Tag Archives: best fitness DVDs


BEST Before and Afters

What Were You Afraid of Before You Started and What’s Different Now?

I asked everyone in my motivation and accountability group to answer this question. Why? Because I’m so proud of what they’ve achieved. So many have been on a  positive path toward health and wellness for weeks, months and some…years. To my surprise almost 30 people responded to the question. I’ve provided a sampling of the responses I received.

See if their reasons for fear of starting resonate with you.

More important, listen to what has changed, how they overcame that fear and why they stick with it now.

As the saying goes, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

“12 years ago when I lost 60 pounds, I had started and quit so many times. I had put on so much weight over the years and was resigned to the fact that women in my family just got big after having babies. I think in some sad way I just wanted to stay in my self-fulfilling prophecy…”see? It doesn’t work for me. I’m the exception to the rule.” It took seeing a picture of my backside after my 2nd child’s birth to decide that I wasn’t going to follow in the footsteps of the women in my family. My fear went from being afraid to try something new/change my lifestyle to being afraid of staying in that horrible place for the rest of my life. I guess you could say that I flipped my fear around to push myself forward. Today, the rewards are just too great to not keep it up. It’s second nature now.” – Heather L.

“I think my fear was not being able to keep up. What I really love about the Beachbody programs is the modification that is shown, and quite frankly, encouraged if things get sloppy. I find no matter which origami I use, I require modification. But I’ve come to terms with it, accept it and try to get better. In the end it really is the proper form that gives the results and keeps the injuries at bay. My daughter commented yesterday that I enjoy working out; to which I responded, yes I do.” – Joe V.

“I owned P90X for several years before I had the nerve to try it. It took something scarier, my dad being diagnosed with lung cancer, to start it. I quickly learned that exercise was my mental medicine. After years of doing various Beachbody programs, I still was intimidated. It wasn’t until this group and 22 Minute Hardcorps that I finally realized my best effort on any given day was enough. It wasn’t whether I could do Dreya rolls or gorilla crawls – it was that I tried. Wow – 52 is never too late to learn about yourself!!” – Jill D.

“My fear starting my first round of P90x (many years ago) was disappointing myself. I feared being so physically inept that I would just give up on myself. Thanks to Tony I didn’t. His humor and coaching helped me find that fearless athlete again. Fast forward to now: At 54 years young my fear has changed. I fear feeling apathetic, weak, tired and old. I never want to go back there. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days I dread it. I just know in the end it will help me feel better, stronger, kinder, more patient and loving. It helps me be the best version of myself. So I talk myself into it when I’m feeling tired, lazy and apathetic. The alternative is far worse. Thanks for asking!” – Julie B.

“I imagine it comes down to fear of the unknown mostly, Kit. Wondering how your body will do. For me, in the past, I was occasionally hesitant with really intense cardio because of only having the one lung. But NOW, I go full steam ahead and literally pause the program when I need to catch a few more breaths than the average bear – sometimes I need to pause it more than once. On those days, I am grateful I am at home working out (because I can pause it (unlike at a gym class) and I can maybe even cry a little. But I only pause and then I jump right back in. Never quitting, just pausing to find my breath. – Ilona K.

“I wasn’t an athlete growing up, so I think I was afraid of looking like I was trying to be something I’m not. Some of the athletes in high school were mean to the non-athletes like me. Turns out that I’m much more capable than I ever dreamed, and I wish I had known then that I it’s OK to try. Now, the only “fear” I have is really more like dread if on the schedule is a workout that I already know is going to wipe me out. But I still do it because I always feel better afterward.” – Carly P.

“Three years ago today I moved 500 miles from my hometown and left everything I knew behind. The life change wasn’t all bad but I did feel very isolated. I gained 20-23 pounds after having been a very fit person for most of my adult life. I was devastated by the way I felt and I no longer wanted to do much. I was afraid I could not fight hard enough to get back to normal. I attempted several times to start and then life would hand me a setback. In November of 2016 I put myself out there so to speak, scared of rejection, to see if anyone would want to work out with me on my neighborhood page. One person responded. We started working out together three days a week and I started to find joy and accountability in my workouts. I’m now within 5-8 pounds of where I think I need to be, but I’m actually ok with whatever I weigh now because I feel strong and confident and I have joy.” – Misty P.

