In Person Training VS Online Training

well HELLLLOOOOO there!

It has been forever since I’ve shared a post with you, and I apologize, but I’ve been a little bit BUSY.

Once you’re all caught up on that, you’ll be happy to know that living the majority of my life in a gym has really helped to inspire what I hope will be incredibly helpful posts.

So let’s dig in to today’s post and hash out the benefits of different types of training.

One of the biggest issues facing training today is that it has been cheapened by its own. Trainers who deal under the table and use fitness facilities without expecting to pay has driven facility pricing up and the professionalism of training down. This is a pattern that professionals like myself are trying to fight.

So, how do you know if you’re getting a GOOD personal trainer?

Well, for starters I would recommend being a bit more picky when choosing your personal trainer.

Think of your personal trainer as a part of your medical team. Would you go to just any old doctor off the street? Your trainer should be chosen with care.

Once you have established how to pick a trainer, the question may then be if you should hire an in-house trainer at your local gym or an online trainer. And here is where it can be tricky….

Training is not regulated. Anybody can open an online training business and call themselves a personal trainer (or worse, a celebrity trainer).

fake personal trainer

One BIG upside to hiring an in-house trainer is that most gyms require a national certification and they make sure trainers keep up with continuing education credits.

So, when you looked in to that online trainer who charges over $100 a month, did you research their credentials? Do your homework and keep yourself protected.

Another issue with training is what I believe to be the BIGGEST thing an in-person trainer can help with: FORM.

A hands on trainer can help make minute adjustments that lead to better muscle recruitment which will in turn help you reach your goal faster. These adjustments need to be made in person, cause I don’t care how awesome you think you are, Skype won’t cut it when you need to truly make adjustments. Hands on adjustments make all the difference in the world AND help to prevent injury.

In house trainers can also help you to track progress more effectively. PLUS, if you struggle with getting workouts in, an in-house trainer is a great way to set up that habit. My clients are given homework to complete each week and I ask them to check in with me at the gym, even if they don’t have an appointment that day. This ramps up the accountability factor we all need.

Are all trainers created equal?

Absolutely not!

I am blessed with a staff of trainers who are willing to continue to learn. A lot of trainers are only willing to go as far as the money. A good trainer will give you more than you paid for. A great trainer will depend on science to blow theory out of the water and help you reach your goals faster than you thought possible.

ron b science

So, how do you pick a trainer?

Do your research.

If a trainer is dealing underhanded and unwilling to pay a gym to train there, they won’t be fully committed to you either. An online trainer should be researched just as carefully and make sure you’re not simply looking at pictures……you can get those anywhere.

Seek out referrals for a good trainer in your area OR check out ideafit.com for a listing.

Is training cheap?

I wouldn’t trust it if it were. Good training will encompass the entire lifestyle, so it should take a chunk of time out of the trainers schedule. Consider this when looking at trainers. Also consider the fact that the better and more experienced the trainer, the more expensive they will be.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty for training, you are paying for far more than that 1 hour session. If you’re lucky enough to get a trainer/nutritionist combo, then you should be getting plenty of nutrition education along with strength training, exercise sequencing, cardio workouts, flexibility training and core work (every day with me is core work). This is why training should be considered an investment. If your trainer doesn’t take your investment seriously, find another trainer.

no free training

Training is a great way to get results, stay injury free and develop a love for fitness…..IF you find the right fit.

Keep on moving,

Michelle

 

 

Meal Planning and Prep Made SUPER Easy

Most busy moms lead the kind of life that makes us want to use the NO TIME excuse when it comes to the kitchen.

While I do support family involvement when it comes to meal planning and prepping, you can become the Wonder Woman of your domain AND reach your goals by learning a few simple tips.

