Princesses, Planks and 4am

Just as Princess Merida professes in Brave, I truly believe we all have to create our own destiny, not wait for it to knock on our door. I have had a string of awesome opportunities (some mentioned in my recent blog post) in the past few weeks… all centered around these same basic principles: fitness, friends, family, fun.  Although it sometimes seems that I am being pulled in a million different directions, it truly is just one direction.  Whether it is a single client or friend, a class full of people, a virtual group, or my family – helping people discover their drive, move their bodies, feel good and share that feeling is what I love to do and what I do best.

16998167_10211593332724050_8337108618579068431_nAbout a week ago I had a “magical” day at Disney with my oldest daughter, Grace.  No, it wasn’t in Cinderella’s castle sipping tea – it involved getting a 11 year old tween out of bed at 4am and waiting for the start of the Disney Princess 5K in EPCOT with 1000s of our closest friends.  This idea started last summer when Grace decided to make a Bucket List board – she cut out pictures from magazines and printed out things from online that she wanted to do by the end of the summer.  We did a few of her ideas, kept us busy in the summer, mostly involving getting ice cream and going to the park.  However, one thing she wanted to do was a Disney 5K.  It got me thinking if we were going to do a Disney race, we should make it a fundraising effort.  One organization that I am passionate about is the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  I’ve gotten to know more about this organization over the past two years, as my efforts a “Recess Mom” have ramped up.  (More to come in future blogs about the lack of recess and our efforts to restore it for elementary students in Florida…)  The Alliance for a Healthier Generation aims to create healthy changes that build upon one another and create a system, a nation, that makes the healthy choice the easy choice.  They provide in-school and community programming, research and support to aid in creating healthy environments everywhere that children learn, live & play.  We were happy to raise over $1000 and awareness about this awesome organization.

This blog is all about how “It’s Not Supposed to be Easy”.  The idea came from a combination of my experiences as a fitness trainer and my experiences as a mom.  16939418_10211550701378293_5881711709402689338_nEspecially now that I am the mom of two tweens, 9 and 11 year old girls, the drama has stepped up and EVERY task just seems impossible to them.  I feel it is my duty to instill in them the values that YES – tasks may seem hard, challenging, even impossible… but you must push through this uncomfortable period and figure out a way to the other side.  Homework may be hard, relationships with new friends may be challenging, waking up at 4am to do a 5K may seem impossible – but let’s put it in perspective.  We can do this, let’s put one foot in front of the other and get it done.  So, that’s what we did that fateful Friday morning of the Disney Princess 5K.  We got out the door and to the start line of the race.  Now, I loosely call this a race – it was an untimed 50 minute jaunt through EPCOT complete with plenty of picture stops along the way.  I was so glad that we could do this together, just the two of us.  Plus we knocked an item off her Bucket List, which she mentioned several times throughout the day 🙂  With three kiddos at three different developmental stages, it is tough to really tune into what they are saying and needing from me each day.  It was a great day to connect and enjoy time with each other.

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My first 13.1 – the Women’s Running Half in November 2010

The rest of the day after the 5K was also magical and fun – and included another amazing opportunity.  I found out in early February of this year that I was chosen to be a Skirt Sports Pro Ambassador, and was so excited!  Skirt Sports is an awesome company which introduced the running skirt to the market over 10 years ago.  The founder of Skirt Sports, Nicole DeBoom, is actually a childhood hero of mine – she grew up in the same town as I did, Downers Grove, IL.  She was a few years older than me, but I knew her from her name being up on the swimming record boards and her pictures and awards in the high school trophy cases.  In a town that did not necessarily have a swimming legacy, she was the local phenom.  Flash forward to 2010 when I became the local team leader for a running group in St Petersburg, FL called IRunMommies and I was able to meet Nicole.  Our IRunMommies uniforms were custom made for us by Skirt Sports, and this was my first “run in” with the brand.  Nicole was in town that year with the company for the Women’s Running Half Marathon Expo and I was excited just to say hi and that I was also from Downers Grove.  She was so genuine and kind, a true Midwestern gal 🙂  I couldn’t help but fall in love with Skirt Sports, and I recruited all my mommy runner friends to learn to love to run in SKIRT as well!

 

Another flash forward to 2017, a few years of running under my belt (in Skirt Sports, of 16939508_1895643830716558_5952122831447664567_ncourse!), added another baby to the mix, sold my fitness business after ten years – and what was next?  The opportunity came about to apply for the Ambassador program and I jumped on that chance.  After I made the cut, Skirt Sports announced a new #REALwomenmove Challenge launching this year.  It would include free training plans, exclusive product lines, video support, partner discounts, and a supportive Facebook group.  Sounds like it fits right in with my “fitness, friends, family, fun” mantra!  I reached out to Nicole, and she was looking for a fitness expert to submit weekly Facebook Live videos.  Done and done.

