Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Progress Day

It is three years ago tomorrow that while I was running, I was chased by an unknown assailant (click here for the story). Thank you so much for your support and prayers while I may have needed more help than normal and for such an ongoing amount of time. I am sincerely thankful for all the prayers, positivity, and patience with me during all that mess. I have been so frustrated and so focused on my recovery, that I haven't kept this blog very well.

After my first foot surgery, I was told by my first doctor that I would never run again. After that surgery my foot broke again, while I was simply walking. I sought a new doctor. 

After the second foot surgery, I asked the second doctor if I would ever run again, he said, “Do you want to run again?” I told him that I did, he said, something along the lines that if I were patient with my healing, I could “do anything that I set the mind to do."

I have worked very hard to be as patient I can be. I am not fast and I don't go very far right now, but I can run! On that note... Tomorrow I will be celebrating by going for a run. 

If there has been something in your life, that you feel you have had to work with all your patience for, I would like to encourage you to begin to act. Put that patience to work and progress that thing in whatever way is appropriate for you, at this time.

To me, November 1st is now "Progress Day". How will you progress yourself today?

Live, love, fight for YOU and don’t hold back. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Fog

There was a particular few days during sixth grade that were unusually foggy. I walked nearly a mile to get to school with my younger sister, Rebecca. She was very nervous and scared; so was I.

In efforts to make the situation better for Rebecca, I pretended to be unafraid. I was surprised that she believed me. In hindsight, I think she needed so desperately to believe I was unafraid, that she ignored my struggling voice, shaky hands, and hurried demeanor.

I recall during that entire walk, that I felt like someone was following us. It was a very haunting feeling that would linger off and on not just that foggy week, but throughout my life.

Rebecca wasn’t insensitive for ignoring my feelings. I was 11 years old; she was three years younger. We were just kids and she needed a fearless big sister, so I did my best. But this memory brings to light the reality that at times, we are oblivious of others feelings, or are so consumed inward, that we do not see the people standing next to us that are also in the midst of something terrifying or overwhelming too.

There are also times when you are the one having to be strong, when on the inside you are screaming in the sinews. Sometimes you are the one standing in a fog, feeling uneasy, and feeling watched. Sadly, sometimes it doesn’t feel as though there is someone there to be fearless for you.

There have been many times in my life where I have felt like I have revisited this kind of foggy journey, alone.

I struggle with anxiety and panic. However, it’s absolutely amazing what you can do when there are rocks in the pit of your stomach, flowing tears, hair standing on end, and frenzied butterflies throughout the body.

Right now, I am listening to soothing bedtime music playing while my son is trying to fall asleep. I am alone and for some reason I feel the stirrings of anxiety knocking.

I am recalling the foggy sixth grade walk and the haunting feelings associated in some odd effort to deconstruct this shit that is internally boiling. And then it occurred to me, of course I would feel the presence of others in a fog. Even that day walking to school, Rebecca and I probably weren’t the only ones walking out there on the way to school - we just couldn’t see them. Why would simply living life be any different? I’m frequently oblivious.

If you drop the cognitive and emotional fog that I am in, I am surrounded. At this moment, in the next room is a sleeping five year old and at my feet are two totally cute dogs. Downstairs I have a tenant. Outside I have my neighbors. I just received a few texts from co-workers, a couple church friends, and two clients, etc.

Sometimes, like right now, I can swear that I feel the entrance of a spirit in the room. Call me crazy, but it feels so real. This spirit has one goal. That is to reach through the fog, hold my hand and let me know that I have nothing to fear.

Ah, could it be Rebecca who is here to hold my hand? Is that why I am recalling this fog story? She passed away a few years ago. What a sweet thing if it is her.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Great find: How to Live To Be 100+

There is a great find on I encourage you to check it out. It is a presentation by Dan Buettner and the title is How to Live to Be 100+. Though I personally am not sure if I want to live to be that old, what I do like about this is that I want to live as healthily and independent as I can until I do pass.  It is with this in mind that Dan's presentation resonated with me.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Dropping major pounds and keeping it off

I would like to challenge the idea that losing a large amounts of weight is about 10% exercise and 90% nutrition. Though this is idea can get you far and it can alter negative behaviors, and certainly create huge changes.

However, I believe that losing a large amount of weight (and keeping it off) is more about: 10% exercise, 40% nutrition, 50% facing what you've been avoiding. This is what is commonly branded as behavior modification and/or change; but I want to take it farther and delve deeper into the specifics.

