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Tag: fitness

Therapy Via Exercise for Trainer and Client

Exercise acts as therapy for a lot of people. Fitness goers often say that their exercise programs and the people they exercise with are like therapy. I think that this is also true for the trainer as well.

Many people have said that ‘exercise is their therapy’ and I completely agree. It definitely is for me every time I lace up my shoes for a run. Aside from the endorphins, your mind has time to be quiet. Often you’re just focused on your movements or surroundings.

IMG_8521As a trainer and group fitness instructor, my job has become my therapy. I feel just as good as my clients do after their workout. To prepare, I do some positive self-talk, go over some movements, play some music, and get myself pumped up. For that hour or more I’m completely in the zone for those in front of me.

The feeling that I get during and after a class is like flying through the sky with a big smile on my face. I’m pumped up but I’m also seeing people push their bodies in ways that they normally wouldn’t. That’s therapy for me.

Therapy can be different things to different people. When we get that freedom from exercise or our work, that’s pretty incredible!

Earlier today, my client said that she would be unable to make it to our session tomorrow, “my therapy”, she said. Without a second thought, I responded with “It’s my therapy too! I will miss seeing you but will look forward to next week.” I truly meant it. I’ve had a handful of different jobs, with the majority falling short of waking up with fervor and passion. Instead, most of my jobs felt like every day was a “Monday.” No other role has compared to the after-effects of teaching a class, coaching a team, or training a client.

If any of you reading have that “I’ve just had therapy” feeling from a fitness class, know that your instructor is feeling the same way. We give our enthusiasm and expertise equally, so our clients can feel good and leave with a positive vibe. Maybe a client has to hire a babysitter, leave work early, or put their husband in charge of house duties for the hour they are with us. Our hearts are in fitness, so we give our hearts the minute the music starts.

As I say at the end of every class, “Breathe in all of the strength and energy you put into your workout. I hope that all of that strength and energy takes through your day and your week!”

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The BIG 3 In Fitness Can Bring Transformation To a Group

Fitness isn’t just giving people a kick-ass workout. It’s not about making them puke or sweat so much they need to be peeled off the ground. Of course, that can happen, but it’s really about being completely present for your people for the hour you are with them and about transformation. Over the last two months. I’ve noticed for the first time that my personal training, coaching, and group fitness instructing skills and methods have collided. Instead of keeping them all separate like I usually do, I’ve applied my style, personality, and methods of each to each of them and have found greater success. Coaching, Knowledge & Energy Combo, and Personal Attention are my BIG 3 In Fitness. My athletes want the knowledge and personal attention. Fitness members often need individual attention and like to be coached. Personal training clients want the energy and knowledge I bring to a class and thrive on the coach that comes out of me.

IMG_8521 IMG_8552In the past, my style would change like you’d change a hat. “Ok, it’s time to a be a one-on-one trainer now and stoically pay close attention to each muscle movement and effort.” “Oh! Now it’s time to coach these kids to understand the point of this workout and inspire them to execute it properly.” “Time for a show! Amp up the energy and get these members ready for some fitness fun!” Every group that I work with, needs the BIG 3’s and they all require them in different degrees.

As fitness professionals, I think that if we all take one big step back we can notice that every person in a group or solo needs us to be completely present and needs to be seen, heard, encouraged, enlightened, and energized. When a group is informed rather than just told what to do, their movements take on a whole new effort. When someone is having an off day and is truly seen by us, we’ve just made their day a bit lighter for them. During instruction, if we can step away from barking movements, to succinctly explaining why we do certain movements a certain way, enlightens people. We end up not only promoting health but we are also teaching. When negative self talk has crept into any one of their minds, someone to plug “This pull-up represents you pulling yourself up out of anything!” will literally pull them through their day, or more! Bringing all of this together naturally promotes transformation. When you’ve got someone dedicated to all of those things, just for you in that hour, how can transformation not take place?

The BIG 3 in Fitness – Coaching, Knowledge & Energy Combo, and Personal Attention are essential to fitness success. Whether you are in just one of the roles that I am in, the BIG 3 will transform the people you are working with in a big way.




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Teaming Up – How To Make A Long Run Even Better

Enjoy your run moment

After a long run, how can there really be anything else to do? We’ve enjoyed the scenery and taken some pictures. We’ve nodded or peace-signed to our fellow long-run-day runners. We’ve sweat. We’ve strengthened our lungs. Even our heart has worked and grown, specifically our left ventricle, pumping enough blood and provided enough oxygen to complete our run. So, what else do we need? Well, we need to think about fuel and our mind.