Grace was my (begrudged) videographer for a fun & fast five minute fit tip at noon on the day of that Disney Princess 5K.  We enjoyed the morning walking around Disney Springs, Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.49.43 PMhad a quick lunch at Planet Hollywood and grabbed a shady spot perfect for planks.  I wanted to share my video here, but since the #REALwomenmove Challenge is a private Facebook group, the gods of Facebook won’t let me share.  Here is a screenshot so you can see me in all my barefoot fitness glory, of course in Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze Capris!  The Challenge group is a FREE group, you just need to click HERE to go to the Skirt Sports website and a link will be emailed to you.  I hope you will join us and, of course, check out a quick workout with me each Friday – but also gain a supportive group of women from all over the country training for everything from a 5K to an Olympic distance triathlon.

This was a quick weekend full of challenges, not taking the easy way out, inspiring others and FUN.  I’m looking forward to my next Friday Five Minute Fit Tip, I hope you will join our group of 800+ women and give me suggestions for what exercises you would like me to incorporate.

Have you done a race or fitness inspired event with your family?  Was it something you wanted to do or something the kids wanted to do?  How do you make fitness a priority for your family?

 

Back to Boot Camp

 

It’s been close to a year (!!) since I sold my Baby Boot Camp franchise in St Petersburg, and I’ve been dabbling in fitness here and there in these past few months.  It was so hard to pass my Baby Boot Camp franchise on to another owner, and basically start a new era in my life as a mom.  I was 25 years old when I had my first daughter, Grace, and new to the St Petersburg, FL area.  I had a degree in Exercise Science, and a background in competitive swimming through the collegiate level.  What I did not have was any experience teaching fitness classes, building supportive communities or motivating others.  I just knew that I enjoyed being a part of inspirational groups and working out with others.

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One of my first StrollerFit classes in Tampa with two month old Gracie, when I was training to be an instructor

So I purchased the franchise, learned how to teach a class from my mentor Kristen Prentice who operated her StrollerFit (later bought by Baby Boot Camp) classes in Tampa, and jumped in.  It was NOT easy.  It was a challenge for me to step outside my comfort zone and “perform” in front of people who I didn’t know and lead them in a workout.  I didn’t know many people in the area, especially any new moms, so it was a new experience for me to talk to everyone I met and invite them to try a class.  These things seem so second nature now because I’ve been doing them every day for 10+ years, but everything we do in life is new & challenging at some point in time.  For some reason, I knew this would be a good thing for me & my baby and for the community as well – so I wanted to continue to try new things and push myself.  It was repeated process of new opportunities and new ways to engage with the community, not to mention new stages in our family life with baby Grace & two years later baby Jocelyn.

For 10 years I had many challenges, successes and failures along the way as both a business owner and a mom.  When I came to the point in early 2016 of realizing that I would soon have a middle schooler, an elementary student and a toddler… it seemed like Baby Boot Camp was not the best fit for our family.  After all, teaching stroller fitness was always meant to be an opportunity for me to work outside the home a bit, meet friends & have a supporting community, but most importantly have quality time with my family.  Since I sold the business, I have been keeping busy with a variety of other smaller projects capitalizing on many of the skills I was able to hone as the owner of my own small business.  Just in the past year I have worn and continue to wear all of these hats: Area Developer for Fresh Meal Plan, private swim instructor & coach, Heart Healthy Presenter with American Heart Association, Lagree trainer at Studio Physique, kids running & triathlon coach, volunteer lobbyist & wellness advocate for the Public School Recess Bill.

Two opportunities I had in the last month really got me back to my BOOT CAMP roots and got me to thinking… what is next?  What should I pursue in the future to make the best use of my time and help the most people?  Should I take the easy way out or try something new?  The first super amazing opportunity was to lead a beach boot camp for my friend, Matt Maddix‘s Family Retreat on Clearwater Beach.  Matt and his son, Caleb, are motivational speakers, authors, life coaches – you name it.  They host a retreat for families from across the country a few times a year and it was an honor to be included.  I was awesome to see families, kids, moms & dads come together for partner activities and exercises.  They were cheering each other on, trying new things, and congratulating each other for doing a great job.  This boot camp was one of the first events of the family retreat weekend and one of the first opportunities for the families to test themselves both physically and mentally.  If you are interested in more information about the Matt & Caleb’s next retreat, please join their Facebook Group: Five Star Parents.  Check out a quick video from our workout and follow along at home!


I’ll be sharing more about the other opportunity I had recently to bring back my boot camp background and share fitness & fun with others in my next blog.  But here’s a teaser – it had to do with one of my newest endeavors as a Pro Ambassador with Skirt Sports!

Is your career path constantly changing as your family and life goals change?  Are you following your passion or stuck in your job?  Was it easy for you to find your path or were there some bumps along the road?