Regarding disease in this matter. Disease complicates, but it does not stop these efforts.

~ It is a cumulative affect not and immediate result. ~

10% Exercise
Simply getting up and reducing your sedentary lifestyle can work wonders. Then image what could happen if you added purposefully exercise bouts via specific cardiovascular  efforts, strength efforts, flexibility challenges, or all of the above.

Humans are amazing and most of us only use 10% or our brains. What would have if we really devoted 10%  of our efforts to fitness - it is amazing what changes this can bring. Simply making plans to be slightly more active during the day in some way would go very far to making some big changes.

40% Nutrition
If you put crappy fuel into a performance vehicle, in a very short time the performance vehicle would start to run like a rusty Volvo from the 60's with broken windshield wipers. Likewise, if you eat poorly or imbalanced you break, swell, barely inching forward, with very little ability to assist others around you - let alone yourself.

The absolute biggest issue I see in this area as a fitness professional is inadequate hydration, crazy high sugar intake, and sodium intake that is off the charts.

50% Facing What You've Been Avoiding
Addiction: Obsessions.
Anger: Grudge.
Fear (selfishness).
Laziness (a.k.a, disbelief).
Memories of what "used to be".
Being motivational hampered by too much futuristic thinking.

The root of many of the problems I see clients (and myself) facing, seem to stem from one of the following:
Lack of perceived social acceptance.
Lack of commitment or motivation = no follow through.
Poor or unrealistic goal making.
Persistent negative self talk.
Unexplored and unresolved issues.
Not using support resources.

Now, of course there are many serious medical issues that some of this doesn't apply to. However, the greatest of all interruptions that I have professionally seen on this topic, have not been from major health issues. I strongly encourage those in the pursuit of serious weight-loss, to also companion their efforts with a mental health professional, support group, or a highly supportive confidant, while perusing such "weighty" matters.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mind Numbing

Life can be overwhelming. Moving too swiftly, always plugged in to the pulse of
something, and then there are the real cares required to maintain, such as our relationships, family,
homes, and our own health.

I have noticed and experienced that it is incredibly easy to put off the things in our
life that require actual investment of time, connection, energy, planning, and

I see that we disengaged and lazily slip into a mind numbing comma of
entertainment and or living vicariously by stalking idealized relationships or

We all do this to some degree or another. However, there is a difference between
unwinding briefly with sports, news, movies, social media, beverages, and food
versus seeking a purposeful escape from responsibilities or relationships in an
effort to hope those conversations and responsibilities will take care of themselves.

I am not exempt from this; no one is. However, we can strive to: Stop. Unplug. Engage; face-to-face. Create an action plan. Follow through.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Run Gone Horribly Wrong

Last November 1st I was on a run to get training miles in. It was nine to ten in the morning. I was hurrying so that I could make it home in time for church and then we had plans for the evening. It was the only time I could get the miles in that day. But it ended very differently than planned.

Not too far from my house is a irrigation canal and horse path. I've run that trail for years. It was on this run, I understood just how vulnerable I am when running alone.

A man in his mid-to-late twenties jumped out of the bushes on the other side of the canal and hurried over to the low end of the water. He jumped over that part of the canal and ran up the embankment and began to chase me.

When I saw him jump from the bushes and hurry out of them, I picked up my pace. I immediately felt in danger. That was the fastest I ever ever run in my life!

I felt certain that if I ran and never looked back, I would be safe. I knew that if I saved my breath for the running, I wouldn't slow down; I would have enough air to keep my pace and increase evermore.

Nearing the end of the path I could see an elderly woman coming our way. She was moving in such a way that I knew she was not in an physical condition to walk any faster, let alone flee for her life. I yelled with all I had in me, "Stop! Turn around! It's not safe!"

She did turn around and headed toward the street which was not too far away by then. I knew that there was no way she could increase her speed. Knowing this, I knew I would have to stop and say with her. There was no way I would leave her there alone.

As I drew closer to her I yelled, "Is he still behind me?" She yelled back that he wasn't and that he'd recently jumped back in the bushes. As I got closer to the lady I stopped and walked her pace with her and before long we were back on the main road.

Her home was nearby, so I walked her home. We then called the police and made a report. To my knowledge the man was never caught.

I am blessed to have made it out of that situation, however I didn't escape injury free. I ran so hard, so fast, and for so long that once the adrenaline dissipated I was in horrible pain in my left foot.

Over the following weeks and months, I had gone to urgent care a couple of times. I was told repeatedly that I simply had inflamed soft tissue in my foot and that the pain would subside after a few weeks. The doctors didn't see anything in my x-rays that would suggest otherwise.

