16 months later…


no, not really.  I’ve had a fucking shitty 18months guys (and girls).  My last post was about cancer and for real – for me – it was no big deal.  Osteomyelitis, on the other hand, was a fucking HUGE scary, life stopping, fear inducing, mind numbingly painful money suck.  HA!  I had to cut it off somewhere….

All this to say, I’m kinda back.  I have a few spots to be vocal – but this is where I swear and bitch and share. I’m not going to share about that experience here… just about the recovery.

Have you every sprained something? Or broken a bone?  Recovery sucks… all that down time, boredom, itching or swelling or… ugh.  #thestruggleisreal I’ve been there. Taped shoulders while teaching boxing, ace bandages and ice packs. Dislocated ribs. Herniated disc…. Resting. Then comes the rehab.  You take that first step and it’s awkward. But your body remembers how it’s supposed to work and slowly, you make progress. Yes, there are bumps – but, in general…. you move on and soon enough – YOU ARE FUCKING BACK, BABY!  You know the drill.

It’s like there was a serious storm and you have to go out and pick up branches and maybe replant some stuff and mop the basement.  2016 was a full force, house flattening hurricane for me. I got out alive, barely. And DAYUM! So happy to be here.  But recovery….

After 2 lumbar surgeries and a natural spinal fusion I am working out again.  This is what I want to share with you: it’s harder than you think.  If you are where I am/was, I want to encourage you to keep the fuck moving.  Find your best “Can do” attitude and power through.


FF>> this week.  I’m swinging bells, teaching classes and feeling pretty confident. (Teaching = instruction with a few physical examples. Sometimes I actually participate for 10-15 min. ) I do NOT attend other people’s classes.  It’s scary.

Here’s why.

  1. Are they aware of ALL the ways I compensate?
  2. Will I remember to NOT do something I am unsure of? (no.)
  3. Will I get pressured into “try this” which makes things much worse?
  4. I can’t keep up anymore – but I TRY to.
  5. What if I hurt myself and…
    1. It hurts
    2. I need surgery
    3. I need to take MORE time off
    4. I have to re-re-recover
    5. It hurts

This week I attended 2 trainings of someone else.  One was a group, the other personal training.  I heard the same thing from both – I’m going to paraphrase:

  • Don’t try so hard
  • Relax your breathing, take advantage of the small breaths

I left workout #1 crying.  No one wants to try really hard to be told – you’re trying too hard.  Ugh!  (Unless you need it, but still. Shit! No, my feelings aren’t hurt, I’m just so damed tired of climbing up the fucking hill.)  The mental game is brutal.

Sometimes,  I can’t make my body DO that thing…. My body feels like it forgot how.  There’s lots of anxiety.

So – do I try really hard or do I quit? Finding the middle space is so hard.

In my attempt to find the middle space:

I’m going to practice breathing, easy breathing while working.  I’m going to start training from the beginning. Learn how to breath, like I’ve never learned it, never taught it.  I’m gonna keep going through the motions, trying to make it look easy …until it is.


Thanks for listening.  #thestruggleisreal is so overused – but also completely appropriate.




It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime

Rage (Against the Machine) is playing “Guerilla Radio”, subtract all the anti-politics rhetoric  – which is pretty much everything – this is what sticks.

“Lights out
Guerrilla Radio, turn that s**t up

It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime
What better place than here, what better time than now?”

I fell off the wagon.  Working out, eating, filming, posting…ummm and Quickbooks.  My week came crashing in on me as I prepped for speaking engagements, photoshoots and a Ribbon Cutting all in the span of 4 days. But these things never really just crash in on us, do they?  We quit gradually. We quit prepping for success. Slowly letting bad habits replace good ones.  We know… oh.  we KNOW what’s happening.  We have ourselves little “talks”… like – “beth, this is the LAST bowl of ice cream, then you start eating RIGHT again.” and they we answer ourselves, “OK, yes. Good idea.” and then we eat the ice cream today and the next day and the day after.  Each day having the same conversation.

Or maybe you are more like this.

ME: I’m eating healthy!  I am so excited!

ME: eats a SUPER yummy pastry at the coffee shop.

ME: CRAP!  Did I just eat a pastry????!!!!! How did that even happen?!  That’s not healthy!

Literally, as SOON as I have swallowed the last bite. Gah.

