smart goal setting gone wrong . . . Use F.E.A.R.

As a trainer I always encourage my clients to use S.M.A.R.T. to formulate their goals.  Even for my personal physical goals I have used these “smart” goals.  Smart goals are great and I will continue to use them in my career for both clients and for my personal purposes.  But it wasn’t till I wanted more in life I had to use F.E.A.R. to understand how to formulate a life of my dreams.





Focus ~ Goals need Focus! Focus of a sniper instinct.  Instead of dreaming of goals, focus creates opportunities to live out the goals.  Discover your goals then focus in on them just like a photographer focuses on an object.

Energy ~ Allowing your passion to fuel you energy will direct your actions to take the right baby steps toward your dream-ful goals.

Attitude ~ Positively, Smile, Laugh!  Life is never as plan! Learning to laugh and smile will help your perspective with your goals.  Being positive in life will  keep the momentum moving in the right direction.

Resilient ~ Self doubt will always creep in if you allow it.  Having a resilient spirit over rules this self doubt. Resilient is demonstrated every minute every moment of each day.

I had to look Fear in the face to be able to take this next step to achieve the life of my dreams.  My passions of life have directed me to make this move for Orlando, Florida.  Leaving all my family, all my friends, and all my co-workers/clients has been one of the most hardest decision in my life. For these people are the ones who have all taught me how to live out my F.E.A.R.s.  Out of gratitude for all they have taught me, I wish I could take everyone with me on this journey. Taking this first baby step (putting my two week notice), I realize we all have very different dreams, and goals that will lead us down different paths.  Theses goals and dreams will strengths us to be the best version we are meant to be. So as I make this jump across the country, I encourage you use F.E.A.R. to create the life you where created to live.


3 benefits working out with a WEAK training partner

Summer bliss, Fun in the sun, Sun out Guns out, are some popular sayings during the summer. One phrase you would hear if you went to a local swim pool or lake is “do you have your swim buddy? ” we had a swim buddy keeping us safe and accountable for not drowning. While at the same we were able to share the joys of summer together.


Today we still use the buddy system, yet this may look very different compared to our swim buddy. It may be grabbing coffee with a co-worker and bouncing ideas off each other, it may be a girl friend to go shopping with. Buddies help each other to be our best, best businessman or finding the best outfit. The buddy system is designed to help each other to be the best we are meant to be.


In the gym world we have our workout buddies. Working out with a buddy can help keep you accountable for getting your workout in and helping you stay on track with your goals. Training with a partner can be so much more than just these good aspects. Here are the benefits of training with a weak partner.


  1. Stronger Mind
  2. Stronger You
  3. Stronger Community


For these benefits to accrue we  need to be open and honest. First, we need to be open with our self, admitting our weakness. This takes mental strength. We all have our strength and weakness, as much we don’t want to admit we have weakness, (speaking for my self here) we do.


Before we can learn we have to admit our starting point, our weakness. This takes guts to admit where we are not strong! It can be scary because it means we have to be vulnerable with each other to gain strength. Being honest with each other invites coaching, learning and progressing. Your buddy  may be stronger in an area you are weak. This allows you to lean how to improve your weakness and transform it into your strength. At the same time you may be strong in an area your partner is weak. You are now challenging each other to learn through strength to improve weakness.


We must be open to weakness, open to learn, open to transform. Only then are we able to convert our weakness as strength. This is when you will have developed a stronger mind.


You will start complementing (verses competing against each other, another blog post on this to come) each other with your strengths and your weakness. Working with each other you will use your strength to transform what could have been your Achilles heel into a powerful force.  Together you will become mighty warriors by working through different limitations. When we recognize we each have different strengths to offer one another, it balancing out our own weakness, creating a stronger you. Once you have developed a stronger you, we start building stronger community.


A strong community is working together and bringing out the best in you, a stronger you. Let us thrive together through this “buddy system” enjoying each other’s strengths. For without our buddy we might be drowning through life.



for every shade of gray there is a Light

Anna Splash GODlove
photo by @aarondixonphotography


Valentine’s is usually a day I despise, with all the hearts and kisses and so call sentimental stuff, reminds me how alone I am as a single women in a man’s world. Yet this year I am extremely in love with myself! Yes I love myself! I am perfectly content with who I am today and who I will be tomorrow. But first I had to learn to be content with my past.   I had to go through 50 shades of grey . . . .


