Archive for March, 2013

Inspiring Transformation: A Model You Can Follow

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Last post, I introduced you to our son, Zach, who has a
Masters in Exercise Science and is a coach at a prestious university. While an undergrad, he also was the captain of the Universty’s co-ed cheer team and they won the National title each year he was captain. So Zach is more than a challenging drill instructor type, he also cheered this mom to victory in her wellness journey. I was fortunate to have many “cheerleaders” who believed I could and would hang tough til the finish line. Here are a few more questions and answers—and a pretty inspiring story from Zach’s life to cheer you on today too:

Q: You have encouraged us to cross train (vary our workouts)- why?
A: In-terms of cross training, I think that it is very important to increase activity in general. Resistance training will increase your ability to accomplish everyday activities. Cardiovascular training will be a great solution of you are unable to resistance train, have high blood pressure, or have a low understanding of how to resistance train. The ultimate goal should be to decrease fat mass and increase lean body mass.

Q: Why is interval training is so helpful in dropping pounds ?
A: Interval training allows for higher quality work at higher intensities. It will also increase the ability to burn calories of fat at resting after you are done working out. The ultimate goal of working out is to increase your ability to utilize fuel at rest and during activity. With the interval work you can do double the work I less time. Example: Running a mile vs. Interval Bike Sprints- 10 minutes to run a mile (low intensity, BORING!) vs. 10 Minutes 30 Seconds All out Sprint/ 30 Seconds Recovery Cycle can increase the amount of work being done, Increase heart rate, increase body and core temperature, and Increase fat burning at rest.
Examples to use – All on the Bike/Treadmill/ Track/ Resistance Training/ Body Weight Exercises
All 5-10 minutes 1-2 sets of each.
15 Seconds All out – 45 Seconds Recovery
20 Seconds All out – 40 Seconds Recovery
30 Seconds All out – 30 Seconds Recovery
15 Seconds All out – 15 Seconds Recovery
20 Seconds All out – 10 Seconds Recovery (Much Harder)
(Note: Zach’s introduction of interval training produced twice the benefit in half the time, so if you are a busy leader, consider learning some circuit training and interval work outs to make the most of you precious work out time).

Q: Zach, You had your own fitness journey your freshman year of high school. What do you think took you from chubby kid to a top competitive all star athlete?
A. I would call what I went through the end of my Freshman year in high school more of a Body Transformation not a Fitness journey. I was 160 lbs at 5’6″ tall probably over 20% BF (high for a male athlete). My older brother decided that it was time for me to start weightlifting with the varsity football team. I started out as a short chubby kid who had no idea what he was doing in the weight room to being a lean, aggressive, strong, Varsity caliber football player all within 6 months. I decided that I was not ok with being 3rd/4th string anymore. I made a decision and set a goal for myself. I wanted to play varsity football with my older brother. I asked the head football coach, “What do I need to do to be on Varsity?” He gave me an answer that was direct and led me to make the decision to spend the next six months dedicated to changing my body and work ethic. Every day after school, I went straight to the weight room and said “Coach, what is today’s workout?” Monday through Friday for 2-3 hours after school I went and did something that would get me in better shape. Weight Lifting, Plyometrics, Conditioning, whatever it was– I did it and did not complain. I wanted more and more because I knew that what I was doing wasn’t enough for me. I had set my mind on a goal and did not want to stop until I achieved it. I knew that if I did not accomplish this goal I would not be the person today that I am. I thank God, my parents, and my older brother for pushing me and allowing me to never give up. I was unable to drive to school so it was my dad’s job to take me every morning at 6:30 am for early “optional” practice, which wasn’t optional in my mind. I had a strong direction in what I wanted, that came from my walk with God, my parents guiding me and never allowing me to “quit” when things got tough. It was hard, I was exhausted but I saw results not within a week, but within 6,12,18 weeks. The biggest thing that I did was– I made a lifestyle change. I made my life revolve around my goals and what I needed to do to make those accomplishments.

Back then, it was easy, I was in High School. Well, the answer is the same now! I am a full-time employee at a Division 1 University working 70+ hours per week (12-14 hrs a day) and I make time to get my training in. I don’t just train, I am also a competitive Weightlifter ( you can see what I do and how I have made the decision to keep this a part of my life. I have goals, I have people around me who will help me get to the gym to train, and I have a drive that allows me to go when I don’t want to.