Everything has a beginning.  This, my friends, is good news!  Because even though falling OFF the wagon has a beginning, so does getting back on! Today is your day to RESTART.  Something good.  ONE thing.

Happy Restarting Day!

Fuck Yeah!

THIS is my day.

2015-08-23 13.18.42

It’s Sunday  – the day formerly known as ‘Holy Horizontal Day’. Before gym ownership came into my life I made my living teaching 14 classes a week and conducting 12-14 personal training sessions a week, with sometimes 1 hour commute to and from.  With travel I worked 15 hour days at least 2-3 days a week.  Granted sometimes a 2 hour break midday meant I was napping in the parking lot in my car! A good number of those classes were also MY workouts. Training sessions involve demonstrating (LOTS) and re-racking client’s and regular gym users’ 45lb plates  ALL DAY.  Whew!  I am tired thinking about it. So I invoked Holy Horizontal Day, where my goal was to lay flat ALL DAY (minus potty breaks and meal making).  I needed it. Mentally and physically.

Since purchasing Center-Fit Kettlebell Club in Montgomery, Il., I have ceased needing THAT kind of rest.  It’s a new ball game now!  (No, it’s kettleBELLS not kettleBALLS).  Here’s what gym ownership looks like today.

  1. Sleep in till 8:30am
  2. Eat breakfast on patio
  3. Teach Guy how to use dropbox, find his passwords, find dropbox, print with air printer from iPhone…
  4. Head to gym to work on new website, back office ‘stuff’ and plan workouts for the week
  5. Meet Kris, Megan and kids at Center-Fit to hook up sound system
  6. Hook up system, get it wrong, try again, get it wrong, try again, mount speakers, tie wires (actually..just ‘help’ KRIS)
  7. Train Damien on sound system
  8. Type instructions for sound system for other instructors
  9. Bump into Melissa who came to clean
  10. Find trash bags I put in new place
  11. Help Damien with sound system
  12. Dump stuff on my desk
  13. Take picture of said desk
  14. Write blog post to the sound of Damien and Melissa now doing their own work outs to EXTRA LOUD music with the garage door open, sun shining, breeze blowing

Today is AGAIN the best day of my life.  By the time I leave I will have fixed several problems, found new ones and started lists of problems to fix, systems to create or things to finish for tomorrow and the rest of the week. My Desk will be cleared so I can mess it up again another day.

Fuck yeah!

Fat people working out

One of the big reasons fat people, or people who have excess body fat as I like to say, don’t like working out at a gym is discomfort.

And they are 100% right. I know, I’ve been there. There are all sorts of reasons why now is not a good time to start and all those reasons are 100% valid. I know, I’ve been there. It took me two years to “gear up” enough to want to go to the gym. What really happened was that I became hopeless and desperate from inactivity. I didn’t “gear up”. I became more sedentary, more achy, heavier, and more hopeless.
The naked truth is this. Working out when you have excess body fat is a sticky, sweaty, blubbery embarrassing mess of a time. And you have to get over it – or at least through it. You can.
Let’s talk.

Sticky. You’re going to sweat. But honestly, I didn’t actually start sweating until I had been training for quite a while! My body wasn’t functioning very well and I couldn’t work up a sweat. I actually jumped up and down the first time I broke a sweat while lifting weights (an eccentric bicep curl, if you want to know)! So, you may be afraid that you’re going to be sticky and sweaty… But that may not actually be the case. And most likely not every time you go to work out. Your first step is building core strength so that you can workout.
Sweaty. (See previous paragraph.) …and – sweat is good.  Cleanses the body, gets excess heat away from the body and all that.  You don’t smell because you sweat… you smell (typically) because of what you eat. I have learned to consider sweat a badge of honor. But it’s not even that.  Some people sweat easily, others don’t.  Fortunately for all of us there are showers.
Blubbery. I hated the clothes I had to wear to the gym. My son’s old 2XL “Army of One” tent of a T-shirt that hugged my belly fat and my over-sized sweat pants. My tummy would get in the way of most everything. My belly and my boobs! Always in the way. But when I thought about it, that was the case no matter what I did! At least I was taking care of the problem and not just being irritated by it. Speaking of irate – for some reason fitness clothing manufacturers don’t seem to believe that overweight people need fitness clothing. WTF?

