My BODYPUMP Certification Adventure

11082618_10104827889183190_1297740662901646353_nSo… where to start this story? I guess it began almost a year ago (as of tomorrow). Mike and I made the decision after much consideration to join our Y here in Champaign. Neither of us had any sort of regular workout routine going, though we had both just embarked upon significant weight loss during the second half of 2014 thanks to some major changes to our diet and eating habits. I was excited at the prospect of exercising regularly again, knowing how important it was for my health. My first stop was the cardio equipment, as putting some earbuds in and getting on an elliptical, treadmill or bike was the “comfortable” thing for me to do.

One Sunday afternoon that December, I was on the elliptical, earbuds in, when I watched a bunch of people (seemingly in kick-butt shape) lining up outside the group fitness studio. A group of 20 or so people flooded out shortly after, and the new group poured in. I realized the same class was being offered back to back, and was completely packed out for both hours. Quick consult of the schedule on my app, ok they’re doing something called BODYPUMP. I’d never heard of it. I made a point to creep over pay a few visits to the water fountain that hour and think, “how on earth do they lift that many weights?”

I’d never lifted weights before, except for a small handful of times with Mike several years prior.

One night that week in late December, I found myself walking into that studio completely unplanned when I saw it starting up again. I walked up to the instructor and said, “I have no idea what I’m doing. Please don’t be offended if I walk out half way through.” I wish i could remember who that instructor was because she was incredibly kind, got me all set up and encouraged me before she hopped up on the stage.

I walked out of that studio completely sucked in. Less than a month later, I’d fallen in love. People talk about “soulmate workouts”. This was mine. I felt so STRONG and the fact that this was so far out of my comfort zone made me feel amazing every single time I made it through the sixty minute class. I was completely addicted to the way it made me feel. And not too long after that, I thought “I’m going to teach that class someday”. “Someday” in my mind was when I had older kids (you know, like school age, like YEARS from now).

Then someday became sometime in 2016.

Then a training popped up right in Champaign in October 2015. Opportunity, present yourself. I went back and forth for a looooong time and then one random morning I talked it over with a friend (and new instructor of another class) and I decided to go for it. In the two days that followed, a number of people found out I was planning to do it and my own accountability on actually following through with registering was getting pretty solid!

Training weekend happened. Saturday and Sunday, all day, 8-4. I think we did the equivalent of five or six Pump classes. I lifted heavier weights than I ever did in the class before in our BODYPUMP “challenge”. I held a four minute hover for the first time. I ached like I didn’t know I could ache. But I made it through…

And I passed!  

That’s not the end of it though! Passing your certification training is just the first step. Then you are released to team teach with instructors at your gym, before teaching the entire class start to finish by yourself, filming it and sending it in to Les Mills for review and the ultimate “yay” or “nay”. I have some INCREDIBLE instructors and one of them reached out to me during my certification weekend and said I could join her on stage later that week. I knew right away that was just what I needed, so I could jump right into the next phase and get over THAT hurdle in and of itself. To date, I think that very first class I led three tracks in was the biggest class I’ve been in front of with over 30 people! So thankful for the opportunity to do that fresh out of the gates!

You have an 8 week window in between your training and your deadline to submit your video, but I wanted to knock it out before Thanksgiving so I upped my time to be about 6 weeks to prepare. Lots of team teaching (shout out to those INCREDIBLE instructors again!) and then some solo prep time in the studio on Saturday afternoons. And I was ready (I hoped!) to go…

I borrowed a camera and planned a small “off schedule” class one afternoon. Some of my friends came to support me and participate in my class. Filming went smoothly and teaching went pretty well, all things considered. I’d never taught 60 minutes straight and schwooo was that a wake-up call!

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 8.10.29 PM

Two short weeks later…. THIS arrived! I was THRILLED!


So… now on to the next thing. When I signed up for training, I wasn’t even sure of what the next steps would be. I had tried to talk myself out of certification training because I “wasn’t ready yet” and needed to get in even better shape. Turns out I really needed the intensity of training to help push myself to the next level in whatever my fitness journey is. Things are starting to come together now and any time I get the chance to teach I’m always excited and filled with anticipation… plus its just FUN. This photo to the right is from our training weekend, when we did an exercise where we listed every word that Pump made us think of.. and yep, this pretty much sums it up for me. I’m so thankful to have found my “soul mate” workout and pushed myself to a whole new level in exactly one short year… whatever will the next year bring!?!?




Why I make a point to exercise in front of my kids (sometimes)

For the better part of my life as a mom, I have seen exercise as something to be fit in AROUND the child(ren). And my excuse for the first several years was that I didn’t have the time while he was sleeping, he wouldn’t stay occupied if I tried to do it while he was awake, etc. In fact, when we joined the Y last year, for the first time I was excited about working a regular workout routine into my mom life because I still considered myself to *need* childcare to get in a good sweat.

