say the words:                          I               am          sorry

Much better! No excuses really, just life getting the better of me. A lot has happened since my last blog: adventures in Columbus with my IronGalPals at the Arnold Classic, new PR’s in the gym (personal records), spring has sprung even as winter tries desperately to hold Ohio in its cold grasp, and much, much more.

What got me back on track? Well, inspiration my dears. Words that spoke to my heart and awoke something deep inside of me. Words that rang true and reverberated through my aching soul. Words that I wanted,no, needed to share with you.

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

~Alan Watts (Oxygen Magazine: Vol. 16, Issue 13, Page 110)

 

This faith I’m supposed to have in myself is something that I’ve been struggling with for a few years now. Odd, really, because I used to have complete faith in myself, or perhaps I was just young and full of reckless abandon. I’m not really sure which, but either way things seemed to go smoother in the past. I have been making strides to better myself and life in general. I’ve been pushing the effort I’ve put into physical gains into other aspects of my world as well: creativity, occasional, spiritual, etc…

Now why did this quote in my recent issue of Oxygen Magazine resonate with me so deeply? Probably because of the water references. Water seems to play a big part in my life… a big relaxing part. My family has a lake house that we’ve been going to since birth. My dad, uncle, and aunts grew up spending their summers there and now my cousins, siblings, and I spend our summers there. This house, from early on, was a safe haven for me… even from my own family. The sounds of the lake and wind chimes are so peaceful.

Even just sitting in the shower is a fail-safe for me when I’m sick on my stomach, need to clear my head, need to de-stress, or feel like I’m about to im/explode. Hot or cool, water running over my body just calms something inside me. There’s something oddly reassuring about throwing all caution to the wind and jumping head first into a body of water, relaxing, and just letting the water take your weight and support you. You can just float along, carefree. Even just running through sprinklers! Hell I’ve done it in the past… 2 or 3AM driving by some city sprinklers, pulled over and just run through them grinning from ear to ear.

I don’t know why I’ve taken on such a worrisome persona. Life is so much more fun and fulfilling when you give it your all, embrace it completely, and when things start to crumble just throw your arms wide open and let the pieces land where they may. Such amazingly strong and beautiful creatures have risen from ashes: the Phoenix and the Pegasus for example. Symbols of strength, rebirth, growth, wisdom, etc.

Worry and lack of faith in myself have stood in my way for way too long. The whole first year I worked with my trainer I shied away from squats and dead lifts because they were #1 intimidating and #2 I wasn’t 100% sure on form. Well I’ve been squatting and dead lifting for about a year now and these two moves have shaped my lower body so quickly and drastically that I’m really KICKING myself for not doing them sooner! If I had done them from the start I’d have at least two years under my belt and WAY more change would be visible in my body.

And this brings me to the aforementioned PR. During the week of the Arnold Classic I was lifting with friends who have believed in me from the very beginning. They’ve had more faith in me than I have. With their tutoring and encouragement I managed to get 200lbs for one rep on deadlift. When I woke up the next morning it really hit me, “I lifted 200lbs off the floor, 200lbs of dead weight. AND I’M NOT EVEN SORE?!?!?!” Which was immediately followed by my wishing I’d tried for 205 or at least 200 for multiple reps.

Two weeks ago I lifted 175lbs and 185lbs for reps all the while a galpal of mine took video. I watched the videos for days. I checked my form over and over. I sent the video to friends and had them check my form. It looked good. I made a goal and last week on my deadlifting day I lifted 200lbs for 3 reps on my 12th set. I’m super excited. I know that I am my own worst enemy… I am the only obstacle in my way. I am fully aware that I’ve been selling myself short; I am stronger than I think I am and it’s time for me to get out of my own way.

 

So please remember, my bloggy friends, to not get in your own way. Keep faith in yourself and your own strength. Relax a little, breath, and then unleash your fucking beast because anything that comes at you is nothing compared to what’s inside of you.

