Rain Clouds

Badwater Rain cloub

This week, a very prominent magazine interviewed me about my Women’s Strength Nation movement. I was speaking with the fitness editor about what Women’s Strength Nation is truly about.

I started Women’s Strength Nation after a very emotionally challenging year. We all have our storms and it was my turn to battle the rain clouds. Rock bottom for me was a stretch of two weeks where I was having daily anxiety attacks that would last four hours from noon until 4:00 each day. One particularly bad one left me on my living room floor (literally) sobbing my soul out and a dear friend spooning me as she told me to breathe into my heart.

I believe that women battle different storms than men. My own deep suffering made my heart ache knowing that other women went through this too.

Women’s Strength Nation is about facing your own storms so that you can create change in your life. I know that you want to feel better, be better and live bigger. Change begins inside of you. How you do something is how you do everything. Your fitness is one of those “something’s” and it reflects the story that is being told inside of you. Women’s Strength Nation is a community that will walk through the storm with you using strength training as a raincoat. We’ll walk out from under the rain clouds stronger together.

At this point the magazine editor paused, then shared with me how much this resonated with her personally. She was unhappy with her current fitness level and she knew that she was capable of doing better. It was profound to me that even an editor of a fitness magazine faces the struggles of reaching supreme health and fitness. Once again, I was reminded that this conversation is relevant for sooooooooo many women. We are more united than we realize. We think that our storms are unique to us. In truth, we are all under the same rain cloud – but we are in different cities, different countries and different circumstances.

I encourage you to take a look at your own life. How do you do the “something’s” in your life? Because how you do something is how you do everything, including the actions you take (or don’t take) towards your health and fitness. Ask yourself these questions:

• Am I happy with each “something” in my life?
• Can I do it better?
• Am I achieving the excellence that I know I am capable of?

I’d love to hear from you and hope that you’ll join my community. Let’s talk about our “something’s” and our rain clouds. Breathe into your heart and let’s exit the storm stronger, together. You deserve to be exuberant, vivacious, untethered and unlimited.

Please share your “something’s” with me in the Comments below, or reach out to me via email.

Oh wait! I have 10 tickets let to our first Women’s Strength Nation LIVE event in San Diego next month. I am eager to sell these tickets and am offering a RIDICULOUS Flash Sale to my friends here and on FB through this weekend. Truly, it’s a crazy offer and prices will never be this low again – for real. If you are ready to make a change in your health, if you need some fitness guidance, if you are looking for inspiration…join me. It’s going to be life changing. Click HERE for more info.

Women’s Strength Nation Workout

WSN FB page coverOH EM GEE! I cannot believe how long it has been since I’ve written to you. If you’ll recall, in my last letter I told you about my new baby, Women’s Strength Nation. I’m sure you know how demanding it can be to raise, nature and guide a newborn. It’s totally cray and the time flies!

If you missed my last letter I’ll let you in on the fun. I had a pretty rough stretch in 2013 and 2014. My beloved dog was dying and my marriage was ending. If that wasn’t bad enough, my 40th birthday was coming too. Wow, what a perfect storm. It was a difficult time that led me to do some deep reflection and brought me to the creation of Women’s Strength Nation.

Once the storm settled I emerged a new person. When the wounds began to heal, the woman I was supposed to be was slowly revealed. I realized that my sense of inner, spiritual strength was just as important as the physical strength that I cultivate in the gym. From this I created Women’s Strength Nation. It is a movement to help women discover their inner strength through the development of outer strength.

The response to Women’s Strength Nation has been incredible! I have received so many media requests, interviews and emails; it’s totally cray! I am passionate about helping you find the strength that lives in you, the strength that you might have lost along the way of a busy life. I will be doing this through my new website and live events.

The most exciting component of Women’s Strength Nation is a series of weekend events called Women’s Strength Nation LIVE. In partnership with Westin Hotels, we have created a workshop where you can discover and experience your personal strength while you learn everything you need to know about strength training. I will be guiding you through a curriculum that will reveal the magical strength inside of you that you may have lost touch with. It is a chance for you to identify the obstacles that have held you back from reaching your health and fitness goals. I will give you a first class education in how to cultivate your own strength, inside and out.

