Be Committed

One of the best things you can do for your health and fitness is be committed. I’m not even talking about being committed to your workouts (though that is important), but be committed to every aspect of your fitness. Commit to your workout. Commit to your nutrition. Commit to your hydration. Commit to your rest. Commit to your stretching. Commit. If you approach it this way, you won’t have to keep starting over, or keep spinning your wheels being stuck in the same place!unnamed-1

The consistency within your commitment is what will help you reach your goals. The biggest mistake I see people make is that they struggle with rest days. There is this need for “active rest” where they are still doing an hour of low intensity cardio, or something along those lines. That can increase your cortisol levels (your fight or flight hormone) causing you to retain fat and even look inflamed. Instead, try to commit to your rest. I’m not saying to sit on your butt eating Ben & Jerry’s on your rest day. I’m saying, just commit. Sunday is a total rest day for me. I don’t even think about working out. I get my weekly workouts done by Saturday morning and on Sundays I spend the whole day playing with my son, doing errands with the family, and not even thinking about working out. It makes my rest a lot less stressful. I do the same when I am not feeling well. If I need extra rest, I commit 100% to those rest days. I don’t put stipulations like “if I feel OK maybe I’ll go for a short run.” I used to do that, but it added more stress, and that causes imbalance in my hormones. Instead, I decide “tomorrow I will rest” and I get up and shower, and start working, and I don’t touch a weight or put on running shoes.

The misconception with rest and why some people get so stressed out is that there seems to be this belief that you will gain weight if you don’t work out, or if you’re not working out enough. The problem is, nutrition is 100% more important than your workouts. Your nutrition will determine if you gain or lose weight, your exercise will simply help the process along. Missing one or two workouts won’t make you fat. Missing two weeks of workouts because of poor prioritizing will decrease your fitness, but missing a few workouts because you need more rest will not change your body composition. As I mentioned, having this mentality and pushing yourself to workout more and more, will actually cause you to maintain or even GAIN weight. You will find it difficult to reach your fitness goals such as lifting heavier, running faster, or getting stronger, because your body really needs the rest.

This whole post isn’t about rest though. It’s about commitment. When you remain committed to your goals and your program, you will see progress; however, if your foot is half out the door and you’re only kind of following a program, you won’t see progress. Have you ever done a nutrition program like Shakeology or Whole 30 or something, and followed it completely and seen amazing results? That is because you were committed. You stuck to the plan as it was designed, and you saw results. You probably committed because there was an expiration date.

So, how do you commit to making health your lifestyle? Start small. Commit to ONE thing until you have it down, then work on the next habit. For example, say you already work out a few times per week, but you eat out 5 meals per week and you make poor choices over what you eat while you are out. Maybe you can’t change the fact that you eat out that often, but you can commit to making better choices when you eat out. Look for the meals with protein and vitamins. Vegetables/fruit always provide a lot of micronutrients, and protein will help keep you full. You could look for the fats and carbs too, but when you are starting out, keep it simple. Protein + vitamins – it can be that simple. Commit to making that a habit. When it no longer feels like so much work, move on to the next habit.

unnamed-7When you are looking to change your body composition, meet fitness goals, or literally just be a healthier person, you HAVE to commit. Below is a list that I gave my members today of habits to work on. We are going to COMMIT to working on one aspect until it becomes habit and helps us live a healthier lifestyle.

  • Sleep
  • Water consumption
  • Working out HARD for a short amount of time
  • Rest/Recovery
  • Stretching
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Eat more real food (ditch the “diet” food!)
  • Stick to one caffeinated beverage each day

As always, if you are looking for extra support on your journey, join our amazing network of women who are supporting each other and crushing their goals!


When Words Aren’t Enough

I have really been on the fence about writing this post, for so many reasons. I worry that our family will think it’s crazy that I put this out there, but I know our family is always so supportive of me. I worry that it will look like I am just looking for sympathy. I am not, but it may look like that to some people and that’s OK. I also worry because I fear the responses. This may seem weird once you read my story, but responses are tough for me. On the one hand, it really hurts when a friend or family member doesn’t reach out after we tell them. On the other hand, there is not one solitary thing that anyone can say to make the pain go away- nothing. Since I don’t know what I want from my friends and family, they obviously have no idea what to offer me.

Here’s the story. Over Fourth of July weekend, Pat and I were elated to find out we were pregnant. I had a chemical pregnancy the month prior, and that was obviously sad, but in all honesty, the doctors and nurses were so dismissive (some of them didn’t even know what the term meant) that I thought I was crazy for even caring. For everyone who doesn’t know (because most people not in OB probably have no idea) a chemical pregnancy is essentially when you have a positive pregnancy test but then begin bleeding a few days later. Your hormones had begun to change, but the pregnancy didn’t “stick” for lack of a better term. Most people don’t know they are pregnant when this happens because it is so early. This also means that I was three weeks pregnant when I ran my marathon.

Back to the point though: Pat and I found out we were pregnant, and we were also getting ready to move to Colorado. We were so excited, and when we went in for our 8-week appointment the woman we saw set up an ultrasound for us since we were leaving soon. The ultrasound showed that the baby was only six weeks and no heartbeat yet, despite estimated due date putting me at 8-weeks pregnant. We were shuffled back to the doctors office where we saw my favorite doctor (it’s a group practice). He told us the ultrasound showed a six week sac, which could mean one of two things: 1) The dates were off. 2) We were going to miscarry. He said at this point there was really no way of knowing, and sometimes the body doesn’t register a miscarriage. It’s referred to as a “missed miscarriage”.

He was so kind and optimistic. He assured us that miscarriages are common, and it is a sign that your body is operating well, but it is still emotionally gut wrenching. I really appreciated that he touched on the emotional aspect, despite how common it is. He said we could ride it out, or come back in a week (the day we were supposed to leave for our 10 day trip around the country before settling into Colorado) for another ultrasound. He said that if the baby had grown, it’s a good sign. He was also hopeful for a heartbeat at that point, but sometimes seven weeks can be too early.

Over the next week I jumped onto my good friend Google, and looked for similar cases with positive outcomes. It turns out there are A LOT of cases with misdiagnosed miscarriages. I was SO HOPEFUL that this would be the case for us. We also finished packing our house, where we decided what went to Colorado and what went into storage. We sent all baby gear 0-6 months to Colorado.