Wonder Woman Approves

  1. Be prepared. For starters, if you haven’t planned and prepped before, don’t expect a fail-free start from the blocks. This is the kind of skill that can go on a resume!
  2. Have a list. I so have you covered on this one with a video shared with my Healthy Holidays challenge group HERE.
  3. Don’t go to the store starving. Seriously, I speak from experience and cleaning out all of the Valentine candy on 80% off.
  4. If possible, wash and chop veggies when you get home. You and I both know you don’t want to do that later! It’s a chore, so invest in good containers and wash and chop it all when you get home.
  5. If the weather is still a bit cool (or you’re weird like me) throw your anti-inflammatory soup on to cook. Then, put your chickens in the roaster with some onions, carrots, potatoes and various spices (set roaster for 375 degrees and cook 90 minutes for PERFECTLY roasted chickens). You can then turn your chickens into various meals throughout the week.
  6. If you are like me and pack your kids lunches, have them get involved by prepping and bagging the veggies (if they help, they are far more likely to eat it).
  7. If you’re just starting out, set a timer for yourself and please don’t turn the TV on! It will distract you and before you know it, the movie is over and you’re feeling spent. Set your timer for an hour and see how much you can accomplish.
  8. Remember the goal: it’s not to cook and package every single meal. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of reheated meals. The goal here is to prep as much as possible ahead of time. Most nights I can throw dinner together in 15-20 minutes with the food I have prepped. The entire meals I cook beforehand are usually spaghetti and chili since they get better with age :)
  9. Take a look at some of the BLOG POSTS I have about meal prep and the art of mastering your kitchen HERE.
  10. If you need more info on mastering NUTRITION, I have you covered HERE.

In good health,

Michelle

Post Superbowl (or any indulgence) Survival Guide

First off, CONGRATS to the Broncos for the win!

And second…….how are you feeling?

I’m not talking about whether or not your team won. I’m talking about some of the morning/day after indulgence issues that can creep up on you.

Maybe you stayed up late celebrating or lamenting last night. Perhaps you drank a little too much party punch, OR maybe you enjoyed a few too many of the delicious foods associated with Super Bowl.

Any way you slice it, we can sometimes have a bit of a rough time the day after.

So what do you do?

Here are a few short and sweet ways to get over it :) whatever IT may be.

still full snoopy

  1. Forgive and forget. Don’t berate yourself for poor food choices, excessive consumption, or lack of sleep. What’s done is done and making like a certain Disney character and letting it go will serve you far better than feeling poorly about yourself.
  2. Hydrate. While it is best to enter into temptation hydrated, most of us don’t make those preparations. Make sure you get a minimum of 1/2 your body weight in ounces of pure water today to combat dehydration. Remind yourself that signs of dehydration can include trouble focusing and headaches.
  3. Try mindful movement. Instead of beating yourself up on the elliptical or weights, consider putting those excess calories to good use through some mindful movement. What is that? Well, it’s anything that makes your body feel GOOD. For me, it was a nice session with my kettle bells. It can be a long walk, a dance break, a yoga class, a tennis game with a friend, or anything that gets your body moving and blood pumping (woohoo).
  4. Don’t practice deprivation. Drastically cutting calories or refusing to eat can have a backlash effect on your metabolism and result in lack of energy and even worse overall health.
  5. Focus on NUTRIENT density instead of calories. Turn your focus to real foods today and I promise your body will thank you in the end.

Five simple steps that can get you back on track and feeling more like yourself by tomorrow. Take it easy, stay hydrated, get some movement and celebrate a victory for everybody.

Stay healthy,

Michelle

A Few of My Favorite Things: the Birthday Edition

Happy Ground Hog Day!

Since tomorrow is my birthday (I’ll be turning 38), I thought I would give you a peak into what I’m digging right now…..some fitness, some not, so just enjoy :)

EDUCATION I’m digging: ONNIT Academy

OnnitAcademyInfoHeader

Onnit has a main facility located in Austin, Texas, so as a true Texas gal I had to check them out. Article development is on point and I’m all set to receive more trainer training from them this year.

SUPPLEMENTS I’m Digging: Onnit for the win!

Alpha Brain because it takes away the fuzzy feeling in my head and really does help me to focus.

