Look, if working out and losing weight were easy things everyone who talks about doing it would be doing it. It’s just that simple.
Ugghhh I want flatter abs. Dang I had them before I had Grace and as soon as she came out it was like nope, abs are a thing of the past. I felt ashamed about it. I mean I’m in the freaking fitness industry after all, I’m a walking billboard for the exercises I practice and this is how I look without a shirt? No thanks.
I got to that point in my post partum journey where I literally couldn’t find pants that fit comfortably. It was the most discouraging feeling in the world.
I knew I needed to workout but the prospect of moving my body as a new mama to a kid who apparently hated sleep exhausted me even more than I was already exhausted. It was a daunting prospect.
But here’s the thing: as long as you’re moving your body, and increasing your heart rate you’re going to burn calories. So on the days when you’re tired af, don’t focus on WHAT you’re doing, focus on just DOING.
Here’s my pro tip for how to workout when you’re exhausted:
Listen to your body. It’s really that simple. Be kind to yourself. Our bodies go through such a tremendous amount of change when we’re growing our families. We tend to forget that this change happens LONG before the baby actually shows up in our arms.
Don’t worry I won’t get all science nerd on ya, but rest assured between physical and hormonal changes that occur while you’re pregnant, your body has been through the ringer before you even go into labor.
Then regardless of whether or not your labor goes “smoothly” (OMG biggest laugh ever…smooth labor…I mean a watermelon coming out of THAT is definitely something you’re going to feel) you’ve still experienced a trauma. While it is a beautiful, transformative, life creating experience, it is still a trauma. And even though our bodies were designed to be able to create, carry and deliver life, it’s still a process with its own hormonal releases and physical changes.
And THEN you start breastfeeding which is a whole other game of hormonal and physical changes.
Here’s my point to this long winded reflection down memory lane. Your body has gone through a lot and if you’re still relatively early in your post partum journey, your body is still going through a lot. Not to mention that you’re attempting to teach a small human how to sleep, eat and all of those things.
I think of all those things, I think back to when I experienced all those things (with a colicky baby) and I was tired AS FUCK. I’ve never been that tired before, not even when I was in the Army did I EVER FEEL THAT TIRED. Bone sucking, mentally ass kicking exhaustion. It’s the kind of tired that you can’t even explain to another human. It’s that unrelatable.
So I can imagine that the prospect of working out makes you want to kick people in the shins. Conversely you feel like you have to because you’re just so sick of seeing that flab that makes you look like you’re in the not so cute stages of pregnancy (when it looked like you just ate too much) so you feel like you have to workout. Talk about a shitty catch-22.
Listen to your body. Be patient. Be kind. Know that these changes that happened in your body took almost a full year to occur so give yourself TIME to heal and TIME to get back to a healthy state. Focus on the things you can control. Like eating healthy food.
When you go to workout, do the workouts that sound the most appealing in that second of time. I always had a workout and a contingency plan. The reason being two fold: first I could have options if I was so tired I couldn’t see straight AND I needed a back up in case things around me went to shit.
I always had the hardcore, super intense workout. This was normally something HIIT, or longer endurance workouts that I knew would kick my ass. Then my back up was always the gentler option. Yoga, mat pilates, resistance training, stretch days, things that were kinder to my body.
On days when I needed to, I did the gentler workouts and celebrated the fact that I could still move my body and on the days when Grace wasn’t partying like an out of control rockstar, I did the more intense workouts. On days that went so amazingly well I had to pinch myself, I did both (those days were rare in my house).
Regardless, I was doing the work and what mattered more is that I was doing the work consistently. I could focus because the workout was what I needed, I felt better after, and I knew that I was still on my way back to feeling like myself again.
I think losing weight is one of the hardest things we can do. Like annoyingly hard. Especially if you’re doing it the right and healthy way and not trying to find a quick fix.
Because the weight didn’t come on overnight, so it’s not going to come off overnight either, especially if what you want to see is sustainable change. But it’s frustrating. You’re not thinking about the series of bad decisions that led to you now looking in the mirror analyzing every part of your body that you don’t like, having a hard time finding clothes that fit properly, or squeezing those parts of your body that you feel are a little...off...
I’m just calling it like I see it. You’re not thinking about the fact that you have been going through the line at the fast food joint more often than not because you didn’t prep dinner, you’re not thinking about diving into the box of cookies late at night and you’re sure af not thinking about all those times you said “I’ll work out tomorrow”.