When we went back seven days later, the ultrasound showed the baby as being five days larger, still without a heartbeat. The doctor we saw that day was far less hopeful. He was convinced we would miscarry. We left for our flight a few hours later and made it through the entire ten days of travel without any signs of miscarriage. I continued to feel sicker and was so hopeful that this was a good sign.

We arrived in Denver the following Sunday, and spent that evening in the emergency room. The miscarriage had begun… sort of. The problem was, my body still wasn’t fully miscarrying. When I finally got in to see an OB that Thursday, she went over my ultrasound with me, in great detail. She showed me everything and explained that my body wasn’t registering that the baby had died. She showed me that the bleeding hadn’t collapsed the sac the way it was supposed to. I asked her what I can do, and if there was any way to avoid a D&C. She said I could continue to wait for another week (it had been over three weeks since our first ultrasound), or I could take some pills to help the process along. If the pills didn’t work there was the risk of D&C.

I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I asked my doctor anyway: “what did I do? How could I have prevented this?” She assured me I did nothing wrong. That it is normal, and a sign that my body is strong. I told her “but I just ran a marathon.” “Good” she said. “We have marathoners, triathletes, Olympic lifters – they all come in and have healthy babies.” I encourage you to ask your doctor. Even though I KNEW I did nothing wrong, hearing my doctor tell me that made me feel infinitely better than anyone else saying it.

So, at 11 weeks, with a baby who stopped growing at six weeks, we lost our baby. The Monday after we spent the night in the emergency room, the movers arrived to move us into our house – including all of the baby boxes we had packed. I wanted to write this post because, before we had the miscarriage, I always read how people didn’t talk about it, but I never understood why. I would never judge someone who had a miscarriage, or blame them, so why don’t people talk about it? I also realized, it’s gut wrenchingly common. Before we went through this, I only knew of three people who had experienced a miscarriage. After word spread, people were coming out of the wood works to tell me about their miscarriages and those of women close to them.

I think I understand more now, why people don’t talk about it. Maybe I’m alone here, but the reason I don’t talk about it is not because I’m ashamed. I don’t talk about it because nothing anyone can say will bring my baby back. Nothing anyone will say can make the pain I feel stop. Nothing anyone can say will make all of the dreams we already had for our baby disappear. It is hard because OF COURSE people want to make you feel better. I want to make people around me who are hurting, feel better. It’s just not a situation that can be solved though. The problem solver in me is in a constant struggle. I want to feel better, but I don’t know how to make that happen.

The other thing I was shocked about, was how angry I felt. Maybe I am reading the wrong stuff, but no one ever really said they felt angry. I feel ANGRY. Anger is my default emotion anyway: when I’m sad, I’m angry that I’m sad. When I’m scared, I’m angry that I’m scared. So I could be alone, but I’m going to put it out there anyway in case it helps even one person feel less crazy. I felt really angry that people who never wanted kids, get to have a healthy pregnancy (it doesn’t mean these people don’t deserve pregnancy, it’s just how I felt). I feel really angry that people who are on drugs through their entire pregnancy and don’t care about the health of their kid get to have kids. Meanwhile, I was on the fence about my one cup of coffee during pregnancy. It makes me so angry that I work so hard to be healthy, and set myself up for healthy pregnancy and healthy family, and my baby was ripped away from me. It made me angry that I had no energy and was so so tired for several weeks after, despite the initial burst of energy I had. It made me angry that I couldn’t be as present of a mom for our son that we already had. It really upset me when people would say, “at least you have Nate.” I know I have Nate. I am not unaware of how much and how deeply I love him. It doesn’t lessen the pain of losing a child. It all just makes me angry.

I wanted to share this today because, writing about it helps and I want people to know they are not alone. Maybe you coped differently. Maybe I seem like a psychopath because I talk about my anger. Maybe you are just wondering what a friend or family member is going through, because they won’t or can’t talk about it. I hope this gives you insight. If someone in your life is going through this, send them a bottle of vodka and a pass to some boxing classes, and call it a day. Also remember, not saying anything is worse than saying the wrong thing. If you want to reach out to someone, even a simple “I don’t know what to say” or “how can I help” is better than nothing.

Finding The Gray

The reason that nutrition and working out, and finding health can be difficult is because it is SO GRAY! What works for me, might not work exactly perfect for you. Some people find counting macros super helpful. I find it too rigid. I find eating mostly paleo/just eating real food balancing for me. Many people find it TOO restrictive. Some people calorie count. Others do the zone diet. Sometimes these things work. Often times there are too many rules.

Then there is working out. Do I run? Do I lift? Should I be going heavy all the time? Should I be going hard all the time? How often should I rest? When is the perfect time to workout? These are all valid questions, but often times, they aren’t super relevant unless you are training for something in particular. If your goal is just fat loss, or just being a health person, the time of day you workout is not the most important factor. That fact THAT you work out is more important.

img_9569What makes all of this tricky is finding your sweet spot. In the beginning of following a rigid program, it is nice to have that structure of “eat this, at this time” “make this food, you’ll see results” etc, and at the beginning that feels so helpful. Then, it becomes too much. You feel like you can’t go to eat with your friends, or you always have to bring your meals with your etc. OR, you swing the pendulum the other way and don’t want to be the weirdo being specific about your food or bringing your own food, so you get the “f its” and just eat whatever the heck you want. Both sides of this pendulum are an unhealthy place to be. How do you get to the gray?

It’s hard. SO HARD. You have to be so conscious about it. Here’s what is so hard too: in our society there is a total blur between what is “normal” dieting and disordered eating. If you suspect, even a little bit that you have disordered eating, please see a therapist. Get some help. If you’re caught up in our societies terrible diet trends, you CAN get out of that cycle. BUT you have to be conscious of it. You have to make a very conscious effort to change your perspective on food. The reason eating real food works for me is because I don’t have off limit foods. I reach for whole, nourishing food most of the time, but processed food isn’t off limits. I keep in mind how things make me feel, and I weigh out if it’s more important to me to eat something that makes me sick, or to not feel sick. Some days I choose to feel inflamed and unwell. Some days I choose to skip the food that makes me feel unwell. Most of the time I don’t realize I am doing this until I am talking to friends or clients. It has not always been that second nature for me though. I spent years making a very conscious effort to listen to my body and take care of my well-being. I made a conscious effort to change my inner dialogue.

