The Magic Pill is Consistency

I always find it strange that people look for the easy, the simple and the effortless when it comes to changing themselves. They would rather take a pill or look for the magic potion than put in the work, put in the time or put in the dedication it takes to change themselves. Taking care of yourself truly is a journey. When are people going to wake up and realize there are no shortcuts. What you put in your body is what you get out in performance. If you eat crap, you feel it. If you drink alcohol, you feel it. It is so hard to get a good workout when your body if fueled by processed food and alcohol, or pop or whatever. If you consistently eat crap you will consistently gain weight and your performance will consistently decrease. If you consistently eat a well balanced diet of unprocessed foods you will consistently change for the better. If you consistently get your workouts in, you will consistently get better.

CONSISTENT PROCESSED FOOD AND SUGAR ON THE LEFT

CONSISTENT UNPROCESSED FOOD AND WORKOUTS ON THE RIGHT

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Meet Heidi – she is a rock star client of mine and has been for close to four years. She is absolutely amazing. Heidi is beautiful and truly inspiring. She came to me a complete sugar addict. It took FOREVER to convince her to change. Once she did, it was amazing what happened to her. She has been consistent with her workouts and with changing her lifestyle by getting rid of processed foods. She truly GETS it. Here is her story in her own words:

“I have always been a person interested in health and well-being, but I have never been a person who could wholly commit, long-term, to doing what it takes to be the healthiest person I can be. Like many, as a teen I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and maintain what appeared to be a healthy weight. I was never skinny and have always had a more muscular build. I was never the top of the pyramid but was always the base for the other cheerleaders to stand on. I had strong legs, but was never fat. As busy as I was in high school, I never gained or lost weight but remained consistently “healthy”. There was a store in the Rushmore Mall called “5-7-9”, the numbers representing pant size. That’s where we school shopped for me through high school and my size was on the lower end. I did not exercise outside of cheerleading and playing tennis, randomly riding bike, and walking to school before getting my driver’s license when I was 16. I yearned to lift weights even then, but there were no facilities to do so in my small hometown other than the high school wrestling gym, which was not much occupied by girls. I was way too shy to approach the possibility of training in there, but looking back it might have been the perfect place to start.

After high school I attended college. I was an avid walker during those years, mainly to get my mind right and have some alone time. The health benefits were fringe, not necessarily the purpose for the walks. Those were the days of Jane Fonda and other aerobic “gurus” who created exercise videos by the dozen. I bought into some of that, but it was a total waste of time and money for me. As a severe asthmatic from birth, aerobics has never been enjoyable nor has that form of exercise ever created results for me. I was always too busy trying to catch my breath to focus on the moves and the muscles. Furthermore, I have limited coordination! The grapevine is a challenge for me. Never would aerobics be a long-term commitment in my world. Emotionally I was at my lowest early on in college. I was not confident and surely compared myself physically to all the people scurrying around from classroom to classroom and from sorority to sorority. In my mind, skinny was the ultimate goal in those days.

Being an overachiever in many ways, I did not only gain the freshman fifteen my first year of college – I went for the dirty thirty! Drinking beer on weekends and going back to the dorm room or apartment to order Domino’s pizza was a regular routine. I’d still get out and walk quite regularly, but now it was for fresh air and to take the edge off the headache. There was a fashion trend during those years – the mid-80s – which included stirrup pants. They were similar to today’s yoga pants but had straps on the bottom to hold the pant leg tightly in your shoes or boots. I couldn’t wear them. I thought my thighs were too big to pull it off. I remember being disappointed often and hating to shop. I was not used to things not fitting me.

I went through most of my first year and part of my sophomore year with this routine. I still yearned to weight train. I never put myself in a position to meet people with the same interest, but I did buy Gladys Portugues’ book “Hard Bodies” and read it cover to cover, looking at the pictures and wishing I could somehow easily mutate into her. I was not mentally in a place to commit to the kind of work it would take to even get close. I can say that I was most vulnerable and weak minded during my college years. I had a small group of friends and they were not the type to go to the gym. Good people for sure, but partiers and studiers – successful at both. I dated a college athlete through most of the four years, but he did his workouts with his team and supported my endeavors whether they were healthy or not.

