Create Your Fitness Entourage

Lacking the motivation needed to hit the gym? Grab a friend (or 3) and take them along for the run. Working out with an entourage can boost your performance and increase the likelihood that you will actually show up, because you are being held accountable by an external source. Not only will these people motivate you to be more active, they will also push you to train harder and longer than you would on your own.

I am an early riser — yes, I am that girl that springs out of bed like Tigger and hits the floor running when my alarm goes off at 4:30am — and often hated by those who like to hit the snooze button several times before rolling out of bed. I train at 5am five days a week and typically train alone. I am internally motivated and don’t rely on others for motivation or encouragement to hit the gym; I love working out and that alone is enough of a motivator to get me moving in the morning. However, not everyone shares my love of the weight room and especially not at 5 o’clock in the morning. I would be lying if I said I never have trouble getting up in the morning. There have been days (not many, but they still exist) that it was an absolutely struggle to sit up in my bed, let alone get out of it and get dressed to go workout. It’s on those days that being accountable to someone other than myself would have made things much easier.

Last week, a friend mentioned that she wanted to get back into the gym and asked if anyone would be willing to go with her to keep her motivated and accountable. This made my little trainer heart skip a beat! And when she said that she wanted to go at 5am, I was even more excited! So I immediately told her I would go with her. We made a plan and got to it this week. We’re only two days in but I will say she is the perfect workout partner. Neither of us like talking or being social while we’re training and we both like to get in, handle our business, and get out. I met her at her gym (Planet Fitness), laid out the plan and went to work! The best part of training that early in the morning… it’s virtually empty, which means no waiting for equipment and no shortage of weights. Score!!

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Still not convinced that an entourage can motivate you to get in the gym? Think about this… when we exercise our body releases hormones called endorphins that give us a natural high. To determine if endorphin levels are affected by working out in a group, a team of researchers from the University of Oxford measured endorphin production in a group of rowers, both when they exercised alone and when they trained together as a team. They found that participants had a significantly higher tolerance to pain after exercising in a group than they did when exercising alone. So what are you waiting for?? Create your fitness entourage and get moving!!

#RedLipstickProject

This morning my social media feeds were filled with news about Karyn Washington, the creator of the blog, “For Brown Girls” and the “Red Lipstick Project.” I had never of her or her organization before this morning, so I clicked on a few of links for more information. I think what saddens me the most, aside from the fact that she was on 22 years old, is that she willingly poured so much of herself into ensuring that others felt loved and beautiful, yet she didn’t receive what she needed in return to fulfill her and let her know that her life mattered too. There is no way of knowing if we could have said or done something to change her fate. However, her untimely death is a reminder to us all to be mindful of how we view and treat those around us. You never know what a person is battling behind the makeup and forced smile. Often it is a struggle for them to get out of bed and face the world. I know because I have been there, and it was the kind gesture or words of a complete stranger that made the day a little more bearable.

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Being beautiful has little to do with your outward appearance and everything to do with your grace, humility and character. While many of us never had the opportunity to know of or support her efforts while she was here with us, I am certain that the thousands of people whose lives she touched will pay it forward and ensure that her death is not in vain. Life is a precious gift. May we all remember that God placed something special and unique inside of us to share with others. Sometimes we figure it out on the first try, but often times we don’t and we have to start again from the beginning… and that’s okay! There is something great and wonderful about starting fresh. Have faith that it’s all part of God’s plan.

My prayers and condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones.

Black Quinoa & Avocado

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If you’re looking to switch up your morning routine and amp up your protein intake, give this quinoa recipe a try! Unlike most grains, quinoa boast about 18 grams of protein per serving.

There are several varieties of quinoa, but black quinoa has a much firmer texture than the white variety, and makes a great alternative to cold breakfast cereal. This recipe makes approximately 6 servings, which makes your weekly meal prep a cinch!

