What makes a fantastic personal trainer?

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I am a personal trainer…

but honestly, I am more than a personal trainer. I am a coach for life. I see more than others see. I see a whole person – looking to be better tomorrow than he/she is today. And I guide individuals to betterment.

What separates a fantastic trainer from the others?

A fantastic trainer is the one with the personality that best matches your needs. I have been doing research on what sets me apart from my colleagues. The responses are heart warming and tear jerking. Some responses relate to my enormous education and love for learning. But more mention my heart.

I am with my client every step of the way.

I am a role model – living what I teach.

I genuinely care about a client – including her spirit, not just her physical being.

I am honest. As this blog is titled: strong, brave, and honest.

Passion

The one aspect that I would add to the meme is passion. I am passionate about my work, and being my best so that I can be the best for my clients. I have the opportunity to live out my dream daily – through this blog and through my teaching and training.

Are you living your passion?

The bottomline

I sometimes feel like a broken record, but not all trainers are created equal. IF you are looking to hire a trainer, do your research and find one with not only the education (please click and read the link) but also the spirit and heart to match yours!

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Myth: Move more, eat less for weight loss

I have been studying for an advanced health and fitness certification. This requires me to review fitness, fitness nutrition, and anatomy – I am sure to be over-prepared for the exam. I am immersed in the text. I am thinking.

There is nothing new in weight loss.

There will never be anything new in weight loss.

Every year, millions of individuals fail at weight loss. MILLIONS. Of those who successfully lose weight, only 2-4% will keep that weight off for a year – even fewer keep it off for more than a year. Every year, more individuals purchase gym memberships, infomercial products, supplements, and more – and still fail at weight loss. Individuals invest a great deal of money, time, energy, and heart. What is everyone missing?

Unfortunately, we are often misled. The gimmicks lie – using key words to trigger emotions. The claims of quick fixes are alluring, but unnatural and unsustainable. Weight loss is not as simple as calories in < calories out. More often than not, the most significant changes need to be made to meal plans and diets.

Eat less, move more?

We have all heard this.

A, if only it were so simple.
B, most individuals need to eat more (but perhaps fewer calories).

I request that all my clients maintain a food log – whether with an app such as myfitnesspal or handwritten. More often than not, after reviewing the details of his/her log, I am recommending that the client eat MORE. More fruits and vegetables. More protein.

Who wants to eat less?

We live in a culture where we love to eat. We enjoy eating – some enjoy it more than others. I discuss weight loss with individuals daily. Many express the frustration of, “but I eat so little.” Sometimes this is an accurate statement and the individual has been eating too few calories (usually the result of ineffective and misinformed dieting). Other times, the individual is lying to herself. And in some situations, she is eating a high number of calories in a small portion of food.

I seldom flat out tell individuals to eat less. Who wants to eat less? One reason I avoid this advice is that it has a negative connotation – goals and objectives and the steps required to obtain them require a positive mindset. Instead, what can you add, improve, or experience?

For example, the goal “I will not eat candy bars.” Great, this may stop you from eating candy bars – but it may also make you think more about candy bars. The focus is on the candy bars. An alternative goal, “I will eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal.” The focus is on adding a healthful behavior – the focus is on eating fruits and vegetables. Your increased satiety will, more often than not, reduce your desire for candy bars. Further, you are focused on actively doing something good for yourself.

Further, you have not established a restriction (often negatively perceived).

If I workout, I can eat more

False. Does a professional athlete or physical laborer who is active 4-12 hours a day require more food on most days? Yes. They are expending 4500-7000 calories during practice, training, and work (McArdle, Katch, & Katch, 2005; McArdle, Katch, & Katch, 2010). Does your 200-600 calorie workout require that you eat more food? No. And certainly not if you are aspiring to lose weight. (NOTE: I will not address the specifics of the science, but will gladly provide it for anyone who requests it.)

Some may argue that I eat more than the average individual. Yes I do. I first give considerable thanks to my genetics. Second, I am far more active than most. Third, I eat more fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are low in calories but carry a high nutrient density. So I may eat more – but I do not eat more pizza, cheeseburgers, candy, chips, etc.

Do we need to move more?

