Obstacle, Barrier, or Excuse?

obstacles,barriers& excuses..png

In your health  journey and as with any journey it can present its share of obstacles and barriers. Obstacles and barriers will always be a part of our experiences, in life, in fitness, in health.

It’s how we relate to our obstacles and barriers that will determine the outcome.

When faced with an obstacle, make a powerful choice to keep moving!

One of the most unfortunate mistakes we can make in this life is to mistake an obstacle for a barrier.

 Yet, I struggle with it often and I see it everyday.

The goal of this post will be to clarify the subtle but sometimes significant difference between our obstacles and our barriers.

Let’s start by defining the two words in question:

Obstacle:

—noun

something that impedes progress or achievement

Barrier:

—noun

something material that blocks or is intended to block passage

 How similar? Yet so very different in regards to mindset.

 Often when we encounter difficult circumstances, they may produce an emotional reaction that causes us to interpret these situations as barriers, but most of the time it’s just an obstacle

Here’s a simple way to distinguish the difference:

What ever slows down your progress is an obstacle.

What ever impedes or stops your ability to progress, is a barrier.

For example, lack of motivation is an obstacle.

Sometimes we lose that inner compass of patience and drive. I will say it again, lack of motivation is an obstacle. There can be so many factors in this obstacle, sometimes multiple factors for one person alone. So how do we overcome this obstacle?

Three key components can help you develop and maintain motivation:

  1. Know your why. (Why have you set this goal for yourself?)

  2. Actualize your why. (How can I make this happen?)

  3. Practice discipline.

Create a list on paper. Ask yourself, 'Why is this truly important to me?' Write down all the reasons your goals are important to you. Yes, even the superficial reasons such as, 'I want to fit in my skinny jeans,' and then, dig deeper.

As long as you have options to overcome, your difficult circumstance is an obstacle; regardless of whether you use the options or not.

Choosing to stop and not find your why is your choice, it is not a barrier.

An example of a barrier, is injury or illness. (I will tell a story below how I allowed an injury (a barrier) to become an “injury” (obstacle I chose to settle for.)

Some injuries require rest, rehabilitation and remaining off said injury. This can range from a finger to a neck to your entire body. That being said there are sometimes circumstances that put up a temporary wall between us and our goals. The time that wall remains up, is up to us.

So how did I let a posterior tibialis and posterior tibialis tendon issue go from a legit barrier to an obstacle? And if I am being really honest, from an obstacle to an excuse.

Excuse:

—noun

a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense

My injury came after months of training for my first race, a 50k. It triggered feelings of despair, and caused a mild depression, sadness and even anger.

This should have been a sign that while it was temporarily a barrier, it was slowly becoming just an obstacle.

I did not shift my mindset rather let myself feel powerless. I could have accepted the situation and empowered myself with a new plan of action. I know it is crucial to maintain a positive attitude during this time. I could have even reminded myself to stay positive daily, or even hourly.

But because I wallowed in self pity - things became hard. I couldn’t do what I used to be able to and I let my injury become an excuse. “I can’t run, I am injured” I would think to myself.

Was, was is the key word there. It is easy to confuse the three words, to misunderstand what is actually keeping you from accomplishing your goals, what is making it more of a struggle to accomplish your goals and what is actually you keeping yourself from accomplishing those goals.

So here’s the point I am trying to make.

It's important to surround yourself with positive influences during any vulnerable time. Focus on short-term accomplishments.

You may feel as if you have a lack of choices, but this isn't necessarily true. This is when mental influence can truly be a savior.  "Thoughts are things," says Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

 

Most of the difficult situations and circumstances we are presented in life are difficult because they present us with a difficult choice.

In the future, begin noticing where you get stopped in your life and start taking the time to distinguish whether you’re confronted by an obstacle, a barrier or creating an excuse.

If it’s an obstacle, make a powerful choice (insert spin move or side step) and keep moving.

If it’s a barrier, identify what’s on the other side and address your barrier with a stubborn resolve to reach your goal.

