My Fit Friend Joy!

One of the mamas in the neighborhood joined our little workout group at the beginning of the year and has been working out consistently since. She joined our group, not knowing anyone – but knowing she wanted in.

She embodies brave. She gets it done. I often saw her running on the treadmills at the community center AFTER our brutal workouts. She was usually the first one there, and often one of the last to leave.

Although she ran track in high school, she signed up and ran her very first 5k race with others from our group. Not only did she lose 30 pounds, but she did it while her spouse was deployed! Fitness is more than just a smaller jean size. It’s taking back your power. It’s learning that you are more than just the role you happen to fill as mother, wife, daughter, or any job title.

Joy and her hubby are getting fit together. She was getting fit here, while he was working out on deployment. And in a strange twist, he attended classes taught by my friend in Japan, while his wife and I workout out with our neighborhood group. It is such a small navy community!

Deployments are never easy – but you have never let that stop you! Beyond thrilled for you Joy!

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Happy Handstand!
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Joy holding the amount of weight she has lost in medicine balls!
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Just Give Me a Reason

It would seem that this sort of thing couldn’t happen. How is it possible that an entrepreneur, who saw a need in her community, filled that need successfully, is told to quit? How is this even happening? It makes no sense.

Christina Landry, military spouse and a veteran herself, founded DumBell Fitness 5 years ago. As a personal trainer, she saw that the number one barrier to military moms getting fit and taking care of themselves was a lack of child care. Seeing that need, she created a company that offered a variety of classes and hired childcare providers to play with and watch kiddos on-site, while moms got their workout in. She hired fellow military spouses and paid them a fair wage. Isn’t recognizing a need, having the gumption to create an idea and run with it a good thing? Give me a reason why this is wrong.

To be official and legal, she approached the MWR (Navy’s Morale Welfare and Recreation organization) with her idea. They informed her that it was a military housing decision because of the location of the classes. She then approached the housing company, Forest City, and was given the green light.

Please understand a couple of things. DumBell Fitness is more than just fitness. It’s more than just some random military spouses getting together in unused parking lots and unused grassy fields. They provide clients with the tools to combat depression, long separations, and creates much-needed real community among military spouses. As a result of success at improving physical health, clients realize their own potential – many for the first time. DBF supports our military one family at a time, in a concrete and tangible way. This program literally saves lives. It saved mine.

Christina Landry has been selected two years in a row for the 2014 Best of Honolulu Awards for Personal Trainers and now qualifies for the Honolulu Business Hall of Fame. Two consecutive years she was voted Military Spouse of the Year. She not only shares a vision to make her community better, but she actually DOES it. DumBell Fitness gives back by way of local charity events, kids’ bootcamp programs that stress the importance of physical activity for our children, classes and races for charity, volunteerism and so much more.

After operating with full legal compliance and permissions, DumBell Fitness was suddenly told they would have to bid on a contract to continue operations on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH). The contract was then awarded to a non-military affiliated company that not only charges more for services, but does not include childcare when DumBell Fitness could not offer MWR more than a 5% cut.

A friend and fellow client put it this way:

“Let me get this straight. The owner of Dumbell Fitness …  goes thru the proper channels and gets housing/base approval to use the EMPTY grassy areas/parking lots by housing … MWR gets mad, then requires her to submit a bid on her own program, to which MWR/JBPHH pick another non-military affiliated boot camp to run what Dumbell already was doing.  Please tell me how this makes any sense? Seems like MWR stole her idea and then sold it to the highest bidder. Insane.”

As a contract writer for DumBell Fitness, I know firsthand how this company helps people. I see it in the articles I write highlighting the successes of it’s clients. I read about it in the way these ‘recruits’ can barely put into the words the gratitude they feel for their trainers.

This is what loving your neighbor as yourself looks like in action.

Just give me a (legitimate) reason why this is even happening, when the benefit to Navy, personnel, active duty, military families, spouse employment and the community at large is so great?

