Saturday, December 27, 2008

And yet another resolution

What a drag! Another year, twelve more pounds gained, another pants size bigger...What to do? What to do? Should I look into the mirror and once again say, "2009 is my year! This is the year I'm going to get into my skinny jeans. I will not go into 2010 feeling like this about myself."? I'm not entirely sure what "the" problem is with New Year Resolutions, but I do believe that part of the problem is that there's a bit of impulse involved. Whether we make resolutions out of desperation of duty, they rarely stick.
I do believe that we can turn those impulsive resolutions that almost never turn out in our favor into long-term commitments. This morning, I was training a personal training client/friend at the Fitness First in Frederick, Maryland (great workout place by the way) when I looked up to see a gentleman sitting on a nearby bench thinking long and hard about something. So, I looked over to him and said, "Hey, are you alright?" His response was inspiring to me." He said, "I'm just evaluating why I'm here. I don't want to just get in a sweat and then jump into the car. I want to feel good about what I'm doing here." So, throughout the rest of the morning, I thought about that. This man not only made a decision to show up at the gym for a workout, but he purposed in his heart to accomplish something worthwhile."
Are your resolutions backed by shallow impulse or by deep purpose? Do you believe that there is long-term benefit to whatever it is that you decide to do for yourself or for others? If you believe that there is, what steps will you take to get there?
Perhaps you've made a commitment to yourself or to your loved ones to live a more fit life starting in 2009 but feel a bit unsure about how you will do it. I believe that I can help you get to where you need to be. Don't start another year without the individualized motivation, guidance, inspiration, direction, and push that you are worth. Email or call me for a free consultation so that we can get you on the path to success in 2009. For more information, go to my website:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why are you waiting?

If you have a fitness goal to reach and you keep telling yourself, "I'll get started when...," chances are that you'll put it off indefinitely. Sure, you may be one of those few people that really LOVES exercise, portion control, radical changes and just can't wait for that "get started when" date. Most of us aren't like that though. You are more likely to accomplish your goals if you get started not then but now!
So, get up (not now, finish reading this first) and go to the pantry. Look for all of the crap that's in there and get rid of it. If it's unopened, leave it that way and get it to your local food bank. Many schools and churches accept donations throughout the month! If it's opened, throw it out! Next, go to the fridge and freezer. See that ice cream that you have on the door of the fridge? Don't finish it off...throw it out. You may think that I'm out of my mind, but you're out of your mind thinking that you're going to reach your fitness and health goals keeping that garbage siting around to tempt you. Are the kids still tempting you with a bunch of left-over Halloween goodies? Well, tell them that they can have just a few pieces of what is left today and tomorrow, but after that, it's gotta go! You may even be able to donate it to their classroom (many teachers give pieces of candy as rewards-so this may save them a few bucks) You'll be surprised how many teachers are thankful for your donation.
Ok, here's the hard part, tell your children and/or your spouse that there will be no fast food this month! NONE! Not even if you're running late from work! That means you have to PLAN! All of the planning happens in the kitchen and in the grocery store. You don't need me to tell you to buy more vegetables, especially the leafy green kind. I'm sure that you know that you should not be drinking soda and other chemically-made drinks and foods! Stock up on almonds, fresh fruit, oats, eggs, lean meats, beans, brown rice. Find a few sugar-free treats for the end of the day here and there. Plan, Plan, Plan. If you're going to be working long hours or running the kids all over the place, then you're going to need to be taking healthy foods with you and with them. Don't fail to plan. That's like a carpenter showing up to a construction site without his hard hat.
This next part is the part that most people dread. Exercise. Don't try to be a hero here, but do something. If you do nothing right now, maybe you need to commit to taking walks every day (even if it's a little damp or chilly). If you're doing a little bit of something, step it up!
If I were to ask most people in Frederick, Maryland if they're working toward living healthier, they'd have to say "No" if they were being honest. Don't be one of those people.
Of course, I'm biased toward the whole healthy eating, exercise thing, but I do know how hard it is. Being a personal trainer doesn't make me immune to the edible temptations out there or the exhausting days which make exercise less than appealing. But here's the thing, I'm also a mom, a wife, and a daughter. There are a lot of people who love me and want me to be around enjoying my life. I know that if I'm lazing my life away, then I'm stealing something precious from them-a healthy me! Most of us know someone who fights a daily battle with high blood pressure, diabetes, excess fatigue, depression, etc. I don't want to be that someone and I don't think that you do either. No doubt those who love us most don't want that for us either.
Do what you need to do. Do it now! If you don't want to do it alone, consider You're Worth It! Fitness Personal training. Either I or one of my other certified personal trainers anywhere in Frederick County, Maryland or Montgomery County, Maryland would be more than happy to help you on this journey! For more details, email me at

Friday, October 24, 2008

I love what I do!