Coconut Oil because I use it for EVERYTHING from skin care to coffee creamer to cooking agent.

Coffee Pack because coffee, duh. Seriously, I love coffee and if I can make my coffee work FOR me and help propel me to my goals, then I’m a happy gal! P.S. would also make a PERFECT birthday present…..just sayin ;)

Onnit coffee

NOTE: I don’t do butter, but I do enjoy the MCT oil. The use of oil in your coffee has been shown to help those on low carb or ketogenic (not a fan) diets lose more fat. So, if you’re not caring how many carbs you eat, stick with regular creamers for best results.

WORKOUTS I’m digging: KETTLEBELLS

If you haven’t heard, I am in rehab (um, for a torn labrum and some muscular issues people!) and I was afraid I would lose ALL THE GAINS due to the fact that I can’t left heavy. Guess what? I have lost weight (some muscle, some fat), but kettlebells have helped me in therapy and have enabled me to keep that hard earned muscle. WIN.

primal-bells Wanna follow my workouts? Check it out on INSTA as I post some of the bets on there.

RECIPE I’m digging: Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cake

It is my birthday and I do love chocolate. I have nothing against flour, but found I really dig the flourless cakes since it’s ALL THE CHOCOLATE!

MOVIE I’m sorta digging but mostly just in the mood to watch: Chicago

chicago-movie_650

I have no shame, I am highly entertained by both the stage and screen version of this masterpiece….classier times ;)

I hope you enjoy your day as much as I will, and remember that finding a sense of enjoyment in all you do makes all the difference.

 

 

Finding my voice in Fitness

I had a major turning point this past week…..I remembered something I had forgotten: my voice.

Oddly enough, I was inspired by fellow blondie, Elle Woods :)

Have you ever had an instance where you forgot your voice?

I have been working and blogging in the fitness industry for over a dozen years, and when you are here for a while you can start to get a muddled voice. You forget what you know and sometimes your beliefs can take a back seat to current trends or stronger personalities.

Sharing your unique voice is what helps others most in the journey of life. I took some time to figure out what my voice truly says and I found out some pretty interesting things along the way…..

Srtong Camp 32 Photo taken at Strong Camp Houston by Paul Buceta

  1. A tight physique isn’t everything. It is my belief that working out for the sake of aesthetics won’t keep you motivated or get you very far. Since trying my hand at competing, this personal belief began to take a back burner. The more I focused on my looks, the worse I felt about myself. I went to the beach for almost a week and never donned a bikini……because I didn’t think I could.
  2. Listening to your body helps….to an extent. I have admittedly become a happy couch potato this summer. We love to watch movies and I have indulged with my family more than I ever have. But you know what? It’s OK. I’m not suffering from heart issues because a small season involved more rest than usual. Do I feel tight and lean? Not in the least…..but I have spent countless hours sitting with my kids talking, movie watching, playing and even planning for the future. I can get abs again, but talking freely with 2 teenagers is a rare treat.
  3. Sometimes, more is just more. I was working out nearly 3 hours a day when summer started. Half of that was heavy-duty lifts, the other half was cardio and yoga. Now, I still do yoga several times per week (at this stage in my life it is a must) but my workouts are home based and a bit shorter. I can get just as much done in a much shorter time frame. Why? Because metabolic conditioning is where I excel…..I just forgot that over this past year because I though I HAD to follow the rules. My workouts now are 25-45 minutes in the gym and consist mostly of kettlebells. The swelling has gone way down in my arms and legs and I’m starting to see definition I thought was lost until I decided to do another competition. This is my voice.
  4. True fitness can fit into any lifestyle. I really don’t believe you have to quit living just to be fit. I still eat chocolate and drink wine. I workout with my daughter by doing NTC workouts OR playing on the Kinect. True fitness isn’t all or nothing, it’s balance.

So, not that I have rediscovered my voice I plan on doing things with it. I plan to help others find their voices and find a fitness program that works with life, not against it.