What can we do? We can support DumBell Fitness and get the word out that what happened was wrong! Here are some links to get you started and keep you in the loop!I if you wish you had DumBell Fitness in your neighborhood – check out their program DB4L! It’s awesome and unlike ANY other workout program you’ve ever tried! (I know this because I USE IT!)

From the owner herself:

On Facebook:

DumBell Fitness

Don’t Push Us Off

Other sites:

DumBell Fitness

Hawaii News Now

Home Sweet Hawaii

SpouseBuzz

Army Wife 101

Military Spouse

NextGenMilSpouse

Contact Info:

jeffrey.w.james@navy.mil – Commander of JBPHH, Captain James,

thomas.a.jones@navy.mil – JBPHH MWR Director, Thomas Jones

White House

Hawaii Congress Woman, Tulsi Gabbard

Fair Winds and Following Seas….Again

Before every PCS move (permanent change of station) there are stages of emotions we all go through, much like the way we mentally prepare for deployments and homecomings.

Initially we receive the orders, the “penciled in” ones that are sort of for sure, but could change at anytime. This is where we don’t really get excited yet, because then there would be an additional mourning stage if they did actually change. Then hard copy orders – the ones that can be officially announced. There is some relief with this stage, just having a destination and an end to uncertainty. Then the movers come to assess just how much stuff you have and how many boxes they’ll need to bring on moving day. Then there’s about 4-6 weeks of goodbyes. This is our current stage. And it stinks.

We feel the anticipation of the move, the calendar fills constantly with last minute things; visits with friends, must see sights to check off the list because who knows when we’ll live in this part of the country again, and the kids’ ever dawning awareness that we won’t get to take all of our family and friends with us.

Have I mentioned that this phase stinks? This morning I led my final workout with my neighborhood fit friends. We’ve had so much fun, shared awesome success holding each other accountable, meeting new people and being open. This has been a tangible lesson for me on the importance of taking risks, putting myself out there, moving forward despite fear, and reaching out regardless of time limits.

After this class, the words spoken to me will forever be etched in my heart.

“Thank you, you have helped me through this deployment.”

“You have changed my life. Not only for showing me I can go further than I thought, but your class has strengthened my body so much that I have minimal pains now, where as I used to have such aggravating back, knee, hip, and ankle pain that I wouldn’t work out much. Since your group, I can almost do any move without pain!!! THANK YOU!!!!”

“You have to keep doing this. You have to keep training people!”

“Thank you for helping me get off antidepressants. My doctors are thrilled and my husband can tell a difference!”

“I did cardio for the longest with no results. I had no idea strength training and clean eating were the key and would make such an impact. I love that I’m stronger and healthier. Not to mention I haven’t thrown my neck/back out for months. You are a gifted trainer and I will continue to strength train for life!”

“I can do a handstand for the first time since my teens!”

“Thank you for giving me the tools to become happier and healthier. You’ve made this deployment a little less hard!”

I do not share these comments as a “Yahoo! Go me!” self back-pat. I share them because I said them to MY trainer. I know what it means to say these words. Now I’ve been blessed to keep a promise to pay it forward and hear the words said to me. I often wondered if my trainer walked around with a giant ego – because how could you not when you are constantly told how incredible you are?! I now know better. When people take the time to tell you how you’ve positively impacted them – it’s humbling. I am so completely humbled. (Yep, even ugly cried multiple times today!)

I learned early on in my journey that fitness is more than just trying to shrink. It’s more than fitting into a smaller jean size. It’s about confidence in ALL areas; relationships, reaching out to others (even when it’s scary!), even just trying something new! Its getting up and being engaged with life, doing a cartwheel with your kid, It’s showing up and doing so with excellence in our parenting journey, our marriages, and every other aspect of life. It’s joy. Pure, deep, and wonderful joy.
I will continue to pay it forward. Thank you fit friends! Thank you for showing up and doing hard work and having a blast doing it! Thank you for giving me confidence, for laughing at my jokes, and all of your kind words. I am so grateful for our time together.

