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.


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,



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.



Stay Beautifully Strong,


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.


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.

Putting Yourself Out There

I have always thought of myself as a private person. Throughout the past year that has slowly changed as I have lost over 20 lbs and made a total body transformation. When I first began this journey I was very down on myself and very insecure. But looking back I have seen how much I have grown. I started seeing results and wanted to share them with people to perhaps motivate and inspire someone like myself. I will be honest when my 6 month transformation was posted I was completely terrified. What would people think? “Here’s another person posting about their workouts again”, “What is up with all these transformation pictures?”.


I slowly began to see that the good responses were far outweighing the bad and that gave me confidence. People began approaching me and telling me how much of an inspiration I have been and boy did that feel good. I started thinking, if I am reaching this many people just through social media, imagine what I could do if I actually joined this fitness world. So I did and I can’t wait to get started. By putting myself out there, I have changed my life for the better by rediscovering a passion I had lost. No reason why you can’t do the same!