I Cannot Even. No, Really You Can.

28632671657_d4abda8439_o.jpg

I can’t.

I cannot even.

I just cannot even.

I mean. I can’t.

We’ve all heard these expressions. Goodness, we’ve all said them. Tiny little word jabs we use throughout the day to express our disbelief in someone, some thing or some event. Social media has made our ability to can or can’t such a toss away expression anymore, we’ve forgotten those two little words (and the extra ones we tag on for dramatic emphasis) are rooted deeply in our ability to accomplish something.

I mean, can you even? Can you just even?

Yeah, you can.

One of my favorite sayings from my competitive sports playing days is one I stole from my husband, and he stole from his college volleyball coach. It’s super simple. Say it with me:

“Can you?”

That’s it.

Any time a ball was out of play or shanked, his coach would yell “Can you? Can you?” In the middle of a heated game or intense practice, no one had time to answer. You either could, or you died trying. Once we get out of our 20’s or we stop playing something competitively or we stop training for a specific event or sport and begin training for life, we start making excuses about our ability. We start not being able to even – way too often these days.

I get that. I really do.

I have to scale or modify prescribed workouts on a very consistent basis. Some days my body tells me “no” all together. I have 20 years of competitive volleyball on this body and sometimes I wake up at the crack of dawn, peek at the workout and say to myself “I cannot even.” Three little words before the sun comes up that determine my ability in the gym and as a result, my ability and attitude all day.

So, I changed my husbands’ coach’s mantra a bit to fit my life. I switched the words around and took away the question mark – that left these two words: “You can.”

You can.

28632691537_bc688f7083_o.jpg

Imagine beginning your workout, your day with those two words. You can scale or modify the workout. You can do yoga instead if your body says “no” to the weight room. You can just walk up to the bar and lift it without telling yourself that you can’t a thousand times before you get there. You can take care of your body, your mind, your spirit and your emotions without sacrificing one for the other. You can use this phrase to encourage other women in your life without compromising your own ability.

You can.

This phrase is now officially my favorite sports (and life) phrase of all time. As a teammate, I love pushing my tennis partner to take a few more steps to get that stray tennis ball “you can, you can!” In coaching, I love encouraging young athletes to try another time when they are ready to throw in the towel “you can, you can.” When my kids tell me they can’t find anything to pack for their lunches, I say “you can, you can.”

Our days are a series of choices. Sure, there is some level of serendipity, spontaneity and even chaos to any twenty-four hour period, but we can still choose how we approach the day and how we speak to ourselves about what we are able to do. Choosing to say to ourselves “you can,” before the world has a chance to tell us otherwise is strategic and powerful.

Guess what? You can be strategic and powerful. Now what?

You can.

#GORGOgirl: Katie Singletary

We love featuring our everyday GORGOgirls that are inspiring us to crush life and a balanced approach to fitness.
Meet Katie Singletary.

IMG_1414.jpeg

Tell us about yourself!

My faith and my family are the most important things in my life.  God has blessed me with people that love me regardless of my flaws and I am so thankful for that.  I come from a family of women who love to cook and are really good at it too! I love being in the kitchen and learning new recipes and cooking techniques.  Being a new mom has been such a joy and I can’t wait to teach my daughter all the things my mother has taught me.  My husband and I have both just taken up golfing and it has been so fun learning something new together.  He is already way better than me but I’m coming for him!  My love languages are quality time, words of affirmation and physical touch.  That means I’m always up for hanging out, meaningful conversation and I’ll never turn down a hug! :)
I am the proud wife of a Captain in the US Air Force.  Taurean and I met when he was stationed in OKC and we have since moved to Georgia. We are each others biggest fans and life together gets more fun all the time! Our baby girl Mila was born on October 2, 2018. I am the owner of Brand Boutique, promotional products and advertising specialties company. I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but currently living in Columbus, Georgia.

50B5F661-10BD-4EA6-8D2B-8DCD85414A12.jpeg

Tell us about your fitness life.  

My fitness journey is one that is constantly changing.  I have always been pretty active and grew up playing sports but I didn’t fall in love with fitness until I joined Koda Crossfit in 2012.  It gave me a community of friends and fed my competitive spirit.  I had gotten in to pretty bad shape and they pushed me to get back to the athlete that I had once been.  Crossfit has taught me that a competitive edge is what I need to push me in my physical goals.  This has led me to compete in numerous Crossfit competitions, half marathons, a sprint triathlon, a powerlifting meet, with my Gorgo Queen Christie Nix and staying fit while pregnant! :)

SHARE SOME GOALS THAT YOU CURRENTLY HAVE.

I am currently working on some aesthetic goals.  Getting back in physical shape after having Mila is on the top of my list.  I am pushing to CONFIDENTLY wear a two piece this summer. I am also about to participate in the OKC Memorial Marathon with my family.  We will be doing the relay and I am responsible for one of the 10K legs.  

Do you have any struggles?  

A current struggle I am having is celebrating the little things after having a baby!  I can be my harshest critic and ain’t nobody got time for that.  The world is always going to have haters so I need to be the first one to love and support myself!

Fav Quote that inspires you right now in your life?

“You don’t need motivation if you have discipline.” - My husband, Taurean Singletary.

He might have stolen this from someone or it might be original, but it has sparked a good amount of conversation in our household.  It also goes well with, “The hardest part is getting out of bed. Once your feet hit the ground and you brush your teeth, it’s easy!” That’s also a gem from my husband! :)

Any message you feel called to share about where you are at in life right now to encourage other GORGO GIRLS?

Comparison is the thief of joy!  It is so easy to look at someone else’s journey and wish you were in their shoes.  STOP THAT! Finding contentment and joy in your own situation isn’t always the easiest task but there is so much peace when you get there.  God made you unique and special and he made only one of YOU!  , With that being said, you are the only person that can change the situation you are in.  If you want a bigger paycheck, hustle a little harder! If you want a smaller waist, turn that third glass of wine down. (Notice I didn’t say second… I gotta keep it real). If you want bigger muscles, pick up the heavier weights!  If you’re scared to start something new, ask someone who’s been there.  You can do it!

IMG_3414.jpeg

What do you love most about the GORGO community?  

The GORGO community is such a great place for women in all seasons of life.  Young or old, married or single, kids or no kids!  It is a place to go to for encouragement and accountability.  It is a safe place to talk about real things with women that have been there or are going through your same things.  It is also just really fun!  In a community of women this big, it feels like a tight knit group of friends and I guarantee there’s someone that’s just your type of gal! 

IMG_E9A9F4C50594-1.jpg

Thoughts about your experience at Camp GORGO?  

2018 was my first year at camp and it was a blast!  I was about 6 months pregnant and I was a little hesitant to go.  I didn’t want to feel like I was disabled and I definitely didn’t want to be treated that way.  Christie Nix, who invited me to camp, assured me that that wouldn’t be the case at all and SHE WAS RIGHT!  Everyone welcomed me with open arms and only babied me a little bit when I was whoopin’ everyone in leg wrestling.  Just kidding… and I really hope that being pregnant wasn’t a super power there. If I get beat this summer it’s going to be embarrassing.  But really, camp was way more than the physical fun I expected.  It challenged me mentally and at a time that I was a little unsure of what I wanted my future goals to be as a new mom and entrepreneur.  I can’t wait be go back this summer and see all the faces of the girls that have become my social media family!

IMG_5766.jpg

The Tale of Two Trailblazers

By Erica Willick

Gorgo_Sept2015_Cover_full.jpg

The Tale of Two Trailblazers

As your beloved GORGO has transformed in the past couple of years into a glowing vision of strength, beauty, and power she was always rooted in, we reflect simultaneously on our roots and our future.

These cover models of GORGO embody our fiery roots and trailblazing future. Doris Barrilleaux, pictured here at 84-years-old first lady of bodybuilding, pioneered the sport of recognizing women for their efforts in physique. She gracefully flexes beside visionary Valerie Solomon, Editor-In-Chief of the publication you’re reading right now. Both are driving forces behind the unwavering belief that we as women can change the landscape of fitness and health for ourselves.

So what makes someone a “trailblazer”? A trailblazer sees the world through different eyes and chooses to not shy away from the criticism and challenges that comes with doing things differently. They tame a wild trail through a forest for other people to follow.

These two women have trail blazed a path for us first Gorgo Girls, us women who know deep down we have power and strength beyond what is currently expected of us. Not because “strong is the new sexy”, but because feminine strength is timeless and a universal right for all women.

Trailblazer: Doris Barrilleaux (Aug. 11, 1931 - May 12, 2018)

Doris was confident, empowered, strong, and well into her 80’s, maintained a deep passion for women’s equality. Doris raised a family, worked as a flight attendant, became a successful photographer, pioneered women’s bodybuilding and worked hard for female control of it. She also put a tremendous amount of energy into spreading the news of the sport as well as promoting the benefits of strength training to the masses.