There is a misconception that all overweight/obese individuals are physically lazy. Is this true? I see moms and dads hustling after children. I see overweight men in softball leagues. I see all shapes and sizes of individuals at the gym – most all of them going hard. NOT all overweight/obese individuals are lazy. In fact, many are the opposite of lazy.

The most frequent feedback I hear from prospective clients – I workout and I eat well and no matter what I do, I do not get results so I give up.

Have you been there?

Are you there now?

The bottomline

Move more, eat less is less than helpful advice. Many individuals are moving – inefficiently and ineffectively – and eating less – too much less.

My advice? I provide it through my posts. Review how many calories you should eat, meal and snack creation maade easy, and how many days a week you should workout, and anything else that catches your attention along the way. And everyone has individuals needs – what works for your girlfriends and neighbors may not work for you. What worked for you 20 years ago may not work for you now. The human body is an amazingly complex system – but treat it well and you will be on your way to the results you desire.

and

Think Positively. Eat Mindfully. Move Intentionally.

References

Cooper, K. H. (1982). The Aerobics Program for Total Well-Being. New York: Bantam Books.

Loucks, A. B. (2004). Energy balance and body composition in sports and exercise. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(1), 1-14.

McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V. L. (2005). Sports & Exercise Nutrition (2nd Ed.). Lippencott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia.

McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V. L. (2010). Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance (7th Ed.). Lippencott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia.

Recovery: After a long, hard run

Yesterday was race day – half marathon for me and a full marathon for many of my beloved friends. It was a tough day. It had its bright moments. It also brought many tears. We had trained for months for this day.

Wakeup

I quickly and easily awoke for the 4:30 am alarm. I was excited! Race day was here. After a weeks of anxiety, fear, and doubts, I woke up confident and feeling good. I went about my preparations. There was NO DOUBT in my mind that I would beat 2 hours.

The startline

I felt good. We ALL felt good. The race director led a short, but powerful, time of silence in honor of the recent events in Boston. Knowing my tendency to start out running too fast, I started with the 2:20 pace group. I would rather run too slow mile 1 than too fast. My first mile was about 9:30. The second, 8:45. I had to pull in the reigns. I found my pace at about 9:45 and I felt good. I knew I could maintain this for several miles, if not to the finish. I had trained for this!

Along mile 4, I passed a woman with medics – she was convulsing on the ground. As I was beginning to feel strange and off, something inside me said, slow down. That was a frightening sight. It was not long after this that I had no energy, no drive, and I just wanted to be done.

By mile 6, I had made the decision to walk/run. I considered quitting. I was not going to win, I was not going to achieve my goal time, there was no reason to push it and risk injury or illness. Knowing that my Chix were running twice as far as I was pushed me to at least finish.

At mile 9, I sent a text to the Chix waiting for me at the end – I was 30 minutes behind my goal and they should go find our Chix doing the full before it was too late. Jane replied, “No Chix left behind!”

The finishline

I finished! I just wanted it done! I did not know what my time was and I did not care. I was more concerned with how my eight Chix were doing – four of them en route to Boston qualification. I grabbed my water, chocolate milk, and fruit and connected with my Chix. We hopped on the road bikes and were off to find the runners. This is when I learned that I was not the only one who had struggled.

Team support  941425_10200732482747321_1589908574_n

Two of our Chix had pulled out – saving their physical bodies for another race and a Boston qualification. One pulled back significantly. One Chix pushed through – dug deep. She gave it her all. We biked the route backwards. We found her along mile 23. Hot. Exhausted. Struggling. It was a hard sight (also knowing in our hearts that we wanted to see 4 strong runners at this point). Two Chix stayed with her, and we continued to go and find the others – we had 5 other chicks out there. We passed a lot of runners – some looked strong. Others shuffled, determined to finish despite the circumstances. A part of me was worried that the others had pulled off – we went quite a distance without seeing any of our Chix. We wanted to find the girls we knew were alone!

Did she need water? A sane mind to tell her it would be okay to stop?

Kami was running strong – we checked in, she was fine. Next, slow and steady Captain Carol looked good. It felt like forever before we saw our next Chix. I was worried. We were about to get to the path along the river – NO bikes on the path. We would have to wait for them to come to us at this point.

We waited.

