Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ask yourself this question, "How bad do I really want it? How bad do I want to get fit? How bad do I want to lose weight? How bad do I want to get strong?" If you REALLY want it bad enough...you WILL make it happen! Don't become discouraged because you don't see progress, when you don't put in the work. You have to be willing to make hard decisions. You have to be willing to sacrifice. You have to be willing to work harder than you've ever worked, if you want a big change. You CAN do it, but you have to want it...bad.


Strong Is The New Skinny

Monday, April 15, 2013


"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender."

When things come easy and we don't have to work hard for them...they don't mean as much to us. On the other hand, some of the most meaningful things in our lives are those that we have worked or even struggled to obtain. That is how you should feel about your fitness...about your strength. You should be working so hard that surrender is not an option no matter what setbacks you face. It's okay to adjust, but you should never be willing to surrender! 


Strong Is The New Skinny

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Take the first step!

It's hard to start a journey when you're not quite sure where the road will take you. It's scary to change when you don't know who you'll become. Sometimes, all it takes to find success is taking that first step...walking into the dark tunnel...feeling and acknowledging the fear and discomfort and then moving through it to the other side...to a place that's lighter. Don't avoid change because there are unknowns. You don't have to see the whole staircase. You just have to take the first step! 


Strong Is The New Skinny

Monday, April 1, 2013

Don't be afraid of failure!

Don't be afraid of failure. Failing at something doesn't make YOU a failure. It means you get another chance to keep trying until you get it right and you get the opportunity to grow throughout the process! Keep pushing the limits and find out who you truly are and what you are truly capable of doing! 



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Keep looking

Most people with children have experienced the feeling.  You are in a busy store or mall with your child and turn your back for just a moment.  When you turn back again, your child is gone.  It's as if they have disappeared and the most terrible feeling of fear, confusion, and panic washes over you.  It can be overwhelming.  And as each moment passes, it gets worse.  You start to behave in ways that you normally wouldn't...yelling...frantically searching....begging strangers to help you.  Irrational thoughts and fears begin to cloud your thinking.  I have personally experienced this on several occasions many years ago when my children were still small.  I'll never forget that emotion or the relief that washed over me when I eventually found my "lost child" each time.

My children are all older now.  I haven't experienced that in a long time, but I have been experiencing something a little similar and a couple of weeks ago as I left the gym I made the connection in my mind.  I was there to workout with my friend at his gym.  Many years ago, he was MY trainer.  Our relationship has changed but the desire to please him in the gym has never really left me in the 6 years since I stopped training with him as a client.  I've mentioned in previous blogs that I have been through a lot in the past couple of years.  I lost my marriage of 21 years that in turn caused me to lose a lot of comfort, security, and free time to workout whenever and however long I want.  Then, a couple of weeks ago...my older sister that has struggled with mental illness for many years, took her own life.

Although, I have dealt with it all as it came and feel like I've handled it all pretty well, it has taken a big toll on my emotional state.  That in turn has affected my physical state and ability at times.  Some days, it's been a big struggle physically to make it to the gym.  I start to workout and it's as if all my energy is gone.  I feel weak and that same sense of panic I spoke of earlier washes over me.  I worry that I will never find my strength again.  So when I found myself struggling and frustrated one day after a workout with my friend, I had to think about this.  At one point he looked at my tank and yelled..."FIND YOUR STRONG!" at me!

As I drove home afterwards, I put the connection of those two situations together.  There was one distinct difference though.  If I had lost my child, I would NEVER give up searching.  It wouldn't matter if I was tired or hurt or frustrated or lost.  I would continue to search against all odds to find my child.   I felt like I had lost something that was so precious to me.  I worked for so many years to build muscle and strength that now seemed to be gone, but instead of doing whatever it takes...no matter how hard or bad I feel...I was in a sense throwing my hands in the air and giving up. 

Clearly, my fitness and the way my body looks and performs will never be as important as my children, but it IS very important to me.  Making this connection about how I have reacted differently to "losing" 2 different things that I care about made me take a good hard look at myself.  It made me have to get honest about just how bad I want to find my strength and how hard I actually have or in this case have not worked to find it.  I'm not perfect...that is clear to anyone that reads what I have to say, but I'm honest.  I believe honesty and forgiveness have always been a key part of my success.  It was nice to finally be honest with myself about the level of effort because once I realized I COULD work harder...it gave me hope.  I could stop being the self inflicted victim and make a plan.  And whether or not I find the same strength I had, I have found a comfort in realizing and regaining control over me.

If you lose something that you love, go find it.  Don't look for a minute or two and give up.  Don't get bored because it's taking longer than you thought.  Don't make excuses because you are afraid or the search becomes difficult.  Search.  And don't stop until you find what you're looking for!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Look up!

