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

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Things are changing :) Don’t fight it…

Hey fit peeps!

Spring and Summer give new flight to dreams and change is an inevitable and unavoidable exchange during this season. Contrary to popular opinion, change can be a very good thing if welcomed with an open mind.

change

 

We can find ourselves reluctant, but let’s remember a few things about change and your overall health:

  1. A change in diet (the daily foods you consume) can boost metabolism and result in greater fat loss, hence the weekly “cheat” meals so many competitors swear by (I live each day like a cheat meal, but info on that will come later).
  2. Changing your workout routine is imperative to keep the body from adapting and hitting the dreaded plateau.

So, you see? Two examples of how change can be crucial to reaching our goals.

In honor of an open mind to change, I have some HUGE news that is worth sharing with those that frequent this blog:

I am a blogger.

Um, well, duh…

I know it seems stupid to point out, but let me explain.

I have been in the fitness industry for over 10 years now. I have led boot camps, done countless personal training sessions, taught yoga in class and private forms, taught any and all group exercise formats, led nutrition education series and experimented in the kitchen for that long as well. I found something odd happening a couple of months ago: I became exhausted and less than thrilled with my profession. Blogs became a burden and sharing any information seemed completely and totally for nothing. I was inundated with emails daily that contained questions which had been addressed in years past on this very blog. I came to the realization that I am only 1 person (seriously, no team here) and I can only do so much.

Between training appointments, dealing with other people’s emotions and drama, seeking to lead a change in several cultures at once, and worrying about my own physique and what I had to prove….well, I lost myself. The best part of losing yourself is that it grants you a unique opportunity to not only find yourself, but discover the YOU  that you actually want to be. Over the past few months I would not have wanted to hang out with me.

So, I’ve been working on an exercise that has helped me re-discover what I am here for and how to turn that into what I do on a daily basis…without wanting to kill people :)

I began keeping lists (OH! I love lists!) related to what I love about what I do now, what I could possibly delegate, and what I need to send packing. The interesting thing I found was in the LOVE catagory:

  • Blogging: sharing my story and expertise with others in the hopes that they will find the inspiration to be the very best version of themselves. It is through this that I hope to empower others to share their uniqueness so that change in the way we think about ourselves and react to others becomes more organic and natural. Plus, I like words and trying to sound super smart :)
  • Workouts: let me make it clear though…I like workouts of ALL kinds and I tend to mix it up frequently. I want to share workouts with others to inspire them to move their bodies and discover the fun in fitness. I do NOT, however, enjoy workouts that require me to constantly obsess about my anatomy and how it looks. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s only my hubby and myself that see this in all its glory…who cares what everybody else thinks?
  • FOOD! Oh, I love the kitchen cooking and totally pretending that I am from Italy (I’m actually Irish/German, but whatever). I like to experiment with food, maybe make it a little healthier, and cook for the love of those who put up with me. THEN, I like to share what I have learned.

Now, my family is far above these 2, but I don’t keep a blog on them (my son would kill me). What I found MOST interesting is that the things I LOVE the MOST were not really getting done. Why? Because my vision was clouded.

So, I am making some changes to this blog AND to my life that will help to streamline everything into a more blissful experience.

Need help getting your nutrition together? Thanks to my INCREDIBLY patient business partner, Fitness Haus will be launching this Summer and will offer you a brand new take on food. It will allow me to play more in the kitchen and share my experiences with you. You’ll get weekly meal plans (don’t worry! It’s not deprivation based. I want you to learn to love food again), recipes, grocery lists, fit tips and nutrition tips.

Want workouts that won’t break the bank OR your back? I have a dozen workout journal filled with workouts. I like what I do and have the opportunity to film short workouts for you so that you can begin to build your database of go-to exercises for any goal you set. ALL right here on this blog…and of course, the YouTube channel with the most informed and most patient subscribers. I’ll be keeping it real with real-time workouts, sweat and ZERO makeup…cause that’s how I roll.

I’ll be blogging here about new products and supplements, fun workouts that I’ll be trying out, news in health and fitness, and all the happenings in the #sweatpink community.

What about live classes and trainings?

I am keeping those to a minimum and beginning to shave some off of my bursting schedule. Bottom line: I’m no good to anybody if I’m trying to save everybody :)

From me to you, I appreciate that you have hung out with me and I promise the very best is yet to come….so stick around, you’ll be glad you did.

MichelleC

Seeing health and fitness in a whole new light

Tough Love Tuesday!

Change the mindset to evoke changes

I know the above phrase can make you think of Confucius saying, but stick with me as I have noticed some very powerful changes in just the past couple of months.

There has been quite a bit happening with my physical body here lately. It took me several months after pregnancy to get back into the draw of working out. I tried to beat my body into shape again, thinking I could do it just as I did before. This only caused massive amounts of inflammation and serious discomfort. The more I struggled and fought with my body, the worse it got. So, I figured running a sprint triathlon would be the answer, as it would force my body to train harder (um, yeah, I’m not really the sharpest crayon). This resulted in several weeks of forced time off and some really awful internal issues of which I will spare you the details. This then sent me on the path of cleansing, which only made matters much worse.