 “For me I think it was like a lot of people “fear of the unknown” that kept me from starting P90X specifically (I’m now on my 4th round and done many other Beachbody programs). I had heard it was “extreme” and I wasn’t in the best shape at that point in my life so without getting the facts on what was really involved and how you could modify, I just kept on NOT doing it (even though a friend had a copy he said I could use any time…that coincidently he never started for the same reason! Haha). I finally got to a point in life where I knew I needed change so I just woke up one day and said “I’m going to do it!”
I wish I had made that decision way earlier but that’s life. Now a day isn’t properly started without a Beachbody workout of some kind to get me going.” -Eric A.

“When I started my first round of P90x I was afraid I was not capable of doing or finishing a program like that. I could barely do a push-up on my knees. In the past, I just fluttered back and forth from various workouts with long breaks in between when I let excuses get the best of me. Some people around me tried to discourage me saying I was going to look too manly lifting weights, but I am glad I did not listen. Little did I know that I would be hooked and actually look forward to my workouts. Best choice ever.” –Julie K

“Day 0 feeing: Can I do this for 30, 60, 90 days. Can I commit? Can I do it without getting injured? Multiple rounds later: knowing my body and knowing the difference between going 200% balls to the walls 24/7 and knowing when to pace myself and realize it’s not a race and each movement of each exercise of every workout total the sum of all parts for a better life of fit happiness. All this has proven to keep my body happy and injury-free.” Tony C.

“Humility. I had to come to grips that I didn’t know what I was doing.” – Kevin S.

Need to wipe away the fear? Message me. We’ve got room in our group and I can provide a personalized plan.

Feeling Great Versus Looking Great

It’s a Sunday morning and I’m relaxing perusing the magazines I got tempted to buy at the grocery store check-out yesterday.kate-hudson-shape-march-2015-cover

This month’s Shape magazine has a lovely picture of Kate Hudson. The headlines on these fitness magazines read: “Lose Your Belly!”, “YOU, a perfect 10!”, “Flawless Skin in a Flash!” I love the way they put an exclamation point at the end of every headline, as if to make it more important.

I get sucked in by these headlines. I’m curious about what’s behind those promises in the bold print. If you are in your teens, 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s, and you are female, I’m betting you get drawn in too. At some level, we all judge our value by that reflection in the mirror and we strive to make that reflection pleasing to ourselves.

I turn a few pages in one of the magazines past all the ads featuring flawless looking women half my age to the table of contents. In very small print at the bottom of the page there is an article entitled: “Iron woman. Even cancer couldn’t stop her from running.” Ah, now there’s an interesting article. It’s just a short, one-page article about a gal who felt a pop in her ear on mile 19 of the Marine Corps Marathon in 2004. She later discovered she had frontal lobe brain tumor. She was given a very grim prognosis. She’s undergone two major brain surgeries and round after round of chemotherapy and despite losing vision in one eye she has tirelessly trained and finished the Boston Marathon three times, the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and the same Marine Corps Marathon every year since she first heard that pop in her ear 10 years ago.

Just for a moment, let’s forget about the reflection in the mirror. Let’s take the focus off our looks and on how we generally feel day-to-day. Let’s do a little test. Assess your last week. Ask yourself how many of the days out of the last 7 you’d rate yourself a ten on a scale of 1 – 10. A “10” means you felt great and a 1 means you felt crappy. By great I mean no gas, bloating, and indigestion. You felt rested, alert, sharp, light on your feet, and happy. A “1”, of course, means just the opposite.

Is your body as strong and as healthy as it could possibly be? How many of those days out of the last seven did your rate yourself below an 8? I’m guessing you gave yourself that rating because you’re not pleased with your food choices and the amount of activity you are doing on a daily basis.

I’ll be 50 years old a couple of months, I’m 5 feet 3 inches tall and for the last 5 years my weight is anywhere between 125 and 130 lbs. Ideally, I’d love to be between 118 and 122 but honestly I haven’t been at that weight since I was in my early twenties. When do I feel good? I feel good when I’m not extremely winded during my workouts, when I go through the day alert, focused and feeling energized, and when I’m happy, positive and upbeat.

Ladies, let’s all ban together and take the focus off our looks and focus on how WE FEEL! (Did that exclamation point get your attention?)  Feeling good is what makes you want to live a healthy lifestyle day in and day out, not looking good. That feeling you get when you look in the mirror is only temporary. But that horrible feeling you have after having eaten a whole bunch of Easter candy or few glasses of wine when your body is in good physical condition is what tells your brain: don’t do that again, that makes me feel awful.

