Aspire to Inspire

Hello all. It’s been a while and I don’t really have an excuse except for life took over. But I am back and with good reason!

Two years ago this month, I started a journey to better myself. And in those two years I have regained so much strength, both mentally and physically. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my passion and motivation I would not have made it through this past year. It sucked. If I could erase the whole thing I would but I’m not. My sister, my best friend, got married to the love of her life and we had a damn good time celebrating. So the good far outweighed the bad.

Seeing how my journey and my experience with the most awesome trainer on the planet, Josh Bowen, affected me, I began to think if I could impact others. So last year, I was certified to be a personal trainer. I have been quietly sitting in the wings until now. And I can now say that I will be joining the infamous Josh Bowen at his new training studio, Aspire Fitness in December!

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Quite frankly, I’m terrified but I am learning from the best and I know he won’t let me fail. Through my struggles,I’ve come to the realization that I am supposed to help others and share my journey with them. So come with me! It’s gonna be fun.

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Stay Beautifully Strong,

Lindsey

Bouncing Back

Life is full of speed bumps. Just when you think there is smooth sailing, something always seems to get in the way. This has been my roller coaster for the past 2 years. However,the one thing that has remained constant is my commitment to fitness and these last 6 weeks have not been any different. I had a stumble but picked myself back up and tried to move on. I refocused my energy on the goal ahead which was to get ready for the beach. I find that if I set a deadline, I keep myself more accountable. I got my diet back on track, left my heavy lifting behind (somewhat), and replaced it with a lot of higher intensity workouts. Below is somewhat of a description of my plan of action. Provided by the ever so great Josh Bowenphoto (5)

My struggles in the past year have led me to feel more in tune with my body. I know how it responds to certain things I eat or drink (i.e. wine and pizza vs. salmon and broccoli), and how is responds to different types of training. I know that if I want to build muscle I lift heavy and if I want to lose body fat I up the intensity and lower the weight. Simple enough right? I also know that in order to achieve any of those things I must keep my diet in check. As they say, “Abs are made in the kitchen”.

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I have 8 days until my deadline and it hasn’t been until the last couple that I have seen my hard work pay off. It is just how my body responds. It is almost as if the fat just falls off all at once. I know that isn’t the case but it sure feels that way. So do yourself a favor and set a deadline – whether it be nutrition or fitness wise. If you have something to focus one the results will be satisfactory.

Stay Beautifully Strong,

Lindsey

The Power of Struggle

As the saying goes, “the struggle is real.” It is said mainly in jest or as a satire but the struggle is real and it can be powerful. I struggle. You struggle. We all struggle in our own worlds, constantly fighting something.

The last six months have been the hardest for me. I have struggled through personal stuff that has knocked me down, but not out. Like a boxing champion, I come out fighting every time but it’s not easy. In fact it’s painful but I continue on. Only a small percentage of people know of my struggle (by choice) and for the purpose of this blog, I’ll keep that to myself, however I would like to use it as an example to inspire others who may be fighting something. Inspiration is my aspiration.

Some days are better than others but what I have found is if I take my struggles and convert them to positive energy, I become a powerful person with a mission. I use fitness as my vehicle to transfer this energy. Fitness gets me through this struggle. It is my shining light that shows me there is light at the end of tunnel and my struggle isn’t permanent, only temporary.

Problems are only tests for us. They are not meant to stay forever, only to teach us a lesson about ourselves on how to persevere. Here are three keys in showing the power of struggle:

1. Attitude
No matter what happens to us, it’s our attitude that dictates how we handle it. You can’t control what happens to you but you can control how you respond to it. Change your thoughts, change your attitude. Change your attitude, become powerful.

2. Outlet
Find a outlet that allows you to express yourself. This may be fitness, as in my case, that allows me to zone in on a great workout to boost my self esteem and focus on something other than my struggle. Food and alcohol are not good outlets – although sometimes you may think it will help. Only focus on positive things, not destructive ones.

3. Support
Everyone going through hell needs a great support system to back them up. This could be family, friends or coworkers. Keep the positive people in your life and outcast the negative. If people do not add value to your life, they are not worth having around. It’s that simple.

The struggle is real and with a simple change of mindset you can turn a negative into a positive.

 

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Stay Beautifully strong, Lindsey

Feel the Love

The day of love is full of people loving one another but shouldn’t you focus on loving yourself? That is what I have tried to focus on the past year. I was too busy worrying about everyone else and lost touch with what really mattered. The one thing I feel very accomplished about is loving my body because I was not so in love with it a year ago. Made me lack confidence and honestly made me sad. One thing that has helped me, is not weighing myself. I hate the scale – it is my nemesis. Not stepping on the scale daily is one of the best decisions I have made. I gauge my weight by how my clothes fit and how lean I feel. I am more in tune with my body currently than I ever have before.

