Tag Archives: fitness

January Fitness Challenge

Thanks to my girl Heidi with Train To Live, I joined a fitness challenge for January. The challenge consisted of a three-day cleanse and then two-weeks of workouts. I started January 5 and am proud to say I completed as of this Wednesday, January 21. I lost 2.875 inches total and feel more toned and energized than I have in a long time. Here’s the skinny on getting skinny…

CleanseJanuary fitness challenge
First let me say that this was not a cleanse like most of you are instantly thinking, intaking only lemon juice and cayenne for three days. It was a clean-eating plan with actual good-for-you foods that another health specialist created with Heidi specifically for this challenge. Participants had a meal plan to repeat each day, including tons of hearty vegetables, lean protein and this dank-ass flax granola we were all required to make. We were not allowed to have fast food, fried food, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar or white flour. The toughest part for me was caffeine. Cleanse Day 1 was categorized by a lingering headache. I was very happy to discover that green tea had just enough caf to take the edge off and was allowed as an herbal tea, full of antioxidants.

The exercise plan spanned two weeks. It was composed of 6 Fit Day routines. Basically, over the course, we performed each of those twice (total of 12 days) and incorporated two rest days (Sundays). Fit Days 1 to 5 were pretty high-intensity endurance workouts. One day focused on cardio; one day focused on legs; etc. Fit Day 6 was a stretch day, with 10 minutes of warm-up prior. Amazingly, each day’s routine was designed to be done with zero equipment – and anywhere with roughly five-by-five feet of space. I did use a mat for floor stuff, because I had one handy. The rest of the workouts I did in my bedroom, in the driveway, in the hall at the YMCA or even while out of town.

Things I loved about this challenge
1) I am currently undergoing what I’m considering an incubator phase for my new journey into a health and fitness career (as a personal trainer, plus), and this was the perfect opportunity to try something new. That’s where I am right now – learning as much as possible to shape my interests and path. Now I’ve done a sanctioned fitness challenge. Now I’ve done a cleanse. Experience is power, baby.

2) I was greatly surprised with my own personal results. I had already been eating relatively clean – watching sodium, fat and calories. I was working out regularly too – with a goal of three days per week.  But, alas, we are in the winter season and the holidays just past. So I guess, I wasn’t doing all that I could. I am thrilled to see positive changes in my body and can’t wait to enlist in something else for February that pushes me. (Note: Lost 2.875 inches were sum of total measured at 11 sites – neck, upper arms L/R, chest, waist, hips, thighs L/R, calves L/R and butt.)

3) Sparked by a newfound enthusiasm, I recruited several friends to also participate in the challenge. Shout out to Erin and her bridal party for agreeing! This was a whole other angle, to lead a group through the process, to serve as a good example. I have found fulfillment in sharing, motivating and holding accountability.

4) This challenge encompassed 17 days, a short-term commitment. And all the exercises were extremely user-friendly. I am thoroughly impressed with this approach. People lead incredibly busy lives. Got it. But often they are excuse-laden. Don’t have time to exercise? Don’t have a gym membership? Don’t have a finish line so you never start the race? Let’s give ‘em a solution. Workouts 30 to 45 minutes. That you can do at home (hell, in a broom closet). That require no equipment. That only lasts two weeks.


Apparently this happens to me every couple of years. I don’t want to say I get bored. But a big part of me begins to miss the dynamic nature of an unknown day and wish for a challenge.

I’ve been in marketing for six years. I’ve worked for agencies – large, medium and small. I’ve done client-side, contract and freelance. For nearly three years, I’ve managed my own company. Design, media, visuals, online, production, branding, public relations, strategy… They are all pieces of the communications pie, a vital, powerful indulgence in our world today. After running the industry gamut though, I am ready for something new.

I’ve been considering career alternatives for a while, having to be a real adult and make calculated choices that took into account my personal responsibilities, promises to others and, most of all, timing. I wanted to turn my day-to-day into something I truly love doing. A no-brainer, I easily settled on a field where my passion has always flourished and excited – health and fitness. Why shouldn’t I focus on a cornerstone of the human existence? Why shouldn’t I help people utterly improve their quality of life? This is what matters.

A slew of research, conversations and deliberation later, I decided the first step would be to become a Certified Personal Trainer. I could get accredited and start gaining experience with clients right away. I mean, I had bided enough time; I needed to get moving.

The organization I found to be the most reputable certifying body was the American College of Sports Medicine, a.k.a. ACSM or The Gold Standard. They require what’s claimed to be the highest level of knowledge and skill of their trainers, and I aim to be the best. So I studied all summer. I hadn’t read a textbook since college, and not even cover-to-cover then. I used flashcards, for crying out loud, and did three practice tests. It was worth it. I passed the exam on August 28. (Legal, Professional, Business and Marketing was my strongest category. Ha!)

Now I’m a toe in the water. Not sure where it will all lead – perhaps more education and certifications, perhaps creating another business, perhaps an opportunity that I don’t even realize is out there yet. I do know that it means I’m on my path to happiness and self-fulfillment, and that I’m looking forward to making a difference. I’ll change the world if you let me.

Side side note… Brandfarmers, advertising and marketing solutions, will continue. I’ll be a heavy part of the company for the foreseeable future. Once my personal training gig revs up enough to be fulltime, I’ll scale back hours elsewhere. Brandfarmers will live on under the leadership of my business partner, regardless. No one is to worry.  :)

Perspective to Prevail

I originally wrote this article on May 24, 2012. Over two years ago, but this perspective always rears it’s head, now as it did then. My brother is in town, and we’ve been talking a lot of “life is good, especially for us” stuff, so I see it fittingly…

Life has me busy. And, yes, I know I sound like a broken record every time I post. But you can pretty much expect to hear that tune from me for a while, what with my chaotic swirling mind. It’s not a bad problem to have. That’s what they say.

Well, work has ramped up. Play has ramped up. I swear spring has everyone in a furious frenzy. I was struggling after a four-hour meeting today, thinking, “This is crazy!” I needed to clear my head at the gym.

I got there, started to change into my sweats and realized that I had forgotten my socks. Universe, are you trying to hold me down?

I transitioned my plans for running into a more sockless-appropriate routine. I created my own circuit including 10 reps of squats, 10 reps of lunges per leg, 10 push-ups, 10 tricep dips and 30 crunches targeting upper, lower and oblique abs.

I got into a real groove, and three sets turned into five. It didn’t hurt that some chick beside me was pumping away and I took it as a challenge. Talib Kweli came blasting through my ear buds. I turned his “Get By” all the way up and felt a fire in my belly.

“This mornin’, I woke up. Feelin’ brand new, I jumped up. Feelin’ my highs and my lows and my soul and my goals…”

This was one of those moments when you know things are going to be alright. You just get hyped and ready to take on the world. You’re strong and driven and smart. You’ll lick any task that comes your way. You will prevail.

No, being busy is not a problem at all, when you have the right perspective. Maybe all I need is a jam session every morning, let the power of music propel me.