One more drink doesn’t hurt we are just getting to know each other right? One drink lead to another and another and very quickly the poison had control over my body and I was left helpless. Before I could even comprehend my surroundings, this strange man was leading me back to his hotel. . . as I continued to follow him, I was asking myself why are you letting him . . . .


Waking up the next morning I did not recognize whom I had become overnight. As I was staring at myself in the mirror, I had an out of body experience as I watched the true Anna Marie Willard disappear and this new dark person replaced her. Little did I know that moment, I had become someone who had no self-worth, no will power, and no strength to take a stand for her self.


I believed the lies that being sexual is empowering for women. I had friends encouraging me this is so good for you to have control verses the guy having control. I was the one who started making “the calls,” I was the one feeling the urge to drink and become intoxicated allowing the darkness to comfort me before any type of sexual intercourse . . . I needed to feel connected but instead I felt distant. I battled with who I was and as I continued to listen to what the world was telling, I choose to remain in the dark.


After numerous mornings waking up and feeling tired of not recognizing the person in the mirror, I gave up the life of sex and alcohol. I kicked the lies of the world off me! I started my journey to discover my self-worth.   Every day I had to battle the old self by reciting Love poems to myself. I had to keep fighting for myself, and self-worth because the dark person was still lurking and wanting to have control. I was not about to give up discovering the true Anna Marie Willard.


As I read these love poems I was able to discover the Light. The Light of Jesus Christ! I see Him and His unfailing love. This light now shines in me and teaches me to live a purposefully and passionate life! God’s loves me who I am now, who I was in the past and who I will be in the future (for I am fare from perfect). His Light shows me one of the greatest act of love is forgiveness. For me to understand a life full of passion and purpose I let love in and was forgiven!


He continues to save me from this ugly dark side of my human nature. He is my beauty! My light! that shines within me!!! I had to go through these 50 shades of gray for His glory to be revealed to me to see His beauty!


We all have a choice . . . I chose not to see the light at first…

But you can spare going through the darkness …

and being forced to see the light.


Choose the Light

Choose LOVE


for every shade of gray there is a Light:

  1. Whoever has my command and obeys them, he is the one who love me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him ~ John 14:21
  2. Love each other as I have Loved you ~ John 15:12
  3. Love is patent Love is kind it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth it always protects always trust always hopes ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  4. Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength ~ Deuteronomy 6:5
  5. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is Love ~ 1 Corinthians 13:3
  6. Be the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, against such thing there is no law ~ Galatians 5:22 -23
  7. Do not offer the part of your body to sin, as instrument of wickedness, but rather otter yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. ~ Romans 6:13-14
  8. For everything in the world – lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. ~ 1 John 2:15-16
  9. Bu I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. ~ Matthew 5:44-45
  10. How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. ~ 1 John 3:1
  11. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who lived should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
  12. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, decrees and laws. Then you will live and increase and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entirety to possess. ~ Deuteronomy 30:16
  13. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him; whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. ~ 1 John 2:5-6
  14. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you should and with all your mind. This is for fist and greatest commandment. ~ Matthew 22:37-38
  15. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:2
  16. Love bears all things, believes all things, hope all things, and endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7
  17. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. ~ Proverbs 27:19
  18. But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8
  19. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5
  20. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39
  21. We love because God loved us first. But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God if we don’t love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: love God and love each other. ~ 1 John 4:19
  22. Set your affection on the thing above, not on things on the earth ~ Colossians 3:2
  23. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. ~ James 4:4
  24. Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich. ~ Proverbs 21:17
  25. But I tell you that anyone who looks at women lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Matthew 5:28
  26. Flee from sexual immorality all other sins a man commites are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you know know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
  27. And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But see his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well. ~ Luke 12:29-31
  28. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:5
  29. For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the god of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit – a wife who married young, only rejected,” says your God “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer ~ Isaiah 54: 5-8
  30. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you ~ Isaiah 42:9
  31. Search me, O God and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts ~ Psalms 139:23
  32. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. ~ Psalms 55:22
  33. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flow from it. ~ Luke 12: 29
  34. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Luke 12: 34
  35. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:10
  36. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance and his holy people. ~ Ephesians 1:18
  37. You will see me and find me when you seek me with all your heart ~ Jeremiah 29:13
  38. You see, at just the right time. When we were still powerless. Christ died for the ungodly ~ Romans 5:6
  39. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sine atoned for” ~ Isaiah 6:7
  40. So that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky ~ Philippians 2:15
  41. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ~ Jeremiah 17:9
  42. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
  43. Blessed are those who keep his statutes, and seek him with all their heart. ~ Psalm 119:2
  44. In righteousness you will be established; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. ~ Isaiah 54:14
  45. For in Chris Jesus the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  ~ Galatians 5:6
  46. In your struggle against sin, you have not test desisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says “My son, dod not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” ~ Hebrew 12: 4-5
  47. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awakened love until it so desires.  ~ Song of Solomon 2: 7
  48. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them ~ Luke 7:8 
  49. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 
  50. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3: 16-19 