Start here: Do you have “off limit” foods? Or do you label food as “good” or “bad”? It may be time for you to work away from that labeling. While there is food that is full of nutrients and others that are less nutritious, at the end of the day all food is comprised of: fat, carbs, and protein. Each thing you eat has one or a combination of these three macronutrients.

That’s not to say I recommend eating donuts or a full plate of nachos everyday. I think when you look at your meals it’s helpful to look at the vitamins you are getting from that meal, most of the time. As I mentioned, I start taking note of how certain food makes me feel and I eat it or not based on that.

Most whole, real food makes me feel energized. I noticed that if I have an excess of gluten I get stomach pains. It’s not an allergy, simply a low tolerance for it. I have noticed that when I am not eating enough carbs my energy is low and I crave sweets (this is normal). I have noticed that fake sugars cause inflammation (ok fine, gas) in my gut. I usually stay away from gluten and fake sugars where possible.

With that in mind, I don’t get crazy if I do eat something like that. Yes, I don’t feel my best, but the world isn’t ending. Usually with such black and white thinking, once a person has had something “off limits” they go ham and eat everything “off limits” in sight. Getting rid of these labels can slowly lead you to a place of balance.

One thing I do to minimize that feeling of deprivation without overdoing it is wait a day. If I want something that doesn’t usually settle well, I just wait one day. If I still want it the next day, I just have it. If I am no longer craving it, then I move on. We are all adults, which means we are responsible for how we feel. I don’t think food labeling or strict eating is the answer to a healthy, balanced life. I also don’t think that making yourself sick 3+ days of the week is healthy and balanced either.

Back to finding the gray. How do you find that? Really start listening to your body. Are you gassy after you eat certain food? Take a look at that food and what is in it. Try a day or two, or even a week without that food and see if there is a difference. If you do have something that doesn’t normally settle well, take a deep breath. The world isn’t ending and you don’t need to go crazy. Move on to your next meal. When you get to your next meal, choose something with more vitamins. Drink a little more water. This will help you to not spend the rest of the day overeating or “eating bad food”. There are no BAD food. There are nutritious foods and less nutritious foods. The less nutritious foods aren’t “bad” though. Your body doesn’t know the difference between breaking down bread with avocado and breaking down ice cream. It doesn’t say “I have these carbs and fats from ice cream so I’m going straight to the thighs” or “I have these carbs and fats from toast with avocado so I’m going to be used directly as food”. That is only happening in your head, not in your body. If certain foods drain your of energy, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth consuming. If other foods energize you, I always find it replenishing to consume those because who doesn’t love energy?

img_9576When it comes to working out it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BLACK AND WHITE! 10-20 minutes is PLENTY of time to get your body moving and improve your fitness. I used to think this was a cop out. I genuinely thought people were bs’ing when they said this and using it as an excuse to be lazy. I am so guilty of that mentality and I was SO SO wrong. If you want to workout for 1-2 hours per day because that feels rejuvenating for you, that is fine. It’s not black and white. If you are forcing yourself to workout for 1-2 hours per day because you think that’s the only way to get results, you are misinformed. WHAT you do is more important than duration. Again, with the black and white thinking this can lead to “I don’t have an hour and a half to dedicate so it’s not worth it”, which isn’t rational either. Getting in 10 minutes of movement is still good for your body. It is still good for your heart and lungs and sanity to get in those few minutes of movements.

There also seems to be this mentality of “if I can’t give it 100% it’s not worth it”. While it is important to work hard during your workouts, you don’t HAVE to every time. Goals are great, and you have to put in a certain amount of work to build strength or lose fat, or run faster – whatever your goal is. Of course, you have to put in the work; however, if you’re just an everyday person who simply wants to be healthy – have decent mobility, feel energized, and just feel confident most days, it doesn’t have to be that severe. It is more important to stay consistent (do your three workouts each week) than to give 1000% every time. Getting in 10 minutes at 50% will do more for you than getting in 0 minutes at 0%. Over time, you will be able to push yourself more. You will build up confidence in your ability to push harder. Again, I am not saying you can just do 10% effort all the time and see results, but 10% effort 70% of the time will still keep your more mobile and fit than 0% effort for three weeks.

In sum, finding the gray in your health is difficult. Take baby steps. Manage your expectations. Identify when you have black and white thinking. Maybe you can’t get in an hour at the gym today, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat a pint of ice cream because you feel bad about it. If you really want to get in a workout, set a timer for 10 minutes and do 30 seconds of squats followed by 30 seconds of rest. You could even do that for five minutes! Or hold a 1:00 plank. It may sound small and silly, but it will also help you break through your black and white thinking. Remember that just because you eat a piece of pizza, doesn’t mean you need to eat a whole cake too. It does not have to be all or nothing. Keep reminding yourself that the overarching goal is LIFESTYLE not a quick fix. Keep reminding yourself that you can eat a piece of pizza without gaining 10lbs (seriously, you won’t gain weight from one slice of pizza). Remind yourself that consistency counts. Remind yourself that nothing else in life is black and white, so food and fitness don’t have to be either. Remind yourself that when you are tired you should REST! Remind yourself that you are worth taking care of. Make a conscious effort to listen to what your body is saying to you. Ask yourself if what you are doing is sustainable.

My Current Obsessions

Anyone who knows me knows that when I get into something I AM OBSESSED. I’m that super annoying friend who learns about songs months after is was popular and I listen to that song on repeat. I am that person. You can stop following me now if you need to, I would understand. Now that we have that cleared up, once in a while I like to do a round-up of my favorite things. At this point though let’s be real: these are my current obsessions.


Guys, I’m onboard. Again, I am always so late to the party, but I have arrived. I am super obsessed with podcasts right now, and there is no turning back. I listen to them while I work and they give me a lot of inspiration. I also listen to them on my run. I have been running headphone free for years but I was in the middle of a podcast and decided to run with it playing one day and I loved it. Music messes with my tempo, but with the podcast I can listen to fun conversation and it doesn’t have any impact on my pace.

Serial – Pat and I binged Serial on our move to Colorado. The first season was so good and I was torn the whole time. Was the guy guilty? Was he not?! I need answers!!! I had to look up everything regarding this story afterward and was kind of sad when the season was over. I immediately looked up every podcast that was considered similar to this, and none of them delivered the same sense of “what happened next?” that Serial did. I HAD to listen to each episode.