So, what is your voice? You have something powerful to offer the world……you’re just hiding it :)

Until next time,

Michelle

P.S. Be sure to sign up for the email list ——–>>>>>>>>>>> to get exclusive workouts and recipes, plus check out our store for new offerings.

 

Funny Thing Happened Today…..

Good morning!

Let’s all get caught up real quick, shall we?

I just started back at the iron yesterday after a 3+ week break (it was forced) due to some health issues (not caused by lifting).

So….I’ve had a few mixed emotions.

First, I am excited to get back to the gym….however, that feeling is followed by the quick second of not wanting to leave home made harder by being home bound for so long. Any introverts feeling me?

Getting up the last 2 mornings has been a mixture of those 2 emotions in some way….going to bed is the same as I seem to talk myself out of going by the time I close my eyes.

THEN, I remember how I FEEL when I go regularly***(see note at bottom)

Funny-memes-how-I-feel-after-the-gym Something like that :)

This morning was my first leg day in what felt like forever, and after yesterday’s eh back workout, I wasn’t too pumped. So, I put on my fave Converse (the BEST for leg days) and set out to train these sticks that have taken me through life so wonderfully.

The workout itself wasn’t epic at all (I don’t favor epic as I try to aim for consistent), but it felt great. I trained legs unilaterally (one at a time) to address the many imbalances in my lower half AND the weight pushed wasn’t too shabby for such a break.

Two very rewarding things happened because of my consistency:

  1. A guy came into the sauna and asked how long I had been lifting. This is sauna guy’s favorite question….and mine too :) . See, these past few weeks I’ve felt small and not in a good way (why do women always strive for small anyways????). My midsection felt fluffy and my arms look like little noodles, lacking the curves they had not too long ago. So this question came as a great source of motivation for me. You see, I’ve been working out for 10 years (12+ years of yoga) and lifting consistently for 4 years. The body goes through an ebb and flow, but my soul mate workout is still there when I’m ready to pick it back up. My muscles start to remember the grip of the bar and the press of standing. I train for something far bigger than a show…..I truly train for the flow of life itself. Other than my marriage, this lifestyle has been my biggest commitment.
  2. A lady in the locker room (who had a cute workout top on) asked, “Didn’t ya’ll have some kind of show this past weekend?” It took me a while to realize that the “ya’ll” meant competitors. I had been added to an elite group. Even if you competed once (or 20 times) and no longer do, it is still an elite group. The group isn’t about who came in the leanest…..it’s about being a finisher. Did you know that under 5% of people actually have what it takes to finish out the goal of competing???? True story. It’s strength of mind and character that gets us there and it’s that same strength that keeps us going when life gets tough. She ended the conversation with wishing me luck on this weekend’s comp. In my eye, I am nowhere near competition shape, but she sees me in a different light.

bursting pipes gym meme

That begs the question of why can’t we see ourselves in that light?

When I go to the gym I wear long tights and baggy tops (although sleeveless cause YEAH!) so it wasn’t my six-pack (which is in there somewhere) or my lines that made her think I was ready for comp…it’s my passion lived out in the gym.

I’m grateful for the passion that I have. The passion in the gym is a gift! I start every morning with quiet time and a thankful prayer. I dedicate my workouts to those who cannot move, even though they desperately want to. I think about what I could be doing each day to inspire women to become the best version of themselves….the version outside of the aesthetic. That’s the one thing I think of and strive to do whether health permits the gym or not. That is my calling and I work out to ensure I am fit for my calling….not my jeans.

Now it’s your turn.

What light do you see yourself in? Does it match the light others see? Are you practicing a life of passion?

I’d love to hear, and I am listening! Let me know how I can inspire you :)

And by the way, thanks for inspiring me….

Michelle

***NOTE: heavy-duty weights is MY soul mate workout and the one I love the most…..you find the freedom to try things and figure out yours. There is no one way.