the ME in team

A little over a week ago we watched the devastating lost of the Seahawks to the Patriots in the 49th Super Bowl. Since then there have been many inspiring posts reflecting the Seahawk’s attitude and their amazing season.


I have to admit (again) I have never been a huge football/Super Bowl fan; however, after reading a blog post from Adrian Robles ( — a good friend and mentor – I was inspired to write how the Seahawks have impacted my life. My hope with this post is that you may be impacted the same way.


There is a ME in team. I have always loved playing team sports (basketball was my fav) for they created  opportunities to bring out the best in others. We all had different roles with one specific goal — > TO WIN. Understanding our individual roles, it unites us together to fight for the main purpose.


Russell Wilson and the Seahawks demonstrated this beautify in the playoff game before the super bowl (sorry – I know it is a championship of something before the super bowl – do hate). Even though I did not watch the game, the entire city and maybe the entire country talked about the amazing win. After hearing rumors of the amazement, I had to check it out.


Watching highlights from the game, I soon had chills for I knew what it felt like having 3-4 minutes on the clock without the lead score; the familiar emotions of fear and hopeless rushed over me as I caught glimpses of the game. Even though I had the advantage of knowing the outcome. The Seahawks win was amazing, but what stood out to me (as it did for many of us) was the post-game interview with Russell Wilson. His fearlessness to proclaim God’s love and His work in his life astonished me.  Seeing his fearlessness gave me the courage for this post.


Russell Wilson did not see fear; he kept his eyes on hope, hope for the win, hope in God. Like he said as a team they kept fighting the fight and did not doubt. They believed in each other and they believed in themselves. They believe in the ME in team uniting them as one to win! Russell (from what I understand) probably had one of his worst games with (what was it?) four interceptions at the beginning of the game? Yet his teammates very doubted him and he never doubted them. Most importantly he never doubted himself. He kept believing in the ME in team. They all believed in each other to do their role they were set out to do for the win.


A team unites our difference, the ME in team means embracing one another to be our best even at our weakest moments.


There are times in life when it can feel  all odds are against us (similar to this particular game). It becomes hopeless. This past October it felt like all odds against me. I was schedule for my first surgery to remove some bone spurs in my foot; after the car that I had since college broke down several times (aka silver rose) I was forced to shop for a new car, the same week my mother was schedule to have her brain tumor removed. Everyday felt like I was waking up out of a horrible nightmare literally saying to myself “wow glad that was a just a dream,” but once I would walk to my new car in the morning I realized this was my reality. Scared and fearfully for the future, I started to feel lost. As I started opening up to my clients they helped me see the light and to have hope. They believed in me and helped me to have the strength to struggle well through the unknown. I had to be real with “me” and my current status for other to do the same; to show their strength embracing their “me.”


Through the support of this team, this community, I am surrounded by, I was able to find a joyful strength despite my odds. I am happy to say I have a new car (aka madam blue beery), I am healing quickly, and most important my mother is healthy and healing and tumor free!


