100 Ways of Fitness Day 52

Focusing on the Positive

I have had a couple lengthy conversations with some friends (aka anyone who will listen to me) about training and communication.

In these conversations I’ve stated that we as humans/trainers/spouses/coworkers would be exponentially better communicators, improve our relationships, and attract more positive energy if we simply communicated in similar fashion as we do our animals- that is, direct (rather than passive) and positive (rather than negative). For instance, going into a room and exclaiming “is there a reason the lights are on?” is very passive. Of course there’s a reason! Even if that reason is someone forgot to turn them off. But the statement doesn’t get you what you want. Neither does negative statements. I don’t mean “good” versus “bad”. I mean using negative statements. “Don’t put the lamp there”. Okay. So, imagine if you were an animal being told not to do something. You can’t speak back and ask what the trainer DOES want, so you have to guess. And if you get it wrong again, you’ll likely become hesitant to do anything in fear of doing it wrong. A person may simply ask where you’d like the lamp, but they may also give up quickly and make you put the lamp up yourself. So, by speaking directly and positively, you are not only giving clear directions to whomever you are speaking to, but you’re a lot more likely to get what you want done. A positive direct statement would be “please set the lamp on the corner table”.

Many trainers around the world are really starting to put an emphasis on eliminating the word “no” from our communications with animals and other persons. And I have to agree with them.
But it is a little more than just communication. There’s the consequences as well. Most trainers nowadays already focus on the positive, in other words, ignore the behaviors undesired and reward the behaviors we do want.

Think about how much more pleasant life would be if we treated each other with the same mentality! Rather than hearing complaint after complaint or bitching about no one else doing the work, what if we said thank you and took the time to notice one another’s efforts? Maybe I’m speaking just for myself, but I’m way more likely to continue to help out someone who says thank you, even for the small things, and maybe even try to do more in order to receive their appreciation.

And we can apply these principles to almost any situation or scenario.

Take today. Hot yoga take two (because shame on me, I’m an idiot who thrives on torture). Yes, it was horrible. I had to sit down for at least a third of the class. I almost passed out but I ended up laying down on my mat and out my towel over my eyes and just focused on breathing in and out. Class finally ended and I grabbed my may and empty water bottle and got out of there as fast as possible thinking “never again! I hate Michele for convincing me to try hot yoga again! This is tortured hell”. But by the time I got to the locker room and grabbed my change of clothes, I was feeling better. And I don’t mean, relief from leaving the room better, I mean revitalized, peaceful, calm, just overall wonderful. I felt BETTER!

So instead of writing off hot yoga, I got to thinking. Yeah, maybe the movements are too much for me for an entire class. What about a third of the class? And I don’t mean leave after a third of the class. I mean do the work and poses for the third of class and then spend the rest of class laying on your may with a towel over your eyes. Go to sleep for all I care. Like a Native American sweat lodge. They used those the same way people feel hot yoga helps detoxify. Would I still feel good afterward?

I’m willing to try. Monday morning. I’ll be dripping my sweaty negativity away. Because I like focusing on the positive. –

feeling positive at Hot Yoga Inc.

100 Ways of Fitness Day 51

Gearing up for a comeback!

I am having a bad February. I’d love to blame the yoga, or winter blues, or sad that we are closing the elephant exhibit, it a whole slew of other excuses, but truth is I’m in a slump. I haven’t felt like working out at all in ages. Yesterday I skipped out on all possible yoga classes.

But today I excused myself from class to get some things that will get me excited about my fitness and health again.

First and foremost: SHOES! Omg! SHOES!

Look at my new pretties! They’re Brooks “Ghost”, not really sure if that’s something amazing or not but they are comfy and I can’t WAIT to try these babies out!! In fact, I think I may just redeem my Experience Momentum certificate tomorrow so I can show them off.

Which brings me to #2- found my Experience Momentum certificate! It’s for classes rather than personal training and I’ve always had a lot of fun at these. I haven’t done their yoga class, but I think I might try it tomorrow morning after Empower X.

