Tag Archives: fitness

30 Days of Fitness – Day 14

We’re almost halfway there! The good news is, I have a bunch more in store for you in the way of little changes you can make now to help you not feel like a slug for the holidays. Plus you still have 16 days to sign up for these blog posts and be entered to win a really fun cookbook (as a gift or for yourself – I won’t judge you for not giving EVERYTHING away that you buy this Christmas). So once again, here’s the scoop before we get down to the nitty gritty of Day 14!


Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good. I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:

  1. It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is a little bit.
  2. November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
  3. November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
  4. I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.

Here’s how it’s going down:

  1. Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here so you get each day’s updates or find the Like button in the left-hand sidebar.
  2. Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here we care a LOT about not feeling like crap.
  3. Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
  4. Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a nerd like that.
  5. Subscribe and win. <— See that little sign-up box to the left? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between OCTOBER 30th  and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” Um, what’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!
Win this gem!
Win this gem!


Day 14 – Challenge Yourself!

Alright alright, I know that “challenge yourself” is soooo vague. So let’s get specific, shall we? I want you to challenge yourself in a way that fits what you’re struggling with in your world right now. Maybe this is fitting into your pants or maybe it’s something much, much bigger (no pun intended).

– Having a hard time not reaching for the afternoon sweets every day? Challenge yourself to stop by either doing something else or choosing a wiser snack (Trainer Tip: Plan ahead!).

– Stressed out? Challenge yourself to schedule some time for yourself or your family, even if it’s just an hour. We all need perspective now and then.

– Not losing weight? Challenge yourself by looking, I mean REALLY LOOKING, at where you might be slacking or over-thinking it or even under-thinking it. Reach out to someone who might be able to help you.

– Not moving enough? Challenge yourself to get up and walk around every hour.

– Not happy with your current situation? Challenge yourself to make a plan to start changing it! It doesn’t have to be an overnight plan. It might even take 5 years. Just start RIGHT now.

– Bored with your workouts or losing motivation? Challenge yourself to seek out some new methods and try some fun things. Working out does NOT have to suck all the time.

– Always comparing yourself to others? Challenge yourself to STOP. We don’t know what others are going through and we all have our own journey.

Those are just some examples off the top of my head based on what I talk with others about on a typical day at the studio. But find your weakness and give it a good shake!

Challenge Yourself
Photo Credit: nomorehamsterwheel.com

And remember, if you’re looking for days 8-13 of the challenge, you’ll find them on my Facebook page!

See you tomorrow!

30 Day Workout Challenge: 15 Minutes a Day

I’m inspired by my clients to do this workout challenge this time around – it seems we work hard to get to a summer weight/physique and then we blow it by September. And since so many of you are parents who, like me, are ready for your structured routine again, let’s throw in a little accountability this time around.

Enter: 30 Day Challenge!

15 Minute Workout Challenge(3)

I ran this one back in January when everyone’s resolutions were mighty. I purposefully set the exercise time at a reasonable amount because of seeing far too many people dive in with long, excruciating workouts in the attempt to drop pounds fast, only to find themselves toast after a month. For me, 15 minutes is a doable amount that I can tell my brain and body to commit to. What often happens is I find myself working out longer than the 15 minutes.

So, move it! Start today, tell yourself you’ll do 15 minutes of exercise, ANY exercise, a day. Check in daily here or on my Facebook page, where I’ll be checking in daily as well with my workouts.

Yesterday I started (unofficially, since I’m pronouncing today as Day One) with a 15 minute bodyweight cardio routine – everything was 1 minute, no rest between exercises. Between picking our backyard grapes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house (yes, really!), giving my clients a workout in the morning, making more laundry detergent (yes, I’m that woman), and chasing after my children, I was only up for 15 minutes and I don’t think I could have fit in more anyway.

Among the things I did were jumping jacks, high knees, plank, supermans, skater hops, squat jumps, cherry pickers, side planks, double crunches, and hallway sprints (always a hit with the kiddos).

Today is manic, I don’t even know where to start. But I’ll be getting my 15 minutes in somewhere. Here we go!

It’s Not Monday and Other Randomness!

Woohoo! Take a congratulatory lap, you’ve survived another Monday! Since it’s too early to drink wine to celebrate (says who?), instead I’m posting some random thoughts. So much randomness in this world, why not highlight a few bullet points?