If it is an excuse, go back to your why. Figure out what is causing the excuse and why you want to overcome it.

Really focusing on the slight differences with these words can be crucial to living your best life.


download.png

How sitting all day is harming you?


How sitting all day is harming you?

May 21, 2015

Simply put - sitting is killing you. Numerous studies have pointed to the health risks of sitting all day, so here I will discuss some ways you can get up and move throughout the workout day. Please note that all photos I use throughout this blog are photos/pdfs I have found through the internet or pinterest. I do not take credit for these at all.

 

The human body simply isn't built to sit all day at a desk or for hours in front of the couch. Many of us spend more time sitting than sleeping. To avoid some of the health risks, not only should you get the recommended 30 days of daily activity but to get up and move at every possible moment.

 

No I am not saying go out and buy a standing desk. Simple things like placing important items (phone, copier) away from the desk so that in order to use them you must get up and move! Even if it is just a few feet! Let's start with some statistics. Keep in mind things such as daily activity and diet also play a part in how sitting will affect you. The information provided below is that of a fairly healthy individual who does not smoke, is not overweight nor do they drink in access.

 

The Facts:

*We are on average sitting down 9.3 hours a day compared to our average of 7.7 hours of sleep.

*Between 1980 and 2000, exercise rates have stayed the same, sitting time has increased by 8% and obesity rates have doubled.

*Walking burns 3-5 times the amount of calories as sitting.

*You have an Increased Risk of Heart Disease. New studies have shown that exercise once a day, even for an hour, isn't enough to make up for sitting all day at work. Those who work out and sit all day are just as likely to develop heart disease as those who don't work out and sit all day.

*You are at an increased risk for injuries. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your hips and spine, and can lead to some injuries in them over an extended period of time. One such injury may be a herniated disk. Continued pressure on your spine may cause a disk to come out of place, creating a painful condition that can require medication, physical therapy or even surgery.

*Increased risk of depression.

*Slowed metabolism.

*Risk of Diabetes.

*Raised cholesterol.

*Decreased life span. Those who sit more than six hours a day are at an increased risk of early death from all causes, higher by an average 35% for women and 18% for men, for those who exercise. Those who don't exercise and sit all day are at a 94% higher risk of premature death for women, and a 48% higher risk for men. This is no joke for those who spend their days at a desk.

 

Ok so it’s obvious we need to get moving throughout the day! Fortunately for me I have an entire private personal training studio at my fingertips so not only can I get up and move, but I have the tools to do so. Realistically, this is not something that everyone has access too! So what can you do? Below I will list some tricks on how to make sure you get up and move throughout the day as well as some exercises you can do in an office!

 

Tips & Tricks:

*Take the stairs. Every chance possible. Climbing stairs for two minutes, five days a week provides the same calorie burn as a 36-minute walk. Consider setting yourself a quota of say, 80 stairs per day (a typical staircase has 10 steps, so that’s eight flights).

*Add 10 minutes of walking to your lunch menu. At work or at home, we often allot 30 to 60 minutes to eat but how long does it actually take you to eat? Often no more than 15 minutes. Walking 10 minutes a day promotes a healthy heart, improved brain function, and an ease in depression. All while burning calories!

*Make it a goal to never talk on the phone seated. Every time you answer the phone stand up! Pace if the phone allows. But just tell yourself. I will stand every time I take a call.

*Most offices have multiple rest rooms. Why always take the closest one? Take one on the next floor? Or the one further down the hall. Move as much as you can!

*Put items such as your phone or printer away from your desk, so that to use them you must get up.

  

Exercise options for the workplace:

Below here I will just post photos I have found to give you some ideas. I do not have the programs, or the creativity to make these on my own! But you will see where I found them on the photos themselves.

office-workout.jpg
wired-officeworkout-infographics.jpg
24197a36769c3c084b2c20a239417046.jpg

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Screenshot 2018-10-01 at 9.33.05 AM.png

Change is exciting but often scary. Even when we know that change is good for us. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of what others think and even fear of success often keep us from pursuing our dreams. Yes, I said fear of success. Why is that, isn't success something we all aim for? 

