Naked mind 

Naked minds are what I seek to uncover,bogged beneath flesh and bone we wear.
A rare person, one who knows no care.

Our skin is born free, thrusted into the world naked and bare.
That scandalous freedom, nothing but a touch, a tingle when we take everything off. 
Why do we hide now..what we didn’t know we were til death, it’s gaping snare.
Physical chains, such a shame to ware.

Bored of this routine, a predictable charade submerging the real.
Something of sheer beauty, a raw touch I have yet to see. 

Naked and pure, a souls burning fire lays there.
Drenched in intoxication,

upon sight of the truth we long for more to share.

Can’t look away, from your naked soul oh so fair..

Mammoth, I miss you dearly

Mammoth I miss you dearly,
Running through your wilderness, below skies seizing every path for days.

Snow covered mountains, sleeping giants bigger than any being I could ever dream of.

Your valleys sinking vastly deep.

Disappear like the hearts I learned of there,

in summer nights beneath the stars clear show.
Your friendship longing, I dared capture in my caving heart there. 
Forever you stay with my soul, deeply woven in a love that grows bare.
Never will I forget your lessons breathed in me, that mountain air..
Enchanted by a lake of convicts to see my reflection, changing ever so.
Above the moon..

7,000ft. a world of its own above earth’s petulant problems below.
Hot springs natural, and wild dreams of dancing with wolves and howling with the trees that come to life at night and stare.
Hard to breathe, your forsaken wilderness leaves us at its mercy to test.
Friends born together for this infinite journey,

we stagger to keep up with each step.
Lost in this desert, trees spinning above, we lift our plank every mile until we reach the rest.
Brought to my knees, leavin you behind me..

The longest ache I’ve felt, to let go of you.

darkest night I’ve had, deepest leap I regret.

I’m still in love with you, this place.

A hope lingers still to see your face. 
Mammoth, I miss you dearly.

Stay in your lane!

Often times whenever I had track practice in high school or even college, someone would inevitably find themselves in the way on the track as a train of distance runners were blazing by in a workout.

Our coach, or the front runner would simply yell-“TRACK!!!” Or “LANE 1!!” And immediately, everyone knew to move out of lane one.

 

It’s important to stay focused on the lane you’re in so you don’t get knocked off balance or lose sight of your own goals.

If we get too distracted by what’s going on in the other lanes around us, we become distant and weary of our own goals; fixated by what’s around us and not helping ourselves move forward.

I’ve been getting a lot of comments recently about how “little” I am. When I tell some people that I’m a personal trainer they expect a “bigger” bulkier person I guess.

One lady even said,”well you’re a tiny little thing aren’t you?”, while I was going to meet one of my clients on the floor.

Well, I’m also a competitive distance runner and I run 70 or more miles a week. This week I’ll hit 90 miles as I’m inching up the volume and intensity focusing on the half marathon in my racing future. I do my own strength training that’s supportive to my running training cycle.
I’m here to tell you that your appearance doesn’t always define your strength and everyone is training for something different! So comparing yourself to others in the gym or sizing people up makes no sense and it’s insecure in my opinion.

Body builders do not look like distance runners and I do NOT look like a body builder because we each train differently and have different goals.
I do my own strength training 2-3 times a week in the gym but everything I do inside the gym is to respect and improve my running. That’s my training and my goal. You have to have tunnel vision in a sense to ignore other people’s comments or opinions of your training. You’re not training to appease anyone, you’re training to reach your own goals.
Of course my clients training is not at all what I do because they have their own goals and needs.

I just wanted to share that you can be “small” but still have incredibly strong and defined muscles that support whatever you’re training for. You can also be “bigger” than some people think is acceptable and still be beautiful and strong.

One of my friends- Nicole, recently started working out and training for gymnastics. She posted a lovely picture & message on her insta & facebook about her own body image and how proud of herself she was. I think we can all learn from her positive self talk and motivation!

 

It’s a very common misconception that anyone in a gym or personal trainer should look like they split their week into- “leg day”, “chest day” ect..well leg day is every day for me!!
I also want to encourage anyone reading this post to accept small victories. Whatever day your having in your fitness or training is a good day if you make even one step forward. I always tell my clients- where you’re at not isn’t where you’ll be. Stay committed and believe in yourself. I always make them give me one positive comment in place of a negative one.

It’s alright to feel impatient and discouraged at times but don’t let that be your focus. Use it to be better.

Focusing on the negative things or comparing yourself to another person makes no sense at all and doesn’t help you reach your goals.