I created a very special strength training program that is only revealed at my Women’s Strength Nation LIVE events. I am SO excited about this program! In celebration of all this new magic, I’d like to share a small piece of the workout with you as a “Hey Thanks!” for being part of my circle of friends. You are one of my besties and I want to support your health and fitness goals.

If you need some guidance in your strength training workouts, I’ve created a hidden page on my new Women’s Strength Nation website that includes a workout just for you. Check it out! You’ll find my brand new “Women’s Strength Nation Foundation Workout.” It is super effective and easy to follow…because I show you how! You’ll find video tutorials for all of the exercises! It’s totally cray.

I’m so excited to be able to do this for you. Please, please take advantage of it. You are welcome to share the content with your friends, I just ask that they join the email list so I can keep track. You’ll see email sign up forms on the new site. Everything is free.

Check it out and you’ll find everything you need for an effective foundational strength training workout designed just for you: a woman ready to cultivate her strength.

Click here for your workout: Women’s Strength Nation Foundational Workout
Password: foundation

Would LOVE to hear from you. Do you currently follow a strength training program? What else can I share with you to make your workouts even better? Please share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Stay STRONG!

 

Muscle is Magic

Groovy muscle pic

 

I just put the finishing touches on my first book Lift to Get Lean! I am so beyond excited to share it with you because I know that it holds the power to help you shift your life in radical ways.

That’s a pretty bold statement, huh? Yeppers. I know that my book is going to be powerful for women everywhere for two reasons: 1) because I put my heart and soul into it, and 2) it is backed by tons of research.

Here’s the deal…muscle is magic.

I recently found a photo of myself when I was 23 that would blow your mind. I looked like a train wreck and I am shocked at how unhealthy I appeared. It reminded me of how miserable I was back then. Despite my degree in exercise physiology, I had no idea how to eat and train properly.

I was ravaged by sugar cravings, energy slumps, constant hunger, tummy bloat, aches and pains, and general malaise. I couldn’t get through the day without coffee, was always sore from my workouts, and felt fat all the time. Clearly I was a lot of fun back then…not.

I happened to find this picture over my birthday weekend this past December. A side by side comparison of that photo and one from my birthday tells an incredible story. I literally look like a totally different person today.

My commitment to strength training over the past 5 years is the biggest influence over my health and appearance today. Muscle truly is magic. For women, there is tremendous hormonal and metabolic fallout due to age-related muscle loss, and strength training is the first line of defense.

Research shows there is a direct correlation between strength training and carb cravings, fatigue, moodiness, and hormonal imbalances. Lean muscle mass has the power to reduce belly fat, fight diabetes and heart disease, stabilize blood sugar and increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). For women, muscle is literally magic.

I am leaner than when I was 23. I am more fit than when I was 33. I am stronger, fiercer, and more resilient than at any other age in my life….and in December that birthday was number 43.

Muscle is magic. I believe it is the panacea that we’ve all been looking for in our search for energy, happiness, confidence and strength. A consistent practice of proper strength training will influence your life in so many ridiculous ways you’ll be shocked.

I am committed to helping you navigate the confusing world of strength training. A great place to begin is by getting a copy of my book. You can pre-order it HERE. The next step is to stay connected with me via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (links below!) where I share little nuggets each day to help you. I will be sharing more about Women’s Strength Nation in the coming weeks. I’m on a mission to improve the ratio of women to men strength training in gyms everywhere. I hope you’ll join the movement. The first step is to make a commitment to yourself to strength train 2 times each week. Let the magic begin….

Here is a simple strength training program that you can use to get started on your journey. Complete the following workout two times every week. Complete 3 sets of each exercise with 60 seconds of rest in between each set. Complete all 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next exercise.

Leg Press – 15 reps

Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down – 12 reps

Seated Chest Press – 12 reps

Barbell Overhead Press – 15 reps

Creating muscle magic truly is as simple as that! Try it, and please share your thoughts with me in the comments section below. Stay strong, friend.

