Friday, August 28, 2015

Fit Friday: My Revelation Wellness Journey

I have to be honest.  I haven't always enjoyed exercising.  In fact, I pretty much hated any physical activity at all when I was a kid.  I attempted to play basketball which was quite the joke.  Don't get me wrong, I was in the team picture but that's only because the coach was kind enough to let me "borrow" a jersey so I looked like I was part of the team.  Other than that I really didn't enjoy physical activity, unless I was forced to(like the time I was chased by our camel). :)  As I hit high school I discovered that you could do things like run or Tae-bo to lose weight. When I saw the results that came from exercise I jumped on board.  I was sold.

From that moment on I became an exercise addict.  I would exercise at midnight(insane I know).  I would do two a days.  Anything I could to burn just a few more calories.  But it wasn't enjoyable.  It was my way of beating up my body.  In fact, the meaner my self talk was the harder I worked and more I starved myself.  You could say I was "scared skinny".

I stumbled into teaching group fitness classes and fell in love.  Not only do I get to beat my own body up but bring some others along with me?  Yes please!  I spent the next several years getting certified in every format around and creating new moves.  Don't get me wrong, none of those things were bad on their own, but they turned bad when I worshiped them more than God.

I no longer view exercising as a hate session for my body but as a privilege that I get to move and use the body God has given me to accomplish new things.  My husband and I started running Spartan races and I have never felt so connected to God when I do those because I rely 100% on His strength to carry me through.

A little over a year ago God began to speak to me about this gift He has given me.  I spent so many years doing my research and training and now I have a heart to use it in a healthy way.  It would be SO tempting to keep this new found freedom for myself but I know God didn't put me on this earth to be so selfish.  If I can be free in the area of fitness why can't others be too?

Just like God always does, he brought the next step of my journey to me a few months ago.  I had the privilege of being in a Master Mind group at a blogger conference with the CEO of Revelation Wellness.  When I heard the heart behind the ministry I knew it was right where God wanted me to be. This is a non profit ministry whose motto is:

After much praying(and many others praying too) I knew God was calling me to this ministry.  He opened doors for me to do the instructor training that only He could have opened.  I began my training last week and will continue for the next 8 weeks and end with an instructor training retreat in Arizona.  I will also be certified to teach their "Weigh less to Feed More" curriculum, which I am super excited about.

To say that God has spoken to me in just the first 2 weeks of training would be an understatement.  I have a renewed sense of vision and purpose.  He has given me dreams.  He has given me a name for a book.  He has spoken to me about other areas of my life that are non fitness related.  But that's just it,  we are one in all that we do.  There is no such things as separating certain areas of our life.  When we have one area of our life that is not submitted to God it affects ALL areas of our life.

I don't know what the rest of this training holds but I know that God is in it.  I am so excited to share this journey with you!

In the meantime, check out Revelation Wellness website for more information on becoming an instructor yourself OR to subscribe to their Vip-tv for online workouts!

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Pregnancy Test that Rocked my World

I will never forget the moment that I found out I was pregnant with our first child. Matt and I were both still in college and had only been married for 9 months when we found out we were expecting.  I went to tell him the big news at his work(probably not the wisest idea but I was freaking out!).  I will never forget the look on his face. He was just as shocked as I was and requested that I take multiple pregnancy tests to confirm. :)

While we were in complete shock at this pregnancy it didn't take long for it to turn into excitement and anticipation of the bundle of life that would soon join us.  As much of a surprise this pregnancy was to us it was not the one that rocked my world.  In fact, the pregnancy test I just encountered yesterday is the one that rocked my world.  No, I'm not pregnant, so allow me to explain.

Yesterday, I was supposed to run 10 miles on my Spartan Beast training program.  However, I failed to wake up before the sun was up which resulted in me leaving for my run when it was way too hot to be running.  I almost didn't go at all because I was afraid I would overheat.  But I felt the Lord tell me to go and run something, even if it wasn't the entire 10 miles.