What a shame…

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I recently read an article in Oxygen magazine that left me feeling I should create rules for my blog. Or maybe a better word would be guidelines to protect myself and anyone who posts comments here from rudeness of any kind. So I’ll be working on that next. I’m thinking I’ll create another “tab” and call it What You Can Expect. (We’ll see.)

Anywho…

This article also left me wondering what has happened to the morals of our society. People have become so mean! Mainstream media have their ideas of what a beautiful woman should look like. They attack celebrities for being, even an ounce, overweight. Then there’s the flip side; as soon as a celeb looks a little too skeletal they tear them down.

Now that we have social networks bullying is so much easier; there is no safe place, no reprieve from attacks and slanderous remarks. They follow you into your home, hell you can see someone attacking you from your smart phone attached to your side!

The article I read is: “Facebook Mom” Maria Kang Shouldering the Weight of Fit-Shaming. I’ve seen fit-shaming on my social networks not even realizing it had an actual name or that it was, indeed, considered a form of bullying. I’ve even been fit-shamed myself (by friends and family to boot!). My thoughts were that the people who were saying such ignorant and judgmental things were either jealous of or just didn’t understand the person they were attacking. I still think that ignorance is a key factor in the mean things that come out of people’s mouths, but can they be 100% to blame?

So many people are insecure with the way they look, whatever the reason. Maybe your eyes are too close, your nose too big, maybe you’re over weight, maybe you don’t have a 6 pack, maybe you’re too skinny, or maybe you have thunder thighs and a cottage cheese butt. Whatever it is, however big or small, there is an insecurity somewhere lurking inside you.

We’re all guilty of looking at the woman who, we think, has an amazing body…. We stare her down, scrutinizing, until we find ONE flaw, a dimple here, some cellulite there, a little pooch of skin hanging over her jeans or spandex. We think, “AhA! She’s not perfect!” and instantly we feel relief, maybe we even give her the stink eye because we KNOW she’s not as perfect as she thinks she is (as if we can read her mind). We’re all guilty of it. Of being insecure in our own skin and wanting, needing to know that the people around us are NOT perfect either.

(Men experience this as well. Some are comparing physical attributes, but most are looking to see who’s lifting heavier weight, doing more reps, or has better form… trust me, I’m guilty as hell of this as well. No one is safe, I even look at men and think to myself, “I curl more than that,” and smile. But I don’t know their story. I don’t know if they’ve just started lifting, if they’ve suffered an injury, what their goals are, etc… Again, I’m human. I’m flawed.)

I think what we’re missing is that the majority of “fit” people know they are NOT perfect. The majority of America has a skewed idea of why people lift, why they exercise. We think it’s for the bombshell body because we’re taught by mainstream media to covet the bombshell body. Who doesn’t want Beyonce’s ass, Madonna’s abs, or Scarlett’s bust? Who hasn’t looked at Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, or one of the Victoria’s Secret Angels and thought, “UGH! Wish I had (fill in the blank).” Our days are awash with images of these women who are all beautiful and celebrated for their beauty. So in the average American’s mind when we see a woman making progress in the gym we assume she’s trying to look like one of these beauties. We think she’s trying for perfection, but that’s not always the case.

I can’t speak for all “fit” women out there, but I have many reasons for why I exercise. I started out because I was overweight, yes, but as I did my research I read about all these benefits for your health (who’d have thunk it?!). I thought about my grandma and my aunt who have both had back surgery and are pain killer addicts. I thought about my own father, who’s had so many surgeries on his back the last place WILLING touch him (and try to make his life better) was the renowned Cleveland Clinic. Now he’s got discs FUSED together, metal rods in his neck, and he’s in constant pain. I thought about diabetes running on BOTH sides of my family. I thought of my paternal grandpa having multiple heart attacks and open heart surgery. I thought about my maternal grandpa having his arteries SCRAPED of plaque to lessen his risk of stroke.  I thought about myself in high school having seizures because I was hypoglycemic and my blood sugar dropped too quickly.