Ingredients
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup black quinoa
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 thinly sliced avocado
6 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds
6 tablespoons honey

Directions 
Bring water and salt to a boil. Whisk in grains. Return to a boil. Reduce
heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 15
to 17 minutes. Let stand for
5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and top with almond milk, avocado, almonds, and honey.

**Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2012

Keep Your Head in the Game

Raise your hand if you are ready for Summer. Me too! Mother Nature has been dumping some seriously nasty weather on us this winter. I’m talking, FRIGID!! Admittedly, the weather alone has been enough to make me consider skipping a workout or two. Even though it’s still cold outside, bikini season is just around the corner. Are you ready to rock those bikini’s and board shorts this summer?

I am going to give you three simple tips to help you keep your head in the game and on track to rock that beach body:

(1) Back off of the booze. I know it’s March Madness and I just spoke words that would bring a fraternity house party to a screeching halt. But just know that every drink you consume contains sugar. And the sugar in alcohol (no matter if it’s beer, cocktails or wine) will turn to fat. Let me just remind you that fat is just what you don’t want to have hanging over your bikini or skinny jeans. Trust me, it’s not a cute look. You are [literally] what you eat and drink, and your body will keep an accurate diary of your daily habits even if you don’t.

(2) Put it in writing. All major contracts and deals are put in writing. Why? Because it holds the parties involved accountable. If you’re looking to reach your goal, why not hold yourself accountable by putting everything in writing. I highly recommend investing in a workout journal. It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy or bound in leather, unless that’s what you’re in to in which case… go for it! I buy all of my journals at TJ Maxx and they get the job done for under $4.

(3) Have faith in your own ability. Professional boxer and heavyweight champion, Muhammed Ali once said during an interview, “It’s a lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself.” If you don’t believe in your own ability to achieve your goal, no one else will. It has to start with you. Be willing to acknowledge your victories and your triumphs, and know that no matter how many times you fail you always have to the ability to begin again, this time wiser and more motivated.

Crossfit Made Me Do It

It’s been a while since I’ve completed a Crossfit WOD and considering that I’ve been less than excited about my current training regime, I figured today was as good as any to jump back into it and break up the monotany.

Today was all about the AMRAP’s. For those not familiar with the term, AMRAP means as many rounds (or reps) as possible. The idea is to cycle through each superset as many times as you can in the prescribed time.

Now, I am not a Crossfitter by nature so I had to have a little help from my friend, and Crossfit coach Colby on how to score the workout. So here’s my best effort at explaining how to score your workout (don’t judge me if I screw up). The WOD is scored by counting the number of rounds and reps completed.

For instance, if you complete three complete rounds of 3 muscle ups and 6 deadlifts (as was the case with today’s workout) then your score would be 3 + 9.

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Moment of truth… I can’t jump rope. Seriously, I have never been able to master it and I honestly don’t have the patience to spend hours trying to learn how. So I subbed the double unders out for Jumping Jacks & tripled the reps. Deadlifts are by far one of my favorite exercises, so give me a workout with them and I am a happy girl!

I rounded out the day with a 3.25 mile run and finished right before Mother Nature decided to send the rain!

Give this workout a try and send me your feedback. I am always excited to hear how you did!

The Power of Influence

I’m literally sitting in my car typing this blog on my Galaxy4 (oh yeah, there’s an app for that) because I didn’t want to wait until I get home later tonight to write this. I am continuously amazed at how God will use unlikely circumstances, people and situations to remind you that you have purpose. I went to the mall to exchange an item and on my way out, I stopped in Sephora to pick up a few [travel sized] items for an upcoming trip. As I was checking out, the store associate says to me, “Can I ask you a question? You must be one of those workout fanatics because you look amazing…. You’re so tiny and I can see all of your muscles.” I laughed and replied, “Well I do love to workout, but I am also a personal trainer.”

The look on her face when I told her what I did for living was priceless… If you didn’t know any better you would have thought I just offered her a new car. She immediately came from behind the register and began asking me all sorts of questions about working out and eating right, which I was more than happy to answer. Before I knew it, three other ladies had joined in on the conversation and I was in the middle of the store demonstrating how to perform a squat and lunge with proper form. Never a dull moment in my life!!

