*That* moment.

*That* moment. 

The one with life altering, life changing, transformative implications.
…it’s rare that you can actually pinpoint *that* moment. 

But when you do pinpoint a moment like that, it’s kind of amazing. 

This morning, on my way back from the studio after teaching a super sweaty toned, firm, fit and ready class, I glanced at my email and saw this message waiting for me:

photo (6)

*That* moment — two years ago today, that I took my very first barre n9ne class. I knew, after taking that first class — with the one and only Tanya Croteau! (<3) — that I had to go back. There was something there, something I needed more of. Little did I know just how life altering that day would be two years ago. I know I say this often, but I seriously could not be more grateful for the home barre n9ne studio has in my heart, for the continued opportunity to teach, to pay my own experiences forward, and to see clients transform on their own, right before my eyes. *That* moment. <3

After thinking about the whole ‘moment’ concept, the second life changing moment that came to mind? This one:

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That would be Scott and I (aka #teamsutera!), after our longest Chicago Marathon training run: 22 miles. It was one week after our WORST long run of our lives (this 20 miler...to jog your memory), and we both desperately needed a redemption run, one that would prove to both of us that we could haul ass for all 26.2 miles on race day. It was *that* moment captured in the picture above, where you can see the pain in my eyes and  in my scrunchy lines on my forehead that I knew: we would cross that finish line on race day. And yup, we totally did. *That* moment was life altering, too.

(and you better believe that our marathon experience is VERY much on my mind lately after last week’s Boston tragedy. I can’t say whether or not #teamsutera has another marathon in us or not…but it is weighing heavy on my mind, and on my heart, for sure).

*That* momentwhen everything falls into place, everything fits, and transformations begin. 

What I’m loving lately – the barre n9ne edition

Remember how I talked about the ‘cycles’ my workouts tend to take?
(wow, this post on workout cycles was a long time ago…back when Group Kick was still in my life. That ‘life’ feels like a lifetime ago given where I am today. Interesting note.)

Well – you guessed it, I’m about to enter a new cycle.

Funny how just a few days ago, I was talking about simplifying, not jumping into anything (race-wise) now that the marathon is over, etc., and here I am already seeing the outline of this next cycle taking shape right before my eyes.  So interesting that our paths in life truly are right there if we just learn to settle back and have some faith. Noted.

Anyway – that new ‘cycle’ of mine? It revolves around something I am loving so much right now, more than ever – yup, you  guessed it: barre n9ne.

I mentioned fairly recently that the studio was expanding again. I am PSYCHED about this. We now have two locations – one near my sister and one near me (fitting, right??). In a couple of weeks the studio near me (the original location) is expanding to two separate studio rooms so that location can now hold two classes at (or around) the same time of day or night. This is HUGE from a growth perspective – there are so many clients who want to take classes that simply can’t get into some of the more popular time slots (particularly at night). I am so, so, so excited to see this happen – Tanya (the owner) is incredible. She has worked her butt off to make this dream of hers a reality. It’s seriously amazing just how much growth the studio has seen since my sis and I joined the studio last May. To think that it’ll basically be triple the size as it was then is just awesome. Talk about hard work paying off, huh?

The studio expansion obviously holds a special place in my heart since it’s been such a life-changing ‘home’ for me (and my sis) since we kicked off the 60-day challenge and fell deeply in love with all things barre. We are both so in love with teaching in the style that we adore, it’s ridiculous the amount of gushing we do – to anyone who will listen (and even if they don’t want to listen, we still babble on as you’ve no doubt seen on Facebook, Instagram, twitter…lol). Most of all – teaching and participating in the barre n9ne ‘family’ is all about paying it forward for both of us. It has changed our lives in ways that neither of us ever saw coming back then. <3

 But back to that ‘cycle’ thing I was talking about.
(sorry, I digress a LOT lately when I write…such a spaz)

Now that the studio is thisclose to expanding, I’ll be teaching even more than I have been already. This excites me so very much. I love, love, love seeing clients ‘embrace the shake’ at the barre, hold on through a difficult arm series and to walk away from class feeling utterly ‘worked.’ Seriously nothing like it. Every single time a new 60-day challenge program kicks off, the energy of the room automatically kicks up a notch or two with both old and new challengers uber-motivated to give it their all. Love. It.

