Category Archives: Testimonials

Half Marathon Training – It’s all in your head

I want to start this post by giving a BIG shout out to Jodie for completing her first half marathon this weekend.

half marathon

She overcame huge hurdles on Sunday to finish 13.1 torturous miles. And her victory, her determination and perseverance in the face of some pretty sucky circumstances inspired me to write this post.

Take  a second right now and think about your training, be it training for a race, a sport, life (actually most importantly life) or a powerlifting competition.

How often do you train in pretty comfortable circumstances? In a warm gym. Or on a route you know and may have even run before. With music you like to listen to that motivates you. Following your normal routine surrounded by people and places you are fairly familiar with.

Most of us probably always train in pretty comfortable surroundings following our own basic routine.

I mean why wouldn’t we? I know I generally do.

But guess what…A lot of unexpected crap can pop up when it comes to competition. We all acknowledge this, yet rarely do I really ever hear or read about people TRAINING for the unexpected crap. High level athletes, yes, but weekend warriors, no (and the crazy part is, those of us training for LIFE, for HEALTH, encounter more unexpected stuff than anyone else, yet we train for it the least!).

And when it comes down to competition time, guess what matters more than all the hours you spent strengthening your body?

How strong your mind is.

While training, even under ideal circumstances can still make you mentally tougher, it doesn’t necessarily make you ready to handle crappy situations when they pop up unexpected during competition.

Because unfortunately, they sometimes do. And when those situations arise, it doesn’t matter how strong our body truly is. All it matters is whether or not our mind can carry us through when the going becomes so much worse than we could have foreseen.

This past Sunday, Jodie had the perfect storm. Mid-race, on a course much tougher than expected, Jodie’s ipod died. Just completely shut off.

And when you’ve trained day and in and day out with your music that is a huge blow. Who would ever expect your fully charged, brand new phone to suddenly shut off!?!

Mentally the shock of something like that happening can be a death blow. Especially when you still have 6 more miles to go and the last few are on a hill that people the day before kept complaining and whining about.

But Jodie pushed on.

Then what do you do if your body chooses that day to rebel? You’ve trained hard for months. You are physically strong enough, but your stomach just doesn’t seem to care.

What do you do then when you have no music to distract you (like you’ve had ever run for the past few months while training), your stomach is telling you to stop and your body is fatigued from unexpected hill after hill?

It all comes down to how strong your mind is.

And all I can tell you is, I ran with one strong lady on Sunday. Up a hill that felt like it lasted for an hour, Jodie pushed through finishing her half marathon with no music and a body in rebellion.

She was a bit disappointed when we finished because she wanted a bit more out of the race.  And then she turned said to me, “I think I should have trained on more hills.”

While yes, a bit more hill training could have made that last hill feel a little less awful, I don’t think hill training was what was missing from our program.

The hill did deliver a blow, but the real battle started when her music shut off. All she then had were her thoughts and a mind that now had nothing to distract it from the pain building in her body.

It made me realize that what had been missing from our training was a true mental test.

I never once thought of having us run without music. I never once thought of creating a ridiculously, outrageously hard unexpected route.

I never thought of having her train in a way that would mentally make her suffer more than her body was.

I did everything to prepare her for the route we thought we knew we’d be running and the circumstances we thought we’d be running under.

Heck, the only mental training we really did was the few times I forced her to run sore just in case her body didn’t feel perfect the day of the race. That way at least she’d know that she’d done it before feeling worse.

Anyway, the point is, it really doesn’t matter how much you train if your mind isn’t going to be prepared to handle adversity. And while I was so proud of Jodie for the mental strength she displayed, a bit more mental training could have made yesterday a walk (ok maybe a run) in the park for her even with all the crap that popped up.

And just because you aren’t training for a race doesn’t mean you can skip the mental training.

Adversity doesn’t just pop up in competition. It happens in everyday life.

We are truly only as strong as our minds believe we are. It’s as simple as that.

So while I’m not suggesting you force yourself to go outside and deadlift in the snow to prepare for unforeseen circumstances at a powerlifting competition, I am suggesting that you occasionally force yourself to train in circumstances that challenge your mental strength.

What I am suggesting is that, while you may get into a routine and generally train in that routine, you every so often force yourself to deviate from that routine just so you know that you don’t NEED the routine to succeed.