 

Last November I did the 2nd scariest thing in my life. I shipped out to Basic Combat Training for the United States Army. This is only 2nd to March 27, 2013 when I raised my right hand and was sworn in. I was terrified. I was 27 years old, which in terms of enlisting is ancient. We were still at war, what if I get deployed? Can I make it through BCT? Will I fail? What happens if I don't fail.....? All of these questions were going through my mind. This quote above is literally something I read every day the weeks prior to shipping out. I have always wanted to serve my Country. Always. Fear always got in the way. November 13th I shipped out, and no YouTube video could prepare me for what I experienced. It was the most amazing, challenging, difficult, rewarding experience I can imagine. I learned how incredibly strong I am and I left February 19th with a sense of pride I cannot even explain. I just accomplished something that less than 1% of the American population ever will. 

 

I know, you are thinking ok Thea, what does this have to do with health and fitness? Why am I reading about your experience at BCT? Believe it or not - this fear - that overwhelming fear of the unknown is something that keeps people from stepping foot into a fitness center. Here are some of the most common fears that I have come across and some tips on how to overcome them.

 

·         Not knowing what you’re doing.

·         Getting hurt.

·         Navigating an unfamiliar environment.

·         Having people judge you

·         I look fat. 

·         I have no one to go with.

·         I will look silly.

·         What if I work hard but don't hit my goals?

·         I don't deserve to be happy and healthy.

 

Tip 1. Consider why you want to go to the gym in the first place.

Those are the most common. First and foremost I ask "Why are you here?" If you answer things like, it’s what I should be doing, and I want to look good for other people. You need to revisit your motivation? Do you want to be healthier? Lose {x} number of pounds? Be able to get up and down the stairs better? Be a better soldier? Be a better {insert sport} competitor? 

 

Tip 2. Ask the Fitness Director for assistance or hire a personal trainer.

Often centers will have fitness directors to get you started. They can show you the basics of the machines and some even the guidance as to what to do when you are here. Otherwise hire a trainer. We are educated and certified so that we can get you to your goals in the SAFEST, QUICKEST, way. 

 

Tip 3. Get a workout partner. 

Find a friend or a family member. Post it on Facebook -"Looking for a workout buddy!" You would be surprised how many other people are looking for the same! 

 

Tip 4. Try a group fitness class.

This one is tricky, often people will worry they look silly or like they don't have a clue what is going on. Guess what? No one does! Let the instructor know you are new. Trust me no one is watching you. 

 

Tip 5. Set small goals.

Your first goal should not be to lose 40 lbs. Your first goal should be - step into the gym. 

 

Tip 6. Expect setbacks.

What's that saying? Rome wasn't built in a day. It took me over a year to lose my 120 lbs. And I had set backs. But I keep pushing. You have to keep pushing. 1 bad day will not ruin the rest of the week unless you allow it to. Preparing for possible setbacks helps you deal with them as they arise. 

 

Tip 7. Realize people are there for them.

Most people are so focused on themselves at the gym that even if you do something silly, they won't notice. 

 

Tip 8. Know that you are worth the time.

Some people fear the end result. Often time people allow their weight to dictate whether they are happy in life. Know that you are worth the time it will take, that you are worth the effort. More importantly know that you are worth being happy and healthy.

 

Tip 9. Don't expect it to be easy.

download.jpeg

DNF'd While Daring Greatly

dcb5c3ff6d386b923f420073aef69898.jpg

"The credit belongs to the man {woman} in the arena, whose face is marred by dust & sweat & blood." A favorite quote of mine from Teddy Roosevelt. I will be honest, I know little about the former President...history was never really my thing. I do know that throughout my work with Team RWB I have had this quote read to me, read this quote to others, and read this quote personally more times than I can count. I now know why.

