To Beachbody, Or Not To Beachbody

Between Christmas and the Miami Marathon, it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to write.  It hasn’t been for a lack of desire, that’s for sure!  I had originally wanted my first post of 2016 to be a post-marathon report, but this particular post has been on my heart and mind for quite some time.  I hope you haven’t clicked to read because you’re hoping to find some nasty bashing of Beachbody, because that’s not what this post is about.  I’ve just been wanting to share my heart about why I am no longer a Beachbody coach.

I decided to cancel my coach account in September or October of last year.  It had been on my heart and mind for a while, but decided to finally do it when I felt a complete disconnect.  I was so fearful of disappointing people, especially those that had supported and encouraged me throughout my journey, the coaches and customers that were a part of my team.  I’m so incredibly thankful to everyone that joined my team!  It dawned on me, however, that I had not shared with anyone that I was no longer with Beachbody.  In case you have been seeing my posts about classes and fitness sessions, they are not Beachbody related or an attempt to sell any of their products.  The only “product” I am trying to “sell” is the fact that fitness is a gift – it really is!  My hope is to make that fitness gift accessible and do-able for anyone in my local community that wants to answer the call to get moving!  Our bodies were a gift given to us by our Creator, so that we would love and serve Him and others in the things He has called us to do.  You can have fun, be kind to your body, and be part of a fitness community that emphasizes faith before fitness…a fitness community that emphasizes how walking with Him is the best exercise, and having that faith woven into even practical fitness and nutrition tips…a fitness community that focuses more on His transformations within us through the gift of movement, as opposed to the transformations that are documented by the mirror and ab selfies that flood our social media feeds.  I wanted to be part of something different, and I think there might be others that may be feeling the nudge, as well.

I still think the Beachbody workout programs are effective, and continue to incorporate some of them into my current fitness regimen.  I also enjoyed the Shakeology, too (just not the cost of it, even with my coach discount) although I’m not currently drinking it.  I would wholeheartedly recommend the programs to anyone. They’re led by qualified and trained instructors, and with the small amount of training background I did have  when I started them almost three years ago, I feel that they were absolutely safe and effective, and would be for most anyone that used them.  Their programs have helped countless people, including me.  The Lord used a Beachbody program to start me on the path to being a better steward of the body He had entrusted to me.  He’s also had me on a journey to being a better steward of my finances, which is the main reason I am not currently drinking Shakeology, and couldn’t, in good conscience, recommend it anymore to others.

I’m sure that most people know that Beachbody is NOT the answer for everybody…but my social media feeds are FILLED with people selling Beachbody.  Honestly, I got tired of adding to that social media noise, or just plain getting lost in it.  I wanted my social media “noise” to have a different purpose…one that would point to something or someone bigger than a product that I was selling and trying to generate interest in.  The constant focus on social media training and what to post, how often to post, how to generate likes and comments on posts, and how to generate interest with posts was very stifling and felt so staged and unnatural…because it was, at least for me.

One of the biggest roles for Beachbody coaches is to set up and run private online challenge groups.  Although I had some success with that approach, it just never seemed complete.  I longed to REALLY connect with those I was encouraging on their fitness journeys, not just sharing posts online for motivation and accountability.  It seemed the more I would “connect” with others online, the less connected I’d feel.  That’s one of the main reasons I decided to become certified in group fitness instruction formats.

Believe it or not, the biggest reason I stopped being a Beachbody coach was, here it goes – the name of the company.  Nothing necessarily wrong with wanting to look good in a bathing suit and having a great beach body, but it dawned on me that the name of the company that I was representing was not – and is not –  what my fitness journey was about, or what I wanted to encourage in others.  That isn’t, and never has been, why I do what I do.  So it just started feeling weird being a “Beachbody” coach, and I wanted to distance myself from the name.  Silly, I know…but a conviction from the Lord, nonetheless.

So there you have it, sports fans!  I still have a few friends that are Beachbody coaches that I’d be happy to recommend if you are interested in the products.  As for this gal, though, the Lord has taken her “fitness witness” elsewhere.

How about you?  Are you on a fitness journey?  How has the Lord been leading you through it?  Is He even a part of it?  Would love to hear your feedback in the comments!

 

 

When Number Two on the List Makes You Feel Like a Winner

random acts of christmas kindness smile
Some pretty exciting news hit the world of mainstream fitness this week!

Check out this post from  The American Council on Exercise’s blog on Tuesday, December 7th. The American Council on Exercise is one of the largest fitness education governing boards in the world.  ACE predicted the top ten biggest fitness trends for 2016 and faith-based fitness was #2 on the list!  Can I get an “Amen”?!