So, after weeks of prayer and persistence, I finally gave in to backing it off. You see I had started on a yoga quest of sorts, simply committing to add yoga daily to my other fitness ventures. After all went South, I resolved to at least stick with yoga. I have now been doing yoga for 40 straight days. Now don’t be fooled by what Western minds can lock into yoga, I practice a very vigorous style. I did, however, fall back into old habits of believing I would end up frumpy and flabby if I wasn’t degrading my body into a tight pool of overused muscles. Want the truth on what has changed? Keep reading, I’m saving that for later :)

There are a few things that were brought into light during this more mindful time. Most of them were about the way I had trained myself and others. As I was noticing these things I began to see them across the board and it worries me for the future. You see, I cannot find many health and wellness trainers, meaning trainers who are concerned with integrity. All to often I meet trainers with no integrity, but that is an entirely different post. I’m speaking here of integrity of the body. What if we could let go of the outer body (surface muscles forcing to create movement and carry load) and train the inner body (stabilizing muscles) to make life easier? Here are the things I noticed about my training when I was thinking about competing:

  1. I didn’t really CARE about my class or clients. I began to think everybody should embrace pain. I was told pain meant results so why should they get a break?
  2. If my clients had trouble losing weight, it was their fault. I allowed myself and my training to be boxed in. Life is constantly altering, training should too.
  3. I felt that my “lifestyle eating” of anal retentive food control was normal…it’s not.
  4. I thought anybody who wanted results should adapt to the anal retentive eating plan.
  5. I felt like everybody else just wasn’t trying enough.
  6. AND…I looked at myself in the mirror ALL THE TIME! Looking for flaws, not admiring anything.

This way of life left me feeling more trapped than free. I was usually a little perturbed when I went into class or session and more so when I came out. My break over my body not responding (God will slow me down if I am running full speed down the wrong path) allowed me to take a step back and see what had happened. I had become a pusher of perfectionism. This attitude took a toll on my health (due to imbalance) and my family.

So what’s the big deal with the past 40 days? Well, a lot has changed. My outside stressors have increased, and even though it’s all for great news (homeschooling Deb, kids out of school for Summer, writing assignments and opportunities) it’s still stress. The strange thing is that I have altered my responses so that I become more of a responder to stress instead of a reactor. Points for centering! Also, there have been quite a few outer changes as well. My skin is so healthy it glows (that’s not the Shako, it’s my own concoction of healthy juicing and smoothies) due to the detoxification from the practice. I have NOT lost my temper in quite some time! OK, that’s a big one for me people. I can feel it rise then bring it into balance. I have lost lots of inches and not gotten all flabby! What??? It’s true. I struggled for  a few months to get back into my pre-pre-baby clothes and they are now fitting! And all this time I have not been following the anal retentive meal plan (that’s totally what I’m going to start calling it). So, what have I been doing?

My food is really simple. Really. Simple. I eat what’s in season and what I want, when I want it. I do love smoothies with fresh fruits and all, so I usually have at least one of those per day. I eat fruit whenever I want (gasp! go the anal retentive diet devotees!) and I have enjoyed dinners out and even a few trips to the local frozen yogurt shops. My practice varies from super physical to near restorative based on the day and right now most are 1-2 hours due to teacher training in Core Strength Vinyasa. Debbie and I have just started jogging together 2-3 mornings per week. The best part about that is I have been able to let go of the expectations (time, pace, distance) and just ease into it to be with my daughter. It’s become our “girl time”.

In short, my body, mind, and spirit are happy. I feel as though the shell that was covering me has been broken and God just said “GO.” It’s a wonderful feeling of freedom that I’ve never really experienced. Does it mean I won’t slip back into bad habits? Of course not. I still find myself afraid of a hungry belly. One reason is that I spent the first 2 decades of life on deprivation diets. The second reason is that when following the anal retentive meal plan, one can get quite crabby when the tank starts to near empty. :)

Now, you may wonder how a Christian can embrace yoga so fully (due to yoga’s spiritual influences). I hope you are wondering because I fully plan on exploring that. You see, we are called out into the world to witness. My ministry is not behind the closed doors of church or in my office, it is wherever I am. Ministry is not a vocation, it’s a dedication. I am ready to be used through all of my imperfections, and I am happy to stop judging what I see in the mirror. This alone helps us to judge others less (whole different post!).

So, figure out your balancing point. Know where you feel happy and follow God’s guidance. Happy and comfortable are 2 very different things! Just ask anyone who has mastered the forearm stand :)

Here’s to true health,

Michelle

P.S. For those wanting to figure their balance point and find a new neutral where the body can become what it was created to become, I have LIVE CLASSES coming in the Fall and sticking around for good :)

Fun Friday! Total Randomness

I hope everybody has an awesome weekend and when I check back next week I’ll have some killer news for you :)

So, enjoy the vid, stay connected with me through Facebook and Twitter, and stay healthy!

Michelle