  1. That crazy earthquake in Napa
Photo Credit: NBC News
Photo Credit: NBC News

If you haven’t yet heard about it, Sunday morning a 6.0 magnitude quake hit Northern California and shook Napa Valley hard – so hard that unofficial reports say the valley could be looking at a $100 million economic loss. That’s a LOT of wine.

There was reportedly a barrel containing $16,000 of pinot noir that crashed to the floor. I’m a bit of a fair-weather pinot noir fan, but re-reading that last sentence makes my stomach hurt.

Check out this Washington Post article for more on the crazy quake that hit at a VERY unfortunate time, as wineries were gearing up for harvest (not that quakes ever hit on an appropriate occasion).

2.   Bulu Box, anyone?

Fun stuff in a box!
Fun stuff in a box!

I’ve just discovered a little mail service over at Bulubox.com, which mails custom fitness and health goodies to you for $10/month. For those of you familiar with Birchbox or Nature Box, this is the same idea. I’m seriously contemplating signing up because #1 – I love trying new healthy goodies, and #2 – I crave variety in my fitness routine. My only reservation about this? Finding out after committing to a 3-month subscription that it’s loaded with supplements, which I’m not a fan of. I don’t even take a multi-vitamin anymore, let alone rely on any weight loss or fitness enhancing-pills. Has anyone out there tried this yet? Or should I just dive in completely and utterly unwarned?

3.  Meal planning – questions and answers


I get a lot of questions from clients about meal planning and how to go about it. Here’s what I know: Sitting down for 10 minutes to plan out the majority of the week’s dinners will seriously save you time every day. I spend about 20 minutes on Sundays making a list of what to have for dinner all week and then writing a grocery list. Then off to the store we go.

I don’t plan every breakfast unless I have some mornings where I don’t have to rush (ha!). Breakfast is usually a green smoothie, oatmeal (overnight oats recipes are HUGE timesavers and scrumptious, more on that soon), or a Greek yogurt and fruit parfait.

Lunches are always leftovers from the night before because we purposefully cook twice as much as we need, unless we didn’t have enough (aka: the Luke monster ate it all) or had the occasional evening out, then it’s something thrown together if I’m at home (cherry tomato and cucumber salad with cottage cheese and avocado toast = happy woman), or a sandwich from Subway or Jimmy John’s if I’m at the studio or running errands. I really try not to spend money on lunch if I don’t have to.

Back to meal planning. I try to use whatever we already have on-hand so that what we buy at the store ends up being mostly fresh veggies. We’re lucky to have some freezer space so we always have lean beef, lamb (yes, this trainer mama eats lean red meat and LIKES it), chicken, some fish (it doesn’t freeze well as long as other proteins), and shrimp. Occasionally we’ll buy tofu to do a stir-fry or lean sausage to mix into pasta.

Here’s my takeaway tip: If you can think about having one protein, one green vegetable (even if only its leaves are green), and one healthy carbohydrate, you can get the job done. I typically give us one or two nights to play with depending on our schedules and I try to be flexible because there are often times where chaos gets more chaotic and dinner becomes totally impromptu.

For example, here’s what our dinners look like this week:

Sunday: Lamb chops, roasted carrots from the farmer’s market, 5-ingredient corn bread (If you’re going to indulge in corn bread make sure to read the ingredients list, many corn breads on the market have hydrogenated oils in them, which is trans fat.)

Monday: Grilled chicken breasts, kale salad (a family favorite – see this post for the recipe!), and quinoa made with chicken broth and garlic

Tuesday: Shrimp sautéed in jalapeno wine (so good!), soba noodles (Love these! Very quick and healthy!), sautéed spinach and roasted bell peppers

Wednesday: Grilled steak salad (with a boat load of chopped veggies) and grilled sweet potatoes

Thursday: Ground beef-stuffed acorn squash with wild rice

Friday: Fun night out with the kids planned at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic Nite Glow (my kids love this event and so does their mom), dinner TBD but it will be picnic-friendly

Saturday: Family in town, it could be anything, or it could be whatever we pick up from our fellow vendors at the Boise Farmer’s Market earlier that day.