A truly successful athlete doesn’t have time to criticize another athlete or obsess over another persons training or body image.
They focus on each day and making themselves better in whatever way they can that day.


Let’s all do that from now on, stay in your lane. And encourage one another instead of trolling on someone who you know nothing about or what they’re training for or going through.
Enjoy YOUR training and focus on YOU and respect everyone for where they’re at and their goals being different. There are all kinds of “strong” out there. Own yours & don’t get distracted.

A stoic heart and a call to Love.

Few things will make me more passionate than my relationship with Jesus or my love for running. One of those things that I’ve been innately blessed with is my protectiveness for others who are considered lesser or can’t or don’t defend themselves. 
Maybe it’s because I’m a twin who is one minute older than my brother. I’ve always been like a prowling mother wolf toward anyone I find out hurts or upsets my twin or anyone I’m close to for that matter. I know when something’s bothering him too, I can hear it in his voice even when I’m miles away in Alabama when we talk on the phone. I would drive to Georgia and happily take care of any problem Zach had if he told me to. I feel like it’s my duty in a way because I feel like I am strong and have been given a gift of discernment (spiritual gift we talked about at Highlands, growth track the church I now attend). 

Anyways, I wanted to write a little post addressing the heart of our society today and the disturbing level of desensitized hearts everywhere today that is shamelessly growing. 

With Valentine’s Day approaching, a day our culture has deemed a hallmark for celebrating “love” for one another and creating unfair expectations for both male and females.. I think this post is rather relevant for opening up our hearts and minds to what’s really in there. 

I would encourage you to be open when reading this and think about your own hearts and what your current pulse says. Are you a stoic heart? Do you feel empathy for others who are hurting? Do you care about others hearts or even think about what your own is saying right now? What’s it saying to you? Be real with yourself if not with anyone else.

The topic that inspired this-Body Shaming.

has to stop. 

I’m not trying to be overly sensitive and I know there is a fine line between “just joking” and going beyond that in a way that makes another person uncomfortable, or hurt. But sometimes a joke to you may not be funny to the person next to you. Maybe someone who hears or interprets what you say as hurtful or careless is going through something you can’t relate to or empathize with. Then it’s not a joke them, does that still make it OK because it’s just a joke for you? 

 I know my generation gets a lot of flak for being “snowflakes”- those of you who like to categorize everyone in the millennial generation or anyone who stops to think about another persons heart or feelings too. 

And that may be true, a lot of us are super sensitive and overreact due to being sheltered or helicopter parents or those kids that failed to launch and moved back home or live at home and don’t contribute at ALL to society.(NO, I’m not talking about those of you with financial difficulty or circumstances beyond your control).

Back to the shaming-

From all the lady gaga super bowl comments about her being “fat”..or Beyoncé’s weight gain recently-(who is in fact pregnant with twins);

 I’m a twin and I don’t know what kind of comments my mother may have had to ign or roll her eyes at when we weren’t born yet.

But body shaming can target any body size- big or small, male or female, famous or not.

 I’ve dealt with body shaming as a runner too from crude comments or scoffs on the trail, looking me up and down while I’m running or asking if I have an eating disorder just because I’m slender and look different than some people running or walking by. 

The fact is- you don’t know what the other person you’re ignorantly judging is training for. You don’t know anything about them more than your shallow comments so why project your own opinions onto someone because of the way you think they look? 

This makes no sense to me but I just wanted to say, be confident in your own image and if you’re happy, great. If not, change. But don’t let anyone’s comments or opinions of you change how you view yourself or what you do. Your body is yours, it’s a gift and you don’t live to make others happy with how you look. 

Also, I’m sure that someone with an actual eating disorder or body image problem might not think its funny or cute either.

I’m much more focused on how someone’s spirit looks than just how their physical appearance is..maybe that’s just me but shouldn’t we as a human race see each other for what we really are rather than the flesh we parade around in daily??
Bottom line here intertwined with body shaming being highly unintelligent, is that this culture we’ve bred has created a stoic heart if you will.

We walk around complacent, insensitive and unaware of what’s really going on in our own hearts. Then we call anyone who opposes this kind of mentality all kinds of names, filling them away as silly, insubordinate or discarding them from our circles of importance.

Labeling someone as a “snowflake” because they bring up a relevant issue that you deem as unimportant doesn’t make them weak or lesser in my opinion. Just different and that’s okay to disagree.