(Note: It is nice when your “cheering your child” to his fitness goal boomerangs back to bless you, as Zach now cheers me on to my wellness and health goals! Moms and Dads, what you sow into your kids “WILL reap a harvest if you do not give up!” Our ideas on cheering on your child is in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make)

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (Gal 6:9)

Ready to get inspired- watch this:

(Follow Zach’s weightlift blog at:


My Wellness Journey: Does Anyone Challenge You?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013



Today’s (and tomorrow’s) blog is by the person who inspires and CHALLENGES me the most- my son, Zach. Zach is a Performance Coach at a Large Div 1 University and trains athletes who compete on the national and even international (Olympic) level.  His athletes WIN championships- much in part because he and the other strength coaches challenge players OFF the field and prepare them when there are no spectators.  One of my favorite quotes ach often repeats to athletes that I love is, “Do today what others will not do so you can do tomorrow what others cannot do”.  In short, Practice Pays in Performance.

Here are a few questions and answers that might challenge you to take the next step in your wellness journey:


Q: Zach, you work with top athletes, what advice do you give them on exercise that the average person should keep in mind?

A: When exercising it is important to understand two things:


1. Training age – By training age I am referring to how many years you have been training. For example: If you have been consistently exercising for 1 year- your training age is 1. I have been training (exercising) consistently since I was 15 years old; my training age is now 13 years.

2. Knowledge- By that, I am referring to your personal exercise library. What exercises do you know how to do? Do you only know how to run? Do you like to resistance train? Increasing your exercise library will increase your ability to stay in the gym. Albert Einstein defined Stupid as, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. If you only know how to do one thing in the gym you will only see one result. How long can you only do that one thing? After a while you will get tired of only doing that one thing!

(Note: This is why each time I see Zach I ask him to teach his dad and I one new exercise).


Q: How can the average person avoid injuries as they are trying to get back in

A: When taking that step to get back to the gym you must answer a few questions about yourself.

  1. Previous Injury: Do you  have any previous injuries? Research has shown that one of the leading  causes of injury is a previous injury.
  2. Do you know how to   structure a workout? Warm up, Resistance training/Cardiovascular Exercise/  Cool down?
  3. Resistance Training – How  to structure/ Upper Body/ Lower Body/ Pulling Exercises vs. Pushing Exercises.
  4. Posture- Do you know  what proper posture looks like?
  5. Do you quit when things  get hard? Do you like to” talk about” or “be about” doing the exercise?
  6. Do you have a training  partner? You need to have an accountability partner for when you don’t  want to go– they will make you!
  7. Goals- Do you have goals  set? Short term/Long term? If not set them and place them around so you  know what you are working for.

(Note: Good reason to get a personal trainer- See previous blog for finding one near


Q: What credentials should someone look for when looking for a quality qualified trainer in their city?

A: Finding a qualified training is a must if you are just getting into exercising. What to look for: Certified Personal Trainers, if you ask them they should have no problem telling you what they have accomplished. I would also look into getting a Functional Movement Screen done to fully know how your body works. – Is a website that you can locate a certified movement specialist to take you through the screening process to find movement compensatory patterns.

(Note: This assessment is very helpful as a marker for your wellness and it will spot problem areas so you can avoid injuries as you get back in shape)

For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul
(Proverbs 2:10)

PS- Stay tuned, more from Zach tomorrow!


Who is Your Successnet?

Thursday, March 7th, 2013


In my book, Woman of Influence, I encourage women to have a “successnet”- a group of women that surround her life to help make her better, stronger, wise, fitter, and more Christ-like.  We need women in a variety of fields surrounding us so we move forward emotionally, spiritually, physically, relationally, etc. For the next few blogs I will introduce you to some people who are a part of my successnet on my wellness journey in hopes you can decide who you might need to ask to be on your team too. I think I coined the team, “successnet” because to me life is a lot like a tight rope walk, it can be a little scary, dangerous, unsettling, but if you know people are holding a net under you, so that even if you fall down, you will be okay and can get back up because strong people were holding the net.

I want you to meet Donna Roberts, one person on my successnet team, a trainer I met through First Place 4 Health ministry. She is the personal trainer for Carol Lewis, the President of First Place, and she specializes in helping women in life’ “Part B” season of life through her website: .  I interviewed Donna to get a few tips on how to find someone like her, or how to connect to her ministry so we all might have success on the tightrope walk to wellness.

 What should women look for to find a qualified personal trainer?