I managed to get my weight back to “normal” after college. During a short time living in Rapid City, I discovered a basic gym with a lot of weights called the Weight Room (clever, right?). I joined this gym, which had mostly male members, and would get up before the sun and go lift weights. I created my own program with help from Gladys and my own limited experience. I felt good! I loved that place! But I wanted to be there when no one else was around. No audience, no help.

While living in Rapid City, I met my first husband and married him a year later and moved across the state to a town of less than 100 people. We had two babies and I commuted to work 35 miles each way. I had no time to commit to exercise and no place to do it if I had the time. We lived in a trailer house, and facilities in the community were null. But I continued to walk when an opportunity rarely presented itself.

After a move to the middle of the state and a subsequent divorce, I took to raising my kids and focused solely on them. We had a family membership at the YMCA where I would volunteer in order to cut the cost. I went to the “Y” when the kids were with their dad and worked there and then worked out, doing stations with machines and using the treadmill. Occasionally I would take an aerobics class, but the asthma and coordination issues would resurface and remind me that was not my thing.

Before college and since I have been fortunate in that I can eat and drink what I want and I will not gain weight to the point that it becomes an issue. I got into a routine that if I ate too much one day, I’d back off and walk or starve the next day to maintain consistency in my weight from my mid-twenties until my mid-forties. I’ve had three babies and never had a problem dropping the baby weight. I’ve been thankful and have felt fortunate to have the genetics I do. No one would look at me and ever think I was unhealthy or fat, but I never really felt that I had reached my ultimate health or well-being. I was a sugar addict and the routine was a Dr. Pepper at 10:00 a.m. and chocolate or some kind of sweet treats at 3:00 p.m. I rarely ate breakfast and lunch was often fast food. My first two children were raised on chicken nuggets and hot dogs (I’m ashamed to admit), but at the time I was doing the best I could as a broke married person and later a single mom. I wasn’t much of a cook. Supper was rarely special other than a well thought out, home cooked meal on Sundays.

I can say that through my twenties and thirties, and into my forties, I never really felt great. Looking back, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was often tired at the end of the day and was regularly sluggish. I’ve always been a good sleeper so that was never the issue. It became more difficult to get exercise while raising two small children alone, but any time I could I would walk, walk, walk.

Skip ahead to late 2011. I was not exercising regularly, but still yearned to do so. Life was good – a new husband, another child, and financial stability. During a casual conversation with a good friend, she mentioned that she could hardly walk because she was working out at a new “gym” and the trainer “kicked her ass.” “You should try it”, she said. Why not? With nerves firing, I started training at the Underground Private Training Studio. In November of that year I met the person who would finally take me to the fitness place I always yearned to go! I still get anxious before my workouts. It’s a combination of nerves and excitement. I can’t wait to get my hands on the weights, or the kettlebells, or the pull-up bar. Bring on the squats! I get pissed off if I have to miss a session! I love the feeling of exhaustion after the workout, and I love to tie into my RX Bar on the way home! I love wearing racerback shirts because my arms and shoulders are strong and toned! Peggie treats each client she trains like an individual – she’s a “personal” trainer. She puts the time into you. She programs specifically for you. There is no cookie-cutter training going on here! This is her calling – she takes you to a place you don’t even know you’re capable of going. She brings out the best in you. She believes in you. She’s a credit to her profession.

