Are Your Surroundings Causing Stress?

Last week I was telling my Mastermind Coach that I felt like I was out of control and unorganized.  I was having trouble thinking clearly and getting things done. I would start on one project, get distracted and then start on a different project. I was going in circles, working my tail off and had nothing to show for it.


Then it came crashing down. Seriously. My closet organizer fell apart and broke and things were pouring out of my closet.  Great, just what I needed. But in fact, it was exactly what I needed.


This incident forced me to step outside my work and focus on my environment. For about a year now I have hated my room and have been unhappy with my office space but didn’t know where to begin. Given the circumstances I had no choice but to start.


I spent the weekend buying new shelves and storage spaces for my closet. Everything came together nicely. I even purged old clothes I haven’t worn in years and once my closet was set up just they way I wanted it, I moved on to the office. I reorganized, shredded papers, scanned important documents and added some plants. From there I moved on to the trunk of my car where I keep all my workout equipment. I put things in the appropriate cubbies, cleaned up and refilled my first aide kit and bought new mats for the inside of my car. Everything felt brand new.  Everything.


They say we are a product of our surroundings, well if our surroundings are busy and chaotic, then we will be busy and chaotic.


Once all was said in done I felt at peace. I have slept better the past few nights then I had in months. I feel better and most of all I have been more productive and inspired.


Take a look around the rooms or spaces you spend most of your time in. Is there something you can fix or upgrade to make you feel better or get more accomplished?


Don’t contribute to the chaos life throws at us. Control what you can in your environment and you will be able to see and handle things much more clearly!


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Think About This

Just for a moment I want you to think about the aroma of your favorite food – how the smell travels up through your nostrils and you can practically taste it in your mouth without yet having one bite. You pick up your fork, dip into your dish, bring that piece up to your mouth and place the food right on your tongue as you absorb the taste and begin to slowly chew. You repeat this pattern over and over again until your stomach is full and then you sit back and think about your delicious meal.


How often do you really think about that? When you sit down for a meal do you take the time to enjoy your food and all its flavors?


Now I want you to imagine waking up one morning and not being able to swallow. I am not talking the sore-scratchy-throat-you-experience-when-you-are-sick type of inability to swallow, I am talking about being physically unable to swallow any liquids including your own saliva. You no longer have the ability to eat or to taste anything. Your only source of nutrients comes from a can and is poured into a syringe that is attached to a tube leading to your intestines.


Consider all the ramifications this would have on your life.IMG_0927


That is exactly how my mother lived the last two years of her life – being fed through a tube in her stomach due to esophageal cancer. The consequences she faced because of this kept her cooped up in her house for the most part and afraid to go out in public because she was embarrassed to use her spit cup in places or at parties.  Social situations where the “social butterfly” once felt comfortable were few and far between.  She was no longer able to drive. She had trouble projecting her voice, and her self-esteem was at an all time low due to her condition.


I wish doctors spent more time with their patients talking about nutrition because if they did, we might not have so many health problems. Popping a pill doesn’t solve the problem. It is only a temporary Band-Aid, and with all the diet “fads” out there it is no wonder people are confused and don’t know what to believe.  I wish my mom’s original doctor(s) had taken her years of chronic acid reflux more seriously and talked with her about the foods she was consuming. Maybe then they would have prevented or slowed down the process. You see, acid-reflux is a precursor to esophageal cancer.


The reason I am writing this is to show you the difference between excuses and reality. We all have excuses about why we can’t work out, prepare our meals or skip meals all together. We justify all the reasons that we can’t eat healthy food – because it’s too expensive or requires too much work. But I wonder what price you are willing to pay for your health?


I hope that you take my mother’s story and use it to better yourself. If my mother’s story makes you stop and think – if it puts things in a different perspective – if it makes you try harder, eat better, make fewer excuses and ultimately, become more healthy, then she will still be making a difference in this world. I hope you take her experience and use it to become better in your life.


I hear it all the time from clients, friends and family. I don’t have enough time. I’m broke. I’m tired. Blah. Blah. Blah. The perfect moment will never arrive, your time is now. It is up to you to commit to the small simple tasks that will create long term success. What can you sacrifice in your life right now so that you can dedicate time to creating the life you want?