Currently, there are thousands of personal trainers out there….and honestly, it doesn’t take much to become a personal
trainer. Unfortunately, a quick on line course for $100 can make someone certified. I have seen the same thing happen over and over:  lots of people who like to “work out” decide it would be fun and easy to work out all day and make a lot of money at the same time, so they take a quick course and then start training people at the gym.   When you watch them you find that they train their clients all the same way: the 17 year old male performance athlete, the 64 yr old osteoarthritic woman, and the 33 year old post-natal woman– it’s exactly the same workout!  For those who don’t know better, they think that is ok– but it’s not!

A good trainer will take the time to do a complimentary assessment (yes, it should be FREE) It should include getting to know each other, and lots of active listening and questions on the trainer’s part: Goals, health history, postural assessments, flexibility and
balance assessments, heart rate, blood pressure, cardiovascular assessments, and scheduling and expectations on both ends need to be reviewed and discussed.  A good trainer is willing to take the time to listen to her client, show a genuine concern for her needs, and be able to design  an  INDIVIDUALIZED program that takes into account their current limitations and safely and progressively bring them to the next level and toward their ultimate goal.  After designed, the trainer should review their planned approach with their client.  Also, a trainer should keep good records, including baseline measurements of weight, body fat, and circumference measurements and a summary of each of their clients’ workouts.

Personally, I think food is a big part of training as well. A good trainer should be a good accountability partner, who monitors her clients eating and food habits and addresses ways to better them (but not beat the client up for being bad).

NASM ( National Academy of Sport Medicine) is the best certification (and not an easy one to get) If your trainer doesn’t have an
education in exercise science or something related in this field, then MAKE SURE they have the above certification and at least 5 years experience.  You can go to NASM’s website and put in your trainer’s name to check their certification.  It’s also a great idea to ask for some referrals. If a trainer is good, it should be easy for him or her to give you at least 5 current clients phone number or e-mails who would be willing to vouch for their quality.

What is the most common piece of advice you give?

I have two answers to this question 1. SMR (self-myofascial release), or more simply, foam rolling.

We have learned a lot in the personal training world by looking at the other health industry worlds out there, one of them being physical therapy.  God designed our bodies to move at an optimal level and due to life and past injuries and being de-conditioned and muscle imbalances (and many other reasons) our bodies have learned to move in very different ways than they are supposed to! Believe me, I have seen people in constant pain, because they refuse to just move, because it hurts!  Well, think of foam rolling like self massage. By applying gentle force on a knot, the muscle fibers alter from a bundled position into a straighter alignment with the direction of the muscle or fascia–the way it was supposed to be–and ultimately the client is able to better and over time, feel better (and decrease their risk of injury and pain in the future.) It is the single best thing I believe someone can do before beginning their workout each day. (There are some people with certain limitations who are not able to tolerate SMR (severely arthritic people), so please be sure to check with your trainer first.)

2. The second most common pieceof advice I give is: Change your thinking!! God says in His word to take every thought captive, and women on a journey toward better health need to get rid of their stinking thinking!  I cannot begin to tell you the negativity, bondage and depression women are in because of their obesity or negative self image…and the way food has become an escape to deal with the pain of their reality! Although their greatest desire is to be healthy and look good and feel good again, they don’t want to be uncomfortable!  And when I start messing with their comfort, they don’t like it!

I urge my clients to start looking as food simply as fuel and to only eat enough to get to their next meal (which is usually in about 3 hours!)We review emotions when they binge and other ways to deal with their feelings as well as how they see their new
journey and how great they are going to feel when they achieve their goals (always keeping them in front of them)  Victory comes with every good choice they make (…and you know Pam…that little positive steps each day, eventually add up to huge ones over time!)

3 Easy to apply training tips that every woman should know….

My clients that have achieved lasting success always:

1. SET A GOAL: Think seriously about what you want to do and what it’s going to take to get there.  Make it realistic, but don’t underestimate yourself. Those people with bigger fitness goals tend to have the most success. Once you have the goal, make a commitment to the goal and then keep your mind set. You need to keep it in front of you on days when you are not motivated, don’t feel like it, or just have a ton of things going on.

2. HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY.  I don’t care who you are, you need it.  Even I have a fitness accountability partner who I workout with and keep accountable to.  You cannot do this alone. You were never meant to do this alone. Enlist people who are on the same journey and workout with them.  Friend people on to watch what you eat.  You will be 100% more successful if you are accountable to someone.

3. BE CONSISTENT.   No stopping and starting.  No thinking it’s too hard.  Don’t quit.  Don’t be critical of yourself.  Don’t give into having to be perfect either.  Just do your best every single day. Don’t look back if you messed up–keep going forward.  Enjoy the benefits of exercise–you can’t help but feel more energized and stronger after a good workout!

