The Struggle to Keep a Godward Focus

Lara Casey posted this on her IG account yesterday and it had me thinking. While she was specifically speaking to the context of business, what she shares has been my greatest struggle as a believer in so many areas of my life.

Not growing up in a Christian home, I learned to take care of myself early on. To say that my family was dysfunctional would be an understatement. I spent my childhood and early teen years focused on building a life that looked nothing like the one I came from.One where I was the boss, in charge of my own destiny. I was focused, smart and willing to do whatever it took.

Then, God saved me.

He plucked me out of true darkness and began conforming me to His image. So much changed drastically and quickly, but there were some deep places in my flesh that remained. They were hungry for comfort, stability, notoriety, and success. I learned to mask those desires on the outside, but they continued as driving forces in everything I did, and still do. They inform my work, my parenting, my role in marriage and virtually every other aspect of my life.

I know in a heady kind of way who I am in Christ and what that should look like. My knowledge of who God is, and the need to invest in eternal things, is not lacking. But, that’s just knowledge.

My anchor in Christ is not as deep as my knowledge of God is wide.  

This striving and busyness that Laura describe above, truly is tiring and frustrating. It is like squeezing a handful of sand so as not to lose any, only to watch it all trickle slowly through your clenched fist.

My flesh still rears its ugly head compelling me to hustle and work, and make things happen. It yells at me to be a better parent, wife, teacher, and overall better Christian. I live my life with a sense of urgency and hurry instead of in a resting, active peace.

I do believe that God designed me uniquely and on purpose. He gifted me with a childhood that made me a scrappy fighter. He gave me big ideas, dreams and a “let’s try” attitude. He educated me through intelligent, thinking people, both inside and outside of the church. He places me exactly where He wants me, because where ever I am, there is a need for the light of the gospel. He has redeemed so many broken pieces of my past.

The depths of my sinful heart never cease to both surprise and sadden me. At the same time, the expanse of His grace never seems to end. I long for a heart like David’s when He says, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere”, or like Moses who “…considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt”. My mind knows of the truth found in these verses, and a small piece of my heart feels the weight of them. But, if I am being honest, this isn’t always my default, my natural disposition, or the true direction of my heart. I am easily drawn to the world and its promise of comfort, ease, more, better, faster, and shinier.

Lara’s post got me thinking. Thinking about grace, and striving, and seeking to live a life that truly honors God. A life that desires to be with the Father, to walk in obedience to His calling and to do more than build something that will ultimately have no eternal value.

God’s grace has brought me so far, that at times I feel as though I couldn’t have possibly been the girl I know I used to be. But, this streak that lies so deep within me, often takes me by surprise. My heart is truly prone to wander, but His Spirit never lets me get too far. His Word, His people, and His presence draw me back into focus. I know He has already done a great work in my life, and know that He will continue that work until it is complete.

God plucked me straight out of true darkness and set my feet on His path. I sometimes get sidetracked, following down rabbit trails that lead me nowhere. But, my good Shepherd always brings me back.

I am thankful for His grace, the work of Christ and the restoration He grants believers.

I am thankful that we no longer have to walk in accordance to the patterns of our flesh and that we can joyfully walk in obedience to His calling.

I am thankful that we can have families, businesses and day to day interactions, using every ounce of who we are, to bring Him glory.

I am thankful that, as a believer, there is no rabbit trail that will ever bring us to our destination or completely out of the hands of God.

I am thankful that we have an eternity that is truly worth investing in.

I am thankful for a new heart, new identity and power in Christ.

I am thankful for His Word, that is truly a lamp for us, guiding our steps to live and serve and honor Him.

But mostly, I am thankful for a good, patient gracious Father. One who does not allow us to find lasting satisfaction in the temporary, but offers us full relationship with Himself, where satisfaction for all eternity is found.

Quick Effective Workouts: Tips and Encouragement from 7 Personal Trainers

Ya’ll know that I’m a busy, working mom. Because of that, I am all about quickly squeezing in an effective workout each day. I know many of you have even more going on than I do, which means you need to know how to get the most bang for your buck in every workout. Sometimes we feel like a quick workout isn’t as effective as a longer one. But, the right kind of quick workout can be more effective than hours in the gym. So, I called in a few friends to share their tips and some encouragement for doing a short workout that will get you results! These ladies are all killer trainers (and one running coach) with lots of wisdom. I love the common theme of simplicity they all shared in their tips! Be sure to check out their blogs and Instagram accounts for lots more tips and encouragement to get and stay healthy!!

My Tip:

You all know me, but just in case you aren’t following me on IG…Here ya’ go!