So I lift to make my muscles stronger around my bones, because bone degeneration runs in my family and women suffer more from osteoporosis than men. Lifting weights actually builds bone density (maybe women statistically suffer more from osteoporosis because we’re less inclined to lift than men).  I eat 6-8 healthy meals a day (most the time, I am human) because I have blood glucose issues and I do not want to get diabetes later in life. I’m trying to take charge, I’m trying to ensure that I don’t spend the  later part of my years addicted to pain killers, limiting my mobility because I’m in constant pain, OR better yet never going to the beach because I have a gnarly scar from open heart surgery. I love my family with all my heart, but I don’t want to end up like any of my elders… I want to be healthy. I love being active, being able to do things and go places. Exercise and healthier eating habits are my best option to avoid all of those conditions.

Don’t get me wrong… a rockin’ bod is definitely on my list of goals, but it goes hand in hand with all the other benefits for working my ass off 5-6 days a week. And I’m not trying for perfection. I only want to improve, to see what I’m capable of. And even though I struggle with it sometimes, I try to remember that I am only in competition with my yester-self.

Shaming of any kind is a horrible thing.

Fit-shaming someone because you lack the motivation they have is just a waste of your energy. Focus that energy on yourself, on looking at why you are so angry… are you really angry at the fit woman/ man who you’ve never met or even talked to? Or are you angrier at yourself for not having the motivation and dedication to make yourself and your health a priority?

I LOVE seeing moms at the gym; I think, “Good for you!” More women should make themselves a priority. I grew up with a mother who always put her family before her own needs. And while, yes, it’s commendable to be so selfless it still took something away from me and my siblings. As I’ve grown older and less ego-centric I’ve come to wish my mom would do more for herself. I love her and I want her to be secure in her body, to have her health, and to feel like she has value, because to me, she has TONS of value. Women and men should be healthy so that they can be there longer for their children, so they can fully enjoy their grandchildren, maybe even their great-grandchildren.

If you don’t make yourself a priority no one else will.

One of my favorite tees says:

 “Your greatest obstacle in life stares back at you every time you look in the mirror.”

I’ll leave you with that little quote. Think about what your obstacle to health may be (notice I say HEALTH and not fitness, muscles, skinniness, etc… health is different to everyone).

Let’s sink or swim

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It hit me the other day that I haven’t really told much about myself. I know there’s an “About Me” section, a profile, but why not a blog post about MABfit? I have a bad habit of diving right in without checking to see if the water’s deep enough. So let’s get deep… don’t worry, you won’t be needing scuba gear. We won’t be getting THAT deep.

Who am I?

My name is Mikel. I would say about 90% of my life my name has been mispronounced and majority of people expect me to be a man when they see my name written. Hell, even the college I attended sent me an invitation to try out for the men’s chorale my freshman year. So how do you pronounce my name?

Mih (soft ‘i’)       kelle (hard ‘k’ followed by: elle)

I actually love my name. I love that when someone says my name I’m 99.9% sure they’re speaking to me. I’ve never actually met another Mikel (not even one pronounced Michael), but there is a Facebook page for us. Guess we’re kind of a big deal (I jest).

Why MAB? Well they’re my initials. My two little sisters and I share our initials with our grandma. We’re all MABs. There’s also the fae queen Mab (also Celtic Maeve) and I rather enjoy our similarities and some of her symbolism.

Why MABfit? Well, because I love fitness. Also, because I tried MABit (like “nab it” which is my Pinterest name), but it was taken. This is probably just as well though because I really do love fitness.

A little about me:

I’m an art major turned Art Education major licensed to teach art in the heartland to grades PreK-12. I’ve played hell getting a job in the world of education (maybe later I’ll share some of my experiences with our education system). So I’m working at a daycare facility on a military base. My age group happens to be toddlers (2yrs). It’s been an interesting job. I LOVE the children, but the job is a little less than fulfilling (maybe I’ll touch on why).

