A Year of Coaching

Precision Nutrition Coaching For Women
Precision Nutrition Coaching For Women



I have embarked on a very exciting adventure for the next year.  I have signed up to participate in the Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Coaching for Women and I plan to blog the entire experience.

I have been a huge fan and follower of Dr. John Berardi and Precision Nutrition for quite some time.  They have greatly shaped how I view food and coaching others in Nutrition. I guess that is no surprise, huh?  I even went ahead and got my Precision Nutrition Level I Coaching Certificate last year in December and became a for real Nutrition Coach.  That course is top notch and I recommend it to any of my Fitness Pro friends who are looking to expand on their personal training business.  It covers the science of nutrition and also the ‘how’ of coaching.   I loved every minute of that course.  But, that’s not why were are here today.

I have been intrigued by the Lean Eating program for as long as Precision Nutrition has been on my radar.  A full year of being coached on a daily basis in nutrition and training seemed like a dream come true.  I just didn’t think it was good for me.  I’m a professional nutrition coach and personal trainer and I have successfully undergone my own transformation.  Why would I need to go through this program?

It was my husband who said I should do the Lean Eating program.  His answer to my question was, “It is the professionals who have coaches.”   That is so true. Many successful business people have business coaches.  Professional athletes have their own coaches.  So, why wouldn’t a fitness professional have a coach?  Indeed. I couldn’t deny the point that being coached by a professional and experiencing the process would make ME a better coach and, of course, I would also benefit physically and mentally.   So, we saved our pennies and waited for the next round of coaching to arrive in July.

For the last three years I have poured over fitness and nutrition articles and plans.  I have learned.  I have soaked in tons of information. I have tried tons of different workout programs that were written by me or by other people.  I have tried tons of ways to tweak my nutrition. I had great success with most of this stuff but I noticed a flaw in my plans.  I would get bored.  I would do a workout program for awhile, get bored with it, and then switch up the program before I could see what it could really do for me.  So, when the opportunity to be coached for a full year by someone else I jumped at the chance.  I jumped at the chance to take myself out of the decisions and to let someone else tell me what to do. I know full well the coaching staff with Precision Nutrition are experienced professionals and they know how to coach change, even for a fitness nerd.  They have the track record of having coached over 30,000 people. WOW!

The last few months have a been a bit rough for me.  If you haven’t already read my post, Into the Pit and Back, please take a moment to do that now.  It explains a lot about journey into depression and climbing out of it.  I am still healing from that experience.  I am slowly, with God’s help, rebuilding WHO I am and WHAT I was created to do.  I believe the Lean Eating program came at the perfect, God-ordained time because I believe this year will be a year of healing.  I have dedicated this next year to just that.  By joining Lean Eating, I am allowing someone else to pour into me for a full year. It is time for me to be the vulnerable one for once.  I have access to an awesome mentor who wants nothing more than to see me succeed.  By releasing training decisions to this mentor I am freeing up that mind share to work on other important things in my life like my faith, family, and training business.   I am so excited it is hard to even express it in words right now.

Now that we have gone over WHY I am doing Lean Eating let me go over how it is structured.  I was excited to read the reviews by previous participants but when I actually logged into the system on launch day (July 21) I was even more thrilled.  This is top notch stuff, people.

Every day I have three things to work on.

First, there is the workout.  There are three different types of workouts.  There is the typical strength training workout, intervals, and active recovery.   The strength training workout is prescribed with the exercises, sets, and reps.  I printed off a logging spreadsheet and I take that to the gym with me for my records.  Intervals are basically a HIIT routine (High Intensity Interval Training) that I choose for 20-25 minutes.  It could be sprints, jump rope, bicycle, etc.  Then Active Recovery is basically a Rest Day but I still do some kind of activity that is active.  For example, I could do a yoga routine or go for a walk.  Simple activity aids in the recovery from strength training. Sunday is REST day.

Second, you have your Assigned habit to work on.  Precision Nutrition coaches change through Habit Training.  So, every two weeks you are assigned a new habit to focus on.  Each habit builds on the others and before you know it you are a completely new person with an arsenal of habits for a healthy lifestyle.