Like maybe if you always run with music, you try a few runs without it just in case your iphone decides to stop functioning mid-race…

Training can’t just strengthen your body, it must also push your mind.

Because as I said before…


Congrats again Jodie. I want to say how proud of you I am for finishing that half-marathon strong!

Stronger Than Yesterday

So yesterday I participated in a team mud run with a few clients from the gym.

One of the women I convinced to participate was super nervous…and I mean super nervous.

She kept saying, “I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t think I can do this. I’ve never done anything like this…”

But guess what!?!

She did it!

gladiator rock and run

Post run haha

She even said to me at the end that she had to work on certain things for NEXT TIME.


She had been so scared that I basically had to beg her to show up today and now she was talking about NEXT TIME.


While I was glad she had fun, I was even more excited that she had gained a new respect and confidence in her own abilities. She had done something outside her comfort zone and became more empowered because of it.

Very often, like in Patti’s case, we hold ourselves back. We tell ourselves we CAN’T do it so we don’t. We feel way more COMFORTABLE in the safe little realm we’ve built for ourselves.

We shy away from things that may leave us exposed and vulnerable – that may bring failure and defeat. Many of us fear failure and a blow to our ego more than we enjoy success.

But if we never risk failure, we will never truly know success.

Plain and simple.

Which is why I always push myself and those around me to push the boundaries of their comfort zone…

Just like Patti did.

Just like Patti has done since she started at the gym as an intimidated newbie because she didn’t want to end up like her aunt who was immobile and ill.

Patti, you are an inspiration to us all! Fifty three and looking sexy and strong!

Everyday Super Heroes

So over the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for super hero t-shirts.

I wanted to get ones for Jodie and I to wear during her first 10k race. A Wonder Woman shirt just felt appropriate because Jodie IS a wonder woman!

But honestly, it was near impossible to find super hero t-shirts for women, let alone t-shirts with female super heroes on them!

The only few I could really find that weren’t impossible to get were just a tad bit too ridiculous for me.

So in the end I settled on a couple of men’s t-shirts with The Flash logo on them (which I did feel was appropriate for our race!).

But I was still surprised and disappointed that there wasn’t more female super hero apparel easily available for women (let alone more female super heroes show by mainstream media!). There were Barbie t-shirts and “Girl Power” t-shirts…but no SUPER HEROES.

I know this is a random thing to complain about, but it really bothered me.

Why aren’t our girls encouraged to be super strong. Super Fast. Super POWERFUL!?!

And then I realized WHY I had become obsessed with finding a super hero shirt for Jodie…

Because I wanted to express to her that I thought that all of her hard work, strength and determination made her a “SUPER HERO!”

Super Hero Mom Jodie!

Super Hero Mom Jodie!

For the last month, if even that long, we’d been training for a 10k race.

Before this past month, we hadn’t really done any running. Lots of weight training…a few sprints, but no real running of any length.

She was nervous to commit to a 10k knowing that we had only a few weeks to train. The last time she’d run that far, she’d spent months working up to it and training hard. And here I was telling her that she was going to go from never really running to running 6.2 miles straight.

I told her that she would be fine, but, while she trusted me, there was definitely doubt in her eyes.

But despite her doubt, she threw herself whole-heartedly into the training.

She focused on eating clean and sticking to her eating program even during stressful days. She stepped up her weekly workouts and pushed herself harder and further than she had before.

She made time for a healthy lifestyle even when there wasn’t time to spare between work and taking care of her beautiful two-year-old daughter.

Jodie committed to the 10k and didn’t let anything deter her from success.

And today all of her hard work paid off.

While there were no big awards…No huge paychecks….No huge public praise…Jodie did run her first official 10k race with a personal best average mile time.

But what is more important than the fact that she ran a fast mile time is what she proved to herself.

I think that during all of the training, Jodie began to believe more and more in herself. Her confidence climbed.

And today…she just gained concrete proof of how incredibly strong she truly is.

Today Jodie proved something to herself. Today Jodie became her daughter’s personal super hero (whether or not Jodie or her daughter know it).

While Jodie’s daughter won’t remember this race, she will witness other of her mother’s super hero feats. She will witness her mother’s strength, determination and perseverance throughout her life as she grows up.