Here’s what they shared:

#2 AN INCREASE IN FAITH-BASED FITNESS PROGRAMS
“Over the next year, faith-based exercise will become mainstream as churches, mosques, synagogues, ashrams, temples and other faith-based communities develop programs to promote fitness, health and wellness. Faith-based communities are gathering places where people come together based on shared values and beliefs. Over the past few years, many faith-based communities have begun offering classes, nutrition advice and health coaching to help people improve the physical and spiritual well-being of their adherents. David Jack, the owner of the ActivLab studio in Phoenix, is adamant about the role that spiritual well-being plays in creating the right physical well-being. “If an individual is a member of a faith-based community, he or she is already a member of a community that can provide an environment for community, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical growth. Fitness, wellness and health play an integral role in helping every individual honor their own faith. As people improve their faith and their fitness it helps promote stronger families and communities. Activate the best, magnify the good.” Faith-based exercise programs won’t replace traditional health clubs, but they will become more popular as people who share the same spiritual beliefs come together to improve their physical well-being.”

When God called me to be part of this “faith and fitness” movement almost two years ago, there were quite a few people that thought I was crazy, and that it wouldn’t work.  Fitness ministry?  What the heck IS that, anyway?

It was so wonderful reading this blog post, from one of the most accredited and sought after resources in fitness.  I’m still in the process of figuring out exactly what ministry role Carpe Diem Fitness Witness will take.  Whether it’s through partnering with other like-minded ministries, any of my online venues via Facebook, Instagram, or this blog, or my group fitness classes (starting in January 2016 – so excited!), my passion and heart’s desire is to keep encouraging others to be good stewards of the bodies we have been entrusted with, and to give God the glory in the process.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”  Colossians 3:23

This is why we train!

 

When S-T-R-E-T-C-H Spells Growth

revelation wellness let his love stretch you
Stretching is a key component to fitness. It helps to improve posture and prevent injury. When you are aware of muscles that are tight, your focus should be on stretching those over other areas that may be more flexible.

Are you feeling STRETCHED at this time of year? If you’re anything like me, the answer is YES!

Our friends at Revelation Wellness share:
“If His love isn’t stretching us, we aren’t paying attention. God will always call us to things that we can’t do on our own – people that will make us uncomfortable, and experiences outside of our comfort zone. “

Those tight muscles that need our extra attention are EXACTLY where He wants to work in us. So warm up those “love” and “trust” muscles, and get stretching with Jesus. He’s got big plans, and He wants us to join Him.

What is your favorite fitness stretch? One of my favorites is the Yoga “child’s pose”.  The modified “pigeon” pose pictured below is also a favorite.  Both of these really help with my lower back issues, which has been a weak area for decades.

In what ways is the Lord stretching you through people or experiences?

modified pigeon pose
 

Mission-Minded Marathon

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This week marks week 10 of 20 of our marathon training.  My hubby and I have been fitness partners for many years, taking turns inspiring and encouraging one another to go for it in whatever that “next thing” we’re going to try to accomplish.  I love that we share a love of fitness and exercise, and how that love of fitness has been transmitted to our kids, who are old enough to help us train by running or biking with us.  We’ve completed at-home fitness programs like P90X , P90X3, and PiYO together, we’ve run 5K’s together, and earlier this year, we trained and ran a half-marathon together.

I remember distinctly during the last few miles of the half-marathon, the overwhelming thoughts of how there was NO way I’d EVER be able to finish a full marathon if I was feeling this exhausted at half the distance.  After the race, I found out that my hubby was having the same thoughts.

So, why are we halfway through marathon training if we were convinced we wouldn’t be able to do it just a few short months ago?

A couple of things happened…mainly, we “stumbled” across two stories that impacted us greatly.  The first was about a 91 year old marathoner who had started training and running marathons at the age of 76 – http://www.runnersworld.com/newswire/91-year-old-finishes-san-diego-marathon                                                                                                                                The second story was about a 39 year old from Venezuela with Muscular Dystrophy, who took 20 hours to complete the Boston Marathon – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3048840/Venezuelan-man-finish-Boston-Marathon-20-hours.html

That was the last little push we needed.  In July of this year, we registered for the 2016 Miami Marathon.  We started doing research on different training programs, and settled on a run/walk training program, which incorporated weekly short and long runs, as well as strength training.  The second week of September marked day 1/week 1 of our training, and away we went!

Many people have “running a marathon” on their bucket list.  It had been on our list for a while.  There was just something about it, though, that seemed wrong about checking something off of that list being our motivating force.  We wanted it to be more than just “something to cross of off our list of things to do before we die” kind of thing.  Enter in God’s prompting and our “Mission-Minded Marathon” idea.  Why not train and run on behalf of someone else?  Most folks think we’re crazy anyway for doing this, why not add an extra dose of craziness to the mix – “You mean, you’re doing this for someone ELSE?!”