You know I love a Tabata style workout. 4 Minutes is all  you need. 20 seconds of high(est) intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for 8 cycles. Anyone can squeeze in 4 minutes a day! If you want more info, or some sample workouts, leave a comment below and I will send some your way!

Kelli Tobin

Blog/Instagram

Keep it simple. Thinking of what workout to do can be daunting. Use the numbers 30,20,10,5 and use a cardio, lower body move, upper move and abs move.
Example: 30 jacks, 20 squats, 10 push-ups, 5 crunches and repeat for time or a number of rounds. Short but effective!

 

Jenn McAmis 

Blog/Instagram

I would second keeping it simple. You don’t need to stand on one leg on a BOSU and spin in circles while you do a bicep curl. Classic moves are classic for a reason. Also, be aware of form and don’t be afraid to ask! Doing something with poor form is the easiest way to get injured and discouraged on your journey. Most people love sharing what they know and want to see you succeed (especially trainers ).

 

Jenna Carelli

Blog/Instagram

Circuit training! Keep workouts short and sweet, but effective! If you are limited on time, opt for a full body workout. No need to buy equipment for your home, you can find objects around the house (canned food works great for shoulder presses, as do small children!). I LOVE incorporating wall sits and other static holds into my at home programs.

 

Leah Bahrencu

Blog/Instagram

Don’t feel like your not getting a good workout with modifications. Modifying a move will allow you to focus more on your form and focus on the muscles being engaged. It’s ok to slow down the move. Taking it slow makes the exercise more effective than quickly trying to make it through an move. Always make sure you know the modification of each exercise before doing it.

 

 Lauren Boldizar

Blog/Instagram

You do NOT need a ton of time and it doesn’t need to be perfect…you just need to utilize the time you have everyday.

 

Jenny Mire 

Blog/Instagram

My biggest advice to women wanting to lose weight is to lift weights. Learn how to weight train properly and lift those weights. You won’t get bulky and you won’t look like a man! Get firm, lean muscles by lifting weights followed by HIIT or burst cardio training.

There you go! Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy equipment. Stick to the basics and just get moving!!!

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Barre Playlist

Need to refresh and refocus your mornings? Sign up here to grab my 3 day devotional & workout plan!

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Hey barre teachers of the world! Have you searched high and low for the perfect playlist to rock your next class? I have, and I always end up finding things that aren’t long enough or that don’t pass my-love of pop music-test. So, I thought I’d help some sisters out!

The general format of my class goes a little something like this:

  • Warm-Up
  • Parallel Feet Section
  • First Position Section
  • Second Position Section
  • Arms
  • Arms and Legs Combo Section
  • Cardio Section
  • Floor: Abs and Back Section
  • Hip Abductor/Hamstrings/Booty Section
  • Calf Section
  • Floor bridge Section
  • Cool Down

I do vary things up a bit, but try to include each of those segments in my hour long classes. I like a mix of high tempo and low tempo songs, from all types of genres. I try to throw in some old school music with the newer chart toppers, because, let’s be honest… I am old…”ish”.

Here’s a playlist you can use for your next class, including BPM’s, if you care about those!

Barre teachers, I would love to see your latest playlist! Leave me some new tunes in the comments below!

Want a new barre playlist emailed your way each week?

Faith Filled Yoga; Why You Should Give it a Try!

One of the main keys to getting in shape is finding a type of exercise that you love…or at least one don’t hate! So, I am bringing in some friends to share about the types of exercise they love in the hopes that something will pique your interest, and get you moving!  Today’s guest is a good friend of mine. In fact, she was one of my very first friends in BKK and was definitely my “how to survive life in BKK life coach”. Kristi is a yogi, and a fantastic workout partner. She is also a rockstar runner (like the kind that wins races), and became a certified Holy Yoga Instructor about two years ago. You can check her out in IG, and follow her fun BKK life!

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I remember my first encounter with yoga my senior year at university.  I was experiencing some hip pain as a result of a car accident, and my chiropractor at the time recommended I try yoga to help in the healing process.  I didn’t take his advice right away, but as a committed runner, I was desperate to be able to get back to running regularly again; so soon enough, I found a local gym offering a yoga/pilates class and signed up.

To say I was skeptical is an understatement.  Yoga to me seemed like one of those things people did who wanted to just be still, stretch and meditate a little, which seemed so far from what I wanted in regard to exercise and fitness (I have learned to love a good, long sweaty run).  But next thing I knew, I was 3 months into the class and found myself showing up a few times a week, and looking forward to the next class.  And best of all, my hip pain had disappeared completely.