Earlier this year I signed up for my first race; a 50k. I didn't just sign up for my first Ultra, I signed up for my first race - ever and it just happened to be an Ultra. I trained. I whined. I was miserable. I hurt, everywhere. I am not a runner I would say. Why in the name of everything did I think this was a good idea I would question. I felt like a fraud, I am not a runner. I continued to train. I worked my butt off. Hours out of my week doing my least favorite thing, running. I realized if I could just get out of my head I actually enjoyed the trails. If I quit worrying about the miles and just focused on one foot in front of the other I wasn't miserable. I became obsessed with New Balance shoes. I ate a lot of Jolly Ranchers. I discovered that Airheads makes the best gum for long runs. I would explore and find new trails. I learned a lot of cool new places in the Bismarck area that I had no idea existed. I made running a priority. I became pretty good friends with a few people who helped make the running experience less miserable. I signed up for a 15k. I ran a half. I didn't hate my time on the trails. I started to feel less like a fraud. I looked forward to my time, lost in the trees, feet dirty and legs tired. I started to feel like a runner. I trained. I trained hard. 

August 12th after a maze of red windy roads, cows blocking my path, random patches of snow and a pretty kick ass Hanson playlist I stepped into MY arena. The arena was named the Maah Daah Hey. I was ready. I felt great. My nutrition was on point. I slept the night before. I was excited. I worked hard. I wanted this and I tend to be a pretty determined person. I was cursing the large beast of a hill, but having a blast on the declines. I was high fiving people I have never met as we crossed paths. 

After a number of out and backs I still felt pretty good. Finally got the nutrition under wraps. Wasn't sure how I'd do that beast I called switchback hell 2 more times but otherwise in a good place. Got up the beast and started to work my way down. Pain shot from my big toe to my butt cheek. Cramping, gotta be normal right? Figured I'd make my way down and walk it off a bit and stretch. Pain through the entire rest of the way down. Got to a flat way and stretched a little and walked. Felt good. Trudged up another incline, legs were on fire but no pain. Started to go downhill and extreme pain again. With no option, I made my way walking up hill, slowly running the flats and walking down the declines until I got to the aid station. I removed my shoes and my socks to find a huge lump on the arch of my foot which was also a pretty purple. I could not move my big toe without extreme pain and if I attempted to plantar flex my foot a pain shot up to my bum. I iced it, thought I could wait it out a bit. No luck. After a few tears and accepting what was happening I got a ride back to the start. I got into my car and cried the entire 3 hour drive home. 

I continued to cry for the next two days.

I let everyone down.

People donated money to support Team RWB with my attempt to do so. 

I let everyone down.

I failed.

I failed bad.

Or in race terms...I DNF'd.

I cried a little more. How was I going to tell everyone I couldn't make it past half way?

"...but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..."

I tried. 

I tried hard.

I learned to enjoy running.

I raised money for an organization I believe fully in.

I ran more in the past few months than ever before. 

I felt my depression was much less noticeable than in months prior. 

I showed up.

I showed up without fear.

I gave it all that I had.

I didn't quit. 

My posterior tibialis (a calf muscle) quit.

I showed up.

I gave it my all.

I failed.

I failed.

But I dared greatly. 


I will try again. 

I may fail again. 

I will dare greatly.

I will eventually not fail. 

I will know triumph of high achievement and at worst, if I fail - I will fail daring greatly. 

Goal Setting

Screenshot 2018-10-01 at 9.23.06 AM.png

Setting goals is so important, not only in regards to health and fitness but in life in general. Without them, we go through life in a state of contentment. There are a multitude of different types of goals; long term, short term, personal, professional. The most important thing about goals is to set SMART Goals. Below I will break this down.

SMART stands for;

Specific: Your goal should be as specific as possible. It needs to be precise enough to be able to judge if you have hit it. It should answer WHAT is your goal. HOW often or HOW much.

Measurable: How will you measure your goal? Setting measurable goals will give you specific feedback and hold you accountable.

Attainable: Your goals should push you and be challenging however you need to be able to realistically achieve these goals.

Realistic: Is the goal and timeline realistic?

Timely: Do you have a timeline? A timeline keeps you accountable and provides motivation.