When you finally get to press the stop button on your watch, I’m sure you feel a bit of relief. Some words that may cross your mind, “Ahhh, it’s done! I did it!” You did! But before you leave your run behind you and hop in the shower or grab that coffee, go into your closet and take out your yoga mat and foam roller.

We’ve got to stretch and do a little bit of strength before we put our efforts to rest. So, find a nice quiet space to lay out your yoga mat. Sit down with a nice straight back, sitting “criss cross applesauce” or on a mediation pillow, and just take a few slow, deep breaths. Quiet your mind for a couple of breaths, only thinking of your breathing. Next, let your thoughts wander about your long run. How did you feel during and after? What sights did you see? What sounds did you hear that made your long run enjoyable?

After your reflection, go back to taking a few deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Think of nothing but your breathe.

Stretching & Foam Roll

Next, let’s team up this long run even more with caring for those muscles that worked so hard for you. Take your foam roller and start to gently roll out your glutes, quads, calves, and back. Remember to keep your core engaged and support yourself. After rolling out, move into a downward dog position and start pedaling your feet (about 6x), then perform 5 shoulder presses, followed by 5 alternating knee crunch-ins, and repeat this about 3-4x. When you are finished, you can lay on the mat and finish up with any favorite stretches.

Fuel! It’s really not just the first 30 minutes after your run that you need to worry about. It’s the entire day and every day after. Are you seriously going to give yourself a nutritiously calibrated post-run snack and then two hours later eat a pizza or buffalo wings? I hope not.

Long Run Nutrition Team Up Ideas to Fuel You Beyond your Long Run:

Post-run Smoothie: date, banana, maca powder, cocoa powder, almond butter, almond milk, frozen berries, spirulina

Lunch: mixed raw veggies and hummus w or w/o toast

Food for Fuel

Dinner: Wicked Awesome Salad! Chopped Kale, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Pepper, beans with Rice & Apple Cider Vinegar (mixed and sitting/soaking for 10-15 min). Mix in flaxseed meal and nutritional yeast. Then drizzle peanut sauce (peanut butter, a little apple cider vinegar, gluten free soy sauce, wIMG_6587-1ater, rice vinegar.)
This can be served as is or over warm quinoa. Not only do adults like this meal but little humans do too.

There’s so much that we can do for our body and mind even after we’ve put in a strong effort. Remembering that recovery and fueling is just as important as logging miles can be a struggle. However, once you get in the rhythm of stretching your body and mind in those ways, your body will thank you in the end!

Team Up!

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The Epic Week of Fitness Has Come

This is an epic week of fitness – bootcamp classes, coaching, and running!

We are all jumping into the busy season of school, sports, and work again. Often, it feels great to be busy but getting going can be like jumping into a fitness routine after having years off – you’re a bit rusty but muscle memory will prevail.

Teaching is both exhilarating and exhausting.

It is a week that I’ve been half dreading and half extremely excited to tackle. Typically, my regular week only includes teaching two Bootcamp classes at Align Fitness and teaching one-on-one fitness sessions. This week, I’m subbing twice. I dread the hours leading up to subbing because I don’t really know the clients attending. I’m a stickler on form, function, and coordination, so the idea of correcting another instructors clients is tricky for me.

This week is different, though. All the classes so far have been the best. The energy, fitness literacy, and pure strength of each client has been off the charts. Every single person has come through the doors ready to work and be pushed!

Picture perfect fitness!

There is rarely time to take pictures of my fitness classes because I am too busy teaching, but I managed to snap one a few weeks ago.Bootcamp Class Align Fitness I clearly remember starting with a particular group of four and where they were in their fitness.

Now, my class has grown to 10-12 in circulation with seven constant every week and with such focus and whole-body fitness. They have worked so hard in the last few months and you can tell in every exercise we perform together.

As an instructor, it’s exciting to bring a group of people to the next level, and the next, and the next, etc… I’m always eager for each week as we reach for new heights, with new exercises and movements.

My Align Fitness Bootcamp routine looks like this!

  • A dynamic warm-up (arm circles, high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, plank variation, pilates ball adduction w/ squat series, low-impact a.k.a. slow burpees, and jump rope)
  • TRX Squat w Row alternating between high & mid-rows. Followed by TRX Back Extension. Cardio Burst. 2 sets of 12
  • Push-ups w/ Yoga Block. Squat Jacks or low-impact squats. 2 sets of 10 each.
  • TRX Bicep Curls. TRX Plank Roll-Outs, Weighted Forward and Reverse Lunges. 2 sets of 12 each.
  • TRX Tricep Press. KB or DB Wood Chops w/ Lateral Lunge. 2 sets of 12 each.
  • Plank Series
  • 20 Burpees. TRX Single Leg Squat with Cross-Body Knee to Elbow Oblique Crunch. KB or DB Pullovers w/ (heels together) Crunches
  • Core Work and Stretch

Ending a good workout with some deep breathing.