So I reduced my activity (which is aggravating to do as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor). But every time I resumed activity my foot would hurt.

By the time early February came I got another x-ray and then sent the image to my podiatrist brother-in-law, who lives in another state. I told him the story and about the pain and asked him what more I could do.

He responded by saying, the doctors just aren't x-raying from he correct angle and that it is a common miss from non-specialists. But that he could see the distal end of the first metatarsal was definitely broken (joint of the big toe) and more.

I was able to get into a local podiatrist very quickly and they took another x-ray from the missing angle. We found that indeed there was a jagged break all along the joint. There was also multiple breaks in the medial sesamoid bone that resides under that joint.

After seven weeks in a walking cast, the jagged break was healed. However, the sesamoid bone was not. My doctor modified my shoe insole and put me back into my shoes. I was also outfitted with a bone stimulator to try and help the sesamoid heal.

I have had a number of extensive conversations with my podiatrist and found ways via his advice to be able to continue to teach all my group exercise classes and support the people I personally train. It's been tricky, but I've made it successfully through.

I am now at the point in my healing that the only way to truly return to full activity without pain is to have the sesamoid surgically removed.

I've decided that at this time, I will not pursue surgery. I don't know how my multiple sclerosis (MS) will respond to that, or how I will be affected in extremely more reduced activity.  I am moving now and I still want to celebrate that and take full advantage of it.

Activity is what has mitigated my MS symptoms and issues. I figure, maybe if I have an MS relapse down the road that then I will do the surgery, as I would be down anyway during that time. And  right now, I am only restricted in split lunges, calf raises, running, and things like that where the pressure is too great on that joint area.

In the end, I am safe. I am not recovering from any injuries more serious than this foot issue. I also believe that I was led to that path. Had that elderly woman been alone further down that path... I just hate to think what would have happened to her.

I am blessed. Though really frustrated with my fitness, I am glad that there's nothing else I am recovering from.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Breaking The Mold

Recently I was mocked by a peer. A fellow personal trainer actually said out load that I am an "embarrassment to the fitness industry."

The justification of the claim was because I am not skinny, I am "not as toned as a trainer should be." He said that I lack a level of visually apparent muscle tonality that a fitness industry professional should have. 

He ended with, "true fitness professionals do not have stretch marks, a gut, or an ass as big as [mine]."

This experience has really been like a punch in the gut... the very gut that has stretch marks from major weight gain (thank you steroids for treating MS, binge-eating, caffeine addiction, etc) and major weight-loss (90lbs).

I entered the fitness industry as a means to help others who were like me: 

  • struggling with chronic disease (in my case multiple sclerosis); 
  • using food and beverage as a means for coping through life; 
  • affected by anxiety and/or depression;
  • body image issues;
  • negativity;
  • poor daily life activity; and so much more.

I relayed this experience to another fellow fitness industry professional who knows me and I couldn't thank her enough for her response. 

She said that I am definitely not like the stereotypical fitness professional, but I am a powerful one. She said I'm a motivator with never-ending positivity, tremendous fitness knowledge, skill, and surprising energy. She said that I am a lot stronger than I appear. She said, "so no, you don't fit the mold - you break it."

Another fitness professional said that she has been more of a stinky sweaty mess from one of my classes than any other that she has recently attended.

Though this experience with the meanie fitness professional has hurt my confidence as well as my feelings, I want him to know that: 

  • I sincerely hope if he's ever faced with a debilitating illness that impedes mobility, that he too can overcome it. 
  • I hope that if he ever drinks or eats too much while trying to cope with life, that he can overcome the emotional shame and body image issues that are associated with being overweight or obese. 
  • I hope that even he can overlook his own stretch marks if that occurs.
  • I hope that no matter what comes his way and how his body changes, that when he looks in the mirror that he can not only realistically see the flaws, but also be proud of them and and what those flaws represent.

Today I outran a teenage boy, though I know that in time after I am done training him, that he will outrun me.

Today I spent one hour in proficiency training using TRX and a TRX Rip stick.

Today I completed an intense 58-minute cardio bout.

Today I spent time writing group exercise class designs for Spin, Lift, and TRX/Rip classes that I intend on using.

Now in retrospect, 10-years ago I was out of breath walking down a hall and terrified to step down from a curb without assistance.

I have made an impact to many. My clients have had tremendous success. My family has benefited tremendously.

Here I go, breaking the mold...