 

Different resources will give you different answers on what a short term goal time frame is. Some say one week, some say one year. To me a short term goal is something that must be accomplished prior to completing a long term goal. A long term goal then is the sum of multiple short term goals. This is why I love the idea of goal pyramids. Below is the template and an example of how I like to set goals.

Screenshot 2018-10-01 at 9.21.41 AM.png

This template places at the top the long term - or final - goal. The goal set is specific, measurable, and has a set time table. If the short term goals are followed the goal is also realistic and attainable.

 

I have found that writing goals down, or having photos of goals up is a great tool to use to keep you motivated. If weight

loss is a goal, keep a photo near you of that swim suit you want to get into, the legs you want to have. If running a 5k is a goal keep a picture of someone crossing that finish line near by. By having those reminders you are more likely to be reminded of why this goal is important to you.

 

Remember there will always be reasons that you can't. Set backs are bound to happen. I love the quote "Some say RESILIENCE is to bounce back from adversity. I say that you land at a higher place!" - R. Tew. Use these setbacks as a learning experience. Don't allow them to hold you back. Take what you learn and come back better, stronger.

 

Sharing your goals with others also helps keep you accountable. They can help keep you on pace and often you will not want others to see you fail.

 

i am just {an impact}

17-10-17-4555.png

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said "nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."  I have seen this quote many times but never really thought much about it. But the past few weeks I have thought about it a lot. And to be honest, I think it's a bunch of hooey.  

Inferior is defined as "of low standard or quality, a person lower than another in rank, status, or ability."

Consent is defined as "permission for something to happen or agreement to do something."

So why on Earth would I give someone permission to make me feel like I am of poor quality? I didn't and yet there were multiple times in the last 14 days that I have been made to feel that myself and what I do are less than what others do or that I should aim to do more with my life. 

While I do not feel that every comment or action (and believe me there were plenty recently) was made or done in a malicious manner, I sure as heck didn't say "hey guys let's make me feel like complete trash today." 

To be told, even indirectly, that I should aim to do more with my life or that someone feels they are capable of so much more in their life than "just being a trainer" had me questioning what I do, why I do it, and if I am letting people down. Am I settling? This thought sat with me for a few hours and then a client, I will call her Judy, came in and showed me that she was wearing her wedding ring. She was pretty darn excited to finally be able to wear that again. Then I remembered Judy also told me a few months ago that even through my DNF I inspired her to sign up for her first race ever. 


Well crap, that's quite an impact on someone who I have worked with for just a few months. 

I then started to think about what being just a personal trainer has allowed me to do. I am a trainer but I own my own business in which I have a fitness studio and I have other trainers who share my space. I get to watch my clients be able to wear a wedding ring after years, run their first 5k, pass their Personal Trainer exam, win Miss America, work through some tough times, see something in themselves they didn't before, and simply gain an entire tribe of people who support them. 

Just as importantly, I get to make an impact in my community through my business. I can volunteer at any and every event that I want to. I can sit on the Missouri Valley Homeless Coalition, the Erickson Merkel Scholarship Foundation, get involved with the AFSP and NAMI or any local chapter/nonprofit that I want, be a Friend of the Library, host as many fundraising events that I want, cover as many events as I want to as a member of the North Dakota National Guard, and of course I can be as active as I want both locally and regionally for Team Red, White and Blue. Being able to be as involved with Team RWB as I have been, growing as a leader within the organization has also lead me to start my own mentoring program, the ME TOO Movement.  So let's talk about just being a personal trainer again. 

As just a personal trainer I have won two national awards for my business's involvement and impact in the community.  One of which only 12 women were selected out of around 1000 people. 

I started to think about all the reasons that I should not feel inferior, little or less than. BUT I still did feel that way. And I gave no one permission to make me feel such a way. So how is it that no one can make me feel inferior with out my consent? 

I think the quote would be more accurate if it was worded more like "people may make you feel inferior without your consent, but it is up to you how long you allow them to make you feel inferior." 

What is my point with this rant? Why did I list a number of amazing things that I get to do everyday by just being a personal trainer?  