Before I left, the woman looked at me and said, “I’m so glad you came into the store today, it was such a blessing to meet you.” That literally made my heart stop! It also reminded me of how a simple, kind gesture can make a world of difference in another person’s day or life. Me taking a little extra time to speak to those ladies didn’t cost me anything; just a few minutes of my time. During a time when I am making some major life decisions, it also served as a reminder from God that I am on the right path and making the right decisions. Three years ago, my goal and purpose in life was to climb the corporate ladder without allowing anyone or anything to get in my way. Now my focus is centered on how I can best use my talents to serve and educate others… And I was reminded of that just a few minutes ago.

A Day in the Life… Not Your Typical 9 to 5pm

“OMG… you have the best job ever! You must get to work out all day…” Yes. I actually had this conversation with someone not too long ago. For whatever reason, a lot of people seem to think that personal trainers/fitness professionals have way more free time than we actually do. While it’s not your standard 9 to 5 office job, it is still a job and require much more than simply working out all day.

For the really good trainers — you know, those of us that own and operate our own business, blog/website, manage multiple social media platforms, are an established brand, etc — this is our 9a to 5p; only it’s more like a 5a to 9p. Although are business cards say “Certified Personal Trainer” we often wear multiple hats such as therapists, motivational speaker, human target (oh yes… I’ve been popped with everything from medicine balls to bands), salesman, nutritionist, janitor, secretary, sounding board, confidant and occasionally that new tank you just bought from Lululemon gets turned into a Kleenex.

So why in the world would anyone what to deal with all of that on a regular basis? I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me I love being a part of that person’s journey to a better quality of life. I see people when they are at their weakest, most vulnerable state… sometimes they reach out and ask for help, but often it’s an unspoken gesture. The idea that they trust me enough to take this journey with them and help them, is a blessing in and of itself. Anyone can take you through a workout, make you sweat really hard and send you on your way. But it’s that’s rare breed of personal trainers and fitness professionals that will actually walk it out with you. I love seeing the transformation, both physically and mentally.

One of the perks of my job is that no two days are alike. Sure, my class schedule looks the same but with my clients I’ve learned to expect the unexpected (in a good way)! Here’s a look at what my day looked like today:

4:15am – my first alarm goes off. I grab my Bible off of my nightstand and read my devotional for the day. I pray over my family and friends, and ask God to go before me as I go through my day.

5am – I lead a Flex & Flow yoga class in my building.

6:30am – Teach a Circuit Training class at Metro Fitness.

8am – business meeting in University (north Charlotte). I packed a banana and almonds in my bag and ate them in the car on the way to my meeting.

9:30am – Teach a mat Pilates (level 1) class in Blakeney

10:30am – Teach a mat Pilates (level 2) class in Blakeney

noon – Home for lunch. I prepare all of my meals for the week on Sunday’s so I literally pop it in the microwave and enjoy. I sift through emails, voicemails and social media while I eat.

12:30pm – Work on program design and map my rides for my cycle classes. My fellow cycle instructors know what it’s like to map your rides for class; prepping for one class can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.

2pm – Drop off business cards at a few of the local health food stores and invite them to come by and check out a class. I had the most awkward conference call because I was in and out of the car during the call and my Bluetooth was taking forever to reconnect! Hopefully I didn’t miss anything important.

2:45pm – Coach Girls on the Run at Selwyn Elementary.

4:00pm – I head straight to a friends house from practice (half of my closet in tow) and get ready for a private fundraiser and dinner in Downtown Charlotte. I secretly finished checking & responding to emails under the table during two of the speakers. Don’t judge me.

7:30pm – Headed home to finish programming for tomorrow and sneak in a 20 minute TRX workout.

8:30pm – Write this post and watch reruns of the Big Bang Theory from the comfort of my bed.