I was spot on in my evaluation of the class, being that yoga does offer all of the things I was skeptical of: the invitation to be still, increased flexibility, and an invitation to presence of mind, heart and body.  But the thing I was wrong about was my assumption that this practice of yoga wasn’t “my kind of thing”.  Instead, I found myself realizing two things:

1) How amazing of a workout yoga was, different than any of the other types of workout I had ever known; crazy hard in it’s own way and yet one of those workouts that my body seemed to thank me for at the end of every class (and a perfect counter-balance to my other weekly workouts for increasing flexibility and helping to stretch out crazy sore muscles).

2) That stillness, deep stretching and taking time to be present to my body and to my heart was something I needed more than I ever knew.  Something that once I got a little taste of, I found myself wanting more of in the midst of this crazy thing called life.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I attended my first Holy Yoga class, lead by a friend who was offering the class near my house.  Holy Yoga took all that I had experienced in other yoga classes, and incorporated a rooted meditation on Biblical truths.  I found that in this practice of Holy Yoga, as my body was practicing yoga, God’s word was at work within me, and so often I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart.  It was 100% yoga and 100% worship – and this, I loved.

And now, 3 years later, I lead that very class that I once attended. Even though I still run regularly and love hitting up other fun workouts throughout my week, yoga has become as much part of my life as any of those other activities.

Yoga, as a practice, is intended to connect the whole being – mind, body and spirit.  Using a series of movements (“poses”) designed to allow for the use of deep muscles, and increase the bodies’ natural flexibility, you are able to develop space to experience things physically that may never have been accessible to you before.  But even greater than this, yoga is a practice intended to create space for mind, heart, and body connection.

I love that yoga creates a space to be still.  No phone, no have-to’s, only get-to’s.  And I love the benefits that my body experiences after a yoga practice, kind of like it screams THANK YOU at the end of a class.  But most of all, I love that yoga is for anyone.  No matter what your body type or how “fit” you consider yourself, you can practice yoga.  That’s why it’s called a practice, because it’s never finished.  We all start somewhere, and as we continue, we find ourselves slowly moving forward and finding deeper spaces and more things we are able to do.  A little like the practice of LIFE huh?

So how ‘bout it?  I was a crazy skeptic and now, am a crazy instructor.  All I can say is try a class, or a few (usually the first class is a lot just figuring it out, so stick it out a few weeks).  I have a feeling you’ll surprise yourself with how great your body feels, but even more so, you will find the delight of the stillness and presence in the midst of the non-stop rhythm of life.

And if you are ever in Bangkok, come join me for class.

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

6 Ways to Stay Motivated to Workout

Some people live, breathe and dream about workouts. You hate those people. I know. Most of us know we need to workout, and know why. But few stay motivated to actually get our butt’s in gear, to finally make working out a habit! I’ve written about some ways to build that kind of habit, but wanted to give you a few tips on staying motivated. Obviously there will be some overlap between the habit building and motivation, but there are a few extra things you can do to keep your motivation level up!

Know your “why”

Having a clear “why” for your pursuit of health, is crucial to staying motivated. And let me be clear…aesthetic goals are a place to start, but they are usually not enough to keep you going when things get tough. So come up with something deeper. Wanting to be able to stick around for your grandkids,  live your life with energy, be able to work and serve others well,  are all big-picture “why’s” that will keep you moving, when all you want to do is climb in bed with Ben and Jerry.

Non-scale victories

I don’t own a scale. I don’t let my daughters weigh themselves. I was enslaved to the numbers on a scale for years. Let me tell you, that no number on a scale can measure your actual health, strength or how energetic and strong you feel. I like for my clients to have other types of goals and then we celebrate when they meet those goals!  Maybe they want to do a certain number of push-ups, fit into a certain pair of pants, or be able to run around the back yard with their kids without having to take a break. The scale can’t measure any of those things. AND… 150lbs on someone who never works out, and eats fast food all of the time, is going to look a lot different than 150lbs on someone who is living a healthy lifestyle fueling their body well, and growing in their strength.  Celebrating non-scale victories helps you to see progress more clearly, and reminds you of the deeper reasons why you are pursuing a healthier lifestyle!

Switch it up

Some people love consistency, but most of us get bored easily. Change up your workouts. If you live in a city with ClassPass or GuavaPass, I highly recommend you utilize those! They are a perfect way to try out different types of workouts, bringing you some variety. Having something new to try and master keeps most people motivated to keep truckin’ on! If you can’t swing a ClassPass or Guava Pass, then vary your workouts at home. Try different types of YouTube videos and mix them up with a run, a sprint session or a heavy weight session!

Find community (online or off)

You have probably heard the saying, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So, choose wisely! Surround yourself with people who understand your goals, and who are working towards the same thing. If you can find this in your offline life, awesome! If not, join some online FB groups, get a trainer or join an online bootcamp (shameless plug), or connect with people through social media (check out some fitness related hash-tags). If everyone around you (or everyone in your IG feed) is making time for the gym, a little positive peer pressure might kick in, and get your booty to the gym as well!