“I have some sobering news for you: some day doesn’t exist, never has, and never will. There is no some day. There is only today. When tomorrow comes, it will be another today; so will the next day. They all will. There is never anything but today.”


“And some more shocking news: your ship’s not coming — it’s already here. Docked and waiting. You already have the money. You already have the time. You already have the skill, the confidence. You already have everything you need to achieve everything you want. ”





Are BUSY being BUSY? (Part 1)

You are never too busy for what you make a priority!

Bam. I said it.

This day and age we live in a society that is addicted to being busy. We are running errands, going out to dinner with phones in out hands checking emails, texting others and updating FB statuses. Why? Because most people don’t take the time to think about the things they value most (i.e. family, relationships, health, downtime) before taking on other commitments and in turn those are the things that end up on the back burner. We get caught up in a rat race until we eventfully fall off the track.

I want you to grab a pen and paper and write down what your top 3 priorities are in your life.  What is it that you value most? These are the things that are the most important to you. They are non-negotiable.

Now I want you to take a look at your calendar and see how much time you are devoting to these things each day and each week.  Does it add up? If so great, but I am pretty sure for most people reading this it may be pretty eye opening. Where are you really spending most of your time?

In my 10 year career as a fitness professional the most common and frustrating excuse is, “I don’t have time or I am just to busy.”  And this busyness doesn’t just lie in one not taking care of ones health and fitness. It carries over to family, to social circles and the need to feel that we have to do more so that we don’t let others down. Tell me, where do those “others” rank on your priority list?

When is enough…enough?

The most important thing I learned when starting my own business was that a jack-of-all-trades is broke. Basically you can’t do everything and you can’t be everything to everyone. Pick what you value most, dedicate the majority of your time in those areas and don’t settle for mediocrity. Be world class in what you choose to do.

If spending more time with your kids is important to you, limit the number of extra projects you take on and schedule more hours in the week to spend with them. If your health and fitness is important to you, treat your workouts as if they were doctors’ appointments. If you feel you need more time to yourself, write in your calendar “date with yourself” on a weekly basis. Remember, these appointments are non negotiable. Don’t erase, delete or blow them off.  Everything else you take on has to fit around these appointments.

Failure to prioritize the things you value most in LIFE will leave you resentful and always feeling behind on what it is your are trying to achieve in LIFE. Learn to LIVE the LIFE you LOVE.

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!!!

You are at the starting line, your heart is racing, your head is pounding…what the hell have I gotten myself into?

Yes. That is the normal thought process of those people who are taking on a new challenge and have no idea what the outcome may be. The only thing they do know, they need to take action, and there is no turning back.

That is exactly what Meg Burton did on March 8th!  Meg joined my online challenge community in May of 2013. She was determined to make her health and fitness a priority and she took one step forward and never looked back.  She committed herself  to her goals, shared them with co-workers, inspired friends and the online community to keep pushing forward.

Meg at the starting line before the Giants Race in Scottsdale Arizona

Meg works long hours in the operating room and on top of that she has the nights shift but she never used that as an excuse. She kept her goal to become more fit and healthy in mind and didn’t miss a workout or a check in. She has been on a roll!

I made it a goal of mine for 2014 to run a competitive race at least once per quarter. I wanted to get back into competitive sports and not just rely on doing things recreationally so in November I started recruiting friends to participate in the San Francisco Giants inaugural Scottsdale Giants Race. I have ran the race in SF before but there is nothing like Spring Training and having lots of friends that already live in Arizona made it a perfect girls getaway.

Well as the date drew near some people had schedule changes, some had different goals and in the end the only ones left running were Meg and myself. Then the night before I left I had x-rays on what I thought was just a sprained ankle turned out to be a broken bone in my foot. I was ordered to keep off of it. No race for me.

I was devastated and felt bad for Meg. This was going to be her first race ever! She was the lone survivor but that didn’t bother her and she did not back down! She ran that race. And when I say she ran it, I mean she RAN IT! She didn’t back down from the challenge even though she was running it alone. She was committed to the run, to her training and she succeeded with a great time.

After race victory!

I can’t express how proud I am for her and to see her cross that finish line. She and I go way back. She was the first child I ever babysat. To this day I am not sure how I was held responsible for such a young girl, when I myself was so young, but we were definitely meant to be in each others lives. Our families had vacation homes across the street from one another for many years but life takes its course and eventually people moved, but through the power of Internet we remained connected. That day was the first day I spent with her since she was 8 years old and I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way.