As you can see, there’s nothing special here. Make it simple and as affordable as you need. Frozen veggies are great in a pinch. Some nights just clean out your fridge and have whatever leftovers you need to eat up. If your work week starts on Sunday, meal prep on Saturday or whichever day you have off. It saves a lot of time, headache, and money this way. Trust me!

4.  Hey moms, this one’s for you

Poise Fitness Playground Workout (<—check this video out to see a bunch of grown adults running around on playground equipment)

Over the weekend Von needed to bottle wine and luckily we live just a few blocks from the winery so I laced up my running shoes, the kids hopped in the jogging stroller, and we hit the greenbelt to pay our winemaker a visit. There’s a playground on this route so it’s inevitable my kids beg to stop there on our way home. Thanks to teaching boot camp years ago and trying to help my mom clients find a way to fit in fitness while entertaining their kids, I have a few playground obstacle courses stored away in my noggin’ that make my kids happy and give me my fitness fix. Granted, it can be challenging to duck your way through playground equipment intended for miniature versions of you, but I find it’s a great way to get exercise and make your kids think you’re the coolest mom ever. Plus, it’s kind of the point for it to be challenging.

A couple ideas: Use the stairs for, well, running up and down the stairs. Use a high step for step-ups. Create a course for you and your kids to run through and it may or may not include the slide. Use any elevated surface for pushups, monkey bars for hanging and bringing your knees up toward your chest (core strength!), another step for tricep dips, lay on your back on the ground and place your feet on the bottom of a slide to do bridge-ups, do jumping jacks between exercises/obstacle course rounds, jump rope (you don’t actually need a rope), perform box jumps on and off a step or bottom of the slide…you get it? Check out the above video for some visuals. And in case you’re wondering, I no longer teach boot camp in the mornings. Now that I’m a mom I reserve that hour for arguing with small people and exercising my non-morning-person patience.

I recommend you save this one for a time when the playground isn’t swamped and you can play freely with your kids on the equipment without some judge-y Debbie Downer parent tsk-tsk’ing you for not paying attention to the sign that clearly points out adults are not permitted.

5.  Being a winemaker’s wife

It's Wine:30 somewhere
It’s Wine:30 somewhere

I’m sure many wives or husbands of winemakers are much more glamorous than I am. Honestly, I don’t do glamour well anyway. I’m too sweaty half the time and the other half I’m laughing too hard, talking too loud or cleaning the mashed-up banana off my shirt. But I find it suits our business well since much of our time is spent at the farmer’s market talking to people, laughing about the un-believability of jalapeno wine, and sometimes doing all that with our sweet holy terrors in tow.

Last Saturday I headed down to the market to our booth like every other Saturday, where Von was pouring our wines and chatting with everyone and I was so excited to see one of my most favorite friends on this Earth. She spotted me first and immediately cracked up at my ridiculousness – pushing two kids in TWO umbrella strollers (for every good idea I have, there are two bad ones) and trying to look as though I have my wits together. It’s moments like those that I truly appreciate good friends to laugh with me about how un-glamorous our lives can be amidst a bunch of hype about people doing glamorous things.

Sunday after Von bottled what will be our next super fun wine release, he brought home a bottle so I could taste it (and make a margarita out of it, of course). I love being able to taste wines straight from the barrel or just freshly bottled. It’s probably the opposite of glamorous, but in reality I think the most glamorous things happen when they are just left to be what they are.

Honestly, being a winemaker’s wife looks a whole lot like making business decisions after 9 pm, writing proof for labels during naptime, holding a kid in one arm while pouring wine samples with the other and holding the fort down at home while the winemaker does the heavy lifting.

Really it looks a lot like what every other parent on the planet is doing in some aspect or another. It’s completely unglamorous, a whole lot of work, and surprisingly rewarding.

Cheers to all your random thoughts today!

Why You Should Stop Working Out for a Week

Typically most workout articles or fitness posts on Facebook I read  are about pushing yourself, working out hard, and making sure you’re consistent about doing so. Those are all legit and all great points. But I’m going to discuss something you don’t hear very often: It’s OK to take a break. Not only is it OK, it’s actually really good for you.