Third, I went by Sky Nursery in the afternoon and bought a whole bunch of seeds. I have your basics- tomato, zucchini, and bell pepper, but I’m also going to try kale and broccoli. And I got Rosemary, sage, basil, cilantro, catnip, and oregano. And in April, I’m going to plant them and start my own summer garden! Kale chips and zucchini spaghetti from my back porch! You just can’t beat that!
Next, I stopped by the grocery store and bought over $100 worth of clean, healthy, nutritious food for just under $50. As I told Chris, all must bow to her majesty, the queen of eating healthy and clean on a budget! I bought a HUGE fillet of salmon for half off. Tillamook (made in Oregon, practically right next door) greek plain yogurt on clearance, sheep milk cheese for grating, and organic rice all for super cheap! And for good measure, I bought some nut and cranberry mix on sale.

And finally, I went through my recipes to find some inspiration for me with veggies. I found some great ideas for zucchini, mushrooms, acorn squash, broccoli, and lettuce wraps, as well as some yummy chicken and pork recipes. So I jotted some things down and decided to walk to Thriftway to pick up what I needed.

I’m all prepared for my Clean Eating Challenge this coming week, and I’m going to eat like the Clean Eating on a Budget Queen that I am!

I may be in a slump but I am on my way out and thank goodness I’m prepared!!

Bring it on!





100 Ways of Fitness Day 50

Halfway There

I’d like to take a few minutes to express sincere gratitude, Congratulations, and admiration for everyone making it this far.

100 days is a long time. I recognize that and you all are doing amazing work!

I try to at least like every post and try to say something positive but I’ll be honest, some days there are so many I fall behind. Which if you think about, its a GOOD thing! There are so many of us in this together! How can we possibly fail?

I’m starting off a clean eating challenge from Karen Petersen‘s Army of 100 group on Monday for 7 days (only 7 days! We can do that!). Who wants to join her? I’ll let her give details if she’s inclined (Karen does A LOT for her fitness and inspiring others too). Let’s put down the palm oil and boxed foods for one week and focus on delicious, nutritious, and sustainable foods!

I’m almost done with my yoga month. I honestly don’t think my opinion changed that much over the course of one month. I did hit my old pilates class that I used to do on Mondays (when I was off Sunday/Monday) and I my mobility was a little off but I enjoyed it. And I believe I will no longer turn my nose up when someone asks if I want to try a yoga class, but as far as making yoga a part of my daily or even weekly routine, I kinda doubt it. But who knows? I still have one week left. Maybe I’ll have an epiphany.

There are some major changes coming my way as well. It’s going to have a huge impact on my psychological and emotional well being, so I’m nervous and excited at the same time (keep dreaming big, Darling).

One thing I don’t regret is committing to these posts. I want to write more and I feel lazy if I can’t even write a simple post once a day. Still hoping to write more than my posts on some days, but I’m trying to go a little easy on my psyche right now. Little things and baby steps. It’ll all work itself out in the end.

But Siriusly, thanks everyone for making 100 Ways a true inspiration! For me. For you. For everyone.

Only 50 days to go!!!

100 Ways of Fitness Day 49

Getting Noticed

I had a pretty amazing day at work today. Got shit done. Wasn’t worried about what my coworker thinks of me. He appreciates and supports me. It was great. Even my annual review didn’t deter from the ambiance of “life is grand”.

One of our highlights today was actually, believe it or not, a visit from Human Resources. Russ was very encouraged by his conversation with them, and I received one of the most uplifting compliments from them.

Seems my fitness journey, lifestyle, and motivation has, well, moved them. They heard how much weight I lost last year and how involved with fitness and wellness I aspire to be. And they told me I was an inspiration.

Let me repeat- they told me I INSPIRE others. This isn’t the first time I’ve been told this, but for some reason it was the first time I felt I achieved something.
HR wants to talk to me some more about my ideas because they want to bring about a stronger wellness program to the zoo. They want me involved because of my strengths in this area. They want to check out my Bootcamp. They want me to develop EarthFit (I am still not sold on the name but I can’t think of anything else really) and possibly do a couple lunch presentations on the topics of my choice regarding eating healthy, working out, creating healthy habits.
It was such an incredible honor. I am floored.

