Monday, March 10, 2014

The Empower Fitness Conference

This past weekend was amazing & I'm SO sad it's over!!! It all started last year when I found out about the Empower Conferences that are held around the country. I REALLY wanted to go, but it was expensive & I never ended up signing up for it. As the weekend came & past, I was SO sad that I missed it. Fast forward to the beginning of this year & I started seeing advertisements for the  conference. Then there was a call for volunteers on their FB page & I found out that if you volunteer, you get to attend the conference for FREE!!!

My shift started Thursday night & it was EXHAUSTING!! All of the equipment for the classes had been shipped to the hotel in boxes, so we had to open everything up & get them to the correct room for Friday morning. I had gotten up early to workout as normal that day & this was like a whole other workout on top of that! I was SO tired when I got home from volunteering that night.

Friday is when the conference officially opened & I was hoping to go some time during the day, but I had to continue my job as mom first & drop off and pick up the kids from school, so I wasn't able to attend any classes. I showed up to volunteer again at 5 & we quickly moved a few things around & then we were told we could go attend a class!! I was SO excited since I had missed all of the classes during the day. I chose to go to a Yoga/African Dance class and it was AMAZING!!! I am on a dancer & don't do Zumba or anything that I feel will make me look like a fool. However, the instructor quickly put me at ease and we just had FUN! I really didn't think the two went together, but it was just such a GREAT way to move & I got into it & just let go. I finished up Friday night by deflating a ton of exercise balls, which was fun too LOL We had a bunch of time for girl talk & bonded.

FINALLY Saturday rolled around & I was able to take some classes!! I even got to sleep in & didn't get up until 7!! I went to my first class at 8:45, which was a Vinayasa Yoga class. It was PACKED, but I still really enjoyed the movement & the instructor. After that I went to a Kamagon Ball demo/class. Kamagon balls are kind of like rubber kettlebells, except that they have two handles & are filled with water. The water gives a little extra resistance & it was SUCH a cool class. It was set up like a bootcamp class, & I really enjoyed it & the instructor :) We had a quick break for lunch & then I took a class called Strength & Alignment. We got to work with Leslee Bender, who created Bender Balls as well as PostureFit bars. They are short, weighted bars with a big cushion on them that you can use for many things!! We started off putting them behind our necks, so we could feel proper alignment in our spine. It was amazing to try squats with them & without them, there was a HUGE difference!! I am really fascinated with proper alignment after taking this class b/c I have something weird with my hip that I've always wondered if I could do anything about it. I'm looking into more information on it, as well as any classes in my area.

With each class being over 2 hours long, I was physically tired & just GROSS from working out for 6 hours. I had some time before I had to volunteer again, so I went to a seminar. It was good & interesting, but I felt that I had heard the same things before, but I did leave early & maybe I missed the best part!! Saturday evening was another quick night of moving a few things around & packing them up, but then there was a room we couldn't get into, so we all were able to go home early!! I was SO tired & happy to be able to go home & see my family! I missed them after being gone all day.

All in all, I had a GREAT time at the conference. I wish there had been more/better freebies, but I loved the classes that were offered & I really enjoyed vounteering!! We had an awesome group that was together for 3 nights in a row, so we really got to know one another. I already miss those girls & wish that I had gotten information from them to be able to keep in touch. It was nice to be around people who understand my love & passion for fitness. A lot of times people don't understand it & think it's something negative in my life, but being around fitness professionals showed me that I am not alone. I am definitely motivated to finish my Personal Trainers cert & I am also thinking of getting a Group Fitness cert too. The classes I attended were SO fun, I'd love to be able to go next year as a professional!! :)

The Empower Conference is held around the country, so definitely check out the website & see if/when there's one in your area!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Love Your Tummy Project

I am excited to announce that I am starting the Love Your Tummy project on March 1st!!!

I want to make it an inclusive project, which means, you're ALL invited to do it with me!!! :) Actually, I NEED you to do it with me so that it works LOL I want to share pictures & stories of women who have struggled with their tummies, after children or after losing weight. This is for all of us!!!