I’ll Have Another – This is my running podcast. The host interviews women runners, as well as successful women, most of whom are entrepreneurs. Most of the women are also moms, so these are all subjects I can relate to. I love hearing about women who ran their first marathon around 4 hours and now they are running times below 3:10. This is super motivating to me. I also just love listening to successful women because I want to be a successful woman, so they inspire me to keep moving in the direction of my dreams.

Girls Gone WOD – This podcast is hysterical. The two hosts reference Mean Girls at least once per episode, and it’s so well placed. They interview people all over the spectrum: cookbook authors, therapists, Crossfit athletes, distance athletes, nutritionists, etc. They also have a few episodes on marriage hacks, which is brilliant. They have a lot of discussions about “what is balance” and really discussing that it isn’t black and white when it comes to food and exercise. This brings up so many points that I want to remember to chat with my group about. Mostly, they are hilarious.

Food Products

img_9259Arctic Zero – I don’t really love foods promoted as “diet foods” or “health foods”. If you have been following me for a while, you have probably noticed that I am mostly a real food advocate. Sometimes though I do want something sweet, but I don’t have a BIG sweet tooth so I can’t really handle anything really rich. I have found two flavors of this ice cream that I love, and I have been having a bowl every night. I don’t feel really bloated or heavy after, I just feel full. I like the brownie batter and the cookie dough best because they are a bit creamier and they have some chunks in there. I have tried a few other flavors and wasn’t a fan, but these two I am obsessed with!

img_9249Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo – I know a lot of people are afraid of mayo because of fats or whatever we have been told that makes it “bad”. My only gripe is that there is usually sugar in it, and I don’t see the necessity in that. I started using this mayonnaise for a buffalo chicken casserole recipe and it’s so good. I can’t wait to make BLTs with this! I like the ingredients in it and it tastes good.

Local Food

img_9582Beet Box – On Sunday I decided we NEEDED to have donuts, but full disclosure I look for gluten free donuts. The sugar is a lot for me when it comes to donuts, so I don’t want to add in the digestive stress of gluten. We went down to this bakery and they were legitimately the best donuts I have ever head. They were super filling and SO TASTY! We got double chocolate, apple cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Unreal. If you live in the Denver area you HAVE to try this place. You don’t have to be gluten free – they have gluten free and non-gluten free. It’s cake in donut form.


What I Am Struggling With Right Now

Here’s the thing: I write a fitness blog, which I hope is a resource for many when it comes to all things fitness. I write a lot about past struggles and I write a lot about overcoming struggles. It is usually after the fact though, and sometimes that can be hard to relate to. My goal with this post is to show you that I too am human, and I struggle. I struggle with aspects of my fitness, and my life in general. Whenever I encounter a struggle, I like to solve the problem by putting together a plan to resolve the issue at hand. Honestly, a lot of this is second nature and I don’t always realize I am doing it. Also, in the interest of full disclosure: I like to problem solve and talk issues to death. I do not like when Pat problem solves my struggles, even though I always want to solve his problems. This is 100% irrational, unfair, and I am sure infuriating. I try my best not to be close-minded when he does troubleshoot my complaints, but this can probably be added to the list of things I struggle with right now. On to my current struggles and what I plan to do about them!


Running – In May I ran my first marathon. I respond really well to a set training plan, so race training always gets me super excited about running. When I am not race training I still love running, but I have a harder time making it a priority. Once we moved, the elevation took its toll on my ability to run with any sort of speed. We also travelled a ton when we first moved here, so I didn’t really have the opportunity to adjust to the elevation. Then I got sick for the 29078094385 time in a one month period, so I just took 5 days off of working out altogether to really just let my body recuperate. It has been a long journey with some awesome runs, and a lot of terrible or non-existent runs. We also live in an area that is great for running, but not superb for stroller running. Where I used to sometimes just take my son for an afternoon run, we really only have a one mile loop here where that would be feasible. I could always run it a few times, and some days I will end up doing that. It has simply been an extra obstacle for me.

I told Pat last week that I want my running to be more of a priority. He is always so supportive of my goals, so when I put it out there I feel more accountable because I do have that extra support. I am not looking to run any really long distances or train for any long distance races. I am looking to get back to my four consistent days of running, and running those without feeling terrible after. I have signed-up for a 5-miler trail run, just to have something to work toward. Right now, I am working back toward my four days per week of running. From there, I will add in some speed work so I can actually race!

unnamed-1Being A Good Mom – I 100% know I am not alone with this, but man it is so hard to feel like a good mom. I don’t even know what a “good” mom looks like. I mean, I keep my kid alive, and I am kind to him. Is that enough? Not for me. I know I will probably get a slew of responses saying “you’re a great mom!” and it is not about the validation. It is just that, in general I question my parenting decision every single day. I don’t know if men do this, but I have never spoken to a mom who doesn’t do this. Our son goes to day care half days, four days per week. I struggle with this of course, because I don’t feel I work enough to justify this, but I also know it is beneficial for him to be around other kids his age. I am seeing that benefit because skills that I have been trying to teach him for OVER A YEAR (bangs head against wall) he is finally starting to do, and it is probably because he sees other kids do it. When he comes home, he naps (haha, that’s the goal anyway) then we spend the afternoon playing. I usually try to bring him to the library, or the park, or somewhere fun. On his day off from daycare we usually go to the aquarium or children’s museum, etc. Here again I get torn. I worry on the one hand that I am not spending enough time with him, teaching him, exposing him to experiences. On the other hand, I feel like I am spoiling him – setting an expectation that we will always do fun activities. It is such a crazy spiral! I am sure some of it has to do with the fact that he is my first kid. I get that. I am also sure some of this is just the crazy cycle that we as moms (and probably dads too, I don’t know) plunge ourselves into.

To combat this, I remind myself that my parents were also human. Nothing was more jarring than the realization that my parents were in fact just doing the best they could, and were probably as clueless as I am in how to raise kids. I am not sure if this is a common “a-ha” moment or not, but I was sitting with my son when he was younger, feeling completely unprepared (I have read every parenting book and blog under the sun) to adequately raise a child. Then I realized, my parents did not have the internet when my brother and I were born, and we both turned out pretty decent. My parents must have been in over their heads! We survived though, and we still like our parents! It was comforting to me to realize that my parents weren’t superhuman, and that they just did the best they could. That’s all you can ask.