Newsworthy…

  • Holly’s book Lift to Get Lean is now available for pre-order! Click HERE.
  • Ready to take your fitness and life to the next level? Women’s Strength Nation LIVE will be kicking off in April of this year. Join us at our inaugural weekend experience and workshop. Visit the Women’s Strength Nation website HERE and stay tuned for deets!
  • Get ready for a total body transformation! Holly is teaming up with Women’s Health magazine for an exciting fitness challenge and you can follow along! Stay tuned for deets.

Big Announcement!

Baldadea Laugh Original crop

If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been absent from here. In case you weren’t counting, it has been 9 months. And I have something very exciting to share with you…

It’s a girl!!!!

This month I gave birth to a baby girl!

Oh all right…I fess up. I didn’t birth a baby in the traditional sense – like a real life human baby. But I’ll tell ya what; she is a beautiful, healthy, precious baby in my eyes.

The truth is, I don’t have any real children. But I do feel like I just went through an equally profound experience. I created, gestated and pushed out something very near and dear to my heart. I felt it was my turn to become a momma.

9 months ago I found myself at rock bottom. Without getting into details, I will share that life has some grand plans for me and the only way I was going to get on the right path was for a series of events to occur and break my heart open.

I realized that I needed to create life. Just like many of you moms, I found myself wanting to birth something magnificent. I wanted to feel that my life had a profound purpose. So I went on maternity leave. I walked away from the life that I had known for 17 years. I reassessed everything and decided that in order to create new life I had to make space. I cleaned closets and took out the trash (and I don’t mean in the literal sense, if you catch my drift). I got really hungry and the cravings kicked in. I put my life in the Vitamix blender and whipped up a recipe to feed my baby. As the months continued I became tired and exhausted. My hormones went bonkers. There were days when I was so emotional all I could do was eat cookies and cry. I isolated myself. Many of my friends didn’t understand why I was out of touch. I was just trying to get through each day and didn’t have much left to give. It was a rough time. That’s why you haven’t heard from me in so long.

But I kept whipping up recipes, and feeding my baby, and I’m proud to say that I made it through! The past 9 months have been the most challenging, defining and magical months of my life thus far. I’d like to introduce you to my baby girl…

Introducing the Women’s Strength NationTM

In the coming months I will be that proud new mom who posts photos of her newborn. I’ll turn to Facebook in the middle of the night. I’ll be sending you weekly emails with all of the exciting details of my growing little one. I am bursting with excitement and a newfound joy for life! I can’t wait for you to meet my little nugget.

The past 9 months have been very challenging for me. It’s been an experience that was both difficult and magical. Through the hardship, I found strength. My heart broke wide open, but I was able to fill it with meaning. My body felt foreign to me, and I turned to strength training to get me through and rebuild me. It was a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual test. And it turned me into a better version of myself. It turned me into the gal that I’m supposed to be.

The Women’s Strength Nation is a movement to help women discover their inner strength through the practice of strength training. It is a place where you can turn to find a community of support– a sisterhood – passionate about health, and dedicated to empowerment. It is a resource for you to learn why strength training is critical to your health. It is your tool for answering every question you have about women’s strength training.

Welcome to the Women’s Strength Nation. Join the Movement.

I am passionate about helping women around the world to find strength and empowerment alongside their fitness. You can help me to make this nation strong! If you have a friend who would dig this, please share this letter and encourage her to join the movement by entering her email addy HERE.

The Definition of Insanity

6 plates

A little over two years ago I started my 40 Body Project because I haaaaad to arrive at the big 4-0 in the best shape of my life. I have always hit the weights, but I took a new strategy for my 40 Body Project. If you didn’t get to follow along you can see my Before and After photos below.