Thank you Seattle Seahawks for having hope and seeing the light, for having a dream and following the calling, for believing by doing! By your doing I see the light, I hear the call, I will believe.

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint ~ Isaiah 40:31 photo by aarondixonphotography



Beauty n BEAST #likeagirl

Tasha Whelan: a Beauty and a BEAST! And my best friend! –

These last four years I have been living in a man cave aka the gym. At first I thought it was a flirtatious fun being the only female trainer.  Very quickly I found how lonely it became. I discovered the importance of having girl friends in this industry and this is when I found my best friend, Tasha Whalen.  I have been blessed to be part of her beautify transformation of becoming a world class lifter!  She encourages me everyday with her Fearless spirit as she continues to conquer her dreams demonstrating what I like to call having an “Iron Will.” Enjoy reading Tasha’s journey!

photo by  aarondixonphotography
She is sponsored by GENXLABS  Athlete, Alpha Project Athlete. She holds USPA State and national records in bench press, squat, and deadliest.  Just this past November she took 2nd place IPL World Championships in Las Vegas.  photo by aarondixonphotography

Tasha is a strong mo fo! Despite our crazy schedules limiting our time to lift, talk or just hang out together we are still best friends. We share the same struggles of being a woman in a man world and never being able to “man up.” Instead we “women up” everyday! We show this through our stronger strength in our smiles, in our attitude, and in our beauty. Creating a mask to our deeper strength. Yes we may lift some heavy shit but there is a deeper reason why we lift heavy. Tasha and I train completely different but our purpose of why we train is the same. We unite together to give women space in the gym through our silent strength. We train with a purpose.


  1. Question how did you get into the fitness world?

Tasha: When I was young and in school, I was never the pretty girl, never the smart or popular girl but, I was always the tough girl. The girl who could out run all the kids, all the boys. I had something in me that always wanted to prove to the boys that I was just as good or better and sports, being strong, fast. I completed against them so they always knew girls are just as good. I good run or throw “like a boy”, do push ups and pull-ups better than the boys. I remember as a kid, boys always telling me I couldn’t do things because I was “like a girl”. So I showed them what “like a girl” could do, and it wasn’t me who would walk away in embarrassed. Stereotyping as children really pushed me to keep on striving towards being a strong women, and that is exactly what I grew up to be.

  1. What attracted you to this career?

Tasha: Being in the fitness profession is a very empowering career. My admiration towards people, especially women, who dedicate their time, and life to building there physiques to look and being strong, and those who help others feeling that empowerment is a truly beautiful thing. I truly love to help people feel strong, sexy and confident in their bodies. It is more than just a physical thing, but mentally and emotionally, spiritually you can alter and better all components of life through fitness.

  1. What type of life where you living prior to becoming a trainer?

Tasha: I received my first degree from the University of Washington in Anthroplogy/ Archaeology. I loved the idea of being a women version of Indiana Jones :D. I also danced all through college, mostly as a hip hop dancer. Worked in local gyms as a reception and as a waitress and bartender as I went back to college to pursue Exercise science and Athletic Training.

  1. What sparked your interested in power lifting?

Tasha: I always admired strong women roles, G.I. Jane, Ayla from Clan of the Cave Bear, Laura Croft etc… I always loved sports and being “tough”. I was quite the runner growing up, a sprinter, very fast and hard to catch. I loved the women that had muscle, and strength. In my early twenties I decided I wanted to stop admiring the strong, buff women and become one. So I worked and worked and worked and building muscle mass. In about 2 years’ time of eating the right things and lifting the right way I managed to put on almost 20lbs of lean mass. It felt AMAZING!!! I loved looking muscular and feeling strong. With the muscle came strength, but I realized that more than the looks of the muscle, I loved the feeling of being STRONG. I met my current training partner who was training more of a power lifting style verses bodybuilding and he helped me discover that I was actually pretty good and lifting heavy weight. We both decided to enter a power lifting competition, both placing well for our first one… loving every minute of it… and went from there. It’s the happiest I’ve ever felt.