People will often ask me when I order food in a restaurant or see me restraining at a party “if I ever have any fun anymore when I eat.” Here is the thing—that supposed “fun” food I used to eat quite often made me feel like crap. When I eat too much white flour, dairy, sugar and alcohol I feel bloated and uncomfortable. I get horrible headaches, I don’t sleep well and I have low energy. But, I didn’t know I felt this way until I got an opportunity to feel great for a period of time. I cut out most of that food for one month and I was amazed at how great I could feel. I wanted this feeling all the time. I also realized that I could make a different kind of “fun” food that tasted great, allowed me to actually eat more but most importantly fueled my body in a way that made me feel good all the time.

So, who doesn’t want to feel good most of the time?

As I look at flawless young Kate Hudson on the cover of Shape magazine, I remind myself that she is more than 10 years younger than me, she has not given birth, and most likely has much more time in the day to workout than me. I flip back to the page of the gal crossing the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon, raising her hands in the air and big smile on her face. I feel blessed that I can work out every day without any of the limitations she has and there is absolutely no excuse for me not to do so.

I encourage you to focus on how you feel right now. Could it be better? Do you want it to be better? It can and it doesn’t mean a great deal of sacrifice it just means change for the better.

There is room in our Team Thrive Challenge Group on Facebook. I call it a “Challenge Group” because it involves a group of people banning together, challenging but also encouraging and motivating one another to stay on a positive track. It’s spring, a great time for change. If you are ready for that change, message me. I’d love to have you in the group and we can talk about a plan that will work for you.

Healthy Heretics

Back by popular demand…The people in my current Team Thrive Motivation and Accountability Group have inspired this week’s blog. This is a private group, write me if you’d like to join.

There’s a movement going on, did you hear about it? People all over the country are cleaning out their pantries and refrigerators, ridding them of hydrogenated oils, white flour, sugar, and hormone injected foods. They are eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plain ol’ whole foods. These same people are making a commitment to exercise for 30 minutes to an hour a day 4, 5 and even 6 days a week! Who are these heretics? What do they think they’re going to accomplish with this bizarre behavior?

These people are reading the statistics and don’t want to end up like one. They want to be able to run around a playground with their kids, see the day their grandchildren are born, and add value to society. They do it because:

  • 12 states now have obesity rates above 30% (4 years ago there was only one)
  • 20 years ago no state had obesity levels above 15% (today 38 states have obesity levels over 25%)
  • Regionally, the highest obesity levels are in the South (9 of 10 states with highest obesity rates)
  • In 1995 only 4 states had diabetes rates above 6%. Today 43 states have diabetes rates over 7%
  • Adult obesity rates for African Americans are over 40% in 15 states, greater 35% in 35 states and  greater than 30% in 43 states
  • Adult obesity rates for Latin Americans are above 35% in 4 states and over 30% in 23 states
  • Adult obesity rates for Caucasians are over 30% in 4 states (Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia)
  • 33% of adults who did not graduate from high school are obese, compared to 21.5% who graduated from college

These same people have found a company called Beachbody. Beachbody’s mission: Help People Live Healthy and Fulfilling Lives. Sounds pretty good. Who doesn’t want to live a healthy and fulfilling life? So, you know what they do next? They go to this company and get challenging and fun fitness DVDs like P90X3, 10-Minute Trainer, P90, The 21 Day Fix and PiYo. They are becoming disciples of this funny, fit and passionate guy called Tony Horton. They replace one meal a day with one that provides over 70 different fruits and vegetables in one serving. A yummy drink called Shakeology. So effective that this shake is being written up in “O” Magazine and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

I think you should take heed. These heretics are growing in number they are going to cause a major uprising. They are going to feel so good and so healthy that they just may dominate the depressed, obese and unhappy among us all. It’s up to you to decide: join em’ or beat em’. If you choose to beat them I suggest your “bear arms.” Arm yourselves with your 20 oz Sluppies, Big Macs, buffalo wings and cheesy bread. Set your DVRs and watch all the reality TV you can find. Fluff up the pillows on the couch and get comfortable because this fight will be huge.

Or you can ask yourself this one simple question: How was my day? Are you feeling stuck with the way things are instead of starting to make changes to make your life what it could be, what you imagine it to be? If that’s you, write me and ask me how you can get started. If that’s you become a heretic and get angry. We’ve got a 21 Day Challenge starting next week. Is that the amount of time it takes to change a bad habit? The only thing holding you back from becoming the kind of person who changes things is this: lack of Faith. Faith that you can do it. Faith that it’s worth doing. Good people like you are stepping forward with faith and completely changing their lives for the better.