Schedule it in your day

What gets planned gets done. And ya’ll, I’m NOT a planner. But, I am learning this principle, and implementing it in my own loose way (planners of the world would mock me, but I am getting it together in the planning department). If you put a workout on your to-do list you are more likely to do it (<–see what I did there). Even though I am not a huge list-maker and crosser-offer, I am much more likely to get anything I put in writing, done! Schedule a workout into your day, and then cross it off when you finish.

Set up small rewards along the way

Set up small rewards like a new pair of workout capris, some new sneakers, a quick massage, or an afternoon off at the coffee shop when you meet a goal. I am not a fan of food being a reward, and you certainly wouldn’t want to reward yourself with something that will derail your goals (like a week off of working out)! So, think about what would reinforce your healthy lifestyle, and then set your goals with that reward in mind.

Here are some examples:

  • When I am able to complete 10 chin-ups, I will get a manicure and pedicure with my friend.
  • When I have worked out every week day for an entire month, I will buy a a new workout outfit.
  • When I drop one dress size, I will take one Saturday morning off to go read in a coffee shop.

Be sure to tell someone about your goals and rewards so that you will have some people cheering you on and celebrating with you as you begin reaching those goals!

Staying motivated to work out can be a challenge when you are busy living life and doing your thing. But, the benefits are obvious (in addition to the health benefits, there is a lot f research that shows regular exercise can correlate to productivity and overall success at work). So, while it would be great if we were all intrinsically motivated to live a sugar free life at the gym, it is likely that you will need to get creative in your extrinsic motivators. Enlist help and do what you’ve got to do. You might find over time that once you have worked fitness into your life for long enough, that you actually do begin to feel a lot of that intrinsic motivation rising up in you. Until then…bribe yourself with a kid-free afternoon or some cute new LuLu’s!

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

When Faith Doesn’t Come Easily

I have been a believer for 18 years now. Just writing that is so crazy to me, because there is nothing about me, how I grew up, or where I came from that would have ever indicated I would one day follow Christ.

But, He reached down, into total darkness, and plucked me right out. And, he has patiently walked me through many trials, some amazing blessings and everything in between.

So, you would think that trust, faith and hope would come easily.

Except it doesn’t.

I have studied God’s word. I went to Bible college. I listen to sermons in my free time, read amazing books, and have always been surrounded by believers who desire to grow in their faith.

Yet, I struggle.

I have seen God provide, over and over again. I have seen him change people; change me. I have seen Him work small miracles on my behalf, and on behalf of those I love.

Yet faith does not come easily for me.

When things get just a bit rocky, I get all kinds of stressed out.

When things don’t go as planned, I start maneuvering and cling tightly to whatever I can.

When I can’t see clearly, I push the person of God away and seek to solve the problem myself.

It is so dang hard for me to trust. To have faith in the things I cannot see. To remember the countless times we have witnessed God’s faithfulness in our lives, and in the lives of the people around us.

But God never lets me go too far.

He draws me closer, despite my doubting.

I am so thankful that He is the pursuer. That His grace far supersedes my lack of faith. That His Word is a double-edged sword that pierces through the deepest parts of my soul and lifts my eyes back up to meet His.

Faith doesn’t come easily for me. But in His graciousness, God gives me just enough to help me taste and see that He is good. And that always leaves me wanting more.

Maybe you are like me.

Faith and trust and hope are not your defaults, even though you have believed for a while.

Can I encourage you just for a minute?

He can handle your doubts…I mean, He already knows them. So, lay it out there for Him with truth and reverence. Pray that He would give you greater faith. Pray that He would help you see Him more clearly and remind you of His trustworthiness. Pray that He would remind you of all that you have to hope for. Wrestle through your times of doubt and lay down your maneuvering and controlling. His grace is greater, and He has an endless supply of faith and hope in Christ. The slightest glimpse of His character will remind you that there is no one more trustworthy.

Faith doesn’t come easily for some of us, but I promise you…it is available to all of us.

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Why You Should Spend More Time at the Bar!

Okay, so the title of this post is a little misleading. This post is actually about why you should spend more time at the “barre”…but, I bet that piqued a few people’s interest ;)!

Today I am super excited for a couple of reasons. First, I LOVE barre and think it is such a kick booty workout! Second, because you are about to hear from a true expert! I met Julie when she was here in Bangkok, opening the Physique 57 studio here. I had been doing barre for a while, and was excited to try it at a new studio. I am so glad I ended up in Julie’s class! It was a crazy hard, kick-butt class (seriously hard ya’ll), but was so fun, and  it went by super fast! I got to talk with Julie a bit after class and she was so sweet! I was actually kind of bummed we didn’t get to hang out more (she moved back to the States a couple of weeks after we talked), so was glad to reconnect through FB.