I’m actually excited for tomorrow. For the first time in months, I am actually looking FORWARD to going in to work!!

It’s an Ash Wednesday MIRACLE!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 48: Part 2

Good Fat Tuesday

I will first-handed admit I was a BAD girl today. I had a whole waffle with fried chicken for dinner (so bad but oh so good).

But what if you took Fat Tuesday and created healthy habits of keeping healthy fats in your diet?

I’m by no stretch of the imagination a nutritionist or trainer and have no education in talking to people about healthy eating habits, so for the remainder of my post I’ll let Livestrong discuss the aspects of healthy fats.

Hope everyone had a great day and got their fill! Get back on that horse and kick ass tomorrow!






100 Ways of Fitness Day 48

Laissez les Bon temps rouler

Today has many names and it’s one of my favorite and least favorite days of the year.

  • Fat Tuesday
  • Mardi Gras (that means fat Tuesday)
  • Pancake Tuesday
  • Shrove Tuesday

Tomorrow starts the Lenten season for certain Christians. I grew up in a catholic family, so I am no stranger to the traditions surrounding Mardi Gras, lent, and Easter. I also lived in New Orleans for a year so I am no stranger to the stranger ideas surrounding Mardi Gras.

I understand the idea behind today. I get it. One last hurrah before you give up your vices and treats for 40 days. But we as a culture typically overindulge as it is, so I find this particular day/excuse to be over redundant for us as society.

If you want something that desperately, just do it. But do it in moderation, and consciously. If you know you’re going to indulge (at a party, or dinner with friends, or you’re going overseas to network and try to impress some British zoos), make a plan- moderation, eat only a little, make sure you drink water, have your workout, etc.

Today is what the Brits celebrate as Pancake Tuesday. I was fortunate enough to celebrate this with some new friends in England last year, so tonight in the sprit of me being a Brit at heart, Chris and I had chicken and waffles for dinner. And I had my fill of waffles. Do I feel bad? No. I allow myself to enjoy things and I take care of myself. Would I feel bad if I ate waffles everyday? Yeeeeeaaaahhhh. I should feel bad. My stomach would too.

But I guess that’s why I don’t appreciate Mardi Gras the way a true New Orleanian might. I don’t see the point or the good in having one day dedicated to being bad. Do what your body tells you is good for you. Iff it happens once a year or once a month, it shouldn’t matter.

We indulge. We cave to temptation. We fall off our wagon. We get lazy. Things happen. It’s not something to beat yourself up over or give up completely. Sometimes it’s about giving your mind a bit of a break and just doing something that feels good. Then get back on that horse, brush yourself off, and go kick some ass! And let the good times roll!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 47

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce your Waste/waist

I was off work today but just “had” to come in for SMF Bootcamp for our President’s Day workout! I guess I should reiterate how much ridiculous amounts of fun I have creating themed workouts.
But it wasn’t just the workout. I brought my supplies tonight and together we made med balls and kettlebells. That’s right. I MADE kettlebells. They are super light, only 17 lbs, and I don’t trust them that well to do american kb swings, but they are PERFECT for Russian swings, single leg deadlifts, single arm kb swings, and probably a whole slew of other fun activities I’ll dream up! They aren’t pretty like my med balls, but they are functional and that’s what matters! Especially when doing Kennedy Kettlebell Swings.
I love that I’m reusing items that would normally just get tossed out and giving them another life. I made some makeshift weights out of kitty litter containers. I’ve got some boat fenders that we aren’t using anymore to make some sand bags that we can clean or hoist to our shoulder, or carry on our backs for squats and military sprints.

And I’m constantly on the lookout for other ways to create exercises I love to hate while on a budget and reducing waste. If you have any ideas, shoot them my way. Especially ideas for pull-ups and pull-up resistance bands.

Ah, creative fitness!



100 Ways of Fitness Day 46

Hell is Hot Yoga

Since I wasn’t my ultimate best today workout or eating wise, I’m going to use my post tonight to talk about something I did last week. Hot yoga.