So more classes to teach, more opportunity to pay it forward? All awesome, awesome things in my book.

However, it *does* mean that I’ll need to step back a teeny bit from running. But in a very good way, IMHO. Going back to the run #simply mentality – my running will wind up being a LOT less structured given I’ll have limited windows of time to run now (at most 3 opportunities per week). And I’m surprisingly really, really ok with this cycle shift. I LOVE to run. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m already looking forward to less structure, and more running joyful moments. Where I just get out there to sweat, move, breathe, and feel alive.

And in between that? I’ll be living and breathing the barre n9ne lifestyle in all that I do. As I’ve done faithfully since last May.

So this is me, looking forward to rocking lots of barre n9ne ‘high’s much like the one I rocked yesterday morning after an especially sweaty, energetic 6am class.  #b94lyf

 

On recommitting to the barre

Ok, let’s be honest — the title of this post is a wee bit misleading, ya’ll know by now how absolutely in love with the barre I am these days. Even in the midst of marathon training.

BUT — this weekend was an awesome reminder of why I am so damn in love with barre n9ne.

A couple of things lead up to this whole concept of ‘recommitting’ to the barre:

I taught a lot last week — including an awesome double session on Saturday (was subbing for one of the other instructors who was away). And every single time I set foot in the studio, I just smiled. Sure, it’s work and it’s a job to be there, creating killer classes and making sure I keep it lively. But I LOVE it. So it never, ever feels like work. It just feels right. <3

I helped Tanya (barre n9ne studio owner) kick off the next 60-day challenge in the Danvers studio on Saturday. Right after teaching that double, I stuck around to welcome the new challengers, helping to get their ‘before’ pictures, weight and measurements done. I spent a lot of time walking around the room, talking to the new and returning challengers — answering questions, allaying their fears, sharing my own story and experience since joining the studio last May. I even heard from one challenger who decided to commit to the challenge after reading my story on this little blog ‘o mine. Imagine?! That was the coolest. The energy in the room was so apparent — every single woman in the room was there because they were ready. Ready to commit – to themselves, to the barre, to a new beginning. Awesome.

After the challenge kick-off ended, I finally took my ‘after’ measurements — something I had meant to do at the one-year mark since we kicked off the challenge last May. We never got around to it this past May and after sitting in that room feeling so inspired? I wanted to see just how far I’d come, in numbers, since my own challenge. Not so much because I needed the reassurance or that the numbers would tell me just how successful I was, but because I wanted to have metrics to share with other challengers — to show them that that this challenge is truly just the beginning. There is no end, it becomes a totally sustainable lifestyle. A lifestyle I happen to love very much.

I wasn’t going to share these numbers on the blog but honestly? I’m freakin’ damn proud of myself. Over a year later and I’m still working towards refinement, continuing to hone my own practice while working my bum off to motivate every client that takes my class.

So here goes…

Since joining barre n9ne last May as the first challenger (with my sis!), I’ve lost almost 25 inches and 18 pounds

Are you kidding me?? The numbers I saw as Tanya took my measurements were unreal. It was like that other person, those ‘before’ numbers, weren’t really me, I just feel like an entirely new person today. Not just physically but ridiculously more so mentally. It’s incredible.

I stand in awe, truly.
…and recommitted to the barre all over again <3

60 days…one year later (before/after)

This girl?

Sad. (but very few knew this)

Feigning confidence (that most mistook for genuine confidence)

Working harder, not smarter. (and getting nowhere fast)

Frustrated with her current “path.” (career path, life path, fitness path…all of it)

…I don’t even recognize this girl anymore.

This is me.

The “me” I’ve always dreamed of being but never quite got there.

The “me” that is joyfully confident and not afraid to say so.

