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.

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)

“Fish out of water” aka Injuried

Many of you as water skiers have dealt with some type of injury and understand how the pain impacts you physically and mentally. Unfortunately, I can relate. Two years ago I dealt with a back/rib injury. For my back and rib to heal, I was prescribed to take a week off of work and have no physical strain on the body.

Almost two years to the date, I was prescribed to take time off from work again (this time three weeks) for a condition called Osteitis Pubis. Devastated to be in the same situation again, mentally I had to tell myself it is for the best, but my body struggled. Being a personal trainer, I am constantly moving. My body started craving movement. The first week of sitting on my “ice diaper” at night I would have night mares of exercising.  These were night mares! For theses dream were failing the Kettlebell Snatch text, and falling every time I would water ski.  As you could see my mind was freaking out without being able to move. This is when I started to feel like a “fish out of water.”

Desperate to get back into my normal routine, I did everything I thought would help speed the recover process. I did Pulse Electric Magnetic Field (PEMF), Chiropractor, Physical Therapy, Rolfing massage and Shiatsu massage. Having difficulty walking without pain, I decided to only do one of these treatments at a time. I was able to go Healing Foundations in Post Falls, ID for the PEMF treatments. PEMF helps decrease the inflammation and help with the increase of cells growth. After a full week of these treatments, I was able to walk with less pain.

Excited to be making progress, I soon started Physical Therapy. After the first time working with Christopher Johnson, a Physical Therapist at Olympic PT in Bellevue, I wanted to skip out of the office I felt so good. Instead of focusing on the location of the pain, he focused on the possible cause.   He noticed how my ankles have limited range of motion (ROM) and my hips were compensating for it. Understanding the kinetic chain, I completely recognize if one joint does not have the right ROM then another joint will start compensating.

He has taught me how to use the VooDoo Floss Band to help increase my ankle mobility. With the focus being my ankles, I am happy to say the pain has decreased and I have been able to return to some form of exercises (oh and the night mares have also decreased).

Through this experience I realize it is my responsibility to recover being smart with my progressions.  Knowing it will be slow progression and but it will be a healthy progression. Even though it has been extremely difficult being out of work and lack of any physical outlet, I am excited what I have been learning about the human body through this injury, how it relates to water skiing.

Besides learning more about the human body, I have learned the importance of empathy towards one another. There are many of us who have dealt with pain some more visible than others.  With being a trainer I always try to show empathy toward my clients. Having experience with chronic pain, my hope is to help others just like Chris has helped me. I see the value of one’s health and the joy it brings to others.

If you are a water skier who has dealt with injury after injury, or someone who deals with chronic pain, I will be posting some of the simple movement patterns that have helped me to recover.

With it already it being “water ski season,” I had been talking to Chris about my sport and how to stay bullet proof. Stay tuned for more post about the importance of shoulders for water skiing. See the amazing mobility and strengthening exercises I have learned from Chris Johnson!





Motivating Quotes

During the off-season, I have these quotes and this video to help me stay focus on my goals and I hope they do the same for you. Enjoy

We turn not older with years, but newer every day. ~Emily Dickinson

To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are. ~Muhammad Ali

Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines. ~Brian Tracy

No matter how many goals you have achieved, you must set your sights on a higher one. ~Jessica Savitch

Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.~Brian Tracy

There is no achievement without goals. ~Robert J. McKaine

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. ~ Mark Twain

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. ~ Lance Armstrong

We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls. ~Winston Churchill

I dwell in possibility… ~Emily Dickinson

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  ~Phil 3:14 NIV

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. ~Phil 4:13 NIV

We know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, HOPE .~ Romans 5:3

Now faith is being sure of what we hope fore and certain of what we do not see. ~Hebrews 11:1