But importantly, how can we ignore our own hearts so long and forget what the spirit is speaking into us so much and then expect to connect and cultivate real, loving, lasting relationships built on trust and care for each other? It simply doesn’t work that way. 

Stoic, heartened hearts don’t see the damage they inflict upon themselves or others because they’re incapable of empathy. You know that thing that allows you to know what someone’s been through or just a “hey I know how you feel, I’m with you” pat on the shoulder or word of encouragement someone may vitally need to hear? 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23‬ NIV)

If we don’t stop all of this senseless, meaningless mockery of one another it’s going to be too late. Words matter. Words either lift someone up or tear them down. There’s no grey area. Choose to be a light. Don’t say something just to say it because it’s amusing to you. That’s what a fool does. Be wise and loving! 

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭12‬:‭18‬ NIV)

I know this may have gone off in a different direction, but after reflecting and having great conversation with some friends today; I thought this would be a good post to remind us to love one another freely, without expectation, judgement, guilt or shame. 

Even if you think Valentine’s Day isn’t a real holiday, use this time as a refresher for your own heart. The biggest “gift” you can give someone/ anyone at all, is to love them unconditionally like Christ did and does forever for us. 

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭2‬ NIV)

We are called to Love. We are to love everyone, even those we don’t like, who have hurt us, who it’s hard to love. This isn’t easy, we make mistakes and it takes some time to come around to that. I’ve learned that so much this last year more than ever but if you accept and place Gods love in your own heart, that becomes so much easier because of the love you share through that relationship. 
Nurturing your own heart with the truth of the spirit and protecting your heart first allows you to love others. Until you get that right, you literally can’t love another person truthfully. 
You won’t be able to love honestly or freely the way God intends for us to or be able to accept his love- not the love that we “deserve” but the love that we need. Love was never about give and receive, it’s a choice we must make like Jesus did for us. You can’t do anything to earn it and don’t deserve it, but you can chose it and then you can share that with everyone you meet in how you treat them, what you speak into them and how you live. 

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (‭John‬ ‭13‬:‭35‬ NIV)

Spring workout outside in 30-45 minutes! Easy, anywhere,anytime for your schedule

Spring is on the horizon finally and it’s time to get outside!! The days are going to get longer soon so it’s a great motivator to get some fresh air on your lunch break or after a long day to blow off some steam outdoors. 

 

         

 You can always start your day off on the right foot(pun intended) with a refreshing, FUN, and simple outdoor workout.

I’ve combined the “fartlek” running workout with a few easy to do-anywhere body weight exercises for you to try together. This workout can be done pretty much anywhere you want: from your neighborhood to a park or from the office on your lunch break. It will only take you a little over 30 minutes to 45 minutes to complete depending on your rest and how quickly you move through each exercise.

(I don’t have any pictures or videos unfortunately for you, but I will add those in this blog post later!)

For now here’s the run down of the workout:

5-4-3-2-1 ( You rill RUN/or WALK, 5 minutes, then STOP & do the given exercise, then RUN/ or WALK the next “4” minutes & STOP & do the next exercise & so on.)

Next: You will do 5-4-3-2-1 AGAIN with given exercises to complete between Run/Walking intervals.

Take 2-3  minutes REST between 5-4-3-2-1 “set” then start the last 5-4-3-2-1

The workout:

5-4-3-2-1

5- 30 seconds jumping jacks

4- 15 pushups

3- 10 lunges each leg

2- 10 standing lateral leg lifts each leg

1-(after last minute, at end of first 5-4-3-2-1 set) 30 crunches

REST: 2-3 MINUTES BETWEEN SETS

Start 5-4-3-2-1 Last set:

5- 20 jump squats

4- 12 lateral lunges each leg

3- 15 supermans/back hypers 

2- 20 tricep dips(use park bench or chair)

1- 20 mountain climbers

RECAP:

  • 2x 5-4-3-2-1 (30 minutes of Cardio-Run/Walk TOTAL) your choice
  • 2-3 minutes REST between EACH set of 5-4-3-2-1
  • 10 TOTAL body weight exercises you can do ANYWHERE

Have FUN with this workout & invite a friend to do it with you!!

Get outside & just go at your own pace! Decreasing rest will intensify the workout and you’ll get done faster…;)

Enjoy getting FIT this Spring & getting some sunshine!!

 

Simple, Healthy living tips & checklist for a busy week!


Staying on top of a healthy lifestyle between work, home life, and all of our other obligations throughout the week can be a real struggle! Many of us simply neglect taking time to devote to planning healthy eating, getting enough rest and taking a minute to set our priorities in order.