Since then I have been following the same exact strength training and diet program. For the past 9 months or so I have been battling problematic cycles: I would be “on track” for about 10 days and then KAHBLAM! I would get smacked in the face by a bunch of carbohydrates as they forced themselves into my belly. Literally, I would crash so hard that I had no choice but to eat more than what was spelled out “on my program.” It would then take me 5 days to pick myself back up from feeling like I had failed and get back on track. Each time I would say to myself: “I just need to get back on track. I know what I need to do, so I just have to do it.” I would eventually get myself back on track for ohhhhh, about 10 days, and then WHA-POOO! Those darn little carbohydrates would hide behind the door in my kitchen, tackle me and force themselves on me.

“I just need to get back on track. I know what I need to do, so I just have to do it.”

And the cycle would begin again. And again. And again. Can you relate?

These cycles were also reflected in the gym. When I was on track I would feel energized and strong during my strength training workouts. Then about ohhhhh, 10 days in, I would hit a wall and my strength would plateau. For the life of me I could NOT push more than 5 plates on the Leg Press (it doesn’t really matter, but I know you’re wondering: 5 plates is 225 lbs). I felt like I was doing something wrong, because I know I should be able to push more weight. “I know what I need to do, I just need to work harder and do it!”

Recently during one of my crash cycles, I remembered one of my favorite quotes:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein

That dude is dope, so I applied his idea to my situation. Clearly I’m insane, because I keep doing the same thing, experiencing the same obstacles, and yet I expect different results!

Last week I went totally cray cray. I listened to Al’s advice and, for the first time in my entire fitness career I decided to radically change my strategy.

I decided to go on a “Bulking Program” where I intentionally eat more than I need as a means to improve strength and muscle mass. Say whaaaaat??? Yes, I might gain some body fat, but it will also help to scare off those little carbohydrate gremlins in my kitchen. This is the strategy that those big, scary, muscle guys use to get big and scary!

I told you I went cray.

Guess what happened today? For the first time ever, in my entire fitness career, I pushed 6 plates on the Leg Press for 2 sets of 10. That’s a new personal record. Now THAT’S insanity.

If you want different results you’ve got to take different actions!

Take a moment right now and assess your challenges. Where in your life do you keep running into a wall? What areas are knocking you down in your attempt to make progress or create change? What systems are not working for you? Do you stumble over and over?

You can do this. You’re stronger than you think.

Try a new strategy.

If you feel like sharing, I’d really love to hear about the areas that challenge you. Do you experience cycles like me? Please share below….

Holly Transformv2

 

 

Tired and Hungry From Workouts?

nebula_heart_rate_pulse

I remember a time many years ago when I was excited and eager to workout and get skinny. I would go to the gym and kill it! And the next day I would go to the gym and kill it again! And the next day I would…be starving, sore, exhausted and bloated. Wha!?!?!

Yeah, not exactly the result that I had in mind. I felt like I was tired and hungry all the time with mega sugar cravings (well helllllooo lemon pound cake…).

Who on earth wants to keep working out if that’s the payoff? Can you relate?

Here’s the dealio: Your body looooovvves to use fat as its fuel. Your body does not like to call upon carbohydrates for fuel. Fallout occurs when you are calling on carbs to fuel your workouts. It’s mad science.

As exercise intensity increases, your need for carbohydrates increases to fuel the workout. The need for carbohydrates is in direct proportion to your heart rate – the higher your heart rate, the more carbohydrates you will need. Afterward, your body must replenish these carbs and will cause a lovely array of symptoms like sugar cravings, fatigue, hunger, and crankiness. These symptoms often cause you to eat more – often unconsciously -and therefore stall weight loss or cause weight gain!

No bueno!

The key to effective weight loss and superior fitness is to teach your body to burn fat as its predominate fuel source.

Here are some tips that I share with my clients to help them feel great from workouts and to facilitate weight loss:

  • The more out of shape you are, the more you need moderate exercise that progresses gradually.
  • Keep high intensity workouts of any kind to twice per week until you are at a higher level of fitness.
  • Monitor your heart rate! I know, I know, this can be complicated. Get yourself a heart rate monitor and keep your intensity to 70-80% of your theoretical maximum heart rate. Huh? Check out the link below so that you can accurately calculate your heart rate range.
  • Eat a small meal or snack 30-60 minutes before workouts. Do the same within 1 hour after your workout. Read more about this HERE.

