One Year of Strength Training Results

The other day I weighed in for the first time in weeks and I realized it’s been a full year since I’ve started strength training…thanks to all that I learned from my  fabulously focused trainer friend Shannon Olsen and from the kind and inspiring Kristine Rustand of BMS Bootcamps . Prior to working with these wonderful ladies, the majority of my exercise was cardio based with a bit of strength training. For the past year, I have focused on strength training with a bit of cardio. It’s been a complete change in the way I train to maintain my health and wellness. I love the focus and pride weight training gives me.

Because our society can be so weight loss centered…here’s my weigh-in results after one year of strength training:

I lost a total of 0 pounds.

That’s right I weigh exactly the same one year later.

If I were to base my results on the scale, I would feel like I failed or at the very least I would feel like I didn’t make a whole lot of progress.

Weight Loss: 0


Strength Gain:  I’ve increased the weight I can lift by over 100% in some areas. From squatting my body weight, to squatting 140 pounds for several sets. I’ve gone from a shaky total of 12 pushups to 3 sets of 12 incline pushups. I’ve gone from a dangly no-hope-of-pulling-up-my-own-body-weight to actually being able to do a couple of pull-ups unassisted. That’s HUGE for me. A year ago I had no idea what a deadlift was, today I deadlift a couple of times a week progressing in weight as I gain muscle. At the moment, I’m at 3 sets of 12 lifting 110 pounds. It shocks me each month that I can increase the weight I can lift in every area. It doesn’t seem possible in my limited mindset.

I was always intimidated by the “guy zone” at the gym. The weight training area was off-limits. I felt like I had no business being there.  My biggest sense of joy comes from the confidence I have in that area now.  When I see the squat rack free, I get all excited. ha! I used to spend my entire time at the gym on a treadmill, running to nowhere. There’s definitely a place for running, but now it’s a part of the plan….not all of my plan.

Aside from my new-found-happiness via weights, the greatest gift has been through the incredibly motivating and uplifting people I’ve met this year by consistently going to the gym the same time of day for a few days a week.

The man who was run over after his motorcycle crash…he spends hours at the gym strengthening his new legs.

I met a man the other day who has two brand new knees. After 6 months at the gym and rehabilitation, he was able to climb the rocks in Mexico and jog on the beach with his grandchildren. He said this to me last week: “take care of your body, because when you get to my age, you need it to enjoy your retirement.”

I met a Mom who found self-confidence and purpose through fitness as she coped with her kids leaving for school.

I met a man the other day who showed me how to use battling ropes. He’s got some years on me, but he kicked my ass! As he showed me all he can do, I could feel how proud he was of his progress. Seriously, kicked. my. ass.

I met a woman who progresses every time I see her. She leaves her heart on the gym floor and through one little compliment I gave her about how she motivated me to work harder, we now exchange smiles and hellos rather than two strangers passing by.

And finally, I’m always encouraged by a man who walks the track as he recovers from a stroke. His strength of body and spirit amazes me. He just keeps going and if you could see the expression of determination on his face you would be inspired to just get out and walk a lap along with him.

I’m sharing all of this today because for years I was caught up in judging myself based on what a stupid scale read. I know many of my friends struggle with this as well.

If you have worked hard towards your goals and you are frustrated with your progress, I want to encourage you to focus on the strength you are building in both your body and mind. Focus on how much farther or longer you can run. Focus on the uplifting of your spirit as you sweat out the stress. Focus on increasing the weight each session or the amount of reps you can do. Focus on uplifting others through the joy you feel. Get out and live! Remember where you started, but more importantly WHY you started. Where you are at today in your fitness, is another person’s goal. Be good to yourself and enjoy the ride.

This past year has been a gift as I’ve learned so much more about the limits (or what I thought was my limits) of my mind and body. The correlation between the two in undeniable.

If you don’t know where to start with weight training, go hire a trainer. It’s worth every dollar! Check out: . Great resources for free! (who doesn’t love free)

From my heart to yours,


How Strength Training Taught me to Keep Going

I’ve been at my goal weight for coming on 8 years this May. I have managed to stay within the same 15 pound range under my goal these past years by eating healthy, exercising, and laughing my way through this crazy life. That positive mindset is important when reaching any goal, and this proved to hold important truth while I was shedding the weight and then maintaining.

Last year, I stumbled through several areas of my life. I had moments where I extended the middle finger to the foods of green and to the proteins that are lean. I hopped off that exercise wagon and then burned the sucker. I also sported a piss poor attitude about it all. To that end, I gained 15 pounds and saw my exact goal weight number of 165, however; there was a big difference in the feeling of seeing that number now versus 8 years ago. When I finally reached my goal weight 8 years ago, I was filled with pride and a ridiculous amount of happiness. Now….that number fills me with fear that I will put all that weight back on…10 pounds at a time.

Guess what my friends? That’s not going to happen. I can guarantee that, because my head is back where it needs to be.

It’s not about a magic number on the scale.