It reads like a long day, but again no day is ever the same. Besides, if I told you what my Friday was like you would think I had it pretty easy…. And for that day, you’re probably right. I slept in — don’t get jealous, it was only until 7am — and then I worked out, ran a few errands and worked from home. Some days are lighter than others, but I am always in ‘go’ mode and thinking of new ways to grow my business and help those around me. It can feel a bit chaotic at times, but I kind of like it that way!

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Day

Winters in the South typically boast an average temperature between 30 to 50 degrees, with little to no snow or ice. When the weatherman says “expect snow,” is usually means 1 to 2 inches that will be gone by lunch. So when I opened my front door this morning and saw this, I quickly shut the door and climbed right back into my warm, cozy bed…. laptop in tow.

Snow Day 2

The gym was closed and all of my classes were cancelled (as they have been since Tuesday), but I was all for getting out of the house and getting my workout in until I realized that the 6 inches of snow we received was now covered by a layer of ice. Was I going to brave the elements and go for a run outside? Absolutely not. I’m not that girl. There isn’t enough thermo gear on the market to change my mind. Nope…. Not happening.

After a few hours of work on the computer and a phone date with one of my closest friends I was ready to slip on my sneakers and break a sweat! I grabbed a few kettlebells, cranked up the stereo and went to work! 20 minutes later my pulse was racing and I was dripping in sweat. Mission accomplished!

50 x Goblet Squats

50 x Kettlebell Swings

50 x Ball Slams

30 x Goblet Squats

30 x Kettlebell Swings

30 x Ball Slams

10 x Goblet Squats

10 x Kettlebell Swings

10 x Ball Slams

This workout is centered around three exercises repeated in a descending format. Each is a compound movement, meaning you will be recruiting multiple muscle groups at the same time. Before you have everything you need within reach so that your transition time is short, and your heart rate stays elevated through the entire workout.

Remember to work at your level. If the reps are too high scale them down to meet your needs. Not gonna lie, towards the end of the workout I was praying that the kettlebell didn’t come flying out of my hands and go through my living room window! I had a death  grip on that thing!! If you are snowed in or just want to workout from home, give this a try and post your time in the comments.

Resolve To Be More

We are only 6 days into the new year and people are already defaulting on their resolutions. I for one do not believe in resolutions. I believe in being the best version of yourself every day. This year let’s resolve to keep our eyes on our own paper. Don’t cheat off of the person next to you. What this means is allow yourself to focus solely on what you want to achieve, not what those around you want to achieve.

As a gymnast growing up, I was certain of two things. First, there was always someone younger, fitter, faster, stronger, more motivated and more conditioned than myself. Second, if I spent my time comparing myself to every gymnast that walked through the doors my attention and focus was no longer where it needed to be for me to achieve the level of success that I desired.

This year allow the focus of your resolution to be on you — reinvent yourself, work out all of the kinks, and be better than you were yesterday. But most importantly, remember to celebrate the victories (big and small) along the way. Failure is not final unless you throw in the towel and give up. The year has only just begun, so if you’ve stumbled a little, get back on track and get back to living your best life!

90 Day Challenge

Our 90 Day Challenge is well underway and I could not be more pleased with the amount (& rate) of success that each of our participants are experiencing. During kickoff weekend, 115 members put their trust in our team of trainers/fitness professionals and in just 5 short weeks they’ve lost more than 130 pounds and 10.6% body fat! Aside from the metrics, the relationships that have been established are priceless. I feel completely blessed to know that someone trusts me enough to allow me to take this journey with them.

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From our Eat Fit Seminar to Zumba… our members have been having a blast and gaining momentum each week! And we’re just started… This week we’re kicking things up a notch and showing fat who’s boss with Life Time’s signature TEAM Fitness. “TEAM” stands for training, education, accountability and motivation, and that’s what you’ll get when you sample TEAM Fitness.

TEAM Fitness incorporates education, exercise and nutrition into three energizing and highly motivating group sessions per week. The workout will include a combination of heart-rate based cardio training, resistance & weight training led by yours truly!!

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Let’s keep the momentum going and make FIT HAPPEN!!

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