How to put the SHUSH on negative thoughts

This may seem like an odd post coming from somebody who has made a living in the body alteration field. That’s kind of a fancy word for trainer :)

I feel that this post could not be more timely. As I wander into Summer, I am enlightened to the way people behave. My mom was a serious people watcher, so I guess it just trickled down. Anyways, what I have noticed is that we women have developed carefully strategized habits of degradation that have been part of our make up for generations. My goal is to put a stop to the madness. Seriously…

Now, buckle up because this is going to take more than one post, I assure you. So, why am I so impassioned about breaking the cycle? I was raised by a beautiful woman who never knew her worth and believed the lies of society. I am now raising a young woman of my own and I want this to end with her generation. As of right now, there are scores of women not living up to their full life purpose because they believe a lie. It’s time to step into our own and be the women this up and coming generation can really look up to.

Body image is attacked daily. Although America is not the only place, I believe it is most rampant here (though I may be biased!). We constantly look at pencil thin models (no fault to those who are naturally thin! God made you that way, so love it), supremely etched athletes and glowing movie stars with bodacious booties. There is nothing wrong with these images in and of themselves now, it’s the emotion they can tend to prod. As women, we make a few body image mistakes that must first be realized and then corrected. Please, do it for you and our future…

  1. We compare. There, I said it! Women compare ourselves to other women and often we compare other women with other women. We can quickly size somebody up or down, depending on our mood. We not only compare our bodies, but also our hair, nails, facial structure, mothering, homes, cleaning, husbands, careers, children, cars, etc. Do you get the point here? And all the men say “I KNEW IT!”. Duh! That’s how we know when you’re looking at another women (even by accident). It’s because we already sized her up.
  2. We decide that we are not as good as… You may fill in the blank here. I have found that no matter how much a woman has, or if she seemingly can juggle it all, we all face insecurities and allow them to whittle away at who we are.
  3. We degrade ourselves…in public. Oh, I am a guilty party, but I must admit I am getting better. One thing I always try to teach my life coaching clients is how to take a compliment. That is by far the hardest lesson! We usually end up with this scenario: “What a lovely dress”. “This old thing? I just threw it on and it’s all wrinkled because I haven’t had time to do the laundry much less get my hair done or get a good night’s sleep. Do you see the bags under my eyes?!?!?” Have you been there? Rather it’s that we really feel so poorly about ourselves or that we don’t wish to hurt another (um, they paid the compliment), we deny our beauty.
  4. We are convinced that we must live up to a standard of perfection that DOES NOT EXIST. There are no perfect bodies. There are no perfect lives. There are those that strive for perfection, sure. And there are those can fake perfect pretty good (give me some spray tanner and glitter oil and I’ll show you abs! LOL), but perfect does not exist in this world. Heaven is the only place where perfection truly resides, and the last time I checked I wasn’t there yet :) .
  5. We hold on too tight. Just as we can hold grudges (oh, you know you do) we can also hold on to the way we think we should be/act/look with a vengeance. We have a hard time letting go of a certain number on the scale (because life was perfect when I was THAT weight), or a number on our jeans. We have unrelenting commitment to being “there” again.

Now, I’m not suggesting we all put our flannel pj’s on, stop shaving (eewww, no) and watch I Love Lucy reruns while eating oreos all day. Healthy is good. Obsession and self degradation is bad.

One thing to realize is that when we say we hate our bodies or certain parts of our bodies, our children burn that into their psyche. Our negative self-image becomes their genetic makeup. Scary thought? It is to me! A study was done years ago that followed young ladies from their tween years to adulthood, studying family dynamics. While the study meant to focus on family meal times and involvement linked to self-esteem, they stumbled upon even more eye-opening discoveries. The young ladies whose mother’s had poor body image grew up with eating disorders. These were normal, working class families. As it turns out, the girls where either scared of getting their moms thighs (or gut, or butt, you choose), OR they already felt as though their body was sub-par. Your words count!