I also used to go to a new parenting class run by a therapist. She talked A LOT, but one piece of advice she said really stuck with me: “No matter how hard you try, you cannot be a perfect parent. No one is. And no matter what you do, your kid will dislike you at some point. It is just a reality.” She wasn’t being mean spirited, she was simply stating that it is pointless to make yourself crazy about whether or not your kids will like you. Whether you are a strict parent or a super laid back parent, your kids will probably take issue with SOMETHING you do as a parent. That’s OK. There is no perfection. Breaking down that standard has definitely helped me to stress less about all of therapy bills I constantly assume my son will be racking up. Mom guilt is so real and so ridiculous, but I totally buy into it.

unnamed-3Meal Prep – Irony is so real here. I preach all the time about meal prepping, but I have been AWFUL about it recently. I have just not been prioritizing it, which makes my weekdays way more hectic. I still prioritize my nutrition, but I have been making the world’s laziest meals lately (caulirice and meat with taco seasoning has been our tune this week). Part of it has been that on the weekend when we normally have a little extra time, we have still been moving into and organizing our house. Part of it is that I usually will make a casserole or something early in the week for dinner, that we can have as leftovers, but my son has taken to crying at my feet the second I walk into the kitchen, and I just don’t have the energy for it. Also, our oven is garbage. I cannot cook anything over 250 degrees (per the oven face) because the oven continues to heat and is off by 50-100 degrees!! We have discussed this with our landlord, but these things take time.

To combat this, Pat and I have already discussed setting goals for this weekend. We have been tackling one big project per weekend (i.e. organizing the garage, organizing our bathroom, etc). This weekend we have separate projects we want to work on (mine being meal prep) and I think having that extra time this weekend for meal prepping will be helpful in getting me back into a meal prep routine. I also have to get over my frustration with our oven, and just work around the problem until it is resolved. I also plan to remind myself how good this is for my son. He is better set up for growth and development when I have food on hand that nourishes him. It makes our mornings and lunchtime much smoother and happier. Less tears and screaming from him also make me much happier.

Overall, we all struggle. EVERYONE! EVERY SINGLE PERSON you know struggles with something! If they tell you they aren’t, they are lying. I have always been a problem solver, so I try to be proactive about my struggles. If I am struggling with something and it is really impacting how I feel about myself, I like to make a plan to change that. I have no interest in being a victim to my circumstances. I am always striving to change what makes me unhappy. It is not easy, but it is my reality. I encourage to look at what is making you unhappy right now. If it is something that you have no control over, accept that; however, if it is something that you can work toward changing, make a plan!

Jessica’s Success

I met Jessica at a Christmas party essentially minutes after she moved to Port Hueneme. Her son was somewhere around 14 seconds old and she was just jumping right into conversation with this group of women I had met a number of times. While I sat quietly in my seat taking everything in, Jessica was relaying hilarious stories from her move and experiences in general. That’s the thing about Jessica, she’s just really fun! The following November I had put together my first Fit For Festivities challenge and she signed up to join. Up until then, I would consider us acquaintances through our husbands. We definitely chatted and got along, we had just never spent much time together outside of work gatherings for our husbands. When Jessica joined the challenge, she knew something had to change, but she was not quite ready to make that change yet.
Leading up to joining our group, Jessica had been to her doctor a number of times about back and knee pain. He told her she had two babies too close together – there isn’t really anything to be done about it. Obviously she dumped this doctor as soon as she could, but circumstances had her seeing him for far too long. One of the bigger issues turned out to be her gallbladder! When I launched the Bathing Suit Challenge in February, she was ready to commit! Jessica decided to do a round of Whole 30 in conjunction with the Bathing Suit Challenge. During the six-week challenge she lost 11 lbs and 19.5 inches.

Bathing Suit Challenge Results

What makes her success amazing is that during the fifth week of the challenge, her family and she were in a horrible car wreck. Thankfully they all survived with minimal injuries – Jessica’s of course being the worst. After the wreck she suffered from severe migraines and other aches and pains that she still has. In the months following her wreck Jessica and I chatted a lot. We continued to talk about throwing out the scale and focusing on how she felt. She could not workout often, but she stayed in the group for the support. Sometimes she couldn’t workout because she was physically incapable. Sometimes she didn’t workout because she was feeling bad for herself. According to her, she ate a little more than she had been, and had been indulging in more food outside what made her feel healthy. For the most part though, she ate well and didn’t put the weight back on that she had lost. It really showed me how much her mindset had changed over how to maintain her health.
By August Jessica decided she was done with her excuses. She decided that she was not going to be crazy and push through pain, but discomforts she could work around. She told her husband about her goals, and that was it. He doesn’t mess around with accountability. They looked up a 10k training plan (C210K – it’s a free app so I linked it up), looked up some races, and she put together a plan to combine her running and her Fitness With Kristen workouts. She has been killing it with her training, and still getting in her FWK workouts to enhance her running. She started off running only 90 seconds, and is now running for 30 minutes straight without stopping! She has fought tooth and nail for her health. She didn’t just decide she was going to be healthy and that was it. She had a bad wreck. She had awful doctors. She has moved five times and had two babies in the last four years. She has not let that stop her. This woman is so amazing and genuinely inspires me everyday. I asked her a few questions about her journey below.

unnamed-5For what reason did you join Fitness With Kristen?  To learn how to make myself a priority again and physically feel better! 

When you began Fitness With Kristen, what were your goals?  What did you want to get out of Fitness With Kristen? Change my eating habits and make working out a priority! Make changes that would last and not just be a temporary fix.

What have been some of your biggest obstacles in reaching your goals? My biggest enemy is myself! I am my own worst critic and I have to constantly remind myself to look how far I’ve come and not focus on how far I still have to go!

Have your goals changed since you joined Fitness With Kristen? Yes, I’m no longer judging myself based on the scale:.. In fact, at the moment I don’t even own a scale. I weigh mostly when I go to doctors appointments and it’s nice to watch the numbers just keep moving down. I am now focused on feeling my best so that I can give my family the best of me!

