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.
Ok let’s get off of this mindset stuff for a hot second. I definitely realize the importance of it. Don’t get me wrong, when people talk about achieving healthy living as a lifestyle choice, mindset is the majority of the battle. It seems insignificant but really it’s huge. Because if your mind isn’t right, you’re not going to feel ok with making the decision to have self-care, you won’t feel right exercising, and it’ll be way easier to fall into the excuses trap then it will be to do the work.
I’m sure we’ll get back to that topic soon. I’m already thinking of stuff while I write this post in fact.
But I wanted this post to be more about the practicality of healthy living. I think a lot of people think that having a healthy lifestyle is super hard, it’s expensive or really time consuming. They’re comparing their journey unfairly to the famous person or influencer in social media who has a personal trainer coming to their house on the daily, and has a private chef. For the majority of the population, this isn’t how healthy living gets achieved. I mean girl if your goal is to have a private chef, I’m SO here for that. In fact, just plan on inviting me over for dinner ok?
I’m all about how it will work from a logistical standpoint, but I’m like that with most of my life. When you get hurt and you’re wheel chair bound, you begin to look at life like the game of Tetris. Like how are all these things going to fit together? How will I move through this activity to the next, what will I need, that sort of thing.
That line of thinking for me was only reinforced when I had a baby and had to think about all the things that could happen once we left the house. It’s like contingency plans on contingency plans, constantly trying to mitigate any risk or pain in the ass complicated situation you can come up with.
Obviously I’m a planner as a result and that extends to healthy living. I can’t second guess this stuff. Partly because I don’t have the time and partly because I know if I don’t have a plan, that’s when the bad decisions are made. So I plan. Not crazy but I definitely do plan.
Part of that means planning out what my family will have for dinner during the week. So ya that does mean taking an hour of my time, usually while I watch Grey’s Anatomy (you’re welcome), and coming up with recipes, or taking note of recipes I want to cook that week and making the corresponding grocery list from there. I’ve taken it a step further recently to include what snacks we will be having as well, and including those ingredients on my list. It just takes the thought out of it. I know what options I have for dinner, sometimes I pre-plan to the day if I know I’ll be out at night, and I know I have everything I need already in my house.
The other thing I plan are my workouts. This is a little more challenging because some of my workouts are planning for classes I teach or people I train privately, and some workouts are for my head more than my body (like yoga), and some workouts are just to sweat. But even then I know what is going to happen each day for that workout and I have it in my calendar. I have the time blocked out and I also have a back up workout just in case my original plan doesn’t work out. Working out because it happens more often than me going grocery shopping needs more options, more flexibility and more patience on my part. Because life is going to happen and things will change, but ultimately if I can get my workout handled at some point during the day, then all is good.
I’m not the type to stress buying this thing or that, or for a person to do this kind of exercise or that, but I do believe that we all deserve to feel our best. If taking an hour out of your day once a week and doing those things means I’ll feel better in the long run then for me, it’s an hour well spent.
Ok I’m going to go there. Some of you might not like this one, so fair warning with it, but I feel like with all I talk in regards to healthy living and balance, it’s worth addressing. Obviously I’m a huge proponent in having a coach to help support you and guide you when it comes to meeting the goals you’ve set for yourself in regards to healthy living. Maybe it is a balance issue, maybe you’re wanting to lose weight, whatever your end game is, a coach is for sure beneficial. A coach is 1000% (yes there’s an extra zero there) that person who can look at your life and tell you where to make changes so you can get the results you’re craving. A coach is that outside person who can call you on your bullshit as well. Because we all have excuses that hold us back. Coaches are invaluable, shoot I have a coach and will always have a coach. I need my person to tell me when I’m full of it, but also cheer me on when I do something well.
Here’s the thing though: even with a coach, at the end of the day girl it’s all on you. It’s still ultimately your choice as far as what you are going to do to get better. I’ve had this tremendous opportunity in my life to be a coach to all kinds of people. I’ve had the opportunity to work with all kinds of injuries, all different stages of life, all different goals and many different priorities. It’s been the best experience of my life to play a role in strengthening the individuals around me.
But ultimately it’s not even me doing anything. I mean obviously I have tools in my tool box that you don’t have, that’s just the nature of the beast. I’ll share everything I have, every tool, every piece of knowledge I’ve gained over all these years of experience. I’m more than happy to pay all of this forward. I mean after all, I’m doing nothing if I’m sitting on all of this knowledge and not sharing it with the people around me.
Even then, it’s still all on you. Because if you’re not willing to show up for yourself, if you’re not willing to commit to yourself, then nothing will change. You won’t see anything improve or have any kind of transformation because you haven’t taken any action. It’s not some like magical thing that will just happen through osmosis. You still have to do the work.
A lot of the time doing the work is more than just doing the exercises and eating well. Doing the work is understanding what’s holding you back from taking action in the first place. It’s scary to learn about that aspect of yourself. To learn what your excuses are and why you have them in the first place, and then work through them. I mean dang girl, it can for sure take you to some unexplored areas of your mind but in the end it’s worth it.
In the end, it makes doing the work a whole hell of a lot easier. It makes taking action towards achieving your goals that much simpler. The work won’t seem as daunting, your coach won’t seem as annoying, and you’ll be able to find motivation you didn’t know you had.
I talked about this on a live last month, and I’ve posted about in on IG (oh the Gram), but I felt like it was worthwhile to expand upon in here too. Only because so many people have contacted me about this whole concept of sophrosyne.
I know. Fancy. I’m not one for fancy words but I’m totally one to geek out on concepts that are so applicable to all people all of the time. And the Greeks are super smart with ideas that were applicable back then and now as well.