Strong Camp 14 Photo by Paul Buceta taken at Strong Camp Houston 2014

 

What if we were just OK? AND some Instagram inspiration

Oh, my, goodness….2 posts in 1 week?!?!?!? You gotta pinch yourself right?

I digress a bit…..

After you get over the shock of the posts, let’s get down to business. Specifically, let’s get down to the business of being YOU, just as you are and totally rockin it.

Sound good?

believe-in-yourself

We use the above image and saying for a lot of different things ranging from weight lifting to test taking to running, etc. You get the point right? But what if we used it in the sense that right at this moment, we really are OK?

In other words, do you feel like you are enough? Do you feel like you have what it takes, no matter your swimsuit size (those darn swimsuits!), no matter your thigh size and no matter the invisibility of your 6 pack?

I have a truth bomb for you from the ultimate TRUTH:

20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. -Hebrews 13:20-21

So, this says nothing about God equipping us with a 6 pack so more people will listen to us……or perky glutes to get the job done. Everything we need, we will find ourselves equipped*.

*Side note as always: I’m not advocating sitting around eating ice cream and Cheetos and not moving, but I really don’t think that’s what most people do. I do think most of us worry about our waistlines in the WRONG way though….

I want you to think about that for just a bit….what would life look like if you were OK with where you are? I know this is foreign to most because the American Dream tells us to always strive for more, but what if we could accept where we are especially in terms of our physical state? Better yet, what could we accomplish if we didn’t worry about our body fat?

This past month has been quite the eye opener for me. I noticed post-comp that I struggled with excessive mirror syndrome….as in, I kept looking in the mirror. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting to see, but the lack of a 6 pack (which I NEVER have unless my body fat is super low) was disappointing. It was so disappointing that it began to take up mental space that would have better been used for other things. In fact, I am convinced that we could find the cure for many diseases if we didn’t focus on certain body parts we wanted to change. I ended up getting sick and long story short I got grounded and have been doing ONLY body weight, low impact stuff for about 10 days. It has admittedly been a struggle, but the mind needs more growth than the muscles at this point.

I can say that I am almost “THERE”…the place where I am OK with the cellulite on my thighs and the extra fluff over my proverbially absent 6 pack. I’m OK wearing a swimsuit and things actually moving. The body was designed this way people! Stuff moves. Some body fat is actually GOOD. I garnered the inspiration I needed from some Instagram accounts that are REAL and HONEST….I also deleted accounts that had boobies, excessive 6-packs, and way too shorty shorts :) I suggest you do the same as scientists have actually found those images to strike closer to porn and further from inspiration.

That said, here are my top accounts to follow:

Busy Mom Gets Fit

GORGO Magazine

Sarah Vance

Fit PB Queen

Amber Dodzweit

 

When you just can’t even…….

So, as discussed in the past, I have issues :-)

The first step is admitting it you know……

It used to be that I had a severe issue with the word “can’t”. I thought of it as an excuse, a cop out, the grown up version of the dog eating your homework, etc. I am since coming to realize that if we don’t respect our bodies we actually CAN get to a point where we just can’t even….(insert Starbuck’s toting basic white girl here).

***NOTE*** This post is not saying you can get away with not believing in yourself, so don’ t go there.

that-awkward-moment-when-you-are-wearing-nike-and-just-can-t-do-it-genvieve-nnaji-quote-instagram-SOSnation_com_

Recently, I got sick. And by sick I mean multiple trips to the doctor and bed rest sick. I discovered a few key factors to myself that those closest know all too well, however I denied them for too long.

  1. I have a severely obsessive personality. For example: often when I immerse myself in yoga CE courses I will find myself veering towards becoming a yoga hippy on the run from modern society. In contrast, when preparing for my show I became OBSESSED with macros, food logging and rep counting.
  2. The above mentioned personality trait creates an environment for imbalance, thus making me feel off balanced every day.
  3. This lack of balance in life translates to lack of balance in health.