If you’ve been hitting it hard and working out consistently (by which I mean you’re only taking one to two days off from working out each week), at some point you’ve likely found yourself losing motivation, feeling weak and exhausted, and actually accomplishing less during your workouts. This was the case for me last month and I knew a break was in order. Enter: Family vacation and total workout strike. Not to say we didn’t walk a lot on the beach, which was definitely the case. And I did go for a short run and do some pushups and triceps dips one day. But there was no strength training, no HIIT, no power yoga or kickboxing. I ate what I wanted, which ended up being mostly healthy things after the second day since my gut couldn’t keep up with the inner fat girl trying to come out. But for the most part I just did what I wanted to do – which was relax.

Using my extra time to learn to fly a kiteboarding kite. Lots of fun!
Using my extra time to learn to fly a kiteboarding kite. Lots of fun!

All that relaxing and regrouping was what I needed physically and mentally to get motivated again when I returned home. And the funny thing? I actually feel stronger now that I’m back to my workouts. I’m sure my clients were super-thrilled with me on Monday morning when I was back to being that trainer who was more excited about their workouts than they were. “Oh great, spaz here went on vacation and she thinks I care how motivated she is.”

So I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking you’ll gain a bunch of weight, lose all the muscle you’ve worked so hard for, and fall completely out of shape. Well, you won’t. It just isn’t gonna happen in one week. It takes about 4 weeks for your muscles to atrophy and start breaking down, even if you feel like it happens sooner. The thing is, most people forget that recovery is a crucial part of making progress. After 8-10 weeks of consistent workouts and fitness gains, you really should take a week off to let your body repair everything you’ve done and work its magic. Another plus – that change your metabolism will undergo because you’ve switched up your activity level will only do you favors once you surprise it again the following week.

So about that diet during this week of freedom. You still need to eat mostly healthy, but a cheat meal or two won’t hurt because again, it will change your body’s metabolism temporarily. And since our intention is to begin working out hard again the following week, that change is a good thing. But don’t fall off the wagon completely, although if you try to I can almost guarantee that your body will rebel the way mine did. One of the things about having a healthy lifestyle is that once you try to go back to poor eating habits it makes you physically sick. (This does not work with wine, however. I could take a break and go back to it very easily, but I digress.)

Will you gain weight? Probably. But it’s not as bad as you think. You will likely gain a few pounds because of fluid retention. Plus, all that extra energy (aka: glycogen) your body is holding onto will be accounted for in that slightly elevated number on the scale. But you’ll lose it within the first week of getting back into routine. I gained 4 pounds on our trip to the coast. Did I feel disgusting? Yep. Little did I know that by the Monday morning following our return I would be back to normal and feeling energized and strong. Okay so the trainer in me DID know that would be the case, but the self-critic in me was still a little manic about it.

You see, there’s a big fat elephant in the room named Burnout. We all know the definition of insanity by now, right? Apply that same principle to your body. If you keep giving it the same thing over and over, nothing will change. Remember how when you first started working out you saw the best results and felt better than ever? A total break from fitness will give your body that same advantage when you start back up. Eventually you’ll plateau again and you’ll recognize this by feeling mentally underwhelmed, physically exhausted and neurologically frazzled. That’s when you take a week off. Huffington Post actually published a great article about the benefits of taking time off from exercise. While they were focusing more on athletes and recommended a longer break (which is your prerogative, but unless you’re in the athletic zone I don’t recommend taking more than 2 weeks off), they really break down the science of why it works. You can check that out here:

“Why Taking Time Off From Exercise Is Good For Your Health”

“What we really do in hard workouts is apply a stimulus that elevates our heart rate, breaks down muscle fibers, causes the adrenal glands to secrete the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and generally tells our body that the status quo won’t cut it anymore. The ‘getting fitter’ part – the body’s response to that stimulus – comes afterward.” – Huffington Post

And again, I know what you’re thinking (because I AM that girl): “If I take a week off I’ll never start back up.” My answer for that is, you’re overthinking it. I’m saying take a week off from weights, from cardio, from whatever fitness train you’ve been on. I’m not saying take a week off from thinking about it or setting new goals for yourself. I couldn’t wait to get back to working out again because I had all these new goals in my head, as well as new approaches to achieve those goals, which I had the time and energy to think about. I had time to figure out what I wanted to get out of my workouts and why it mattered to me. That’s what counts – as Jillian Michaels would say – figuring out your “why”. Love her or hate her, that woman has some good points about fitness and the human condition. During your one week off you won’t have to try to remember why you workout, your body will remind you.