I know trying new things is good for me. I know that trying new things doesn’t guarantee I’ll like them. Or even that it was a great idea to try them in the first place.

Take me and yoga. Yup, I hate it. Yes I am giving it a solid try for a full month. All I can say is thank goodness I picked the shortest month of the year to try it.

Was I upset that I got sick for 5 days and couldn’t do yoga for that time? No, not at all! But I was starting to feel fat and lazy and I was itching to get out, even if that meant doing a yoga class.

As much as I hate yoga, there’s something I hate even more than that. It’s being hot. I don’t mean the sun is out and it’s warm. I mean, can’t breathe because the fracking parking lot isn’t covered and you just got in your car after a 10 hour shift and the ac won’t kick on fast enough (I’m referring to my time in Florida and Louisiana for those not in the loop). Which I discovered is basically what hot yoga is. Who on God’s green earth thought contorting your body into weird positions in the heat and humidity for a full hour was a brilliant idea?

Let me paint you a beautiful vivid picture of my experience with hot yoga!

Five minutes in and I’m DRIPPING sweat. Not dabbing off my brow. Not even “wow, that was a fantastic workout” swear. I mean my clothes were DRIPPING wet! Within five minutes. So I’m actually thinking I’m pretty smart for getting the spot by the door. (Turns out this WAS prime real estate but not for what I was hoping)- if it gets too much I’ll just bow out quietly and no one will even notice. That was an adorable idea. The instructor placed herself by the back door for most of class. Why? You ask?

No not to stop folks like me from escaping. Although I did end up staying bc of her. No, she strategically placed herself at the door in order to fan the room. Because it was so hot.

Now I have to hand it to the regulars at the class. These were the special idiots that held all the poses for the entire class. They had their 16 oz water bottles next to them and they calmly sipped on them when the teacher gave us a second. Me? I had my 33 oz bottle and that sucker was GONE the first 30 minutes. And forget holding all the poses for the entire class. It’s sad when even child’s pose gives you no solace or relief because putting your head between your arms makes you just as dizzy as standing. I found the floor was a great place to lay my face. It was the only place in that horrid room that wasn’t hot to the touch.

So while I’m trying to relax and catch my breath, I feel my head starting to freak out a little. I can’t breathe. It’s too hot. I don’t care that the teacher is right at the door, I’ve gotta get the hell out of here! And then the teacher says out loud “if you feel like you’re panicking, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal.”

Lady- no. No it is NOT normal! If you are panicking it is because your body is experiencing extreme ABNORMAL conditions!!!!

She also said later that it was completely normal to feel light headed and dizzy. I wanted to punch her in the face. Easy for her to say! All she was doing was standing by the door fanning the class off once every few minutes!

So I made it through the class. Thanks to my strategic placing right by the door. I didn’t bring a change of clothes so I walked out of the studio and into the cold. All the while swearing I’ll never do that to my precious body ever again for as long as I live. I have 8 more classes on my punch card though. Would any of you like to take a hot yoga class with me?

Fun times!

100 Ways of Fitness Day 45

Roses are red, you’re who I like. It’s a beautiful day, let’s take a hike!

Hiking in Washington has its pros and cons. Because everyone in the state enjoys it so much, there are literally hundreds of easy to find and get to hikes, most within an hour from Seattle. Chris and I could easily hike a different trail every week in a year and not even scratched the surface of all the possibilities. The problem is with hiking being a year round popular activity is thinking Valentine’s Day would prohibit folks from going hiking. That would be totally incorrect. Hiking on Valentine’s Day is ALMOST as popular as hiking the day before the Big Game when your team is playing (there were so many folks wearing their 12th Man shirts and even dressing their dogs in Seahawks bandanas or shirts. There was even a huge crowd of people at the summit with a 12th Man flag). So people here in Washington LOVE to be outside in nature. So if you go hiking on a weekend, there are going to be a TON of people, no matter what.

