Hey all you body rockers…

This one has been on the burner for a few months now, but life has gotten in the way and I haven’t had a moment to breathe. Until now.

This is for all of the body rockers. Yeah, you in the gym, swingin’ and a swayin’, rocking’ back and forth as you workout. No, I’m not talking about the people who dance during their workouts (yeah, we’ve got some of those at my gym). I’m talking the people who use their body’s momentum to get that weight up.

I see this a lot in my gym. Usually from May to August. Why that time span? Let me break it down:

• College kids come home. Some are battling that dreaded Freshman 15 and refuse to go back to school without shedding what they’ve gain. Some are trying to stay in shape for whatever sport they play in college. Some are just beginning their fitness path and want to just plain be in better shape.

• Summer is coming (or here) and gym newbies want to get in bathing suit/beach shape. Pool parties can be a bitch when you’ve got love handles as your plus-one.

I’d like to give them all the benefit of the doubt, but after so long, I can’t. Why? Because in this day and age, there is just simply no excuse for it. And there are ZERO studies that can lead anyone to believe that this is remotely right or okay.

Guys, cut it out. You look completely ridiculous. You cannot lift that weight. Well, sure, yeah you actually can, but can you do it the proper way? Without swinging your butt back and your body all around to get that curl up from your side to even remotely close to your shoulder? No? Okay then. Stop it before your hurt yourself.

You’re accomplishing the seriously absolute complete minimum by doing this. Yes, you are working out. Yes, you are making your muscles work (so they will grow, a little). You’re not going to get stronger, your muscles won’t get their maximum workout (therefore: GROW A LOT). So put that weight down and get your hands on a weight in which you can do properly. A bicep curl should NOT involve the use of your entire body to “sling” the weight up. The ONLY thing that should be moving is your ARM(S). Got it? Good.

Another culprit is YouTube. While yes, you can find some really great and thorough videos on YouTube, demonstrating proper form and how to properly execute an exercise, there are A LOT, and I do mean a lot of videos out there that show you the very wrong way.

Solution? Just bite the damn bullet and get a trainer. You don’t need to use the trainer every time you work out, or even every week. You may not even need said trainer for a full hour long session.

A trainer can hook you up with a program that suits your needs, your ability, and your goals (not that super awesome workout you just saw your best buddy’s friend’s cousin do who has been in fitness and hitting the gym 7-days-a-week for 20 years and has muscles bigger than Phil Heath). I should correct that to say: a good trainer can do that for you. There are some that pass out generic workout programs because they want to make the most amount of money with the least amount of effort. It’s the sad story of this industry.

A trainer will also walk you through your workout program. Demonstrating each exercise in proper form. Then, they’ll have you do that workout program through completely while they’re there supervising. It gives them the chance to correct your posture and form, and explain to you as their client, what you need to be watching for and keep an eye on so that you don’t make the mistake again.

Spend the little bit of extra dough to get yourself off on the right (and better for your body) foot. Sometimes it’s even worth it to after a few months do a sort of “check in” session with your trainer. Make sure you’re still doing everything right, even get tweaks and changes to your program so that you don’t plateau.

Some of my clients, I only see once every 12 weeks. Why? I saw them for the initial consultation, then again for the first, and maybe a second training session, and then they felt okay (and so didn’t I) going of on their own for the remainder of the program. Then, when they hit the end of it, we reconnected for a session. It helps the client progress on track and actually see progress at a good rate of time and it also helps keep them out of the doctors office for unnecessary aches and pains.

Wednesday leg days.

I don’t think my legs are at their full potential. Yeah, they’re looking a hell of a lot better than they were 12 years ago, but they still need work. Apparently, I’m the only one that thinks that.

If I had a penny for every time I got compliments in my legs or was asked about my leg training because someone was interested in doing the same – I’d have that beach house in the Caribbean by now. Maybe even a nice villa somewhere in Europe.

People are always shocked to find I only train legs once a week. They only need to be worked once a week. They are the strongest part of my body, and they’re the most responsive to a workout. So why do more than I need to? No point in over-training, right?