One last point worth mentioning: I can attest to not always feeling stronger after a week off – there are times I’ve felt weaker and you may experience that. That’s OK too. Because even if you have to do fewer reps or shorter cardio sessions when you hit it again, your body has to respond to that stimulus and it WILL respond, faster this time and with renewed vigor.

So tell me, have you ever tried this break thing and how did it work for you?

Beginner HIIT Workout!

As I get ready for our family’s summer getaway I’m reminded of how completely unfocused, chaotic and jam-packed the schedule gets the week leading up to vacation. So much work goes into planned relaxation, it’s pretty comical really. So in the interest of preserving my sanity, keeping my body strong and saving time, I’m focusing on HIIT workouts right now.

Those of you who have trained with me know I love my HIIT workouts. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and, essentially, it entails working out as hard as you can with very little recovery between exercises and getting it done in half the time of a traditional workout. Sometimes even less than that. And since time is not usually on our side it seems, these HIIT sessions can really save your butt (literally and figuratively).

As far as HIIT goes, there’s a lot of options. You can apply HIIT to pretty much anything – running, the elliptical machine, the weight room, body weight exercises (my favorite), even Pilates. I have yet to figure out how to apply it to potty training, but you never know…

"HIIT for Parenting", the book we haven't yet seen on the shelves.
“HIIT for Parenting”, the book we haven’t yet seen on the shelves.

Although HIIT isn’t exactly new, I know there are a lot of people who haven’t yet tried it. Or they’ve tried it without realizing it. So this post is dedicated to HIIT newbies. Which, by the way, doesn’t mean you’re new to fitness or even that you’re out of shape. I have quite a few clients who are in fantastic shape and have a solid workout regimen but have never tried HIIT. I always start them out at the beginning, even if they’re a triathlete. HIIT could care less about your conditioning level because it’s all about max effort with little rest between that effort, all with the intention of burning body fat more effectively. In other words I don’t care who you are, it’s going to make you sweat! Still aren’t buying what I’m selling? Read more about the hip HIIT benefits here.

All you need is a timer or stop watch. You’re going to complete each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, then repeat the same exercise two more times (for a total of 3 times). Then you’ll move on to the next exercise. Complete the entire workout once, rest for 1 minute, then do the whole thing again. If, after two rounds, you feel like you have more left in you still, you should do it for a third time. 

This specific workout requires a three-minute warm up of your choice. If I’m at home my three minutes usually consists of a minute each of squats, jumping jacks, and alternating front-to-back kicks. If I’m at the studio I prefer to warm up with an easy jog on the treadmill. The idea is simply to get your body warm and ready for a workout.

A couple things worth noting before you dive in:

1. You’re going to get tired, that’s the whole point. You want to walk away from this 20 minutes later feeling like you left it all on the gym or living room floor.

2. If you’re doing the pushups and you feel like you’re not doing them correctly or your form is suffering, go down on your knees PLEASE! I don’t know why the world is afraid of knee pushups. It irritates me to no end. Sure, it’s best if you can do them on your toes and the idea should be to work up to that. But let me just tell you, if you do a knee pushup correctly, you’ll get the same results.If you’re doing full pushups with poor form you’re not doing yourself any favors whatsoever. End of rant.

A few demos to watch before you begin if you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises I’ve given:

Traveling Pushups Demo

Bicycle Crunches

Butt Kicks

Skater Hops

Got it? Good. You’re ready! BeginnerHIIT Let me know what you think. I’ll be posting more HIIT workouts in the future and if you enjoy this one please share!

My Fitness Philosophy

I’ll preface this post by saying I’m totally supportive of anyone who trains for competitive reasons, whether it’s body building, bikini contests, marathons, triathlons, etc. I’m also all for setting out to accomplish something and adhering strictly to a plan until that thing is accomplished. We all do that in some fashion or another in some aspect of our lives whether it’s starting a business, raising children, planning an important milestone event or keeping to a budget. Goals are terrific and super, super important. Yay, goals!