It’s just reality. But at some point you’re going to get to the point where you’re like damn I’m so over this and I HAVE to make a change. And you want the change to be instantaneous.
So it’s hard when you start that journey and nothing happens. You’re putting in the work and it feels like nothing is changing, like you’re doing the work for nothing. Of course our natural inclination as humans is to be like “I’m done”. I mean why do the work if there’s no pay off? I can understand that. Especially as a parent, busy adult, all those things…you’re working healthy living into an already hectic schedule, so when you’re not seeing any transformation, it’s like why keep adding this complication in to my day?
But seriously, those LBS are going to be the LAST thing you see any change in. It’s a shitty prospect, I realize that, but the scale is going to be the slowest thing to change. There’s tons of reasons behind this, there’s a lot of science I won’t get into, and the sad truth is that since most people want to see that number change first, when it doesn’t change, they stop trying.
This is where I really want YOU to be aware of everything going on in your life. Have a journal, take notes in your phone via SIRI, I don’t care how you do it, but you need to have a mindfulness of more than just the scale. In fact, when you first start your journey into health and living, as well as weight loss, I would encourage you to hide your scale for at least 30 days.
Take note of other things happening around you. Those non-scaleable victories. Are you happier? Are you more energized? Have you been able to cut back on your afternoon cup of coffee because you don’t feel that afternoon slump? Are you craving the candy bars less? What about patience? Have more of that lately with your kids?
Those things are all wins to me. Those are all transformations. Those are all aspects of this journey that are worth celebrating because they make your life better. So take note of them. Celebrate them. Focus on them and don’t worry…the change on the scale will come.
Working out can be so damn frustrating. Look I’m just calling it like I see it. There are some days when holy crap the workout doesn’t work out at all. Maybe you slept wrong, maybe you didn’t have breakfast or coffee, maybe your kids are interrupting you or the dog is being a pain in the ass...regardless there’s gonna be days when your workout will lead to more frustration than release.
That was my workout this morning. I knew I was pressed for time, but I needed to move my body. So I grabbed one of my quick workouts from the YouTube channel and attempted to get to work. Only to be interrupted like 5 million times (I’m exaggerating but you feel my pain) by my freaking dogs. Like why do you have to wrestle on TOP of my mat??!
But then I checked myself. Like hard. Because I don’t mind a workout getting hard, I know it will and it should, but I definitely mind getting distracted when I workout. Here’s the thing though: it’s still better than not doing anything or not being ABLE to do anything.
I started thinking back to the days when I first got hurt, when I was doing bicep curls in a bed because I couldn’t walk, and I started thinking about how far I’ve come. It brought me to tears. When I was knee deep in my injury, when my body was wrecked after I had Grace, I never thought I would be able to move my body in the way I can now. Seriously sometimes I even surprise myself.
I started thinking that every workout I do, every time I move my body, it’s an opportunity for me to show myself of my capabilities. Even if the workout doesn’t go as planned, even if I’m frustrated, it’s still a reflection of how far I’ve come. It’s still an opportunity for me to show up for myself. That makes even the shittiest workout worth it to me.
We all know that parenthood and incorporating healthy living into it won’t go as planned. That’s the best lesson I’ve ever learned as a parent, the art of being flexible and patient, and now I know that it all starts in my head and if I can look at things from a different perspective, it makes all the work worth it.
So when the workout gets frustrating, regardless of why, I want you to focus on how far you’ve come, how much you’ve shown up for yourself and how proud of yourself you should be. Let those thoughts give you power and motivation to finish STRONG.
I quit my job so I could work out more. I’m only half kidding because having the flexibility to make working out a priority that didn’t have to happen at 6am was awesome.
But here’s what I figured out about myself: I come from this long line of super kick ass, extremely empowered and progressive women. I’m sure I’ll write about it more in depth another time, or maybe do a live on the good ol’ Gram, but I have been blessed to have amazingly influential women in my life.
Their influence helped me realize that everything I did in my life, from my first job out of college, to getting into the fitness industry and eventually expanding that into an online platform has all been with the same underlying goal: to help as many women around me as I can realize and step into their badass potential.
When I began working with victims of violence all those years ago, that was what I looked forward to the most. Obviously, a LOT of things had to take place in order to get each woman to that point. For some women, it unfortunately didn’t happen while I was working with them. But I was blessed to be a part of so many journeys that started with a woman in arguably the worst place in her life on every level, where the priority was truly safety and survival, and ended with her feeling like she had her life back.