Lastly, we end with a few deep breaths together and our class mantra, “Breathe in all the strength you put into your workout and let that strength carry you through your week.” For my class, it’s not just fitness and strength of the body that we are working on, it’s also fitness and strength of the mind.

Coaching is back in session.

This week also marked the beginning of my second cross country season as Head Coach of the Portland Waldorf School’s Cross Country team. My team comes from a high school of less than 100 students. Getting kids on a cross country team is pretty hard to accomplish in a large school, never mind a school with less than 100 kids. I’m so lucky to have some interested and skilled kids to kick off this season right.

Today, my plan was to do an easy run to see where the kids were in their fitness. However, a couple of athletes did four miles, one did 3+, and the other did one mile. It was such a great first day of practice. This year, athletes will have an increased exposure to meditation, physical literacy, and sports psychology. As high school coaches, there is more that we can add to our high school teams’ growth as athletes and humans.

Running is a mode of transportation for the body and the mind.

My true love is running. Quieting of the mind is a practice that most of us need reminders to exercise. Running helps with the quiet, and works even better when meditation is happening regularly. I’ve evolved as a runner over the years, as many runners have. As running serves various purposes in my life, I hope that my athletes also find themselves or parts of themselves in their running.

Hitting the trails does the body good.

Trail running is my main focus right now and luckily I have the Oaks Bottom trail in my area. Forest Park is a little too far to travel to when time is limited, but it probably has the best trails in Portland. Presently, we will be staying close to Oaks Bottom. However, in future weeks we may be venturing to Tryon Creek for a change of scenery.

A message I like to practice daily and spread to my clients and athletes – PMA every day. You can turn any day around with a change in the mind. Positivity spreads throughout the body and to others rapidly, so practice PMA daily.

Keep on doing what we do best and do it to our best.


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Take Pride In Being You and Spread PMA


Appreciating yourself and others goes a long way. Having PMA goes even further. If you line 10 people up and take a quick look at their build, you will notice that each person looks different. They may all be able to do the same amount of push-ups, miles, or squats but one might have more defined calves and another might have a defined upper body. Maybe one person is long and lean, while another is short and stocky. For instance, my husband and I are both runners and we typically run the same mileage. I, being a personal trainer, perform weight bearing exercises multiple days a week. My husband doesn’t do anything other than run. His upper body is defined and mine looks strong but not defined like his. However, I can do things that would be a complete struggle for him.

Today, I was running on the Springwater Corridor. I’ve been pretty hard on myself when it comes to my running ability and form since my surgery and today started out no different. Until, I let PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) come into my mind. I stood tall, corrected my form, and just went. The run felt good, not really fast, but good. A bit before my turn around point I saw this runner who, to me, looked beautiful and strong. I thought, “Wow she looks amazing! I wonder how far ahead she will be by the time I head back.” I surprised myself when I passed that same runner not too long after I had turned around. I almost engaged in negative self-talk when I saw that runner, but I stopped myself and decided to just be happy to be out running. When I decided to have PMA I was able to maintain my pace and pass her when I had no goal of doing so. Had I started to beat myself up after seeing how incredible she looked, I may not have continued my effort and my run would have ended on a real negative tone.

Through the years as a trainer, my body has been scrutinized and gotten long looks up and down. I’ve gotten feedback about my build that has hurt. I can’t count the number of times that people are shocked by my strength because I’m not really built and I’m on the more average-looking side. So often, as I am setting up for a class where the clients don’t know me, they question my education and experience based on the way I look – it could be my youth-like appearance (yet I’m 37 and have been training, teaching, and learning for 15+ years), my not crazy definition, who knows. When I am done teaching though, you can tell that they hold me in a completely different light than when they first met me. The majority of the time, I am thanked and asked what other days and times I am teaching.

We all have views of ourselves and occasionally we size up others, but why? Why do we torture ourselves and others in our heads? We are in this crazy, awesome, challenging world together so why not support each other regardless of any factor. If goodness breathes in our soul, then goodness is what we should exhale and disperse into the world.

Start with PMA. Any time a negative thought enters your mind, stop the thought in its tracks. Turn it around with a positive thought. The more positive energy you hold, the more people will catch your PMA.

Share your PMA stories below and let’s see if someone catches it!

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A Journey to Being Incontinence Free

I’m a mom of two awesome, active boys who has suffered from incontinence for 7+ years. This is my story and my individual solution to fixing this issue that has plagued every run since October 2008.