I set out on my run and was feeling pretty good despite the heat. A few miles in I passed a pregnancy test on the side of the road.  I went back to take a picture of it because it struck me as odd and funny to see a pregnancy test on my run.  I even took a moment to upload the picture(below) to instagram with the hashtag #thingsIseeonmyruns.  As I started running again I heard the Lord say "I didn't have you run by that pregnancy test to put it on social media for a good laugh. Pray for her".  In that moment I knew God had directed my foot steps that day to have an encounter that would change how I view life and the part I have to play in it.

I deleted the picture from social media and began to pray for the woman who was the owner of that pregnancy test. The test was completely blank so I couldn't tell if it was positive but I do know that anyone who would throw a used pregnancy test on the side of the road was hurting.  Maybe a teenager terrified that she may be pregnant out of wedlock?  Or perhaps a woman who has found herself in an affair?  Or how about a woman who has been praying for a baby for years and was disappointed again?  Of course I will never know the full story but I do know that I will have that image burned in my head forever.  I have been praying for that woman and the possible baby ever since I encountered that test. I know it was not by accident that the Lord had me run by that test that day.

I am also reminded that God directs our steps daily if we allow Him to.  We are merely passing through this world and we have a daily choice to partner with God and be a part of the supernatural, unseen world or we can pretend that's just something in the far off distance that we will see one day.  I ask God to use me but how often do I miss the times He wants to use me because I am too busy thinking of my own needs and desires?

Are you questioning the path God has you on today?  I pray this story encourages you to trust God, simply open your eyes to the things and people around you and He will use you in ways you never imagined.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Is God part of your fitness journey?

Every night as I drift to sleep I recap my day with God and talk to him about what lies ahead tomorrow.  It's mostly a vent session on my end where I tell him all the things I wish I had accomplished, done differently or am nervous about. He listens while I lay it all on the line then He gently redirects my thoughts and actions. He reminds me that he is in control and his plan for my life is so much greater than anything I could ever imagine, if only I will be bold enough to trust and follow Him.

Two of the things I was discussing with him tonight were the direction I am to take as a fitness professional and asking for wisdom on how to best fuel my body.  In that moment he asked me a question, "What is your end goal?"  

You don't have to be a fitness expert to know that anyone who seeks advice in this area always tells their coach or personal trainer what their goal is.  Common answers are "to lose weight, get toned, see my abs, run a race".  While I believe in setting goals I feel like the Lord was challenging me to reevaluate some of my goals I have set.

Why do we need to exercise and eat healthy?  The core answer lying behind all the pictures of the beautifully sculpted bodies is simple:  to be our very best physically so our body(the temple) is functioning in order for the Holy Spirit to live within us and use us for God's kingdom. There is something so much greater going on then just our physique.  Does God care about the small things we care about, like having a lean body or shaped arms?  Yes he does but not at the expense of us selling our soul and forgetting why we need to take care of our body.

As Matthew 6:33 says:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
It's easy for me to close my spiritual eyes to the bondage that takes place in fitness but when I think about my two daughters, ages 6 & 8, I am forced to reevaluate my decisions. I don't want to train them to think the only reason we exercise and eat healthy are to look good.  I want them to know that we do these things to honor the body God has blessed us with.  God is not against exercise and meal plans but he does not want them to own us.

If I build my fitness platform(idol) on my own then I must maintain it on my own. If I partner with God to be the healthiest I can be, mind, soul, body and spirit, then I will not have to work to maintain anything. Let's choose to partner with God today. Fitness is a journey, not a destination.  He wants to set us free so let's take this journey with Him.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fit Friday: The Best Fat Burning Workout

If you know me at all, you know that I believe we exercise for more reasons than just to lose weight and look great. Exercise releases endorphins which lift your mood. I believe it's God's natural energy boost for us. :)

However, I also believe in setting goals and being wise about taking care of our body.  Having excess adipose tissue(fat) around our organs is especially dangerous and harmful to our health.  If you have a goal of weight loss I want to share with you the most effective way to exercise at least 2-3 times a week.  I would pair it with strictly strength, cardio and/or flexibility the other days.