I promise, in the past 18 years I have worked as a trainer, I have yet to hear one person feel bad about themselves for exercising. It’s always a positive thing for people!! Taking care of the body God has entrusted to us is an important responsibility we all share and I am so thrilled He put me right in the middle of it to help others along their fitness journey!!

A Trainer to Help YOU too

I’ve had a growing unease with the fact that I am only been able to train a small number of women at a time. I knew what I was doing was right, something I felt called to do and something that WORKED. But after 18 years I was frustrated because I knew that no matter how many hours I worked, no matter how many women I helped to get fit and stay fit, I would never have the impact Iknew was desperately needed by women of all ages. I was encouraged by many of my clients to somehow, some way, reach more women. While I wasn’t sure how, I knew that the internet was the answer. So I put together a team, and did what I have always done, found the

You see, weight loss and fitness is not just about doing one thing. It’s about nutrition, physical training, spirituality and not least of all support and accountability through community. That’s why I started

Now it doesn’t matter where you are, you get the same workouts and guidance as if I was training you in my gym. (Note from Pam: And Donna is a wonderful mix of encourager, equipper and exhorter (a trainer should compel you to want to change). As with any exercise
and wellness advice, check with your doctor first, get his/her green light, then gather your successnet (and sound like Donna is willing to be one of those holding YOUR net on your journey to wellness and fitness success!)


Napping Diet Plan

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013



Today, I am sharing the tip that is honestly one of my hardest to stay true to: sleep! In my book, 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, I quote Dr Archibald Hart’s research on adrenaline from his book, Adrenaline and Stress (I also like his book, Thrilled to Death)  

Dr. Hart wraps up some words of wisdom that can extend many of our lives: “To avoid cardiovascular disease and other stress-related disorders, it is not enough to eat the right foods and keep cholesterol low. This is important, but it is not enough! It is not enough to exercise regularly and even take regular vaca­tions. To protect yourself . . . you must learn how to switch off your production of adrenaline when it is no longer needed, and stop using it for non-emergency life situations . . . It means controlling the problem at its source.”24

Dr. Hart encourages some simple but practical methods for curbing the overuse of adrenaline: sleep eight to ten hours a night and learn to manage your negative, driving emotions (so next time someone says “Chill out!” take them up on their offer and do it). Exercise and a daily time to unwind will help you manage your addiction to adrenaline overload. He also recommends plan­ning recovery time into your schedule after high-adrenaline-use times.”

In 10 Secrets of Living Smart, Savvy and Strong I quote, Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine, University of Chicago, who said, “Since the brain is fuelled by glucose, we suspect it seeks simple carbohydrates when distressed by lack of sleep.”10 One study found that the less people slept, the more they weighed.”

My own doctor, Dr Mark Stengler, challenged me to look at what time of day I slept too (yes, God made day and night, so it is better if you can hit the hay before midnight and get in a solid 7 – 8 hours of sleep and rise around sunrise).  To sleep well, it helps to pull away from all the electronic stimulus (computer, TV, smart phone) and unwind in a quiet, darker room- a warm shower or bath can help clam your heart and life too.

For me, if I write down my “tomorrow’s To Do” list that helps me release my long list of unfinished work to God’s care. But the critical component for me is prayer. If I end my day praising God and praying through my life it is as if God is cradling me in his arms and I can REST. The Bible says:

Truly my soul finds rest in God . . .(Psalms 62:1)

In 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make, I cite some interesting studies: “Medical science has even linked the power of prayer to patient longevity and recovery. Dr. Dale A. Matthews reviewed 212 studies and found that three-fourths showed a positive correlation between religious commitment and good health. In a San Francisco study, 393 patients were divided into two groups. Half were prayed for and half were not. No one knew which group they were placed in. Those who were prayer recipients had fewer health complications.” Even today while watching TV, a doctor shared that blood pressure is lowered in 40% of the population that prays and believe in  that “higher power.” (Photo below is us praying with our son at his wedding- our family RELIES on prayer on happy days and stressful days. This was a happy one!)

One way I knew this was an area I needed to address was the higher cortisol levels in my lab tests, (too high levels of cortisol leads to weight gain). But the real road sign that I needed a nap was when I traveled to Alaska to kayak we gave women an hour solitude with God on day one and as I laid looking at the clouds in the sunshine and fresh air, praying for my future, I fell asleep and woke myself
up with my own snoring! Give yourself a break- nap and pray and release the pressure and stress to God’s care.

I recommend the “Napping Diet Plan”! Snooze your way to better health and a thinner you!  (May you sleep like baby!)