So, what do we do now? There is hope. There is hope for each of us, no matter the age. The first thing to realize is that there is no perfect. I mean, none of us has seen perfect so who’s to say your body isn’t it right? Start today by taking small steps towards a better body image. Workout because it makes you feel good, NOT to get a tighter butt or flatter abs. If you, like me, struggle with your midsection, remember that it housed a life (or 2-3 or more!) for 9 months! Sheesh, cut yourself a break. Embrace your stretch marks. My stretch marks are my war wounds for giving birth to a nearly 10 pound baby. WonderWoman? You bet!

When you feel as though negative thoughts are invading your mind, remember that you were made for a specific purpose. There is nobody else on Earth that can do what God sent you here to do. It may be HUGE or it may seem small, but it is yours. Let go of those negative conversations. Just stop giving your energy to it. For some of us, these thoughts are so deep seeded it will take time and faith to purge them, but take note from a survivor: it is worth the effort.

You are beautiful, never accept anything less in your mind :)


Just a Little Something Personal

Dear readers,

This is about a life altering situation and how it has literally changed everything. Just warning ya! For those interested in what I’m doing here:

How Beach Body is giving me my life back

Michelle Carlson


I haven’t been a coach for very long, but I feel like I need to share this. You see, I’ve known about Beach Body and their products for over a decade now. I was introduced to them as most people are: through late night infomercials! I purchased Yoga Booty Ballet once I had the funds and thought that workout would kill me. It’s weird to think of that now. Since those infomercial watching, wishful days I have shed over 100 pounds off of my 5’6″ frame. When you accomplish something like that you feel as though it is your testimony. You so badly want others to feel this energy and grab life before it passes them by… Naturally, my path eventually took me into fitness where I became a fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and then a nutritionist. As happy as I was with what I was doing, there was always something missing. I could only motivate so many and I could only teach so much. On top of all the motivating was the heart crushing realization that behind the excuses it seemed like people really just did NOT care.

Fast forward a bit to this past fall of 2011. I became pregnant with my third child. Our other 2 are 12 and 10 and yes, this was planned because we’re a little crazy like that! I was excited and our entire family was extremely hopeful. Everything was running smoothly and tests were coming back with great news. The doctor even remarked that this baby was growing very strong, very fast. I like to think of it as super baby! Into my second trimester (I was sick as a DOG and bedridden for months!) I went in for a routine visit. There was no heartbeat. The baby had died for no known reasons and suddenly ALL of my dreams, plans, and goals for the future seemed to come to a crashing halt. After all was said and done, I lay face down sobbing on my bathroom floor telling my loving husband that I no longer believed God had a plan for me. My Purpose in life was gone, and with that a piece of me as well.

It took a few weeks to come back into the land of the living and it was not pretty. I drank heavily to numb the pain and I simply sat around for a while. I had nothing left to give, or so I thought. The beach body coaching opportunity was brought to my attention a couple of years ago when I purchased Turbo Fire, but I never gave it much thought. Well, since I was down for the count, I began reading through all my old stuff in my home office. I was seriously considering leaving health and fitness forever. I came across the team beach body info and one night I told my husband I wanted to look into it. I even contacted Jenell Summers, who was extremely helpful and very patient with me! My husband is my grounding force and I asked him to check it out before I pursued it any further. While waiting for all of this I started moving again. I dusted off my old Chalean Extreme DVDs and popped in the Turbo Fire (thought it would kill me the first time back!). I began to LIVE again. Well, my husband did the research and concluded that it looked like a legit business opportunity and he was fine if I wanted to move forward. And boy did I…

There was a lot that happened my first 2 weeks. I made Emerald and got 32 success club points before I knew what success club was! The great thing is that success isn’t the point. I know it might sound cheesy to say that a business opportunity gave me my life back, but it did. You see, I was working out more and harder. I stopped drinking and I dealt with my feelings the way I always had: through a puddle of sweat. Not only did Beach Body coaching restore my sense of purpose, it gave my kids their mom back. I’ll never forget the day my son said, “I’m glad you’re finally ok”. They were used to a mom that fought. My kids know a mom that got up early to work out so that she could live long enough to see them grow up to be healthy, happy people (that’s another part of my story: my mom died at the age of 42). My husband got his confident wife back and guess what? HE signed on to be a coach! He has no fitness background, but he digs what Beach Body is trying to do. P90X2 just came in the mail and we’ve committed to doing the full 90 days together. I’m happy again.