If you have attended one of my group fitness classes you know I'm a big fan of interval training.  Not only does the time go by quicker but you also burn more fat than traditional exercise.  When I was in college I studied Exercise Physiology and when one of my professors broke down the physiology of what is happening in our bodies when we exercise it was as though a light bulb finally came on for me.  Because I am a "why" girl once you explain in depth the reason behind why something works I will be sold for life.

I like to format my classes in "rounds" each one focusing on a different muscle group.  Here is an example of one of my 3-2-1 intervals:

  • 3 Minutes Strength:  squats(sumo, regular, walking, squat with calf raise)
  • 2 Minutes Cardio (alternate 30 seconds between mountain climbers & high knees)
  • 1 Minute Core (plank with alternating leg lifts)
What is the "why" behind intervals?  Very simply put, our body has glycogen reserved away in the muscles.  When we do the strength portion it burns the glycogen to fuel that portion of the workout. When followed immediately by cardio we have exhausted the glycogen so our body dips into our fat stores to to fuel the cardio and core section.  You must know that this only happens if you are lifting heavy enough in that strength portion.  As I tell my class, your legs should be on fire. :) 

But as you can see in the graph below it's not just the length of time you exercise but instead the intensity. Doing moderate exercise does have health benefits but just not for fat burning purposes.

The other reason intervals are so amazing is because our heart rate goes up and back down with strength being your active recovery. Any time your body has to readjust to what it's going through it has to work to get back to homeostasis.  Meaning it wants to be comfortable so it fights to get back there, otherwise known as burning calories.  Our body does not think in terms of how it looks it is only concerned about surviving.  In order to survive that exercise session it will pull out all the stops, including releasing fat to be burned, in order to protect itself.  You must, however, get it to the point of wanting to survive, which is why I love HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training).  It shocks the body and without thinking too hard about it starts releasing fat in order to survive.  Not to mention the EPOC(excess post oxygen consumption) that comes from interval and HIIT training, which also burns excess calories for 8 hours after intense exercise.  

This same principle can be applied to one of your weight lifting days.  If you lift weights for 30 minutes and you follow it by a short 10 minute run at the END you will burn more fat because you utilized the glycogen in your muscles during the strength training.  

Put simply, doing interval and HIIT training will be a shorter workout, burn more fat, train both anaerobic and aerobic pathways and recondition your body in a way it hasn't experienced before.  Feel free to use the format above to put your own exercises in those slots or check out the programs Beachbody has to offer.  

QUESTION:  Do you periscope?  I don't yet but am considering doing live workouts on it a few times a week.  Let me know if that's something you would be interested in!  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fit Friday: 5 Fitness Must Haves

Anyone who knows me well would say I am a bit of a fitness gear snob.  Not because I'm high maintenance but because I love all things fitness so I tend to try new gadgets and gear on the market.  Some are flops and some I won't go without.  For today's Fit Friday I'm going to share a few with you that I love:

1. 4Head Headbands by Hippie Runner
If you are anything like me it is hard to find a headband that is cute, doesn't fall off and most importantly, doesn't give you a headache from wearing it.  When I discovered these I fell in love and I'm not kidding when I say I own 12 different colors!  If you buy 3 you get 1 free, what can I say?! (click image to see more colors and order)

2. Gliding Discs
I've been using these for about 5 years now and I have to say they are the one piece of equipment that finally pulled in my belly from having 3 babies.  You can do SO much with them!  Core, lower, cardio and more.  I even did a core tabata video with them you can view here.  Yes, you could use paper plates instead BUT you will go through a ton of plates and these will last you forever.  I like this bundle on Amazon because it comes with a dvd so you can get ideas on how to use them.  (click image to view more)

3. Hydration Belt
This is a recent purchase for me because my husband and I are training for a Spartan Beast. I was getting so dehydrated on my longer runs that I knew I needed something.  My husband uses a Camelback backpack, which I tried, but I wasn't a fan of the over the shoulders feeling when running.  Yes, this looks like a glorified fanny pack but it does the trick. :)  I ordered pink since it was $10 cheaper but they do have black as well. 
(click image for color options)

4. TRX Suspension Trainer
I can't say enough good things about the TRX.  I teach small group classes at Me Body Baby and the clients get AMAZING results from these.  I purchased one for home use and use it almost daily.  If you had to choose ONE at home piece of workout equipment this would be the one I recommend.  Click the image below to see more information about the product.  It even comes with access to videos and workouts!