The “me” that loves her path…career, life, fitness, all of it.

The “me” that works smarter (not harder), always.

The “me” that is the happiest she’s ever been.

…I love this girl.

Honestly – I can’t properly put words to paper to adequately describe what this past year has meant to me. And for my sis. And our sisterly bond since we set foot in the barre n9ne studio on May 12, 2011 as the inaugural 60-day challengers and barre n9ne spokesmodels.

It’s been life changing, transformational, joy-filled, intention-driven.

Sure I could sit here and tell you how many pounds I’ve lost, how many inches I’ve whittled away and how many classes I’ve taken in the past year to get me where I am today. But that’s not what this is about. The numbers part is the obvious part. You can see it in the before/after pics clearly. What’s harder to show and share is the way I’ve changed on the inside.

This picture (below) was taken on May 12, 2012, one year to the day since we started the 60-day challenge. The look on my face and my sister’s face says it all: pure joy, happiness, confidence, pride. We did this.

All I can say is this: I am blooming right where I’m planted. And loving every single fit-filled moment.
…and I owe it all to the barre (n9ne).

Running + barre: revisited

Last May, less than two weeks into the 60-day barre n9ne challenge, I wrote about running + barre and how great of a combination it was turning into for me. At the time, I was still very, very new to barre and had barely scratched the surface in that post about just how amazing of a pairing barre workouts can be with running.

I have been meaning to revisit the topic for awhile now but after seeing this fab friend posting on Facebook that she was adding barre and yoga work to her (first-ever!) half marathon training plan, I knew it was time to get crackin’ on this post.

So, in no particular order, here is what makes running + barre an awesome marriage (at least IMHO…)

Strong hammies and glutes = happy knees. It’s no secret that I’ve had my fair share of knee issues over the years. There was an ITBS flare-up after my first half marathon (that required PT) and then there was a fairly minor case of patellar tendonitis after my second half marathon (sensing a trend here, are we?).  In both cases, the real issue wasn’t my knees but the muscles surrounding my knees. They were weak. Underdeveloped. In need of some serious muscle conditioning. Since taking barre classes this past year, would you guess that my knees have never been happier? My third half marathon in October did not follow the same pattern as my previous two: I didn’t come away from the experience injured. Quite the opposite. I walked away healthy and fit and strong. I owe it to the barre (n9ne).

Endurance, like whoa. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll refresh your memory again. The barre n9ne method (as well as similar barre styles) relies heavily on endurance-style muscle conditioning. In other words — a shitton lots and lots of reps, done with very light handweights or just the weight of your own body (at the barre and on the mat). That endurance requires focus and mental strength to push through all those reps, to allow your body to do the work your mind is trying to tell you isn’t possible. It’s the same endurance (mentally and physically) that’s needed when it comes to running miles (long, short, speedy, or otherwise). My interval workouts are speedier and more powerful and my overall run-durance is way better than it’s ever been (particularly this winter when I really, really wanted to keep my mileage up during the colder months of the year, always a struggle for me int he past). Again, I owe a lot of that to the endurance and mental strength I’ve gained from the barre (n9ne).

Smabs. <—for those of you unfamilar with my lingo, that’s code for “some abs” or “smabs.” Prior to barre n9ne, I had a really hard time connecting with my core, and because of that, I often underworked that part of my body when it came to strength training. At one point, I hated core work. Hated. Did anything in my power to woopsie, skip that part of my workouts whenever possible. Now? I’m working my core daily for hours at a time. Hours?? Yes, hours. Every single barre class I take or teach requires constant vigilance in maintaining a strong, engaged core. During the upper body work, while at the barre working the lower body and glutes, and most definitely during the core-specific segment of the class. In reality, you should be working your core the entire hour of the class. So you can imagine the difference I’ve seen in my core strength after a year of classes. Not gonna lie, while changing for my interval workout the other night, I actually did a double-take in the mirror — I’m rockin’ some serious ab definition. ((ME? Smabs? Who knew?! )) But I digress — back to running + barre and why this all relates. The core is a huge factor in how you run strong. It keeps you centered and sturdy and able to push up and down hills and into those wind gusts It’s partially why I don’t fear hills and don’t totally hate running in the wind (sure, it’s not *fun* per se, but at least I know I can push through it with strength). Once again, I owe it to the barre (n9ne).