And these feats of strength that she’ll witness, will lead her to become a super hero herself.

There may not be many female super heroes out there in the mainstream media or on girls’ and women’s t-shirts, but there are plenty of female super heroes that live among us every day…

They are fighting every day to become stronger, healthier, and more confident individuals. They are pushing themselves to accomplish things that they didn’t previous believe possible.

They face fears and risk disappointment and failure…

These everyday super heroes don’t have any super powers and most don’t even have a super hero suit (unless their friend does happen to buy them a The Flash t-shirt….)

And, unfortunately, everyday super heroes don’t always get “the bad guy.”

But the crazy part is…despite all the risks, fears and failures…despite all the setbacks and disappointments, these everyday super heroes never give up!

And honestly, the fact that these female super heroes accomplish such great feats without any super powers makes them even more awesome!

Jodie…You are an amazing and strong woman! You are an inspiration to all of us and more importantly, you are an inspiration to a future generation of women!

What’s it really all for?

Yesterday was the OKC California Open Championship.

I placed first in my weight class for 16kg long cycle…

Out of one haha

Which honestly didn’t lift my spirits at all after I failed to hit the number of reps I set out to hit.

Because I wasn’t there to compete against anyone else.

I was there to best my own goals and prove something to myself.


I was there to do long cycle and  hit 88 reps in 10 minutes.

I fell short at 73.

Actually, I probably hit almost 100 reps, but unfortunately about 30 didn’t count because my jerk or push press from the clean wasn’t completely fluid (long cycle is basically the kettlebell version of clean to press). I guess I had a little hitch to fully straighten my elbow more like an overhead press than a perfect jerk. (I will now study my video and work tirelessly to correct it.)

I’m mad at myself that I didn’t have exactly perfect form on the press overhead.

I’m mad at myself for not realizing the connection between the not counted reps and the fact that it had to do with my press since I did do the form correctly for 73 reps so could have really focused on that specific movement and potentially still hit 88.

I’m mad at myself that at 1 minute 30 left when I started to fatigued a little I did 3 no count movements in a row (aka 3 un-fluid presses) and got my 10 minutes cut short.

I’m mad that I didn’t live up to my own expectations.

A ton of people came up to me and told me that I did an amazing job especially for my first competition. A ton of people congratulated me on a great lift. A ton of people told me they couldn’t believe I lifted with 16kg in my first competition. A ton of people….

Honestly, it didn’t matter what they said.

I am my own harshest critic and the one that matters the most to me.

Because I don’t do these competitions for anyone else but myself.

There are no million dollar checks or TV deals. There are no big prizes and most people around me will never know about half, if any, of my weekend expeditions.

There may never be anything I compete in that I’m best in the world at.

But that isn’t the point…is it?

The point is to go out there and hit that goal that I set out to hit. To prove something to yourself. If you happen to win or get some sort of award, that is always a bonus but not the reason to compete.

So while yesterday I walked away feeling a bit defeated, I’m ready to reset. Train hard. Get stronger. Get tougher. And go out there again in August and kick some serious kettlebell butt!

Are you ready to pick yourself back up and get right back to it?

Next time I will also be practicing better hand care...About 1 minute in bye, bye skin on both hands.

Next time I will also be practicing better hand care…About 1 minute in bye, bye skin on both hands.

I’m not usually a wimp

So on Sunday morning, I grated off a chunk of my knuckle.

The grater went in nice and deep and the cut oozed blood all day and my knuckle swelled up.

It hurt, but what hurt more than the cut was the fact that I knew I had my battling ropes challenges starting the very next day.

How the heck was I going to grip the rope for 10 minutes and then even 20 minutes with a freaking finger that wouldn’t bend?

And on top of the fact that I now had this annoying little injury, I DIDN’T WANT TO DO THE BATTLING ROPES FOR FIVE MINUTES LET ALONE 20!

Have I mentioned before that I really really dislike any form of long cardio?

Well, I DO!

So between the fact that my finger hurt and I had to do cardio for a while, I developed a very bad attitude.

Usually, I’d consider myself fairly tough. I suck it up and do it.

But usually I also semi-enjoy the torture I’m putting myself through.

Speed work on the power ropes?

Sure no problem.