I train my upper body three times a week because it is in need of the most attention, improvement and it’s my weakest half. Shoulders in particular.

When I train any part of my body, it’s always with equal intensity as the rest. Including leg day. I’m on a round right now where I’m just kind of poking around the gym, not doing the same workout twice. Every week it is different and I’m doing either supersets, dropsets, pyramids, or a combination.

This past Wednesday, when I hit legs, this is what it looked like:

Superset 1
• Leg press:
First set 20 reps at 115lbs
Second 15 reps at 205lbs
Third 10 reps at 295lbs
Fourth 6 reps at 385lbs
Fifth 15 reps, rest/pause 15 seconds, 15 reps 115lbs

• Single leg reverse lunge & shoulder lift
2 sets 15 reps at 12lbs (told you I can’t do much with my shoulders)
2 sets 10 reps at 15lbs
1 set 15 reps at 12lbs

Superset 2
• Straight leg deadlift
First set 12 reps 115lbs
Second 10 reps 135lbs
Third 8 reps 155lbs
Fourth 6 reps 175lbs

• Sitting calf raise
2 sets 15 reps 90lbs
2 sets 8 reps 110lbs

Superset 3
• Leg extension
2 sets 10 reps 90lbs
2 sets 8 reps 115lbs

• Goblet squat
2 sets 10 reps 35lb kettlebell
2 sets 8 reps 45lb kettlebell

Superset 4
• Standing calf raise
2 sets 15 reps 45lbs barbell over back
2 sets 10 reps 65lbs barbell over back

• Laying hamstring curl
2 sets 10 reps 60lbs
2 sets 8 reps 70lbs

Now that it’s warmer outside, I tend to wear shorts to my classes or when training clients in one-on-one sessions. My “The Other Side of 50″ as they call themselves, will tell me that they remember when they had nice, shapely legs. Most of my clients are women, and after recalling their shapely legs, frustration about menopause sets in and the tone of the session or class changes. Luckily, I’m a positive and upbeat person so I can spin it back around and menopause is gone (at least thought wise…).

On the other end of that spectrum, my younger female clients will tell me that they want my legs. Well, genetics. Not to mention the fact that I have years of athletics strapped to my belt and many more years of weight training of my own beyond that. A recent blood test confirmed what I already knew: I have high testosterone levels. Literally double of what the highest a woman should have. So naturally, my body is going to shape at a different rate and in different ways.

That’s not to say that nice, shapely legs be it muscular (like mine) or toned like a dancers may be are completely unattainable. With effort and dedication, comes anything. And that is exactly what I find myself telling not only my clients, but regular people I pass by who comment on my legs and ask how.

Dream big. Dig deep. Don’t quit.


Brantley Gilbert has no legs.

This post needs to start with back-story. Why? Because anyone who has followed me here, on Twitter, Instagram or knows me on Facebook knows that while I listen to a pretty broad variety of music genres — my love runs deep and undying, for all things rock, metal (metalcore, ‘alterna’ metal, death metal, etc…), hardcore, so on and so forth. So, to have a blog post dedicated to the name of a country singer… some, or most are probably head scratching right now.

I used to hate country. Hate it. All of my friends loved it. My redneck guy friends listened to nothing but AC/DC, Lynard Skynard, and country. A LOT of country. I once upon a time came to the conclusion that I was going to die from being tortured by country music. Then came the Leanne Rimes song “I Need You”. It was on the radio one night at the end of my junior year of high school (2001 to be exact). I was hanging out in the garage of a friend, with several other friends, and my best friend. We were working on one of their trucks, a common place thing at the time. In the deafening silence that came when the truck’s motor completely cut out, the song was blaring. Being a lyrical person, the lyrics hit me. I looked at my best friend, the one person that knew me wholly, and knew instantly that I would always associate that song with him.

Then came Lonestar’s “Amazed”. This was the song that that same best friend heard come on the radio one night (we were dating our junior year), and while it was playing, he told me it was the song that made him think of me.