It starts with me. I have struggled for the past 6 years with the tummy that my twin pregnancy left me with. I never had "stretchy" skin anyway, I got stretch marks from puberty. However, I was HOPING pregnancy would be different. I put olive oil on my belly, shea butter, you name the home remedy & I tried it!!! I always thought I had a cute tummy before pregnancy, it was not necessarily flat or a 6-pack, but I liked it. Well, I gained 50 pounds with my twins & my belly was stretched to it's max!! I swear, I think my girls were born early b/c my body couldn't give them any more room!

This pic is from 3 weeks before the girls were born:

So no one really talks about what happens to your belly after the baby is out of just hangs there. :/ Not for all women, I understand that, but for me & other women, you're left with extra skin & stretch marks. Since having my twins, I've really struggled with my belly. I've hated it. I've tried coconut oil, dry skin brushing, even stretchmark oil & I honestly think that nothing will help my belly, except a tummy tuck. It's been a huge weight to carry around, it's something I think about every day. I used to plan my outfits around my belly, if I bend down or sit down, it is pushed over my pants. Even when I work out, I am terrified of my shirt lifting up & showing my belly.

BUT, I'm DONE with all of that nonsense!!! For the past year I have been working towards loving ALL of myself. That includes my belly. I have been following some pretty awesome, fit ladies who have shared pics of them getting competition ready, or even featured in a magazine, all with tiger stripes & a mummy tummy!!! I have been inspired. My belly DOESN'T have to hold me back in fitness, and it SHOULDN'T hold me back from loving myself.

I am still in process of learning to love my belly, I KNOW that it held my children & housed them until birth. For that I am thankful. I hold onto that when I really think poorly of it, but I have decided that I want to start a movement. I want real women to be proud of their bellies, whether they've have multiples, multiple pregnancies or have lost a lot of weight. Ladies, ALL of those things are things to celebrate & be proud of. It may have left some marks on our bodies, but that is OK.

If you have a picture & a story that you want me to share, please submit it to my fitness FB page: The Sweat Life: Health & Fitness. I will begin posting them on March 1st!! I am excited about this b/c I know how much seeing other women love themselves & their bodies has helped me accept my own body. I am hoping the same goes for all of the people who are touched by the Love Your Tummy Project!!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fit For Competition UPDATE

So I've been doing the Fit For Competition diet & meal plan for just about 6 weeks now. I am noticing changes in my body & I am excited!!! After the first month, I was down 1.5 inches in my waist & 1 inch on my hips!! I was also down 1.5% body fat. I am THRILLED with those results & am excited to see what changes lie in store as the months go on.

We're already on Phase 2 of the program & thankfully the meal plan got a little more relaxed. During the first phase, I am proud to say that I began eating FISH!!! Seafood is something I previously would NOT touch! For ANYTHING!! However, on our cruise in December, I tried aligator & frog legs, so I thought that I should give fish a try too. So far, I don't LOVE it, but it's pretty decent & I actually miss having it in my diet since we added in more chicken & turkey during Phase 2. I am proud of myself for opening up to try new things.

I've been asked a few times by different people, why I decided to do the program. The answer is pretty simple, I just wanted to see if I could do it :) I have that runner's mentality, where you start off running & then you get hooked, so you sign up for races & then keep upping the distance you run. When you run, everyone is asking when you'll go further. They want to know when you'll do a half & once you've done that, they want to know when you'll do a marathon. It's the same with lifting weights, except the only competition really, are bodybuilding shows. Now, I am not signing up for one, I do not have plans to be on stage, but that's why I love this program. It's for people who plan to compete as well as for people just looking to get in competition shape. Anyways, I started lifting last year, so the next step for me was to get in competition shape, b/c I wanted to take my workouts/eating up a notch. I needed guidance & accountability to get where I want to go.