  1. How has power lifting changed your life and created the person you are today?

Tasha: The most important thing personally that power lifting has done for me is build confidence. I lacked that before, especially when I was younger. I feel empowered every day, not only in the gym where my strength is shown, but on a daily basis with the people I am around. It has built my character to be better, not better than anyone else, but better to those I surround myself with, better in my relationships and interactions with people. I have learned a lot about myself through power lifting, competing, learning from other people, other women, who are strong and independent. It helps me help others build their self-esteem, the bodies, mentalities…etc… I have become more disciplined because of it, I work harder in my daily life because I have a goal, something to focus on, something that will continue to help me be a better person, not only to myself through the lifestyle change, but to inspire others to better themselves. I’ve always wanted to be a positive role model, and now I am. I am truly happy for discovering the passion I have for this sport.

  1. If you can say one thing to other female trainers what would it be?

Tasha: Don’t be afraid. By that, I mean do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be afraid to learn from others, to grow, to be strong, independent, or afraid of change. BE FEARLESS in your career in the fitness world. Strive to make a difference in people’s life. That’s not exactly one thing… but it all goes together. J

Photo by: aarondixonphotography
Photo by: aarondixonphotography

Tasha: Thank you Anna for the opportunity to share these things about myself. I love the fitness world and industry more because of the people I meet and make me a better person as well. People like you Ms. Anna. You are a marvelous part of the fitness industry and I am honored to call you my friend. You, are a strong, independent women who inspires women each and every day. I thank you for being exactly who you are, and wish you the best of luck in this industry and know you will be very successful in all your endeavors.


Fear Factor

Fear. What is exactly is it that we are scared of? When we were little we were scared of the dark, yet as adults we know there no such thing as monsters living in our closets . . . or is there?

Fear is not being scared of a certain object or thing something living in our closets, but it is the fear of the unknown.

There are many different types of fear. It may be that you are scared of pain, scared of failing or scared of success. Yet the future cannot be predicted. Despite the different types of fears, we all have fears to conquer.


If we don’t face these fears, it will slowly grow into monsters similar to the ones lurking in our childhood closets. Instead of living inside a closet it starts to live inside of us slowing take over who we are and robbing us from who we are meant be.


Many of us have a burning desire living in us, a childhood dream to climb Mt Rainer, or it may be to do a first triathlon or simply to be able to go up stairs without pain. Yet there is something that is all holding us back and that is fear. Fear of the “what if.” What if I fall and hurt myself climbing? What if I can’t finish the triathlon race? What if I will always have to live with pain?


The “what if” question is a true thought that has gone through each and every one of us in different aspects of our lives facing different fears. We are ultimately asking to know the unknown future.


The fears are real and there is good reason. Acknowledging this is the first step. The second step is giving it the respect the fear it deserves. Respect the fear by preparing and taking the right precautions for it.


Being a Personal Trainer, I enjoy the process of preparing myself and my clients to lift heavy or do a heavy kettlebell swing. Sometimes the weights can be intimating and the thought of “what if” starts to play and fear slowly takes over the mind, the fear monster robs you from your potential.


Just like the sound track of Jaws the fear of possible injuries plays as one beat, another beat fear of not being able to lift the weight plays, and the last beat fear of successfully lifting the weight. duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun


Instead of it being a fear factor let it turn into a fear focus. Focusing on the correct form and knowing you are properly prepared develops confidence. Believing in yourself is mentally training what I like to call developing your “Iron Will”. Once you have the confidence, you start to overtake all types of fears in your life.


As you develop an “Iron Will” as you train, use these tactics on focusing on the right precautions and the correct steps to chase your dreams while concurring your fears.


One of my goals is to learn how to do a correct handstand. Years I have had this dream and goal. But I realized how I have been scared of falling. Falling was one fear the other fear is I wouldn't have the strength to do it. The strength will come with the right training, nothing just happens we have to train for it to develop the strength and the courage to pursue our goals.
One of my goals is to learn how to do a correct handstand. Years I have had this dream and goal. But I realized how I have been scared of falling. Falling was one fear the other fear is I wouldn’t have the strength to do it. The strength will come with the right training, nothing just happens we have to train for it to develop the strength and the courage to pursue our goals.