I’m the oldest of four children. I’m married (3+ yrs). I’m fairly tall (5’11”) and my build is not slight, but not quite big (I weigh in somewhere around 160# and I’m not ashamed in the least). I’m ScottIrish with dashes of French and Cherokee. If you know anything about American history that combination will make sense to you. I pick up southern accents EASILY… we’ll just say 30 minutes into watching Paula Deen’s cooking show and my husband finds  himself married to a southern belle.

I prefer to be goofy and light of heart. I’m a book nerd. I love to read fantasy, but I have quite a collection of nutrition and fitness books. I’m also accumulating quite a few motivational texts. Love for books runs in my family; my grandmother (also a MAB) was head librarian.

I LOVE lifting… I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m well on my way. Fitness will probably be the majority of what I post about. I love crazy leggings, superhero tank tops, and mismatched shoes/ socks. In fact my socks pretty much NEVER match. Fitness fashion is becoming an addiction. Probably because I also LOVE fashion, so why not combine two loves if you can?

I love poetry. I’m full of struggle. I like to wear my heart on my sleeve. Sometimes I share too much and am too trusting. I’m flawed. I don’t expect everyone to like me, but I do expect respect because I try my damndest to give it.

What do I hope to accomplish with this blog?

I hope to use this blog as a tool to grow some graphic designing skills. I hope this blog will turn into a website with a store for my gym designs. I hope to share knowledge I’ve gained through research as well as trial and error. I hope to find friends with similar interests. I hope to help people along their personal journeys, to be supportive, and to be a resource. I hope to bring smiles to faces and brighten days. I hope to share my faults and in turn make you feel better about your own by realizing you are not alone.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I’m sure more will come out along the way. So I welcome you to this window into my life and hope that you’ll stick with me for the long haul.

Trial and Error

“And this, ladies and gents, is where the real fun begins…”

Once again, I could bore/ confuse you with all the details of my experiences with trainers, but I’ll give you the CliffNotes version.

 

I worked with Trainer C (the one my photographer’s wife hooked me up with) until they jumped onto the most recent fitness craze bandwagon and tried to show it down my throat. So I started working with Trainer B (who was in fact the person who trained C along with some other big wig athletes). I stayed with Trainer B for the duration of ONE fitness/ meal plan. My experience was that Trainer B had a “cookie cutter” plan that they dished out to newbies. I work hard for my money and when I spend it I want quality. So yet again, I moved on.

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I knew from the start that Trainer A was gonna give me the most bang for my buck when I started my first split. (A split is how you “split” up your weekly training routine: Monday-chest, Tuesday-back, etc.)

Now, in this blog I don’t want to get into my time under Trainer A’s instruction. I might get carried away and then you’d have a novel to read.  What I would like to touch on is trial and error as well as being in tune with yourself.

If I didn’t have a back bone I would probably still be with Trainer C and would have gotten talked into spending all my money on some fitness craze. I would have gone along with their 90 Day challenge and I’m sure I probably would have seen some results, but I wouldn’t really have learned anything. I would have relied on expensive products instead of learning which real foods to turn to for my nutritional needs.

If I wasn’t true to myself or in tune with myself I probably would have marched along to the drum of lots of other people and stuck it out with Trainer B. I would have ignored my stomach pains and how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin due to their nutrition plan. I would have forked out more and more money in hopes of receiving a custom fitness plan instead of their cookie cutter plan.

Don’t get me wrong… both C and B are good trainers in their own rights. I’m sure they would be exactly the right fit for someone else out there looking to start a new lifestyle or change their physique.  They just weren’t the right fit for me and my goals. Trainers can be excellent tools to help you reach your goals. They can be great guides, excellent sources of information, and your best motivators, so make sure that you pick them wisely. If you pick one and find that they aren’t a good fit, don’t be afraid to try again. Most people who get into the training business do so because they love helping others and want to see them reach goals, so most (I feel) would understand if the two of you aren’t a good fit.