(Side note: I also berated many Victoria secrets sales staff due to the fact that they also didn’t carry my bra size. “All you DO is boobs… How can you not have a size?!!” )
Embarrassing. Frankly, I was simply embarrassed by my existence. It didn’t matter how or why I was so overweight. I felt that when other people looked at me, they judged me for being the way I was. I judged me. Why shouldn’t they?
I hate the next piece of advice, it’s not trite, it’s simple and it can be hard. Get over it. Nothing is going to fix your excess body fat but a healthier diet and movement. Learn to live (temporarily) in the sticky, sweaty, blubbery embarrassing mess.  Relish it. It won’t last long.

No, you don’t have to go to the gym. But your success rate is bound to be higher when you employ professionals. When you surround yourself with people with the same goals who, by the way, turn out to be very encouraging and are not judging you. (Revelation!)

HOW do you get over it? Work your way into a healthier existence. Take the footsteps through the mud, pay the price you would for any product or education. Growth is neither pain free nor cheap.
Making a change is nearly always uncomfortable. DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

I don’t have pictures of me working out because… (read above article, for heaven’s sake!).


before (I too, was eating cake)

obviously 'after'  winky face

winky face

Body Image vs Usefullness

It’s good for your mindset to see things out of context every once in a while. Today while driving to work I saw a man running alongside the road. He seemed to be working really hard, lumbering, really. (He could have been a super hero bounding along!) As I got closer I realized that Oops! it’s a woman. A very, very muscular woman. I immediately thought to myself “Wow! She’s a power lifter – or a bodybuilder trying to lean out or…?” And I drove on.

And then it occurred to me how horrible she looked running. And she couldn’t have been out running for enjoyment, because that did NOT look fun…and then I felt guilty for thinking bad things about a stranger who spent so much time building an incredible set of muscles! All I could think about was how bad and out of place she looked running. But here’s the thing, her intention was obviously not to build her body for running. Why was I even judging her on running? Have you ever seen a skinny person in the gym? Long lean muscles, not very bulky… they step up to a big weight and  lift. But it’s anything but elegant. There’s no power or rawness. You’re probably hoping they don’t hurt themselves. But perhaps the person I just described has built themselves a runner’s body. They didn’t build their body to be amazing at lifting heavy things. Why am I judging them on what they built their body for? Well, of course, why am I judging at all is a better question.

But this isn’t about what other people think it’s about what YOU think about YOU and why YOU are working out.

I have clients ask me all the time how do I lose weight between my thighs? How do I lose weight in my tummy? How do I make my butt look bigger? How do I make my butt look smaller? I want to look more like “THIS” (shows picture of someone much taller/younger/shorter/photoshopped… )Etc. etc.

Aside from talking weight training and asking about nutrition or diet, I tell my clients the most important question is “What do you want to use your body for?”  What are you building? Do you want to be able to run and jump and play with your children – your grandchildren? Do you want to be able to work a construction job? Are you planning on competing in any specific sport? Do you have a sport that you love so much you want to condition your body for that? Why are you building your body at all? Then I suggest the most CRAZY notion: …what if you let that dictate what your body looks like?

train fight

What if we moved away from pure aesthetics, random social norms, and over-marketed over-Photoshop models’ bodies and focused on the usefulness of our own body? What if we didn’t judge ourselves based on our thigh gap – or lack there of.  Or in comparison to someone we think is fatter or skinnier… ?

I am not talking about the new “Love your fat self” trend.  Now, don’t get all offended.  YES!  Love yourself! Whether or not you are healthy.  But you don’t need to love what is UNHEALTHY about you in order to love yourself.  You don’t even have to hate it.  You can just decide “I want to change this unhealthy thing about my body.” (or not) simple. factual.  no judgement. But we don’t need a movement telling people it’s ok and beautiful to be unhealthy weight wise.  It’s ok to be you.  Regardless. Please, let’s stop celebrating the ‘curves’.  Start celebrating YOU.

A new friend told me this story today. “I used to belong to a private Facebook group about loving your curves… Or something like that. I thought, ‘Yes I can get into that.’  And so I try to love my curvy size 16 body and then I tried to love my curvy size 18 body. And then I noticed that my size 18 ‘s were getting snug. That’s when I decided that this thinking was not helping me!”

Here’s what I think: it’s absolutely important to love yourself. Your self has a body, so it stands to reason loving your body is a part of loving yourself. I know, rocket science. So why is this so hard?