Because I think all too often we are scared to live big.

We are scared to admit that we may actually make a difference in the life of someone else. 

We are scared that we may care so much about something and fail.

And somehow when you don't fail it is even scarier to know that you are not here to just be mediocre. 


So regardless of what you do for a living, if you are just a {anything} please know that it is up to you what you will do with any title you hold. You get to {impact} the people around you however you choose to. And people around you for whatever reason, intentional or not, may make you feel inferior, with or without your permission. That is okay too, as long as you don't allow that feeling to stay. Your value as just a {anything} is the value that you decide it is. In fact, your value or how important you are as a human being should be based on how effectively you live, your awareness of your potential, and the empathy and kindness you show to others in any role or title or position you find yourself in.

Permission granted or not, other people may make you feel inferior and maybe sometimes we need that brief moment of feeling small, inferior, less than, so that we can take a moment to remember all the reasons that we are not. 

Maybe I needed these reminders to know that I am not just a personal trainer.... I am actually just an {impact}.

17-10-17-2747.png
17-10-17-2625.png

Nine Strangers on a Short Bus

The Veterans Outdoors Adventures' 2nd Annual Women's Retreat was one that I will unlikely forget. 

We met at Izzy's house and the first thing you see is a school bus, a very small school bus. 8 seats, not quite large enough for 2 to a seat and the back that barely fit the hats I brought along, let alone all of our luggage. We knew from those initial introductions that this would be a great weekend, but it wasn't until we got on the bus we knew how great of a weekend we would have.  Prior to our first "fuel stop" (meaning we ran out of fuel and had a patrol man check on us and an uncle bringing us some gas...)  I got to know everyone pretty well. If we are being honest I could write a page about each woman, but I will sum it up. 

Izzy - the founder of VOA and a powerhouse of a woman who is determined to serve our veterans. A great antiquer, and someone through her stories and passion you can learn so much from. 

 Amanda - can put the pedal to the metal even though she can barely see over the steering wheel. She made sure everything was running smoothly, including getting underneath the bus and working on it. Her genuine nature convinced me to go into a pool that felt like it was 32 degrees after being in 106 degree hot springs...and to go under the freezing water.

 LeAnn - owns the "crappiest" coffee shop in Devil's Lake. She likes to lick windows and is slightly obsessed with unicorns, which is perfect because there is no other spirit animal for her. She is strong and the person I would want backing me in any situation. 

Untitled (1).jpg

Corean - more than just myself had an instant connection with Corean. She is the epitome of the quote "do not mistake my kindness for weakness." Now that I have helped her with her Facebook profile picture, we are BFFs (even is she doesn't know it yet).

Kari - my "hold my beer" gal who was extremely encouraging as we floated down the Madison River. Something I was terrified to do. She provided a bravery in me (as we spoke I found out that we have a lot in common) that had me standing on a tube. She provided a sense of adventure and courage out of something I found to be terrifying.

 Cass - typically quiet and self described socially awkward was so comfortable with this group that neither of those describe her anymore. She didn't feel as though she deserved to be here but after the weekend knew she did. (And if she's reading this and still doubting it...you did.) She is a great soldier and serves our country well.

 Brandi - The big sister of the weekend. She took care of everyone, regardless...well of anything. She can do anything she has to do.  Fear is not a word she knows and she made sure the adventure an adventure. And while it doesn't speak to her character she has the cutest haircut.

Sabrina - If Brandi is the big sister, Sabrina is the fun, crazy sister. Fun followed her around. She is loyal to supporting our veterans both inside the VOA organization but also as a career. It also should be noted that family is her number one value, which I find extremely important.

 

Myself - Now for me. 

 

Untitled.jpg

I go on adventures often. Team RWB blessed me with that opportunity which is why I had no hesitation applying for this trip. I just don't often do them with just women veterans, who live in the same state as I do. I wasn't sure what to expect.