Endurance work doing battling ropes?

No thank you.

But I didn’t have a choice.

So I grumpily made my way into the gym and started pouting to Jeff and Aaron about my stupid finger.

I had the whole lip out and head down pout really going when Aaron said, “Ready?”

I wanted to say, “NOOOOOOOO!”

But instead I just nodded and picked up the ropes.

Five minutes in, I was whining to myself in my head. I was counting the seconds. It seemed like forever until I hit 1o minutes. My forearms were on fire and I couldn’t seem to get out of my mental funk.

At 10 minutes, I was done. It wasn’t AWFUl, but I was still dreading the 20 minute challenge yet to come.

It wasn’t even mental fatigue. Honestly, other than my forearms nothing even felt worked. It was all in my head.

When I went home, I kept telling myself that it wasn’t THAT bad. That 20 minutes wouldn’t be much worse.

But that didn’t change my attitude for today.

I walked into that gym as grumpy as could be.

But I started the ropes.

About a minute in, I wanted to drop the ropes. I felt tired. I didn’t want to do long cardio!

When Aaron told me I’d hit 5 minutes, I wanted to scream. AHHHHHHHH!

15 more minutes!?!

My forearms were already tired and my legs were even feeling it today.

I had such a bad attitude that I even told Aaron that I basically just wanted to stop.

He kept repeating positive thinks and I mentally told myself to SHUT UP! with the negative thoughts.

And something finally clicked.

I started cruising.

The last 10 minutes felt 100 times easier than the first 5.

And all because my attitude had changed.

I’d been such a wimp and once I finally got over the negative attitude, things got easier.

So all I can say from this experience is that working out and pushing yourself to reach new goals is about 80% mental.

Yes, your body has to be strong enough, but if your mind isn’t strong….you’ll never achieve your goals.

So tell those negative thoughts to SHUT UP and see just how much more you can accomplish.

I mean it….Don’t even let yourself say you’re tired and you may just surprise yourself with how strong you ACTUALLY are!

1 minute workout

So today I had a nice group of family and friends come in for a post-Thanksgiving day workout.

They did some power ropes and blanket shakes. Some medball throws, sled pushes and even a little VersaClimber.

The workout ran about an hour and consisted of some nice interval training to get the blood pumping.

I then did my workout right after…besides the 15 minute warm up and foam rolling, my workout lasted all of 1 minute.

That’s right…1 minute.

And I’ve never wanted to throw up/pass out/fall on the ground and never get up so badly in my life.

What did I do?

300 feet on the VersaClimber in 1 minute.

Sitting now on my couch almost three hours later, my body still doesn’t feel right. But I must say that I’m as pretty darn pleased.

While I was so nervous I wanted to puke because not only was EVERYONE watching, but I knew how bad I was going to feel when I was done, I went for it.

At the beginning I was hauling….and then about 30 seconds in, I hit THE WALL.

I ran smack-dab face first into a solid brick wall.

I could hear it in everyones’ voices…I was slowing down. They didn’t think I was going to make it.

And then one of the other trainers at IR, Eddie, said something to me, which I can’t now remember, but it fired me up.

I was not going to fail.

A primal scream tore through my mind and I kicked into that next gear.

I made it.


Yea I know it says 1 minute and some seconds but the time doesn’t stop right when you get off even though the distance does. SOOOOO HA!

(Apparently everyone truly thought I wasn’t going to make it. Ryan’s dad even looked at Ryan and shook his head. I seemed down and out. But my newly learned mental toughness wouldn’t let me give up even when it seemed the odds were against me.)

They were all cheering as I fell off the machine and collapsed to the ground.

I’m pretty sure I started crying. And I have no real idea of what anyone said to me the next 20 minutes. I just know Corey (yes there is another trainer at the gym named Cori…the proper spelling…haha) came over and dragged me over to the bike to help my legs loosen up.

And I’m pretty sure I look like I’m about to throw up in all of the bootcamp photos we took (I can’t wait to see them).

But I did it.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of myself.

And I also don’t think I’ve ever felt so crappy.

P.S. I have to give a HUGE shout out to my mentor Aaron Guyett. I’ve become a better trainer and person because of all you have taught me over the last two months of training. Now on to the Kettlebell competition and 20 minutes on the Battling Ropes!