Third, and I believe my favorite, is the Daily Assignment. This is where you go to work on the mental/emotional aspects of change and healthy living.  The number one thing that must change is mindset.  I log into my homepage and click on the daily assignment.  I read the document and answer the questions.  This is done every single day, including Sunday. Some days it is fun and some days tender spots are touched. In just the week and a half of being in this program I have learned a lot about myself.  I have already had to do some major soul searching.  I can’t wait to see what 50 more weeks brings forth.

Along with the three daily assignments, there is also three forms of measurement I have to submit.  Every week I will have to submit my weight and my measurements and once a month I will submit my progress pictures.  Yes, I will have to submit my nearly naked front, back, and side pictures that my clients love so much. 😉

Well, I think that covers everything. I am half way through week two as I type this. I have 50.5 weeks to go in this program. This is going to be a pretty awesome adventure.


F2781D881437BD6ACBFC237C8B32809A

A Year of Coaching

Not Feeling Very Inspired by Fitspo…

fitspo

Fitspo.

Have you ever heard of it?

It is the short name of those fitness inspiration pictures you see all over Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m sure you have seen them on your friend’s timeline or Pinterest boards under the category of “MOTIVATION!”

These pictures typically have a super lean girl lifting weights, running, eating a salad, or just staring into the camera with phrases like “Be stronger than your Excuses” or “Strong is the New Skinny.”

Oh, you know, pictures like this one….

meant to be great

I used to be the girl who blew up everyone’s newsfeed with the fitspo images. Every so often I would hear someone say she didn’t like them because it made her feel bad and I would just ignore it thinking, “Oh, well, she’s just not serious. She just doesn’t want it bad enough. These images should do nothing but inspire!”

While I totally agree and believe that images and words can be used to motivate and inspire you and others (I do have a FB page after all), over the years I have come to really not like these images at all. I don’t use them anymore and stay away from them.

Let me explain why…

These images are supposed to motivate you to get up off the couch and go workout.  That’s cool.  I think we all need to get off the couch and move more.  But, how do these images attempt to fulfil this purpose?  They show you a super lean girl who is exercising and screams the message, “If you would just get off your lazy butt you could look like this too!”  Guilt and shaming are never a good method of motivating.  How about “Go out for a walk because it will make you feel better physically and emotionally”?

These pictures can also present impossible or even unhealthy standards.  Try this one on for size…

unless you puke

Sure, I am an advocate of workout intensity but this is just too much. Perhaps if you feel like you will puke or faint your workout is too intense and you could be risking injury and burnout. Work up a sweat. Challenge yourself. Be safe and be smart!

Also, while many of these images advocate health the catchy phrases are often thrown across a girl with insanely low body fat %’s. There is a time and a place for a low fat % such as at a physique competition and even then the look the girl achieves is usually only there for one day. The same goes for the photo shoots these girls do. That girl on the poster that says “Skinny is not sexy. Healthy is.” was mostly likely that lean for one day for that photo shoot. That projects an impossible standard. And when I see these posters that try to say skinny is not the goal, I think “Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, then why is the girl who is supposed to inspire me to be healthy impossibly lean?” For example,

skinny is not healthy

I can look at these fitspo pictures and I can objectively assess what they are saying and walk away none worse for wear. But, guess what? I used to not be that way. I used to look at these pictures and these captions and I would judge my progress by what I saw. I would look at the picture and look in the mirror and think that I was not trying hard enough. I would diet harder and I would exercise harder. And then I would feel guilty because my body was not living up to the standard of some other girl’s body. Craziness. That was me then and I am completely different now. But, unfortunately, I have a feeling that more women than want to admit it are affected negatively by these images. And if it isn’t the women it is their daughters who have not learned how to truly love their bodies.

Here is where it got really ugly in my head in regards to these Fitspo pictures. As I’ve done research into these type of images I came across that fact that many of these images are actually thinly veiled Thinspiration. Have you ever heard of Thinspiration? Thinspiration is images that are passed around Eating Disorder communities, such as Anorexia and Bulimia, as sources of Motivation to stay the course in their disorder in order to stay thin at all costs. You are inspired to be thin. Thinspiration. It is evil and it is wicked.

Gah! Thinspiration sounds horrible. It is!! I wouldn’t look at real thinspiration as motivation. But, I would look at Fitspiration and sometimes I would be inspired and sometimes I would not. I would often feel guilty and “not good enough.” These images were becoming triggers for unhealthy thoughts.