Make it Happen
Make it Happen

Now that I’ve put that out there, I’m going to possibly confuse everyone a bit when I tell you about my fitness and healthy living philosophy because most people are used to hearing an all-or-nothing mantra from personal trainers. But if there’s any message I want to convey on this blog it’s authenticity – no BS or smoke and mirrors. No one is perfect and believe me, if you’ve spent any time at all in the fitness industry (even if it’s just going to the gym in a vaguely consistent manner), unfortunately you know that often there is a whole lot of effort (and marketing $$$) that goes into making someone appear perfect. But it’s just not my thing and this isn’t that blog. I am not perfect. There, I said it! I am just a woman who wants to be healthy and help others with the same goal, without being annoying about it (purposefully, anyway).

I can sum up my philosophy with three sentences:

  • Workouts: Keep it interesting
  • Food: Keep it real 80% of the time
  • Body Image: Keep it in check


Workouts: Keep it interesting

I get really bored with doing the same fitness plan all the time. In fact, outside of training for the running events I’ve done in the past as well as those I will likely randomly sign up for in the future, I don’t think I’ve ever stuck to a fitness “plan”. That’s not to say I don’t have a plan, but my plan just happens to be to not plan too much (which is completely hypocritical of me because I am indeed a planner by nature). As I write this post I’m three days away from running a fun 5K with my kids in the stroller. It’s not a competitive race by any means but I have some benchmarks I want to hit with it: Run the fastest 5K I’ve ever run while pushing a stroller (a consistent 9-minute mile); Don’t feel like crap doing it.

That’s it. It’s not groundbreaking, but I’ve still done a fair share of preparation by running at least three days a week, training with sprint intervals, running hills on the treadmill (thank you, iTunes!), and just seeing how hard I can push myself. I’ve really enjoyed it, but three months later I’m totally over it and so is my body. I’ve stopped seeing the results I was seeing in the beginning and I’ve become used to everything both physically and mentally. It’s time to mix it up.

Yeah, pretty much...
Yeah, pretty much…


I practice this same philosophy when training my clients. Sure, you could realistically come in each day you see me and we’ll have a master plan and we’ll stick to that plan and never, ever stray. But then life happens, injuries happen, illnesses happen, vacations happen, financial burdens happen, being on the verge of a mental breakdown happens (I’m not pointing any fingers)…and you need to be able to adjust your fitness routine or you risk dropping it all together. I can actually see on a client’s face when they walk in the door if my pre-planned workout is going to go down well that day. If I’m not convinced it will, we change it up. I’m not saying that if your pre-planned workout sounds too hard when it comes time to do it you should drop it. Sometimes you have to know when to tell your inner critic to shut the @!#$ up and suck it up. But if your heart’s not in it and you’re going to come out of it feeling like a failure, then spend your time sweating in a way that’s going to be beneficial and leave you feeling better.

Mix it up, try new things, keep fitness fun. Do yoga one day, HIIT the next, weight-lifting after that, etc. Don’t ever be afraid to switch gears. Sometimes the easiest-looking workout is the hardest for your body to do simply because you never do it. Keep your body guessing and your mind will thank you!

Food: Keep it real 80% of the time

Although I don’t want to call it a “movement” since I really do hope it’s here to stay and not just a trend, the real food movement is big right now. Eat local, eat organic, eat clean, don’t eat processed foods, you know the drill. And if you don’t, check out THIS BLOG for a great lesson on what real food is.

I agree with all that, 100%. But I only practice it 80% of the time. The rest of the time I eat my TCBY frozen yogurt and my chips and salsa (not together, in case you had that image going on in your head). If I don’t allow myself a treat once in a while I will likely end up in a straight jacket, divorced, with kids who hate me.

But all kidding aside, diets just don’t work. You can do the shakes, the frozen meals, the multi-level marketing programs, and you’ll see results. Until you get sick of that food, sick of never treating yourself and sick of the guilt when you do treat yourself. Or if you’re like me, you’ll just get sick of having to do it. And then you’ll put weight back on and be back to where you started. Why not just eat well most of the time so that some of the time you can do whatever you want without the rude self-talk? This is also why I don’t do meal plans for my clients. They’re no fun, they’re not realistic, and they don’t work long-term. And while on that note, it’s worth mentioning that I also do not follow a set of guidelines when eating healthy other than consuming mostly clean foods and if they’re not clean they’re still whole, unprocessed foods that either don’t have a label because they’re not in packaging or if they do require a label it lists less than 5 ingredients. While I do dabble with recipes from every kind of nutritional influence, I don’t do Paleo or raw or vegan or meat-free or gluten-free. Of course if you do and it works for you long-term, I think that’s terrific. All bodies are different and what works nutritionally for one person won’t always work for the next. But eating real food 80% of the time will work for most.