This has been tough for me. January 1st, the 5th, then the 15th rolled around and I still hadn’t gained any traction toward improved post-holiday nutrition. This holiday season I indulged a little more than normal and it proved more difficult to make positive changes when the New Year rolled around.

After expressing my personal disappointment, my husband Danny, always with the “glass is half full” attitude, told me not to be so hard on myself… and he was right.

In physics, the first law of motion says that a body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain at the same uniform speed unless an external force acts upon it. Are you stuck or still inching along like I was?

I think that many people lack momentum because of fear of failure. We start and stop, and start and stop, and then success seems so far out of reach so, why bother. From there we put up the façade and start justifying our bad choices. We lie to ourselves and others and this is what creates a pattern of failure.

A few years ago, I wanted to create environment to erase our fears and where we could all feel safe. I created a private Facebook group called “Team Thrive.” Three years later,  many of the original members are still present and new ones join every day because our group offers:

  1. Accountability. Everyone checks into the group just once a day to share how their nutrition was and the workout they did. When you hold yourself accountable to others, you naturally want to have something positive to report.
  2. An environment where it’s safe to be authentic and transparent. We acknowledge we’re not perfect, nor are we striving for it. Our goal is have more good days than bad, to strive to make more positive choices when it comes to improved nutrition and exercise. We can fail and be utterly disappointed and quit or take it in stride and learn from it. When people in the group post about their bad days, their mistakes and missteps, the entire group rallies around them, which leads to the next important element…
  3. A focus on solutions. We are focused on solving problems not casting blame. Anytime anyone poses a problem or a question, not just me, but many in the group offer up ideas and solutions. Why? Because we’ve all been there at one point or another.
  4. Teamwork. When it comes to making consistent, positive changes toward better health, it takes a village. Initially I set this group up to provide accountability for all with me playing the role of Coach. Without any instruction, this group naturally evolved into a place where everyone took on the role of offering perspective and motivation. We all just regular folk, striving to achieving one common goal: the best possible quality of life.

Would you like a safe, free opportunity to get support? You have two options:

  1. Come to our free Fit Club. If you live near Maynard, Ma. We workout in a safe environment once per week to the Beachbody programs. Different fitness levels, different ages, all with different reasons why we show up, but we show up, do our best and forget the rest. We start at 7:15 pm on Monday nights at the Maynard High School.
  2. Free admission to the Team Thrive private Facebook group during the first week of February. Send me a private message on Facebook if we are already “friends” or reply to me here to let me know you’d like an honorary membership for the week. The group is ready to provide support, motivation and encouragement to you.

Know Your Purpose To Fulfill Your Resolution

This is the time of year that we give a lot of thought to our resolutions and goals for the New Year. We write them down because we are taught that will increase the likelihood that we will accomplish them. We set out small milestones to hit along the way so they don’t seem so insurmountable.

These are all healthy actions to take, but the one thing we forget is what must come before this: our purpose. We often go into the New Year thinking that we should do a lot of things to improve our quality of life, but do we really want to make these changes? To increase that level of desire, it’s important to think about your “why” and the real reasons those goals and the changes you want to make are truly important to you.

Your purpose serves as your true motivator, the one thing that on your most difficult days will drive you to push play, to go for the run, and to decline dessert. Knowing what really motivates you will help your vision become a reality. When participants ask to join our Team Thrive Motivational and Support Group on Facebook, the first thing I ask everyone to do is think about THEIR “why.” I want everyone to think about their own personal driver for creating change in their lives and put it in writing.

Knowing your health and fitness purpose, and any purpose for change, puts focus to your efforts. It concentrates your effort and energy on what’s important and suddenly you become more effective by being selective. Without clear purpose you will most likely just keep changing directions, get easily distracted and wander finding yourself at the end of each week with more failures than wins.

In all the years I’ve been helping people get healthy, I find that many folks try to change their lives for the wrong reasons. Many of us set out on our journey for change because of resentment, anger, guilt, fear, the need for approval or worst of all…vanity. Because we are all human, a few of the aforementioned items are part of what motivates us, but if they are your sole purpose for change, I guarantee the change will be temporary. In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes: “Purpose produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose. On the other hand, passion dissipates when you lack a purpose.”

So, if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, get healthy, and make regular exercise a part of your daily routine and you find yourself falling short of those goals already, take pause and think about your why. To capture your why, ask yourself the questions below. Then, boil it down to no more than two to three, clear sentences. Put it in your day planner, your purse, on your bathroom mirror—wherever you can see it when you need it.