Meg decided to take responsibility and take action which lead her to results!

So many of us wait for motivation to take action but action breeds motivation. Meg is already trying to recruit people for her next races and we are planning to run the Giants Race in SF this year. Crazy costumes and all!

So if there is something you want to accomplish, make a conscious decision and start putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t wait for perfect timing, a sign or someone to give you permission.  Heck, I will give you permission. GO DO IT!

Are you ready?

On your mark…

Get set….


Then and now!

Take Action

Monday January 13, 2013


I had one of those days today. I was exhausted, lacking motivation and just feeling blah. The last thing I wanted to do was workout.


Yes, it happens to fitness professionals too. And as much as I dreaded it I forced myself to go to the gym. I didn’t know how it was going to go and didn’t really have any expectations I just reminded myself of my goals and the example I want to set this year.


Guess what? I had an awesome workout.

You have to take action in order to gain momentum and once I got started I didn’t want to stop tonight. Now I can sleep well knowing I am one step closer to my goals.





No Excuses!

Recently I met the most amazing woman. She has spirit, funk, sass and she is more tenacious than her tiny little frame projects.

She came to me inquiring about personal training because she has lost her physical strength over the past few years. She let me know that she was once Miss April and when I asked her to tell me about her past title, she then let me know that she was crowned that honor 20 years ago at her old gym but she is determined to be the Miss (fill in the blank) title that best suites her age. She let me know that to being in the best possible shape for her age and to live a long and healthy life are her main priorities.  I immediately fell in love with her determination and desire to live a healthy life.

I opened up my calendar to make an appointment. Between her yacht club, playing chess with a friend, yoga, and swimming, we were finally able to find a day and time that would work for both of us moving forward. Yes, this woman is very busy. I am sure many of you reading this will think that you have a lot more on your plate than she does. She is not balancing kids (whom are grown up), a job (she’s retired) or multiple committees. You may even say to yourself “It must be nice to fit in yoga and a chess game during the week.  Sounds like a rough life.”  Right?

Well, what I didn’t mention is that this woman is a brain cancer survivor.  When she was diagnosed she was given a two percent chance of survival.  After multiple rounds of chemo they were able to remove the tumor that left her blind in her left eye and with slight memory loss.  She warned me that she may come in and not know my name and that she needs to be guided and cued patiently because she has trouble differentiating right from left.

She is not letting cancer or the damaging effects it has caused in her day-to-day life stop her from moving forward.   Along with all that I have listed above, she is helping her yoga instructor teach seniors, she hopes to sign up for bridge lessons, she still sails and has registered for two sailing trips. One of her big goals is to climb to the crows nest for the sail boat in February and I have no doubt in my mind she will do it.  And through all of this she has found her calling. This former psychologist often talks with other cancer patients and helps them come to terms with their diagnosis and encourages them to stay strong in mind and spirit throughout their treatment process.

Next time you find yourself saying you don’t have time, you are too tired, you’ll do it tomorrow I want you to think of this woman and all that she has been through. If she can do it so can you.

So please tell me, what is your excuse?

Ultimate Reset

Ultimate Reset: Week One

I have almost finished WEEK ONE of a 21 day Reset Program.  Before I started many people told me that the first week would be the most difficult.  They warned me I would be tired and my body would be going through a lot of adjustments but I didn’t think much about it. The recipes were pretty familiar from when I used to compete (lean chicken, fish, veggies, etc.), the water plan seemed intense but I drink water all day while working (or so I thought), and I prepped all my meals on Saturday to keep things simple during the week. I was ready to go!


Well, the first week was definitely tough. It didn’t make it any easier that Monday night I got very little sleep due to a family emergency.  Monday and Tuesday I found it challenging to meet the water requirements and was full from drinking so much water that I could barely eat lunch or dinner (but I did). As the week went on I still struggled with water and became more tired and had some headaches from weaning myself off of caffeine.