I don't have an ultimate goal weight or even body fat %. I just want to gain muscle & lose fat, whatever those end numbers are is up in the air. I was happy with where I started & I'll be happy if I end up back there, but for now, I want to see what my body can do. I would follow body builders on Instagram & Facebook & wonder if I could do what they were doing. Prep my meals & do all of the intense workouts, so now I am!! It's definitely hard and there are times where I've felt sorry for myself for not being able to eat whatever I want, but it's a sacrifice for a period of time, not forever. This program is 6 months long, not the rest of my life. However, I wasn't happy eating whatever I wanted, I always felt guilty & told myself that at least I was working out hard in the gym. I really do want to make eating clean a lifestyle & my goal for this year was eat clean for at least 6 months, so BAM, this program covers that :)

I am excited to say that I have a vision for this summer & I can't wait to share it with you all, but I am still working out some details. Stay tuned for my next update!!!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


So, I've toyed with the idea of doing a fitness competition. I am not sure I would EVER do one, but I would LOVE to be in competition shape. That's why, when I saw that my girl, Amber, from Mother Pumper, put together a fitness competition prep program, I was EXCITED to check it out!!!! Here is the link:, check it out & if you want to sign up, PLEASE remember to put down that Becki Allen sent you!! The price tag is a little overwhelming, but there are two payment plans you can choose from, you can sign up for a monthly payment or you can pay every other month. The price is SUPER fair when you consider you would be able to work one on one with THREE trainers!!! AMAZING!!! Seriously, this program ROCKS!!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good-bye, so long 2013

How in the world is 2013 coming to a close?!?! WHERE did the year go?!?!? Well, it's the last day of 2013, so I wanted to take some time to reflect on the year. These were the goals I set for myself this year:

1. Run my first full marathon (probably in the fall)
2. Continue workout group at church
3. Continue running outside with running group
4. Take a yoga class
5. Make more of our dinners/eat healthier
6. Make a recipe off of Pinterest at least once a week.
7. My DREAM, which who knows if it will go on a yoga retreat

It looks like I really only accomplished 3 of those goals & the last one is debatable :/ I will say that I am OK with that though :) I feel SO proud of myself when I look back at the year.

  • I ran my longest races this year, I did not accomplish a full marathon, but I ran two 25Ks, which is 15 miles. I am happy with that!! 
  • I ran my first half marathon out of state. I will NEVER forget the Kentcuky Derby Half Marathon LOL I have wonderful memories of spending time with my BIL & taking the wrong turn & ending up on the FULL marathon course. 
  • I started lifting, which has become my PASSION & LOVE!!
  • I am a Train Dirty Fitness Ambassador AND certified to teach a TDF bootcamp. I NEVER would have dreamed that up for myself, so I feel incredibly blessed to have done those things :)
  • I am working on getting certified to be a personal trainer & hopefully will accomplish that goal in 2014. 
  • I attended the Inspiration & Perspiration conference in November & I met some AMAZING ladies and will probably never be the same b/c of them :)
  • I have done a lot of things I NEVER thought I would do & have done things that I was scared of. I have a newfound confidence in myself and the things I can do. I am ready to conquer more fears in 2014!!!
  • I had my first modelling job in 2013, and am now all over the website LOL
  • I started the year off doing the Whole30 & since then ate clean MAYBE about 60% of the year. Another thing I didn't think I could do & yet accomplished in 2013!! :)

As you can tell, I am EXCITED about 2014!!! I feel like there will be a lot of new opportunities for me in the new year :) I am meeting with a guy from my gym on Friday who is opening up his own gym in Feb to see if there is something for me there. I am a little nervous, I don't want to work a whole lot more than I am now, I really want to be there for my kids. So that is something to take into account. Anyways, onto my list!!