Doris remains active on social media and posts regularly about her annoyance of images of helpless women in real life or media. You could call her a Feminist. “Not the man hating kind” she says, “I only hate a few of them…just a few of those that were determined to control the women’s sport from the very beginning.”

Doris is called “the First Lady of Body Building” for her tireless work spearheading the movement to make women’s bodybuilding competitions a reality. In 2011, Doris was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame at the Arnold Sports Festival for playing such an important role in women’s bodybuilding.

Doris envisioned a sport in which women were recognized for being in superior ‘natural’ shape and still very feminine. She envisioned a respected sport in which women were recognized for being healthy and strong. Many times in her autobiography Doris expressed that “the men took over” or that was the “man’s version”. The quest for bigger and the oversexualized poses in some classes she questions - Is this what women want for their sport? Doris saw the sport as art and one that symmetry and aesthetics were awarded, not merely size or sexiness.

Doris had almost lost hope in the work she and other female pioneers had put into the inception of women’s recognition for their efforts of being in good shape, until she met and developed a strong bond with GORGO Magazine’s editor, Valerie Solomon through a special feature that Valerie spearheaded in 2013. Valerie’s research for the feature, led to an in person visit and the two women, born decades apart, united in a vision for telling the world about the healthful benefits of strength training and a fit lifestyle.

Trailblazer: Valerie Solomon

A teen mom at the age of 19, Valerie Solomon, has seen her children as reasons, not excuses before most of us grew into adulthood and attempted to discover our identities. A mother to 4 boys now, she is known to hundreds of thousands on social media as Busy Mom Gets Fit.

val_son.jpg

Valerie started into the fitness industry simply by sharing her journey that resonated with so many busy moms: trying to raise a gaggle of children, maintain our passion for fitness, keep our families running smoothly, work, support our husbands in their work, go after our crazy dreams, and deal with life’s challenges.

Yet she stands apart from the noise of the mainstream by choosing to stay true to her beliefs in herself and belief in other women, and then acting on those beliefs. Valerie believes we do not need to bend to what others want us to be just because it is more acceptable in current day’s norms. Whether those norms are skinnier or more submissive. She believes that we can be more, that we are equals. The mantra Valerie has coined for her fans is “I’m not beautiful like you, I’m beautiful like me.” Valerie encourages her community to post photos with these words written on photos that they feel represents their unique body. You can see a gallery of these powerful photos by searching #beautifullikeme in Instagram.

Throughout regular attacks on her large social media page for a “too muscular physique” or “selfish” mom gym time, Valerie has become further rooted in her beliefs instead of changing colors like a chameleon to hide. Instead, Valerie pursued her vision of a stronger voice for women like her and co-created GORGO Magazine in 2013.

Valerie craved more from women’s fitness content and was tired of fluff-filled articles crammed with fat burner advertisements, amongst sexualized airbrushed female images. She knew there were other women who felt the same, and put forward the ancient Spartan Queen Gorgo as the namesake for the magazine. At the brainstorming table, “Gorgo” (pronounced Gor-GO) wasn’t well received initially as the word sounded a bit ugly and strange to the test group of women used to “pretty” or traditional titles. However, Valerie stood her ground and insisted that the brand was timeless and required a unique title to represent the movement.

GORGO Magazine was published in November 2013 with Valerie overseeing all publications since it’s inception. Each cover model and article, has been scrutinized by Valerie to ensure it was “Gorgo-enough” for the readers and women she was committed to reach. Her unique ability to rally others to join the cause has resulted in the growth of the GORGO tribe to tens of thousands of women, and contributions from top writers and experts in the industry with powerful and thought-provoking articles.

val_son_mirror.jpg

The birth and growth of GORGO didn’t happen in a vacuum. Life challenges still happened to Valerie, like it does to all of us. Yet, giving up was never an option. No matter how challenging life becomes, a trailblazer doesn’t ever quit.

Passing of the Torch

Valerie flew to attend Doris’s 84th birthday party, amongst the pioneers of women’s bodybuilding. Doris says of Valerie, “Our dreams and goals, while several generations apart, were identical. The more I learned of Valerie’s dedication, determination, and success in the women’s cause for being physically fit, I saw her as the new generation to carry the torch we lit with our first women’s physique contest in 1979.”

At the party, a ceremony was held where Doris passed the “Torch” to Valerie with a physical representation of a torch. Doris, a woman who had dedicated her life to the cause of equality of women in fitness and recognition for those efforts, sees hope in the movement with Valerie and GORGO.

Trailblazers clear the path for so many of us. Yet there is something weaved through the fabric of Doris Barrilleaux and Valerie Solomon that is weaved through millions of women, and weaved through our Spartan Queen, Gorgo. Strong women with a desire to live and do things a little bigger than their stature might lead you to believe is possible.

See the ripple effect of Valerie Solomon’s vision and YOUR power to impact others as part of Camp Gorgo banquet speech.
https://youtu.be/HbiWh3phN1k?t=5m4s

Fabiana Pelucio: How Tragedy Inspired a Drive to Help Others

By Jill Farr

IMG_3289.jpg

Pivotal moments can happen at any moment in our lives, but sometimes the stage we’re in when they occur can make their effect particularly dramatic.

Falling in love at fourteen isn’t better or worse than having it happen at forty, it’s simply different. Similarly, loss of a loved one can affect us deeply at any age, but there’s something deeply impactful about losing someone important to you when you’re very young.

When Fabiana Pelucio was four years old, one such loss dramatically changed her life.

“My six year old sister suddenly died in front of me,” Fabiana says. “One minute we were playing and the next I was watching my sister lying on the ground turning blue. All I could say was ‘Stand up and walk, just stand up and walk!’  I got emotionally paralyzed from this incident. It took me 36 years to understand the demons in my head.”

But as so often happens, tragedy and the resulting pain inspired a drive to help others, and led to a passion that not only transformed Fabiana, but the lives of those she has come to touch in adulthood, first as a physiotherapist and now as a personal trainer.

“In essence I have come to understand that since that traumatic incident where I was only 4 years old I have always had the need to help people physically,” Fabiana says. “That fueled my choice of studies while growing up.”

“Since moving to Australia I have moved my focus into fitness as a Fitness Model and am undergoing a personal training course to gain credentials.”

Fabiana is a relative newcomer to the fitness model world…and unique in that she decided to pursue this path a little later in life than most.

“In 2014 I decided to do my first show,” Fabiana says, “Not knowing what to expect but wanting to experience something new.”

“I decided to compete in bodybuilding as a fitness model for the first time to celebrate my 40th birthday to try challenging myself as I embarked on the next chapter of my life.”

IMG_4893.jpg

“I competed in the Sydney IFBB show & placed 3rd…then I felt this fire inside to continue this. So I decided to compete in the ANB Australia Sydney titles in which I placed 1st in both novice and over 30’s divisions. Then I went onto the ANB Australia Nationals and placed 1st in both divisions. I was blown away by this experience as there were women on stage that were world class athletes. I started to believe in my ability even more. I received my ANB/UFE pro card and qualified to compete in the world titles in Canada. As the current Australian Fitness model I was chosen to represent Australia on the prestige world stage in Canada Toronto at the UFE show recently in November.”         

“My journey as a fitness model was a great start to connect to myself, finding the purpose to fulfil my life and giving myself the chance to break through my limitations to follow my inner desire.”

The level of training that Fabiana has undertaken has not only yielded physical results; she believes that strengthening the body can also heal your emotions.

“I consider myself a very spiritual person,” Fabiana says, “So the most rewarding aspect of training has been an awakening process of finding a real connection to my deep inner being because I believe in emotional and physical relationship. Now that I’ve met the real me, it gives me the motivation to keep committed to my strength.”

“Training sort of gives me the feeling of dating your soul mate where you have butterflies in your stomach on every date!”

That sort of connection doesn’t happen overnight, and Fabiana knows as well as most women that finding the time to devote to the sort of training needed to accomplish it takes commitment.

“As women we wear multiple hats in the family and it can be hard to juggle everything at once, but my advice is always to get started. They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Go for walks, take the stairs, join a gym, make a get-fit club with friends; whatever stage of life you are in it is never too late to turn things around but you have to tap into your inner fire.”

DSC_0611.jpg

In a full circle demonstration of how the most crippling moments can give birth to some of the deepest strength, Fabiana has taken the instinctive urging she felt as a child in the worst moment of her life and transformed it into a call of encouragement to others.