What has been your success in terms of numbers? I am down close to 40 lbs total with about 20-25 of it being lost since starting FwK and still maintaining 22 inches total lost!

What has been your greatest health/fitness accomplishment in your journey? Regaining my confidence and feeling comfortable with myself again.

unnamed-6Has working out changed your attitude in other parts of your life?  If so, how? Yes. It makes life easier. I have more patience, more energy and just a better attitude all around! I used to feel guilty for taking time for myself, now I can tell a huge negative difference in my attitude when I don’t!

What is your favorite healthy recipe? PaleOMG spaghetti squash pizza pie

Are You Selfish?

I was talking to my Mom the other day and she said “you know, I am just going to have to be selfish and take care of myself.” I immediately got defensive, and it isn’t her fault. I just hate that our society has skewed things so that when we take care of ourselves it is considered selfish. It isn’t that this is a new trend, it is just that I am more aware of it, and I despise it more the older I get.

unnamedYou know what’s selfish? NOT taking care of yourself. Not eating well. Not moving your body. Not taking time for yourself. Not resting and recuperating. Knowingly engaging in these activities: that’s selfish. It is one thing if you are trying your best to eat well but are simply misinformed. It is another thing to know you should take some time for yourself, but not doing that. It is one thing to eat a cupcake or some nachos from time to time. It is another thing when you know that sitting down and eating a pack of Cinnabons is terrible for you, but you do it on the weekly.

When you don’t take care of yourself, someone else will eventually have to take care of you. When you don’t take the time to nourish your body, your kids and family will miss out on time with you. When you don’t take the time to de-stress, you have less tolerance for those around you and have a shorter fuse. You are also probably spinning yourself into a ball of stress, making you pretty tough to be around.

Outside the logistics of being a normal human being, is it selfish to train for big events, such as a marathon, Ironman, Crossfit regionals, or really any kind of competition/race? I think it definitely takes a level of self-absorption, but why is that negative? Training is very consuming. If you don’t train properly your biggest risk is injury, and you are also looking at a longer recovery.

For example, when I trained for my marathon, there were several aspects of my life that were impacted. I had less time to work, but I had a lot more time to brainstorm (when you are running at least an hour most days, a lot of brainstorming happens. Especially when you run without headphones). At the time, I was only able to do exactly what needed to be done to keep my business afloat, but at the same time, I have implemented so many new programs and ideas since training, which I thought of during my training. My family was also impacted. I spent 2-3 hours running on Saturday mornings. Even though I would leave early in the morning, I was usually returning right around the time my son was going down for a nap. Then I had to stretch, shower, eat, and hydrate. Our Fridays also revolved around my runs. This takes a lot of time away from my family, but it also gave my husband and I time to ease back into living together after 6+ months of him being on deployment. When we had discussed it, I thought I was choosing a poor time by not devoting all of my energy to his return. He disagreed and thought it would be good for him to spend time one-on-one with our son. This worked out great for our son. He got special time with Daddy; he got to see his Mommy put in the work to meet her goals; and he got to see us being smart about our time back together. So yes, there is definitely a level of dedication and self-absorption that comes with training for something, but I don’t think that is entirely selfish, or that the level of self-absorption is negative.

unnamedI think it is so important that we as adults put in the time and effort to take care of ourselves. Where else will our kids learn to care for themselves? Our kids learn from what we do (not what we say – very disappointing, I know). I am not saying you need to make fancy, gourmet, healthy meals every night, or that you have to spend six hours on Sunday making 30lbs of grilled chicken to have with steamed asparagus and brown rice everyday. I am saying, eating General Tso’s chicken EVERY NIGHT because you can’t be bothered to find something more nourishing (whether you find it eating out or cook extras throughout the week) is selfish if you know you don’t feel well after and that it is not good for your health.

I am saying that it is not selfish to take 30-60 minutes most days for yourself. Whether you use that time to workout, or just relax, everyone deserves time to de-stress and that is not selfish. I am saying that despite the level of dedication it takes to train for a big event, as long as you have an honest discussion with your family before plunging in, it is not selfish to set a goal and work toward it. I am saying that it is appalling that when we decide to take care of ourselves, we feel the need to apologize.

What do you think? On some level is it selfish to take care of yourself, or is it more selfish to disregard yourself and take care of others?

Leg Exercises For Runners

Here’s the deal: when you are a runner, it is important that you keep your whole body strong. You need a strong core to run. You need strong legs to run. You also need strong arms to run, especially longer races. While tallying up the miles is certainly important as you work toward running longer distances, strength training is also important. You need to strength train for injury prevention. You also need to strength train to become a better runner.

You may know most of the basic leg exercises to try: squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc. In this post I will share some of my favorite leg exercises, many of which you may already know. I will also share an example workout with these exercises, as well as a workout from my PR Half Marathon Training Plan. If you are getting ready for a race, in the winter or spring, I encourage you to look into this training plan.

Some of these exercises I will go over may be difficult if you are already in the height of training, especially if you have never done them before. If you find some of these exercises are too high impact with the mileage you are running right now, try incorporating them during your “off” season so that you can strengthen your legs and increase your speed.

Leg Exercises

Kettlebell Lunge – You can do these walking, or alternating. Use a kettlebell (or dumbbell) and pass the weight from your right arm under your left leg while you are in a lunge. Return to your starting position then pass from your left arm through your right leg. Always be sure to pass from opposite arm through opposite leg. I like these because you need to use different stabilizers to complete this motion than you would for a regular lunge.

Overhead Walking Lunges – Again, you can do these alternating or even as static lunges. I love overhead lunges because it puts weight right through the center of your body, keeping your core strong and strengthening your quads. You may feel this in your glutes too, but I love the focus on my center of gravity for this exercise. You can use a barbell, body bar, or plate for these.

Split Squats – I love these! These are one of those love to hate them moves for me. They burn so good. I love these because again, you need to keep your core strong throughout this movement, and it really helps you to isolate one leg at a time, ensuring that your stronger side does not overcompensate for your weaker side. This movement also uses different stabilizers than a lunge or squat will.

Kettlebell Squat – For this one I like to go a little heavier than I would for a kettlebell swing or lunge. The center of gravity of the kettlebell is why I like this exercise so much, but you can always use a dumbbell for this exercise as well. Stand in a squat position, feet hip width, and point your toes out slightly. The slight outward pointing of the toes will help target your inner thighs. Hold the kettlebell and let it drop straight between your legs as you keep your core tight and hips back like you’re sitting over a public toilet.