I think we’re too fixated on providing solutions. Mainly quick, sound-byte type solutions. Who can’t get behind “loving me as I am”?? Seriously, if you can’t you are actually either a bad person or sick or obsessed…just generally unhealthy. You all know what I am talking about. People are afraid to say “fat is unhealthy”. It’s not ‘shaming’ people. It’s science. I will not take the time to list the ways being fat is unhealthy for you. Google it.

Am I ashamed of or think less of people who have excess body fat? Nope. I kinda don’t care. I mean, if I truly believe that YOU have the power to change you in ways that you want…I have less personal investment. I don’t need to involve my ‘action-activating’ emotions in how you choose to live you life. (Aside from being a little sad, but I don’t dwell) I hope, tho….I hope you will ‘get it’ and find your way to a body that is useful to you for a really long time.

And this leads us to my ideology around fitness. My goal has always been to help people change their lives (in ways they want). When I’m approached by a client who wants less hips, less thigh gap, less arm fat – my first question is ‘why?’ (YOU have to understand your motivation…even if it changes) My second question is “What do you want to use your body for?” Me? I want to be able to lift a human if they need it, I want to be able to not die from falling off a cliff (Cliffhanger movie) I.e. Lift my own body weight. I want to run with my grandkids and I want to box/kickboxing as long as I can (and that means my sides are going to be thick – no skinny waist for this girl!) But, that’s my answer. So I need to train slow twitch muscles for strength, fast twitch for speed and agility, core for overall strength and balance as well as cardiovascular endurance… Now it doesn’t matter so much what the scale says, what size I am wearing and whether or not I have a thigh gap! I continually look to improve what I have (my body) for the uses I have chosen. (Do I want a skinny waist MORE than I want to box? Do I want a thigh gap more than I want the energy I will lost by brining my body fat to an unhealthy low to shed as much fat as possible?)

Your turn. What do YOU want to use your body for?

Let’s train for that.

To the Core – CX WORX

I’m not sure why I certified for this class.  I had never attended it before. I am not a big “abs” girl. But certify I did. And, man oh man, am I glad I did!

No matter how i feel on any given day – I walk away from teaching this class feeling stronger.  My posture is better, my body feels ‘righted’.  It’s MY yoga.

Les Mills CX WORX… this is what Men’s Journal has to say about it.



Big butts and lies

…and other examples of reverse body shaming.  Remember this? “I like big BUTTS and I cannot lie….” I hated that song. Not because it was obviously bad music, but because I don’t have a BIG BUTT. I, much to my dismay, have straight hips and a smallish butt.

I remember the day my trainer told me I needed to get out of my ‘flat-butt-mom-jeans” and into something better fitting.  I felt like a MILLION dollars!  Did I have something that would make it to the top of the charts (Cue: “All About that Bass”)? Nope. Baby ain’t got back.

Here’s what really sucks.  Growing up, I was teased about the size of my chest.  Really!?  Too much then, not enough now.  Can’t a girl catch a break?! Even after losing 7 (SEVEN) inches in the bust, I am still pretty amply endowed- and believe me, there are all sorts of opinions about that too.  ugh.

Now, after losing 75lbs I still have no visible 6-pack and rather than nice tight triceps to go with my amazing, but still somewhat hidden guns, I have pretty white, flappy wings. EVERYTHING is wrong with my body.

Who decides what body parts are in fashion and what aren’t?  And more importantly, Why?  These parts exist – no matter what.  Are they functioning the way you need?  Yes?  Then let’s just all be happy with what we have and grateful it functions well! No? Can you fix it?  Do your best to do so and then be happy with what you have and grateful it functions as well as it does.

Reverse Body Shaming:  I have “XYZ” and it’s beautiful, you don’t and so you are not.  “Tell them skinny bitches that…” and “nah, I’m just playin'” – oh, but are you? 😉

Here’s a playlist for you big booty lovers…. I found it for reference material so, what the hell.

Are you wasting your time working out?

Just this: Don’t waste your time working in bad form.

I teach a core class at a couple different facilities and after one class a client approached me and asked, “Hey, are you and that other lady on the same page?!”  Always eager to learn, I assumed I had done something wrong and was anxious to hear how I could improve.  When i asked her to explain she said, “Well, that other lady told us we could hover with our butts in the air if we weren’t strong enough to hover with good form.”  If you know me, you know my pokerface is sometimes lacking – that’s the exchange for genuineness.  I audibly gasped.  Ooops. Then I smiled.