Painted in WaterlogueIn today’s society, we are over exposed. Especially with all of the “Fitsporation” pages and accounts. Let’s face it, that’s not the real world. It would be awesome if I looked like that and wouldn’t complain if I did. But most of those people don’t look like that 365 days a year, so what you see is a skewed reality (well maybe some do look like that). I’m pretty ok with not looking like I’m ripped. What I know is, is that I am strong, lean, and love my body (most of the time anyway). It wasn’t easy to do and I have days when I am really down on myself, but I love myself. Try it, it feels good!
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Stay Beautifully Strong,

Lindsey

Winter Blahs

It’s January and I’m freezing. I am so over this winter and I am starting to get seasonal affective disorder. The only thing that is getting me through this is working out. When I am having a bad day, it keeps me sane. Channeling my frustrations in this way has helped me beyond my highest expectations. There is just something about putting your headphones on, kicking butt in your workout, and forgetting about your worries for the day.

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I will be honest. Mentally I have not had a good week but my workouts have rocked and I feel so great about the progress my body has made in the last month. Coincidence? I think not. Some of my best workouts are when I am mad and upset, which seems to be more days than not lately. At least I am benefiting from it! Instead of moping around and trying to control things I cannot, I am grabbing the bull by its horns and making myself a better person – both physically and mentally.

Speaking of changing. Yes, I have changed physically over the last year but what I am most proud of is how much I have changed mentally. That was my biggest success. I am now living for me and not worrying what others are doing or thinking. And I tell you what – it feels great.

How do you channel your anger or frustrations?

Stay Beautifully Strong,

Lindsey

Stronger Than Yesterday

I am stronger than I was yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. In fact, I am the strongest I have ever been and have built more muscle than I could ever imagine. “How?”, you ask?  Well by bench pressing 40 lb dumb bells, dead lifting 215 lbs, and squatting 155 lbs (all PR weight for me). I lift heavy things and have fallen in love doing it.

I was always a person that thought the only way to lose weight was cardio which is true but it won’t build muscle. There were a few years when all I really did was run – training for half marathons to be specific – and I couldn’t figure out why my body was not responding. I didn’t feel good about myself and let me not forget to mention my knees, hips, and feet were falling apart. I still continued to run when I started training over a year ago but couldn’t get in a good workout in because my knee and hip hurt when I would lunge or squat. So I was told to stop running. Not cool. But low and behold everything quit hurting. Once I had all my “injuries” out of the way, it was time to bring out the big guns. I would say this was the 2nd phase of my body transformation with the initial phase being getting back in shape and losing the weight that I wanted. Now it was time to add in some muscle and shed even more body fat.

There is just something empowering when you lift heavy especially as a woman and no you will not get “bulky”! The only way a woman can become bulky is if they take steroids. But if you want fantastic “toned” arms and legs you need to pick up something heavier than 5 lbs. Your body will thank you, I promise.

Proof:

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Stay Beautifully Strong,

Lindsey

Started From the Bottom……..

Now we’re here. Here at 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom by Josh Bowen. Something I helped build from the ground up and am so proud of the finished product. I helped with the outline – giving my advice on what each chapter should be about. And after each of those chapters was written, I “edited” it as much as a former English teacher’s daughter could. I probably read them 10 times before it was all said and done. I just thought my involvement stopped there, until I was asked to be the “model” for the Exercises chapter. “Crap”, I thought, “I’m going to be in a book???” Good thing I was whipped into the best shape of my life, thanks to the one and only JB. So we spent several afternoons performing exercises and taking pictures. I then went through and picked out the ones where I didn’t look fat  where the exercises looked the best. That still wasn’t the end. Josh asked me to write an Appendix – 12 Steps to Use Fitness As An Outlet. Good thing I knew a lot about that! Using fitness as an outlet was something I had done for the past year and gave me hope in a lot of ways. I wrote those steps from the heart and in a way it helped me heal. It reminded me of just how strong of a person I had become (Little did I know it would later get me through a huge obstacle in my life). Here are those words and the inspiration for Beautifully Strong.

12 Ways to Use Fitness as an Outlet

Sometimes life has a way of smacking you in the face with unexpected news or circumstances. This is exactly what happened to me a year ago as I thought I had my life planned out. Little did I know, a big wrench would be thrown in that plan that would hinder me. Shortly after receiving this news, I became depressed. If it weren’t for Josh Bowen contacting me about possibly training again, I would still be in that deep, dark place. Instead of spiraling out of control, I grabbed my feelings by the horns and began to use fitness as my outlet. I have yet to look back. There is no better way to deal with emotional and mental stress than with exercise. I can personally attest that channeling your worries, stress, or anxiety through exercise is the best medicine one can prescribe. I will share how this worked for me, and hopefully how it will help you as well.