Wall Ball/Medicine Ball Toss – These are great for total body and for getting your heart rate up. These will not only strengthen your legs, but will help with your fast twitch muscles, which are important for sprinting (think to the finish line). You want to make sure this is as explosive of a movement as you can make it. Use your legs to explode up and do most of the work. They should propel the rest of your body so it barely feels like your arms are doing much to throw the ball. If you have a wall to squat and throw a medicine ball up against, use it. Otherwise, you can do as I do in the video and just toss it in the air and catch it.


Jump Ups – These are a little different from a box jump in that you want to keep your jumps low and quick. These are intended to get your heart rate up, work on your fast twitch muscles, and add endurance to your legs.

Squat Jump/Lunge Jump – I am grouping these two together because the concept is similar. The jumping motion is again designed to work those fast twitch muscles and to help build endurance in your legs. Obviously running is going to be the best thing you can do to build endurance in your legs, but adding these explosive movements will help you become a stronger runner. You can pace these or do them as fast as you can for a short amount of time. I usually go for the latter, working on going until I am about to break form, pushing past discomfort.  This has really helped to strengthen my legs and improved my paces.


Here is a workout from my PR Half Marathon Training Plan incorporating a couple of these exercises:

Warm-up: 100 jump rope

Superset 1×3

  • Curtsey Lunge with bar on back – 20
  • Lunge Jumps – 1:00

Superset 2×4

  • Deadlift, 5
  • Jumprope – 100

Superset 3×3

  • Barbell back squats , 15
  • Squat jumps – 1:00

Hip Thrusters with Barbell x3

Here are TWO workouts incorporating some of these moves, to strengthen your running. Remember, if you are already in the height of race training, you may wait until you are between races if these are a higher intensity than what you are used to. Be sure you warm-up before your workout and stretch afterward.


Complete 2-5 rounds depending on your fitness level. Adjust reps as needed until you can work up to these reps.

  • Walking Kettlebell Lunge – 20
  • Squat Jump – 1:00 (work as fast as you can within the minute, resting as needed. Work away from pacing yourself on this)
  • Split Squat – 10 each side
  • Medicine Ball Toss – 1:00
  • Overhead Walking Lunge – 14


Set a timer for 10 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible:

  • Lunge Jump – 10 (total)
  • Kettlebell Squat – 20
  • Medicine Ball Toss – 10
  • Jump Ups – 20

Keep in mind, you do not always have to do circuits to get in a good workout. I like circuits for efficiency (they take less time) and because they work my lungs more than any other workout I do. Let me know if you try any of these workouts!

What I Did To Finally Reach My Goals

It took me a long time to truly find balance when it came to living a healthy lifestyle. I have always wanted to have a fit look about me, and I spent a long time counting calories and spending hours working out. I also spent time attempting “body acceptance” where I just ate whatever I wanted and accepted that I would just never be fit again. Neither of those extremes worked for me. What did work for me was accepting where I was in my journey, while working toward a stronger, healthier self.

unnamed-6This will sound so basic, but the first thing I did to accept myself and move forward in my journey, was to buy clothes that fit me. For pretty much all of my life, I would hang on to clothes that used to fit, in the hopes that they would fit again someday. There’s nothing terribly wrong with doing this, but I was hanging on to clothes for 5 years at a time that still did not fit comfortably. I was shaming myself for not fitting into my old clothes. Once I let go of that expectation and bought clothes that fit me comfortably, I stopped feeling so uncomfortable. This is so basic, and yet such a difficult step! Nobody wants to buy bigger clothes. Sometimes though, getting clothes that fit and help you feel more confident, help you to have the courage to take control of your situation.

The next thing I did was take responsibility for my actions. I am responsible for what I put in my mouth. I am responsible for the excuses I make or for pushing myself beyond reason. I am responsible for my rest. Nobody else. These are my responsibilities for taking care of myself. I am not responsible for the insecurities others may feel when I take care of myself. This was the biggest phenomenon for me. I worked at a gym where I was constantly criticized for bringing in my own meals and nourishing myself. It made me feel really small and like I had to change my habits. Then I realized I should not be apologizing for taking care of myself. I should not feel bad for eating healthy food, for eating a lot of food, and for moving my body. This was so so hard for me to learn, but I did eventually realize that I deserve to take care of myself. I should not make myself smaller because taking responsibility of my life made other people uncomfortable.

Next, I got real with myself about what I wanted and buckled down. There seems to be this trend where wanting to look a certain way or wearing make-up or taking care of yourself is shameful. I think it’s OK to want to look pretty. I think it is OK to take 45 minutes to do your hair if you enjoy that. I do not thinkthat taking care of yourself to feel your best should cause shame. I may not wear make-up or do my hair often, because that is not where my priorities lay; however, meal prepping and working out are priorities for me. I decided that I wanted to have a strong look, and that I wanted to see what kind of limits I could take my body to. I like to run, but I decided to run a marathon because it just seemed crazy. I still have so many things I want to try because I am unsure if I can do them, and I just want to continue to push my comfort zones. Also, I just want to look good (my version of that for me). I want to feel strong and have an outer shell that reflects that strength. Again, for a long time I was not real with myself about this.

unnamed-3Be intentional. My number one priority is always to feel my best. I cannot be a good mom if I feel lethargic most of the time. I cannot be a good wife if I am consistently in a bad mood. There have been times where I tell Pat “I think I will cut back on this part of my workout, but I will probably still run a few days per week” to which he usually responds “please do.” Running genuinely affects my mood that much. Not because I feel like I have to run or I will get fat, or any of that. It just really does give me those endorphins that help me to be a more patient person (I need all the help I can get when it comes to patience). Back to the point though: be intentional. It is all well and good to decide you want to be healthy, but you cannot just wing it. You cannot decide that some days you will eat well and other days you will eat an entire pizza in one sitting. The first few months you have to be really intentional. Write out your meals. Prepare your meals. Write out your workout schedule. Don’t skip it. Get all of your workout gear ready the night prior. Get your post workout meal ready the night prior. Actually sit down and eat your meals instead of eating on-the-go. I know that sounds like a lot, and at first it can be overwhelming. Be intentional about your goals though. If you want to be healthy, take the time each day to being a healthier person. If you have 30 minutes to watch TV or 10 minutes to be on Facebook/Instagram, you have 10 minutes to sit down and be intentional about what you are putting into your mouth.