If you experience the symptoms I mentioned above, you are most likely working out at an intensity level that is too hard.

Ease up on your effort level for 2 weeks and the symptoms will go away. As your fitness level increases you can gradually increase your effort level during workouts.

Exercise will make you feel great if you get smart about your workouts. I know that it can be confusing! Stick with me kid and I’ll do my best to help make your life better through fitness.

New Balance has great heart rate monitors that are easy to use and inexpensive. Click HERE.

Click HERE to read about the most accurate way to calculate your Theoretical Maximum Heart Rate.

The Magician of Your Dominion

Angry

How are you? I hope you’re awesome, because I’m MAD!

Yep, I’m maaaaaaaad. I received a note from a woman this week that has been dealing with the all too common issue of thyroid problems. As you may know, I have been treated for thyroid issues and have shared this with my community. This friend reached out to me because she inexplicably gained 20 pounds in one month, feels terrible, and her doc isn’t helping her to find a resolution. On top of that, she’s getting the message that her situation is simply a fact of life, that the issue is somehow her fault, and that her imbalance is a function of age and hormones.

CUT TO: Holly pulling her hair out and on the verge of imploding from anger.

I am a crusader for change. I am an advocate for progress. I am a proponent of self-reliance.

And I get so mad when I see someone suffering who has been told that there is nothing they can do to change their situation.

There is always something you can do about your predicament. 

The human body has tremendous propensity for change. That is the core of our very ability to exist and survive. We adapt. That is why we are still on this planet!

For 20 years I’ve heard that the following issues are a “fact of life” a “function of aging” or “hereditary”:

  • Arthritis
  • Cellulite
  • Back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Trouble zone body fat
  • Hormone and thyroid imbalances

And for 20 years I have successfully helped people reverse these conditions. Nope, I’m not a doc. And yep, I’ve watched my clients take action and gleefully overcome their challenges.

Human beings need hope. Without hope desperation sets in. You have a choice to believe that you are powerful and a crusader for change. You are the magician of your dominion. You have everything you need inside of you to find a resolution for your challenges.

Arthritis? Is irritation and swelling around a joint because the bones are not integrating with proper alignment. You can strengthen the muscles that support the bones and stretch.

Cellulite? Is simply body fat that gets damaged from sitting on it. You can exercise, eat a clean diet and strength train!

Back pain? Excluding an acute injury, back pain is most often caused by a weakness in the core that results in a misalignment of the pelvis.

I could go on and on, but I won’t because I don’t have any hair left to pull out. I used to have pretty red hair, but now I’m bald because I’ve pulled it all out.

I want you to make a pledge to me that when you are faced with a challenge, you will take a deep breath, bow your head, and use your big beautiful brain to determine some action you can take to correct your situation. You can do this. And you’re worth it.

In the Comments below I want you to make a pledge with me to be the magician of your own life.

To sign up for my weekly email love, click HERE.

To follow me on Facebook, click HERE.

Stay STRONG.

Enchilada + Greek Yogurt + Workout = Barf

Protein Shake collage

I get asked allllll the time what to eat before a workout. So today I’m going to dive deep into some spicy Mexican food and share with you what to eat and what NOT to eat before a workout. I bet you’ve got this one figured out already.

Facing major changes in my business and a big year ahead, I had a mucho meltdown over las vacaciones de Navidad(that’s Spanish for Christmas…even though I’m not Spanish). All of a sudden I realized that everything I had worked towards for 20 years was finally coming to fruition. I felt like I needed to seize the day but didn’t have the manpower hours to accomplish everything. Thankfully, Papa Noel (Santa Claus) brought me the gift of intuition in the form of a quiet whisper: “Your sister would be an incredible asset to your team.” It was the best Christmas gift ever.