My goals for 2014:

  • get my Personal Trainer certification
  • Lift heavy ALL year!!
  • Eat clean 70/80% of the year & get my kids to each more vegetables & hopefully not cry when they see something green on their plates! HAHA
  • Run a race or two
  • Work in the fitness industry
  • Go to the Train Dirty Fitness get together in the fall
  • Use my TDF bootcamp certification, hold classes
That's about it!! I can't wait to look back in a year's time to see where life has taken me :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Exciting things ahead

You guys, I LOVE lifting!!! It is seriously my passion :) I am in Stage 3 of the New Rules of Lifting for Women & it has been amazing!! My body is continuing to change as I gain strength. I am also in a group for accountability with eating clean (MotherPumper14by2014 on FB-- join if you want to be part of this great group of ladies!). We started last week & I am down 2 pounds since we started!! I have been maintaining since the summer, not really losing but not gaining either. I haven't been focusing on my diet like I should be & I think it's showed. I am fine with my weight actually, but I definitely want to eat clean through the end of the year & hopefully burn fat. I can't wait to start the new year feeling my best! :) We are also going on a cruise at the beginning of December, so I want to be looking good for that too LOL

I have loved being a Train Dirty Fitness Ambassador. Crystal, the founder of Train Dirty Fitness, has given us a lot of opportunities to partner with companies as well as try new products or get discounts on products. I am SO excited to be meeting her on FRIDAY!!! I am driving to Wisconsin to be certified to teach a Train Dirty Fitness bootcamp :) I can't wait to bring TDF to Chicago!!! I am hoping to get classes started in a school or church. I am still praying for opportunities to hold classes in the area.

I am ALSO going to the Sweaty Betties' conference, Inspiration & Perspiration, this weekend. It is a fitness & motivational conference. I am hoping to come back with a focus on my goals for 2014. I am SO excited to meet some awesome ladies that I only know through FB as well as network & meet some of my awesome fitness idols!! Life is getting exciting for me & I can't wait to see what the next year holds!! I am hoping to go back to school & get certified as a personal trainer or wellness coach within the next year & maybe start working at a gym. Things are a little up in the air in that area though.

As far as life, I am loving the Y! I have made some friends in the weight room, I love lifting with the old guys in the morning! They certainly make me feel good about myself. One old guy stopped me on my way to the treadmill the other day & told me that I had the best figure there!! I am still feeling good about that one, even though that's not what it's all about. I have to say that it's OK to let a compliment make you feel good, even days after it's paid! :) I am also loving the Yoga class at the Y. Our yoga teacher is just so gentle & relaxing, even though she pushes us to try new things. I think my favorite poses she's had us do are handstands & birds of paradise. They are crazy hard poses, and I am still working on them, but it is fun to try new things :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm baaaaaaaaaaack

Whoa, it looks like I took a 3 month hiatus from the old blog!! Sorry about that. I honestly was struggling for awhile there though. After we moved I couldn't hit the weights & I wasn't motivated to run, so I took some time off :( We FINALLY got a membership to the Y in August & it's been awesome ever since!! I started a new lifting program in September & I'm just starting Phase 2 today :) I love seeing myself get stronger, I am writing down the weights I lift & it's been so cool to see where I started & where I am now. I've still been having trouble cleaning up my eating, but I am working on it. We're going on a cruise at the beginning of December & I want to look good for that!! :)

I also have some awesome news. I have been picked to be a Train Dirty Fitness Ambassador!!! What that means is that I get to promote the Train Dirty Fitness mentality; here it is in Crystal's own words:
TDF Ambassador: someone with a kick a$$ attitude who believes in the vision of TDF: #safeplace, free of judgement, everyone fits in, and health/fitness are consistent not quick fixes. 

It's been awesome to work with Crystal & be a part of her TDFA team :) The ladies there are amazing & totally supportive!! I love it. I am also planning on getting certified to train groups in Train Dirty Fitness bootcamps! That's coming up in November & I am putting together birthday money & Christmas money to do it LOL

Other than that, life has been interesting!! The girls started Kindergarten, which has given us all a new routine. Charlie is still at home with me all day, which is so fun. I even asked him this morning if he wishes he went to school, but he said he's happy being at home with me :)

Have a great week friends!!! I'm hoping to be blogging more, especially as I get more involved with TDF & look ahead to new fitness ventures!!