JILL!! I was elated. She looked good. we were SO relieved that our Chix were running smart! Each had been listening to her body – walking when needed – and getting one step at a time closer to the finishline. We knew the others were at least in company on their journey – so we made the decision to ride back. I needed more water and fuel myself. And I had peace of mind knowing my Chix were safe and running smart.

Not all was bad

We did have a Chix PR!!!!! Cheri killed the half marathon. She felted good. She did it! And I am so proud to be able to call her friend!

AND, we finished. We did something that most individuals do not even consider doing. And we overcame obstacles! We conquered our own minds and spirits.

The aftermath

My heart hurt. Was I disappointed in my run? Yes, but that was not my concern. I had finished. Some of my Chix had made the INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT decision to pull out of the race. I am indescribably proud of their smarts and their courage. My heart ached, knowing how hard this must have been.

Following the race I had a 5-hour drive from Green Bay to Minnesota. I drove in silence. I was recapping the day’s events. I was praying for my Chix. Everyone’s hearts and physical recovery. Stacy’s health and well-being. V and Em’s hearts, souls, and physical bodies. The spirits of the Chix I had yet to hear from. I cried. It was a hard day. Hard decisions were made by all.

And I contemplated whether I will be trying that again. (No decision was made!)

The bottomline

I am truly proud of every one of my Chix who participated in yesterday’s marathon events. Each made THE BEST decision for her. She made tough decisions. We each had big goals for the day – and most of them were left to the wayside.

If you are reading this, my Fit Chix with Quick Stix – know that I am indescribably PROUD of each and every one of you. You were ALL body smart – in situations when it would be ‘easy’ to push through the pain. You were wise. And inspiring. I love you ladies.

I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… Philippians 3:13

26.2 Bible verses for running & racing

The week before a half marathon (or marathon)

I am three days away from my third half marathon. The first one, I trained diligently. The second, I barely trained and essentially ignored nutritional training, with the excuse of being too stressed. I was disappointed in my results, and have set forth to smash both race times. This year, I have trained, making my runs a priority (and even lightening my leg strength days a tad). My nutrition and hydration have been adapted to the change in demands I have been placing on my body.

I do not feel ready.

I will be running 13.1 miles on Sunday and I am freaking out. The good news? This is perfectly normal.

The taper

For those who do not know about training for an endurance run, any solid training plan will require reduced mileage in the weeks prior to a race. After spending 8-20 weeks of progressively increasing mileage, you begin to cut miles. This allows your body to recover and recoup for the big race.

It does not do a whole lot of favors for the mind.

I have not been running far enough.

The weather

Many of my friends (aka Fit Chix with Quick Stix) are running the full marathon this weekend. In our conversations, it is obvious that many of us are experiencing weakened confidence. We are all unsure. The weather has changed drastically in the last few weeks here in the Midwest – from snow less than two weeks ago to 80 degrees and sunny today. Most of our training was completed in 0-60 degree weather. Feeling the exhaustion of the HOTTER – but much shorter – runs, has left many of us insecure and pessimistic. I am sitting here, bloated from my attempt to hydrate, and I am worried.

What if I overheat?

I am praying for 60 degrees and rain on race day. I do not like heat. I would prefer to use water stations to hydrate, rather than to use them to pour over my head and cool off. Sure, I could stop at each station and do both – but that would slow me down and I am on a time crunch.

Mind over matter

Endurance events require a great deal of mental strength. The physical training is easy – in comparison. The hard part of training? The days and hours leading up to a long run, “Ok, I am going to go out and run 10 miles….” Anticipatory thoughts do not necessarily require us to believe that we can do it – they require us to want to.

You have to WANT to.

Many individuals joke that all marathoners are crazy. Crazy is a word many individuals use to describe determined, dedicated, motivated, and ambitious individuals. Do marathoners maintain or obtain a unique mental state and mind set? Yes, marathoners are mental athletes (by the way, ALL true athletes are mental athletes). You find a way to clear your mind of everything else and you simply run.

Vicarious experience

At this stage, my confidence must be drawn from vicarious experience. I have successfully completely two half marathons. I am in better physical condition and am running faster than I have for either of them – I KNOW I can do this. Several weeks ago I ran a strong 11 miles and had energy to spare – I KNOW I can do this.

I know, therefore I can.