Mood Booster

1. Increased self esteem. It is no secret that if you begin a work out regimen, and if it is done correctly, you will begin to see changes in your body. This can immediately boost one’s self confidence. Once you start to believe in yourself, depression and anxiety levels will begin to decrease, and you are well on your way to a better you.

2. Meditation. The moment when your mind takes you to a zone where you have no care in the world is so peaceful. It is a relief to set aside those problems for that hour. Some channel their stress through running, kick boxing, or yoga depending on their exercise preference.

3. Amped up endorphins. Ah yes, the feel good hormone or the” runner’s high” as some call it. It won’t happen every time you work out but when it does (man does it feel good.) It can be a relief to leave your worries at the door and focus on the task at hand. I find that the best mood of the day comes after I have exercised which is due to the released endorphins thus reducing stress levels.
Creates a sense of community.

4. Sometimes you can be in this journey alone and won’t have the support of your family or friends. They will say “I just don’t get it.” If this is the case, it is important to find the people that do “get it.” I have met some of my better friends through fitness. Some were from a running group while another is Josh, who helped me find my passion for fitness again. These friendships are very important, as each of them has lifted me up when I was down and held me accountable. Having a network of people who believe in what you do makes this journey a lot easier.

5. You’ve seen it — from runners and Crossfitters, to Barre goers and Mudders. It is a sense of community and a sense of belonging. It is a built-in support system, something very much needed during trying times. You don’t even have to participate in any of the above. Just grab a couple of friends and start your own workout regimen. Create your own support system.
6. Some of these relationships that are created in the fitness world continue to grow outside of that. A few years ago, I began running with two girls whom I didn’t know very well. We eventually made plans to meet for dinner, coffee, Pure Barre classes, and even started a book club. They quickly turned into two of my closest friends and little did we know, we would be helping one another through some tough times. It is important to constantly surround yourself with positivity especially if you are not in a good place in life.

Life Structure

7. Better sleep. One of the most important factors in leading a healthy lifestyle is good sleep habits. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a night which is essential in preventing health-related problems. The more you work out, the easier it will be to get that amount of sleep. Before I really started training, I was not sleeping well and since that time, I have noticed a dramatic difference in the number of hours I am actually sleeping.

8. More energy. Exercise and enough sleep will also lead to more energy. If you are depressed, it is easy to become lethargic throughout the day. During my so called “slump”, I did not want to leave the house or do much else, aside from going to work. This was not who I was so exercising gave me a jump start to snap out of it. After only several weeks, I noticed a drastic increase in my energy levels.

9. Scheduling. The past year I have made time for my workouts. At the beginning of each week, look at your schedule and figure out when you will exercise. It may be that you exercise before work due to family or business obligations. Perhaps working out after dinner is more beneficial to your schedule. The key is to make time for you. If it is written in your calendar, you are more than likely not to skip out.

Nutrition

10. There are some things in life over which you have no control. For me, it was the health news I had received. I asked myself, “If you can’t control this, what can you control?” First and foremost, I could begin to control my nutrition and that’s just what I did. Before I began training with Josh, we sat down and looked at my current nutrition and made some adjustments. It was following the simple guidelines mentioned in Step 4 that allowed me to start seeing results.

11. Once you become comfortable with your new healthy lifestyle, it is easier to maintain. I won’t lie to you; it is really hard to cut out wheat and grains at first. But when you begin to see your body change you will have forgotten that you even missed it. Eventually, you might begin to think of food as fuel rather than just calories ingested. This thought process has helped me a great deal especially when I am craving that wonderful slice of pizza.

12. Indulge every once in a while. No one is perfect. I have been known to enjoy a nice meal out and a glass(es) of wine from time to time. That’s ok. Tell yourself, if you eat relatively well and work hard in the gym throughout the week, it will be acceptable to treat yourself on the weekends. This will keep you from feeling guilty and allow you to enjoy yourself.

Source: Bowen, Josh. 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom. The Recovering Politician. 2014. E-book

I am really proud of those words and after reading them once the Ebook was released, I told myself I needed to start a blog. And by the response I got from my first post (which was so overwhelming), it was the right thing to do. If you enjoyed what I wrote in those 12 steps then you will enjoy the book in its entirety. Fitness can be intimidating to some and it can be hard to get going, so this is the perfect way to get that jump start! It simplifies all of the fitness and health topics in one place. Trust me – its worth your time.

To order your E-book click here!

Paperback should be available soon if that is more your style.