Botton line: It’s all connected. And barre n9ne, combined with running, has more than proven that to me. It’s all connected. It all matters. It all works together in perfect harmony.

Running + barre = happy knees; a centered, focused mind; and the strongest body this girl has ever had. <3
(…how’s that for enough reasons to give this pairing a try some time?) ;-)

Reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne

I know, I know, *another* post about my ongoing love affair with barre n9ne. Can you even stand me anymore??

But seriously, I just can’t help myself today. Way too much awesome stuff going on for me not to share on this fine, fine Friday morning.

The studio is expandingwith a second location about 25 minutes away from the original location (which is 35 seconds from my house, practically) — and what I love the *most* about that? It just means more and more people can experience the incredible transformation that I’ve personally undergone since joining the studio almost a year ago to the day (May 12 is my one year barre-versary…the one year mark since I kicked off the infamous 60-day challenge. The challenge that ultimately changed my life forever, no lie). <–expect a full recap of the grand opening party next week, the big event is on Saturday, my sis and I have been scheming for the last couple of weeks, snagging some really cool sponsors and things. Can’t wait to share!

I love to teach. Really, really, really love to teach. This was all more than solidified for me when I taught those three classes I told you I felt so honored to have the priviledge to teach yesterday. I loved seeing all the shaking at the barre – not once, not twice, but three times…and in two different studios! Everyone continues to work so, so, so hard during class — I love to see that look of satisfaction on their face when they walk out of that studio afterwards. It’s ridiculously rewarding.

I am still not afraid of the scale. This is a big one, friends. Yesterday, before teaching the second class of the day, I saw the scale sitting underneath the reception desk in the studio. And literally without a second thought, I turned it on and hopped on. I haven’t weighed myself since November — my 6 month mark of the challenge. It was that day, 6 months ago, where I proclaimed I was no longer afraid of the scale. And yesterday was no different. I stepped on that scale and was not afraid. At. All. And wouldn’t you know — when I looked down? That number literally stunned me into silence. It was a brand-spankin’ new number, a lower one, and one I have not seen in I can’t even tell you how many years.

Now. I have not intentionally been trying to lose weight since I hit my goal weight in November. I’ve been working hard, yes. Training hard, yes. But weight loss has been far from my mind. Maintenance has been my game plan. Numbers, scales, etc. are seriously not my “thing” as you all know very well, by now.  But to see a lower number was such a surprise. And you know what? I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you guys it felt frickin’ incredible. I am damn proud of myself. Particularly because this lifestyle of mine (that yes, still includes a food log), is truly a lifestyle. One that I believe in so strongly. Because it works. Becaues it’s not about deprivation. It’s not about a diet. It’s not about fits and starts. It’s about consistencyIt’s about loving food — real, wholesome, nutritious (damn tasty) food. And ultimately, it’s about making peace with food. Which I’m proud to say I’ve done (‘cept for an occasional case of OATT  here and there…hey, I never claimed to be perfect!).

So reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne?
…because it’s become my happy place. Through and through. <3

An honor and a priviledge

After watching the Boston Marathon on Monday, pushing through a few really challenging runs the past few days and prepping for a really busy week at barre n9ne as we kick off a “soft launch” series of classes in our second location, I got to thinking.

…what an honor and a priviledge.

Seriously. I have been presented with such opportunity in the past year. To follow dreams, pursue passions, and truly live by my mantra for the year: no limits.

I think it’s just so darn easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that we quickly forget what priviledged lives we live, by and large, at least.

Thinking back to the marathon on Monday — and how hard those runners fought through the miles. Their bodies never letting them down for a second — their ABLE bodies pushing them through the heat and exaustion and into a realm so few will ever experience in their lifetime.