“’Stand up for yourself and Walk’, that’s a quote I always say,” Fabiana says. “Reconnect to your true self and your inner desire. Regardless of the situation you may be struggling with in life, what matters is getting back you. Standing up from your struggles, learning from them and walking on to the next day believing in yourself with goals in mind. Believe you will get up stronger!”

“As a liberated 40 year old woman I decided to see how would feel to experience my dreams, something that I believed it was possible to achieve. Instead of saying “If I was____, I could” why not say, “I am willing to give myself a chance to experience this”, believing that is possible to create a different life’s story.”

“No matter what it takes for you to walk again both emotionally or physically, use your past pain to empower you by learning from it and channeling your weakness into your strength! You just need to take the first step.”

PURSUE PASSION: HOW A YOUNG WIDOW CHASED HER JOY

DSC_5315.jpg

Debbie Wilkins Baisden, www.fitwithdeb.com

My husband died 3 years ago.  I was 35 years old.  There was no warning, no sickness, just gone.  Our 4 sons were 8 years old, 7 years old, and our twins were 4.  I was (and still am) in shock.  Surreal.  Frozen.  Nearly undone. My biggest fear became an unchangeable reality as I went from “wife” to “widow.”

Life became so different as we adjusted to being without a husband and without a father.  As a young widow with children, I had to put one foot in front of the other, taking care of their needs as we all faced our grief every minute of every day.  How do I become 2 parents?  How do I start camping and mowing the grass?  And how will I become a bread-winner when I’ve been the bread-buyer as stay at home mom for 8 years?

It didn’t take long for our oldest son to ask, “Mom, how will we have money now?”  Days after this beloved man’s funeral, I knew I had to become provider for our now smaller family.  As a former elementary school teacher, the thought of going back to the classroom filled me with dread.  As a mom, I knew I couldn’t be with kids all day every day without losing my mind.  So what should I do?

CZ1U0582.jpg

I was in Chapter 2 of life with a new normal to figure out. With much prayer and sweet friends’ wisdom, I decided I didn’t have to return to teaching. I could do anything I wanted! What a rare gift that most adults don’t have the opportunity to consider! I wasn’t locked into anything that I didn’t want to do! There was much freedom in knowing I could make money doing something I actually enjoyed!

With an unpredictable future I took a chance. I wanted to pursue my passion. I had no clue how to actually go about doing that but I was willing. I had a passion for fitness. I wanted to share my love of smarter workouts with anyone that I could reach!

Back story, my late husband was a P.E. teacher which was ironic because I was a sweat HATER. I didn’t exercise because exercise was awful and crazy. Why exercise when you can NOT?! But over time this baby-maker had a body that suddenly wouldn’t allow endless Oreos or countless cookies. Thanks to my friend (and now partner-in-crime) Emily, I learned how to eat for fat loss and how to exercise smarter so that my pants would fit!  I hated it at first, like a form of cruel torture. I cried over ground turkey and fought through painful squat jumps.  But I changed; I never knew change was possible, to be honest. I suddenly started craving salads and squats! What?!? It became more than size x pants. It became something bigger, something more important.  Body care was my goal. Four kids are exhausting!  Becoming “2 parents” (which is, by the way, impossible) was even more exhausting. Better nutrition and efficient workouts helped me become a more equipped mom and semi-dad.

So at this crossroad in my life, I chased my joy: helping others look and feel their best!  It was awkward and clumsy, but it was this organic way to become an agent of change for others.  

DSC_5399.jpg

Fast-forward to today, 3 years after the devastating loss of Aaron.  I am now married to a wonderful man and my children are now 11, 10, 7, and 7.  I most happily enjoy leading local group workouts for busy moms!  We crank the music and lift weights for 20 minutes and it’s a blast!  I also have online fitness and nutrition clients who prioritize their health; it’s a virtual way to hold their hand through a sustainable way of moving and eating.

When I take time to reflect over the past 41 months of my life, I can’t help but shake my head with a bittersweet smile.  God has provided.  I am daily in awe.

Life is short.  Really short.  Are you pursuing your passion?  Are you chasing joy?

 

#GORGOgirl: Trish Shahady

 

We love featuring our everyday GORGOgirls that are inspiring us to crush life and a balanced approach to fitness.
Meet
Trish Shahady.

IMG_3364.JPG

Tell us about your fitness life.

I’ve always been an athlete. From high school until my early 30’s, I played field hockey. I just picked up the sport again at 46. While I don't classify myself as a “runner”, I have run since middle school. It was my outlet and also helped with endurance training for hockey.

I didn’t find strength training until my 30’s.  

After having my first son, I’d hit rock bottom. I had gained weight. I was heavy, slow, lethargic, working full time, taking care of my son, and just being a busy mom. One Sunday, I woke up and stepped on the scale. I weighed 169lbs, the heaviest of my life. At that moment, I decided that was it. I’d never had to lose weight before, so I didn’t know what to do. I got online and found a Weight Watchers meeting that same morning. Once I began Weight Watchers, I began exercising regularly. First, I just started with cardio; then, I began taking fitness classes that incorporated a lot of strength training. This was my first experience with weights… and it just blossomed from there. The class instructor became my mentor. Within that year, he pushed me to get my PT certification and wanted me to teach classes.  That all came to fruition in 2009/2010 - and started a new chapter in my life -Trainer, Motivator, Influencer...

The bulk of my strength training - weight lifting life has spanned over a short period of time - approximately 10 years - mid-thirties to late forties.  I have grown and changed so much over those years - part of the beautiful journey right. In my 30’s, I coveted that lean, shredded Oxygen magazine model look.  THAT is not my body type. I was a clydesdale wanting to be a mustang! I was always striving to be something I was not, purely aesthetic, and boom it hit me - I stopped trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I started loving who I was, how I look and celebrate WHAT my body can do.  Not gonna lie, this took FOREVER. I’m finally in that place where I don’t care if I have 6-pack abs, or boulder shoulders - I’M NOT A FITNESS COMPETITOR.

IMG_4115.JPG

I’m ME, I’m strong, my body can do amazing things THAT my friends is the game ... When YOU DO YOU.

Present life, I eat mindfully, but mostly what I want and I workout to be healthy and strong. On the cusp of turning 48, my mindset has changed to just being strong, lifting safely -if I take a fall at 80, I’m gonna be able to get myself up.

Tell us about your non-fitness life.

I’ve been with my high school sweetheart for 30 years (married for 19 years). Together we have 9-year-old and 15-year-old boys. We also have a mini poodle, Tito. I’m the youngest of 4 with 3 older brothers. My mother is Korean and my dad is Irish/Scottish descent. I was an army brat, so we moved around a lot growing up; we lived in Germany, and I’ve lived in Maryland the majority of my life.

IMG_2212.jpg

I also love to cook. If I’m not in the gym, I’m in the kitchen doing my second love. My father taught me how to cook from a very early age. It takes my mind away from everything.

It takes a lot for me to be chatty. I’m somewhat introverted, so I show my love for people through cooking. I’m not a very big “let’s hug” type of person, but I’ll happily cook for you!

What do you love about GORGO?

I love GORGO because it’s not fake - not airbrushed, unfiltered. I love that I never feel judged - I am 100% authentic and REAL.  No apologies. I cuss like a sailor and that’s okay. I love that GORGO celebrates all women - all fitness levels, all body types, and celebrates self love.  

29015127737_9e557481a3_k.jpg

Any fun facts? Pets? Travels? Hobbies? Silly stuff?

I’m the most uncoordinated person you’ll meet in your life. Ironically enough, I wanted to become a dancer (and no, I’ve never even danced!). Majoring in American Studies in college, I also aspired to be a teacher at one point in my life. Neither dancing nor teaching came to fruition.  

Ice cream and vodka are non-negotiables in my diet - always present :)  My Boo Tito is named after vodka, ha ha ha ha!

Anything about camp GORGO you'd like to mention? What made you want to attend this year, why do you look forward to it? Favorite part? Etc....

I first met Val Solomon at the gym and our relationship grew through fitness. The first year she offered Camp GORGO, I went as a participant with a friend and had an amazing time. The 2nd year and each year since, I have taught workshops at Camp called “Barbell Love” and “HIIT”. I’m an “influencer” but not in the way of many Camp Leads who can confidently speak in front of an audience and connect. I’m the most extroverted introvert! I motivate by DOING- walking the walking, talking the talking, in my IDGAF way and I THINK thats how I motivate. I’m that muscle who gently pushes her clients and teaches them to find their own strength through lifting. Everyone’s takeaway from the weekend is different in terms of what why they go and what they gain from the weekend. It’s a high energy weekend filled with fun, laughter, and even tears.