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What it really comes down to is that you’re paying for a service; you should be 100% satisfied and feel you’re getting your money’s worth.

The Birth of a Lifestyle Change

I could go into a long detailed story full of excuses or causes that led to me being unhappy with the way my body looked, but I’ll spare you. We’ll just say that my real journey started after I graduated from an accelerated Master’s program in 2009. I found myself overweight and fluffy in areas I’d never been fluffy in before. I’m 5’11” and I’ve always weighed around 130lbs. I was one of those girls who thought I could eat whatever I wanted and never suffer the consequences. Well life caught up and I was not at all pleased with what I saw in the mirror or how I felt in my clothes.

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My husband (fiancé at the time) was an ex-Marine and avid iron pumper. He’d gotten me in the gym a few times during my undergraduate years and we’d gotten gym memberships during graduate school, but the whole exercise thing just didn’t click with me (yet). Sure I’d taken classes while in school: Weight Training for Women and Advanced Weight Training, but I felt stupid, awkward, and lost in the gym on my own. Those feelings made it hard to muster any motivation at all. During grad school when Hubs would leave for the gym I’d give some lame excuse about not feeling well or having too much work to do and I’d stay at home.

After graduating I had an impending wedding dress on my mind. I didn’t exactly want to fork out money for THE dress or professional photos of me in THE dress with back fat and muffin top all over the place. I started going to the gym more often. I picked up magazines; Women’s Health was my go to source for exercises and cardio. I started eating smaller portions of what I cooked. Slowly I got down to an acceptable size and October of 2010 I wore THE dress and felt like a million bucks.

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After the wedding I kept in touch with our photographer, even did a little business with him (I’m a pretty crafty/ artsy person and they needed some photo accessories). A little after our wedding our photographer’s wife was telling me about her personal trainer; she asked if I’d be interested in doing a training session, if I was her trainer would give her a price reduction on her next plan. I talked about it with Hubs and we both figured what the hell? And this, ladies and gents, is where the real fun begins…

Hand in Hand

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This post will be adding onto the post Be a Warrior, Not a Worrier:

I’m not sure when exactly it happened. I’m not even sure if it happened over night or if it was a gradual change. I’m not sure why it happened. I can only speculate. I know that I used to be relatively fearless. In my younger years I was carefree and spirited. I tried new things with little trepidation. I wasn’t afraid to fail, because when you’re young everyone expects you to fail, to falter, to stumble along the way. People around you are more compassionate and understanding of your shortcomings. In fact, when you fail those people who care for you reach out, help you up, and use it as an opportunity to teach you, give you different perspectives, and offer constructive criticism. Failure is how we learn, how we grow, how we become an upgraded version of ourselves.

Failure is to success what dark is to light or sour is to sweet. It’s Yin and Yang. You cannot have one without the other. Think about this for a second. If we didn’t have sorrow how would we ever even know what joy is? We wouldn’t have anything to compare joy to, so it wouldn’t be as sweet. That’s why we have sayings like, take the good with the bad.

Somewhere along the way I became more painfully aware of failure. I saw disappointment in the eyes of the people I loved and wanted to make proud. Or perhaps I projected the disappointment I felt myself onto them. I’m not really sure which. I’ve become a control freak when I was a “go with the flow” type of gal. I’ve forgotten how to ask for help and that leaves me feeling like I only have myself to rely on. When I take a step back and think about everything I’ve just written I’m not even really sure why I feel this way. I’ve got a great support system. My parents are always willing to help with big life decisions, because they know I don’t have their experience. I have amazing friends who will listen to me rant ‘til the cows come home and never once roll their eyes. I have a husband who takes care of all the finances and believes in me and the endeavors I would like to take.