I have learned that even though I eat healthy most of the time, my portion sizes are larger than they need to be and that I need to slow down when I eat and pay attention to how my body responds to what I am consuming. I swayed from the menu one night last week to go out to dinner with my dad. I made a not so healthy choice and boy did I pay for it. I could have picked something else on the menu and I knew that type of food has hurt my stomach in the past so WHY did I choose it anyway???


After six full days I woke up this morning with no coffee cravings and haven’t had any temptations for sugar products.  I feel less tired today, less bloated, I am down a few pounds and eager to begin WEEK TWO!

The Ultimate Reset: My Quest for Six….

Yesterday, as the 49ers were preparing to win their 6th Super Bowl I was preparing for a victory of my own kind. I want to get my 6 pack back. Yep. I used to have one. I had one for a long time and for the past few years I would say to myself “Oh, it was so easy back then.” I was younger, had a better metabolism, I didn’t have to worry about a job or other responsibilities. At least that is what I thought.

2008 Fitness Show

As I reflected on the years where I was in my best physical shape I realized that things seemed easy because I was prepared! I prepped my food on a weekly basis. My workouts were scheduled each day and I followed a morning and evening routine. My life wasn’t necessarily easier. I had balance work study, basketball, and training schedules while earning a degree in Kinesiology. After graduating I worked at 3 different locations in the city, ran a few half marathons, competed in fitness competitions and still managed to generate enough income to pay for city living and the parking tickets that came with it.  I was busy, I worked hard, I had fun, I stayed healthy and it was easy because I did my work early and that made all the difference.

Yesterday, as most of America was shopping and getting ready for their Super Bowl parties, I was shopping farmers markets, prepping meals for the week, configuring my schedule to allow for some down time and activity time around my work schedule. It takes 21 days to create a habit so follow me as I embark on this journey and get my abs back in the process. Okay, the abs would be a nice byproduct but my ULTIMATE goal is to hit the RESET button on my life and stick to healthy productive habits.



80/20 Which One Are YOU?

If there were no difficulties there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved”

This past weekend I ran my first race in almost a year. It was a 10K trail run which I normally love but given the circumstances I have been dealt this year I had not been running and lost the love and the peacefulness that I once experienced.

My friend Ami was the one that encouraged me to sign up for the race. I had every intention to train, to get out and run, I even downloaded training plans so I wouldn’t have to design a program myself. But the past few months my training was sporadic at most.

The night before the race my mom ended up in the ER again. I thought about backing out of the race however by this point I had also convinced my client Heather to sign up and I really felt that it was time I take ACTION for myself instead of always doing things for others. I needed this run.

With 4 hours sleep I found myself at the starting line for the race. I knew there were going to be hills involved but I didn’t understand how many hills and the degree of elevation. In hindsight, maybe it was better that I didn’t know.

At the start of the race I was caught at the front of the pack running at a pace that would be impossible for me to maintain for the full 6 miles. The trail was so narrow and slick which made pulling off to the side not a safe option so I kept running, and running, and hoping that I didn’t trip and fall.

Eventually the trail opened up and I was able to pull to the side, slow down my pace and begin to catch my breath. Then the hill came. Not hills. Hill. 1,100 elevation for approximately 4 miles. Crap!

I tried to keep running at the base of the hill but my hamstring tightened up so I began to walk hoping it would loosen up the faster I walked. When there was a bit of flat land I ran. Another hill came and I walked. It went on like this for the full 4 miles and I was grateful that I had a great playlist even though my conditioning was hurting!

I began to become comfortable with the fact that I wasn’t going to break records on this run but this instead was going to me a motivator to get my running career back. Suddenly I began to notice that as I was run/walking the people that were running at a constant speed around me were not getting much farther ahead of me. I was keeping a decent pace with my fellow competitors. Immediately I felt even better.

After the 4 mile hill it was now time to run down, and that’s when I took off! I picked up my pace let my legs flow underneath me. I crossed the finish line and to my surprise I finished 4th in my age group! Not bad for not training. And to think I almost didn’t run the race and I contemplated giving up at one point. 80 percent of people fail at things in life because they never start or they give up, that day I was part of the 20 percent and I hope to be part of that group everyday.

The race was a lot like life, sometime you have up hill battles and you have to dig deep and do what you can, other times you are going full speed towards goals, everything is falling into place and you get to enjoy the ride. But you will never be successful at either if you don’t commit to ACTION!