When I was thinking through this series, I was planning on writing this post myself. But then, I realized Julie would be WAY better suited to write this, so I was super pumped when she agreed to do it! I love what she has to say about barre itself, and about cross-training (I totally agree). If you haven’t tried a barre class yet, I think this might make you want to give it a shot!

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Barre technique can be a bit ambiguous for those who have never tried it. While it does involve a ballet “barre” to hold on to, it does not resemble a ballet class much at all. Coming from someone who has trained in ballet my whole life, “barre” fitness definitely has its own identity. A barre workout, does usually use music, and does use muscle groups that develop the lean, long muscles of a dancer’s body, but it is not the image that some create in their heads of pink and tutus and classical music. It is truly no joke.

I always describe barre technique to my clients as “humbling”. If you were to watch a class from the outside, it looks like intervals of small, tiny movements, “pulsing”, and lifting and circling, for sustained periods of time. It honestly does not seem like much of a challenge. But then you give it a try and these tiny movements do not seem so small anymore. They are small but mighty, and these tiny, yet repetitive, isometric movements in class strengthen, lengthen, stabilize, and firm muscles while building bone density and protecting joints.

Something that changed drastically for me when I started at Physique 57, was the development of lean muscle mass which boosted my metabolism significantly. I have had to watch my weight my entire teenage/adult life due to ballet. This involved counting calories, hopping on a treadmill to try to burn and negate the calories that I did consume, and to be honest, going through several dangerous and harmful diets to try to be as thin as a short muscular gal could be. Of course, to no avail. Barre fitness provided the strength training my body needed that whole time. I love food. And I love wine. And I love chocolate. Physique 57 changed everything about my metabolism. I eat probably twice as many calories as I did before, even while I was dancing professionally as a full-time job.

With barre, even though you develop lean muscle mass, you never have to worry about bulking up due to the fact that you only use your own body weight for resistance. Once you have an understanding of how to create resistance with your own body, safely, but intensely, the results are outstanding. In the workout, you use your body’s resistance and repeat each tiny movement using the same muscle groups so that they become overloaded to the point of fatigue. This is one way that barre fitness is similar to dance, in that the controlled movements may look effortless, but in fact are quite a challenge of body and mind.

I am firm believer in cross-training and promote finding several techniques that each offer something different for every individual. I still dance, I run a little, and when I step into a functional training class, I usually die, in a good way. It is beneficial to try and push your body in different ways. That differentiation is what keeps your muscles guessing, and the longer you can keep your muscles guessing, the more you will challenge them to change and get stronger. For example, I am not a runner at all, but I just completed my first half-marathon, and it was solely due to the strength-training and stamina that I get from working at Physique 57. My joints stayed healthy from the stabilizing and stretching that I get from class. Mixing it up is the spice of life. I believe that finding 2 or 3 techniques that work for you, will give you the best results and will keep you from falling into a workout rut, where you become unmotivated.

So, stay motivated! You have to challenge your body as you would your mind. And then treat it right. Balance strength with cardio, and balance intensity with stretch and you will keep gaining power and definition in your muscles without causing injury. That is definitely the balance that barre fitness and Physique 57 created for me. I hope that it can do that for you, or that you find a couple of techniques that give you the balance that you need and the results that you desire.

I have so much respect for people that stay motivated to workout in addition to full-time jobs, while balancing family. Working out should be something that is beneficial and enjoyable, instead of something you squeeze in because you “have” to. Hopefully barre fitness can work its way into your routine, as I am a true believer and have been a witness to its benefits. But if not, I hope you definitely find escape and balance in whichever techniques that you choose!

About Julie

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Julie Cobble started training in dance at age five, and knew it was her dream. After moving to Washington, DC area, she trained at the Washington School of Ballet and had opportunities to start performing with the professional company. She performed internationally in places like Albania, Italy, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. While she still performs free-lancing in New York City, she started getting involved in fitness as a way to continue teaching and working in a safe and healthy way with the body. She received her Yoga Alliance Certification in 2007 and taught at several studios throughout New York and New Jersey. She found barre fitness at Physique 57, 4 years ago and fell in love with the natural way it strengthened and lengthened muscles like a dancer. Last year she was sent as lead instructor for the opening of Physique 57 Bangkok, and was inspired by reaching people through the technique all over the world. Back in New York, she works as the Associate Manager of Talent for Physique 57, teaching and training new instructors.