True Iron

Iron is what they named their first-born. It started out as cool name stemming from the husband completing two Ironman’s, but eventually came to embody things they wanted for their son, whether he will be an athlete or something entirely different: strength, endurance, well rounded, strategic, self-challenging. Their son can be anything he wants, but Iron definitely is his name.


Shannon Mayo is the mother to Baby Iron, through our time working together I have had the privilege to watch her demonstrate True Iron. At first Shannon came to me two years ago with an injury from running. We focused on improving her hips while at the same time we focused on strengthening the hips to keep her pain free for her runs. We were able to maintain her healthy running habits and she started seeing the benefits from strength training. She soon wanted to increase her program from once a week to twice a week.


As a trainer this was music to my ears! I was so excited to help Shannon, as she was striving continually to improve her health. We were able to really focusing on her strength training to improve her optimum health. She did everything from front squats, dead lifts, SL RDL, renegade rows and her favorite Bulgarian splits squats. As we progressed her strength training, she started feeling the benefits in her runs, in her toned body, and in her energy.


One day as we where discussing her new goals for her training program, she told me in confident how she is ready to be a momma and her and her husband were tying to get pregnant. It took all my strength to hold my excitement hidden so others would not suspect anything. I was behold thrilled for Shannon! It was not much longer Shannon confirmed she was pregnant!


Being her trainer, I knew I had to change some of her program as her body started to change. At first, we kept everything the photosame. Since her body was already accustomed to the program I knew it would be safe to continue with it until her baby started growing more. A lot of the changes where just the type of exercises. Instead of doing planks we did standing or kneeling core exercise. As the baby grew we shorted the range of motion with most of the exercises but where able to keep to a similar routine. The main thing we focused on was her lower body strength, squat particularly. I knew she would need her strength during childbirth. Squats are the perfect exercise during pregnancy opening up the hips, decreasing back tightness, and developing leg strength. This was Shannon’s response after giving birth to her son.

Lower body strength training kept me strong and ready to handle and recover from childbirth. Although not intuitive at first squats felt great and relieved pressure., the more pregnant I became squats helped me cope with contractions. It feels awesome to know I could train right up through my entire pregnancy and kept running through 6 ½ months.  I loved the words of encouragement from my trainer and other women at the gym that cheered me on. Body is already bouncing back faster than I expected.”



Shannon is a strong workingwoman demonstrating pure iron as she defined it: strength, endurance, well rounded, strategic, self-challenging. She is able to balance a demanding job with her strength training and her long runs (injury free). As her life has significantly changed with Baby Iron, she will be an amazing mom as she teaches her son how to live up to his name in every way even if he is an athlete or something completely different. This concept of True Iron is some thing we can all adapt to our lives. Strength. Endurance. Well rounded. Strategic. Self-challenging.


Thank you Shannon for your dedication to your health and your True Iron!

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Core Strength

This format may not fit with everyone’s schedule, the goal of this template is simply to give you an idea of what type of off-season training should look like. As the water ski season come closer, decrease the strength days to 2x a week and increase the interval training to 2x week with one steady state cardio.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Strength:Lower Body Push


Upper Body Pull

Intervals:Rower Sprints 500 meters 3xBattle Ropes Strength:Lower Body Pull

Upper Body Push

Steady State Cardio:Bike RideRun


Full Body Strength:Kettlebell Swing


Leave Saturday or Sunday do to something active that you enjoy like yoga or long walks. Let these be your active recovery days, continue to move.



I love questions! Please leave your questions below.

For now enjoy these core exercises

Core is more than just our abs, it shoulders and hips as well. Here are two core exercises that target all aspects of our true core.

Plank Shoulder Taps

  • Elbows are stacked under the shoulders. Spine is a neutral position.
  • To make sure hips are in the correct position think if you had a tail you are the “shameful dog” hiding your tail. So you are tucking your hips under turning on your pelvic floor.
  • Once in the correct position, shifting all your weight to one arm as you lift the opposite arm tapping the shoulder.


Benefits: Shoulder stabilization, deep core activation, and hip stabilizers.


Pillar Crunch

  • Placing the Elastic Band around the middle of your feet extend one leg driving through the heel. With the opposite leg, pull your knee toward your shoulders.
  • As you lift the shoulders off the ground think of lifting your chest toward the sky.