Broken Record!
Broken Record!

Body Image: Keep it in check

This is perhaps my biggest point just because I think it’s easy to comprehend but it’s not implemented enough, especially in the fitness industry. Have you ever heard the quote: “I wish I were as skinny as I was when I thought I was fat”?  Here’s the thing: No one notices your body as much as you think they do. I know that may sound harsh but I’m being serious when I say we are all waaaayyy more concerned with how we’re being perceived than the people perceiving us are. And that’s likely because they’re too busy thinking about how they’re being perceived. It’s one of those qualities that makes us human – our egos can really take over a room.

Yes, by all means lose that weight to make yourself healthier, stronger, and overall more comfortable and confident in your skin. Unfortunately I see people who achieve remarkable things like losing 100 pounds and they eventually go into a tail-spin over whether it’s enough, which body part looks fat now, which body part looks the best now, which food they should or shouldn’t be eating, it goes on and on. I know there are some really great exceptions to this and I’m not trying to generalize, but in my experience some people have actually become depressed after becoming extremely fit or losing a significant amount of weight because they thought it would change their lives MORE. They look for constant feedback and validation that they look good and when they don’t get it they think it must mean they’re still fat. You likely know someone like this. How annoying is that?  Always keep your body image in check. Yes, we should strive to be the healthiest people we can be. But not at the risk of our sanity, our relationships and the way we view ourselves.

Do it!
Do it!

For me I think about my daughter and how I want her to feel about herself. I don’t want her to grow up with a mom who’s constantly looking in the mirror and commenting on how fat I look when I’m all dressed up, or wearing my swim suit, or just changing out of my workout clothes. I didn’t grow up with a mom like that and I truly believe it’s the main reason why I’ve never had severe body image issues, even when I was heavier than I should have been. I know my body’s not perfect. I know where my trouble spots are. I know there are other personal trainers out there with better bodies than mine. I also know that overall I’m pretty happy with the body I have. I could see my stomach stay perfectly flat every minute of every day, I’m just not willing to do what I know I’d have to do to get there (stop drinking wine, stop having an occasional frozen yogurt with my daughter, stop noshing on gourmet cheese and crackers and chocolate with my husband at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival the few times a year we go).

I could go on and on, but bottom line of my outlook on body image is keep it in check. Stay who you are fundamentally while always striving to be better in a well-rounded way. Forget the crappy self-talk, the fake smoke-and-mirrors expectations. Leave all that to Hollywood. This is YOUR life, live it! Now where’s my damn chocolate…

The Story Behind Wine Workouts and Whippersnappers

I’m going to do us all a big favor here and just cut to the chase in telling you why this blog exists: We are all busy. Busy, busy, busy. If you’re a parent, you’re busy. If you’re a business owner, you’re busy. If you’re a student, you’re busy. If you’re a parent and a student who works…you’re amazing. At least in my sense of the word. But my point is we’re all so busy that I’m actually bored of hearing the word ‘busy’ all the time! (Did you see that? I just used the words ‘busy’ and ‘bored’ in the same sentence.) So that’s why I’m here, essentially. I’m busy, just like you. And rather than keep all the areas of my busy-ness separate from each other I feel I’m in a phase in my life where it makes sense to consolidate – all while doing something I truly love, which is writing.

Here’s a little background about me, summed up in 10 sentences:

Girl grows up in a tiny Idaho farm town. Girl wants to get away and leaves for the Big Apple. Girl gives it a good run but hauls butt back to a medium-sized Idaho town to settle down. Girl graduates with Journalism degree. At this point girl safely calls herself a woman and embarks on her first career in event planning and marketing. Woman hates it, leaves it, becomes a personal trainer and starts her own business. Woman marries man (you’ll meet him) and gains a step-son (he’s a cool cat). Man becomes wine-maker, woman becomes pregnant…twice. Woman and man keep each of their jobs, open a winery and raise two small humans. Woman and man never have a clean house or bathroom privacy…AGAIN.

