let’s be friendsInstagramPinterest
Go
Category: Motivation View all posts
ready to make real, lasting change?

ready to make real, lasting change?

check out these tips to make real, lasting change in your life!
> Read Full Post
active nation day september 25th!

active nation day september 25th!

join us at ballpark village for the 3rd annual active nation day! register at dimvaloo.com.
> Read Full Post
Sally

Sally

I know a few things about Monica for sure. One, there’s not a fake thing about her; two, she works harder in one day than I do in a decade; and three, she surrounds herself with the goods – solid, strong people and loving, caring relationships. Take Sally King, for example. When Monica and I sat down to talk about Sally, her usually high energy shifted and calmed. Here’s a bit from that chat, in Monica’s words. I met Sally at Shaw Park Pool ten years ago when our kids were playing together in the baby pool. There was just something about her that drew me to her.  I can’t tell you exactly what it was, but I just had this feeling and I wanted to go talk to her. Physically, I could see she was fit and I had just started teaching my outdoor boot camp in Forest Park.  So I went over to her and started a conversation.  I was so nervous.  As soon as I started talking to Sally, I relaxed and knew  there was just something about her. I introduced myself and we started talking. She told me she ran with her dad on Saturdays and invited me to join them some time.  I told her about my boot camp and gave her my card.  She came to my class and she has never stopped coming.  Fast forward ten years and she’s not only one of my best friends in the whole world, our girls are best friends too. There was just something about her.  I was drawn to her; I love her. She is one of a group of ladies that became close because of the boot camp. Sally loves to run; she can run like no one’s business.  A group of us from the Forest Park boot camp started running together on Sundays. We wouldn’t even know how far we ran or what our time was; it was our time together. We talked the entire time we ran.  The joke was that as long as we were running Sally would give us therapy for free (she is a licensed therapist). It was amazing – just amazing. Sally really got into her running. She ran and ran and ran and ran. She decided she was going to do a marathon and ran Chicago in 2009, then Boston in 2010. It was huge – Boston is like the holy grail of running, right? While Sally was training for the marathon she was cross training with my classes and I was training her. We had so much fun!   In early 2014 I noticed something was off – she was putting too many miles in and her hip started bothering her. I noticed that she drug her hip behind her a little and we decided she needed to dial it back a bit, but her hip didn’t get better.  In class it looked as if her hip wasn’t responding, kind of like it wasn’t connected to the rest of her body. I would ask her about it and she would kind of blow it off, say ‘Yeah, it kind of hurts; maybe I need new shoes.’ This woman has never complained a day in her life. Something was wrong. In May of 2014 Sally went to an orthopedist and found that she was born with a hip that faces forward a bit and had basically blown all the cushion out of her hip joints. So now she is bone to bone, no cartilage. Sally had never had pain in her life, has never taken a pill for anything.  And Sally loves to run; it’s her outlet and her medicine. She was 42 years old - she didn’t want to stop running, and I can’t blame her. The doctors suggested she cut her miles down and she did. We all held her accountable and it killed her because she was missing out on our runs.  That time was when we would all connect. The dynamic changed, and it was so hard for her. She knew we were still running and she couldn’t. It took Sally about a year to accept her diagnosis. She was pissed, and I don’t blame her. She tried stem cell cartilage rejuvenation, and a couple other things, but her hip continued to get worse. It was bad. Three weeks ago Sally made the decision to get a hip replacement. This was a huge decision for her.  This woman is busy.  She has two teenagers, a husband with a very busy work schedule, her own therapy business, volunteers at her kids’ schools all while being an amazing mother, wife, daughter, friend, sister and aunt. I mean, she works her ass off. Her determination is strong, but her job of taking care of herself sometimes just goes to the wayside. But now she’s taking care of herself and I couldn’t be more proud. She’s getting her hip replaced on June 22nd and she’ll run again. She continues to do yoga and she does my classes and has learned how to listen to her body. She didn’t always listen to her body but she learned. She moves it every single day, no matter how busy she is. I couldn’t be more inspired by someone who accepted it, took it, did what she could do, tried all the therapy she could and when it didn’t work, she did what she was most scared of doing. She’s getting a new hip and she’s moving on. How inspiring is that?    
> Read Full Post
my thoughts on group fitness classes