5. Power Systems Versa-loop Resistance Bands
This is another one I've had for years and it is still going strong.  I use them when I teach small group classes as well as when I work out on my own.  They can be used to do basic things like step outs with bicep curls, or better yet, put one on when you are using the gliding discs above.  Talk about a total body workout!  The blue color shown is the heaviest resistance but you can choose other color options with less resistance once on the site.

I will stop here for today.  This list could go on so I would love some feedback on products you would like to know more about!  Happy Fit Friday!  

(Please note: today's post contains affiliate links. I will never recommend a product I don't use and love)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

From Public to Homeschool {Why we are Making the Switch}

We are about to embark on a new adventure and become a homeschooling family.  Wow that sounds weird saying that out loud.  If you had told me even just a few years ago that I would be a homeschooling mom I would have laughed in your face.  I always said I would never home school my kids.   Not because I think it's a bad thing but I just didn't feel I possessed the skills or desire to take that on.  So how did I end up taking on the responsibility of homeschooling my kids?

It all started a few years ago when God began to whisper to me about the idea of homeschooling.  I say whisper because that's exactly what He did.  He knew if he was too pushy about it I would run the other way and not look back.  At first I ignored his nudging but, as He always does, those whispers didn't quit, they just grew stronger and a bit louder.  One day I was honest with God about my hesitations to homeschool and told him that if He is calling me to it He would need to make it really clear and change my heart about it.  In true God fashion, that exact same day I had a lady(who I do not know) tell me she felt she was supposed to give me 2 HUGE boxes of school curriculum.  Wouldn't you know it was for the exact same age my girls will be next year.  Anyone who homeschools knows how expensive curriculum can be so that was a huge blessing.  

I still pulled a Gideon on God and said that wasn't enough.  Then He started changing my heart about it.  I started getting excited about the thought of planning school days, field trips and searching on Pinterest for fun activities to do with the kids.  This heart change was a bigger miracle for me because I knew I couldn't have made that switch on my own.  

Am I scared, anxious and nervous?  Yes.  Am I sad to leave our school friends?  Yes.   But just like anything that God calls me to I am hanging on to the fact that God said go.  There is nothing worse than having God tell you to move into a new season and us being too stubborn or fearful to do it.  Every one's life is miserable around you when you aren't where you are supposed to be.

One prayer/request I have for all the mommies out there is stop the judging and comparison game.  God has every family on a completely different path and I believe it's time we begin supporting one another rather than criticizing and talking bad about the others decisions.  I have been in the public school system and am now entering into the homeschooling arena and have seen both sides of the coin.  I see pros and cons to both.  We were blessed to have amazing teachers for our girls(and that is what makes this decision a difficult one).  But one recurring theme I see on both sides is the judgment of the other side.  Homeschooling moms:  be kind to the public school families.  They are doing what they feel is best for their family and are able to do at the time.  Public school moms & teachers: be kind to the homeschooling families.  They don't have all the training as you(though some do) but they feel God calling them to have their kids at home with them for this season and He will provide all they need for that season.

So why am I homeshooling?  Because I need to shelter my kids or I think public schools are the devil? No. The only reason I am homeschooling is because God called me to.  How long will we homeschool?  I don't know. I am following God one day at a time on this journey and am seeking him daily about where my kids need to be.  Who knows, maybe next year we will be back in public school or on to a private school!  We move when He tells us to so for now this is where we are planted.

I would love prayers and support as we move into this new and exciting "outside of the shell" season!