At the end of May, I had TVT surgery for incontinence. For the last 7+ years I’ve lived in silent embarrassment whenever I’d run, teach class, coach, or play in the yard with my two boys.

I thought that I had done everything possible to fix or aid my leakage. When I was finally fed up, I went to see a Urogynecologist for help. After very little thought, I scheduled my surgery. I was sick of being wet. I was done dealing with it. After my surgery, the recovery was unlike anything I’d gone through. Having babies feels a million times more natural than having this surgery. It all heals in time and you do get your fitness back, slowly.

About 7 weeks post-op, I made the mistake of googling TVT surgery and recovery. I ended up reading horror stories! When I initially investigated the surgery, I was mainly looking to understand the procedure. After the surgery, I somehow ended up reading all of these horrific stories of the mesh becoming infected, detaching and dislodging into the uterine wall, or not even working, I freaked out. My doctor had warned me that there was a 1% risk of these things, but c’mon 1%?!

I soon became aware that this surgery was making waves that were crashing down on women who have already suffered. The worst thing I read was that the FDA moved the surgery from being medium risk to a HIGH RISK surgery. Why didn’t I know this before? Some other things that I came across were kegal balls, jade eggs, vaginal massages, physical therapy vaginal stimulation, AND Kim Anami! Kim Anami stopped me in my tracks! The things she can lift with her pelvic core muscles is jaw-dropping! As I attempted to get my body back in running form at weeks 6 and 7 week post, I wasn’t 100% fixed and I did wish I had found Anami before all of this. All that new information made the recovery even more difficult. However, because there is no turning back, I put the newfound knowledge aside.


I ordered a pair of Dear Kates to take away the worry and any noticing of leakage on my runs. I’ve been told and also found out myself that Dear Kates are amazing! They feel great and you can’t notice if incontinence or your period is causing problems while you are being active, i.e. running, hopping, dancing, etc…

At 10 weeks post-surgery, I am getting my body back slowly and noticing an extremely little amount of incontinence. I used to spill over a Super Plus pad and now I use just a panty liner and am not even sure if I need it – that’s a great sign. However, due to the increasing number of horror articles and posts, I am not sure that I would recommend the surgery. I was terrified that I’d be the 1% and the 1% is scary! My job as a patient, is to continue to strengthen my pelvic core muscles and listen to my body on all other levels as I try to regain my strength and fitness.

My advice to anyone going through this, is to listen to your body. Try everything possible before you give a yes to surgery. In 2014, I had reached the point of trying everything that I was told do try. I didn’t know that in 2016 there were a few other options that could also help me. Exhaust all resources and then make the decision with a competent doctor. I feel extremely fortunate to have had Dr. Denman – her work is priceless.






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No Judgement

Sometimes it can be hard not to judge. Whether it be another kid being mean to your kid or meeting someone new or comparing yourself to others in a fitness class or group run. Most of that judgement comes from our own insecurities. Wouldn’t it be a harmonious way of living if we left the judgement at the door?

As a fitness trainer, coach and avid runner of 25 years, I can be self-conscious and pretty hard on myself when it comes to strength, speed, and looking the part. I think there is a line between wanting to be an inspiration and motivating factor in my clients eyes and becoming vein. For me, I have crossed the line a few times and trust me, it feels awful. Any time I cross the line, I end up losing the joy in what I am doing and I quickly rush back to the other side.

As I was examining my figure in the mirror the other day, I thought “I don’t judge my clients or athletes, so why am I about to judge myself?” Every body that walks into my life, I accept. I can’t recall ever thinking a negative thought about anyone that comes to me for fitness advice or training. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Inside, I get really excited. My brain bubbles over with information and strategy. I focus in on form and what I can do to help their body work better for them. I feel like my brain is going into some other crazy mode, they way you’d imagine a computer, computing.

My industry is intense, competitive, and very much based on looks and strength. In order for success, we have to be really smart and really fit. It can be a  hard thing… the really fit part. Fortunately, every client I’ve welcomed into my wellness circle has welcomed me on my super fit marathon training days, my injured-for-days days, and my just-gave-birth-to-a-9lb. baby days.

On those days when you are examining YOUR figure in the mirror, STOP. If you are nourishing your body with healthful foods, fitness, and soul-inspiring works, you need not examine your body any further. Surround yourself with people and things that make you feel inspired and empowered. I know that I’ve met someone or have been a part of something right, when I leave with a smile in my heart and on my face.