An able (and fit) body.
…an honor and a priviledge.

Thinking about this marathon of mine coming up this fall — and having the willpower, the strength and the time to commit to training strong for 26.2 through this summer and into the fall. To firmly check that item off my bucket list and come away from this marathon an even stronger person as a result?

…what an honor and a priviledge.

And, thinking about how my schedule is shaping up for this week alone at barre n9ne. I get to teach THREE times on Thursday – once at 6am (subbing for another teacher), again at 9am (my regular class) and again in our new location that night at 7pm. And then I get to come back on Friday to teach my regular 5:30pm class. Note I say “I get to teach” — because I don’t look at this as a job at ALL. This is my passion. I am paying forward all that I’ve learned and experienced during my own nearly year-long barre n9ne journey towards perfecting my own practice, with everyone at the studio, and with everyone who will soon become barre n9ne-addicts now that we have another location to spread the love! (side note: expect much more on this soon, big ‘ol launch party this weekend that my sis and I helped to orchestrate!). My sis and I are very much on the same wavelength with this – as many of you probably saw in her post just yesterday.

To instruct (in a style I adore) with intention and passion:
…it’s an honor and a priviledge.

This is just a reminder to me (and to all of you) to never take for granted the blessings in your life, big and small. Never look at any opportunity as anything less than an honor and a priviledge. With that perspective in mind, you’re going to start seeing your life in a whole new light. At least that’s how I’m feeling right now.

Honored.
Priviledged.

Tweaks in training, and mind/body connections

This half marathon training cycle continues to feel very different to me. I’ve been thinking long and hard about why that is and I think it comes down to this – I’m a more seasoned runner this time around vs. previous half marathon training cycles.

A seasoned runner.
…me.

Yet, why do I have such a hard time wrapping my head around that concept?

It struck me this weekend that my brain hasn’t quite caught up with my body. And not just running-wise. But let’s tackle the running piece first, shall we?

This training cycle has been much shorter than previous half marathon training cycles. Previously, I would choose a half marathon in the late-summer/early-fall to train for and basically spend all summer loosely “training” for it. So I had loads of time to get my head in the game on those longer and longer runs, so by the time race day rolled around, it would feel like “just” another long training run for me, mentally. And that worked really well for me, overall.

This time around? I have just 8 weeks to condition the body to run longer and longer distances. Which, quite honestly, hasn’t been all that taxing (‘cept for that snotty run on Friday, but I blame the cold on the ‘taxing’ part) – or at least far less taxing than I remember it being in the past. Which leads me to the whole ‘seasoned runner’ thing. I am proud of the fact that I was able to keep my base at around 7ish miles throughout the winter. Something I’ve never been very good at before…my base mileage in the winter would *really* dwindle and I’d find myself basically starting over in the spring, slowly building back up my run-durance.

So you’re probably wondering what exactly the problem is here then, huh? It’s simple, really. My brain is telling me “you’re not ready” to run 13.1.” Because well, my brain “knows” I’ve only just now hit the double-digits this past weekend. Which means I’m just three long runs away from the race. And my brain is telling me that that is just simply not enough.

But really? My brain is wrong in this case. My body is strong and conditioned and can handle the miles. My brain hasn’t quite caught up to that fact.

…which leads me to the whole “tweaks” piece I mentioned in the title of this post.

To get my brain to catch up a little bit, my next two long runs will be 12.5 miles (basically combining two of our favorite running routes into one long running route). Call me crazy, but I think this might do the trick. (I know, it’s a big jump in miles from my last long run). Instead of 11 miles this week, 12.5 miles next week and then dropping down to 10 miles as my last long run, I’ll do 12.5 this week and again next week and then close out with a 10-miler before a “mini-taper” to race day.