Crowd out less nutritious food. I have watched a ton of food documentaries and one of the best bits of knowledge I took away from these was to crowd out your less nutritious food. First of all, I don’t like to label food “good” and “bad”. That gives food too much power and it’s just not that serious. If I want to have some nachos, I will make the choice of whether or not I will eat them, then I will stop when they are no longer satisfying. It does not have to be all or nothing, and food does not have to be so black and white. Certain foods nourish me more and give me more energy, so I prefer to eat those most of the time. What I did for food crowding was I began filling my plate with nutritious food first. I always start with my veggies, piling them on. Next, I add my protein source. Next I add my carb and fat sources (generally my fats come from the generous amounts of oil in which I cook my vegetables). Now I have vitamins, as well as all of my macronutrients. From here, I will add in anything extra I may want. Say some chips, or an after dinner dessert. I listen to my body first though. Am I full? If so, I will hold off on dessert. I won’t die without the dessert, and it will be there tomorrow. If it isn’t there tomorrow, I am sure I can find it or something similar.

unnamed-2Overall, being honest with myself and listening to my body is what helped me the most. I would always read people saying they just lived this lifestyle and they did not want a quick fix and I thought they were smug. Truly, I hated reading stuff like that because I just really could not relate. I wanted to lose weight first THEN work on the lifestyle. Once I was finally able to change that mentality, it really helped me to reach my goals and become a much healthier person. One of the questions that I often ask myself is: is this a life or death situation. I know that seems extreme, but putting things into perspective like that really helps. Eating Doritos on the couch all day everyday, that is life or death, because it will not help you live a nourishing life. Missing dessert once in a while isn’t life or death. Gaining 5lbs over two months isn’t life or death. Your jeans fitting a little snugger over a long period isn’t life or death. Missing one workout isn’t life or death. Consistently engaging in some of these behaviors can definitely take away from your health, but giving it perspective may help you not get the “F its”. You know what I’m talking about. “Oh, I already had a piece of pizza. F it, I might as well eat a whole cake too.” One piece of pizza won’t make you fat. Having this mentality everyday, will. This takes away from your health and your energy.

Have you tried any of these in the past or are you currently trying any of them now? Let me know what has worked for you!

Upcoming Goals

It has been a super busy weekend of getting settled, birthday festivities, and fan girling. Pat and I spent all day Saturday unpacking the last few boxes we had left and setting up the garage – mostly my workout section. We worked hard all day so we could play all day Sunday, which is exactly what we did. I started the day off with my 30th birthday workout, which I will share below. After that, we headed down to Denver to enjoy brunch at Snooze, which was amazing. They had cream cheese hollandaise, which is life changing. I had an eggs benedict variation with salmon, capers, and gluten free toast, with a side of hash browns. After my workout I probably could have eaten 5 more eggs! We spent the rest of the day at a street fair and hanging out on our back deck chatting. Yesterday, I got to meet Juli Bauer from Paleomg and it was so fun! Pat set up a coffee meeting for us and we got to chat and I picked her brain a little bit about her business. I tried not to be a totally crazy fan, and I think I was pretty collected for most of our time together. She really was just as fun and nice in person as she is on her blog and social media.


Of course, turning 30 got me thinking about future goals I have: for my family, my fitness, and my business. I am so proud that my fitness is far superior to where it was even three years ago, meaning age is just a number. I know so many people get caught up in their age and use it as an excuse, but it is not a great excuse. The older I get, the more important I feel it is to take care of myself. I find it important to eat healthy and make sure I am eating enough, because I want to have the energy to be around for my husband and my son. I want to be able to keep up with my family!

As far as my business, I want to continue focusing on helping people gain confidence and strength. With my online community, we have a program and support forum designed specifically for fat loss and strength, including added core strength. Through that, I want people to gain the confidence to try things they have never been brave enough to try before. We have members who began playing hockey after a few months in the community. Other members have signed up to run races. Still others are literally gaining the confidence to invest in professional and fashionable clothing outside of leggings (no judgement here – I live in yoga pants). I hope to continue to grow our community in such a way that lifts these members up and boost their confidence while continuing to offer the resources and tools they need to be successful long term.

I have completely overhauled how I work with my online clients, and they seem to be extremely pleased with that. There is a lot more interaction and dialogue, and it is helping me to make a program that is more suitable for them. We have found a way to work toward their goals, stay in communication, and keep things fresh. I want to continue making this as easy to follow as possible while helping clients get the results they need.

Finally, for Fitness With Kristen, I want to put together some more at home programs like I have with my PR Half Marathon Training Plan and Lean Body e-book. My goal is to get an understanding of what people need, and put together comprehensive resources so that people can meet their goals!

Moving on to my fitness goals. Now that I have checked a marathon off of my list, I want to train for a triathlon sometime in the next five years. I realize that seems like a lofty amount of time, but when I train, I train 100% and I am unsure when we will have the time for that type of dedication any time soon. I also want to sign-up for a few races in the next few months, just to experience the excitement of running and racing again. I really love to run, but it is lowest priority when I don’t have a plan in place. From November through May I ran my little heart out getting ready to train, then training for my half marathon and marathon. Getting a few short races on the books will help me prioritize my running better. I also want to try Crossfit again! I have been to a few classes, but if I ever have time I would love to get into a class once per week or so to supplement the workouts I am doing at home. I just genuinely do not feel like I have time to dedicate one hour to a class, plus the time to shower and be a respectable human afterward.

unnamed-1Overall, in the next few years, I want to grow my fitness, family, and business. I want to grow my business in a way that is helpful for others, not just profitable for me. I want to empower others to be the best version of themselves, and I want to continue to push my own limits to find out how strong I really am!

Here is my 30-year-old celebration workout, including the weights I used:


2 rounds for time

  • 30 Barbell Thrusters (just bar)
  • 30 Air Squats
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Kettlebell Swings (25lb KB)
  • 30 (total) Overhead Walking Lunges (25lb plate)

Finished in 20:37. Let me know if you try this workout!