Check her out on Instagram: Julie Cobble

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Why Women Should Try Crossfit

You all know that my desire is to help you find something that you love, so that you can get moving, fit, healthy and strong, right? Well, today I am so excited to introduce you all to this sweet lady. When I met her, I was a new believer and she was a little girl running around all loud and crazy. Her family attended the same church I did, and she was a camper (my camper) at the summer camp I used to work at (she was of course, my favorite). She has grown up into a beautiful, intelligent, crazy strong young woman who loves Jesus. While I haven’t seen her in a while, I love “catching up” with her through FB. Since her hubby is the co-owner of a CrossFit in Charlotte, (check it out if you are in the area), I knew she would be the perfect one to share about why CrossFit is an awesome workout. If you missed the post on functional movement, you can check that out here. Coming up, I’ve got long distance running, barre and lots more!

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Hey y’all! I’m Jenna. I’m 26 years old, a registered nurse and an avid CrossFitter. I currently reside in Indian Land, SC with my husband, David and our sweet pup Nyx! I attended college at UNC Charlotte where I played division one soccer for four years. It wasn’t until my senior year that my now husband introduced me to the sport of CrossFit and it’s safe to say as a family we’ve yet to look back! 

Crossfit has truly grown so much since it first made its appearance in the fitness scene back in 2000. Many people at the time tossed it aside calling it a fad, or just the newest fitness craze, however, when you take a look at the numbers, CrossFit, Inc. has been the fastest growing community of fitness services businesses of all time. Starting with 13 affiliates in 2005, they now have approximately 13,000 affiliates in 2016. These affiliates are located all over the world- yes, the WORLD!!

 But what exactly is Crossfit and why has it become our family’s passion and livelihood? CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life and you can find yourself doing these movements on a daily basis! So when I’m picking up a heavy bag of dog food I’m performing a core movement of CrossFit known as a “Clean”. When the guy came to install our refrigerator last week and needed help lifting up the stairs, I utilized a skill called the “Deadlift”. When I am squatting down for Lord knows how long helping a patient deliver their child, I thank CrossFit for the muscles in my legs which allow me to do so without struggling.

The benefits of CrossFit in my life are numerous but for the sake of this post I’ll narrow them down to the top 10!

#1-CrossFit gives me a way to exercise and exercising is good for your health. Since I only have one body, for my whole life, I want to keep it healthy and working well.

#2- Crossfit forces me to eat cleaner. If I eat garbage I feel terrible and my workouts are painful! If I eat nutrient dense foods and cut out all the unnecessary items like dairy, gluten and sugar I feel AMAZING and can therefore proceed to conquer the world while avoiding things like obesity, diabetes, chronic heart disease, etc.

#3-  CrossFit workouts vary in length. Some days I can do a workout for 5 minutes and other days I can do one for 35. They both are beneficial and they both make me feel as if I’ve gotten stronger, faster, fitter, healthier that day. 

#4- CrossFit forges community like no other. When you see people frequently a CrossFit gym, you are forced to talk to them and maybe say “good job” at the end of a hard workout. Once you talk to them you just might become friends with them, which can foster shared experiences with them, and life on life relational investments with them. One thing leads to another and they are in your wedding, or they’ve become the Godparents of your first child. It’s the best kind of relationships, really!

#5- CrossFit helps me to look good naked for my husband. I know that sounds super blunt, but sometimes when I come home from a long shift at the hospital and I don’t feel like working out, I remember this piece of evidence and get my tail in the car and head to the gym. I love my husband and I desire for him to desire me!

#6- CrossFit helps me with my perspective on life. Everything happens in seasons.  Hard ones don’t last forever. If I can make it through a tough workout and persevere when I feel like quitting, then I can make it through life’s trying times as well.

#7- CrossFit teaches me humility. On any given day I can hit a personal best on a certain strength portion of a workout, and ten minutes later the person next to me could leave me in the dust when it comes to the metabolic conditioning portion. There is ALWAYS room for growth both physically and mentally in CrossFit.

#8- CrossFit gives me confidence as a woman. I can hold my own in the gym whether I am up against young boys or older men. I can hang. I can do the same weight as them even though I am smaller, weigh less, or have less testosterone in my body. This confidence follows me to my home where I know I matter as a wife, and will one day matter greatly as a mother. It also follows me to my workplace and ultimately helps me to be an asset to society as a whole. I love being a woman!

#9- CrossFit will help me to help the next generation. My kids will have a healthier life because of the decisions I make today.  CrossFit has encouraged me to make working out a lifestyle and a hobby rather than a job. I won’t just decide to workout when the new year rolls around, or when bikini season comes knocking down the door. Lord willing, my children will see their mom and dad making healthy habits and in turn will decide to do the same with their lives. 