I think this little tweak to the schedule is what my brain needs to catch up to what my body is capable of. This goes back to the whole mind/body connection thing I’ve been all about this past year. Barre n9ne is all about the mind/body connection. My food log-filled journey this past (almost) year on my quest towards intuitive eating is all about the mind/body connection too. So it only makes sense that I continue to make those connections through running. Connecting my mind, to what my body is capable of doing, and trusting it to do just that.

(much more on the whole mind/body thing in a future post or two, especially as my sis and I inch closer and closer to our one year barre-versary, the date when our lives changed forever, thanks to the 60-day challenge and all that has fallen out of that, from re-learning how to eat mindfully, to working our butts off to re-shape our bodies, to paying all of that learning forward by teaching at the studio. Clearly, based on this little preamble alone, I have a LOT to say on the topic. So stay tuned, please. ;-) )

When it’s worth it.

I had a moment the other night.
…where I questioned.

…why does mindless eating — or the simple urge to — (an old, a very stubborn habit of mine that now and then likes to try to rear its ugly head) throw me into a tailspin of doubt and frustration?

…why do I push myself to run harder, faster, longer? Do I do it because I love it or because I simply can’t stop doing, going, moving?

…why do I sometimes beat myself up in those rare instances where I don’t give my workout every last ounce of strength and energy I have?

…why do I feel the need to strive for perfection all the time?

The answer? Well, it took me a day or two to get here but here’s the bottom line in all of this questioning and wondering I’ve been doing.

And really, there are two “answers” to the why’s.
…First off – I have some work to do in terms of quieting the mind, of striving for excellence instead of perfection. Note to self.
…but secondly, (and more importantly?) I do, I am, I strive…

…because I’m worth it.

The nearly year-long journey I’ve been on to reshape my eating habits – towards fueling (and downright delicious) foods, eaten with a mindfulness I never posessed before (and sometimes still struggle with, admittedly).

Worth it.

The same nearly year-long journey with barre n9ne, towards reshaping my body — but even more importantly — reshaping my mind. Around the concept of working smarter, not harder. Of connecting my mind with  my body with every plie, every shoulder raise, every glute lift. Of learning to love the mind and body that stares back at me from the mirror every day.

Worth it.

The miles and miles I’ve put into training and running half marathons. That has lead me towards a bucket list item of mine. The elusive 26.2 miler. Just once. I want to do it, just once. It’s a huge committment, but it’s mine to make.

Worth it.

The hours and weeks spent training to become barre n9ne certified. Which meant saying “no” to plans with friends on weekends, and even less time spent with my husband (our time already so short during the week given work schedules and ‘life’ in general) while in training. But those hours sacrificed with loved ones? Equalled chasing and captured a huge dream of mine.

Worth it.

So next time I start to question my intentions in life — from the very smallest to the very largest — I’m going to think back to this post.

The day where I remembered that I’m worth it.

Because if I remember that I’m worth it?

I’ll be a better wife to my husband who I adore.

I’ll be a better sister to my beautiful sisters who are my best friends.

I’ll be a better friend to those who constantly lift me up and support me, loving me for me (quirks and all).

I’ll be a better follower of His word, a believer in Faith and all the blessings that come with that.

Because that’s what matters most.
(said far more eloquently by Lindsay in her post yesterday, a total must read. And even though I read her post after writing this one, where for a split second I wondered if my own post sounded too “me-centric” — I reconsidered. Because part of our life “resume” is about fulfilling your own dreams and self-worth and in turn, passing that “worth” forward through the actions and emotions you share with loved ones to, in turn, lift them up higher, higher, higher…)

Finding your healthy (happy) place

One of my all-time-besties is Steph. We first became friends when we decided to train to become Group Kick certified a year or so ago and since then, have run half marathons together, bonded over our now-shared obsession love of barre n9ne and have become super duper close. I heart her so. She is such a great friend with a huge, huge heart. And she’s gorgeous to boot.

Oh! And she just started blogging as she prepares for her final year of acupuncture school – she’s going to be an incredible acupuncturist one day soon, this much I know. So give her a little love today, will ya? She’s blogging for me here while I’m off hanging with the super-fab Heather in Little Rock. Thank you, Steph!! <3

**********

Finding your healthy (happy) place

I absolutely LOVE living a healthy life.