Cut to today, I am thrilled to announce that my sister Kelli is officially part of my team! Kelli is a marketing genius and like me, she values the importance of fitness. Kelli is not Spanish either, but for some reason she ate an Amy’s organic enchilada last week before a big workout. To top it off she ate some Greek yogurt with it. This is foreshadowing – guess what happened next?

She barfed during her workout!

I applaud her for pushing herself to that intensity during a workout; and I applaud her intention to eat healthfully. Both of these decisions were great! It’s just that they don’t fit well together.

When she shared this with me I felt as though it was an opportunity to review what to eat and what NOT to eat before workouts. I used to make the same mistakes until I finally learned how to eat to support my body during the “stress” of workouts. Game changer.

Holly’s 3 Rules for Pre Workout Fueling:

  1. Choose foods that are easily digestible.
  2. Choose a combination of easily digestible protein plus a slightly higher glycemic carb.
  3. Minimize fat.

The key is to eat a small meal or snack 30-90 minutes before your workout and make sure it is simple and easy to digest. The name of the game is to pick foods that will hit your belly and then sprint to your muscles. Therefore, you want to avoid fat because it slows digestion in your system. Protein can also be hard to digest, so you want to choose one that is simple and easy to digest. Am I making Rule #1 crystal clear? The food needs to be easy to digest!

Here are some easily digestible foods that I suggest to my clients:

Proteins

  • Low fat dairy
  • Whey and egg white protein powder
  • Vegan protein powder
  • Egg whites
  • Promax LS bars (this also includes the carb)

Carbs

  • Banana
  • Tropical fruit: mango, pineapple, papaya
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • White rice
  • Promax LS bars (this also includes the protein)

Therefore, with one small tweak, my sister could have turned her barf-session into a power session. The Greek yogurt was an awesome choice (assuming it was low fat) and would have paired well with honey or agave.

Proper fueling before my workouts was a mucho grande game changer for me. The right fuel ensures that you’ll burn like a high performance machine; and that means you can work harder during workouts. And that’s what fitness is all about. Work strongly in your workouts, then play wholeheartedly in your recovery.

Stay STRONG!

 

From Darkness to Light

Now What? v2

Monday marked the very first day of writing for my very first book. Yowza! How fun! Wait, I mean, terrifying! I have the great honor of writing a book that will be published by Rodale in April of next year. I can’t say too much, but it is a book for women and it’s going to be grrreeeeeat. I know it’s going to be great, not because I have an ego the size of Kim Kardashian’s bee-hind, but because I am bursting with passion about helping women find their strength. My book has to be great because the message is important. Even if I have a terrible week of writing – yep, more on that in a minute – I know that the message will get through and inspire women. I cannot wait to share it with you.

I had two fantastical days of writing this week, then all of a sudden BAM! I COULD NOT get my brain to work. I absolutely could not write a sentence let alone a 10,000-word chapter. So what did I do? I freaked out of course, what else would I do? I then spent two days beating myself up, criticizing my lack of quality writing, and punishing myself for any reason I could drum up. I worked myself into a very bad space.

Thankfully a very dear friend made me sit down, close my eyes, breathe into my belly and reconnect with my softer, more emotionally spirited, inner self.  It was a major game-changer.

I realized that I had gotten off track earlier in the week in regards to my health and fitness. In order to feed my brain for writing, I allowed my diet to slack, and had been eating foods that aren’t really ideal for my delicate system and brain. Sugar? Who me??

I also had more caffeine than usual and therefore wasn’t sleeping deeply. Because I wasn’t sleeping deeply, my workouts were disastrous. Trust me, you don’t want Holly after a bad workout. All of this led up to the trouble I felt on Thursday and Friday.

I’m happy to say that I’m feeling a million times better today and I want to share with you what I did to get back on track. I know that we all get off track at times in a variety of ways. Maybe you can try some of my tactics the next time you feel outta whack.