Last night I was talking to Alan (the man who should get an award for putting up with my particular brand of crazy) and told him that after brainstorming what I wanted life to look like one of my biggest physical goals was to just be HEALTHY. That is my main goal right now: radiant health.

It seems odd because to look at me you would think I am healthy right? Wrong. When the mind and body are in a chronic unbalanced state, something will give. In my case, my current ill-health seems to be a direct result of an unbalanced life.

So, what can you do to avoid this?

Honestly, we are never 100% in balance at any time, BUT we can walk towards balance in a few key steps:

  1. Brainstorm your GOALS. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and take TIME to think about what you want your life to look like. This is the starting point to creating a life with purpose….you need a roadmap.
  2. Take your eyes off the physical for a bit. For me personally, this means doing more low-impact work at home and allowing my body to heal.
  3. Decide what health means to you. Is it a great physical? Is it feeling good in your own skin? Is it waking with energy?
  4. Determine the steps needed to reach your goal. Once you find even 1 goal worth the effort, determine the necessary steps. If you really NEED to lose weight, then you will need to set aside the time to workout each day and become more educated in nutrition. If your goal is to have a healthier digestive system (a great goal for anybody), commit to keeping a record of your food and maybe even hiring a nutritionist to help. Whatever the goal, there are daily steps that will help you reach it.

Staying balanced shouldn’t be something that will upheave your whole life. It should actually make it better. Think about one word that will help you stay focused. My word of the moment is SIMPLIFY. I want to live a simpler, less complicated lifestyle. This means workout routines that are easily accomplished in my home, fewer supplements, a bit more yoga and a streamlined diet that focuses on nutrients.

Now it’s your turn. What changes will you make to achieve balance?

I’m listening :)

Michelle

Oh, that fluffy feeling……

I have issues…….I think you know that if you’ve read my stuff :) If this is your first visit, well then, I’m human and have issues. Welcome.

This has been an off week for me. It’s actually quite beautiful here in Southeast Texas, but I have been fighting with wicked allergies. I haven’t struggled with allergies like these since my childhood days! The severity of my cough which stemmed from a head full of snot (not the exact term the doc used), resulted in two allergy meds and an asthma med….with little relief as of yet. I was also told to rest…whatever that is ;) . I am perpetually not a rester. I like to DO things. Unless we’re watching a movie, then I just sit there like a stump on a log. Moving on…rest to me is yoga, Piyo (great program!), low impact circuits, etc. You know, rest :)

This forced rest and fuzzy head could be a great time to work on the devotional book I am writing, but I have been utilizing it to allow my head to enter into a dark space instead. My competition was a little over a month ago and I have put on about 7 pounds since then (give or take a pound). My coach is trying to reverse diet me to a lean, mean, lifting machine……I find myself in a panic. These days I feel much more mean than lean. I call it “fluffy.” You cannot feel fat. Well, you can if you stick your hand into a tub of Crisco, but that would be gross. Fat is a nutrient that we need, fluffy is when you just don’t feel as lean as a certain part of your brain thinks you should be.

During the competition itself I was excited for this time…..then I realized that this time is summer time and includes swimsuits (see previous post for a good laugh on that one). This past Sunday we spend time at my brother in laws pool for Father’s Day (thanks MIKE!) and I realized from the reflection in the window that my mind isn’t always right. Even at 7 pounds heavier, things are still healthy looking. I’m not sporting a six-pack (I’m also not a teenage boy….so there), but everything looks in shape. Body fat is there, but not nearly as noticeable as the muscle and I seem to be in good proportion. I promise I wasn’t standing in front of the mirror for hours checking myself out, this was just in passing.

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose First contest pic on the blog! Thanks to Alfonso Aguire :)

OK, so the above pic is not a realistic version of where my body can stay. That’s why we get pictures at competitions! Duh….. So, the logical part of my brain knows this, but the junior high girl who was made fun of for her weight (and yes, I remember all the comments and all the names…..issues) wants to stay there for special occasions. This part of post-comp is hardly ever talked about though.