#10- Last but not least, CrossFit has the ability to raise up wonderful coaches, mentors and trainers who are very good at what they do. My husband is just one of the many who are blessed on a daily basis to be able to use this sport as a platform for ministry.  I encourage you to find a coach who truly knows what they are doing and is as excited as you are about getting fit and creating a culture of health and wellness in your life!

I know this blog series was created in order to encourage women to explore different types of exercise until they find what they love. I just want to encourage you to get out there and get moving! CrossFit is by no means the only way to promote healthy lifestyles.  My own mother is a Zumba fanatic and also the cutest little Italian women there ever was! Lastly, if you are ever in the Charlotte area come stop by my husband’s gym (Our second home), Rising Crossfit Ballantyne. We’d love to meet you and share a barbell with you!!

-Jenna

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Are you a busy woman juggling faith, work, home and family?

I am too.

Sometimes women like us can get so focused on helping others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. We don’t set aside time to spend with God, and  workouts fall to the wayside. I get it. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have another minute in my day to spare. But, if we don’t take our spiritual and physical health seriously, we won’t be able to work, serve and love well. We will end up a hot mess of frustration and anxiety.

I hear ya’ sister…that struggle is real, and I feel it every day!

That’s why I am committed to helping women like you refocus their faith and get in shape. Because when we are planted in God’s Word, and feeling healthy and confident, we can go out and do all of those things God calls us to do, and we can do them excellently!

Sign up below and get my 3 Day Faith and Fitness Quick Start Guide for Busy Women. In it you will find 3 days of Bible study (looking at a different Psalm each day), and 3 quick, effective and simple workouts for you to do at home! This guide is totally FREE and will take you less than 30 minutes to go through each day!

 Sign up here, to snag yours!

Best of American Idol

 

American Idol has spun its last cheesy group number, crowned its last champion and given Ryan Seacrest its sign. After watching the finale the other night, I was blown away by the number of talented people who have come through that process. Although I haven’t watched the last couple of seasons, I have been a huge fan for years. So, it feels right to do a little post about the show that gave us Carrie, Kelly and of course, Simon’s V-necks.

If you missed the finale, you need to watch it. It was so good. Like, really ya’ll! Don’t believe me? Here are some of the highlights.

David Bowie Medley

David Cook is by far my favorite dude from American Idol. He is my third favorite over all (yes, there is an intricate rating system, far too advanced for me to write out). He is behind the Carrie and Kelly. But…I still totally love him. I am also pretty fond of Philip Philips and Kris Allen. So this right here, was like a guitar-playing, raspy voice boy lover’s dream.

Carrie and Keith

I love Carrie. We know this. She rocked this song. But, I also love Keith. A lot. So, this was perfection.

Katherine McPhee and Casey James

I think that Katherine McPhee is one of the best singers to ever be on idol. I even watched her on Smash. I don’t really love Casey James all that much, but Katherine and this song…spot on.

Kelly Clarkson Medley

This girl got me teary-eyed with her Piece by Piece performance on idol, and then again with the last song, acapella. Girlfriend has some of the best pipes in the biz, and clearly has a ton of hits. And, there is something so refreshingly normal about her. Which is why she is my second favorite. This medley was totally rock-star!

Carrie Underwood: Something in the Water

Clearly this is my favorite performance of the night. Ya’ll can’t be surprised. You’ve met me. I heart Carrie. I really heart this song. And I heart her breaking down Amazing Grace on national television, with absolute perfection.

 

Now, on to some of my all time favorite performances from seasons past. There were SO MANY that I loved, it was hard to narrow it down to just 5…so I put 6 in here for ya’. But, there could have been 25!!!

Katherine McPhee: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This was kind a magical mix of old fashioned and young and fresh. Simon picked the song. Katherine slayed it!


David Cook:Billy Jean

The things David Cook did on his season of America Idol were crazy awesome. I literally had three different videos in this spot at different times while writing this post. I landed on this one, because I think it is the most memorable, and was a real game changer for him. I also LOVED Hello, and Always Be My Baby (because who would have thought that David could rock a Mariah Carey song).

 

Kris Allen:Heartless

Before he went out, Kris says that this song was a no brainer for him. I remember thinking, “what, the what?!?!” Kanye seems like a no brainer to you. Then he nailed it, way better than Kanye ever could.

Adam Lambert:Tracks of my Tears

I did not love Adam Lambert at all during his season. But this song was unbelievably good, so I had to include it. He hits those high notes like I down a Starbucks…absolutely effortlessly.