You see a few weeks ago when I realized I needed help, I hired a fabulous trainer Shannon Olsen. She set up a very different program than I am used to, with the emphasis on strength training (an area I was sorely lacking knowledge in) along with the cardio I know so well.  I have kept the weight off predominately through cardio; mainly running with a bit of strength training thrown in along with a healthy diet for the most part.  While this did work for me, after 8 years of doing the same thing over and over, my body and my mind grew bored and I lost sight of my goals.

I am so excited to have a new challenge!  Unlike straight cardio, I can see progress quite quickly with this strength training program.  Where last week I couldn’t possibly do 3 sets of 12 at a specific weight, by the next week I can lift that weight. It has been a big surprise to me how fast the body strengthens and reacts to something new. Even the word “Failure” is a positive word in strength training! It means you have worked so hard, that your muscles can’t work anymore and with failure comes rebuilding. In a nutshell, that’s what I’m doing within my mindset right now.

There are pivotal moments that happen throughout life that you can look back on and remember a shift within your old patterns of thinking. I had one of those this week.  I was doing squats with weights on my shoulders. My legs were shaking under the load; I focussed on my breathing and form so I could finish the set. As I finished the reps, I set the weights down with relief. As I stared at them during my rest, I realized that I used to carry more weight on my body daily than I had just laboured to lift.

And I let that sink in. How did I use to carry around that load and think that was “normal”.

This lifestyle choice is indeed a choice, and the end goal is not about weighing a magic number.  My body needs this lifestyle; my health depends on it, only I didn’t understand that fact when I was obese.

You see, if you continue with a negative habit over time (which in my case was over-eating and remaining sedentary), your body adjusts and reacts to the behaviour. It feels “normal”, in that it’s what you’ve known for an extended period of time. When I lived with an extra 100 pounds, I forgot what it physically felt like to weigh a healthy weight. I didn’t know I was sick. I didn’t want to relate the feeling of exhaustion, laboured breathing when climbing stairs, and sleep issues to my weight gain. It just “was” and I didn’t allow my mind to take responsibility for that. It wasn’t until a doctor was completely blunt with me that I understood it and I took the blinders off. I was so quick to blame my environment at first…my life was full of excuses: I have no time to exercise. I have an office job. I don’t know how to eat healthy. I hate vegetables. No one will support me. I’m alone in this journey. etc. Excuse, excuse, excuse.

When that doctor told me that I needed to lose weight or I would have health issues (as I was already beginning to have) I was still in denial. Here I was 28 years old, staring at a prescription for medication to control my high blood pressure and all I could think about was that I didn’t have it in me to lose the amount of weight he advised. Me? The red-faced kid at the back of gym class? I can’t exercise, and I have no will-power so I can’t control my weight with just food. No, there was no way I would be one of those annoying girls running from the gym carrying a big bottle of water in her yoga pants.

I was focussed on the aesthetics & a scale number,  and not on what healthy felt like.  

I didn’t know that I was just handed the greatest gift. I didn’t know that THIS was the moment that I was going to take control of my life and find out what my body could do when I pushed it. What my body would  feel like when I fuelled it with whole natural foods and not fast food.  I learned the new meaning of what fast food should be, a piece of fruit on the go. I had no idea what it felt like to have that endorphine rush after a workout. I didn’t understand that I would feel pride like I’ve never felt before.

And ya, it was going to take some time, and a whole lot of sweat.

Never give up

But I knew if I treated my body well, my mind would follow. When you finally show yourself a ‘lil love, you learn to in fact truly love yourself and in turn you love others too.


This was me hiding behind a smile (I remember how I felt in this photo and that smile was all kinds of fake)…


The truth is I don’t have many photos from that time in my life because I lived life as a wallflower. Life was safe that way. I didn’t need to have an opinion, I could live in my cloud of excuses with no bother.  I will tell you one thing, life was dreadfully boring that way. I think that’s why I make up my own fun now and laughter is such an important part of everyday, because everyday can be fun if you want it to. Instead of living in my head, I try my best to live life out-loud.

Like this guy: he makes up his own fun.

and this guy too…

You can have your own fun at home without public attention of course, crank your music and dance it out. Maybe shoulder dance in front of your computer!

What was my point? Oh yes, I do have a point… Life is a whole lot more fun when I have my health. Sometimes I need a reminder of that so I don’t take it for granted! I also need to throw out my scale and just focus on eating well and moving. I get too fixated on a magic number that may not be ideal for me as I change my program. Eat clean, move more, laugh often, indulge here and there, laugh, dance, toast a friend with a glass of red, laugh, eat clean, lift a little or a lot of weights, laugh, sleep. Repeat!

If you haven’t tried strength training, I encourage you to try it. Don’t know where to start? Hire a trainer. Yes, hiring a trainer isn’t cheap, but look at it as an investment into your future. Try going for a fitness assessment and ask the cost for creating a program tailored to you. This is knowledge you will have for the rest of your life. It’s a key to vitality!

You are stronger than you even realize.

Thank you to my life-saver Shannon, you have no idea what it meant to me to have you urging me on and getting me back on track in your motivating way. I will always remember your calming and supportive strength, and you’ve taught me so much!

So this is me the other day on my 37th birthday and that’s a real smile. I’m ready to take on this next challenge.


I hope your day is ridiculously amazing!

From my heart to yours,