I believe in purpose once more and I know that God is not done with me yet. I will never know why baby Alex didn’t get to stay with us, but I know there is always a reason and I know that SOMEBODY needs to hear this story. NEVER QUIT… You have a purpose and a plan. You have a unique story and niche to fill.  Beach body has afforded me a way to reach even more people for HEALTH. Bikini picas are awesome, but for me it’s about living for my family and fighting for every single day I can get.

My next goals? My husband and I are going to Summit in June and I do plan on being diamond. Also, I’m working on my own core training system to help even more people get in shape AND feel accomplished and awesome.

Keep on moving and you’re always moving forward!

Michelle C



So GROSS! …but worth it!

THIS IS IT! I promised I would put up a post workout video so here it is people! It’s not pretty, but the feeling of finishing something harder than the rest of my day can throw at me is beyond words. AWESOMALICIOUS is how I feel baby! Consider this your get-off-your-booty-call.

BeachBody Challenge Time!!

Send your name, email, age, fitness level now, and where you want your fitness level to be in 30,60, or 90 days! Registration opens at 5 p.m. CST tonight!

First 5 to complete registration are into the team. Set up to be complete by Sunday, February 5th with meal plans and workouts starting Monday, February 6th!

The beginning of my story

A lot of people have asked me how I lost 100 lbs. This video is the first of many entries that will give you a look into my lifestyle change and ultimate transformation.


Tough Love Tuesday!

OK, so this post is not going to be for the faint of heart, but if you’re willing to accept the truth behind it then your life WILL change. That’s a big promise, but I deliver :)

Today I want to speak about those goals that you set, specifically your health and wellness goals. Keep in mind that these words will affect just about any goal though. My big question for you is “How is your resolve?” Are you going as strong as you set out to go? Or have you started to wain just a little? We’re only 10 days into the new year, but I know that’s plenty of time to start blurring the lines a bit.

In my line of work I see a lot of blurring. In my own fitness efforts I constantly have to overcome the need to blur. So, what am a talking about here? I’m talking about being totally honest with yourself. When you finished that last workout, did you really feel like you gave ALL you could, or did you hold back just a little? It’s human nature to preserve ourselves. We lift the weight and realize that although it is heavy we could probably go a little heavier. Then we decide to just keep that thought to ourselves for the sake of preservation. Did you  really stick to your meal plan ALL week? Not one single fudge right (lie, not candy!). You didn’t pick food off of your kids plates or nibble a bit of popcorn at the movies? KEEP READING! If you stop now, the blur gets worse…

The reason why I ask all of this is I have clients and students who move into the “Woe is me” attitude that they just cannot succeed where others (a VERY small percent of others) have. I’ve had clients self diagnose and search for any medical anomaly that will free them from the daily strife of improvement. I’ve had many who flat out lie to me. How do I know? Because I do it, duh! However, the thought that plays over and over in my psyche is the indisputable fact that life is made of the CHOICES we make. Think about it: you choose to get married, to have kids, to get up and go to work everyday, etc. I have clients say, “I HAVE to work!”. My response? So, you choose not to live under a bridge? Bravo! It’s all about choices. What choices do you need to make today?

We choose what we eat. Don’t roll your eyes! You have the same choice as everybody else: Do I pack healthy snacks just in case, or do I leave it to chance and end up hitting a random drive through for something more than mostly likely fried and void of nutrients? We choose if and when we move. Yeah, yeah, I totally know that your day came with far fewer hours and you will feel vindicated when everybody else finally admits that! So what if you don’t have 2 hours to spend in the gym (hello? me either). Take a 5 minute walk several times per day, stand up at your desk and do a few squats, jump an imaginary rope in the bathroom, do push ups during your favorite TV show, just do something! Speaking of TV, I find it intolerable that those who claim to not have the “time” to work out can ALWAYS tell me who was voted off the ranch. Something to think about….