Patience = Consistency over time

I’m not a patient person.

Generally, I work hard and want results fast.

But unfortunately that isn’t how things work.

They say “patience is a virtue” and it really freaking is.

Unfortunately you don’t reach your fitness goals overnight. True lasting progress is consistency over time.

Consistency over time….patience…bleh…

BUT…you need to be patient!

If you create a program, progress yourself forward and give yourself proper recovery, you will reach your goals if you stay the course. This can mean weeks or months or even years.

The key to keeping yourself on course, to helping yourself be patient and consistent over time, is to set mini goals. Break your yearly goals down into monthly, weekly and even daily goals.

Achieving these mini goals will keep you dedicated each and every day. And shoot, a daily goal may just be to exercise for 10 minutes every day! They shouldn’t be anything crazy. They should be realistic and achievable.

You want goals that will motivate you to keep moving forward not goals that will make you feel like you’ll never achieve your goals.

Remember, BE PATIENT and consistent over time and you will achieve your goals!

P.S. The only good part about all of this is that one slip up also doesn’t mean you’ve destroyed all of your progress. What matters is consistency over time!

Support – The Sappy Version

So every once in a while, not too often of course, you catch the nice, sappy side of me. Today is one of those days. Lucky you…NOT!

Five years ago to date, I met the love of my life.

BAM! Didn’t expect to see those words on a health and fitness blog did you? Well now you have!

And Ryan, the love of my life, has supported me in every endeavor since the day we met – through the good times and the bad.

He even loved me when I had orange hair...which was actually partially his fault!

He’s a big part of the reason why I committed 90 days of my life to the most awful low-fat, low carb diet. I swear I’ve never once LITERALLY salivated because of food on the TV since that diet.

He’s also a big part of the reason why I went Primal and finally became a personal trainer. He helped me discover the lifestyle I want to lead!

Every time I’ve said I wanted to try something, Ryan encourages me to pursue it (of course he only encourages me to follow GOOD ideas).

He’s never let’s me give up on myself and that has made me a better, stronger, more confident me.

I’ve tried things just in this past year that I never thought I would try. I’ve tried them partly because of Ryan’s direct encouragement and partly because he has made me way more confident in myself.

His SUPPORT has been essential to not only my diet and fitness but also to my personal development.

He has been there right beside me every step of the way. For two months, when I wanted to really fully develop the Man Bicep diet program, he followed the exact same diet that I did. It was pinned to our refrigerator so neither one of us would be tempted to cheat. He kept me honest then and he kept me honest when I wanted to cut a bit of weight after the holidays to guarantee I could compete in the 123 weight class.

When I started lifting heavy and decided I wanted to do a powerlifting competition, he fully supported me. He wasn’t there lifting with me but he always asked how everything was going. He supported me by always being interested in my training. And he committed a full day off to come to my competition and document everything. He even made a video for me afterwards and encouraged me to share my story!

Anytime I throw out ideas he discusses them with me and encourages me to pursue my passion. I mean shoot, he freaking spent 3 hours taking fitness photos of me at 4 am on a Saturday morning! If that isn’t love I don’t know what is!

And he has never stopped supporting me. He has supported me through every major decision I’ve made in the last five years and played a huge roll in me starting up this blog…At the beginning, he was sometimes even my only reader. (Then I told my mom about it and I had two readers!)

But anyway, the point is, he read it…every day. And now, he listens to me talk about it just about every single day. (And trust me…boy can I talk his ear off!)

Anyway, that is enough sappy-ness for now. Happy 5 years Ryan. You are the Type B to my Type A.

He puts up with me even though I'm psycho and way too full of energy sometimes!

(I know you are probably reading this about two seconds after I post it and I love you all the more for it!)

Renaissance Woman

What are your fitness goals?

Are they to be the strongest? Or the fastest? Or even just the best looking?

Or what if your fitness goal isn’t necessarily to be the best in one thing but to be great at everything?

That is my goal. I want to be a fitness renaissance woman. Actually, I want to be a renaissance woman in life, but that is a story for another post.

What is a fitness renaissance woman?

It is a woman who can partake in any physical activity and do it half-way decently even her first time. It is a woman who is willing to try any fitness related activity at least once. It is a woman who can lift heavy weights, sprint quickly, go on a long jog, play a game of basketball, go paddle boarding or even just go for a leisurely hike.