 I laughed more than I have in a very, very long time. I think we all did. I was brave. While I often consider myself brave, bravery never occurs when water is involved. We zip lined over the Gallatin River....had to climb on moving ladders. The zip lining itself was amazing. But the standing on trees and waiting had me a little nervous. Plus Izzy could never grab on to her yellow straps, she always grabbed mine. :P The last line we did got pretty close to the river but I chose to do one of the more challenging take offs the "trust fall." I became a little braver each time these women cheered each other on, whether it was me or the others. 

 The biggest fear for me was tubing. It sounds silly to be terrified, I mean petrified of tubing down a river, connected with family, a beer cooler and water never higher than hip height. I was with a SEARS trainer for goodness sake, and was still terrified. Yet somehow all of a sudden  I was excited. I got in and had one of the most relaxing times of my life. I even jumped in the water trying to move us so we'd avoid rocks and my tube flipped....over my head. I was under water and Izzy was there immediately. I don't know how she was a good 3 or 4 tubes down from me, but she was there just as she said she'd be. 

 This group of women taught me a lot of things:

As women veterans and first responders we just understand each other. We didn't talk about diagnosis or significant events that caused such diagnosis. Or any event in which others may have considered us victims. We are not victims of anything, we are survivors of everything.

We felt safe and like we had known each other for years after just one night. 

Age, background, location, marital status, branch of service, years of service can't separate family. 

And this family we ride our short bus proudly, no matter how many times we run out of gas (gas gauge fault, which after 2 times we were able to correct), how many people stare at us because we are in this bus, we'd gladly get on this bus any day.

What I learned training Miss America

I met Cara in January. She is bubbly and seems to be excited about everything in life. For those of you who know me, you know that bubbly would never be a word used to describe me. 

 Needless to say, I was very concerned about what I had gotten myself into when I said I would sponsor this girl. 

 My concern lasted all of 3 minutes. A normal session included a tough workout, that she would kill while smiling and conversations about what was next for her. Cara became a great client, an incredible friend and someone I have come to respect very highly.  She is one of the most resilient and strongest women I have had the privilege to meet. 

I think of myself as a strong woman so to work along side other strong women is something I find very inspiring. 

So I did my best to sum up what Cara taught me in between burpees and push-ups. 

 1. Women can be both nice and strong. 

2. It's perfectly acceptable to believe you can change the world. It's also acceptable to try to do as much good as you can for others. 

3. You should be proud of your accomplishments and you should not be afraid to talk about them. 

4. Women need to support other women. The success of another doesn't mean it's your failure. You can pursue success while still celebrating the success of others. 

4. You don't have to be fully ready for something. You just need to be brave. 

5. It is ok to be brave enough to have conversations that matter. 

6. Failing once, doesn't mean you failed forever. 

6b. Never quit. 

7. Circumstances can make a dream or a goal more difficult, but persistence and a passion to live big will eventually prevail. 

8. You can have a bad day. In fact you can completely lose it for a little bit. Just keep it in perspective. 

9. It can be pretty amazing to be a trailblazer. 

10. There is very little more important in this world than service to others. And it is extremely important to empower our children to practice this at a young age. 

11.  It's ok to know who you are and what you expect and want in life. 

12. It's ok to change your goals, wants and expectations. 

13. It is ok to live big. And to surround yourself with people that never allow you to live small. 

14. It's great when people describe you as driven and ambitious. It's just as great to be described as kind and compassionate. 

15. It's ok to decide what is important and it's ok to say no to what isn't. 

16. It's ok to believe that your dreams should have no limits and that you live in a world where anything is possible. 

17. It's ok to have to pave the road as you go. 

18. The most powerful voice you will ever hear is your own. 

19. Believing in someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give. 

20. It's ok to know that you are smart. It's ok to feel beautiful. To know that you have really pretty eyes. It's ok to use your fingers to list the things you are good at. To use only positive words to describe yourself. To know you are a strong leader. You can say no to anything and anyone that tries to make you live small when you know you were meant to live big. It's ok to know without a doubt that you are much greater than any past failures and that you are going to move mountains.

Slide Show Below