I used to tell the survivors I worked with that I wanted to know where they ended up and there was nothing that felt better than having a survivor come into my office telling me she got her first job since she couldn’t remember when, that she was going back to school, or that she finally found herself again.
It was never the words that moved me. It was always the aura around them, the energy that moved with them, the confidence they gave off that would leave me feeling this tremendous sense of gratitude that I played such a small role in this life changing transformation.
When I decided to take the leap, leave my cushy corporate job and pursue fitness as a full time gig, it was because of that feeling. I love seeing the people I’m training gain their healthy back, gain their sexy back, lose weight and feel better. That air of confidence was the same and I got to sit back and say yep I helped out in that person’s journey.
The job might change, it might evolve but the mission stays the same: help as many women as I can realize their true potential.
Because the confidence you gain when you train with me is the confidence that translates into the boardroom, into your parenting, into your relationship, into every single other thing you do.
There’s nothing better than seeing someone walk out of a workout or hang up from a call with their head a little higher, their spine a little straighter and their smile a little brighter.
I was talking to a friend recently who didn’t know that much about my history. She didn’t know about my foot, or the litany of other injuries I had, and when I started delving into things she said “damn girl, you’ve got a lot of stuff wrong with you, how did you get to that point?”
I could go through the specific exercises that caused injury, you know the practicality of it, like what I was doing at the time that caused the injury. But I feel like that would take too long. Because here’s the thing: how I did all the things doesn’t really matter, all of my major injuries all happened in succession in a few years directly following my foot and there was an undercurrent of commonality amongst all of them. I didn’t love myself.
That’s a really hard thing for me to right. I know I didn’t though. I thought I could just push my body to the point of injury because I had already been through worse, so nothing else could be as bad right? It didn’t matter that I was young and had my whole life ahead of me (and totally wasn’t thinking about how chronic pain would look as a longevity issue). I didn’t love myself enough to be compassionate to myself.
When I coach people, I notice the same thing. We are more often than not cruel to ourselves. We very rarely show ourselves the love that we need in order to experience the growth we’re seeking. I know there’s a lot of contributing factors to mindsets like this, I know because I know what’s contributed in my life to my own mindset and I know now how important it is to do the work to shut that inner critic up.
It’s not an overnight process either. You have to first recognize the negative things that are even coming through in your thought process before you can begin the process of changing anything. Once you recognize what those thoughts tend to be, you have to do your due diligence to replace those negative thoughts with something more positive, and then you have to KEEP DOING IT. Which is easier than it sounds.
Because at first, you’re going to go back to the negative thoughts quickly and you might not even find anything positive to say to yourself because the negative thoughts are such an easy fall back. It’s muscle memory, your brain as a muscle is geared towards a certain line of thought and if you are used to telling yourself how much you suck or some variation of that, then that’s where your mind is going to go.
You have to keep at it. You have to keep shoving those positive thoughts into your conscious train of thought until you think you’re going to explode into rainbows and sunshine. And then you do it again, you do it more, you just keep at it.
Now when I exercise the positive thoughts are like second nature to me. Whenever something gets hard, whenever I want to quit, I have certain things I instantly go to in my head to push through whatever I’m doing.
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking well dang I have nothing positive to tell myself. Which I get because if you’ve never done this before it is super weird, we’re not accustomed to celebrating our victories.
The easiest way that I got into the groove of celebrating my achievements was by writing them down. Seriously. I sat down with my journal and I wrote down 100 things I have achieved throughout my life. From the little things like learning how to French braid my hair, to the big things like scholarships, graduating college, learning how to drive.
Celebrate all your victories and relish in the fact that you are totally unique. One of one. Then the next time you’re working towards your goals in a workout or in the board room, you’ll find how much easier it is to show yourself the love you deserve.
I’ve been thinking a whole lot lately about ego. I mean obviously if you read the last blog post about doing what you need verses what you want, ego goes pretty strongly with that right? Because doing what your body needs might mean putting your ego aside. It might also mean actively stopping the comparison game that I know we all play when it comes to getting healthy. I get it, I share these experiences I have and give these opinions because I’ve been there.
Being in the fitness industry, ego can get in the way so easily and so quickly as can the comparison disease. There’s this constant drive to look amazing, be rocking ALL the muscles, be able to pull off all the tight clothes, be stronger or faster or leaner than the person next to you. Really all that leads to is this dissociative state of reality.
