If I am being honest...

Today was hard. Actually it sucked. I put on my uniform, that I am usually extremely proud to put on, and I wanted to cry. It doesn’t fit like it should anymore. I could blame my thyroid, yes it makes things more challenging but not impossible. I could blame my depression, my insane schedule, not managing my grief, or a number of other factors but if I am being honest…I got lazy. No that’s not even true. Lazy is not a word I would use to describe myself. Working out became too hard. My lungs begged for air every time I walked up my stairs so why the heck would I try to run or row or do anything that involved…well breathing.

Working out is hard when you are nearly 50 pounds heavier than you should be. What’s even harder is realizing that you may lose something that is extremely important to you. And because it can get even worse you realize that you essentially stopped taking care of yourself for the past….well…..I don’t even know how long. It makes me sick to look at that number. 50. How is that even possible? 50. Its easy to go down the pity path. To be frustrated and angry. To view myself as “that” trainer. The one who doesn’t practice what she preaches. To be the overweight soldier. While those both hold truth in their descriptions, I have been working so hard to not be those, to be better.

What I realized tonight was that while I was trying to be better so that I wouldn’t be the overweight soldier or “that” trainer….I wasn’t working out for the right reasons. I wasn’t trying to be better or healthier for me.

Tonight I am allowing myself a pity party. I feel like absolute crap both physically and emotionally. Tomorrow, regardless how I feel I am getting up early and going to the studio so that I can run or throw a kettlebell for me. I will focus on me, being healthy, for me.

Failing Forward

As I was getting close to mile 4 in the race I accidentally entered as part of Team Red, White and Blue’s Trail Running Camp I remembered an article I had read the night before. In it Andrew Hutchinson, former Director of Camps and Special Programs, stated that “at Team RWB, we like to say, fail fast, but fail forward.” However, as I was trying to get through this race that had me up in thebeautiful Cougar Mountains going up and down up an down these huge hills, I laughed and thought to myself “well if I fall, at least I will fall forward.”

I didn’t know it then but that saying would become a mantra I live by. Combine that with what I had learned the year before at Team RWB’s Yoga Camp from JJ Pinter “inaction is not an option,” and they created a change maker. I can look back now and say the majority of my success (in every aspect of my life) has come from those two statements.

Inaction is not an option.

Fail fast, but fail forward.

I have started to live by those.

Today, I received a phone call that I honestly wasn’t expecting to get. A call that finally put an end to my constant checking of the email. A call that said “This call is for Thea Jorgensen, this is Sean with Governor Burgum’s office. I just wanted to let you know that the Governor has selected you for the Veterans’ Task Force.” I literally jumped out of my seat in Barnes and Noble and wanted to tell someone so badly but realized the jump of excitement was probably enough to startle everyone around me.

The past few years and the people I have met through my work with Team RWB have taught me that if we want to be change makers we have to be in the arena. That inaction and not an option and that if you want to have an impact you have to risk failure.

There’s that old saying “what would you do if you knew you would not fail?” Think about it. How many things have you missed out on because you were scared you were going to fail. In my 33 years I have finally learned that we shouldn’t fear failure. If we fail forward, we will always make progress. If I could share any bits of wisdom with anyone it would be to go for it. Always go for it.

Three years ago I could barely stand in front of a group of 5 and introduce myself. Now, now I have people who request that I come present for them and not only do I not freak out but I look forward to it. I have been selected for a competitive fellowship, started a business, won 4 national awards, got to be on the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show, expanded my business, sit on a number of amazing boards, and now, now I have been selected for a Governor appointed task force and will be able to make real change for Veterans in ND.

I don’t say the above to pat myself on the back. I say it to thank every single person who has helped me grow into the person I am today. The tribe of people who have helped push me past every single comfort zone I have ever had. The fellowship that started it all. The organization (Team RWB) that has saved my life and given me more than I can ever give back. The love and support of my husband and family. To show thanks for every single high five, every heart thrown, every mile (I didn’t want to) run. To show others what can be accomplished if you are able to remember the following:

Inaction is not an option.

Fail fast but fail forward.

Character Strengths

What is character? Watch the video below for a bit of information about Character Strengths and how focusing on what is going right can help us develop our character.

What are our 24 character strengths?

If you are interested in learning more about your character strengths, click here to take the survey. In the comments if you wish share with us your top 2 or 3 or which one surprised you the most! It is really interesting to find out a bit about yourself. I will share mine in the comments below as well. If you do share and want more information on how to work on certain strengths, or how to base goals off of our strengths etc I would be more than happy to answer those as well!

Obstacle, Barrier, or Excuse?

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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:



something that impedes progress or achievement



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.



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.


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.


Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

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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.


DNF'd While Daring Greatly


"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

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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.

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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.