The hardest part for me, along with the taper, is the overall resting. I am done lifting until after the race. I am determined to meet my challenging goal and I need to ensure I am rested. Just as my Sunday long run took a toll on my April 1 assessment workout, I do not want my workouts to impact my long run. THE long run.

The bottomline

The final week(s) prior to any endurance race is difficult. It can be a challenge to keep your head in the game, not allowing your confidence to waiver.

Mentally – I KNOW I can. Physically – I KNOW I can. Therefore, I CAN.

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1

We NEED. More. Yoga.

Yesterday I practiced yoga for the first time in months. It was a basic practice – relatively speaking. Very different from the forms of power yoga that I prefer. But this practice was a gentle reminder of what I have been missing in my training regimen. Yoga. Stretching. Lengthening.

What we often miss photo (33)

Stretching. Lengthening. Decompressing – both physiological and psychological.

I am guilty of not stretching as much as I should. I diligently stretch after running – other than that, rarely.

Our muscles need stretching – especially if we are putting in the work. Weight lifting involves continually contracting muscles. While proper form also includes lengthening, this is not always enough to allow the muscles to reach full length. I will not pretend to be a yogi – I am far from being a yoga expert. But I have done my research! (Don’t I always?)

Injury prevention – Research has shown that yoga has injury prevention properties. I would attribute this to the lengthening of muscles. The National Academy of Sports Medicine’s Corrective Exercise protocols incorporate lengthening into the four step program design. Unfortunately, corrective exercise is often only incorporated into training regimen after an injury has occurred. Why not use yoga as a tool for injury prevention?

Yoga & mental health – Yoga is known to be a ‘mind-body’ fitness practice. Some view this as getting in touch with your soft, gooey insides. I argue that ALL exercise requires mind-body awareness (Markula, 2004). Yoga has been shown to improve self efficacy and confidence and reduce depression and anxiety symptoms (Junkin, Kowalski, & Fleming, 2007; Markula, 2004; Rahimi & Bavaqar, 2010).

Relaxation – At the core of any yoga  practice is centered breathing. This necessitates focus on breathing. This allows our minds to relax and be free of the thoughts and worries that bog us down. Further, focusing on lengthening muscles allows those and other muscles to relax. Tension melts away.

Pain management – The benefits of pain management are well known and widely accepted. Time and time again, research has shown that yoga reduces back pain and other chronic aches and pains.

The bottomline

We could all use a little more stretching. I like the structure of incorporating a consistent yoga practice – and now realize I need to add that focus back into my program. As with all fitness professionals, not all yoga instructors are created equal. I would strongly urge you to read the American College of Sport Medicine’s resource on Selecting and Effectively Using a Yoga Program. Further, it is my personal opinion that instructors with 500+ hours of training are leaps and bounds ahead of their counterparts.

Looking for yoga that you can do at home? Debbie Williamson is your woman, with both DVDs (kids too!) and downloads. After traveling the country and experiencing many different styles of yoga and instruction – she is by far my favorite!

References

Junkin, S. E., Kowalski, K., & Fleming, T. (2007). Yoga and self-esteem: Exploring change in middle-aged women. Journal Of Sport & Exercise Psychology29S174-S175.

Markula, P. (2004). “Tuning into One’s Self:” Foucault’s Technologies of the Self and Mindful Fitness. Sociology Of Sport Journal21(3), 302-321.

O’Donovan, G., Blazevich, A. J., Boreham, C., Cooper, A. R., Crank, H., Ekelund, U., & … Stamatakis, E. (2010). The ABC of Physical Activity for Health: A consensus statement from the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Journal Of Sports Sciences28(6), 573-591.

Rahimi, E., & Bavaqar, S. (2010). Effects of yoga on anxiety and depression in women. British Journal Of Sports Medicine44i68-i69.

Why is it so hard to accept appreciation?

Every gym has it. The group of young men – they do more standing and talking than lifting. I do not judge them – I do my thing and they do their thing. But I have no desire to interact with them. Earlier this week, I was drawn into a conversation of form and technique. I might have upset them. Alright, I probably DID upset them. But I impressed myself with how eloquently I expressed myself – and the clarity with which I offered guidance and direction.