Chris Daughtry:Renegade

Unlike Adam, I loved everything Chris did, all season long. I can’t believe he came in 4th and that Taylor Hicks won that season. I am still bitter about it. But, he is a total Idol legend, and this song sealed the deal for him going down as one of the all time greats!

Carrie Underwood:Alone

Obviously, my favorite was going to be a Carrie song. This is the one where Simon tells her she isn’t only going to be the winner, but that she will sell more records than any other idol. He was right, as Simon usually was. Which makes this the perfect song to go out on. She really is Idol’s golden child (her and Kelly), and I think it all started here!

Ya’ll, I could have made this post 8 hours long. Seriously, there were so many songs I loved. I am actually a bit sad to see Idol go, but have loved watching through the years. If you did too, give a shout out to your favorite Idol performance of all time! I would love to watch!

Why You Should Train Functionally

I am pretty passionate about everyone finding a way to squeeze some form of exercise into their lifestyle. So, in an effort to help you find something that is a good fit, I have called in a few experts to share about various types of workouts. When I was thinking through the different experts I would want to share with ya’ll, Rob was the first who came to mind!

(Rob led my personal training certification class. If you are living in Bangkok, and thinking about becoming a PT, I highly recommend Evolution Fitness.)

What I love about Rob is that he really knows what he is talking about, but comes across super genuine, super relatable, and not too impressed with himself! He also has a great holistic view of fitness, and really trained us to think not only about what would be most effective for our clients, but what would be most fun for our clients! So, I am excited to have him first up in this series to talk about functional training and its benefits! FYI…This is one of my favorite ways to train!

I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 10 years and feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to train with, work with and learn from many brilliant trainers and coaches in many different fields. The beauty of this was my exposure to many varied approaches and styles and the opportunity to learn all about them first hand and eventually forge my own approach and understanding to apply to and share with the clients, athletes and fellow trainers/coaches I work with. The reason I begin by mentioning this is I believe everyone should take the opportunity to do the same thing, to explore movement and exercise to filter through and find something that not only works for you,  but something that you actually enjoy, like being a kid and playing again. I don’t ever remember play being a ‘chore’ or ‘hard work’, and neither should your workouts be.

If my style or approach to training or conditioning had to be pigeon holed into a category or name, functional training would be the category I would be placed in. Functional training is described as using non-traditional strength training tools and non-traditional exercises while using a multi-dimensional approach to movement. However, in my opinion, functional training doesn’t exist. What I mean is that functional training refers to the approach of training a specific client for a specific task/function. That means there will never be 1 approach that is fitting for 2 different people. What does exist is training for a function, for a specific task or requirement (eg, pitching a baseball – being able to stop, turn and accelerate – swinging a golf club – carrying grandkids) when training for a specific function you also have the fun of utilizing all the available training tools available at your dispense. When creating a program for a specific function, we look at movement patterns within the body, how the body moves in space (in all 3 planes of motion), how well the body can control different speeds and forces (accelerate, decelerate, dynamically stabilize and come to balance), what kind of ranges the body is capable of and needs and how strong and stable it is throughout all of that. This enables me to see what areas are lacking and need to be focused on in my programing.

The exciting thing about functional training is that you are never limited or restricted with training possibilities or exercise variations. Likewise, the training tools/equipment now available in the functional training realm is huge and extremely versatile meaning training possibilities are endless. This helps make workouts fun again and allow you the freedom of play!

If you want to try a workout like the one described above, and live in Bangkok, stop by New Moves for a class! If you are in Lexington SC, the Bodyshop is amazing! If you are in neither of those places, you might want to look up a gym nearby that offers boot camp kinds of classes. Often (not always), those types of places will offer functional workouts!

You can follow Rob on:

New Moves Instagram/Facebook/Website/Personal Instagram/NASM Personal Trainer Course

A Little About Rob:

Rob Cook Graduated from the Australian Institute of Fitness as an Executive Master Trainer and went on to start his first Personal Training/Bootcamp Business on the Gold Coast, Australia. After that, began travelling and working with elite athletes, celebrities and business executives throughout the UK, US & Canada. While in the UK, Rob began studying with FASTER Global and attained his Diploma in Functional Performance and Diploma in Functional Therapy amongst others. He is now the Head Educator/Mentor for FASTER Global in the regions of Asia Pacific where he travels often, teaching courses to educate other trainers. Rob is the Head educator in Thailand for NASM and presents for Freemotion Fitness. He now resides in Bangkok, Thailand where he proudly Founded NewMoves with his team of trainers.  They work with Diplomats, celebrities, expatriates and athletes while specializing in conditioning, rehab and many other aspects of the fitness industry. Rob is often featured in publications such The Bangkok Post, GQ Thailand and Lifestyle Asia to name just a few. Like I said…he knows his stuff ya’ll!

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