Benefits: Turns on your glutes of the extended leg and works your hip flexor correctly in conjunction to your abs.

The Fresh Start


“New Year New You” or “This will be the Year” are very common sayings you will hear around this time of year. These sayings are filled with resolutions hoping from something better. Usually we tend to think we need to give up something for these resolutions to become real. Having this mindset of “giving up” is a negative thought even though it may be a good thing to give up it still rings negativity in our minds. With the negativity ringing as we ring in the New Year, we tend to focus on the item or object we are giving up. Instead I challenge you to think of what you can give yourself for the year 2015. Creating a positive mind set is seeing what you will gain and how you will transform into what you have always hoped to be.


How you view your New Year resolutions and how you view yourself is how you will predict the outcome. Part of making resolutions is reviewing the previous year and understanding the areas for improvement. Personally, 2014 was a year I learned how to forgive myself with my “overweight” bank account. Being involved with a very expensive sport sometimes I let my passion override reason and unfortunately I created a fat account. I felt stupid, embarrassed and unaccomplished.


It took me an entire year to realize how (even though hard) it created an opportunity for me to learn. I learned how I could be emotional spender. If I felt alone I would fill the void with shopping or eating out (yes, I even can be an emotional eater too). Instead of dealing with the emotion right then and there, I put the dollar bill band-aid over it not realizing it was not doing me any good.


As I was trying to get my bank account back to a healthy state, I focused on what I was giving up and the lack of the instance gratification. For 2015, I am going to have a positive mindset focusing on the long -term reward. To get a healthy bank account I know it will take time and many sacrifices. The “giving up” is the sacrifice. The sacrifice is letting go of old habits. The old habits are the things holding us back to be transformed into the best version!


We all have these “unhealthy” accounts in our life areas whether it is relationships, money, food, etc.


To move forward we must be able to learn from the past letting go of the mistakes but embracing the lessons. Life is full of lessons coming in different areas of our life. With this being the New Year let us look back on the year 2014 remembering the lessons and focusing on our goals with positivity as we move forward in 2015.

What will you give in 2015?



A Joyful Strength

This past week being Thanksgiving I have been reminded to be thankful for the simple things in life. I want to use this weekend Saturday Shout Out to a very special woman in my life, my mom. She has taught me so many things about the beautiful life.   One lesson she has taught me is how powerful having a positive and strong mind can be during difficult times.


The beginning of September I was talking on the phone with my parents when they announce how my mother has a brain tumor. Devastated with the fact and trying to wrap my knowledge to what this could mean I feel asleep to my puddle of tears. The following morning I woke up saying to myself glad that was only a nightmare. As I was leaving for work, the thought of this only being a dream left and reality started to sink in like a heavy weight. Not knowing what to do, the tears started to flow again. Once I arrived at work, I allowed this heavy weight to build up a wall to hide my tears.  I continued my day as if nothing had happened, trying to paint a happy smile over this weighted wall.


These days turn into weeks and weeks to month. The day had come for my mom’s surgery.  I found myself helping my mother prepare the night before.


In the surgery room helping her into her gown I saw pure joy on her face. “How can she be so positive during this fearful time of the unknown?” I continued to watch her demonstrate pure joy and excitement. She was able to see the good through this difficult time. She had full faith the surgeon would do his job to the best of his ability. Then she was wheeled away.


Finally the tears crushed through the wall like uncontrollable water breaking through a dam. I cried out to the unknown future “Please do not take my Mom.” During this out break of tears, I started to find the same joy my mother had right before she went into surgery. This joy comforted me as I continued to cry.


I am so thankful to say the surgery was successful.  Even though she is not 100% she is recovery well. She is in the best care with two amazing nurses, my sisters. They have given sacrificially love and care to my mother during this healing process.


Through these past two month I have learned the joy of the struggle. Similar to exercise there will always be a struggle, a struggle to lift heavier, a struggle to run faster, a struggle to become better.


Summer 2009 - Mom Visits me in Maine
Summer 2009 – Mom Visits me in Maine

I know no matter what the future holds I will have the strength to continue life’s journey. For the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)