This is something fairly new for me. For the last 8 years I have been striving for a healthy life. Working out most days, eating well during the week, then too much on the weekends. I thought I was doing everything right, I mean how could I work out so much, be careful about what I ate most days and not look the way I wanted?? It made me so frustrated. I would see people who NEVER worked out, always went out to dinner, or ate what they wanted, and granted they were more overweight than I was at the time, but they didn’t seem to be gaining any weight. So why was I doing so much work just to stay the same??

It went on like this for a while…then I found my happy (healthy) place.

With the help of Jessica and Jolene of course!

Over May, June and July of last year, I learned all about their barre n9ne challenge. At first I couldn’t figure out why they were so obsessed with this place. What could be so great about it??

…then I took my first class.

Bliss.

I loved the format of the class, the people in the class, the instructors, the music, the intensity….everything.

I signed up for the 60-day Challenge and started on August 1st and never stopped.

I lost weight and inches, but even more than that? I gained so much confidence, a love for my body and I finally found my own happy, healthy place. And for that I will be forever grateful.

Barre n9ne has become such a wonderful place for some major “me” time. Of course I love the barre dates I share with Jess and Jo, but for the hour or two that I am there, it’s really all about me. I’ve worked towards that mind-body connection that barre n9ne is built on – it’s about really being able to focus on which muscle I am squeezing (which is harder than it sounds). Finally connecting to my body.

And now, I look at myself in the mirror — I mean really look at my whole body — and am completely amazed at how much I LOVE it. It’s not perfect, nor will it ever be, but it’s strong, it’s healthy, it’s beautiful, and it’s mine.

Barre n9ne is my happy place, but it’s really so much more than that.

My real happy (healthy) place isn’t really a place, but this lifestyle I have made my own. This healthy lifestyle that I love so much — it doesn’t feel like work, it just feels like me.

A happy, healthy me.

And you know what the best thing is?
anyone can do this! You don’t have to go to barre n9ne. You don’t have to be a runner or a biker. You just have to find what you love! You have to find your own happy (healthy) place. Find a healthy lifestyle that works for you, that you enjoy. That you are downright passionate about.

When people tell me they hate working out, or they can’t do it, I tell them to try something new. Maybe it’s walking and chatting with a friend a few times a week, or trying a new class. Because once you find what makes you happy it will make you healthy too!

It’s so important to get into a habit of being active, and continually working to become stronger and healthier. Adopting an active lifestyle that you look forward to instead of dread makes all the difference. If you hate going to the gym and are just waiting for your workout to be over, instead of enjoying and connecting, is it really even worth it?

If someone tells me they can’t diet because they love to eat, I urge them to try a food log. It’s worked wonders for me, taking responsibility for what I put in mouth, without losing my love for food. Without feeling restricted – like I can’t have certain foods that I love. With the food log, I can have ice cream if I want (I <3 ice cream). Of course, there are days when it’s frustrating to log but those days are few and far between and honestly, it's not meant to be perfect, just like we aren't meant to be perfect all the time. But the food log works for me, it takes away the stress of dieting and the wondering if I'm eating the right amounts of food for what my body needs. It really is an amazing tool for me.

Bottom line: Find your own happy (healthy) place. And embrace it.

…my happy (healthy) place is enjoying classes at barre n9ne, running, using my food log to keep myself in check while learning what my body really needs.

…my happy place is zipping up a pair of size 0 pants and not believing that I was a size 6 just months ago.

…it’s loving what I see in the mirror, and honestly appreciating and loving the strength and beauty (and hotness!) of my own body. Finally.

…it’s knowing that I’m doing good for me. Yes, me. And knowing that this is a lifestyle I will keep because it’s not a diet, it’s not me trying to lose weight, it’s me living. It’s me.

Find a healthy lifestyle that makes you happy and rock it. Find your happy (healthy) place. Find yourself.