30084268648_f0bda135d8_k.jpg

I’ve always loved the concept that women from across the world get together for this one weekend a year. I love that it's all women too. I train only women because of the connection we have. Through training, the relationships we build are personal and intimate. Same goes for camp. We are all there and all connected. We aren’t competing against one another. We are learning from each other and taking knowledge in from all of the workshops, and building friendships.

I love the games. I love that everyone wears tu-tu’s. But the biggest reason I keep going back is because of what it means to me. To me, it means being with your tribe. It’s not just the tribe… it’s YOUR tribe. It’s who your people are.

Connect with Trish at www.gymgurltraining.com and @gymgurltraining

 

Love and Lifting: Angela Stevenson on the Inspirational Power of Strength

 

By Jill Farr

angelaS.jpg

Seven years ago, Angela Stevenson was newly divorced, broke, and still 3 months away from receiving her Bachelor’s Degree, with four little boys to support.

Desperate to make ends meet, she turned to fitness as a way to bring in money while she finished her education.

“I began teaching Zumba classes,” Angela says, “Spin classes, any classes I could to make extra money.”

“My life was literally falling apart, but I managed to find the strength to finish school, graduate with honors, and get a job teaching kindergarten.”

With her career headed in a different direction, fitness still had a big place in Angela’s life, and the rewards that she began reaping from that time went beyond financial ones.

image8.JPG

“I felt as if I had been a victim,” Angela says, “And I never wanted to be a victim again. That’s when I took an interest in bodybuilding. I trained for my first figure show, and found that body building made me feel as strong as I felt inside. I felt I needed an "extreme makeover", and even though my outside body was changing, the real change took place on the inside. I found my strength and inner peace through weight training.”

Although Zumba remains Angela’s first love—she still teaches classes in the evenings—preparing for that first figure show instilled a love of strength training that has grown into a desire to share the power of weights with the world.

“My interests grew broader when I began training to do my first figure show 3 years ago,” Angela says.

“I worked with a diet coach, and trainers, and through that journey, I decided to study to become a trainer. I wanted to help people reach their goals. Today, I teach bootcamps, train clients…I want to share this with women as much as I can.”

image9.JPG

“I feel it is a kind of "pay it forward"--helping people reach their goal, and empowering them to find their strength. I had a weightlifting seminar, and as I shared my story of how and why fitness became so important in my life, I realized that many other women had their own demons to conquer as well. My story wasn't so unique after all.  Many other women had their own stories, and needed an outlet. Weight lifting seem to be their outlet too.”

The inner strength and peace that Angela found through building her body led not only to an increased love for herself, it served as the medium for finding another kind of love, as well.

21176467654_e3543aef86_k.jpg

Angela met her current husband, Glen, in the gym, he proposed to her while she was teaching a Zumba class. They were even married in the gym…with their wedding photos featuring the bride and groom both holding weights.

“We competed in a bodybuilding show together,” Angela says, “And after dieting together and not killing one another, we thought we should get married!”

image6.JPG

As Angela pursues her dreams of continuing to compete, train, and coach, she believes that her singular spin on fitness comes from the example she sets; of a normal, everyday woman setting out to maintain personal fitness despite the obstacles that everyday life throws at us.

“I think women can relate to me, because I am an average working, busy mom,” Angela says. (She and Glen have seven—yes, that’s right, seven—children between the two of them).  

“I’m a kindergarten teacher, and I train and teach classes at night. I also just completed my Master's degree! I still find the time to work out, even when I have every excuse not to. I am passionate about being healthy in mind, body and soul. It is all about balance. I don't always do a perfect job at this, but I try every day.”

More than just a word, “strength” is a mantra to Angela; it’s emblazoned on both her car—as the phrase, “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength”—and on her body.

image11.JPG

“After a long, hard journey in my life,” Angela says, “I had the strength symbol tattooed on my foot as a reminder of how far I’ve come in life.”

“I love what GORGO stands for, motivating women to be strong, to encourage and lift each other, and to love yourself.  Strength is a powerful word to me.”

Finding that self love through strength starts with choosing your activity, Angela believes. She maintains that jump starting your fitness journey starts with finding the pursuit that makes your heart beat faster, not just literally, but figuratively.

“My advice to women,” Angela says, “Would be find your passion in fitness. Everyone is different, maybe it’s running or Zumba, crossfit, or weight training, but whatever inspires you, do it! Exercise is not just for the body, but for the mind as well.”

“Inspire, love and lift each other always!”

(You can find Angela on Facebook as Angela Stevenson and on Instagram as ANGELA_FIT4LIFE.)

 

#GORGOGIRL Ashley Meyer

 

We love featuring our everyday GORGOgirls that are inspiring us to crush life and a balanced approach to fitness.
Meet Ashley Meyer.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FITNESS LIFE

gorgo1.jpg

Growing up, I was the furthest from being interested in anything related to exercise.  The most I remember doing was playing volleyball my sophomore year of high school.  Fast forward to 2014 – I vividly remember going clothes shopping (which I still to this day loathe doing ) and realizing that if I wanted to buy the jeans I wanted, they would have to be a size 20 and I was not about to buy them. 

That pushed me into starting out on a new journey in life that will hopefully one day, not only make me look better, but feel better about myself as well.  I started going to the gym and found a whole new focus in life – myself.  Going to Camp GORGO for the first time in 2016 really lit a spark in me and I found an entirely new love for the gym and learning to become comfortable in my own skin.

gorgo4.jpg

TELL US ABOUT YOUR NON-FITNESS LIFE.

This part of my life is far less interesting, but here it goes!

For the past 7 years, I have worked for the State of Missouri.  During the summer, I love to be outside, so for the past few summers I have been hitting up all the state parks around Missouri for short hiking trips.  If I had the funds, I would travel the world in a heartbeat.  In March 2018, I went to see Havasu Falls in Supai, AZ with a couple fellow GORGO Girls.

gorgo2.jpg

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT GORGO?

I first heard about Camp GORGO in 2015 and instantly thought it was not for me.  A couple of friends went for their first time that year and came back convincing me that I had to go in 2016.  I thought “Why not? It’s a year away and I have plenty of time to prepare myself.”  Little did I know how much I would love everything Camp has to offer. 

The inspiration, motivation and acceptance all of the girls have for everyone there is incredible.  Most people would think that this big of a group of girls all together for an entire weekend, there would be all kinds of drama and judgements and cliques.  GORGO Girls are total opposite.  The amount of love and support you get from each and every one of them is unbelievably amazing and you will leave Camp with lifelong friendships that you will forever cherish.  We all laugh together, cry together and make some of the most amazing memories.  Camp GORGO 2019 will be my fourth Camp and I cannot wait to squeeze everyone’s necks!!

gorgo3.jpg





 

The “Here and Now”: Stephanie Dane

“Live for today. I’m not saying don’t think about your future or fly by the seat of your pants for everything…. but stop wishing today away. We are so accustomed to wishing time forward. I’m such a planner, but I try my hardest to live in the present. Thinking about tomorrow, but savoring today and truly taking in what the moment has to offer.”

Read More

Are Your Goals Authentic?

 

By Chivon John

As Danielle Laporte says “Everything we do is driven by the desire to feel a certain way.”

21799256465_a69cc17a29_k.jpg

When you think about your fitness goals and more importantly your pursuit of them, how do you feel?

Behind the desire for a healthier life, to look great naked or feel stronger, there is a burning desire for something more.  

No matter how much time you invest in your workouts, eating clean or the vision boards that you create, without a strong connection to your why you’ll always be yearning for more.

Goals should be a tool of liberation rather than imprison you in feelings of fear and self-doubt.

Although it’s difficult to believe that the pursuit of a wellness goal could be unhealthy, they can be if you’re chasing something that leaves you feeling enslaved with negative thinking instead of feeling empowered.

21775918436_0e46b8f027_k.jpg

Curious about whether your goals are authentic?  Here are 3 warning signs that you’re out of alignment:

1. You’re driven by a desire to ‘fit in’

Behind the desire to fit in, is the desire to belong. But ‘fitting in’ shouldn’t require you to change who you are.

According to shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown, belonging only comes with self-acceptance, specifically the courage to be vulnerable, authentic, imperfect, and the belief that you are enough.  

In the absence of self-acceptance, you’ll find yourself hustling for worthiness where you constantly seek and search for self worth.  

No amount of physical training can fix the mental fitness that needs to occur before you hit the gym.

2. You’re striving for perfection instead of progress

No matter what the images on your instagram feed tell you, there is no perfect or right way to live a healthy life.

Inspiration is a beautiful way to kick-start your journey but don’t let your tools of inspiration become the same tools that fuel your self-doubt. When in doubt remember this:

You have permission to create meal plans that work for your lifestyle and body.