As parents, our choices affect more than just us. What we choose eventually trickles down to the next generation. Youth obesity and it’s detrimental effects are on the rise. What does that say about our choices? Is it OK to sleep in on a Saturday? You bet! Is it acceptable to indulge in some holiday sweets and birthday cake? YES! Is it OK to become apathetic about the life you could have because making the choices is just too damn hard? Absolutely not. You are worth a tiny amount of effort to eat better foods that are better for your overall health (a smaller waistline is really just an added bonus). You are worth moving during the day to ensure your heart keeps working for you! You are worth the 5 minutes it takes to plan out some meals for the week. Every Time you choose to ignore your basic needs for health and fitness you reinforce that you think you are worthless. Harsh, but ultimately true.

So, what will you do with this information? Studies shows over 90% will never read it again. Be the 10 % today. Let go of fad diets (Um, meal replacement shakes anyone?) and fuel your body right. Make small changes each week. Don’t expect perfection, but strive towards your best self everyday. Keep moving forward!


DVD Review Monday! Jillian Michaels Killer Buns and Thighs

If you are looking for those buns and thighs that really hold up (against gravity) then Jillian Michaels Killer Buns and Thighs workout DVD is a great place to get started.

Jillian is perhaps one of the most well known trainers out there and is putting out serious amounts of DVD’s like there is no tomorrow. SO, in light of that, some of these DVD’s can get pushed to the wayside. Her videos are all doable for any fitness level and they are very beginner friendly. If you’re a heavy lifter, look elsewhere. IF you are just starting out and need modifications, this is a good one to start with. She uses a chair in a couple of workouts, but you can always omit that if you don’t have one that fits the bill, or if you’re just not comfortable with props yet. the pace is steady and easy to follow. My biggest recommendation is to make sure you perfect your squats beforehand. I only say this because knee injuries are rampant amongst video exercise users and that’s normally due to a lack of personal instruction and/or body awareness.

Is it worth the bucks? It’s on for $8.99 so I say go for it and throw it into your rotation 2-3 times per week. Once you’ve outgrown it, loan it to a friend or donate it to the library, but this is a good starting point for a great ending ;-)


P.S. Head back tomorrow for some tough love about those resolutions and goals!



OK, as promised I did the Totally Ripped Core from Bob Harper this morning. And, drum roll please………………………….. I LOVE IT! I have yet to find a Bob Harper workout that I do not adore, but I particularly enjoyed this killer workout (note: killer plank series!). Bob’s instruction is precise and clear while being motivating without babying. In all honesty, when a DVD tells me I can put my knees down in a plank, I do so. Bob doesn’t give that option and he counts down so you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Totally Ripped Core is an extremely challenging full body workout that emphasizes core stability, strength, and functionality. Think about it: what movements do you do that do NOT involve your core? DUH, you need to work it. Professionally speaking, this DVD is not really for beginners. When comparing the 2, Jillian Michael’s 6 Pack Abs DVD is way more beginner friendly. I am of the mindset that everybody should try at least 1 of Bob’s DVD’s as they are geared more towards results and less towards making you feel better about your current fitness level. If you’re just starting out, there is a 10 minute segment (still plenty hard) that I would recommend doing twice per week as you build your strength and stamina.

Overall, Bob Harper DVD’s are quickly becoming favorites in my rotations as they NEVER fail to challenge me and improve upon my fitness level. The team demonstrating is in great shape, but doesn’t come across as fitness models. They sweat and get ugly and that is what changes your level. The music inspires movement without overtaking the whole workout.