If you were to accomplish your health and fitness dreams:

  • How would your health improve?
  • How would other aspects of your life be impacted? (career, family, personal relationships)
  • How would you feel about yourself?
  • What could you do that you can’t do now?
  • Why are these things truly important to you?

If you would like to start a private health and fitness motivational group with you and some friends and family with me as your “team captain” or become part my Team Thrive Group already in progress, make a comment below or contact me. I can’t wait to see you achieve your WHY and I’d love to help you succeed!

Welcome and Acceptance

I often write about the importance of a healthy mind, body and spirit to be able to truly live a well-balanced lifestyle. I work toward making healthy contributions to my life in all three of these areas every week.

Today is Sunday and at Mass I fulfilled the spirit. I recognized an important tie in today’s Gospel to what Jesus was telling me and what I think is important to helping others stay on a path toward better overall health.

Today, I heard Jesus saying: “Put aside your own self-interests, wounded pride and anger and welcome those back into your life out of love and compassion for a stronger sense of community and family.” He went on to say that we should “build communities that are inclusive, not exclusive: to bring the lost back, not out of pride or zealousness, but out of the debt that binds us to love one another.”

We live in a small town and often my husband and I struggle with the “everyone gets to play in the game and everyone gets a trophy” philosophy of coaching. We believe there are life lessons to be learned when you must work hard to earn your spot on a varsity team and when you learn from other kids who are simply more skilled than you are. If we lived in a larger, more competitive town, our kids certainly would not be getting the playing time in their respective sports that they do now.

On the other hand, one might say our kids are a great opportunity that so many kids today don’t get because athletics are starting at such a young age. Because our kids are given the opportunity to participate, they are active, learning to work as a team and have the opportunity to grow as leaders. My childhood was quite different from my own kids. I grew up in a town whose high school had 2,500 students (the high school my kids attend has about 400 and starts at 8th grade) and only the best of the best made the varsity team and got to play often. I was athletic and I thrived on competition so sports and being active became my thing and still is a part of my everyday life as I approach the half-century mark.

However, kids who grew up in a town like mine and struggled with their weight growing up are at a severe disadvantage in adulthood. Not just because they didn’t have a coach to teach them how to eat and move in the right way, but more because their community is not welcoming. It’s challenging to take the first step when you feel ashamed, embarrassed and shunned for your appearance and lifestyle.

Everyone should have the opportunity to change their life for the better and feel welcomed and accepted. Everyone needs to know that they CAN change for the better and create lifelong habits that will give them the energy, confidence and focus they desire.

I welcome you to join my online Motivation, Support and Accountability groups. They are simply a community of people who check in daily online to motivate and support one another to stay on track toward better overall health and wellness. EVERYONE IS WELCOME! Click on the link below  or cut and paste into your URL and let’s talk, find a plan for you and get you involved.


How to Stay Motivated After the Honeymoon Phase is Over

You started a workout program just after the New Year. The first few weeks were tough. bored with workoutYou woke up sore almost every day, you debated doing the working on several occasions, and you felt like you were depriving yourself of your favorite foods.  “Phase Two” hit and you got into a groove. The workouts were still challenging but, you started feeling the benefits and clean food made you feel a little lighter and more focused.

Now you’re at the end of “Phase Three.” Has the honeymoon worn off? I get it. I’ve been there. The standard workout routine that you’ve been following is starting to feel repetitive. The foods you’ve been eating are not as appealing anymore, despite the way they make you feel.

It’s usually about this time that many of the people I coach reach an important crossroad. They decide to go back to their old routine and the bad food starts creeping in again, or they treat the first 90 days like a jump start to a wonderful new lifestyle.

Here are some tips to keep the momentum going:

  1. Mix things up. Your first round of P90X3, Turbo Fire or Less Mills Combat might be over, but your healthy lifestyle has truly just begun. Put together a new plan by deciding in advance what type of workouts you’ll do every day or select a new program. After all – it was the plan that made the first 90 days a no-brainer. You woke up, you looked at your program’s workout calendar and pushed play with the DVD indicated. Without a plan you might as well plan to fail. The same goes for your diet. Go out and buy a new healthy cookbook and explore new ways to make eating healthy taste good. Just five new recipes added to your repertoire will help keep you on track.
  2. Find a workout buddy. There is no better way to stay on track. You and your workout buddy will encourage each other to do the workout when the other doesn’t feel like it and you will push each other to work hard during the workout itself. Working out with others makes the time pass quickly and is more fun!
  3. Set a new goal. What are some things you haven’t achieved yet? Do you want to master more plank push-ups? Do you want to be able to do just three unassisted pull ups? Would you like to be able to do just one “crane – cracker” push up? (Yeah, that’s my goal.) Don’t forget to reflect on all that you’ve achieved. Just sticking with a 90-day program is a HUGE accomplishment. Then, set some new goals and a target date to achieve them.
  4. Commit to a shorter time frame. This may sound counter-intuitive after what you’ve just achieved, but let me explain why. After my first round of P90X I had a bit of a “glad that’s over” feeling. It was a big shift in my every day routine and I was ready for a change when it was done. The mistake I made was going back to a hap-hazard approach to exercise. Since I had lost a lot of weight, I started justifying cheating on unhealthy foods “now and again.” Before I knew it, a few months had passed and I started feeling tired, heavy and unhealthy again. Ever since that “ah-ha” moment, I make a commitment to just 30 more days following my completion of a 90-day program. Thinking about making a commitment to just another 30 days instead another 90 feels doable and keeps the momentum going.

I am starting a FREE “30-Day Thrive” group on April 7th. Many of you may have been following a Beachbody program for the last three months and are ready for a change. Others are ready to get in shape and start feeling better before summer. In either case, I’d be honored to help you reach your goals. I will provide a 30-day calendar that will include my personal suggestions for a 6 day-per-week exercise plan. The plan will include 3 days of cardio, 2 days of strength training, 1 day of yoga/stretching and 1 day off each week. I will recommend the Beachbody DVD workouts that are my personal favorites and, in my opinion, do the best at getting the job done to fulfill that daily requirement – for both beginner/intermediate and advanced levels. If you DON’T own the program I suggest for that day, I will provide an alternative suggestion that you can do on your own. The key – get moving, eat better and work together to help one another have success for 30 days.

The group will be run using a private group on Facebook. No one, other than the group members, see the posts. Your commitment:

  • Follow the program to the best of your ability, using the workouts, diet tips and recipes I provide.
  • USE the group for motivation and support. Here in is lies the key to making exercise and eating clean part of your LIFESTYLE. It can’t be done alone. We all need help and motivation and these groups have PROVEN to help the people I coach stay on track simply because the rule is to stay positive, encouraging and supportive to one another. We’re all human, we will make mistakes and this group will help you succeed more and fail less.
  • To get started:
    • Go to beachbodycoach.com/kitcaldi and click on “Join” to join my team for free. (Or you can join at the “Club” level for about $2 per week and access to an online menu planner complete with recipes and free access to the all the Beachbody trainer tips and live chats.)
    • Send me a message and friend request on Facebook and tell me: “I’m committed to the 30-Day Thrive Group!” I look forward to helping make the next 30 days the best you’ve felt in a long time!

What Does it Take to Strike a Fire in Your Belly?

What does it take to make strides towards better health? How does one get better at hockey_siresisting temptation? How can one push him or herself to go for three more reps or run another mile? How does one find the strength, determination and drive to work harder and make better choices?

Maybe you should ask some Olympians. I’m not referring to those who competed in the games in Sochi in February, I’m referring to those competing in Sochi now. Did you turn off the TV at the end of February after the closing ceremonies? Well, if you did, you are missing out on seeing true athleticism. The athletes in Sochi now get up early every day to train hard, fuel their bodies with the right fuel and they do it despite their physical limitations. Imagine doing a slalom race with limited sight? How about snowboarding on two prosthetic limbs?

It’s been a long, tough day at work, healthy food takes too long to prepare. If I just stop running now and walk for a while, at least I’ve done something, right? It’s challenging to make lifestyle changes, give up food that we love and make a point to work out daily. No, I get it. You don’t really need to give up pizza, sugar, beer and burgers. After all, we all need to live a little, right? It’s someone’s birthday in the office, it’s raining outside, the hotel gym is pretty lame, I had to eat what she prepared, there is nothing healthy on the restaurant menu. Ah, we love to make them…excuses.

Isaac Asimov said: “It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when face boldly.” The Para-Olympians in Sochi now lost limbs to Meningitis, rocket propelled grenades and drunk drivers or they may have been dealt an unfortunate hand at birth and were born without what most of us take for granted. At one point in their life they were probably told: “You won’t ever be able to….you’ll have to forget about….or what you did before you can’t do now.”  Not only did they not let those words stop them, they used those words to light a fire in their belly to go after their dream with even more focus and determination.