So, why am I talking about it? Well, for the .01% of you who may compete, I like keeping it real. For the rest of you, there is something you keep comparing yourself to that holds you back from progress. Let that sink in.

See, my goal right now is NOT to look like I did during my comp (well, I wouldn’t mind that when I hang at the pool…). My goal right now is to add muscle, increase strength AND set aside quality time with my family. That means I can’t spend all day in the gym. Holding on to a past version of myself hinders any progress because my mind is not taking in the present and looking towards the future. I am allowing what was once a small thought to fester and become overwhelming.

Don’t get me started on the old videos and pics before I started to put on muscle.

This can happen to all of us. We get fixated on what we used to look like or what we think we should look like. I cannot tell you how many clients have said, “You should have seen me when…” Well, what’s so bad about now?

I don’t know about you, but right now I do not have any bikini photo shoots in the next 6 weeks. I do have a family vacation, but if your family can’t love you then who can? Most of the time we are harder on ourselves than anybody else. This drives us to a sort of obsession and can literally keep us from reaching our goals!

What can we do?

You know I love it when you ask that! I have a few action steps to get us ALL on the right track:

  1. Get real about your goals. For me personally, I had to realize that I could not want to add muscle and want the body of a svelte supermodel at the same time. That did not lead to consistency of any kind. Muscle is good for me cause let’s face it, I really like to eat.
  2. Enlist some help you trust. Pay for a coach (mine has been so helpful post comp) or join a challenge group. Having this accountability and knowledge is super helpful.
  3. Consistency above ALL. I have said it time and time again: consistency is king (small king, big King is God just to clarify). You must stay consistent to reach any goal you set. If your brain is all over the map, so will your goals follow.
  4. Get a power song! I have a lot of them and my playlist is full of NF, Lacrae, Andy Mineo, and even some AC/DC  :) I’ll share my song of the moment with you though.

There you have it. Four simple steps to a better you! Don’t let the world tell you who you should be or how you should look and don’t let past events dictate it either. Strive for a better you to give back each day and things will start to happen :)

mc-7159 I wanted to use this one for a while :) Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography (in the Baytown/Houston area)

NOW, let’s hear it! Leave your tips and suggestions for reaching goals and not heading into a negative mind space in the comments below :)

 

Summertime woes: A realistic look at swimsuit season

It’s June 16th here and if you live anywhere in southeast Texas, then you are probably hunkered down with your bottled water awaiting the ominous sounding Tropical Storm BILL….just the name inflicts fear. ;)

More fearful than any tropical storm is swimsuit season. I think I can speak for us all here right? There are just so many things that can go wrong…

I had my very own little run in with swimsuits a couple of weeks ago. You see, I can’t swim….I’m more of a sink or float kinda gal. Meaning when in a pool of water I usually end up close to the wall canoodling with my hubby :) totally acceptable behavior.

Anyways, I decided that this summer I should branch out. I mean, I just got onstage in the world’s tiniest bikini and was judged for goodness sake! I think I can learn to swim a few laps for sport. So, on we went to Academy to get a slightly larger and much more supportive suit….

Into the lion’s den:

It started off rather innocent enough. I walked in feeling full of confidence and eager to get this party started. I grabbed several suits in several sizes (cause you just don’t know with those things) and catwalked my way to the unisex dressing rooms…because we girls can have secrets no longer. I got the first suit on with a great struggle and looked in the mirror. Not good. Like, really not good. I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that I had just competed. I then promptly wondered what the heck I had been eating. It seemed like whatever wasn’t firmly encapsulated in the suit spilled elsewhere in the most unflattering fashion imaginable…..sort of like sausage which was busting out of its casing. With much effort, I removed the suit, though I did worry I might have to call in assistance. I picked up a larger size in bright red…side note: that’s a LOT of red no matter what your actual size. Though this one was a little easier to put on and the spillage seemed slightly more contained, I still began to question my training and nutrition. I didn’t bother with the third suit and I marched out to put those demons back in the cavern from whence they come, otherwise known as the swimsuit rack. I then perused the bikinis only to decide my fragile ego couldn’t handle that right now.