I still remember the weekend that I was at the CrossFit Running and Endurance certification several years ago.  I was excited to go because I love to run.  I thought the fact that I ran all the time and enjoyed it would make it an easier certification.  I was wrong.  Turns out I had terrible form and it ended up being one of the most difficult certifications I have ever attended.  Add 107 degree temps while doing running drills and workouts outside and at times I felt that I was just hanging on until the end of the day.

It's funny how we all have our our habits that we develop.  Many times we do not even realize what we are doing until an outsider points it out to us.  Brian Mackenzie was leading the class, but Carl Borg was his right hand.  As we went through drills, I kept hearing the same 2 things from Carl..."USE YOUR HAMSTRINGS!" and "STOP LOOKING AT THE GROUND!"  I still remember the last day when we were doing a workout and he finally yelled at me, "MARSHA!  STOP STARING AT THE GROUND!  LOOK UP!  THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD AROUND YOU TO SEE!"  I haven't thought about that in a long time, but those words came to my mind Monday as I walked out of the gym and stopped to lock the door.

I've put off writing this since because at that moment, I made a decision...a decision to "look up"...a decision not to be consumed with pain and disappointment...a decision NOT to cry...and I knew writing about this was sure to bring tears.  I hoped that maybe I had used all my tears up but unfortunately there's still some in the reserve I guess.

I got married 21 years ago and I planned to be married forever.  Unfortunately there's 2 people in every marriage and we can only control 1 of those 2...ourselves.  I won't get into detail to spare my loved ones more pain, but I will say this...deciding to divorce after 21 years has been the most difficult, heart breaking, surprising, disappointing, hurtful decision I have ever made.  I pride myself on being strong.  I encourage others to find their strength...to stay positive and believe in themselves.  I was able to do that for a long time, but over the past month I have fallen into a dark place that left me very weak at times.  It's left me questioning everything I have ever known and believed.  At times, I have felt hopeless and wondered if I will ever get the strength and happiness back that I once possessed.
They say old habits die hard, and for me that is the truth.  I improved my running form at that certification but there are habits that I had formed for 40 years prior to the class that I still have to watch for and one of those habits is looking down at the ground while I run.  I know exactly why I do it.  I do it when I am tired or when it gets hard for me.  It's like if I can just stare at the ground, I don't know how far I still have to go and I can focus my energy inward. 

As I stood at the door and put the key in the lock, the most amazing fall breeze swept through and blew my hair.  The temperature was perfect, leaves were falling and making rustling noises on the concrete, and for a moment I paused to take it in.  I thought about how much I love the fall...how good it felt...how amazing it is to watch leaves fall off the trees and then reappear in the spring...and for that brief moment I was happy.  I was able to look outside myself and enjoy what was around me.  I was transcended above all the hurt and pain that I have been so mired in and as the wind blew I could hear that familiar command, "MARSHA!  STOP STARING AT THE GROUND!  LOOK UP!  THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD AROUND YOU TO SEE!"

 You see, I've been doing what I do on a long, hard run.  I've been looking down because I didn't wanna look up and see the end further away than I wanted.  Unfortunately in my attempt to make things easier...I made them harder.  Sure, I couldn't see how far I had to go, but I couldn't see anything else either.  I couldn't see the good around me and I haven't been able to muster the strength I needed because I wasn't really sure where I was at.  All I knew was I was hurting and I wanted it to go away.  I still hurt.  I'm still scared, and I still feel like a failure in some ways but something changed the day the wind blew my hair and the voice from the past told me to "look up."
It's hard to fight a battle when you don't know what's coming at you.  It's hard to be strong when you can't see how big the obstacle is.  Don't make the mistake that I've made.  Face whatever it is in front of you.  Know that it doesn't matter how far you have to go.  You have the strength and the determination to endure and cross the "finish line" better and happier than you were before.  Don't look down and be weak.  Look up and be strong!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


When I was a little girl, I was terribly scared of the dark!  I wouldn't even walk to the bathroom by myself in the dark.  Luckily, my little sister, Sarah, was afraid of NOTHING and she would walk with me and stand outside the door until I came out.  I shared a bedroom with my 2 younger sisters until my older brother and sister moved out.  Then, I got my own room.  I loved it during the day, and I hated it at night.  I would go sleep with my sister sometimes, but on the nights I had to stay alone in my room...I was always afraid until I went to sleep.  I would pull the covers up high on my neck and always had my bed against a wall so I could put my back to the wall and feel safe.  If it got too bad, I'd sing to myself...but on the nights that the fear was unbearable, I would leave my room to go find my parents or my sister.  I still remember the dilemma.  I wanted to get out of there but I was afraid to put my feet on the floor.  I would lie there gripped with fear trying to summon the courage to move.  The boogeyman never got me, but every time I was afraid "he" would.