So, since I’m thinking you maybe didn’t catch most of the games, here is a quick recap:

Yesterday, the American Men’s Sled Hockey Team beat the Russian team 1 -0. (You thought balancing on two blades was tough, try maneuvering, stick handling and checking while sitting on about a 4 inch-wide ski.)

Evan Strong led a U.S. sweep of the podium in the debut of men’s para snowboard cross. (Evan lost a limb when a drunk driver hit him while he was riding his motorcycle.)

Amy Purdy added a U.S. bronze in the first women’s snowboard cross event. (Amy is a double beneath-the-knee amputee.)

The U.S. won four medals in Alpine skiing super combined events on Friday Mark Bathum (silver, visually impaired), Heath Calhoun (silver, sitting), Danelle Umstead (bronze, visually impaired) and Stephanie Jallen (bronze, standing).

Okay, so really, what is your excuse? Are you ready to get off the couch and do something active? It’s really not as difficult as you think. It doesn’t require expensive equipment or a gym membership. It doesn’t require buying new fancy athletic gear. You can get in perfectly great shape, in the privacy of your own home, in about a 4 foot square space in front of your TV. And, there is still time before you have to sport those swim trunks or bathing suit. With spring just about finally here, let me design an indoor/outdoor program that will have you competing like a true athlete in no time. Message me if you want help selecting a program and coaching you through it.

Empowering Words of Advice from Teenage Girls

I write about my mom often. My mom had a powerful influence on my life. She modeled and taught my sister and me the important qualities of strength, courage, passion and grace in a woman.

A few months ago, a group of 7th grade girls in our middle school attended a day-long conference entitled: “Empowering Girls.” Many of the girls on the list of attendees I know well, because they are classmates of my youngest son. They earned the right to attend this conference by completing an essay about the meaning of leadership and why it is so important for young women to develop leadership skills. These girls got to participate in panel discussions with female state leaders focused on making good choices, achieving healthy dating relationships and using technology wisely. The girls were asked their take-aways from the workshop. As I read them, I thought about how they have application to anyone and most important to us as we continue our health and fitness journey this year.

For many of us we started to make some positive changes in early January. Our momentum at this point might be starting to wane for a variety of reasons: we are disappointed that we haven’t reached a weight loss goal, our workout routine is getting boring, or our long, tough and depressing winter is making it more difficult to muddle through.

Take a look at what these girls find motivating and important as they grow and engage in life as healthy, happy and confident women. Perhaps some of them will hit home with you and help you re-focus, re-energize and press on.  After all, good health is not a trip, it’s a lifelong journey.

Dare to Dream. The girls learned how important it is to set goals for themselves and never feel like there is anything in life that they can’t accomplish. Ever feel like that weight is on for good? Ever feel like you’ll never be able to run a 5k? If you say “I can’t” you won’t…ever. If you say “I’ll try” you’ve just taken the most important step toward achieving the dream.

Have confidence, courage and self-respect. Ever been beat down by someone? Ever had anyone in your inner circle chuckle when you say you’re going to do something outside your comfort zone? My mom, God bless her, taught me this lesson at a young age. She taught me not to be afraid to try anything just because I was a women and never to never allow anyone to tell me; “a women is not supposed to do that.” (One of the statements that gave me the confidence to play women’s Rugby in college.) Everyone is fearful about something, but avoiding fear either paralyzes or defeats us. I love the quote from Dale Carnegie who says: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Balance priorities—school, sports, family and friends. Gosh, is this tough for my teenage daughter, and most teenage girls for that matter! I love my daughter for her incredible empathy and desire to excel at all things—including often trying to keep everyone in her life happy. As we move through life our priorities change. If you really want to lose the weight and get healthy, your priorities need to change and something else has to give. The bad food has to go away, getting up a little earlier to get a workout in needs to happen daily and yes…you need to say no to things that may not be as important. I’m not saying to say “no” to quality time with family and friends, but perhaps to activities such as TV watching, house cleaning, etc. 30 minutes a day of quality exercise is all it takes.

Accept disappointments with grace—learn from them. Never give up on what you want to achieve, despite life’s setbacks. So you got on the scale this morning and the number still says the same ol’ thing. You trained hard for that race for months and a recent injury is forcing you to pull out of it. Does that mean you quit? Does that mean you throw your arms up and say to yourself; “Is all this healthy eating and exercise worth it?” John Maxwell says: “Recognize that adversity doesn’t exist to bog you down, but rather to teach. We can see adversity as a burden – as simply a mountain to climb – or we can see it as an opportunity to strengthen our bodies and minds for future obstacles.” If we take a moment to learn from the set back, others, which will inevitably occur, are easy to deal with in the future. Most important, remember why you began to make better health choices to begin with. When you focus on your original motivation to begin the journey, these obstacles will seem like just a speed bump in the road.