About five years ago, as I was going through a difficult personal time (separation from a husband of 10+ years and suddenly alone with five young children including an infant), I realized that I had to do something other than what I' believed I'd been "called" to do. Up to this point, being a stay-at-home mom was such a blessing and I found no greater earthly joy than the joy of being a mom and a wife. Like so many other women in my predicament, I realized that my vision of what my future (and that of my children) was shattered and I needed to find direction in the midst of the chaos. I needed to find a new vision that suited me.
It took some time to figure out what I could do professionally after so many years being home with the children. Thankfully, a friend saw that personal training was something that I'd not only enjoy-but something that I could be good at. At times, I'd look across the gym where I was exercising and think to myself, "Those trainers have AMAZING physiques. I couldn't compete with that. I may look okay for someone whose had five children, but these people have elite physiques." All the while, I was motivating and encouraging this great friend (lets call her Colleen). Colleen was starting to lose weight and I merely saw myself as a friend to her-not a contributing factor to her weight loss. She saw it differently! Before meeting me, she'd never touched a weight in her life and was unsure exactly what she should do. Not only had she not ever used an eliptical trainer, she'd also never heard of one. I was certain that she needed to start working with weights to lose the weight and keep it off. And she did! It wasn't just Colleen who was trusting me with her fitness, my other friends and family were starting to call on me too. Before long, my family who used to call to ask my ex for gym and nutrition advice started calling to ask me. "Gretchen, what do you eat?" "Gretchen, I'm thinking of joining the gym where I live, do you think I should..." "Gretchen, I don't think I can do it. I'm so busy and tired. I know you're busy with all those kids. How do you do it?" "Gretchen, I'm at the grocery store. What kinds of foods do you think I should get?"
There it was. Clarification! People not only wanted to get fit, but they trusted me with guidance. Now, I knew that I needed to get educated so that I wouldn't steer people in the wrong direction. Reading and researching every thing I could get my hands on was top priority. And then, I focused on getting a great certification so that I could launch a successful career based not only on my passion for health and fitness, but also on education and good information. I chose to become certified through NSPA (National Strength Professionals Association) because of the hands-on approach and the many continued education opportunities available. Although there are a few other great certifications out there, I wasn't comfortable just reading some books and study materials and then taking a test. I wanted classroom instruction and hands-on training.
By this point in time, a few years had passed and I was engaged to be married to an amazing man. I was starting my career in fitness at a local fitness club. Excited about the opportunity to work in an atmosphere which was all about fitness (or so I thought), I was anxious to start changing lives. Within a very short period of time, it became evident to me that many in this profession-other health and fitness professionals-were more concerned with acquiring an aesthetically Barbie/Ken like appearance than they were about true health and fitness. Regularly, I was hearing about this person or that person (often these were other personal trainers) having injections, liposuction, body lifts, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the choice to have cosmetic procedures, but I was quickly saddened and oft times angered by the foucs on faux aesthetic perfection over exercise and health.
Having my own fair share of insecurities regarding my body, I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable in that atmosphere. I also was concerned that my personal training clients were feeling the same way I was. Eventually a few of them started to voice their discomfort about that atmosphere. Before I knew it, I was starting to complain about this "flaw" or that "flaw" on my own body-sometimes even in front of my clients. One whom I'd befriended said, "Gretchen, I love working with you. You're a good trainer and a beautiful woman, but you're starting to sound like "them." That was all I needed to hear to realize that this environment was not good for me or for anyone that I wanted to work with.
Before long, other "gym drama" of which I'm thankful to not have been a part of, motivated me to just leave the gym and to fully and independently build my "own thing". Boy what a crazy, exciting, fun ride it has been! I joined another local gym (Fitness First in Frederick-see Karl Noyes if you're interested) which allows trainers to train members as long as both are members of Fitness First. I also invested in exercise equipment that I could easily take with me to people's homes.
Here I am now, two years after leaving that first gym and I couldn't be more excited about what I do! As a personal trainer, and now as a golf conditioning specialist I've had the blessing of motivating many people to change their lives for the better. There is very little that can compare to the excitement I get when a woman finally loses those last stubborn ten or fifteen pounds, or when a man says "I'm off of my blood pressure medication and the doctor says it's because of the exercising I'm doing now," or when a mom says, "He couldn't run half a mile with all that weight he was carrying and now he's running two," or a bride says, "You should have seen how great I looked in my dress. I felt like a princess," or a father says, "After I had that heart attack, I knew I had to do something and I'm glad you were the one who helped me do it."
Of course, I'm human and I'm a woman; so, it's easy to get caught up into having the occasional "I feel fat" day, but doing what I do has made me think a little less about aesthetics and a little more about what matters on the inside.
This has been a great, oft times crazy journey. Sometimes, a dark place (in my case it was a divorce and a period of time being single with my five little ones) can be the valley we need to walk through to get to that place where you can say, "Ahhhhhh. This is nice!" My "Ahhhhhh, this is nice" place is this career which allows me to devote my time doing something that I believe in.