coming clean: my FitBloggin’ confessions

Over a week later, you’ve seen all the FitBloggin’ recaps by now, so the need for me to rehash every.single.moment isn’t quite needed. You get the idea by looking at these:

fitbloggin 2013

Thanks to Carrie D Photography for capturing the group photo – check out all her FitBloggin’ coverage here

In my third go-around at this conference, I wore a few different hats: attendee, speaker, Fashion Show participant (I’m OBSESSED with those red pants – thanks Reebok). There are always some takeaways, some confessions and plenty of SWAG – but these are the thoughts especially sticking with me post-Portland.

People love the opportunity to try out a new workout opportunity.

There were workouts of all sorts: bootcamp, cardio dance, Zumba, yoga, trampolining, CrossFit and a fun run. Personally, the cardio dance with Patricia Moreno ‏(@intenSati) from SatiLife was intensely moving for me: both spiritually and physically. I’m already stalking her site for more info on her blend of “fitness, dance, martial arts, yoga, nutrition, meditation and spiritual practices”. (source)  I want more of that uplifting style of hers!

And as a proud Clevelander, I handed out all of my GIJAYNEFITNESS kickboxing DVDs. A few ladies already even tried out the DVD back at home – thanks Sharla, Heather and Tara for the shout outs!

I have a future career as an Olympic power walker.

I proudly wear my run/walker hat, but it turns out that all of Hans’ observations about my insanely fast walking pace were well-founded. I might have power walked past a handful of people during the 5K. Maybe I’m not as much of a “slow” runner as I thought I was!

I still don’t understand Google Analytics – and don’t care to.

That’s what folks like Tim at are for right?!? That man knows his stuff. I just wish his presentation was earlier in the weekend so that more people could have learned from his wealth of knowledge.

Physical therapy isn’t the only thing I need to repair my shoulder.

I’m going to need a swift kick in the pants. During Erin’s goal setting session, I shared that my current goal is rehab-ing my shoulder injury, but that the thing standing in the way from achieving it is my ego. I deep down knew this, but hadn’t admitted it so openly before that moment on Saturday morning. I so desperately want to be on my yoga mat, doing my vinyasa practice. But it aches to do so, so doing a slower at-home restorative style practice is going to be the only asana practice in my future. That and more strength training. BAH.

Turning the big 3-0 came right at the right time.

Many have shared how FitBloggin’ did something to shift their thinking. For me, having my 30th birthday the day following the end of the conference only enhanced the need of recognition of a change occurring in my spirit. Maybe its old age wisdom settling in, but I left the conference with a sense of confidence that I haven’t felt in a while. I’m brewing on it a bit more, but as I shared on my birthday, this idea of creating opportunities instead of settling for circumstances is really sticking with me. Here’s hoping that FitBloggin’ induced confidence sticks with me that way that mantra is…

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Disclosure: I served as a sponsored brand ambassador of GIJAYNEFITNESS at this conference. My FitBloggin’ conference admission was comped as I served as a speaker.  (A huge thanks to Roni and her entire team for their efforts to make it such a success.) All thoughts and ramblings are 100% my own.

coming clean: the importance of Tackling the Taboo of Therapy at FitBloggin’13

We’re hardly one day in, and I know attending FitBloggin’13 was the right decision. Portland is quite the beautiful city, our hotel accommodations are quite swanky, and I can already feel myself relaxing into that more “normal” version of myself.

In 2011, I attended FitBloggin’ as a regular ol’ attendee, soaking in all I could. In 2012, I presented on Taking Your Online Community Offline, a topic I’m very passionate about as Cleveland Chapter President of the Ohio Blogging Association. But there’s something about coming back for 2013 that has me even further engaged.


This morning, with Christine AssafJulie Curtis and Cynthia Crowson, I will help to lead a Small Group Discussion titled Tackling the Taboo of Therapy at 11:00AM PST in Gallery 3.  

I am NOT a medical professional. But when I saw a handful of people at the 2012 conference struggling to come to terms with their weight loss journeys, my gut turned.  I saw myself in them – that 2009 version of me that needed help but didn’t know where to start. Later, in conversation with Julie, we decided to apply to speak at this year’s conference on the topic of mental health. Turned out Cynthia and Christine had the same idea.

therapy group fitbloggin

From the National Institute of Mental Health website: “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

We take care of ourselves physically. We do our best to eat right, fit in our cardio, maybe lift some weights, get enough sleep. But what about our emotional and mental health? Do we take the steps to ensure we aren’t unhealthy in those areas?

There are a lot of things that today’s group discussion isn’t about. It’s not about diagnosing. It isn’t about talking about what specific treatments work best for what disease. It isn’t about finding your “a-ha” moment.

So what is it about?

It’s about saying that it’s okay to ask for help.

It’s about figuring out how to let your voice be heard – either vocally or in the written word.