my thoughts on group fitness classes

by Risa Brown It was about nine years ago that a friend of mine finally convinced me to go to an outside boot camp in Forest Park at 8am on a Saturday morning…what????  8am on Saturday morning?  Ok fine, I will give it a try, I work out, heck I even worked out with a trainer for a short while.  I was fit…I was not scared…my biggest fear was getting up in time to make it there by 8am!  Well, that should not have been my biggest fear!  I got there and met Monica, she is not only gorgeous and has an amazing body, but she was friendly and immediately made me feel comfortable.   Boot camp started and I was still not scared, I already made it there.  Then we were told to run up art hill as fast as we couls because, “it is not a race, but don’t let that bitch beat you,” and then we were to recover by jumping rope.  What?!?!  In my mind you recover by sitting down and having a drink.  Monica taught me about active recovery, she taught me that when you feel like you are going to puke that is when change is happening.  She also taught me that my body is able to do much more than I would have ever thought.   After my first class, I was hooked.  I was not only hooked on the great workout, but Monica created a group of women that were so supportive, welcoming, fit and funny.  These women became some of my best friends.  They started out as my “workout friends”...and now they are my lifelong friends that have helped and supported me through some of the hardest times of my life.   Oh, wait, I am supposed to be writing about group fitness classes…going to Monica’s classes gave me the confidence to try other classes.  I love the camaraderie. Having these people around me makes me want to do my best.  I want to be the person in the class who helps to keep the energy going…so it motivates me to keep going even when I may want to quit…I don’t want to let my classmates down.    Monica does not do her classes as Forest Park anymore, now she is at Core3 Fitness, still kicking ass, but with air conditioning and sans the bugs!  I look forward to going to klean&lean cardio fit camp to see friendly faces and catch up, as well as meet new “work out friends,” oh yeah and to get my butt kicked…as Monica says, “this time is for you, get out of your head.”  She is right, it works and I always leave class feeling so much better than when I got there!
> Read Full Post
get out of your comfort zone

get out of your comfort zone

to learn that i was diagnosed with RA about a year ago was, to say the least, depressing and scary.  when i saw scans of my hands and feet with erosions on most knuckles, i was so scared of what the future was going to hold.  my crazy mind went to a dark spiral.   i initially tried to control my symptoms and pain through diet with no avail.  upon hearing my doctor's strong "advice", i agreed to take the heavy hitting drugs to help stop the progression of my disease.   my body feels best when it's MOVING, so that's what i do. somedays are easier than others but i ALWAYS feel better after a good sweat. weekly workouts consist of weekend runs with my bffs, DOING everything in the classes i teach, bikram yoga three times a week, and one day of NOTHING. i have practiced bikram yoga for the past nine years. i am addicted. my body CRAVES it as well as my mind.  I've come to realize i would NEVER be able run and jump around without the healing it provides. i am forever grateful.  the class is hot, there are a lot of rules, you do the same 26 postures every single time, and it's incredibly challenging.  it's a never ending PRACTICE of moving meditation on your breath.  bikram heals from the inside out.
> Read Full Post
what's hot at the market?

what's hot at the market?

What’s hot at the market Summer is a great time of year to get your pasty winter self outdoors and out of your winter food rut. Take a hike down to your local farmer’s market and check out the fresh produce, local meats, hand crafted cheeses and array of other one-of-a-kind products. Farmer’s markets have three things that make them great; They’re inexpensive, filled with healthy choices, and the food you get there tastes better. It’s a win-win-win. I’m a frequent flier at farmers markets, and here’s what we’re seeing in St. Louis this spring. StrawberriesThey may not be as big and red as the ones at Schnucks or Diebergs, and there’s a good reason for that. These locally grown, often organic strawberries are the real deal – full of flavor, fresh from the farm and ready to add to salads, make into a jam or, like my daughter does, eat in the car. Lettuces and GreensLettuce is a cold weather crop, and we’ve had plenty of icy temperatures to support a plentiful harvest. Many different varieties of lettuce can be found, including red leaf, green leaf, arugula, spring mix or bib. There’s also plenty of kale and a variety of exotic locally gown, unique greens. AsparagusHarvested from March until June, this early spring crop is seeing a lot of shelf space at local markets. We love it blanched, but asparagus is versatile, so buy lots and try it different ways. PeasGarden, snap and snow peas are an eat-as-they-are favorite. This year they seem to be crisper and more flavorful than ever. Check out future Sizzlicious! posts for great recipes, or simply toss in a salad for an easy flavor blend. RhubarbWe saw the first appearance of rhubarb last week, and it looked beautiful! Don’t be afraid of this strange and wonderful vegetable. Look for brightly colored, heavy stalks that shine. Talk to the vendors about how to whip this up into a yummy dessert. Radish and TurnipsBoth these salad staples are best grown and harvested in the spring. Local farmers have plenty to sell, so look up some recipes and buy a bunch. Before you pack up the kids and head out, here are a few reminders about farmer’s markets:*Bring cash. Most vendors are local peeps like you and me. Although some will take credit or debit cards, most only accept cash, small bills preferred. In our house, we save small bills and change all week to be ready for weekend trips.*Talk to the vendors. They’re the experts. Not sure what something is? I get it – everything looks green and leafy. Don’t be shy about asking – vendors are usually the farmers themselves and love to talk trade. And sometimes they even have a unique recipe or tip you’re not likely to find on the internet.*Plan, but be flexible. I really hate to buy produce and not be able to use it before it goes bad. We try to research a recipe or two before heading out the door to make sure we’re efficient. That’s my husband – the planner. I’m more of an “Oh, that’s pretty!” kind of shopper. We’ve discovered a few favorites this way, so bring a list, but keep your eyes out and minds (and mouths!) open.
> Read Full Post
when backsliding is a good thing