Fine tuning your eating and living a healthy lifestyle is important for all of us but even more so for athletes and active people.

I’ve found a few helpful tools this week I’d like to share. As a new personal trainer, this week was my first full week on the schedule at the YMCA where I currently work as a health coach and trainer. I’ve already learned a lot from my amazing supervisors and new family at my branch.

One resource I found, in the personal trainer office there’s a slew of handouts that contain information ranging from stress, eating tips, fitness suggestions and home workout tips.

This week, I’d like to share some for overall healthy lifestyle and healthy eating for those of us who struggle with maintaining a balanced plan for busy weeks we face.

It can feel like wave after wave crashing against you, week by week, and instantly you’ve lost track of your fitness regimen. Eating habits fall by the waste side and you’re so tired, you just go from one task to the next, forgetting about taking care of yourself first. I’ve been there too, trust me. But if we are to live a balanced life; an enjoyable and joyful life, we need to do better.

So, first I want you to look at these TWO survey checklist handouts & really be honest with where you know you’re at with overall lifestyle & eating(the second sheet!!) then keep reading for some great tips!:)


In this handout below I’d like to share a little refresher for all of us to do during the week: it’s called “portion-proof your environment” but really it’s just a few awesome tips to pack in your bag throughout the week to help you kick butt!!

 

I really love that these handouts focus on the SMART goal system. All goals are-

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Realistic

  • Timed

This next handout relates to the SMART goal focus too, not just eating habits and planning. It’s one of my favorite in this packet-“Boost your metabolism”

  


Okay, I know that’s a LOT of info! I’m here to help remember? 😉 I just share what I know and read, research & if I find it helpful..hey maybe they will too! Let me share.

Last tip I’ll post is one regarding a topic I’ve had a lot of questions on this week and really all the time. “Lauren, I want to eat healthy but I don’t have time and I don’t know what to eat!”

Well friend, https://www.choosemyplate.gov has all you need for a baseline of proper nutrition.

This is what your plate “should” look like now, not that old inaccurate pyramid from elementary school. 

Last picture I SWEAR!! Lol then I’ll let y’all get some sleep & rest! 🙂 I hope my tips have been helpful to you all at least a little. But I know you’re all smart and already know and do these! So please share, comment and let me know what you want to see posted for next weeks #FitnessFriday

Strength Training & Aging

Jonathan Goodman is a personal trainer I follow and subscribe to his fitness posts & website weekly theptdc.com. I always like to read his new tips & learn some of his theories as I am a new trainer still improving myself for my clients needs.

Many individuals 65 or older are becoming more active and engaging in strength training now more than ever!

This is so exciting to me as a trainer because it’s so important for us all to continue to maintain and adapt our training for our respective age. 

This article from Jonathan Goodman’s site is a perfect tool to use for clients 65 and older: https://www.theptdc.com/2017/01/how-to-assess-older-clients/

This post lists a few tests to perform for balance and flexibility; as well as the muscles that need the most attention in order for the aging clients to perform normal functional activities throughout their week.

According to this article, “people in their 80s have 40% less strength than people in their 20s”. That’s crazy to think about how our strength gradually declines so much after 50!! But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do to aid this dilemna.

I’m elated to know that there are so many older adults improving their fitness and I see it every day at my gym as a trainer.

Targeting the main muscle groups like: glutes,legs, arms, shoulders, trunk and hips only makes sense to strengthen so that these clients can perform daily activities like-getting out of bed in the morning, walking up and down stairs and maintaining an upright posture so they won’t fall. 

Falling seems to be a huge risk for the elderly. The three “functional tests” for older clients tests the quality of movement and shows the risk that a client may have for falling or not having adequate strength.

  • Up and go test
  • Sit to stand test
  • Functional squat test 

 Risks that the aging population face can be stopped through strength training and properly informing clients on the changes that they’re facing. This article highlights each age category and the directions for the tests listed above.

I completely agree that strength training is even more important to older people to stop muscular atrophy and improve balance and coordination. 
I’ll definitely be incorporating some of these tests and tips for my older clients in the future. 

Sorry for not posting a “Fitness Friday” topic last week I was battling a sinus infection and didn’t have any creative juices available for you all. I’ll be posting more fitness tips of my own as well in the near future but I wanted to post this one too because I found it relevant for my learning and thought many of you may benefit reading this little snippet too!

Happy training and Fitness Friday fam!