When he passed away a few months later, I delved deep into country music. It started as my way of holding on to him, then I realized: Hey, this isn’t so bad. I kind of like it. Goddamn you Alan Jackson and your catchy “It’s Alright To Be A Redneck”…

Country music and I have a weird relationship. I have the music that is always there (the rock, the metal, so on and so forth), but everything else cycles through. I went on around a three year country hiatus because everything on the radio that wasn’t Miranda, Dierks or Gary — was garbage *cough*TaylorSwift*cough*

Randomly, I heard “Bottoms Up” in a local laundromat that I was in hanging up a flyer for one of my classes. I hung around a few extra minutes to listen to it and get the name of the singer. Brantley Gilbert. Okay, let’s check this guy out. I dig it.

Which propelled me back into my “country phase”. I’ve picked up a lot of new bands and singers over the past month and a half, but I’ve become pretty hooked on Mr. Gilbert. I like his style. His songs, the “gruff/rough” singing… ae44fe1e4bd7560b24356264164d0f1f

Oh hey, look, he dated Alex Dupree from One Tree Hill! Nationwide is on your side…

Then I see a photo of a sleeveless Brantley. Wait a second… Isn’t this the guy that was on NY Ink? The one talking about smacking his head on a tree after getting tossed from his truck? …hits good ole Google…

Okay, so apparently I’ve seen this guy before on TV. But he certainly didn’t have those guns. Being an arm girl, I’d definitely remember arms like that.

As a fitness person, I’m always curious on other people’s workouts. Famous or not. Seeing photos of Brantley popping up all over the place (I’ve discovered he’s a pretty big deal in the country world…), curiosity grew.

…Search the webs for “Brantley Gilbert workout”. Read the same story a million times about him working out with Tim McGraw on tour. See all kinds of photos of sleeveless Brantley.

Curiosity grew. Does this guy skip leg day? Where are Brantley Gilbert’s legs?! Why can’t I find them?

It didn’t matter how I typed it in or looked it up. Brantley Gilbert’s legs are simply non-existent. They do not exist. A million-bajillion photos, and not one of him in shorts (although he talks about wearing shorts in his fear of working out with Tim McGraw interview). Even his YouTube video of his polar plunge challenge, he’s wearing track pants (cop out).

Sure, it’s pretty entertaining that this is baffling me so, and that there’s an entire blog post dedicated to this. But, my workout/fitness driven mind finds itself on loop with curiosity. Not to mention, in this day and age, guys who don’t train legs become the entertainment not only of the internet, but to the fitness industry. Fitness pages will share memes and jokes about the jacked dudes with big arms and no legs.

So until I see legs, in my mind, he just doesn’t have any. No legs is better than little legs.



Life as I know it… Let’s rephrase that, My Insane Life.

Let’s talk about life for a second. I don’t know about anyone else, but mine is always a little insane. We’re talking the kind of insane where you’re stretched super thin and you’re looking at the clock thinking: Why can I not have just ONE more damn hour in the day?

Lately, in my little tiny corner of the world — it’s been insane, triple fold.

I got into a car accident. One that was so incredibly avoidable, it’s laughable. The kid who hit me, saw me coming down the hill when he cut across my lane into a parking lot. Did he really think my car and I would just… disappear? Apparently so. He pulled into the lot, and right back out the exit without a second thought. Into the side of my car. I was stuck, I couldn’t avoid it. All three ways I could have reacted, I would have been hit. Luckily, the option I picked gave my vehicle the least amount of damage. But it still left me without my car for a solid month.

Have you ever had a rental? On a vacation is one thing. As a day-to-day driver? No. No freaking way. I got a Focus first. How the hell am I supposed to haul all of my equipment in that?! Three days in, I couldn’t do it. I went back to Enterprise. Got an upgrade to… a Jeep Patriot. Now, let’s all pause here for just a second. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m anti-Jeep in all ways possible. I had a lapse last summer and tried out a Wrangler, enjoyed it for all of .02-seconds, and brought it back. I hate them. Having been raised by a mechanic/auto-body guy, I’ve seen them in shops and on flatbeds more than on the road. And Enterprise gives me the keys to one.



Life on the coast is the good life.