Fast forward to this year. I start incorporating “at home” workouts into my routine and (unsurprisingly) there are two little people in this house which has now become my at-home gym. Making it a priority to workout HERE has me planning to get up early and get in as much of a workout before they wake up as I can. Because (as far as I used to be concerned) as soon as they woke up, it was all over.

Not such the case.IMG_5325

This is me (to the right). Finishing up my early AM workout with both of my kids. I didn’t set my alarm that day because we didn’t have anywhere to be later that morning and I knew, bouncing back from a cold, I probably should take all the sleep my body needs without a 5:15am alarm interrupting it. When they were up, I literally paused to let Cassidy out of her room, retrieve the two iPads and run back downstairs to finish my last ten minutes. Reason #1 I workout in front of them (sometimes) is that I want them to know it’s important to me. Just like prayer time, cooking, showers, I want them to know that sometimes they have to wait and I have to do something for myself.

Then there’s this. This is more intentional on my part (see video below).

Sometimes I have a workout that isn’t super intense (like this active recovery day in the 21 Day Fix Extreme) and I know that they’d probably get a kick out of milling around while I do it. So instead of doing it before they’re up, I plan to do it later that day as we can fit it in. Reason #2 I workout in front of my kids (sometimes) is because I want them to see they can be a part of it, too. By making a point to exercise WITH them instead of while they sleep or even while they’re intentionally (on my part) glued to their iPads, I want them to know they can do these things too. They can lift weights. They can find their balance. They can have fun 🙂 My favorite part of this video was when Troy spontaneously came up and told me he loved me and wrapped himself around my arm (melt). Then he proceeded to ask me “are you making yourself stronger?” I’m so glad we’ve given him the word “stronger” instead of “skinnier” to use in that sentence. That’s a separate praise and post.

My second favorite part of this video was how calm they were. They’re so accustomed to me doing little things in front of them that they don’t go completely wild every time I push play. They kind of just mill around, and try some of the moves, and yea, they hang on me, and yea, sometimes I don’t get every second of the workout in or pay attention to exactly the right move I’m supposed to be doing, but I wouldn’t trade these kind of moments (on occasion) for anything.

I don’t write today’s post to make you feel bad for not finding the time to workout, if that’s you. I write it because I want to show you my kids and I got used to it, and yours totally can, too 🙂

They’re watching…

“Your kids watch you for a living. It’s their job; it’s what they do. That’s why it’s so important to try your best to be a good role model.” – James Lehman

IMG_3242I’ve known right from the get-go my son was watching me closely. I’ll never forget when he was about six weeks old and I pulled the highchair out, long before he could eat or even sit up, so he could “watch” me cook while I was in the kitchen. He was SO content, just reclining there, watching my every move. That moment made such an impression on me that memories of it came flooding back when Cassidy was about the same age and WOULD NOT STOP fussing while I tried to get anything done, mainly cooking. I tried wearing her, that didn’t work. And since she *rarely* napped, waiting until she was blogger-image-1592384121napping was impossible. Then I remembered… pull out the highchair. Same thing, happened again.

Fast forward nearly five years from that initial realization. When Mike and I decided to overhaul our lifestyle, it’s safe to say one of the driving forces was to be a healthier example for our children. Over a year since that decision later, it warms my heart to see my kids adopting much of what we do, in their own decisions. I love that Troy asks Daddy to walk him upstairs to the weight room at the Y sometimes before we leave, so he can see where Daddy works out. I love that Cassidy can get through a 30 minute workout with me these days because she jumps in and does it with me. I don’t share this to brag on us and say, “Look at all the good we’re doing!”

I share it because they’re watching us. It’s evident. No matter what we do, they’re watching.

So of course, we get plenty of cute moments like the ones below, working out together. (PiYo has not only sucked me in, but my kids, too.)

And then we get moments like this, while eating. We weren’t even eating lettuce wraps that day  but Cassidy has seen us make our burgers in lettuce wraps before. So she took some lettuce from salad and made a wrap out of her burger.

But they’re not all cute and sweet moments. There’s plenty of moments in the last year that make us realize they’re watching it ALL and we have be ultra-careful about the messages we’re sending. Like the time that Troy asked Mike if he didn’t eat bread anymore because it used to make him fat. We don’t even remember saying those words, or know how he inferred it. But no, definitely not a message we want to send in any way to our kids.

2015-08-17_235922156_7E772_iOSOr most recently, and the moment that inspired this blog post, was when Cassidy stepped on the scale while brushing her teeth, ever so casually, like it was her nightly routine. NOT the message I want to be sending to my teeny daughter. I never want her to look at a scale and question what that number means for her as a person. Ever. But we DO weigh ourselves. So how do we shape that message for that tiny and ever so impressionable mind.