You have permission to track your progress in a way that feels good to you.

You have permission to create a sustainable wellness plan that makes you feel alive.

You don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing, and there is no prize for trying to be perfect.  

Celebrate the journey, enjoy the bumps and choose progress over perfection.

21614468099_670ba3d885_k.jpg

3. You’re focused on pleasing others instead of yourself

In the same way that we try to fit in, setting goals to please others will keep you stuck in the cycle of searching for worthiness.  

There is nothing wrong with wanting toned legs or capped shoulders, but are your goals conditions for feeling acceptable in the eyes of others?

Behind the feeling to please others is a desire for someone to affirm who you are.  

But here’s the problem, if you don’t show love for yourself in the present, you’ll have difficulty loving the future you.  

Be mindful of the judgments on yourself and others and realize that a healthy you begins from the inside out. More importantly, the people in your corner should be your biggest cheerleaders and not your biggest critics.  

In words of Rumi-“Be suspicious of what you want and remember that your goals should start and end with you.

According to Danielle Laporte,  

“when it comes to goal pursuit, we’re either avoiding pain or seeking pleasure”.

Only YOU can decide which one it will be.

 

Powerlifting: BENEFITS, HOW-TO START & MORE

 

By Steph Puddicome

A frequent reaction that I receive when people find out that I’m a world level competitive powerlifter is, “but you’re too small,” “that seems impossible,” or “females don’t lift heavy.”

There are a lot of misconceptions around what powerlifting actually is. Powerlifting is not just a sport for males. Powerlifting does not make women bulky, and powerlifting is not a drug-ridden sport. Powerlifters come in all shapes and sizes. The sport of powerlifting is packed with competitive athletes with lean athletic physiques because optimal nutrition and an intense training regime is a big part of the game.

Powerlifting is a sport of passion, a sport of inner fortitude, a sport of determination and commitment, and a sport of true strength.

Powerlifting is combined of a series of three lifts: squat, bench-press, and deadlift. Competitors attempt to lift as much weight as possible for their max one repetition over three attempts. Each lifter is placed into a specific division based on age and weight class. Competitors compete for the highest total within their weight class but also compete for the best overall lifter title against all weight classes by using the Wilks formula. The Wilks formula is analogous to a “pound-for- pound” comparison that can be used to measure the strength of a powerlifter against other powerlifters despite the different weights of the lifters.

BENEFITS

Having the capacity to lift heavy weights and increase your strength has significant psychological benefits, such as enhanced confidence and feelings of empowerment. This translates and enhances all other areas of life.

Powerlifting is a primal rush and signing up to compete is one of the best things you can do to amp up your training intensity and progress.

People often ask me how I got into powerlifting, however they never ask what I get out of it. I think this is because they can clearly see this. I have grown from a shy girl to confident elite lifter and fitness professional. I am not afraid to show what I have accomplished and I am not afraid to go after my dreams.

There is nothing that can compare to the empowerment one feels when lifting a lot of weight. Not only will you feel physically stronger (and bad ass!), you will also become stronger in every
other aspect of your life. It is hard to imagine how a heavy squat can translate to a happier home life or better performance at work, but it happens. There is just something transformative about being able to do something that once seemed impossible. Once you realize the strength your body contains, you start to realize that just about anything seems achievable.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Do not expect it to be easy. Expect it to challenge every aspect of your mental and physical strength, expect it to push you to your limits, expect it to knock you down, expect it to pick you up, and expect it to bring out something in yourself you never thought possible.

From Your Body

When training is focused on strength with heavy weight and lower reps, you build dense muscle mass. I don’t mean you will get bulky, however you will gain some size. If you really want that “toned” fit looking physique in your legs, stomach, and arms, heavy lifting will get you there.

From Food

Another thing to expect is the ability to eat a lot of food! Overloading the body with fuel increases your lifting capacity. Nourishing yourself properly is not only healthy but causes increased lifts. The body goes into overdrive with heavy lifting and you will feel constantly hungry. However, increased muscle means the ability to eat and not gain excessive weight. Bring on the carbs!

From Training

Training for powerlifting is time consuming and requires true dedication to the sport. You will need to set aside at least 4 training days a week. Missing training sessions is missing opportunities for self-improvements. In this sport you need to check your ego at the door; it isn’t always about getting a record lift every time you step under the bar. Training happens in cycles, sometimes you are de-loading, other times doing volume work, and then there are times you are hitting max lifts.

A lifter cannot have longevity in this sport with maxing out lifts every session. Strength gains and muscle building come from the ups and downs in a periodized training cycle. Trust the process and trust your coach.

Some people ask what they need to do to get stronger as a powerlifter. DO THE LIFTS! Don’t spend too much time doing accessory exercises: If you want to be a good squatter, squat more. Work on form, work on volume, and work on increasing weight. Follow a training plan and listen to people with experience in the sport.

How to Get Started

The best thing to do is train with people much stronger than you, people who know more than you, and people who you aspire to become. You will learn from these people, be motivated, and rise to their level. Iron sharpens Iron; a solid training group is important for any competitive athlete.

As a female lifter, the dynamic can be different. Train hard… harder than anyone else around you. Earn your spot at the powerlifting rack and train with people who admire strength.

Finding a group of dedicated training partners who view you as an equal opposed to some sort of fitness sex symbol is imperative. My training group is comprised of all males; as the only female, I have earned my spot on the team. I hold my own and do my share. I get treated like one of the “bros” and I contribute to the training team just as they do. This includes spotting, loading the bar, and encouraging teammates. I do what they do; I push like they do. I do not need to be handled with kid gloves or treated differently.

Powerlifting is an extraordinary sport, and with each competition, it allows for a true measure of strength. There isn’t any lying, cheating, or blaming someone else. You either lift the weight or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. It is not a subjective sport. It is not a sport of favoritism. Powerlifting is a sport of fairness and strength.

With every training cycle, every session, and every rep, there is always room for improvement. Setting out on a mission in powerlifting can be life long journey. Once you reach your goals, you set higher ones.

Welcome to the sport of powerlifting! Train hard, eat to perform, and live for the lift. You have to truly love the sport to excel; the questions now become do you have what it takes to stay? Are you willing to do what you have to do to achieve greatness?

 

Canteen Inspired Broccomole Dip

 

By Christal Sczebel, C.H.N., Nutritionist in the Kitch

recipe 1a.jpg

“What the heck is broccomole?!” were the exact words that came out of my mouth as I was reading the brunch menu of a restaurant I went to recently with some friends. It’s a neat little place in Edmonton called Canteen and their brunch is delicious to say the least. I ordered the “Smoked Sablefish, Fontina Egg Scramble, Seeded Rye, Broccomole, Roast Tomatoes” entree (sans fontina)…and was very intrigued with this Broccomole item.

My hubby, being the little smarty pants that he is, looked at me and said “it’s obviously guacamole…made from broccoli”, and I thought to myself, what? for real? no… it’s got to be some other kind of sauce or garnish or some kind of vegetable I’ve never heard of. But, after a quick google search, I realized my hubby was right! Darn!

Looking into this whole Broccomole thing a little more I happened to come across this recipe by Domestic Fits and wondered why I had never heard of this interesting little concoction before!

When I got my entree at Canteen and ate every little morsel (had the restaurant not been packed with people I may have even licked the plate) I made the decision right then and there that I… was a fan… of broccomole.

recipe 1c.jpg

So I used the Domestic Fits recipe as inspiration and got mixing! In my food processor I added steamed broccoli, spinach (for a little extra green and nutrients), tomato, spices, silken tofu, and lemon juice!

A few blends and scrapes with the spatula later – this smooth, creamy, rich and dreamy guacamole-looking dip was created! Considering I’m not the hugest fan of broccoli to begin with, I was surprised how it had transformed into this yummy looking and very nutritious dip!

A couple dunks of my crackers and I was sold! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a HUGE fan of traditional avocado guacamole, but for a lower calorie, nutrient dense, something-different-dip, this one is definitely worth a try!

Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups chopped broccoli

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 5 cherry tomatoes

  • 2 tbs green onions

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 2 ounces silken tofu

  • ¼ tsp chili powder

  • 1 tbs cilantro

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook the broccoli in lightly salted water until very soft. Overcook the broccoli in comparison to the al dente cooking that most recipes recommend.

2. Drain broccoli very well.

3. Transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth, add additional olive oil for a smoother texture.

4. Serve warm or chill and serve cold.

 

 

#GORGOGirl Morgan Green

 

We love featuring our everyday GORGOgirls that are inspiring us to crush life and a balanced approach to fitness.
Meet Morgan Green.