And the girls’ final lesson…

Life is a journey—have an open mind to enriching opportunities along the way!

As Erwin G. Hall said, “An open mind is the beginning of self-discovery and growth. We can’t learn anything new until we can admit that we don’t already know everything.” There is so much about feeling good and staying healthy that I still don’t know. I continue to read, ask questions and try new things. It is my passion so I LOVE to learn from others. If you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time and not getting results, it’s probably time to ask for help. Think about the time you learned something new, when you were a beginner at something. It’s likely that you were humble, you asked questions and you had more patience. I’ve had enough experience as a Health and Fitness Coach and working through my own struggles to know a thing or two about a thing or two. I’d be happy to help you. I know so many people who say: “I don’t drink shakes, working out at home won’t work for me, P90X is too hard.” Those same people who maintained an open mind and gave it try were pleasantly surprised and are a lot happier and healthier now.

Having an Off Season?

As much as I hate summer’s end, I do love the start of football season. As I write this, I’m listening to my alma mater, Boston College play their season opener against Villanova.

Elite athletes like these don’t have an “off season.” Their ability to play at their best and prevent injury depends on a consistent, disciplined approach to diet and fitness.

Kit tired

A tough moment during the first week of a new Beachbody program.

Usually summer is my healthiest season. With fresh fruits and vegetables more readily available here in the Northeast and the warm weather, I’m more focused on good food intake and regular exercise. This past summer was a little different.  I treated summer like an “off season.” Sure, I continued to work out pretty regularly, but I sure made too many excuses with my diet, giving into cravings and indulging on foods that I don’t normally eat. Weight gain aside, when you eat crappy food on a regular basis, you start feeling…well…crappy.

So, here we are, the leaves will be falling soon and we’ll all be headed into a new season.  As the seasons change it’s our opportunity to move away from your own personal off-season and back into training.

Let’s think like an athlete for a moment. We begin with the pre-season. Coaches begin to draw up their plays and their plan for the new season. So, what is your plan? Do you have one? Are you thinking you will just try to do something each day and do your best? Can you see your favorite football team having a winning season with an approach like that? What I love about programs like P90X, Focus T25, Insanity and Power90 is that a successful game plan has already been determined. All I have to do is open the box, pull out the poster size “play book” that tells me what to do for the next 60 or 90 days and follow it.

Next come the early weeks of pre-season training. Every college athlete returns to school fired up, excited for a new season, ready to give it their all. If you’ve made the conscious decision to make change in your life I’m betting you feel the same way. That said, depending on how long your off-season has lasted, the first few weeks of training may feel like double-sessions. Let’s face it; even if you haven’t been all that sedentary over the last year, any new fitness regimen is going to be tough. You will be sore, you will be huffing and puffing through the workout and you will likely be disappointed in allowing yourself to get to an extremely unhealthy state.  During my son’s first week of training for hockey I saw plenty of kids, including my son, with their heads down, grabbing their knees as the coach had them skate sprint after sprint up and down the ice. Every athlete knows that as tough as the first few weeks are, they are necessary and actually a good thing. When it comes down to that last extra effort to make the tackle or the burst of energy they need to sprint over the goal line, they will be ready because they are preparing their body to expel that extra effort now. So, what might be the reason to endure the early weeks of pain and agony as a 40 or 50-something year old not playing a sport? It’s simple. For us our “team” is our kids, our family, and our career. It’s waking up and feeling great. It’s having more energy and focus every day. It’s about preventing disease and lengthening life.

Now we are in the middle of the season. We are over the hump, getting our rhythm and perhaps still working out some kinks and making some adjustments. This can be the point where some athletes start to “cruise” or worse yet, if they are in the middle of a losing season, give up. What gets them back on track? What keeps their head in the game every week? A coach of course! Without some level of accountability and encouragement, this can happen to us too. Selfishly, I became a Coach for Beachbody because I need this level of accountability and support more than anyone. I have one online support group on Facebook that has been going strong for almost two years. Sure, we’ve all had our own ups and downs, but most of us have made consistent, positive changes in our lives because we had each other to lean on, motivate and keep on track.

So, are you ready for the season? No? Then write me. I will provide the right playbook, the support, the motivation and the accountability to keep you on track.