I'm a little embarrassed to say that fear has been a big part of my life in different ways.  I did and did not do many things because of it.  As a little girl I was afraid of being hurt.  As a teenager I was afraid of not being good enough.  As a young woman, I feared not being smart enough to get a degree and a job, so I defeated myself in college by getting bad grades and eventually dropping out as soon as I got married.  Sometimes the fear served me well.  It kept me from doing things that were bad because I was afraid of disappointing my parents.  But most of the time, it also kept me from the love and happiness and peace that I always craved.  It's like I have the demons of the past following me...taunting me...holding me back...telling me that I can't or that I need help.  I learned to coexist with "them" well.  I dedicated myself to being the best Mom I could be.  I shopped and went out with friends.  I laughed when I wanted to cry.  I made sure all my time was filled and that I was never alone with myself for too long.  I didn't want the same fears I had as a little girl and bad memories to come back.  I wasn't sure I was strong enough to face them.  That worked for a long time...and then things changed.
When I gained and lost 70 lbs. after my third child, my body wasn't the only thing to change.  My confidence grew.  I learned to try new things and not let it devastate me if I failed the first time I tried.  I made great improvements, but I kept my life fairly stress free.  I spent money, but I didn't worry about how to pay the bills.  When I needed a new car, I did the fun part.  I picked out what I wanted and then left it to my husband to get it and figure out how to pay for it.  I just assumed it would ALWAYS be this way...that I would always have someone there in bed with me at night to keep me safe and to handle the money and day to day stresses that I thought were too much for me.  That was a mistake. 

I was lying in bed Wednesday night alone gripped with fear just like when I was a little girl.  I felt like I couldn't move.  I wanted to jump up and run away, but I couldn't.  The only difference is I wasn't afraid of the boogeyman...I was afraid of the future...of being alone...of supporting myself...of all the tasks that I have avoided out of fear all these years.  After 21 years of marriage, I'm back to having my own room.  Soon there will be no one to pay the bills but me.  I won't be able to spend and shop without thinking.  I will have to pay attention and stick to a tight budget.  For a moment, I felt stuck...frozen...hopeless.  I tried talking to a friend but I was too closed off mentally to hear any other point of view and so at 3 AM, I stared at the ceiling wondering what would happen to me.  I don't know why, but I got up and decided to make a budget and find a way to reduce some costs.  I started searching for cars...cars that cost half as much as the Mercedes I needed to get rid of.  I made my choice and set out to do something...ON MY OWN the next day.  

I went to the Acura dealership to look at a new/used car they were selling for a good price.  It had all the stuff I like...heated seats, navigation, push start etc and it fit into my budget.  I walked in only to find out the car was already sold.  The internet mgr saw all my printouts for different dealerships and when I was questioned, I said, "Well, I'm not going to stop until I find a good car that has what I want and I'll go all over the DFW Metroplex if I have to."  He smiled and walked away.  When he came back he started trying to sell me great cars that were new and about 3-4 thousand above the budget I set.  He told me it wouldn't make a big difference.  I did not agree.  I held my ground...nicely of course.  Before I knew it, they were offering me a brand new car with everything I wanted at invoice.  I told them I had to think about it.  I walked away wondering, "Can I do this?  Can I buy a car by myself?  Am I smart enough to not get taken advantage of?"  The next morning I called the sales person from the previous day and made an offer.  I accepted the price but wanted more for my trade in and a certain interest rate.  He called me back and we had a deal!  I went to the dealership feeling pessimistic.  I was sure something would go wrong, but I was not going to bend.  It came time to finance.  The rate was 1% higher than I wanted.  A year ago, I would've caved.  I didn't.  I showed them that this rate was available other places and told him I refused to go any higher.  I was prepared to leave.  To my surprise, we had a deal...a deal that was in my favor...a deal that I got...all on my own.  It felt great driving my first new car purchased on my own at 42 yrs old off that car lot.
I drove to my parent's house to show everyone my car and after my brother looked under the hood and my mom checked out the inside, I pulled away to go home.  I was surprised by how I felt.  I had to contain the tears.  I was overwhelmed with excitement, pride, and hopefulness.  I realized that everyone has fears, but if you let those fears paralyze you...you will never get anywhere!  It felt great to take that fear that held me captive two nights before and use it to make necessary changes.  It doesn't matter whether you are facing a job change, a divorce, or the challenge of losing weight and trying to get stronger.  You cannot let fear hold you back.  You cannot let it hold you where you are.  When you are scared, get up and don't worry about what might happen or who might get you.  Take action.  Do the things you need to do and start to take back control over your life.  Strength is not about never failing or never being afraid.  It's not about always being able to lift the most weight or run the fastest.  It's about acting in spite of the obstacles in your way.  It's taking the first step into the dark, where you learn that there's no boogeyman.  It's about trying again and again until you stop failing.  It's about continuing to lift a little more and go a little faster.  There is nothing too scary to face, because you have the strength within you to overcome your fears.  Remember that the next time you are afraid.