Tell us about your fitness life.

morgan green 4.jpg

I have been pretty active since I was little. I played soccer growing up, then moved to competitive cheerleading, cheered all through middle and high school and competed with those squads, and then moved into the typical cardio queen mentality after having my first baby at 17. I have always loved to lift, training legs was always my favorite on our weight room days, but it was probably when we moved to Kentucky with the military that I really learned to love lifting....ever since I just love to feel strong as a woman...and I love to push myself.

morgan green.jpg

Tell us about your non-fitness life.

It’s really hard to put all that you do as a wife/mom into words...but I’ll try! My husband and I have been married for almost 11 years, he was a combat medic in the army for 8 years, and is now a firefighter and serves in the national guard. I’m blessed to be a mom to three incredible children. Wyatt is 12, Amie Rhea is 10, and Joshua is 3. I work full time as a receptionist for a busy pediatric doctors office in my hometown of Granbury, TX. My greatest passion is to sing, and thankfully God gave me the ability to do it well! I have been blessed to be able to use my gift on my church’s worship team for several years. I also love to read and learn....if someone would pay me to be a full time student...I would do it in a heartbeat! #nerdalert

morgan 5.jpg

What do you love about GORGO?

This was my first year to attend Camp GORGO, and I have been so jealous every year before as I saw all these women posting pictures and sharing of what camp did for them. GORGO is the first place that I felt 100% free and safe to be myself. That sounds silly....but for that weekend my identity wasn’t solely based around being a wife, mom, sister, daughter, etc I just got to be ME! I got to be in the first women centered weekend without the catty cliques, without the judgements or comparison, and without the fear of fitting in. It was a weekend of encouragement for all victories, full of growth and self discoveries. There’s not another place on earth you will learn about your innermost self, where you’re free to dream for yourself without holding back and where you learn how to make those dreams come true! There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who believes in who and what she is.

morgan green 2.jpg

Anything about camp GORGO you'd like to mention?

My favorite part of Gorgo was becoming part of this incredible tribe of women. It is the only group of women that I have EVER encountered where there is truly nothing negative going on. There’s no inside cliques, there’s just total inclusion. We are all women, who love and celebrate being a woman and love and celebrate other women. We encourage each other unconditionally. The giggles, belly laughs, competitions, tears, dancing, meals, it was all perfect....and I can’t wait to do it again!!!!

Morgan.png












 

Competition Without Comparison: Anna Earley

By Jill Farr

gorgo-cover-anna-2.jpg

Anna Earley grew up as an athlete, swimming and playing competitive volleyball and soccer in high school, and was a nurse for almost twenty years, mostly in pediatrics doing case management or coordinating services. She and her husband still play and coach volleyball as adults.

So when Anna says that she believes her online Isagenix business is a more empowered and helpful pursuit than nursing...it’s worth hearing her explanation.

“I feel like a lot of my nursing career was spent in “Band Aid” fixes--after the fact measures that really didn’t address the underlying problem, or promote wellness,” Anna says. “Nursing and healthcare isn’t really focused on prevention, in my opinion and experience. When I looked at Isagenix, though, they were addressing preventative health. Helping people get healthy on their own.”

Anna co-parents her 14 year-old daughter and 16 year-old son along with her ex-husband and current husband, in addition to running her online business, and their extended familial cooperation is right up there with her contribution to those seeking health, when it comes to life philosophies that she feels are essential.

“I have a great relationship with their dad,” Anna relates. “We’re probably not the norm when it comes to blended families--we all get along. My current husband has two kids and I’m good friends with his former wife...it’s a very rare thing, but it works well and everyone gets along.”

43520382411_d5c7347db9_k_clipped_rev_1.png

“It’s one of the things I think I’m most proud of...I’m not proud of being divorced, but I’m proud of how we handled it. My mantra has always been, “Be the change.” In every sense, if you want a calm life, if you want fun fitness...be what you want.”

Forgoing the mindset of “Us Against Them”, and dropping comparisons isn’t just a tactic that Anna advocates for getting the best out of family relationships; it’s also a key to success in feeling your own worth in the age of social media, and doing your best for yourself.

“I have always found--especially with social media--there’s this huge comparison pressure,” Anna says. “To be on par with this person getting all this attention on Facebook, or a certain number of likes on Instagram, but for me...I’ve always loved fitness when it’s doing something I’m passionate about. I’d rather be on a volleyball court than in a gym lifting weights. But there’s a lot of pressure to do things other people are doing.”

A shoulder injury necessitated a break from Anna’s passion--volleyball--for a period of time, and that led to her discovery of weight lifting. While that progressed into a time of bodybuilding--and even competing--Anna admits that volleyball and yoga are the things that she loves...and therefore does.

“When I play volleyball, I get excited to go. I lift weights because I know the benefits, I like how it makes me feel, and I love yoga because I like being flexible. I think you have to love what you do to get the consistency you need. To get into a routine.”

gorgo-cover-anna.jpg

“Yoga is so underrated. Especially as we get older, we need it more. We need our brains to stop, we need to be grounded...yoga is great for flexibility and strength, but it’s good for those things, too.”

In addition to the love and excitement for a particular pursuit, Anna believes that taking the time pressure off will help with developing and maintaining a regular workout routine.

“People are also always looking for the perfect timing, or amount of time to work out,” she says. “They think you need an hour set aside to go to the gym. But especially for new moms, or people on the go, you need to just take that ten minutes or whatever you have to do it now. Because if you love it, that ten minutes will naturally grow.”

Lessons from Anna:

Drop Comparisons...Do What You Love. “My belief is that you’re going to be happiest, you’re going to be most consistent, when you’re doing an activity that you love,” Anna says. “If you go into weight training because someone told you to do it, you might stick with it for a while, but if you don’t love it...it won’t last.”

42615528995_ed3bbd87af_k.jpg

Competition and Play Aren’t Just for Kids. Anna plays volleyball weekly--sand and court, depending on the season. If you’re thinking, “I thought comparison was bad...isn’t that the same thing as competition?”, the answer is “No”. Taking part in games where there are “winners” doesn’t mean you’re a “loser” if you don’t take it all at the end...the idea is to focus on challenge. Challenge encourages growth, and can be an important part of an enjoyable physical endeavor.

Any Amount of Time Can Grow. Ten minutes doing something you love will leave you hungry for more, not wishing you weren’t there. When you find your passion, or at the very least, something fun, you’ll find the time. And make more of it.




The 5 Realms of Holistic Body Love

 
23392733700_03d8e2acc0_k.jpg

By Rosalyn Fung

Holistic Body Love to me, is about being in a healthy relationship with yourself in five important realms of life: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually & socially.

Let’s define these five areas:

1.  Mental: This is our self-talk, what it is we say to ourselves about ourselves. Ideally, we want to be engaging in positive self-talk significantly more than negative self-talk.

2.  Emotional: This is the way we feel about ourselves, and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions well. The way we think about ourselves leads to how we feel about ourselves.

3.  Physical: This involves our physical body, not in appearance, but rather with the health condition of our body. For example, a strong immune system, organs that function well, a body that’s well nourished with nutrients, a body that has abundant energy to thrive.

4. Spiritual: This area can have multiple meanings. For some, it would be one’s own ability to tune into their intuitive wisdom. For others, it may be their connection with a Higher Power. Essentially, it is the ability to see the bigger picture and connect with sacred aspects of life, so that life has fulfillment through deeper meaning and purpose.

5.  Social: We are social creatures at the very core of us, meaning we all need a connection with people to heal. We are influenced every day by relationships and dynamics in our home, work, school, and  life environments.

I see that having a balance in these five realms can help us feel more present, grounded, and empowered in who we are as an individual, and in the various roles we take on.

What Does It Mean to Have Holistic Body Love?

Holistic Body Love means to be kind to yourself, to treat yourself with love and respect, to have healthy and flexible boundaries so that you keep out things that do not serve you (drama anyone?! No thanks!), to feel gratitude for all that you have in your life and to feel enough abundance with what you have right now (rather than feeling deprived or believing that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’). These are just some examples, and there are many more. Ultimately, it’s about being your own best friend.

My Journey to Finding Holistic Body Love

I did not always have an amazing relationship with me. In fact, I used to be my own worst enemy and beat myself up all the time because I wasn’t fit-looking enough, because I didn’t have six-pack abs, because my hips weren’t small enough, my arms were not defined enough, and because for goodness sake, that little piece of flesh on my upper back behind my armpit was too fleshy and soft! I used to restrict myself from eating certain kinds of foods because it’s what I thought would exacerbate my “problem areas”. So I stayed away from sugar, opting instead for the chemically enhanced sweeteners (but hey, at least they are calorie free!) and for the “fat-free” food products. And this made me feel good and feel (falsely) safe because I was eating perfectly. I would bring my own food to social gatherings because I was anxious about eating anything outside of my diet. I would take hours to try on clothes because nothing fit right or gave me the look I wanted, I would get so stressed out packing for vacation (okay I admit I still do but for different reasons now!) because I couldn’t decide what to wear since I couldn’t predict how my body would look each day I was away from home. And when I was alone, I binged. I ate, and ate and ate all the foods I deprived myself of – peanut butter, cookies, bread and anything high in sugar and carbs. I would feel guilt and shame for binging, so I would “erase” these feelings by over-exercising. It became a silent vicious cycle.