I couldn’t put my kayak in it. Apparently, the Patriot, although it looks like a mirror image of the Dodge Caliber on the inside (the car I had before the Murano), it is definitely, most certainly NOT like the Caliber. That passenger seat does not lay down. That 9-foot kayak will not fit inside. Sure, you can strap it to the roof, but you risk damage. I didn’t want to pay a damn thing out of pocket for this whole experience because well, let’s face it, I didn’t ask to get hit. So I suffered. I suffered very loudly.

I love my car. I bought my car for a reason. I can haul not only my photography gear, but I can haul all of my gear for my classes. I have the Yakima rack with the PowderHorn in the winter for snowboarding, the HullRaiser in the spring through fall months for kayaking. My car, over the past three years has been a work in progress to fit me and my needs, and I JUST got it perfect. Only to be without it. But that’s okay, all is right in the world again. My car is back and my blue boat has been in the water not once, but twice already in the five days I’ve had my car back.


Body360 Camp & Mommy FITT’s summer home

During the rental car month (in which I have a separate blog coming about the rather, um, interesting experiences in it), I signed a lease on a space for two classes that I’ve been working on for months. I signed a lease. I put my name on a piece of paper, making a space inside of a building mine. I gave all of my hard earned money, every single penny almost that I’ve made since I started training after getting certified, to someone for a space. Talk about a heart stopping, panic striking moment in life.

Simply put: My gym where I was holding my classes wasn’t cutting it. I started with four classes on the roster, and now I’ve whittled myself down to just two. One has less than stellar numbers and is on the chopping block as well. I needed to branch out and away, I wasn’t getting the growth I wanted or needed where I started. I was stifled (another story for another day). I also wanted to offer more, and my gym wasn’t going to be a suitable spot.

Enter, Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Performance. Newly renovated, I know the owner through my “day job”, so I ventured over there one day to check it out and talk business. The space, an old classroom, was perfect. Visibility is great. Word of mouth is even better.

I pulled together workout plans, recipes and started working to put together packets about nutrition. Locally, there are a lot of fitness classes. Locally, there are not a lot of places people can go for nutritional education. Pairing the two has been something I’ve been wanting to do for AGES. I split my classes into two pools, general focus on nutrition and working out and moms. That’s right, I went there. I made a class solely for moms. New and old. Regardless if your child is 32 with three kids of their own or your baby is only one, the class is for you. Losing weight, getting the family on board for eating healthy, budgeting meal plans, etc. Helping moms regain their confidence in their bodies and help their families be healthy is what my niche is, and always will be.

So I now have a space to park VanSpice Fitness for the summer. The first class was a success, and I think I really did (despite all the panic and fear at first) the right thing.

…and I might have sort of committed to not one, but two shows in the fall.

Dear Lord, what am I thinking? Like I don’t have enough going on…

An already competing friend is doing one in October and she and I have been talking about doing it together. She knows I have it in me, I know I do too, I just fear what I always fear: time. Is it on my side? Can I really etch out the time I would need to dedicate to doing this?

Teach me how to selfie?

Teach me how to selfie?

Not a fan of selfies, I’m warming up to taking better progress photos of myself. In April, just after a photo shoot, I started easing into early training. My thoughts on the early training tactic is this: If I can take the time I have now in the gym, and work out a program that will give me the progress and gains that I need for a show, then I can do this. If I can’t? Then I’m on the sidelines as a trainer again (which is totally fine as well, it’s an experience I’d like to live over and over again).

So far? Things look good. I’m 19 weeks out from one show and I’ve started to see some really great development in my shoulders and traps (my trouble area). I’ve got seven more weeks to go before I need to make a commitment to whichever show (or both), so unless things become quadruple insane, I think……….. I’m in.

Let’s roll…

I got a Liebster!

liebster+award+#3+copyI got a Liebster Award! Many thanks to blogger, and fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador, Brandi Jeffries at noteworthyrunning.blogspot.com for the nomination.

The Liebster Award is awarded to new and upcoming blogs by other bloggers. It is to help the nominated bloggers be introduced to other readers and gain an audience. By receiving this award, the blog receiving it must pay it forward new bloggers as well! The general rule is 10 new blogs and 10 questions, but it seems the Liebster has come almost full circle in the world of blogs I follow, so I only did five nominations and six question. To pay it forward: Please link the nominators blog in your blog about being nominated, answer the 5 questions below the nomination list, and make up some for your nominees!