I have heard it said, “fitspo may be thinspo in a sports bra.” While I will advocate for healthy exercise till the day I die, I also know that too much exercise can be just as harmful to your body as not eating enough food. Fitspo can be just as guilty in triggering unhealthy behaviors as thinspo.

9937254c71ac49d11bd00d4046932777

Lastly, there is no place for body shaming. Why do we have to float images around of what we consider to be the perfect body type. It is demeaning and deflating. Guess what? We are all different and we all have different bodies. No particular body is better than another because each body houses an eternal soul. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your body because you want to be healthy but, Lord knows, don’t try to improve your body because you think another body is better than yours.

We need to build each other up.

We need to inspire each other through our actions and our words.

We need to pursue health and performance.

We need to get out there an enjoy life and being the people we were created to be.

And…

We don’t need a picture to show us how to do that.

Before I close, I do need to show you two pictures that I do find very inspiring and beautiful. These women are all very strong and amazing and they all have beautifully unique bodies.

athletes1

and

athletes 2

Now, before anyone gets upset, I have no doubt that some women honestly do look at fitspo and are genuinely inspired by it. It does not trigger unhealthy thoughts. And to those women, I say, “ROCK ON! Keep being awesome.” But, I stay away from fitspo because I know my past and I know many, many women are the same.

I like to stay in the business of encouragement.

F2781D881437BD6ACBFC237C8B32809A

Not Feeling Very Inspired by Fitspo…

To the Pit and Back…

pit1

I feel like I need to break my silence and confess some things. I am human. Yeah, I know, all fitness pages have their “I am Human” posts talking about this, that, or the other. Yes, we are human. We all have our faults and our failures. We all have our sides we really don’t want to confess to each other because it could change our ‘image.’ But, we do confess them because, in a way, it helps build our image even better. We all do it. I guess I could make this post something like that but that seems almost fake to me. I don’t want to confess my failures to you as a way to make me look better in your mind so that my popularity goes up. I also don’t want to put myself down for no good reason. That’s not healthy either.

Here’s the thing. I need to write this so I can claim it for what it is so I can move forward. By writing I give a name to what’s been going on in my life the last few months and I can move forward. This blog has been suffering for a number of months. I haven’t written for way too long and I have had my excuses for it. “I’m going to focus on my Facebook page. I don’t have anything good to write. No one reads it anyway. Why even try?” So, my blog suffers a slow and horrible death.

I have seen a similar progression with my Facebook page. My desire to keep it going is going down slowly. My love for it is dwindling and the quality of posts is suffering for it.

I have become apathetic. I do what I do because I love it but there is not a burning passion that was once there. There was a time when I couldn’t keep my fingers from typing out all kinds of writing. I had so much to say and I just couldn’t keep it in any longer. What happened to those fingers??

I’ll tell you. And I didn’t really put a name to it until recently. It took me a long time to realize what was happening. But, now that I know I can take the steps to make it better.

The Big ‘D’ word crept into my life again. DEPRESSION. Have you read my post called “How Fitness Saved Me” ? In that article I wrote about how fitness and nutrition in many ways saved me from a deep dark pit of depression. I really don’t want to think about where I would be if God had not directed my steps to this lifestyle. It is a rather scary thought, actually.

I have learned over the years that depression is my barometer. It is how I can see if I am doing what I should be doing or not. If I am not spending time in Scripture and in prayer like I should I will start the journey into the pit of depression. It happens in such a way that I don’t see or feel it happening until it is often too late and way too much time is wasted. But, Thank the Good Lord that there is hope and a way out.

Let me explain this progression for you. It is slow and it is ugly and it is wicked. They always say that hindsight is 20/20 and looking back it is so crystal clear how this happens.

Here is how it goes….

Life is good and I’m floating through. I am happy. I am excited about life. I am busy. I am fulfilled. I spend time in the Word and in prayer.

Life continues on at a good pace and I continue to be happy. What could go wrong? Everything is falling into place and if it really isn’t I have good perspective and it will still be okay. There is seemingly no need to for extra prayer and Bible time because, well, isn’t that what people in desperate need do? * cough cough * I can just ponder Scripture and pray as I go along in my day. I’ve got things to do.