23392656250_7d248af883_k.jpg

This kind of relationship with myself went on for YEARS. And you know what? Even when I did achieve my then “ideal body” by competing in a bodybuilding competition, this didn’t bring me the happiness I was seeking. Nothing inside changed mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Only on the outside did my capsule change.

Then I made a choice. I took the courage to go on a self-healing journey: through therapy; through my own professional training in a mindfulness-based therapy called Hakomi (in which I’m Certified now) and through exploring Eastern practices such as yoga, acupuncture, and naturopathy. I developed new practices to be kinder to myself, to slow down, to be more present, to learn how to shift out of limiting core beliefs and patterns, and to live in a new way. I decided to think, feel, and behave in my relationship with my new best friend- me.

It’s about serving me, so that I can serve the world from a deeper, loving, and authentic place. When I show love to me, the world benefits. I can give back ten fold because I’m happy right here in my mind, heart and body. I have stopped abandoning myself and I have returned home to a peaceful and happy body.

The struggles I was experiencing in my relationship with myself were expressed in the areas of food and body. However, these struggles may come out in other areas such as being in relationships that are unhealthy and even abusive. It can be a love relationship, a business partnership, family ties, or even friendships. These struggles with self could be related to feeling deprived, chronically stressed, tired or anxious, feeling low self-worth, or having judgmental thoughts about others. Oftentimes, these struggles are unconsciously deep-rooted.

YOU can change the story of your life by first being open to exploring your relationship with you. You can start by reading a self-help book that appeals to you, or you can talk to a therapist who can help guide you. Invite curiosity, courage, and hope to be with you.

 

Woman Up: Heather Burba

 

By Jill Farr

Connect with Heather: @babies_to_biceps

gorgo-cover-board-Heatherb.jpg

The impetus for many women’s fitness lifestyle changes isn’t always positive. Often, it’s a dissatisfaction with our appearance or strength and energy levels that makes us realize we need to get back to the gym. (Or start going in the first place).

Sometimes, dealing with a curveball that life throws is what leads us to seek out physical strength.

When Heather Burba was pregnant with her third child, she found out her husband was cheating on her. To say it was devastating was, as anyone who has been in those shoes knows, an understatement. 

When it became apparent that the infidelity wasn’t going to stop, Heather packed up her three kids and moved across the country, to try and start over. With three small kids to support, she knew that she needed a stable long term career, so she took out loans, applied for all the assistance she could, and enrolled in nursing school.

The pain of a deep betrayal, the stress of nursing school and the pressure to build a career and suddenly become a breadwinner for a little family--not to mention the interim poverty while she got her degree--added up to a huge amount of stress.

“I was so angry,” Heather says.

“I was angry about buying Goodwill stuff for my kids, I was angry that my ex-husband was galavanting around, living the single life, while I was doing this.”

“So I started running. I had no clue about how to run, I just started, and I ran and I ran and I ran. I would walk until I caught my breath, then I’d run some more. I did that to stay sane. And I was a better mom because of it. Sometimes I would park in the daycare parking lot before picking up my kids, and go run in the neighborhood.”

“I had just spent 8 hours at school, now I have to go home and be a mom and do homework. It made me angry. So I would run, to get all that out.”

The running did its job, and Heather not only became stronger physically, but psychologically. She became a nurse, she bought a house...and she found love again.

After getting stood up for a date, she went to a friend’s house to vent and eat ice cream...and the friend’s younger brother happened to stop by. Fate conspired, a romance blossomed, and eventually she and the little brother (John) fell in love.

gorgo-cover-board-heatherb2.jpg

Even in the midst of building their “happily ever after”, however, there were challenges. And once again, those hardships served as a springboard to Heathers strength. Heather discovered her boyfriend’s porn use, and without her realizing, it fed some unresolved insecurities she had about her own body.”

42797560_10217821641511753_1088792063715049472_o.jpg

Eventually, even though her initial reaction was to try and change to fit what she thought he wanted, Heather decided that this wasn’t about her--it was about them. She also decided that instead of starving herself for a man, she would get stronger. For herself.

Two things came from that moment; Heather had a heart-to-heart with John about how his porn use made her feel, and she had a talk with herself. “There’s no man on Earth that’s worth killing yourself for.” It turned her towards strength training.

42823454694_767660c36b_k.jpg

“Instead of being skinny, I wanted to be strong. I went in--didn’t know what I was doing--and just started lifting. Like with running...I just started. I’m a personal trainer now because I want to give that feeling to women--look how strong you are!”

That moment was a huge turning point for Heather and John, by tackling the issue of pornography and healing the residual emotional damage left over from her first marriage, they realized that together they could conquer anything and got married, on a Tuesday afternoon 3 years later.

In addition to being a personal trainer, Heather is also a doula--bringing the same empowerment mindset to birth experiences that she does to fitness training. As far as her own personal fitness goals, she doesn’t really have any end game in mind, other than the best fitness level possible.

“I basically just want to live forever--to see my grandbabies have babies and not have my children have to care for a sick, elderly mother.”

When asked about her message for other women, Heather doesn’t hesitate.

“I would tell them, ‘You have the power to create the life you deserve and are dreaming of.’  It doesn’t matter how long it takes. It doesn’t matter how many times you start over or try a new idea.  Slow deliberate movement forward will always keep you moving. You can do every single thing you put your mind to. I am living proof.”

“You just have to woman up.”

Lessons from Heather:

Make a 10 minute investment.

When Heather was at a low point, her dad gave her this advice: You can’t look at the end.

“I never looked at the end of nursing school,” Heather says. “I couldn’t look at it as “the next three years”...I had to look at it ten minutes at a time.” That same philosophy is her fitness mantra. “Just go to the gym/run/spin/whatever for 10 minutes.  If you still want to quit after 10 minutes, then quit. I can almost guarantee you that you won’t. If you do, then it’s still 10 minutes of something that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Give yourself 10 minutes and see if it changes your day.”

Don’t stuff your emotions.

“Everyone tells women, don’t be angry,” Heather says. “I say...Eff that! Maybe that’s your fuel! You don’t have to live there forever...but you need to be able to remember where you came from.”

“I don’t live in the past, but I know the past can repeat itself, so you can’t forget. Those are the moments that built who you are--I would never know how strong I am and how resilient, if not for those moments.”

41732637730_48a01a66e8_k.jpg

Heather has some mindfulness backup in this area; while a lot of positive thinking teaching will have you only focus on happy thoughts, many mindfulness teachers advocate acknowledging your feelings as they come up--not stuffing them--and then finding ways to comfort those feelings. Heather’s system of pouring anger into a fitness pursuit is a healthy expenditure of physical energy--consider a meditation or relaxation practice, as well.

Just get up and do it.

It’s more than a sports slogan--just doing what needs to be done is a key part of success in physical fitness and overcoming heartbreak--both areas of expertise for Heather. And her spin on the traditional “Man up!” is a long overdue one.

“I was never late with my rent, but I did have the electricity cut off on one occasion,” Heather says. “I was in the midst of cooking dinner, and the power shut off. I thought maybe someone had knocked down a pole, but no...I had stretched it out too far and let the bill go too long. It was a low moment.”

“But again, it was one of those moments where, you have to be a woman. You have to woman up.”

“We lit candles, and I took the meatloaf outside and finished cooking it on the gas grill. We slept together in extra pajamas to stay warm, because it was December.”

“But in the middle of all that is where I found my fitness, where I found my power.”

“If I can do it, you can too.”

37676868_10217271995650950_8099784055073013760_n.jpg
 

#GORGOGirl Leah Brouwers

When you are part of a movement, a gathering of compassionate, direct yet gentle, all-kinds-of-strength women equipping one another in more ways than technique under the bar, you accept the challenge and choose to leverage on this opportunity for permanent personal growth. I can’t wait go back and re-connect with the amazing women that collectively make Camp Gorgo!

Read More

Get Over Yourself: How your Mindset is Affecting Your Results (and your life)

 

By Ali Ludovici

43472409002_2b3104a6b4_k.jpg

Having had the honour of successfully coaching many clients in health and wellness, in addition to my own experience as an athlete and weight-loss journey, I can tell you with certainty, that mindset is the single most important element of success. If you don’t have the right mindset it doesn’t matter how credentialed your coach is, what exercises you are doing or what diet you are on, success will be elusive.