1. What inspired your fitness journey?
I started in the gym with the sole purpose to build some muscle and change the shape of my body. I was tired of being “shapeless” and as horrible as this sounds with all of the people out there battling with being overweight – I was tired of trying everything to gain a few pounds, so I could stop dealing with the snide remarks people would make about my size, and the gym was my last ditch effort to do that. From there, I’ve become inspired by so many people in the fitness industry, that it would take me days to list them all.

2. When do you prefer to workout, morning, noon, night?
I prefer to work out first thing in the morning when I can. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t always allow it (actually it pretty much never really does anymore), so I grab gym time when I can get there. It’s typically late afternoons and early evenings.

3. What’s your favorite pre-workout meal?
I actually don’t really have a pre-workout meal. I make sure that I eat a small meal about an hour and a half before the gym, then while I’m working out, I drink my amino mix, and post workout, I have a protein packed smoothie for recovery.

4. How much planning to you put into your fitness routine?hvs-20140430111141-edit1
Quite a bit. As a personal trainer, I take pride in my fitness routine. I am my best advertisement after all. At the same time, with that aside, I have goals that I’m always striving for and planning/mapping out my routine needs to be effective in getting me to that goal.

5. What is at the top of your bucket list for fitness?
To be the next Jamie Eason. But that’s at the super top of my bucket list and I’ve got a long way to go, and have a lot of work to do to get there. More realistically, I am still on top of that fence post with the idea of competing this fall. I’m just not sure I can pull the trigger on it.

6. What is the greatest thing you have gotten out of fitness?
My shoulders? My traps? On a more serious note,  first hand experience and knowledge that’s giving me the opportunity to create and pass on tools to others to succeed in their own fitness journeys. (Also the opportunity to stand like, 5-feet from Mike O’Hearn while he was guest posing at the OCB Pine Tree State, that was pretty damn awesome).

7. Do you feel like fitness has change the person you are other than physically?
Fitness has definitely changed the person I am. Or at least, it has drawn me out of hiding. I’ve always had the person I am today inside of me, I just needed to find the confidence within to unleash “the beast” so to speak.

8. Do you do other sports?
I do! I play co-ed softball and pick up soccer games whenever I can. An indoor turf center is opening this summer and I plan to play soccer on a more regular basis with the co-ed league forming there, and picking up lacrosse again.

9. What is your ultimate fitness goal?
To have my own gym, and to snag a spot writing in a health magazine – or bodybuilding.com.

10. What is your number one fitness pet peeve?
Off the top of my head, it is always going to be people who don’t re-rack their weights. But ultimately it is people who are inexperienced, haven’t received proper education & training in the gym, with fitness, and/or nutrition — and pass out advice. Or charge for advice. Or “teach” classes. Yes, it’s a mean outlook to have, but there is a reason why people go to school to be trainers and instructors. And nutritionists/dietitians. You wouldn’t want a doctor operating on you who hasn’t been properly taught and had done residencies, would you? All aspects of your health should be entrusted into the hands of well trained professionals.

My nominees:
1. Amanda @ http://www.notsosimpledimples.blogspot.com/
2. Ashley @ http://www.teamarley.blogspot.com/
3. Ashley @ beautifullittlepiece.blogspot.com
4. Kat @ katalysthealthblog.com/
5. Lexi @ saphfyre.wordpress.com

Your questions:
1. Where do you find inspiration?
2. What is your dream job?
3. What has been the biggest hurdle you have faced in life?
4. One thing you don’t know how to do, but wish you did?
5. What is at the top of your bucket list?
6. Wisdom you wish you could instill in others?

Post-Program Blues. I got a little too attached to Shortcut to Size.

So, as all of you blog readers of mine know, I did the 12-week Shortcut to Size program by the super fantastical Dr. Jim Stoppani. Anyone who is in anyway involved in the fitness world and knows who this man is – knows he’s amazing and well, amazing.