It’s about finding resources to take that first step.

It’s about knowing that you are not alone.

I hope you’ll join us – even for just a brief moment of your 11AM hour. We’re not looking to answer all the questions – just get them out on the table.

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class recap: kickboxing with ‘GI Jayne’ Engeman (& a reason to find me at FitBloggin’!)

Disclosure: The following post is sponsored by GIJAYNEFITNESS as I am serving as their brand ambassador at the FitBloggin’13 conference.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

If you know about my weight loss story, you know that I was a devoted group fitness attendee from 2006 to 2009. I did my best to attend the three sessions of cardio kickboxing offered each week at my gym, even putting them as an appointment on my Google Calendar. That time at the gym meant a lot to me as I found a workout that worked for my weight loss goals.

But then I started shifting other areas of my life and those scheduled classes weren’t working with  my schedule as they had previously.  I started started blogging, took up running, then got deeper into my yoga practice.  But in the past few months, I’ve been craving something different than my usual routine of the past few years. Before I knew it, I found myself dabbling with old cardio standbys, including a pretty popular kickboxing DVD set at home. That’s when I crossed paths with ‘GI Jayne’ Engeman.

Sitting down with her last Friday for the interview I featured on Monday, Jayne invited me to one of her group fitness classes.  Knowing she taught everything from cycling to boot camp, I was most interested in her kickboxing class – especially since she just released a DVD workout inspired by it. Before I knew it, I was again scheduling myself for a Monday night class at a local gym.

This past Monday night was my first time at LA FITNESS located at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst. While the space just recently switched hands from Urban Active, I was impressed by the clean, vast space that included a ton of fitness equipment I had never seen before in person. It made my gym look like something out of the ‘80s! The staff greeted me promptly, answered my questions and showed me to the area where the group fitness classes were held.  A quick trip to the well-kept locker room, and I was ready for 60 minutes of throwing punches and kicking as high as I could.

I have to admit: I was nervous when I walked in. It had been a long time since I had taken a fitness class at a gym. The group fitness room had a ton of floor space, but it was already filled with eager participants. Sixty plus people filled the space ready for Jayne’s arrival. And as she walked into the room, their faces lit up. Even after a long workday, everyone – including Jayne – seemed excited and genuinely happy to be there.

Now, I’ve been in hour-long classes that seem to drag on f-o-r-e-v-e-r. This was not the case on Monday. Class started promptly at 5:45PM with an evenly paced warm up. The class plan continued on with Jayne introducing various combinations including all the kickboxing usuals: jabs, hooks, uppercuts and plenty of kicks (my favorites!).  Each combination would be just a tad more difficult that the last, but she gave plenty of tips to be able to catch on to the moves, as well as modifications for those who needed them.

I’ve been to other classes that didn’t focus on form. Again, this was not the case with Jayne. If anything, the focus on your body awareness was just as important as showing up that evening.  She did an excellent job scanning the room to see if her students were following instructions such as keep arms up to be in “fighting stance”.  She challenged us to stay mentally focused as well. When I caught myself starting think about something else, it was like she knew it was time to give a cue to me specifically to tune back in. Not only were my punches sharp – so were my mind.

Another thing I really enjoyed about Jayne’s style of teaching was her “mama bear” type demeanor as a teacher. I felt like she supported me, but challenged me. She pushed her students without yelling at them. I also felt comfortable to hold back if I needed. She was accepting of her students, no matter their fitness level or ability.

It was incredibly welcoming to feel so empowered at the end of class – which seemed to come upon us in no time. I was actually a bit bummed when it was over – I had that much fun!

2013-06-24 17.55.40

That said, sixty minutes was enough to get in a solid workout. I was pretty sore the past few days. A definite sign of a great workout? Sore forearms. Seriously!

LONG STORY SHORT:  I can see why one of Jayne’s students approached her to create her new fitness DVD – available on her GIJAYNEFITNESS website. It’s thirty minutes of solid kickboxing – no fluffily chorography, just good solid moves – just like she taught on Monday. I find it so interesting to know that creating this was something she always hoped to do but waited patiently for until the right opportunity presented itself.  It’s exciting to see a fellow Clevelander inspiring others through fitness and hard work.  I can’t wait to check out another one of her classes – perhaps I’ll find myself on Strawberry Lane for a boot camp class next…

jayne dvd

HEY FITBLOGGIN’ ATTENDEES! Interested to see what this Cleveland-based fitness trainer has to offer?  I’m excited to share that I am serving as a brand ambassador for Jayne and her team while I’m at the 2013 FitBloggin’ conference! I have copies of her kickboxing DVD available with me in Portland to share. Find me between today and Sunday for more information!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by GIJAYNEFITNESS as I am serving as their brand ambassador at the FitBloggin’13 conference.  I attended her kickboxing class at LA FITNESS free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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