Through weight training and programming, I am stronger now than ever before. At age 48, I have more confidence than ever before. I am doing things I only dreamed of, and having a blast doing them. Deadlifts are my new best friend! I have biceps and a toned abs! What? Along with the strength training and programming, Peggie introduced me to the Whole30, which is a program that retrains you to consider food fuel, not comfort or to fill a void. I can proudly say I’m no longer a sugar addict and will soon complete my third Whole30 and my husband will finish his second with great results. He is also becoming a product of Peggie’s work. We just completed a couple’s kettlebell boot camp and he will continue to train with me at the studio. He just turned 49 and has more energy than ever, sleeps better than he has in years and has focus and feels stronger than he has since his college baseball playing days. The added benefit of dropping 35 pounds has definitely boosted his confidence as well. He is a borderline hoarder and is so proud to have his “skinny” jeans from the nineties back in his lineup.

We are both so grateful for all we’ve learned and where we’re at today. Our physical transformations are amazing, but as much as we love and appreciate that, we are also so proud to be good examples for our three kids and are very blessed with new life-long friendships that are priceless to us.”

Consistency IS the magic pill.

Reflections –

The other day I was talking with one of my clients. It was interesting what he had to say, as I was just thinking about the same thing that very morning. It is amazing how many people I have met since opening The Underground. It is very humbling to think how many people have come through the doors and what effect I have had on them and them on me. I believe it has been good for them; I know it has been for me. I love what I do and I love seeing changes in people, not only physically, but mentally as well. My favorite is self confidence. I mean really, most people are so intimidated when they start training. I really don’t blame them. They are putting themselves in the hands of a stranger, who is full of tattoos and can be a little intimidating. After a few weeks I can see the confidence starting to ooze. It is very cool to witness. All of my clients are different. Nobody is the same. I can tell you something personal about each and every client I have trained. I have become very good friends with several of my clients. I can’t imagine not knowing them. There have been fun times and extremely hard and sad times. Very thought-provoking. I do; however, believe that there is a reason for everything and people are put on this earth for a purpose. I am living mine. I am beyond blessed.

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Stop Chasing Skinny

Do you wish you were skinny? Do you think your life would be complete if you were skinny? Do you think about being skinny? Skinny, skinny, skinny, skinny.  What does skinny even mean? How do you define skinny?

This is what Wiktionary told me:
Skin +‎ -y, meaning associated with lack of fat or muscle possibly derived from the phrase skin and bones, meaning associated with nudity derived from exposing skin.

Adjective[edit]
skinny ‎(comparative skinnier, superlative skinniest)

(informal) Having little flesh and fat; slim; slender; narrow; thin, generally beyond what looks beautiful.
Her recent weight loss has made her look rather skinny than slender
(informal, of food or beverages) Low-fat.  [quotations ▼]
Naked; nude (chiefly used in the phrase skinny dipping).

Lack of fat or muscle–We need fat in order to survive. The human brain consists of at least 60 percent fat.  Could you imagine what happens to the brain when it is deprived of fat? It baffles me why people and many healthcare professionals still believe low fat is good for us. Get real. Because seriously.

What about muscle? What happens to your body when you lack muscle mass? It can mess up your metabolism. Duh. According to bodybuilding.com muscle is more metabolically active than fat and therefore it is estimated that each extra pound of muscle you gain burns 30-50 extra calories a day. It is also estimated that a pound of muscle burns 6 calories at rest compared to 2 calories per pound of fat. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have some muscle mass on my frame.

So, let’s explore a little. Why do we want to be skinny? What drives the skinny movement? The media? Society? Think back in your life and try to remember the first time you thought about skinny. Why was skinny so popular? Is it still popular?

I believe that skinny is starting to become less and less popular. I would much rather be strong than skinny. I believe a lot more women are becoming role models for healthy and strong, not skinny little bitches.

Take a look at these pics. Which do you prefer. The top pic is actress Tara Reid (juicyceleb.com) and the bottom is Jessica Biel (popsugar.com). The struggle is real. Tara has struggled her whole career. Jessica has maintained health and strength in spite of the Hollywood pressure. I prefer STRONG. Let’s make strong mainstream and stop chasing skinny!!

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Give me your thoughts if you are so inclined.