when backsliding is a good thing

When backsliding is a good thing by Sharon Linde Last month, I met with Monica for the first time to talk about my food and exercise needs. I’m already relatively active, and my primary concern was maintaining my health as I age. I’m staring down the genetic barrel of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and joint issues. I want to make sure I’m taking care of what I need to now, so I don’t wake up in 20 years too unhealthy to go to the park with my grandkids. I’d visited doctors last summer to determine this exact thing and left disappointed and dejected. One wanted me to keep two months of detailed food diaries (are there people out there capable of this?); the other dismissed my worries as something ‘all women my age’ fretted about. I answered all of Monica’s questions about what I ate and when, how I felt afterwards (almost always NOT GOOD), and spelled out my concerns. She asked me if I trusted her, and I did. Then she flipped my life. Right off the bat, she zeroed in on two culprits – sugar and dairy – and ripped them right out of my world. I’d been off sugar years before, and knew the massive problems it caused in me. (More about that in The Sugar Series). I also knew the huge benefits of not consuming the stuff, so although it’s a super bummer to not eat it, I knew I could. But ice-cream? And cheese? Does the plan come with therapy? I saw results immediately. Stomach aches, which I had daily, were gone within a week; lethargy, irritability and joint pain, two. As my physical symptoms decreased, though, I noticed something else immerging – being hyper vigilant about what I ate began bleeding over into other parts of my life. Being intentional with food, taking the specific time and energy necessary to control my health, started to become how I approached other things too. It caused me to slow down, in a way, to measure not just my food intake but my inertia towards living.I sailed through the first month, feeling better every day. And then, last week struck. It was one of ‘those weeks’; the car blew, I had big deadlines, my mom became seriously ill, and the holiday loomed. All that intention went right out the window as I was forced to eat on the run, if at all. Because one thing Monica taught me was that I tended to not eat enough calories, and therefore harm my body, I sought calorie dense, quick foods. In short, by Saturday it seemed like a great idea to have nachos from Qdoba. The whole week was an otherworld experience. It seemed so completely out of my control, when in reality, it wasn’t. I was simply unprepared to not have the quantity of time and energy I needed to eat well. The fallout was my newfound intentional lifestyle was replaced by a chaotic one, topped off with several days of severe stomach pain, followed by a few days of general discomfort. Oy. Being bad did not, in any way, feel good. I saw Monica at yoga Monday morning and relayed my week, expecting a firm talking to or at least a head whack. Instead, she asked me if I’d learned – how to do better, how to prepare better, and how much I truly wanted to feel better. Sometimes, she said, you just need to backslide to gain perspective. It was only from that spot, way down in belly-ache, cranky hell, that I fully experienced and recognized, again, how much being healthy meant to me. I’d love to say I’ll never slip up again. I don’t plan to; in fact, I’ve made an emergency plan for the next hell week or vacation or whatever else throws me off. But I probably will, because I’m just a human, and humans are mistake monsters. Like all the other tools Monica gave me, I’ll keep this one belted for when that happens. And hopefully, I’ll be able to kick myself out of it a bit quicker, or at least before I pass Qdoba.    
> Read Full Post
support systems

support systems

   you’ve all heard the depressing statistics: 95% of dieters fail within a year and 70% of people who go to the gym quit within the first three months. ugh. sorta makes you want a cookie, right? not so fast. diet and nutrition experts know another little fact: people who diet with a friend, spouse, group or any other type of network lose more weight and keep it off longer than those who go it alone. turns out having a support and accountability system is just as, and sometimes even more important, than the exercise and food plan you choose. here’s why a fitness system works. THE ACCOUNTABILITY FACTOR we all break promises to ourselves from time to time, and have learned to be forgiving. it’s much harder to break a promise to someone else. when you set fitness goals with others, you’re more likely to keep them – you know they’re counting on you, and you don’t want to let them down. factor in a group of people, and the accountability increases. joining groups online, with friends at the gym, or with co-workers ups it because you know you’ll have to come clean to them, and that’s uncomfortable if all you have to report is watching the entire series of Orange is the New Black and a pizza. GETTING OVER THE HUMPS we all have days (or weeks) when our motivation lags. being part of a support group means built-in cheer leaders. they’ll pick you up, brush you off and put you back on the right track in a short amount of time, which leads to quicker recovery from your slide. it feels great to reach out to a friend and know she’ll grab the donut out of your hand and push you on the running path, all with a sense of humor (and maybe a little cussing). THERAPY having a buddy makes working out fun. time goes by more quickly when you talk, laugh, gossip and commiserate. like all uncomfortable events, taking your mind off things helps to motor through. plus, it’s a great time to catch-up with other busy friends. regular workouts with friends are a great way to feel like part of a team with common goals and life choices. so don’t go it alone, for the reasons mentioned above and many others. pay just as much attention to your support system as you do to your food and exercise program. at the end of the day, you’ll need them all.       
> Read Full Post