Lila (at 2 yrs), Luke (at 5 months)
Lila (at 2 yrs), Luke (at 5 months)

Now that you know who you’re dealing with, you may still be wondering why I would start a blog that blends the subjects of wine, fitness, and kids. Here’s my one-word answer: Balance. As a personal trainer who’s been in the industry long enough to know and have seen a few things, I’m probably one out of a small bunch of fitness professionals that are sick of the all-or-nothing mentality. I don’t like fitness fads, I loathe diets and highly marketed “health” foods and meal replacements shakes, I rarely do the same workout more than twice, I tire of superficiality QUICK, and I truly believe moderation is the ONLY key to a healthy life. Instead of going into a tirade about my entire outlook on the fitness industry, you can just check out my fitness philosophy post here.

With that said, I do honestly love working out, eating healthy food and discovering yummy recipes. And I enjoy finding ways to do all that while riding the crazy train of life. If that’s something you’re into as well then pull up a chair!

So back to balance. I love wine. Wait, scratch that. I am lost without wine. And believe me, you don’t want to be with me if I am ever found lost and without wine. Was my husband a winemaker when we met? Nope, and that’s why I think that in another life I must have been some kind of saint who did saintly things so that karmic forces caused me to meet this man in this life.  But he’ll tell you I was a wino who turned him into a wino and things just escalated. Believe what you will. Or you can read this post about our humble little winery.

What's halftime at a football game without wine in a Styrofoam cup?
What’s halftime at a football game without wine in a Styrofoam cup?

With all this wine loving going on, I think it’s important to note that we are not wine snobs. In fact, if you’ve googled us at all you know by now that we make some pretty crazy wines. And don’t think we haven’t been snubbed somewhat by the wine industry for doing so. But that’s okay, we’re not worried about it. So since I love wine and I love writing, I figured I could give you all the perspective of winery ownership (and drinker…ship?) from a non-wine snob point of view. The kind of perspective where you’ve gone to work all day, possibly spent the entirety of it on your feet, you’ve picked up the kids, you’ve managed a healthy dinner (or maybe just dinner), your house is a mess, there’s so much crap to do yet, it’s bath time and bed time and laundry time and The Voice time and tomorrow’s to-do list-making time…but all you want is a glass of !@#$% wine. Maybe it’s our wine, maybe it’s not. Either way, this blog presents a story about how the wine in your wine glass or red solo cup may have gotten there and what winemakers and winery owners like us do behind the scenes (here’s a teaser: We drink a LOT of wine).

So, balance. Now here’s where we throw that notion out the window: We have two children 20 months apart in age. Of course I think they are beautiful, smart, funny and perfect. I also think they are wild and demanding sanity-crushers who can make Lindsay Lohan’s meltdowns look few and far between in comparison. I am home with these beautiful tornadoes two days a week during the work week and I know you stay-at-home-moms are saying “seriously, Crystal? Big flippin’ deal.” Well I applaud you. Really, I do. I chose to take my studio hours down to two days a week so that I could be home with my crazies and I love my days with them. But I am not enough for them the other days so that’s why they go to this amazing place called day care and they love it and I love it and they learn so much more than I think I could teach them in the same number of hours. But on those days that I am with them I try to make our time together count. So this is also a blog about those days and what we do. I hope it will help some of you parents out there who run out of ideas or just need to know that your kid is not the only kid who does that weird thing with their face while looking in the mirror…

Yes, she could do this all day
Yes, she could do this all day

…Which leads me to one last thing that I think is definitely worth mentioning and will probably be mentioned repeatedly throughout the blog: I want your feedback! It often takes a village to pull things off at the Potter House. It takes grandparents, nieces, brothers, sister-in-laws, friends, fellow business owners and a world of winemakers to help us accomplish what we end up accomplishing. Same goes for this blog – please let me know what YOU want to know about, what you want to learn and your own experiences with any or all of the above topics. I welcome fellow bloggers, winos, parents, winemakers, writers, personal trainers, fitness lovers, etc. to leave comments and contact me any time! I will always do my best to respond to every comment and email. You can email me at crystalthomas@poisefitness.net, find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!