Until our paths cross again….Fair winds and following seas!

Fitness as a Vehicle

I love working out.

Okay, maybe that’s an over-statement. I love the way I feel after I workout. I love the way I can keep up with my kids, I like the strength, and the energy that being fit and pursuing fitness affords. I am clear-headed and more me when I run and workout consistently. It also provides creative inspiration for my work as a writer; a benefit I never saw coming!

Over the last 3 months, I broadened my workout group from 2 people to roughly 20-25 on a regular basis. We are an accountability group. I design and lead workouts, but they continue to show up. They keep coming back for more. Sure, the group is free, but they are willing to be my experiment as I study for my certifications.

During this short time, I have been shocked, floored, and humbled by the comments, kind words, and crazy hard work by these fit friends. I recently received a message that a person was hesitant to join us because she didn’t want to feel weird because she wouldn’t know anyone.

I wanted to reach through the computer and hug her.

Seriously. It was like a window to my thoughts 3 years ago. I was afraid. Of everything. Fear of looking foolish, being out of my comfort zone, fear of what other people would think of me, and fear of failure. It’s so prevalent. We are afraid to reach out to our neighbors. We hesitate to chat up the other mom at the playground. We sit in the same place at church every week because sitting in a spot other than “ours” would mean we may have to meet someone new. It’s scary. Rejection hurts. It’s so much easier to just stay in our own little world and not risk anything.

What I have discovered, in part, over the course of the last 3-4 years is that being brave and stepping out is not only worth it, but it breeds just a tiny bit of confidence to do it again. And again. And again. Until it becomes who you are. What if I had never reached out to my neighbor across the street? What if I had declined invitations to parties and get togethers? What if my then aquaintence chose not to pursue a deeper friendship with me? What if she had never invited me to to join a crazy bootcamp workout class she’d heard about? What if another friend didn’t have the courage to ask if she could join us as we were sweating in my driveway? What if I had been too afraid to ask our community center if we could use the gym through the winter? What if?

The last 3 years would have been entirely different.

When people ask me, “I can’t seem to find the time/motivation to workout. What motivates you to keep working out?” I simply say that exercise and fitness has been the vehicle to so much more than I ever imagined. So much more than just physical. More than just being fit.

It has been the vehicle to cherished friendships, bravery, courage, risk, deep joy, true confidence, the desire to learn and grow, and more. It has changed me for the better. The ability to be in a position to share that gift with someone on their own path is something that overwhelms me.

It is a gift for which I will be forever grateful.

Arriving

July makes me reflective.

July 2011, I joined a “little workout class”, that forever changed the trajectory of my (and my family’s) life. The left side of this image is what I looked like at that time: (Note the TWO pieces of cake! Gross!)

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I was in a size 16 (barely), should have been a size 18, and was essentially numb to life and going through the motions. The minute that picture was snapped, my smile subsided. Enter bootcamp and learning to live a healthier lifestyle, the rest is history.

By February of 2012, I am at my fittest: (size 6-8)

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And this was taken just a couple of weeks ago: (size 8-10)

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Transitions, with regard to weight loss, are definitely messy with lots of highs and lows. There is no “Okay! I’ve hit my goal weight/size! Now I’m done with that!” and going back to being sedentary. Fitness is for life – as corny and cliche as that sounds. There is no finish line – it’s just the start of the next race. (Thank you Trainer Laurie Weber for that one!)

I’m going on two years of this “transition” or fitness path, and I don’t ever want to go back to the way I used to be. While there are and will be setbacks, there will also continue to be striving ahead, strength gains, and new goals. An on-going continuous way of living that will include moving my body (a lot!), moving heavy things, and eating! Eating good, tasty, and whole foods most of the time.