Your ego becomes your inner bully constantly trying to push you to where it thinks you should be instead of embracing the journey you’re currently on.
Case in point: when I was cleared by my doctor post delivery to start practicing Pilates again, I went into the studio, by myself just to see where my body was at. I remember trying to do a roll up (if you don’t know, it’s an ab exercise) and I could NOT DO IT. AT ALL. Instead of taking a deep breath and giving myself credit for even being in such an amazing state of health that my doctor COULD clear me 4 weeks post c-section for exercise, I thought “fuck I’m gonna have to find another job.” No joke. I had NO sympathy for myself. My ego was the sole operator, telling me that I needed to be in a certain place, to be able to perform a certain way when I was only a month post partum, not to mention post major abdominal surgery.
You know what I figured out though? I didn’t need to be ashamed at where I was on my journey because I wasn’t alone. In fact, the women I trained loved me sharing my journey back to my “Pilates shape” because it was more relatable to them than the women who just seem to bounce back post baby with zero issues whatsoever.
That struggle is what binds us because it draws commonalities and also shows us what we’re capable of accomplishing. While that potential for accomplishment can be completely limitless, we have to check our ego in order to make it happen. That ego, that internal bully is going to be the first thing to give you a hard time whenever you try to make a positive change for yourself. Like that saying “you are your own toughest critic”, that ego gets in the way of progress for whatever reason, and ultimately your end goals that are completely attainable end up suffering.
I know you can do it because I’ve done it too and I know how much internal grit it takes to ignore that critic, that bully, that mean girl that always wants to knock you down a peg.
So now whenever that internal bully comes up in my head and starts telling me all my failings, not only do I tell her to sit down and shut up, but I also remind myself of 10 of my accomplishments. Small ones, big ones, it really doesn’t matter. I put where I think I should be aside and embrace where I’m at, embrace that I’m on a journey and it’s only going to get better from here.
Some days I just need to slow down. I know you know that feeling. When your body is literally telling you to stop and take a breath because you’ve been going a mile a minute with no end in sight. I mean I get it, life is crazy and there’s always something that needs to get done or something that needs to be taken care of for someone.
I’m not saying that taking a break means that you neglect your responsibilities. Far from it. I’m saying that taking a break needs to be an opportunity for you to rejuvenate.
With self-care being the hotness, I feel like people everywhere are toting this verbiage of doing what’s the best for you. To me, that’s not what self-care means.
Back in the day, I couldn’t give myself a break even if I tried. When I was really active in CrossFit, and then again post baby when I was trying my hardest to lose weight and feel good again, the thought of taking time off was non-existent. It was one of those ‘well that’ll be a nice thing to have in the future when I’ve reached my goals’ kind of thought.
I let my ego get in the way, along with my pride. I felt like taking a break meant I was weak or that I didn’t take the goals I set for myself as seriously as other people took their goals. Like one day off would circumvent any progress I had made.
I realize that sounds a little ridiculous but that’s where my head was at. Like I didn’t deserve to take a second to myself, I had to do everything by myself AND I still had to workout like a fiend so I could hit my fitness goals. I was lucky because I didn’t hit burn out. Most people do. That kind of pace isn’t sustainable nor is it realistic for the majority of the population.
But you know what happened? I didn’t have some major epiphany or some major meltdown (thank GOD), but I started regressing. Not giving my body the rest it needed, meant that my body couldn’t perform in the manner I wanted it to because I was too exhausted. The feedback I received from my body was to stop if I wanted to get stronger. Take a break if I wanted to see change.
I could spout off all this stuff about how I had to let go of my ego and my pride, I had to do the work to realize that I was worth the break, my body deserved the rest and all that stuff. But I won’t. I won’t because that wasn’t how it happened. I had to give myself the rest because I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t performing to the degree I wanted to, and I had to let that rest show me that it wasn’t going to undo the progress I already made. After I saw that taking a break was not going to undo everything I had already done, that I actually felt better, then I started to do all that internal work (with the help of a coach).
This is why when I coach, I encourage my clients to listen to what their bodies are telling them. Know that there is always an option that will work the best for you and it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing. Learn the difference between doing what you want and doing what you need, and take ownership in doing what you need. There’s power in listening to what you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So when you want to go hard, go for it but when you need to slow down, go for that too.