What you perceive and believe creates your reality. Though you may be predisposed to a positive or negative mindset, you can choose your perception (how you interpret the world) and your attitude (your beliefs and reactions/interactions).

In the world of health and wellness, your mindset will determine whether you succeed in achieving good health and peace with your body and food. You can purchase all the nice workout gear, fancy gym memberships, coaching, and diet plans you want - if you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t achieve what you desire. So what exactly is the right mindset?

Believe in yourself

Your body and mind are intimately connected; if you believe you can, your body will find a way. Disbelief leads to self-sabotage as you will create your reality to prove your mindset correct. Set your goal and believe in your ability to achieve it. You are stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit. Just because you can’t do something today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to in the future. Keep working and believe in yourself. In time, you will amaze yourself with what you have accomplished.

Focus on the solution

Your health and wellness journey will certainly have its ups and downs. There will be nights you don’t have the energy for a butt-kicking workout and the days where you just don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch, don’t beat yourself up. No road to success is straightforward or easy - but all good things are worth the effort. In fact, having to put in some challenging work and overcome a few obstacles, makes you value your success that much more. You can choose to focus on the obstacles, or you can choose to focus on the solutions. “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal”, Henry Ford.

Be positive in your self-talk

Many of our limitations are created within our own mind. You tell ourselves you aren’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough. You create excuses and barriers where there needn't be any. What you tell yourself, your mind believes. Change the way you talk to yourself and you infinitely increase your ability to succeed. Tell yourself it is possible, believe it is possible and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Challenge yourself to replace any and every negative thought, with a positive (and realistic) alternative.

41711319250_834595e9f2_k.jpg

Seek pleasure and balance

Despite the “hustle harder” and “no pain, no gain” mentality perpetuated by some fitness personalities, exercise and good nutrition can be pleasurable. You can enjoy both health and, athleticism while having a fulfilling and joyful personal life. While I do encourage every woman to lift weights for the physical and mental benefits, I also encourage them to seek exercise they find pleasurable. Whether you enjoy swimming, yoga, running, kickboxing or pole fitness, find something that gets you sweaty and smiling. When it comes to nutrition, trust the innate wisdom of your body. As long as you are predominantly eating whole foods (healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates) with a plant-based focus, you are welcome  to enjoy a treat now and again. Balance, pleasure and respecting your body and its wisdom, is how you will discover a fulfilling healthy lifestyle.

Focus on Abundance

When trying to achieve a specific fitness goal, you will likely need to be more diligent with your nutrition and fitness routine. You can choose to focus on the lack; of calories, indulgent foods, and changes to your social life.  Or you can focus on the positive; your improved aesthetic, all the delicious nutrient dense foods, and the pleasure in seeing results. If you perceive your journey as a punishment, you will have a negative experience that will work against you and increase your odds of rebounding. Choosing to see the positive, you will have a more pleasurable journey and be more likely to create a healthy lifestyle with life-long reward.

Your mindset is the single greatest influencer on your reality. You can choose to have a pleasurable journey towards achieving your goals; you can choose to see yourself as a strong, capable woman; you can choose pleasure and balance. You can also choose to see the opposite. Your reality, your success, is in your control.


DSC_3672-Edit.jpeg

Ali Ludovici is a blogger at Charm and Grit, writing about fitness, nutrition and strategies for extraordinary living. As a wellness and mindset coach, she specializes in helping women create healthy and fulfilling lives they love. Ali promotes respecting the innate wisdom of your body, doing exercise that gets you sweaty and smiling, as well as recognizing the power of your mindset to create your desired reality. She is well known for her tough love attitude, no excuses mindset and her supportive positivity. She is a natural bodybuilder, who also enjoys yoga, running and trying new forms of fitness. Ali is on a mission to inform, inspire and empower women to live extraordinary lives.

 

5 Snacks to Keep Kids Energized Through the School Day (That Mom Can Eat Too!)

 
Screen Shot 2018-10-16 at 10.47.47 AM.png

By Kelly Keltner, naturallynourishedkid.com

Busy schedules have been received. School supplies, new clothes and shoes bought. Bedtimes are being enforced again. Mornings are a rush to beat the clock.

It can be a hectic time as your household gets back into the school year routine. To help you avoid the drive-thru and takeout, here are some snack ideas that are free of refined sugars and will keep your kiddos full and energized through the day.

BONUS: They’re mommy friendly too!

TIME SAVING TIP: Make batches and freeze for convenience.

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

This powerhouse food, also known as garbanzo beans, packs 6g of protein in just half a cup. This is as much protein as a large whole egg! Pair with a side of fruit or veggie sticks for a snack that will keep kids full until mealtime.

5 Snack - Recipe 1 Roasted Chickpeas.jpeg

Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 10-15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried

  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

  • 1 tbs raw organic honey

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine the chickpeas with the cinnamon and honey and mix well.

3. Lay the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake until crispy and browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container up to 3-4 days.

Recipe from @KidFoodIdeas on Instagram

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

If you have a bunch of overripe bananas, put them to good use and bake up a batch of these yummy banana muffins. You won’t miss the flour and superfoods like chia seeds and ground flaxseed pump up the nutritional factor.

Prep Time: 5 min    Cook Time: 20 min Makes 9 mini muffins

Ingredients:

Screen Shot 2018-10-16 at 10.48.05 AM.png
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter)

  • 2 ripe medium to large bananas

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tbs raw honey

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (sub gluten-free oats to make recipe gluten-free)

  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed

  • 2 tbs chia seeds

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until the batter is smooth and creamy.

3. Pour batter into greased muffin pan or use cupcake liners. Fill each cup about 3/4 full.

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze.

Recipe by NaturallyNourishedKid.com, adapted from RunningWithSpoons.com

Mango Fruit Roll-Ups (aka Fruit Leather)

This one ingredient (yes, one ingredient!) treat will have your kids pumped to open up their snack totes! This takes some time to cook in the oven but it is worth it. Start it on a lazy weekend morning.

Prep Time: 5 min    Cook Time: 3-4 hours    Makes about 15-20 rollups

Ingredients:

3 large mangoes

Screen Shot 2018-10-16 at 10.48.58 AM.png

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Puree the mango in a food processor after removing the skin and core.

3. Pour the puree onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to smooth and spread the puree as even as possible. The layer should be thin but not see through. You may have to use 2 baking sheets.

4. Start checking the puree at 3 hours. Oven temps vary from oven to oven, so it may or may not be ready at this point. When the puree is dry to the touch, it is done.

5. Remove from the oven and cut the sheets into strips. Roll up strips.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week..

Recipe from Clean & Green Kids App

Avocado Toast with Tomatoes

Screen Shot 2018-10-16 at 10.49.07 AM.png

This power snack gives you fiber, fats (the good kind), protein and vitamins all in one.  Choose Ezekiel bread to avoid added sugar and preservatives. It is usually found in the freezer aisle. Ezekiel bread also provides twice the amount of fiber and protein compared to conventional store bought bread.

Prep Time: 5 min    Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • Ezekiel Bread - 2 slices

  • ½ avocado

  • handful grape tomatoes

  • lemon wedge

Instructions:

1. Toast the bread

2. Top the toast with sliced avocado, grape tomatoes and fresh ground black pepper.

3. Squeeze lemon juice liberally over everything. This helps to prevent the avocado from browning if you plan to eat it later.

Recipe from @NaturallyNourishedKid on Instagram

Spinach & Mushroom Mini Crustless Quiche

Bake a batch on Sunday and keep it in the fridge. It heats up in 20 seconds in the microwave - perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on busy weekday mornings.

Prep Time: 15-20 min    Cook Time: 20-25 min Makes 12 mini quiches

Ingredients:

Screen Shot 2018-10-16 at 10.49.14 AM.png
  • 1 tbs EVOO

  • 12 oz white mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced

  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped

  • pinch nutmeg

  • 4 large eggs

  • 4 large egg whites

  • ¼ cup whole milk

  • ¼ cup grated fontina cheese

  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2. Heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms, shallot and season with S&P. Saute and cook until shallots are soft and mushrooms are slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baby spinach and nutmeg until the spinach is just wilted. Set aside to cool.

4. Whisk the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese.

5. Divide the egg mixture evenly between the muffin tins, filling about halfway.

6. Top the egg mixture with the mushroom and spinach sauté.

7. Bake until the quiches are well-risen, golden brown and set. Check it at 20 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool slightly. Remove the quiches and set on a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating.

Recipe adapted from The Food Network.