My body is constantly changing. I do more weight and less cardio in the winter, and always find myself doing more cardio-centered workouts in the summer. So my muscles are constantly leaning, bulking, leaning, bulking… I wanted big changes for the coming warmer months (Read: I wanted a banging beach body. More banging than I’ve ever had before), so I tackled STS.

A month in, I knew that I was not going to be a happy camper when the program ended. The changes to my body in those four short weeks were better than I’d ever seen in any of my programs I’d done before. My shoulders were shaping up quite nicely and… were those traps I saw?

By the end of it, I was in love with the way I was looking. That last week, I was growing fearful of what came next. I didn’t want to lose any of the incredible gains I had made on STS. Panic set in.

Was I seriously panicking over a workout?

I most certainly was.

Damn, look at those arms! I thought to myself as I flexed and posed in the mirrored studio room at my gym. I felt my heart kind of dance in my chest, sad at the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to come up with the right fit to stay on track.

Then that week ended, and I went into the weekend. I never workout on the weekends (unless I need a make-up day). Weekends are reserved for nature fitness like hikes, runs with my dog, etc. The only form of workout I do on the weekends is in my Sunday morning Weekend FITT class. I do all of the workouts with the people who attend.

I felt that dark, icky cloud looming over my head that entire weekend. I wrote myself seven different workout programs for the next 12-weeks. By the time I finished writing each one, I found a flaw that in my mind’s eye, threatened the loss of my gains. So I’d scrap that program and start all over. Until I realized that I was stepping into the land of insanity.

Does Post-Workout Program Blues really exist?

It was something that I began to question a lot in those days following my last workout of STS.

Venturing over to Dr. Google (which I rarely do, I prefer books for information)… I discovered that yes, PWPB really does exist, and I wasn’t the only one going through it. It was a legit and real thing. Did that mean I really wasn’t losing my mind?

They equate it to things like post-marathon blues. Symptoms are all the same.

The only problem was, there were no clear ways to overcome it like there was post-marathon blues. I ran a marathon, ages ago it seems now (never doing it again) at Sugarloaf with two friends. I experienced PMB only slightly afterwards. Probably because I was living with my sister at the time and her crazy, chaos filled household kept me distracted when I was there. Getting past PMB was easy. PWPB was proving to be a different story all together.

On a whim, that following Monday, I did Day One of Erin Stern’s Elite Body workout. It’s only a 4-week program, but after that first day, I was sure I made the right choice. I’ll have four weeks to come up with a solid program of my own that will keep me on the track that STS had me on, and during this four weeks, it’ll be a good change up for my body with different exercises and of course, my new favorite: push jerks.

So my advice in the end to work through PWPB? Find a quicky, intense workout program. A four week program that is pretty much the polar opposite of the program that you just completed. It will throw not just your body/system through a loop, giving it a bit of a shock, but it will help reset the “blues receptors” in your brain, waking it up and making the transition into your next long program a lot easier.

The icing on the cake: I’m now I Sweat Pink Ambassador.

My “vacation” has come to an end. At least now I have a hell of a tan to show for it. Friday and Saturday were gorgeous and I was able to get all of the remaining yard work I had tackled – and done. After everything was picked up and put away, I probably gained about an inch on my biceps from all the pulling and tugging I did with the 50 loads of dirt I hauled all the way across my yard to my driveway to fill in the potholes.

Standing with my longtime “No Rest for the Wicked”… I also spent countless hours finishing up my Real People, Real Bodies campaign, getting everything ready to hit my fitness page’s blog this week. AND I got all of the marketing stuff done for my business table at a local bank – also set for this week.

But that’s not the icing on the cake… Checking my email, I learned that I was accepted as a Sweat Pink Ambassador for Fit Approach. Something that I just feel is a complete and perfect fit for me.

Fit Approach defines a Sweat Pink Ambassador as: Someone who lives the Fit Approach mission every day: they sweat hard, play hard, and inspire those around them to achieve their best selves.

At risk of sounding a little dorky, it’s exactly who and what I am. I’m excited to be a part of something so great, an awesome community and I can’t wait to share my experiences and knowledge and help others succeed with their health and fitness.