While my feedback was not exactly accepted with open arms – you can never expect telling a man to lower his weights to be accepted – I walked away from this situation feeling incredibly confident in my knowledge and abilities. This scenario is one of many that reinforces that I am pursuing my purpose.

I also walked away from this situation feeling great gratitude…

Eucharisto

Eucharisto, the Greek word meaning “to give thanks.” In recent years, I have given great focus to expressing my love and gratitude. I have given focus to eucharisto. I left this gym encounter with a strong desire on my heart for eucharisto. I owe a great deal to my friend and mentor – he inspired and encouraged me. He empowered and taught. He was a major influence in my decisions to do what was needed to become who I am today.

I left the gym and called him immediately – intending to leave a message because he never answers his phone. He answered. Intending to keep my call short and sweet I said, ” I just want to thank you for helping me to be smart.” He refused to accept my gratitude – defending that I am smart on my own, with the passion, desire, ambition, and intellect to learn and apply what I needed to in order to do my job and do it well.

Suddenly, the wheels were turned, and it was my turn to empower him, my mentor. I gave him a speech. The short of it being that yes, I may have the natural born intellect and drive, but he empowered and he taught. Most importantly, he believed in me. He listened. He replied, “Thank you for listening to me when I spoke and for making the effort to learn.” (Notice, he still did not accept my gratitude.)

I closed with another giving of thanks, informing him that whether he accepted it or not, he had a significant influence on who I am today. For this I will be FOREVER grateful.

Accepting eucharisto

Why do we have such difficulty accepting eucharisto, thanks, gratitude? I know that I struggle with this acceptance. When clients thank me (for doing my job) I often deflect, “Thank yourself, you put the work in.”

As a culture, we are disturbingly hard on ourselves. We rarely accept positive thoughts, compliments, or appreciation. This is a cultural disaster! Years ago I learned how to accept a compliment with a “thank you” in response. Unfortunately, this became an automatic response and I never learned to believe the compliments that were given to me!

Step one – Be aware

Like any attempt at change, the first step to accepting appreciation is awareness. We need to be aware of when others are expressing gratitude or appreciation. We need to learn to be aware of eucharisto.

Do you think that this step is too simple and perhaps silly?

Can you tell me the last time someone expressed gratitude do you?

Or the last time that you expressed gratitude towards someone else?

We often let appreciative comments and interactions go in one ear and out the other. We do not cherish them. Do we hear them? Do we let them sink into our hearts?

Are you aware?

Step two – Believe

Just as simple as step one, step to is to BELIEVE. Believe the appreciation. Gratitude. Eucharisto. Simple, but not easy. Write them over and over until you believe them. Keep a gratitude journal. Keep notecards in your purse. Write appreciative notes to yourself and to others. Leave messages in the car, kitchen, and bathroom. Let appreciation shine and you are sure to being to believe.

Step three – Shine

Express eucharisto and let it shine! Give thanks for the little things. The more you give thanks, the more you see it, the more you can accept it.

I was raised in an environment in which appreciation did not exist. You did what you did – because it was expected of you. There was no thanks for something that you were simply supposed to do! And you did what you were supposed to do in order to avoid the possible consequences. This makes both providing and accepting appreciation a challenge that I have worked long and hard to overcome.

The bottomline

Similar to make of my posts, there is no easy answer. Why is it so hard to accept appreciation?

I could pretend to have the answers, but I do not. I am a work in progress. I am TERRIBLE at accepting appreciation. I prefer to remain humble – and have not quite fully learned that you can be humble and accepting of appreciation. I realize that I influence individuals daily – and for that many show great appreciation. But I deflect – in my mind, others are far more powerful and influential!

Using anger for good

I’ve noticed that I am quick to anger lately – moreso than usual! I am angered by much of the activity in this world. I am angry and the way we judge one another. I am angry at selfish people who have gotten in the way of my and others’ goals and dreams. I am angry.

I have recently been angry – but only with one individual specifically. I have been more an more upset lately by the ways that he inadvertently hurts me. In all reality, I know it is not intentional. But I allow the hurt to become anger anyways. My pattern of letting my feelings boil up inside of me leads to this anger.

Exercise for anger management

Some have asked how they can learn to love working out and exercise like I do. Sometimes I joke that all you need is to be as angry as I am. I have a lot of anger. And disappointment. And frustration. This fuels my workouts.