It is a woman who trains for life and looks amazing while doing it!

I am that woman. I train to be that woman. I encourage others to be that person!

That is why I can’t stick to a purely powerlifting or bodybuilding/fitness modeling workout program.

Each is too narrow in what it makes you good at. A strict powerlifting program will make you super strong, but will totally ignore the cardio part of being in shape. It won’t make you an awesome sprinter or make you able to go for long jogs outside just because the weather is nice.

The same sort of thing goes for a bodybuilding workout. The main goal of a bodybuilding workout routine is to make you look good. You won’t necessarily get super strong or develop strength in other areas of fitness, but you will look good.

Is it worth it to do these programs and really only be great at one thing?

Why not do a program that can make you strong, fast and look good all at once?

Maybe it’s because I’ve set narrow goals and achieved them only to realize there is so much more out there that I want to experience. So why not experiment and try everything I can!?!

That is why I lift heavy, sprint often, go for long bike rides (and even jogs…preferably outside since I don’t like running very much), do some boxing and even some gymnastics!

And guess what, doing that made me strong enough to win a powerlifting competition EVEN though I didn’t do a strict traditional powerlifting program.

This program made Candy powerful enough and in great enough cardio shape to row a 2k in 7:33 even though we never actually rowed any 2ks over the last two months.

This program allows me to feel like not only can I do any physical activity that someone asks me to do, but it also makes me look pretty freaking good!

I’m not saying I look like a fitness model, but I look strong and lean.

So why spend time on a strict program that makes you super good at only one thing?

Why not do a program that makes you great at everything so that you can take on every physical challenge life throws at you AND look good while doing it!?!

Be a fitness renaissance person! Be a Man Biceper!

Here is another weekly workout to help make you awesome at everything! 🙂


Empowerment [ɪmˈpaʊəmənt]

  1. The giving or delegation of power or authority; authorization
  2. The giving of an ability; enablement or permission

I started thinking a lot about this last night as I was falling asleep….(Which unfortunately kept me from falling asleep and then made me start hearing creepy noises around the apartment, which I don’t usually hear since I’m passed out by like 8….)

Anyway, I started to think about how much more empowered I’ve felt since I started doing my heavy lifting/Crossfit style workouts a couple of years ago. Not only have I gotten physically stronger, but I also feel mentally stronger – more confident, more enabled, more capable.

I’m not intimidated by challenges or other people’s negativity. I actually believe that my workouts have helped me develop a stronger sense of self.

It’s kind of weird to think that something I’ve always done just for fun and to keep physically healthy, may have actually done even more for my mental health and strength.

Why has working out made me feel so empowered?

Because I’ve taken risks and experimented. Every single workout, I risk failure. I risk not lifting up more weight. I risk not being able to complete all of the challenges I’ve written out for myself that day.

Each and every workout though, I REFUSE to give up. I refuse to not push myself to my limits.

And guess what? I never fail even when I fail.

Sometimes, I can’t lift up as much weight as I want. Sometimes, I can’t run that last sprint as fast as I would have liked. But the thing is, I TRIED. I risked failing.

Just like I risked failing when I entered that powerlifting meet.

And guess, what? The risk paid off because now I’m more confident and stronger. AND I even found something I enjoy!

I dared to try something new. And each and every time I experiment with my workouts, I push myself to overcome new challenges and risks. I’m not afraid to face failure because I know it will only make me stronger.

Daring to try something new. LEARNING and EXPERIMENTING. Risking and ACCEPTING failure…No wonder I not only got physically stronger, but also mentally tougher….

And the thing is, I think my new dieting endeavors and experiments are having the same payoff.

There are risks every time I adjust my diet. I always worry the new adjustment won’t get results or will even cause me to backslide. Each and every time I change something, I make myself face new challenges. Sometimes I even push myself to the limit of my self-control.

But each time, I learn something new about myself. Whether or not I succeed or fail, I learn something new.

And the thing is, I never give up.

And never giving up, gives me confidence not only in the realm of diet and fitness, but in everyday life. My experimentation and risk-taking with diet and fitness have empowered me.

Now, what makes you feel empowered?

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