#nojudgement #beyourself

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Ellen DeGeneres


I recently described myself as the Ellen Degeneres of personal training and coaching. Why? Well, maybe it’s my stunted social skills from being excruciatingly shy and anxious growing up and maybe it’s just who I am, but I am “not an intimidating drill instructor,” as someone put it last week. I’m goofy and nice, but a perfectionist in my skills and expectations at the same time. I smile, laugh, dance, and do frog jumps or donkey kicks alongside them as they sweat, push, and laugh too. I find a whole lot of joy in my work, like Ellen seems to in hers.

As a kid, my goal was to make people happy. As I grew and found a love for health & wellness, I decided to combine my love of making people happy with my love of health & wellness into a career. I may do several things: write, personal train, teach group exercise, and coach, but they all involve happiness and health.

Last year, I coached high school track and at the end of the season the AD made a comment that I wasn’t tough enough – in a strict, stern way. I took a second and thought, well no one missed a practice unless they were home sick or had a school event and the girls team, which only had five on the team, took 4th in state and everyone had their best season, so….  I think people think coaches and trainers should embody a certain persona in order for clients and athletes to achieve success. Well, I’m a firm believer that no one is going to go on that ride with me if I am not myself. I could pretended to be “hard” with no smile, but what kind of fun would that be?

Being myself, has had a positive effect on the kids I coach and the clients I train. If I can open up and be myself, they will too. They feel as though they are in a safe place and can open up as well and be honest with themselves, their bodies, their training, and me. If I come off too tough with an intense attitude, then a kid may not come to me if they are injured or not feeling well. Kids and clients will quit, not gain confidence, or end up injured. The possibilities are endless when everyone feels comfortable with each other.

In some respect, this idea of putting on a persona can translate to other fields as well. In my early 20’s I tried on that professional persona and it was awful for all parties involved. When I made the decision to let myself come out and play with my career, I was successful and devoured the work that I was getting.

So, I stand by my Ellen DeGeneres-style – it’s who I am. Any way, what’s  better than being able to be myself in the field that I choose to live and grow, in order to inspire those in my reach?



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Learn from your trainer

The message of the day: learn from your trainer. I have been battling injuries left and right ever since I ran Boston last year (2014). Why? Well, I never let myself heal. Why? Because… well.. I didn’t want to gain weight. How silly??? I know. It’s true though. The other reason is that I am obsessed with running. I haven’t run regularly in so long. I definitely long for that post-run zen feeling, sweaty everywhere, heart rate up, just that all-round good feeling. The one thing I don’t miss is peeing myself. I have major incontinence from having gigantic babies, so needless to say I definitely don’t miss peeing while running. The lesson is, when your doctor, or whomever, tell you to take a break and rest – DO IT! Or else you will end up having injury after injury. On the upside, you may start enjoying a new sport or get really buff. I think I am slowly and slightly doing both right now.

Here’s my weekly fitness plan, since I can’t run:

Monday: Eliptical – 45 min, incline bench press & fly with legs/feet off at 90 degree angle, lat pull-down, db row OR TRX body row, stability ball roll-ins X3 sets

Tuesday: 5 min row machine, 10 row machine pike (feet on seat) x4. Bicep Curls using 20lb weights, tricep press (cable) 20 lbs. plus adduction and ball squeezes with crunches x3 sets

Wednesday: Bike ride – road or stationary 1-2 hrs in duration. Road cycling, I go out for over an hour and try to ride at a constant, hard effort. If I am on a stationary bike, I will do intervals for an hour

Thursday: Eliptical – 45 min, incline bench press & fly with legs/feet off at 90 degree angle, lat pull-down, db row OR TRX body row, stability ball roll-ins X3 sets

Friday: Bike ride – road or stationary 1-2 hrs in duration. Road cycling, I go out for over an hour and try to ride at a constant, hard effort. If I am on a stationary bike, I will do intervals for an hour

Saturday: whatever cardio I feel and then I do 5 dive bombers and 10 break dancers x3 sets

Sunday: I do whatever feels good. 🙂




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Improvement, Day 1: love

“ugh. I don’t want to wake up. I feel fat. My head is foggy. I want to stay in bed. Ugh.”

I hope that no one wakes up saying or thinking any of those things. Those words are uninspiring, unmotivating, and pretty depressing. If those thoughts do creep into your mind, let’s think of some other things to say, i.e. “The sky is beautiful. I want to get after this day. It’s a beautiful morning. I feel healthy and strong. I can’t wait to use my body and mind today.” Our mind is powerful and can change the course of our day – within ourselves on a cellular level and outwardly as to what we project to the world around us.

Let’s start today off with love. If we acknowledge the love in our heart and for ourselves, the love will flow from us to those around us.




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