Basically the idea of sophrosyne is the idea of moderation. It’s knowing what you need verses what you want, and how you create a healthy lifestyle around that difference. It’s that idea that once you know why you over indulge on something, you’ll be able to make a different decision because you’ll understand why you’re making that decision in the first place.
I think when most of us are presented with this idea, we think about either what we’re eating or our fitness. It makes sense to me that our minds would go to those two things because those are two things that are directly correlated with healthy living that can be quickly screwed up when it comes to healthy living.
But doing that deep dive to understand why you’re reaching for the second piece of cake when you don’t really NEED it, or why you’re working out 4 hours a day when really 1 hour would suffice is hard. It means looking at aspects of yourself that maybe aren’t the most flattering or working through things that have happened in your life that maybe aren’t the prettiest.
It means you have to get uncomfortable. I mean right? Addressing these issues makes us have some icky feelings below the neck. Maybe our chest feels tight, maybe our breathing changes or we get clamy hands or all of those things happen at once. It’s uncomfortable, it’s hard, it makes us cry, it pisses us off but it’s so freaking necessary.
Not just for your growth and development as a human so you can be a better member of the community around you, but also for your own self worth and self love. It’s so you know when you go out to dinner and opt for the decadent mac n cheese instead of the salad that you won’t be beating yourself up about it later. It’s also knowing that you don’t need to finish the dish when you feel full. For me, it was giving myself rest days when I was actively trying to lose weight so my body could recover and embracing those rest days. Like going into true and full sloth mode and loving it because before I would berate myself for not working hard enough. I thought it would set me back and I would never lose the weight.
Healthy living really is about not just the choices you are making for yourself but also how you feel about those choices. Every choice. Down to your midnight snack choice. It’s knowing what serves you and what is a disservice to you and it’s being ok with those things. Because having a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you cut out all those things that you’ve loved before (like your lazy days), but it’s having the reassurance in yourself that those are not things you need to survive. That you can have some of all the things and be happy.
My husband started doing this thing awhile ago that literally had me thinking he was crazy. He started setting an alarm and waking up before everyone else in the house. His reasoning? He wanted to have time to ease into his day, he wanted to have time to himself to drink a hot cup of coffee and read, pretty much he wanted time to himself before the craziness of the day kicked in.
I could appreciate that. Because the days are crazy and there’s nothing worse than getting slammed out of bed, having to hit the ground running first thing in the morning. But when he started doing this, I was still in such a point of pain and my sleep at night was suffering SO much that the thought of setting an alarm to go off even earlier was like sheer torture to me. Any extra sleep I could get was a luxury, and mind you Grace was sleeping through the night at this point. But I wasn’t. My back was in so much pain, it was so inflamed that I would wake up on a good night at least once in pain to the point I couldn’t move, and it would take me at least an hour to go back to sleep. I went to bed exhausted and I was waking up exhausted.
Here I was thinking post foot injury that it would be my foot that would cause me the most amount of grief, when in reality, post partum, my back was worse than a hot mess. A hot mess express perhaps? I was listening to my doctor who was telling me to focus on core exercises to help support my low back help, which of course made intuitive sense to me as a Pilates instructor. But the pain was going nowhere fast and as anyone with chronic pain can attest, when you have chronic pain, it literally impacts every single aspect of your life. Not just your body and how it functions but EVERYTHING.
So no way in HELL was I going to be setting an alarm. I was looking to sleep in, I was looking to wake up feeling refreshed. I kept at it with the core exercises, I was already eating clean AF so I wasn’t too concerned about eating foods that were anti-inflammatory (because I already was) and I just waited for things to change. It killed me, this waiting around.
Finally after a few months of doing Isagenix, with my digestion back to normal and the toxins leaving my body at a rapid pace, I slept through the night for the first time since I had Grace. It was over two years and I remember waking up thinking “Whoa, WTF just happened?”. I felt like a freaking human again and it was the BEST FEELING EVER. I finally felt like myself. I finally looked like myself because while I didn’t lose a lot of weight (I lost my baby weight ironically super fast, but the inflammation that stayed around made me look like I hadn’t lost anything), I had lost my muscle tone and I had ENERGY. Chronic pain is this sneaky thing because it takes so much energy for your body to be in a constant state of pain that you’re left feeling depleted constantly. Combo that with the sleep deprivation of having a newborn child and it’s a recipe for disaster. I’m not kidding when I say I was so tired and run down, that I would drive to places, park my car and then wonder how I got there because I couldn’t remember the drive.
But now I felt like I had my life back. I can’t even begin to explain to you the relief I felt. It was like the clouds parted and freaking angels were singing from the heavens. It was only then that I felt like ok maybe I COULD set an alarm and get up before the rest of my house so I could ease into my day like I did pre-baby.
I started doing it and I learned that I actually really loved it. At first, my morning routine was nothing fancy, sometimes I would just lay in bed and give my brain a moment to wake up, sometimes I would get up and get coffee, sometimes I would snuggle one of my puppies.
Now my morning routine is intentional. Now I understand that how I start my day, including my first thoughts of the day, set the trajectory for my whole day. If you read my last blog, my initial thoughts in the morning are the same. I still wake up thanking God for the day ahead of me, being grateful for the life I had, and being grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to share my story and experiences with others as a means to empower the people around me. Don’t get me wrong, some days still go nuts and the morning routine doesn’t happen, but the majority of the mornings, I’m doing it. Even if it’s done in pieces or with Grace meditating with me, it still happens.
Now I set my alarm at night looking forward to the time I’ll have in the morning to pray, read my devotional, journal about the things I’m grateful for and most importantly, snuggle a puppy.