There are so many worthy causes to support, as there are so many people and organizations in need.  We decided to raise funds for our friends on behalf of their son and the Ryan Abreu Memorial Scholarship fund.  There’s a lot of pain involved in marathon training – mental, emotional, and physical.  We wanted to use that pain to help us step in to someone else’s pain…the pain of loss.  During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He chose to reach out and minister to the sick and hurting.  He chose to have dinner with the undesirables, and with people that made others VERY uncomfortable.  Suicide, mental health issues, and depression make people extremely uncomfortable.  I’d venture to say that fear is what scares most people.  Folks don’t know what to do with that, the awkwardness and discomfort of not being able to handle or process it.  We don’t know what to say, or we say all the wrong things trying to fix or remedy the situation, either to ourselves or the families left behind.  Christ’s model to us was simple, yet profoundly and excruciatingly difficult to carry out.  So difficult, we need His Spirit to enable and empower us to do what He’s calling us to do.  We are called to love others as He loved us.  We are called to love others, and to push through awkwardness and loneliness and difficulties, and just love them as best as we can.  This is what this race means to us.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”  Romans 12:1  

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13: 34-35

Please consider donating towards the Ryan Abreu Memorial Scholarship fund – no amount is too small!  https://www.youcaring.com/ryan-abreu-memorial-scholarship-431830

Importance of Bodyweight Training

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My LOVE for bodyweight training is pretty evident to those that know me – between my PIYO Instruction, which is a no impact/high intensity flowing workout influenced by Pilates and Yoga moves, and Dance Fitness Instruction, I am living proof and a firm believer in the wonderful benefits of using just a person’s bodyweight as resistance in fitness. I LOVE to show people these options, and show them how you can have fun and be kind to your body in fitness, and get some pretty incredible results in the process.

Bodyweight training is the perfect way to work out when you have a limited amount of time and no equipment. The wide variety of exercises, for beginners and the more advanced, allows you to work within your limits and progress to that next level when you’re ready. It’s straightforward, convenient, and a great addition to ANY fitness routine.

Here are some reasons why we LOVE bodyweight training:
-exercises can be done anytime, anywhere
-no equipment is needed
-flexibility, balance, AND endurance all improve with bodyweight training
-if you’re injured, bodyweight training can help you build strength without risking further damage
-just a few minutes can have a major impact on the body’s metabolism
-compound exercises, such as push-ups and lunges, are extremely effective for strength gains and overall fitness performance improvements.

Let’s take planks as an example –
Planks engage more than 20 muscles, including your shoulders, back, arms, legs, and glutes. And there are SO many plank variations!

Share YOUR favorite bodyweight training move in the comments, and try incorporating some bodyweight training into this week’s fitness routine!

Throwback Thursdays and Smiley Selfies

kids and i

I captured this moment a few months ago at the end of the day.  I love this picture.  We’re all smiling, and looking like we really love one another.  I mean, don’t get me wrong – we really do love one another.  But it’s also true that we have TONS of moments where we totally act like we DON’T.  Like throughout the day that I took this photo.  There were many opportunities that day that were anything but photo worthy, starting with me and my nasty and impatient attitude, which by the way, I felt TOTALLY justified in unleashing to anyone that made the mistake of stumbling across my path that day.  For reasons that boggle my mind, my children are so quick to forgive me, and they were this day, as well.  I know that is God’s amazing grace and NOT my modeling of that behavior for them, because I am very often reluctant and slow to forgive.  Would you have guessed that from looking at the picture?  Probably not…

Here’s a timely reminder for all of us:  don’t let someone else’s perfectly beautiful pictures allow you to think that is their constant reality.  Our family laughs and smiles OFTEN!  So we are “keeping it real” when we post pictures of us smiling and having a great time.  We also sin against each other plenty, too.  Every photo has a “behind-the-scenes” that led up to the shot, just like every moment in our lives.  Even if the behind-the-scenes are not pictured or mentioned ever or as often, they can be just as beautiful and are definitely just as necessary – agreed?  The bitter makes the sweet that much sweeter!

So, I take photos of us smiling, even after a day that was very hard to bring a smile to our faces…ESPECIALLY after a day that was very hard to bring a smile to our faces.  I need those reminders of God’s faithfulness, grace, mercy, and steadfast love.