For the next couple of weeks (weeks, people) I struggled. It felt like my workout pants were tighter (um, they’re spandex). I got sick and had to go to the doctor where the nurse weighed me and I didn’t appreciate the number she wrote down (you’d think we gals could help each other out). I then had to go through old videos where all I could think about was how thin I was and that all my clothes fit then….

Here’s the catch: I work to empower women to forget the scale. I strive to have more women comfortable in their own skin. I love the variety of bodies on the beach and want others to focus on progress, not perfection. So what the heck????

There are many things that can go wrong while swimsuit shopping. Do any of these bring back horrid memories of yesteryear?

  • Swimsuit sizing if really weird! I think if I wear a medium in workout tights then I should wear a medium in swim bottoms. Is this too much to ask??!?!?!? When going through sizes, I always feel as though I have stumbled into the toddlers department and nobody was kind enough to point me to the correct place.
  • Lighting: really people? It seems as though the ONLY lighting available in these places is the large spotlight used for interrogations…..”Did you really log ALL of your food this week?” “Yes, I swear! I’m not guilty!!!!!” The higher end stores splurge on slightly softer lighting which makes me spend more money. I await a swimsuit dressing room lit in carefully placed tea lights and playing smooth jazz to mellow my fear.
  • You have to keep your underwear on while you try on swimsuits. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great rule, BUT it also added like 10 inches of fabric to my hips (OK< maybe not, but it feels like it).
  • Cellulite LOVES swimsuit shopping. You may not even see it in your shorts that morning, but by the time you pull on the plastic lined bottoms you can rest assured it will rear it’s dimpled head.
  • There seems to only be 2 (maybe 3) options when shopping: barely there skimpy OR old lady afraid of sunburn. The possible 3rd is the “fat displacing” ones that really do nothing other than squeeze body fat into even weirder places.

It’s a wonder any of us get out of the dressing room! The attendant smiles sweetly and asks “Did everything work out?” while I stand there with 23 different suits and tears in my eyes….I muster enough courage to smile back and say “Yes.” Like, duh, I like to keep at least 10 different sizes on hand!

To make matters worse, women are held to different standards than men. The men in my life don’t fret over whether or not their abs are flat in their long trunks….they really just want to make sure the trunks are big enough to allow movement and eating. Who eats in a swimsuit?!?!?!? If I ever get in it I certainly don’t want people to see me eating. That might make me relax my abs, which is one of the unforgivable sins. Guys swimwear sends a totally different message! It says “You’re cool man. Captain America trunks make the ladies believe that under that beer gut you actually look like Captain America”. Meanwhile, we slather on firming creams and practice rolling in and out of chairs so visible stomach flab won’t show :/

How do we make it better? Well, first off, we MUST adhere to the truth that we are all a work in progress. Progress denotes change….we are therefore, ever-changing. There is no such thing as the perfect body and I believe variety is a good thing. The second thing to remember is that body fat is normal and to be expected. Now, how much depends on lifestyle choices. There are a lot of lean people, but the only ones who are fat-free suffer from serious medical issues. So be thankful for your health.

I will be embarking upon a swimsuit shopping extravaganza soon and I have a plan that I think may just work. First, I am enlisting my besties to go with me. This sort of thing is better enjoyed in a group. Second, a good lunch with a couple of glasses of wine will be enjoyed beforehand as swimsuit shopping sober should be reserved for the youngsters who have yet to mature into their cellulite. Third, as women we must realize that we are far harder on ourselves than is necessary. We are defined by our character, not by any number.

So, I encourage you to go forth and shop heartily sisters! Show your daughters that we are comfortable with the changes and challenges of life. Be the best example to others of grace while in the dressing room…..and I pray every dressing room door will remain on its hinge during your adventure.

Be bold because you’re already beautiful,

Michelle

mc-7059 Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography