She’s here!

Hey Fitties! It’s been awhile, I know.

I hope you’ll forgive me if I keep my first blog post short and sweet because…

well, she’s just so sweet.

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.16.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.18.25 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 2.54.05 PM Simone

Simone Elise Demeusy, 7 pounds, 3 ounces, 20 inches long. Born March 9th to very proud mama and daddy.

She’s 7 weeks old now and I feel like I’ve got my feet on the ground (okay, one foot on the ground) as a work at home mama. She’s truly the most wonderful little soul and I’m trying to soak up every minute and still try to be somewhat useful. ;-)

The “What’s Your Excuse?” Controversy

So have you fitties weighed in on the whole shitstorm surrounding this picture?

excuse

 

Maria Kang, a fit mom of 3 cutie pie babies, is taking a lot of heat for this picture. Some people are calling her a body-shamer, some are calling her a bully. Some are defending her and saying the haters need to get the hell over it. But basically, she’s pissed a lot of people off.

It’s interesting that Ms. Kang is a former beauty pageant and fitness competitor who has had problems with an eating disorder in the past. If she’s received treatment for that disorder (and I hope she has), then she surely would know how unhelpful and even dangerous images such as these can be for women. Especially when paired with the taunting message “What’s your excuse?” It conveys the message that all women should and can look like she does and, if they don’t, it’s not anyone’s fault but theirs. (Never mind that, for most women, to have abs like hers would leave that bra top slightly on the empty side).

For many women, Kang’s figure is probably something that’s nice, like a Louis Vuitton bag that costs $1,000.00. But for many women, they have things like a mortgage or an old water heater that needs replacing. And for those women, the energy that would go into counting the macros and calories to get to Ms. Kang’s level of enviable leanness is probably better spent elsewhere, just like that $1,000.

So we settle for a body that is healthy, happy, fits decently into our jeans and we move on with the rest of our lives. Because our biggest accomplishment in life should not be our percentage of body fat. (I think I need to make that the motto of this blog).

Kang has offered the classic non-apology (“I’m sorry you took this in a negative way…”) and she says her intent was simply to say, “If I can do it, you can do it too.” And I think that message is more helpful. The tone is completely different than “What’s your excuse?” It says, hey, you may not need to look like an underwear model, but no matter what your fitness goals are, if I can do this, you can accomplish your goals too. It’s not holding herself up as what women should be striving for (which her original image, in my opinion, kind of did). Frankly, my excuse for not looking like Ms. Kang is 1) I’m pregnant, so no, I cannot look like her no matter how hard I try. It’s not an excuse, it’s called REALITY. I can think positively and believe with all my heart and visualize myself flying as I jump off the roof but I won’t fly, I’ll just hit the ground. Hard.

And, most importantly, 2) I don’t wanna look like her. She looks great, but I know what she has to do to look like that, I’ve eaten the way she has to eat to look like that and it’s not a fun life. It’s a self-absorbed, OMG my husband put TWO egg yolks in my omelette instead of just one and now my whole day is ruined because I’ve had OMGSOMUCHFAT.

This is just my two cents here… I think the tone of her original picture was a bit braggy and jerky and probably counter-productive to what she wanted to accomplish. If she’d been doing pull-ups from a wheel chair under the caption “What’s your excuse?” that might have been different. But it’s just a picture of a fit, pretty girl with professional hair and makeup styling calling the rest of the female world out for not being fit, pretty and professionally styled like she is. That’s not really a great character achievement. Pull-ups from a wheel chair = character achievement. Showing off youth, fitness and beauty = yay you. You stuck to a diet.

But maybe I’m just a fat jealous hater who doesn’t think it’s worth it to live off of egg whites and broccoli just so I can pose with my babies to get attention on the internet. 

Your thoughts?

Shit people say…

Hey Fitties! Long time no blog…. I’m entering my second trimester and things are looking good. I’m feeling good, had a little of the all-day nausea, but the nausea seemed particularly bad if I was tired. So some seabands (those acupressure things that push on your wrists) and rest helped a lot.

I was just joking with my husband about shit people say when you’re pregnant. And no, it’s not shit PEOPLE say, it’s shit WOMEN say.

Heads up: It’s about to get REAL.

Imagine this: Your friend gets a job. SUPER excited about this new job.

Would you say this:

“Oh, just wait. Give it a few months and you’ll find out your co-workers are a bunch of jerks.”

“Oh, just wait. You’ll see, your boss is a complete incompetent.”

“Yeah, new jobs are great. But eventually, you end up having to do the work of 3 other people who just got laid off. And then you get laid off.”

Do those things have a probability of being true? Sure. Many people have experienced those things. Does that make these the socially accepted responses? No. It makes these ASSHOLE things to say.

Scenario 2:

Let’s say a couple you know just bought a house. Mazel-tov, yes?

Not quite!

“Oh just wait until your roof starts leaking in the winter — you can’t call the landlord anymore!”

“Oh boy, have fun spending every weekend doing yard work!”

“Hey, if you’re lucky, in a few years you’ll probably be able to sell it for what you paid for it!”

“There goes all your disposable income for the next 30 years!”

Again, POSSIBLE outcomes for someone buying a new house. Again, ASSHOLERY at work.

Scenario 3:

Someone you know just got married.

“Hey, that’s awesome. Being married was the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t even mind that my husband got bald and fat. And don’t worry too much about 50% of marriages ending in divorce. You can stick it out if you want to.”

“Aw, enjoy that newlywed stage. It’s over so fast and then you’re left wondering what the hell you were thinking.”

“My husband cheated on me.”

“Oh great, now you get to go through the hassle of changing your name.”

Again, stuff that probably happened to you or someone you know. Again, ASSHOLE responses.

See, with every good experience in life comes a little pain in the ass. Like the process of buying a house. Biggest pain in the ass ever. Worth it? Yes. Or eating an entire box of Girl Scout cookies. Enjoyable? Yes. Will it make you feel sick after? Also yes. Totally worth? FUCK yes.

Nothing is ever an unmitigated delight. I don’t expect it to be. I don’t live in the land of a rainbow in every pot and a puppy in every driveway. Maybe other people are surprised when life isn’t handed to them easily on a silver platter. I’m not. I don’t go LOOKING for the bad, but when it happens it’s not a huge shock. So it’s not really helpful for the doom and gloom comments. Particularly when, you know, there are SERIOUS fucking things that can go wrong with this kid. Do I need you to point out to me that this baby will someday be shitting and puking all over me? No. I don’t care. I want a healthy, shitting and puking baby with the proper number of eyes, ears, toes and brain cells. That is ALL I care about. I don’t care if the kid doesn’t sleep until he’s 20 so long as he is healthy, happy and not living in my house.

I don’t know why people (ie, WOMEN) feel the need to tell you every miserable thing that could possibly happen (NO SLEEP EVER AGAIN UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD! BOOBS RUINED! APOCALYPTIC BABY SHITS THAT PEEL THE PAINT FROM YOUR WALLS! NO SEX EVER AGAIN UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD! PEEING YOUR PANTS EVERY TIME YOU LAUGH/SNEEZE/HICCUP!).

It’s nonsense. It’s stupid. It’s ASSHOLERY.

Stop it. Just STOP IT NOW.

If I’ve basically called you an asshole because you’ve done these things, I’m sort of sorry. Or I will be when I’m not pregnant anymore.

Oh yeah, to those of you who are thinking of having kids…. “JUST WAIT UNTIL YOUR PREGNANCY HORMONES HIT!”

Much love to ya from the stab-y, ragey princess and her sweet, innocent little pea.

Project: Pregnant Princess Part II

God's majesty

Hey Fitties!

The pea and I are checking in to fill you guys in on what has happened in the past week. As I write this, I’ve known I’m going to be a mama (mommy? madre? Mamacita? I’ll have to work on the title) for a little over a week.

It went like this: It was way too early to find out if The AntiRat and I had gotten lucky on our first shot of trying for a baby (we had) but I thought I’d take a test anyway. I’d already taken two tests and gotten negatives but on a whim, at 10 pm last Tuesday, I took a third test and immediately saw the plus sign faintly form. I was a bit… erm… surprised and, after the longest hand-washing in history, called Matthew in to see the results. Poor guy, he didn’t even know I was testing. :-D

We laughed a little bit and jumped up and down and I told him, “Call your mom, wake her up. She’ll want to know right away.” Now, I know some people would say you should wait until you’re further along to tell people. Me, I’m a positive thinker and can’t keep secrets for shit (plus my boobs are already gigantic so they’re pretty much announcing the news for me) so I wanted to tell everyone ASAP. So Matthew called his mom and dad, I let my family know and then took to Facebook and the blog to make it official on the internet.

16 hours later, my in-law’s house caught fire and my father-in-law died.

I can’t describe the roller coaster of emotions the family has experienced in the past week. I won’t describe what happened or how it happened because the family has been over and over it daily since the accident. Also, we really don’t have many answers right now.

I will say this:

I will be forever grateful for the mercies of God throughout these events. This baby has been a big beacon of hope. Not that a baby makes everything better or makes problems go away (babies have a funny way of bringing their share of demands to a family), but this little pea is a reminder that life does continue, we have a future as well as joy and hope. Our family will still have our share of griefs ahead, but we have many more weddings and babies and graduations and first houses and new beginnings ahead of us. I believe that the spirit of God finally gave M and I the urge to take the plunge to add to our family. I believe that God prepared comfort and hope for us in advance knowing that tragedy lay ahead. I’ll come back to that in a second.

I am grateful we didn’t wait to tell Matthew’s father. He shared the news with his mother the day he died. He died knowing that his son was going to be a dad. And his son is going to be an awesome dad. I have always known Matthew will be an amazing father but seeing him minister to and care for the family while shouldering immense burdens this past week further reveals the depth of my husband’s character. He and his brothers are truly testaments to what a family can accomplish when they stick together and I’m so proud of their selflessness , love and cooperation over the past week. They are truly special men and I am blessed to count them as my family.

Now to return to the provisions of God. I know there are people out there (I certainly would have been one of them years ago) who roll their eyes. If God is so good, why not make a provision for the house to NOT catch fire? Why not make a provision for everyone to get out safely?

I blogged once before about questions of suffering. The answer is that we don’t get to understand why God allows a particular type of suffering to enter our lives. Suffering is part of our experience as humans living in a fallen world — anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something (pardon the Princess Bride paraphrase). Jesus, the son of God, understands suffering like no other human possibly can. And sometimes, we are invited to share in some small part of that suffering. Is it so we can experience the comfort of God? Is it because we can truly appreciate the promise of a redeemed world when we recognize how fallen and corrupt this one is? Is it so that we learn to hope in the promises of God instead of our own power? I have no idea. This side of heaven, I don’t expect to know.

I do know this: Last week, my greatest sin was probably one of pride. I am extremely self-sufficient and don’t really need a lot of help from others. I’m the worst possible patient in the hospital because I resent the prescriptions, the wheelchairs… all that sissy stuff. My service to others is to handle my shit so they don’t have to serve me by helping me out of scrapes. I’m smart, I’m capable and I am pretty decent at taking care of myself.

A certain breed of Christian would think that God brought this disaster to my family to humble me. Those people are assholes. I will tell you what humbled me: It was love. The love from our community, from friends, family, total strangers, local business owners, our church and our pastor, our co-workers and neighbors… the love they poured out on us and the way they busted their asses to serve us is truly humbling. It showed me how much people need each other.

There’s a picture of the gospel there: undeserved grace and sacrifice producing contrition and fellowship. God did not redeem this world with threats of punishment and a code to keep. He sent his chosen people a code to follow to demonstrate that we will always be rule breakers, no matter how many times God delivers us from slavery or from wandering in the desert. The original sin was not behavioral, it was of loving something more than God. And a code of conduct cannot force people to love God rightly. He sent his son to die on our behalf because selfless love begets love in return. Not out of obligation, but out of gratitude. We love him because he first loved us. The change in a person redeemed by love is very different than the change in a person who is following the rules. The sacrifice of Jesus is what converts an enemy of God into someone who loves God rightly.

I’m not sure that a disaster would make me a particularly humble person, but the undeserved grace and service from those around us has certainly brought me to my knees. The sorrow people have expressed on our behalf has touched my heart in a way that a punishment never could.

So I’ll finish this long post by giving glory to God, by thanking the people who ministered to us and by sharing my favorite verse, the true picture of what redemption does in a person’s life:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.

And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

(Ezekiel 36.26)

Good night fitties, from the Princess and her pea. <3

 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. 

(Matthew 7:24-27)

 

Project: Pregnant Princess

Hey Fitties! Long time no blog.

I took that trip to Vegas, did the thing where I hit my goals and wore a sparkly dress and Jimmy Choo shoes that cut up my mother effing feets, had quite a time and.. oh yeah, tried to make a baby. Father’s Day we decided, hey, you wanna think about maybe doing this next year? Cool. Eh, why wait?

Goal accomplisher, that’s my name! :-D

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much to blog because I’m a blabbermouth and that was something my husband asked me not to blabber.

Anyway, a lot is going to change (I’m already starving and can’t sleep and I’m only 5 minutes pregnant). My fitness thing is about to change (luckily, I’ve got free child care at most of the places where I teach). My plan (and goal!) is to stay as active and fit as I can because fit mamas produce fit babies. And that whole squeezing a human out your hoohah is easier when said hoohah is nice and strong from squats and lunges and other such devices.

The path to baby has been a long one for us… I’m 35, which I know is not, like, SUPER old, but it’s not super young either. One of the big impediments has been a sense of impending disaster on the earth. How can you bring a baby into a world with no jobs, crappy economy, high taxes and warrantless wiretaps? It’s a scary prospect. We’d grow a little irritated at the coy suggestions of our friends, like holding a cute baby would be enough to sway us into creating life. What an awesome responsibility. Despite my love of pink and glitter and cupcakes, I take serious things seriously. And wantonly creating a baby that would suffer and experience a world far more dangerous and lawless than the one I’d grown up in seemed… selfish. It seemed wrong.

A sermon from Tim Keller about marriage was the beginning for us. He quoted Stanley Hauerwas: “For Christians do not place their hope in their children, but rather their children are a sign of their hope . . . that God has not abandoned this world.

We do believe God will redeem this world. That evil was conquered once and for all by the sacrifice of Jesus and, while it may seem that evil prevails temporarily, the ultimate victory is won. And when your world view shifts, suddenly it doesn’t seem so preposterous to think of bringing a new life into that world.

So that was the start of us… a few months ago I think it was. There were other small steps, but I’ll stop there for now. I’ve been crazy excited since we found out at 10:02 pm and now I think I can finally sleep. Husband is out like a light. ;-) Is this a sign of things to come?

Night night to all you fitties from me, the self-appointed princess, and my pea.

Intuitive Eating and Strength Training Experiment

IE

Good morning Fitties! I’ve been away for a bit, adjusting my schedule, recovering from our anniversary trip to the Bahamas, (err, Bermuda. I guess I’m dreaming of traveling already) and trying to stay on top of heaps and heaps of laundry…

Also, something else.

So as you know, awhile ago I did the Ultimate Reset (you can scroll down and probably see the posts). It was miserable and interesting at the same time. While I didn’t do the Ultimate Reset to lose weight, I did lose weight (despite eating a jar of peanut butter per week to keep my calories up). While I don’t think the Ultimate Reset was destructive to my intuitive eating process, it was probably incompatible with it. And what happened after the UR was destructive.

How many of us here, when we lose a few pounds, think, ooh, you know… just a few pounds more and I’ll be PERFECT? It’s happened to me more times than I’d like to count. And eventually, I push too hard, cut too many calories and my body says, “Well, fuck you too,” and back up the scale bounces.

So once again I got the whole fixation on my body and my food and had to start over again.

LUCKILY, intuitive eating muscles are a lot like regular muscles. After a period of inactivity, when you get back into your training program, you pick back up pretty quickly.

So for the past 2 months, I’ve been reaffirming my commitment to intuitive eating and body acceptance, which is extremely difficult to do given the constant onslaught of messages about what is and is not an acceptable body shape and size. Gah.

Anyway, so I’d like to try an experiment and I thought I’d see if any of you awesome fitties were interested. It involves 2 things: A book study and a strength training program. You can use any strength training program you want (I recommend this one because it does get your stronger and healthier). At the same time, we’ll read a book per month about ending emotional eating and learning intuitive eating. We’ll start with Geneen Roth’s Breaking Free From Emotional Eating. We’ll calculate how many calories you need each day to fuel your body for your level of activity (spoiler: It’s more than 1200). We’ll get stronger mentally and physically. We’ll end the diet merry-go-round together. Sound good?

If you’re one of my subscribers, I sent this invite to you yesterday (as well as a little video of my choreography for “Thrift Shop” that I use in my Zumba class. If you missed it and you want it, leave a comment and we’ll chat.

Have a great day fitties! I missed you! <3

-E.

Reverse engineering your dream job

Heya Fittulents!

One of my favorite shows, and not just because of the pretty clothes, is the AMC show Mad Men. Okay, the pretty clothes have a lot to do with it.

betty-polka-dot-2

 

Swoon.

But as much as I love Betty Draper’s Grace Kelly look, they’re part of what stifles her and holds her back from being a  fully realized adult human being. Those big gorgeous skirts weigh her down (notice how she starts wearing pants to ride horses as she deciding she has had enough of Don’s shit?) She is primarily defined by how others see her and what she possesses (ironically, she’s the consumer men like her husband have created through media and advertising). And she’s miserable because her sense of self is always dependent on this shifting standard — does someone else have more than she does? And do other people think of her as the prettiest wife and mother in all the land?

One of my favorite characters was Bobbie Barrett. She had a few issues that complicated her likability, but what human doesn’t? Her frankness and self-awareness are awesome. And her clothes rocked. ;-)

bobbiebarrett

 

Bobbie has a line in one episode that really reached out and grabbed me. She tells Peggy Olsen, who is at a career crossroads while waiting for Don Draper’s approval to validate her, “This is America. Pick a job and then become the person that does it.”

This is sometimes referred to as “reverse engineering” your goals. Pick your goal. Let’s say it’s to go on a trip to Egypt. What are you going to need to get there? Plane tickets, visas, passports, hotel, proper clothes (naturally), tourbooks, maybe special inoculations, money and time off from work.

Okay, so those are the steps you need to get to Egypt. Make a list, prioritize the things that are going to take the longest (probably visas and savings) or the things that are the most important (if you can’t get the time off from work, no point in booking your plane and hotel). Before you know it, you’re there.

Dream jobs are like that. The American Dream has somehow morphed into the American “sit on your ass in a cube until someone promotes you to your dream job as a C-level executive.” It doesn’t really work that way. Sitting on your ass in a cube is, more than likely, going to just get you more jobs where you sit on your ass in a cube.

Now, if you enjoy ass-sitting cube dwelling, great. Stop reading and go back to hiding Words with Friends from your boss.

But I think most of us don’t want that. Most of us want something more. And the only way to get to where you want to be is to start acting like you’ve already arrived there and doing the things you would do there.

For example, at some point last year, I decided I was going to grow my Beachbody business into a real team. I wanted coaches on my team that would be part of my family and that could share the work of ending the trend of obesity. Plus, I’m a social person and it’s AWESOME to work from home in my pjs (which I’m still in as I blog this, btw), but it gets lonesome too. So I wanted colleagues. But I still wanted to be the boss of me. ;-)

So I named my team. Team Triumph. I had like 3 coaches on my team at the time. But damnit, we had a NAME. Because someday, when we were a big team, we’d need a name. So I came up with one sooner rather than later. We have a logo too. Wanna see it?

triumph logo

 

Cool huh?

So you’re thinking, wait, so you achieved your dreams by coming up with a team name and a logo? Bull shit.

You’re right. I also picked out my dress. ;-) Part of acting the part is thinking “What does my future successful self do? Say? Wear? Read?” I like to skip to the wearing part. I wanted to wear a sparkley diamond dress when we head to Las Vegas Summit this year and be a sparkley diamond coach when I wear it. So I picked out the dress I would be wearing as a 2 star diamond coach. I’m at one star now. I’ll be 2 star by June, believe that. ;-)

papell dress

 

This dress hangs in my closet as a reminder of the behaviors I need to exhibit each day to get myself to where I want to be. I read the books that a successful person should read… I (mostly) eat the foods that a successful fitness person should eat. It changes how I talk and how I think, which changes how I ACT.

Does that make sense? So it’s really not the fact of coming up with the pretty dress and team name that magically gets the job, it’s changing the thinking, which changes the behavior which changes the results. 

For some reason, we’ve been taught that you grow stronger by working at your current level and then just doing a bit more when you feel like it. Trust me, people do not train to climb Mount Everest by walking on a treadmill and increasing the elevation of the machine a little each week. They go out and they climb HARD mountains. They climb one mountain that’s too hard for them until it gets easy. Then they climb another mountain that’s too hard for them until THAT’S easy.

That’s how we grow. By constantly pushing ourselves beyond what we’re currently capable of. By already thinking and behaving like we ARE capable of it. Do we fall on our face? Sure. But sometimes we surprise ourselves with how far we get before we fall.

Pushups are a great example. Often, people will just do push ups on their knees for years and cant’ figure out why they can’t do them on their toes. Um, because you don’t do them on your toes? You start by doing 12 pushups on your knees, then you do 2 on your toes, 10 on your knees. Then you do 3 on your toes and 10 on your knees. And so on. No magic spell is going to take control of your body while you’re doing push ups on your knees and crank you into the full-on push-up position while you execute graceful, effortless pushups.

Oh if only it worked that way.

There are so many books about success and achievement that make the same point: You have to think and behave like the person you want to be. If you want to be your own boss, you have to start thinking like an entrepreneur. That means working when others are sleeping. That means less tv time. That means less WASTED time. There is plenty of time in the day, we just typically waste it on Facebook or on the phone or in thousands of other time-suckers that don’t contribute anything positive to our future.

What I also loved about Bobbie Barrett’s quote is it began with the statement “This is America.” It used to be that people truly believed that in America you could become whatever you wanted. We put a fucking man on the moon, okay? At some point, defeatist thinking crept in. And somehow, this spirit left the country. The sense that we can master our own destiny is replaced by negative thinking and self-doubt. When did that happen?

While we’re taking life lessons from Hollywood, remember the film The Departed? Frank Costello repeats throughout the movie, “No one gives it to you, you have to take it.”

I love that. If you’re not living the life you want, if you’re unhappy with where you’re at, this is America. You’re not bound by your gender or your class or your race. You have opportunities out the ass. You may think you don’t, you may think you’re oppressed, but if it’s so shitty here, why do we have people from India, China, the Middle East BEGGING to come here? Because they know what oppression looks like. They know what being untouchable is. They know what being a woman means for your career, education and legal rights. If you want a better life, no one gives it to you, you have to take it.

Start today. What does your ideal life look like? What do you do? Where do you go? What does your family look like? Pick the job you want, then be the one who does it.

At home workouts vs. the gym

So as you fitties know that I do this:

lizziegettinlow

 

 

Annnnd I also do this:

Making a healthy living with my best girl, Teresa. We do this for a living. Can you believe it? And yeah, we worked out with Sagi, creator of Body Beast. We also went to dinner with him. Yeah, this is what we do for a living. (By the way, he is a totally normal looking guy in person and just absolutely lovely and funny. Not beastly at all. He had a very wicked sense of humour).

I teach in-person fitness classes and I also am a Beachbody coach, meaning I help people find at-home workouts and nutritional supplements to help them on their fitness journey.

It might sound like those are two incompatible occupations, sort of like playing for the Red Sox and the Yankees, or working for Coca Cola and Pepsi at the same time.

It’s not.

I have found coaching and fitness instruction to be symbiotic.

First, many of my online clients are geographically too far to ever come to a group fitness class. Those are people I would never see at the gym. Those are people who need my support and encouragement AND they need someone who can make sure they’re exercising safely at home. Beachbody programs allow me to be there for them, even when I can’t physically be there for them.

Also, many of my online clients who are local eventually want to come see me in person. That’s what happens when you go through a challenge group with someone — you form a bond. Sort of like war except your butt looks better at the end. So they drop in to a class. Lots have joined gyms where I’m teaching or come to fundraisers to support me. They may be doing a strength program at home but they want to come to Zumba or Hip Hop Hustle. They need the flexibility of being able to workout on their own schedule, but sometimes they want a little in-person connection.

Some people are really too intimidated to come to a group ex class. It shouldn’t be this way, but they are afraid it will be like high school gym all over again. So they want to get confident doing fitness at home before they come to class. I can help them get there with a Beachbody program. The COOL thing is that now many Beachbody programs are also available in the gym. So people can develop a baseline of competency in things like Les Mills Pump, Les Mills Combat, P90x, Brazil Butt Lift or Insanity and then do a more challenging version in the gym! That’s HUGE. Some of those programs are CRAZY intense. Do you think it’s valuable for a deconditioned client to be able to rewind the clean and press demo over and over? Or pause Insanity if the plyometric circuit is too strenuous? You betcher boots it’s valuable!

In addition, a lot of people get addicted to fitness and they start to crave being in the fitness community. As tough as some of the DVDs are, the trainer can’t look at them and tell them it’s time to squat lower or jump higher or drive their knees to the chest a little faster. They need an in-person instructor for that. Conversely, there are plenty of people who have mastered the classes available to them at the gym and they need a little change up at-home to push their cardio fitness to the next level or to increase their strength so they can lift a little heavier in class.

And of course, sometimes people just can’t get to the gym. The weather may be bad, their kids may be sick, their work schedule may have gone to hell in a hand basket…. but if your clients have an at-home workout, they can stay on top of their training.

I think the most important benefit to coaching is being able to provide meal plans and nutritional support to your clients. All the programs come with meal planning and theres’a meal planning tool via Beachbody’s website.

Finally, let’s be honest here: if you’re a fitness professional, you love what you do. You have the BEST job in the world. But physically, you can’t teach every hour of every day. You’ll destroy your body. Coaching allows you to work with people all over the world WITHOUT taxing your body. So you can continue to make an income from fitness and rest up to teach the classes you love.

So far from being mutually exclusive, coaching and teaching fitness classes are very compatible. In my experience, I’ve found that as one side of my business grows, it strengthens the other side of my business. If you’d like more information about what I do, I’m always happy to chat (between classes, of course!) Just comment below!

My fitness program isn’t working

Hey fitties! In which I return to a long neglected blog. I’ve been about fitness work, rest assured. I had some assessment video deadlines to deal with and other sundry demands on my fittie time that left little mental energy for blogging.

But I wanted to share something that we all need to hear from time to time, myself included. This will be a tough love post. No cupcakes or wine in this post. This is what happens when I post before 9am.

I’ve been a little frustrated lately by a lack of progress in the fitness front. Okay, basically I’m sulky because my pants are tight in the thighs. This is going beyond DOMS from starting a new fitness program. This has been going on for almost 4 weeks. And I’ve been whining a little bit about it. I don’t focus on the scale, but when my pants are tight, I turn to the scale to tell me “Shhh, shhh baby, your pants just shrank in the closet. It’s okay. Shhhh. Shhh.”

Um, the scale did not tell me that. The scale told me my pants are tighter because I’m 6ish pounds heavier than I typically am.

So here are the steps I went through, and they’re the same steps I’d go through with a client.

First, I looked at my food journal. That pretty much solved the problem right there. Wine nearly every day, sometimes multiple glasses. Eating out at restaurants regularly, and not the kinds of restaurants where you order the grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side. Desserts several times a week. So okay, that pretty much took care of the first 3 pounds. Now what about the next 3?

Second, I looked at the time line. How long have I been trying to remove these pesky 6 pounds that threatened to destroy the seams of my pants? Oh, okay, barely 2 weeks. Time to chill out.

Essentially, I made the mistake that most people make: I stopped following the directions. I went rogue. Ad hoc. I started doing what I liked to do as opposed to the behaviors I was supposed to be doing,. This is the #1 reason why my clients don’t see results. It can take on different forms, but doing what we LIKE is the source of many fitness frustrations. If you have stopped losing weight (or aren’t seeing success on your program), I suggest you take a look at what you like doing and see if that’s the culprit.

The food journal is a prime example. When people come and they say “I’m not losing weight. Fix it.” Okay, I respond, let’s look at your food journal. Often, they don’t have one. Why? Because they don’t like writing down what they eat. They don’t like logging their portions. And I understand that, especially if you’re following an intuitive eating plan, but if you are not aware of your portions, you are more likely to overeat. The best way to stay aware of your portions is to log them. You don’t have to do it every day until the day you die, but if you’re not seeing results you should definitely be doing it.

Staying on the plan is another culprit. Multiple people have told me that they did not get good results from P90x. Now, I think P90x is tedious and needlessly long, but there is NO DOUBT that it works. So I’ll ask which P90x plan they used (Lean, Classic, Doubles). Every time (EVERY STINKING TIME!) the response is the same: “Oh, I didn’t follow the plan, I just did the DVDs I liked.” Oh? Which DVD was your favorite? Well, they hated Legs and Back…. core synergistics was damn near impossible….

So they did Kenpo and Plyometrics because they really don’t like lifting weights. Soooo…. you didn’t follow the directions of the plan, didn’t get the promised results, and it’s the PROGRAM’S fault? Hello?

Doing only what we like gets us into trouble with our eating choices as well. I tell you the truth… I sometimes want to cry or scream when people will come to me and say, “Elizabeth, you HAVE to help me. I’ve hit rock bottom. I’m ready to make a change. I can’t go on like this. I can’t keep gaining 15 pounds a year. My doctor wants to put me on [some sort of frightening cholesterol/diabetes/blood pressure medication]. Tell me what to do.”

So we talk about exercise… then we get to diet.

I don’t like yogurt.

I don’t like water.

I don’t like whole grain bread.

I don’t like meat/vegetables/water/fruit.

I don’t like eating breakfast.

I don’t like my coffee/tea unsweetened.

Listen, eating whatever you like whenever you like is what got you into this mess in the first place, okay? Trust me on this. If you’re happy with how you are, keep doing what you like. If you’re NOT happy and you want to see change, let go of some of your likes. Start doing some of your “musts.” You must eat vegetables. Every day. You must limit empty calories (sweets, booze, bread). You must cut out sugary drinks and coffees. This does not mean you don’t get a treat from time to time, but it must be a treat, not a regularly appearing item.

Speaking of treats, let’s address the treat day. Or the free day. Or the cheat day. Whatever you call it, the concept is the same. A day (or a meal) where you are permitted to eat what you like. No restrictions. Some say this is great for weight loss, some say it’s not. I won’t debate the efficacy or the advisability of it. It seems to do wonders for some, others (like me) spend a whole week undoing what they did on their treat day.

But here’s the thing: If you have a treat day or a free day? That means you’re not free to cheat or treat on the OTHER days. That means you don’t have a cookie on Monday as a little treat, then a mocha on Tuesday as a little treat, then pizza on Wednesday and then have a treat day on Thursday! You’ve already HAD your treats. Again, you’re doing what you like instead of what you’re supposed to be doing.

Like I said, we don’t like hearing this. It’s uncomfortable. But if you’re not seeing results from your workout or diet, the chances are good that doing what you like is the culprit. If you know that you know that you KNOW that you KNOW that you have been 99% compliant and you’re STILL not getting results, message me and I’ll see if I can figure out what’s going on. I have been there and done that, I’m happy to help.

xoxoxo Fitties!

Questions of Suffering

Hey Fitties!

Body Pump training: CHECK. Bunch of other shit to do: Almost check.

Welcome to the gyroscope that is the end of my year. I guess we’re all in that spinning out of control time of year…. fiscal year end, holidays, etc. etc.

Anyway, if you’re reading this, the world didn’t end. Surprise! (?)

I’ve been having these weird dreams. The other night I woke myself up doing chest presses. Last night, I dreamed I was on stage with a bunch of other fitties doing… I dunno… SOMETHING AWESOME. Some sort of workout that rocked.

Then I was at some sort of reception having dinner with a lovely woman who, while putting on blush with a marshmallow, brought up the recent shootings in Connecticut. She told me, as she applied purple circles to her cheeks, that she just couldn’t believe in God anymore. We talked about suffering and God and then I woke up to take to my blog.

Even without the shootings in Connecticut one week ago today (which is, I think, the worst thing to happen to our country since 9/11, but I could be wrong), horrible things happen that cause us to despair. New Hampshire recently had a couple who beat their baby boy so badly he needed brain surgery and will be impaired for life. Then the mother and her paramour went to Universal Studios. God is asleep, we think. God is not watching. God does not care. Or, the ultimate rejection: there is no God.

If there is no God, then the brutality and mayhem of life really shouldn’t be that surprising. If we are just a collection of atoms and ego and id vying for evolutionary supremacy and the satisfaction of our lusts and urges, then killing and beating and rape and crime are part of that natural order. If life is just chance, how can there be value in what is essentially a cellular lottery? If life is not valuable, what purpose is there to life except what each individual decrees in his heart? In this system, why would we be surprised if the individual decides his purpose is to hurt and destroy everyone else who gets in the way.

I suggest the reason that this is so horrible to us is, in our hearts, we do know that this is not the way the world was designed to work. We are designed with a longing for peace and love and to see children growing up and not dying before they lose their baby teeth. We also do not possess the ability to achieve peace and love in our own broken human capacity, but that’s another blog post (or just read Questions 14 through 20 here)

So I wanted to share with all of you, and myself, this excellent sermon from Timothy Keller. Keller talks about the testing of Job and brings up some excellent points (don’t just read my points, still listen to the sermon).

1) Satan tells God “Job doesn’t really love you, he loves the prosperity you brought him.” Job not only has health and wealth but he has a thriving family. He’s a prosperous and fortunate man by ancient standards (and our own). God knows Job’s heart and knows Job’s faith isn’t based on his wealth. So God permits Satan to try to prove the falsehood.

2) Job’s family and friends tell Job that if God loved him or if he hadn’t done something to piss God off, he would not be suffering. “Curse God and die,” Job’s wife tells him. And this is the most insidious lie and a lot of prosperity preachers are shifting uncomfortably in their seats. This is really the other side of point #1 — that our relationship with God is quid pro quo.

The lie is that we get from God because we love and we should love God because we get. The book of Job shatters that relationship model. God is not Santa Claus. He doesn’t give us prosperity because we’re good (or because we have faith) and suffering when we’re bad.

3) God determines the limits to which Satan may go. Keller puts it this way: God permits Satan to act in a way that will end up thwarting Satan’s own ends. God permitted the crucifixion of Jesus, for example. Without death, there’s no atonement for sin. Satan thought he won when he destroyed an innocent man on a cross. But that permitted free fellowship between man and God for the first time since the fall. God forbids Satan to take Job’s life because Job’s survival and continued faithfulness to God defeats Satan’s plot.

4) Here’s the clincher: Job never understands the point of all of this in his lifetime. When he’s wondering, why did God permit this to happen to me, his faithful servant? Why did God take my children? My health? Job NEVER receives an answer this side of heaven. Most of us just want to know “why.” Why did last Friday happen? Whose fault was it? Who could have prevented it? What purpose could it possibly serve in God’s plan to allow innocent babies and young teachers to be murdered at school right before Christmas?

We don’t get to understand it this side of heaven. It’s not that we COULD understand it if philosophers or scientists just studied the question of evil and suffering long enough. God does not permit us to understand it right now. Job gets more than you and I ever will in this life — a one on one conversation with God in which God basically says, “Job, you’re not God. You don’t get to be privy to my inner workings.”

Because if we understand why, that’s really taking us back to the quid pro quo relationship again. God, you earn my love. You prove to me you’re trustworthy. You show me you’re worthy of worship, and then I’ll do it. You discuss your big plans and decisions with me first, and if I agree, then I will love you. God does not love us conditionally and he does not allow us to love him conditionally. The book of Job tells us that’s not real love and it’s not the love that God wants from us. That may piss us off, yet God remains unchanged.

Evil doesn’t win. What happens on this earth is not the end. Those are the big take aways from this sermon. I implore you to listen to it, reflect and ponder. If you’d care to leave a thoughtful response or challenge to the sermon, you are welcome to do so here ONLY after having listened to the sermon. I will delete any commentary that is made without listening to the sermon first, so please reference the portion of the sermon you’d like to discuss by using the minute/second of the recording.

I’d like to end my already long and not-fitness related post with Longfellow’s poem (which many of you will recognize as a Christmas carol as well). My prayer for us all is that we may know this Christmas season that Christ came to redeem a broken people and to make it possible for us to have peace and goodwill one to another even when we don’t understand the purposes of God.

  1. I heard the bells on Christmas day
    Their old familiar carols play;
    In music sweet their tones repeat,
    “There’s peace on earth, good will to men.”
  2. I thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good will to men.
  3. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    “God is not dead, nor does He sleep,
    For Christ is here; His Spirit near
    Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”
  4. When men repent and turn from sin
    The Prince of Peace then enters in,
    And grace imparts within their hearts
    His peace on earth, good will to men.
  5. O souls amid earth’s busy strife,
    The Word of God is light and life;
    Oh, hear His voice, make Him your choice,
    Hail peace on earth, good will to men.
  6. Then happy, singing on your way,
    Your world will change from night to day;
    Your heart will feel the message real,
    Of peace on earth, good will to men.