Here are the actions I took to wrangle myself back into a space of positivity, creativity and light:

  1. I immediately shifted my macros to 40/30/30. This is the sweet spot for blood sugar stabilization, optimal brain function, and hormone balancing. If you are still trying to figure out what the macro I meant about macros, click HERE.
  2. I stepped away from the source of my frustration – my computer – and took my neighbor’s dog for a walk. Getting outside for movement, fresh air and sunshine works magic on my physiology.
  3. I took a self-mandated, day-long break from social media. It helps me to reconnect with my inner voice if I don’t distract myself with the fun activity on Instagram!
  4. I laid down on my living room floor in savasana (yoga anyone?) for 15 minutes. I came back feeling renewed.
  5. I washed my hair. Yep. It was one of those weeks.

What do you do when you are desperate to get back on track physically, mentally or emotionally? I’m always eager to learn, so I hope you’ll share your tips with me in the Comments below.

I’ll be back on Instagram soon! Follow me HERE.

 

Reframe Yourself

Pink Side Plank v3

When I was in my twenties and thirties I was plagued by crippling fatigue, low self-esteem and a never-ending sensation of “feeling fat”. Ohhhhh, the number of times I said to my romantic partner “I feel fat” would officially earn me the technical medical classification called “Cray Cray.”

Deep down I knew I wasn’t fat. How on earth could I be fat? I was 5’6”, 125 pounds and worked out all day long. My rational brain understood the silliness, but in all honesty I genuinely felt fat!

Flash forward to yesterday. I am now twenty years older (good laaawwd!). I’m still 5’6” and 125 pounds. Here’s the unbelievable awesome sauce that my life has whipped up:

Using a very highly accurate system for muscle mass testing, I found out that I am an 83% lean, mean, kale-eating machine! Say wha!? Most people call this “Body Fat Testing” but I say “Noooo way, Jose!” I spent the last 20 years calling myself fat. I don’t need to go have a machine tell me exactly how much fat I am! I decided to reframe the name of this test. Thus: “Lean Muscle Mass Testing!” Way more positive, right?

What’s remarkable about this is that back in my twenties my Lean Muscle Mass was only about 77%. That’s a very big difference between where I am now at 83%. Due to the aging process alone, we lose significant muscle as we get older. It’s a battle that you have to fight tooth and nail, and here’s why:

Your muscle is the driving force behind your metabolism, stamina and general resilience. Your muscles are responsible for holding together all of the bones in your body. Metabolically active muscles improve your body’s ability to manage and process blood glucose. Lean, strong muscles improve your body’s natural and optimal levels of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Yeppers ladies, I’m talkin specifically to you! You naturally have testosterone and lemme tell ya, be thankful for every drop of it. Testosterone keeps you young, energetic, vibrant, and is key for managing body fat levels, appetite and sex drive. Meow. Increasing your lean muscle mass through strength training is the best way to keep your testosterone at your personal optimal level. And maybe most importantly, there is an incredibly powerful and beautiful sense of personal strength that happens when a woman cultivates her own physical strength.

Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I spent time in the gym lifting weights. But it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I started strength training properly. And this was when the magic appeared. Yesterday’s Lean Muscle Mass assessment inspired me to step back and assess my overall health, fitness and vitality. That’s when it dawned on me: I don’t remember the last time that I used my old language of being or feeling “fat”. Occasionally I’ll slide back into the pattern, but it’s usually because I haven’t been hitting the weights like usual. I’m still 5’6” and 125 pounds. But today 83% of that is muscle. And I feel strong. And lean. I feel younger, healthier and better than I ever did before.

So I propose that TODAY you and I make a commitment to focus on cultivating, loving and nurturing our lean muscle mass! Banish the words “fat” and “body fat” to the land beyond The Wall. Let’s get them out of our vocabulary! Forget the phrases about “being fat”, “feeling fat” or “looking fat”! You are holding in your body around 800 beautiful, viable, capable muscles just waiting to rise up and cheer “Yay Me!!!!!” Give them the push and pull that they crave. Give them some obstacles to overcome. Be brave and expose them to the opportunity they were built for.  I promise, it will change your life.

In some ways I feel like my life began at 40. I woke up to the me I’m supposed to be. I trained myself in strength, and hope that you will join me.

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