What I have discovered though, is that for this to be a sustainable, long-term way of living, things have to be in balance as much as possible. I have to enjoy what I’m doing. I refuse to minutely obsess about macronutrient ratios, cry when I don’t like what the scale says, or restrict food to bland chicken and broccoli every single night. (I haven’t weighed myself in over 2 months! Gasp!) I food log every few weeks when I need to gauge where I’m at if I need to, but I try to listen to my body and eat intuitively. (For more on listening to your body, check out Linda Bacon’s book “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight”.) While some may see this book as a “Just give up and eat whatever you want”, I do not.  I don’t believe dieting and restriction is a long term solution.

Bottom Line: Health is not an arrival point. There is no point B in fitness. You never arrive. It’s an on-going, continuous journey. And as much as I like the completeness of being at the destination, this is an area where I have to accept that it just doesn’t exist.

And that’s okay.

Wonder Full Wednesday: Perspiration to Inspiration

I am never more alive then when I’ve just completed a workout, I’m sweaty and what I like to call “all wrung out”. For some reason, I’m never more clear, more focused and more sure of myself as I am when I am doing something physically strenuous. More often than not, much of my writing inspiration comes from random thoughts while running.

I distinctly remember on more than one occasion standing in line with other recruits at bootcamp class waiting nervously in line for our turn at the agility course. Mind you, the instructor has just walked through and explained (yelled) what to do, but for some reason – I always doubted. I doubted I could do it, I doubted I could do it right, I doubted I could even remember what she wanted us to do.

Being followed
Agility (Photo credit: John Carleton)

Every time as I stepped up to my turn, on the balls of my feet anticipating my start, my mind would go blank and I would just GO. (Now this isn’t to say that I always did it all perfect, but the level of doubt I had was not proportionate to my skill.) That “blankness” that “just-stop-getting-in-your-own-way-and-do-it” thing happens all the time when I do something and show myself that yes, I CAN. I am much stronger than I think. I just have to stop thinking about it.

When we get to the end of ourselves physically, when we are completely spent, that’s the moment we tap into clarity. We go beyond our bodies and tap into the spiritual. Perhaps that’s why it makes me smile a bit when people ask either how I lost weight (if I have a magic pill or the latest fad diet) or how I have the motivation to keep working out. It makes me smile because if I’ve learned anything over the last two years, it is this: it is really not about the physical. Yes, it’s part of the process, yes, it’s exercise and eating clean and all of that, but the majority of it for me has been my personal growth; my growth in creativity, as a parent, as a friend, as a wife, and as a person.

Perspiration leads to inspiration. I love being inspired! That “not regretting a workout” platitude is cute, true, but definitely not the whole story. Smaller jeans are nice, but it’s not the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is taking what you’ve learned, passion and inspiration, and passing it on and sharing it with others. When its true passion, it can’t help but be shared.

For this passion, this being inspired while perspiring; I am grateful.

I lost 50 and other random thoughts

50 pounds. Just gotta take it in and celebrate it. I feel like this past year I’ve done quite a bit of “success celebrations”! Life isn’t always rosy, but I feel very grateful to be in my skin, in my shoes, and loving my life.

We are settling in to our new home quite nicely and catching up with friends, checking out the playgrounds and of course working out bootcamp style!! It’s been so rewarding to pass on the things I’ve learned and that have changed my life to my loved ones. And, yes, I admit that I do enjoy torturing them a just a bit, too!! But in a loving way!! (Muahahaha!!!)

I’ve signed up for 2 half marathons and a 5 mile Tulip Run. I love signing up for events because it keeps me focused on training and gives me the opportunity to set and then blow goals out of the water! 🙂

Eric is currently in his “home away from home” on board the U.S.S. Eisenhower. Not having him home stinks. No matter how you look at it, deployments and separations are just plain hard. I had been dreading sea duty. But now that it’s here – there isn’t the paralyzing fear that I once had. And that, to me, is also something to celebrate!