I asked them all to hover with me, butts high in the air, taking note of what muscles are stressed in that position.  Arms, shoulders, calves….  I asked about core muscles, but nope, they weren’t feeling it.  Then we lowered into a good flat hover, elbows under shoulders, belly braced, neck and spine lengthened, glutes squeezed – of course they felt their core muscles working.  The problem? “How the HECK do you hold that as long as the instructor is asking?!”

Answer:  If you can’t, you don’t.  You only have what you have today.  When you can no longer hover on your toes in good form, lower your knees. When you can no longer hover on your knees in good form lower your body to the floor, rest and then come back in for as long as your good form lasts.  Repeat.  THIS is how you build strength in a specific muscle group.  Find that group and work it as best you can, rest and come back to it!

IMPORTANT: Please don’t be intimidated by “good form”. Do your best. Keep an open, learning attitude.  Focus on continuous growth.  Don’t stay away because you are worried you won’t do it perfectly, we’ll all get there together.  K?

50shades…hop on the bandwagon with themed workouts!


Meet Stephanie, every where she goes she is plagued with ridiculous 50shade references in marketing!

I’ve had lots of questions about my Themed Bootcamps out at the Bolingbrook Park District (Wednesday nights, 7:15pm – shameless plug). This post is not about that!  HAHA! This is a themed workout for a PT client who just couldn’t seem to escape 50shades, no matter where she went.  She posted THIS image the day of her training so I promised her a 50shade workout…even if that only meant that her grey shirt would grow darker and darker due to all the SWEATING!

50 breakfast ad

Note: Grey necktie and HANDCUFFS at family restaurant! LOL!

I decided if it’s ok for them, it’s ok for me!  (sort of)

So here’s what we did.


It’s a simple full body workout designed to wear you out and make you feel amazing, simultaneously!

10 push-ups
50 single arm bicep curls 8 to 10 pounds
10 box jumps
50 triceps kickbacks standing bent over 5 pounds
10 Push-ups
50 single leg hip thrusts, elevated
10 box jumps
50 lying back extensions
10 push-ups
50 lying toe touches
10 box jumps
50 overhead shoulder presses 3lbs (with trainer in background for good measure)
10 box jumps
10 pushups
I broke up the push-ups and box jumps to ensure completion.  This girl did EVERY pushup on her TOES!
Just to keep it fun (and make it harder to work due to excessive laughing) I would ask her if she remembered her “Safe word” to which I immediately replied… “That’s RIGHT!  Cause there IS NO safe word!!!”
Here’s what I didn’t do…since I work at a PARK DISTRICT for Heaven’s sake…. handcuffs, blindfolds, other non-workout ‘equipment’.  HAHA!  Have fun, be creative.

Stop. just stop.

Let’s just say it… we want fitness to be easy.

“Just tell me how many of these I need to do to get in shape”

“How much should I eat to lose weight?”

OK.  That was the diplomatic opening.

The ‘sassy mouth’ opening looks more like this: We are a lazy and blissfully ignorant people.  

I say blissfully because ignorance is something most people actually CHOOSE. Yes.  You choose it.  Most of you.  There are places in the world where information is not readily available. There are learning disabilities that make getting good information nearly impossible.  But for most of us.  It’s out there, we just prefer a quick fix, a magic bullet, a super pill – or shake, and then we want to be on our way.

Stop.  just stop.

Your body is a machine. A machine comprised of gooey and dense and hard stuff that is designed to all work together.  Take that complexity and add emotion, triggers, learned habits and the chaos of everyday life and you have a crazy soup of intangible ‘stuff’.  So what really makes you think that there IS a quick fix?  A pill or shake or a certain number of sets or reps or a “TOP 10 MOVES TO GET THE ULTIMATE BODY”.

Stop.  Just stop.

Let’s just start preparing ourselves for a lifelong plan to stay moving, listening to our bodies, feeding ourselves according to the output of energy. Let’s put an emphasis on learning, growing and changing when appropriate.  Let’s not hold on to our fitness ideas too tightly.  Science discovers new things all the time.  Trends come and go.  Let’s calm down AND get riled up!

Stop with the quick fixes and GO! with the rest of your moving life.

today is the day