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So why have I been feeling so stifled, so overwhelmed, and been so controlling over the past few years? That might be an answer I’ll never find. I’m aware of these things now and being aware of a problem is the first step to fixing it. I’m asking for help more often now, and that’s a big step… a big, difficult step. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to ask for help or favors, but it is. Even something like, “Hey babe, can you pick me up some facial wash on your way home from the gym?” feels like a burden I’m placing on the hubby’s shoulders. Baby steps. You’ve gotta walk before you can run (patience is something else I’m trying desperately to work on and I find I’m most impatient with myself).

To recap: The big self-realization I wrote about in Be a Warrior, Not a Worrier goes Hand in Hand with this post on failure being an option. Realizing that I have not been putting forth my maximum effort towards succeeding and reaching goals felt like a massive failure, but now we know it’s OK to fail. It’s OK to stumble. It’s OK to be unsure and to ask for help. I don’t have to know all the answers (I mean, that’s what Google’s for, right?). If anyone really does feel disappointed by my failures then they aren’t the type of support I’d want to have in my life.

So go on out and take a big belly floppin’ plunge into something you’ve been too afraid to do. Strive to fail a little, cuz that failure means you’re learning. If we knew it all life would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

Be a Warrior, not a worrier

Warning: I’m new to this whole blogging thing. I’m not new to writing, just new to blogging. So I’ll ask that any readers that may take interest in what I have to say please bear with me as this will be a learning experience as well as a journey. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Thanks in advance!

It seems like almost a month ago that I was out to brunch with a galpal of mine. We had been texting during the week about how excited we were to see one another and updating each other on things that had gone on in our lives since our last girls’ date, so I had a pretty good idea what the majority of our conversations would be regarding. What I didn’t expect was how much the things said would resonate within my soul.

We spoke of family, of other friends, of husbands, and of jobs. Pretty mundane things, but they make up our lives. Then my girlfriend tells me about this book her father gave her: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today? All of a sudden the conversation turns to the hopes we had for our future when we were in college, all of the hopes and aspirations we’ve had even within just the past year, and where we’ve ended up. Were we really putting forth an effort to make those dreams come true? Were we really trying?

I left Chili’s with a sense of despair in the pit of my stomach. I knew deep within my soul that I had not really put forth much effort in achieving any of the goals I had set for myself. Don’t get me wrong… I worked at certain things. I have an absolutely flawless Educational Portfolio that I’ve taken to teaching interviews and received many complements on. I always put forth my best effort during interviews and when I’ve asked for constructive criticism I’ve only been told to smile more. BUT I haven’t allowed myself to look for teaching jobs outside the state in which I reside. You know how they say the difference between try and triumph is a little umph? Well I’ve got a lot of umph, but I haven’t exerted it.

So the despair in my gut? Yeah, that was disappointment and the realization that I’ve been full of excuses the past couple years. I use everything from family drama, financial security, to lack of time as an excuse to not do the things I feel myself really yearning to do. Why? I worry. I want to do well, I want to succeed, and I worry about falling flat on my face. I worry about making a fool of myself. I worry about disappointing the people around me, or worst yet, disappointing myself. If you spend enough time on the “what ifs” you’ll eventually talk yourself into a standstill and get nowhere. Not to mention, it’s just plain exhausting.

Where has this realization landed me? Here, at this blog, with you. For a long time now I’ve had an idea in my head of combining my love of art with my love for training and creating my own brand. What’s stopping me? Well a website, for one. I don’t have the money to have someone make one for me and I don’t have the know-how to make one myself (I favor the hands-on arts). With a little research and some prodding by friends I’ve decided that the best place to start is with a blog. Through this social outlet I hope to gain skills necessary to create my own website, logo, and designs for the products I hope to make. I also hope to gain and keep mental clarity and sanity, share my knowledge and interests with my readers, and maybe gain a few new friends along the way.

To recap: you can have all the dreams and talent in the world, but if you don’t try, and I mean REALLY try, you’ve got no one (and nothing) to blame your stagnant life on, but yourself.

So here’s to taking chances, trying new things, and learning what life really has to offer you.