Working out is a healthy outlet for my anger. It is my natural tendency to allow everything to simply build up inside and to tell myself that the thoughts and feelings will eventually go away (do not misinterpret Proverbs 29:11). This is not realistic. My workouts, however – it is incredible to have this healthy physical release! This past weekend, anger shaved :30 of per mile on my long run. This is evidence to support that a great portion of running ability is mental. And I felt fantastic afterwards – physically and mentally.

Exercise is medicine – for the mind photo (31)

Of all the things in the human heart, anger can be one of the most intense, destructive, and unhealthy emotions that we can experience. If not handled in the proper way, it can have drastic life-changing consequences. It can lead us to want to destroy (and we often self-destruct).

Exercise is a healthy coping mechanism for me. I miss my boxing and grappling, but I have other outlets. Nothing is better than using anger to lift the heavy weights of the ground. I might have my bad a$$ face on in the gym, but I do not care. The gym is where I get my therapy – and more often than not I want to be alone. Just me, my workout, and God.

After my workout, my mind is clear and rational. The anger is significantly diminished, if not completely gone! I have a mind that is constantly on overdrive, so to be able to free my mind from this cycle is the best medicine!!

Sources of anger

I often wonder, what is there to be so angry about? While this line of thinking protects me from hanging onto anger, it does not eliminate the onset of anger.

What makes me angry?

Inconsiderate  and selfish people.

When I do something incorrectly.

When someone offends me or someone I love.

Arrogant people.

Lies and deception.

Unethical marketing and business.

The bottomline

Anger can be good – and even useful. The physiological and psychological responses to anger can be channeled and used productively. (Can I be angry on race day so that I run really fast???)

How does anger impact your workouts?

Do you healthfully cope with anger?

“Is all anger sin? No, but some of it is. Even God Himself has righteous anger against sin, injustice, rebellion and pettiness. Anger sometimes serves a useful purpose, so it isn’t necessarily always a sin. Obviously, we’re going to have adverse feelings, or God wouldn’t have needed to provide the fruit of self-control. Just being tempted to do something is not sin. It’s when you don’t resist the temptation, but do it anyway, that it becomes sin.” ~ Joyce Meyer

How to build deep, meaningful relationships

I have been thinking about the power of relationships. Friendships. I am not experienced with developing deep, meaningful relationships with others. I tend to prefer keeping others outside arms reach. In recent years, I have focused my personal growth on building deeper relations with others – in an effort to eradicate my feelings that I am alone in this world.

I would say that I have been successful in my efforts. I miss many of the women I had grown close to before leaving Wisconsin. Emily – my daily workout partner, sounding board, and mind of reason. Andrea – an inspiring woman of God, who shared her heart and family with me! JR – accepting me as me and teaching me to prioritize myself. And so many more!!

An unexpected friendship

Any friend & Becca (L to R)

Any friend & Becca (L to R)

Last summer I met my homie. Me – the sheltered Midwesterner. My homie – the NYC cat. If you ask my homie, she would say that I initially freaked her out. I sought her out – something about her reminded me of – well, me! In the last year our friendship has grown and we continue to support one other’s passions, dreams, goals, efforts, etc. Together we have grown, and I now have one of the deepest and most meaningful relationships I have ever had. Unexpected? Yes!

My homie knows me – my insecurities, my vulnerabilities, my weaknesses. She also knows my dreams, my passions, my ambitions. She knows how to make me laugh.

I would be lying if I made this post into a How-To. I do not know how to build deep, meaningful relationships. I am still learning. But here I will share what I have learned.

403What has allowed me to build this deep bond? 

Vulnerability – sharing my heart, mind, and soul.

Respect – for opinions, beliefs, and more.

Trust – with all my heart!

Honesty – with no reason to hide!

Listening – as if I have nothing to say.

Talking – as if I have a wealth of information to share.

The bottomline

I have learned that building relationships means stepping outside of my comfort zone. This requires me to ‘practice what I preach.’ I guide clients out of their comfort zones on a daily basis – I would consider myself an expert at this, particularly in the physical fitness form of a comfort zone. I also leave my physical comfort zone with nearly every workout. That is easy for me.

Leaving my emotional comfort zone – not so easy. It has been a slow, but steady journey. And very much worthwhile.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10