Time spent in the Word and Prayer gets lower and lower priority in my day. This happens without me even noticing. It is slow and unassuming. A few minutes here and a few minutes there. My tools are falling by the wayside.

Pretty soon, I am not spending any time in the Word. But, I don’t take note of it. I just fill that time with something else. It is a rather covert operation.

Ever so slowly, my perspective on life gets a shade here and a shade there darker. It doesn’t go from rainbows and unicorns to storm clouds and disasters over night. Oh no. It takes weeks. It may be slow but it is steady.

My thoughts become darker and darker. Why? Because I have not been filling my mind with Good. The good that was left over is slowly pushed out by the dark. I have eliminated my armour and weapons and there is no fighting the invasion.

At first, as the dark thoughts creep in I can shake them off and send them packing. Then, over time, they take a foot hold. They stay. I allow myself to spend more time there. I allow myself to think about what a waste of oxygen I am. I mourn because I know God loves me but he loves me differently than his Chosen people. I am the Red Headed Step-Child. Other people have victory because God loves them more. Other people experience miracles because God thinks they deserve it more.

I come to resent God. And I hear the cackles of laughter in the background but I pay no attention to them.

Do you hear the lies of Depression? These have been my thoughts over the last few weeks/months.

This happens so very slowly that I don’t see it coming. It is like the frog in the pot of water. The water is warmed so very slowly that the frog doesn’t know he is slowly being boiled to death. My habits and eventually my thoughts change so very slowly that I don’t see it coming.

I have no desire to write. I have no desire to learn more about my career. I have no desire to exercise. I have no desire to eat right. I lost progress and a lot of my hard work from the gym and eating right. I should have taken note when my desire to workout was dwindling. That is a huge indication for me. By this point, though, I was blinded. Amazingly, I continued to run during this time and I believe that kept me from going even deeper.

I then get so deep that I feel like there is no way out whatsoever. What’s the point? Why am I even here? No one cares about me. If I were to die today would anyone even notice I was gone? Would they mourn me? God doesn’t even care about me. This hurts so much. So, why don’t I just….. (fill in the blank)?

Whoo!

Then by the Grace of God I get a huge slap in the face. I get a big shake and a “Snap out of it, Sarah!!! I am here! There is HOPE! You are depressed. You know what this is. It is all lies. YOU have a bigger purpose than this.”

When I can wipe the junk off my eyes and I can see clearly what has happened ever so slowly over the weeks and months I can take the steps I know will pull me out of that pit. I have been here before and I have learned what works for me.

I have committed to Scripture Memory.

I have committed to a new Workout Program and Nutrition plan.

I have committed to continue writing even when I don’t know what to write. It will come as the fog lifts. Rock on Blog!

I have committed to being more honest about my thoughts as they creep in ever so slowly so that when I don’t have the tools readily available someone else can help fight for me and share their tools.

I have committed to being vulnerable more when in the proper context. Boundaries are essential here.

I have hope, again. Will I pop out of this season like it never happened? Not in the slightest. I have healing to do. God never left me. I left Him. So many lies have crept in and I need to call them all out one at a time until they are gone. This will take time. But, there will be more and more victory as the days go by.

Will I ever learn how to prevent this from happening again? I don’t know. It seems to be happening less and less the more I learn. It seems that each time I shake out of it I am able to set up better and stronger barricades around my mind and heart. It takes longer to fall again. Amazingly, I am also thankful for these times because I come to understand myself more and I know I can be empathetic with other people.

It is a gift in many ways and I thank God for that. I have heard it said that our trials are our testimony.  This is my trial and this is my testimony.

Just remember that when someone wears a smile, appears put together, and seems like life has given them the upper hand, there could be a much darker side to it all. I did not tell anyone what I was feeling . I wore my smile and held my head up high. Then I would go home and cry in despair. You often don’t know the whole story.

Maybe this will explain to my workout buddies and other friends why I am so obsessed with strength training and running. I am honestly afraid to think where I would be if exercising were not option. These things, especially running, keeps me more level even when I feel terribly unlevel.

After all that is said I am thrilled to say that I am happy again and I have hope. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  Why?  Because I matter.

Note: This is MY story. Everyone deals with depression differently and need to take different paths to get help.
F2781D881437BD6ACBFC237C8B32809A

To the Pit and Back…