I can’t hammer this point home enough. Whatever WE are doing, in any area of our life, our kids ARE watching. They’re taking it in, processing it, and figuring out what it means in their own life. And you better believe as they get older, they’re only going to reveal more of what they’ve picked up from us. My prayer as a mom is that I can reveal to them all the good that God wants me to allow through and give me the wisdom to see the things I’m showing them that He does not want them to adopt as truth. I pray my children grow up to have a healthy viewpoint of themselves, and that in these years they’re at home with my pretty much 24/7, that Mike and I would be able to shape the messages they’re receiving to help them grow and have a healthy foundation to build upon!


Proud Wife Post

Wmic progress pic augustarning – post from one VERY proud wife ahead!

My hubby is incredibly humble when it comes to his accomplishments. He’s not a boastful guy at all, so its a good thing he has me to brag on him a little bit from time to time.

Last year, I was floundering my way through the year, trying to lose some baby weight and be a healthier wife and mom. Then in mid-summer, Mike came to me with the idea that we should start monthly “challenges” as a couple to get us branching out and trying new things together, and the first one he had in mind was to do a low-carb challenge – in essence, how much of a 180 could we do compared to how we “traditionally” ate.

The answer was – we were capable, and it was pretty fun too 🙂 It was in August last year that my mission flipped from simply “get rid of that baby weight” to “whoa, what I am capable of and how can I challenge myself to get ‘there’??” With Mike by my side, my journey went from a pretty black and white one, with a beginning and an end (losing the baby weight) to a much more open-ended book that has been an incredibly wild and exciting ride this past year. Without my partner “in this” with me, I simply would not be here, doing what I’m doing, today.

Y’all know quite a bit about my story and read my words all the time. But for today, I’m going to leave you with Mike’s words he shared today and say, “THANK YOU, baby, for putting your health and our family’s health at the forefront of so much of what we do. Thank you for being the leader of this family, this household and for taking us on this wild ride. Thank you for taking care of yourself and the kids and I. I’m so proud of you and I love you!”

Mike’s post on Facebook today, below:

A year ago, on this exact day, I began a journey. One that saw me out of shape and overweight. I hadn’t touched a weight in years and the scale showed up at 240lb.

365 days later and I lift weights regularly, combine that with regular cardio sessions on the elliptical, and the scale shows up a much nicer number; 195lbs.

I’m leaner, stronger, healthier, happier, and more energetic. I think my kids enjoy it, I think my wife enjoys it, and I think I’m a better co-worker and servant to our customers because of it.

I used last month to go back to the old normal, enjoying carbs, sweets, etc. Now that my NEW birthday, Aug 1, is here I’m back at it. I know the scale won’t go down as much but I’m excited to see what happens this year!

What about your kids?

One of the first four or five questions people ask me when they’re learning about my nutrition and lifestyle choices is “well what about your kids? What do you feed them?”

The answer is the same things Mike and I eat! And they absolutely love it! One night last week we were making dinner and it was a nice just the three of us were eating as Mike was on the road. Some things were ready before others and these guys were HUNGRY, so I let them dig in to what was ready. And in this case that was steamed broccoli and sauteed cole slaw mix with broccoli, cabbage and carrots.

It wasn’t a *huge* jump for these guys since we already ate lots of veggies, so now that we (Mike and I) eat more of them, the kids do, too! Though they don’t always like what is for dinner, they usually try it, and if Troy doesn’t eat it, he has to wait until breakfast to eat. It sounds harsh, I know, but he’s actually TOTALLY fine with this. We let them snack during the day (again, vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods are included in this) so if they don’t eat much at night, it’s no biggie.

 What was my meal on this particular evening? I love this simple meal of sauteed broccoli cole slaw (packaged from the store), sauteed in coconut oil with some chicken breast mixed in. 

This is why…

It’s the end of the school year so Troy is bringing home a bunch of year-long projects. Here’s a page from his “What I’m doing” book. Each month the teachers asked him to draw a pic of him doing something and tell them what it was. This particular month, he drew “I am exercising with Mom.” I love the big smile drawn on his face 🙂

This is my motivation to be healthy. This is why I want to be physically, mentally, and spiritually strong. They’re watching us!

Watered down (or watered up?)

Before leaving for our mini-road trip this past weekend, I saw our “staging area” was full of all of our water bottles and thought, “I have to take a pic of that!” We ALL drink water like crazy. Even the kids. Thanks to some awesome new water bottles they were recently gifted, they drink water more than ever. We surely stay hydrated around here!