Today we went up to Bellingham area, to the Chuckanut mountains near the Puget Sound and hiked Fragrance Lake. It was a very enjoyable hike. Yeah, there were a few people around, more than I’d like to see. But it’s great to know I live in an area that has so many folks interested in connecting to nature.
I found one nerdy correlation in the wildlife we saw on our way up north while going through Skagit county. There were dozens of flocks of trumpeter swans in the fields. I know in some places these swans are threatened and they are protected in most areas, and I’ve heard that local farmers try to do their part to conserve the species, but on this annoyingly romantic day, I found it ironic that we were seeing them everywhere, and they are typically monogamous birds that mate for life. Say it with me “aaaaaawwweeee!” Actually, I’ve never heard a trumpeter swan before, but I’m pretty sure they go “hooooonnk”

I find it interesting that I love hiking, but the thought of getting out of bed, packing the backpack with snacks and driving “so far” is so unmotivating that I almost cancel nearly every time I plan a hike. Except once I’m there, it’s energizing, I feel connected, natural, and even tranquil (it’s odd that one of the more relaxing things I do is sweating and makings heart beat fast- I imagine most people would find that difficult to believe). I mean, it’s not meditation, but I am usually very much at peace in the woods.
This feeling is also connected to biking, morning workouts, swimming, and lunch time or bed time routine workouts (I try to work my glutes at lunch and foam roll/pilates in the evening). I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna! Don’t make me! I don’t wanna! Oh, this is fun. Why didn’t I want to do this? And I usually have a significantly great time. I mean, usually I see something that I find significant for me. Like the trumpeter swans today.

And hiking with Chris is great too. We were debating for a while on whether hiking is a great “new relationship” date, because I felt it was a more “long term relationship” date, but I think that has to do more with myself being deeply connected to nature, it being such a personal and almost sacred and spiritual thing for me, that I wouldn’t share it with someone unless I really enjoyed their company. But I have to concede that Chris was probably right, and as long as both parties are somewhat active, a hike is probably a perfect date (just no sex in the woods- don’t make me commentate on that).

So, how was everyone’s V-Day? Did you all do something that your heart will thank you for? Did you have a sweetie to do something with? Or did you simply take very good care of yourself, because you love yourself?

Have a great weekend, my friends!


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100 Ways of Fitness Day 44

Get by with the help of my friends

I didn’t do much today. I’m in a funk and I’m seriously contemplating counseling but who has time or money for that?

But talking to friends today definitely helped. I had a mental wellbeing lunch with a friend I really don’t see as often as I’d like.

I talked a little about my frustrations in fitness and life in general and she listened and let me rant. And then I listened to her talk about what’s going on with her and her life. I found that active listening really helped me get out of my head. Not that my friend has bigger or worse problems than me, but not focusing on my issues and talking to someone else definitely helps. We started exchanging great healthy recipes by the end of lunch and I really do want to try some of her pancake breakfasts!

Last night I spent close to an hour on the phone with one of my bestest and closest friends. We ended up talking about who has a cuter kitty (it’s not really all that fair that she has a kitten and we have a full grown cat- and Winnie doesn’t even count bc she’s such an evil counterpart to the Kid anyways) and Chopsticks for Salamanders. I’m thrilled that something the two of us started incorporating in our lunches and dinners out together has also picked up at her new job. They are discussing having reusable chopsticks as giveaways for a conference they hold for 200+ attendees! So that was great to get out of my head for a while talking about things I’m passionate about also.

I really do rely on my friends when I’m having a tough time. I know I have Chris with me any time I need a true shoulder to cry on and for support no matter what, but for me, I also need my “girl” friends (I say “girl” bc well, frankly, they don’t have to be a girl, it just so happens that most of my good buddies are female).

I’m glad I made plans to meet up with Jenny next week too and Stephanie and I made a promise to call and catch up next week as well. While neither conversation actually inspired me to be healthy or workout or eat better (eh, I’ll argue the lunch convo was very food oriented), it definitely helped clear my head and lately I’ve found that my weekends are all about mental wellbeing. This is a pattern, but I’m glad I’m finding coping mechanisms to get me through the workweek.