Check out more at

Get up and get moving! Do something awesome this weekend,


Dance Central 2

OK, so I am severely excited about my Christmas purchase for the fam (read:FOR ME!) of the Dance Central 2 for Kinect. I did a review on the first one a while back and you’ll remember I’m not a gamer. So, this is a huge deal for me to totally get into a game of any sort. I tend to get a little too competitive for board games! Shocking, but I digress…

So, Dance Central 2 has been steadily blowing me away. We even fired it up for a bit during our new years eve party. The moves make you feel a little more like a dancer, even when you don’t look like one :) . My entire family danced for a couple of hours Christmas morning, which was great since we eat cinnamon rolls (I had egg whites cause I’m weird like that). The dancing itself is pretty low impact, but the more intensity you bring to the moves, the better the Kinect reads your movements. That means you totally win! But we aren’t talking about competition here…

Both of the kids love Dance Central 2 and mostly we do dance battles. Do it with friends and family and you get the added benefit of great big belly laughs. DC2 also has a fitness component that I can really say is excellent. The workouts range from 10-45 minutes and offer EVERYTHING. My kids did them with me and we all got sweaty and seriously out of breath (on the easy setting!). Best of all, you can pick your level so you feel good about your workout.

Dancing is a serious workout and a great way to bust out of you workout rut or simply  supplement your existing routine. I’m heading into the living room to bust a few moves when I’m done here :) . Don’t have a Kinect and can’t invest right now? Turn on some tunes and dance like no one’s watching!

OH, and I have a new Bob Harper workout that I’ll be doing and reviewing tomorrow so stay tuned. Get up and get something done!



What Works….

I am NOT  a runner.

I feel like I should be in a support group for people who think they could be runners, but just aren’t. i have read not only running magazines and articles, but entire books devoted to the holiness of running. I have tried running at different times during the day and night, and I have bought just about every running gadget there is. I am however, not a runner.

I have struggled with feeling of jealousy for those friends of mine who enjoy the sport of running. Those who run marathons as often as I enjoy shopping trips are abundant in my life. I have friends that enjoy the freedom of running and the runners high they receive. I know people who revel in the solitude and I even know some who pray while they run in the twilight hours. As hard as I have tried to force myself to be a runner, it just doesn’t work out (keep reading, it gets good). I rarely feel the elusive runners high. Mostly I just feel beat up by the voices that tell me I’m a loser. I do pray when I run, though you probably do not wish to hear the subject of those prayers. I have wonderful form when running, and being a running coach (THE IRONY!) I can correct form with relative ease and I do so all the time. Running is not my chosen sport despite the hours I have devoted to studying it.

You see, when the new year hits people come out of their warm homes in droves to hit the track behind my house. They pounds miles on the pavement in the hopes of losing the winter weight and gaining a new lease on life. Running, in and of itself, is a wonderful form of exercise. It’s not everybody’s soul mate workout though.

So, what do I mean by soul mate workout? Well, if you’re going to stick with a workout, you need to enjoy some capacity of it right? Notice that you will not enjoy every aspect of your chosen workout all the time. There has to be something that stirs inside of you when the opportunity comes along to move in this way. I think far too many people limit themselves to what they believe “should” be their soul mate workout.

How did I come to this conclusion about running not being for me? It was actually quite simple. I dabble in a wide variety of workouts, but there are a few that I will not only teach, but also do at home. Kickboxing and weightlifting top the list of my preferred workouts and I gain the most all around from both of them. You see I realized that when I run I actually judge myself very harshly and allow more negative thoughts to invade my workouts. Not only that but my nutrition suffers greatly. Since I do not enjoy running, I find that I eat more when I am hitting the pavement. Since running does not serve as a reward for me, I substitute it with ice cream or an extra glass of wine. With other sports my nutrition is kept very tight since I expect more out of my body. The sport itself then becomes the reward and the strength and endurance gains abound.

So, have you taken the time to find your soul mate workout or do you simply follow the crowd? Don’t worry about what’s in style or all the rage (there was a time jazzercise was as big as Zumba. Fads fade…) Try something new this week and see how it feels to you. Let me know what you’ve found! Stay tuned for some more workout class/DVD reviews to help you on your path.