Here’s to #throwbackthursdays and smiley selfies after long and difficult days ❤

Faith, Fitness, and Loss

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There are days I just don’t care…I just don’t. The past few weeks have been filled with quite a few days like that. Who am I kidding – the past few YEARS have been filled with many days like that.  Loss will do that to you.  An extended season of loss after loss will really do that to you.  From home loss to job loss (multiple jobs for my husband the past 5 years), relational loss and death.  This year alone, our family has lost both my brother-in-law and my mother-in-law, within months of each other, and my mother-in-law just passed away two weeks ago.  So yeah, there have been days where health and fitness aren’t at the top of my priority list.  Days where being a good steward of the body the Lord has entrusted to me isn’t on my priority list.  I can’t stay there, though, because when I’m not making an effort to be healthy and take care of myself, the people that have been entrusted to me receive a lesser version of me.  Circumstances in my life do not remove this responsibility from me.  And so, even though it may look differently from time to time, I press on…

Am I going to have bad days? Absolutely. But as far as it is up to me, I want to be the best possible version of myself as a means of gratitude to God and all He’s done for me, because I love and honor him. I refuse to dishonor my body by treating my life as just something to get through or my health as something to be left to chance. 

I honor God by honoring my body.

That’s what ‪#‎faithandfitness‬ means to me…how about you?

To Do, or Not To Do…

“…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life

and is corrupt through deceitful desires,  

and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

and to put on the new self,

created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:22-24

What you don’t do is as important as what you DO do (I did that on purpose 🙂 ).  Sometimes, you won’t be able to “do” until you “don’t do.”  In order to “do” the hard things God was calling me to in being a better steward of the body He entrusted to me, there were things I had to stop doing…which in many cases, meant things I had to stop buying.  I had to put off a few old ways before I could put on something new.

Here are a few of my “don’ts”:

Things I DO NOT buy:

• I DO NOT buy fancy coffees. Starbucks admits they have an 80% markup.

• I DO NOT buy gum, candy, cookies, any snackie things, or desserts. It wouldn’t make any sense to care enough about my health to invest in healthy nutritious foods, to then turn around and tear down my health by filling my body with junk food.  Any snackie things purchased are of the healthier, multi-grain and organic ingredients variety.  I’m also learning to make more of my own snackie things, which limits the number of ingredients.

• I DO NOT eat out very often. Some months I’ll eat out twice, and other months I eat out zero. I buy the best food our budget can afford from the store and make the best meals I can at home.

• I DO NOT buy TV channels. We watch so many things online, and Netflix is a big deal at our house.

• I DO NOT have a gym membership. Instead, I work out right in my living room, at the touch of the remote.  Plus, it costs me ZERO gallons of gas getting to and from my workouts.

What are some of your “don’ts”?  What should you be putting off in order to put on?

Food is NOT the Enemy

cupcake treat

Food is NOT the enemy.

I prefer my meals with a side of grace, instead of a portion of guilt. I want to glorify Him with my choices…having a cupcake, or a slice of pizza, or a Snicker’s bar does not automatically mean I am NOT glorifying Him, and eating only organic foods does not automatically mean I am glorifying Him.

So much of society’s fitness mantra these days deals with making us feel shame and guilt based on our food choices, either directly or indirectly. Yes, nutrition matters. Please don’t hear what I’m NOT saying (or typing 😉 )…But, it’s time to stop using our food choices as a guilt tactic to heap condemnation on weary souls. Let’s get to the heart of the matter, shall we? ❤

He’s preparing a banquet, friends — our Father in Heaven is inviting us to feast, here and now, on freedom (while also calling us up to a higher place of grace and self-discipline), and there’s a seat for you.

Starting September 1st, I will be joining hundreds of others as we embark on a 30 day Clean Hearting Food & Fitness challenge through Revelation Wellness – Healthy & Whole (check out their site for more info.)

If nourishing our bodies isn’t flourishing our souls, it’s time for some clean-hearting.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Fiber Fuel

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I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of talk about the importance of eating fiber.  I know I have for years.  Here’s why you should consider adding fiber to your diet:
-helps keep you fuller longer
-helps to steady your blood sugar

In addition to making sure we’re adding enough fiber to our diet, we need to be sure we’re eating the right type of fiber.  There’s a difference between soluble and insoluble fiber, which I didn’t understand until recently.  How do you know which type you should eat more of?

Soluble Fiber
-slows down digestion

Oats are a GREAT source of soluble fiber, and you can have it as oatmeal, as well as add it to your smoothies or cereal.  Berries, as well as other fruits and veggies are also a great source of soluble fiber.

Insoluble Fiber
-speeds up digestion (puts you in the bathroom!)

Whole wheat pasta, rice, and bread are great sources of insoluble fiber.  Trail mix with nuts and fruit are also a great option.

Fruits and veggies are a great source for BOTH soluble and insoluble, so when in doubt – increase your fruit and veggie intake!

Seize the day, and remember that food is fuel…so fuel yourself with fiber!