I was a troubled kid. I was given a hand in life that was like no other. It was a rough road from the very beginning. I was taken by CPS from my Mother at the Age of 3 due to neglect and physical abuse. Separated from my older siblings-whom I later reconnected with, were placed in group homes while I was placed foster homes and wasn’t adopted until the age of 6. I struggled with home life and my adopted family, and by the time I was a teen I was joy riding, dabaling with different drugs and smoking cigarettes. I have been working since age of 13 and I managed to graduate HS and get into a nice College in Northern California. I was barely getting through College--when I was sexually assaulted by a ex boyfriend at the age of 18. This is where my life came to a crossroad. I realized something that has created the core of who I am today. I can either let this ruin me and define my life and continue down the path of self destruction or I can wake up and change my story and become a warrior.
I choose the latter. I moved from California to Michigan in 1997. I get asked a lot why I moved. The easiest answer. To save my life. I met Butch, my mentor, shortly after moving here. He empowered me to find my outer strength. And if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you today. In short, life has never been easy for me. And about the time I met Butch I was at my lowest of lows. I was suicidal, and was diagnosed with severe anxiety and Depression. I could go on and on about how life sucked, and things constantly kept happening to me that were devastating, including being diagnosed with Lupus and RA, but what I have never done, is let any of that stop me. I am a warrior.
There has been only one thing consistent within my life in the past 20 years. Powerlifting. There is something powerful about no matter how life is shit out there….. I can walk into that gym and leave it all out there, even for just one hour. Taking a moment to focus on my outside taught me to be strong on the inside. I learned that while lifting weights I couldn’t think about anything else but lifting that damn weight. Butch use to train me 5 days a week. He would give me 5 minutes to talk about the world out there and then told me the rest of that time was to focus on how my body moved, how it felt to pick up a Deadlift, how it looked to do a Press. If I was focused on the outside world, then I wasn’t working hard enough in the gym. The more I lifted, the more I was focused, the less all that crap out there seemed important. It just didn’t matter anymore. I taught myself to be Mindful and in the moment. And the stronger I got physically the stronger I got mentally.
See this is why I opened FitMod! It wasn’t to just be another gym on the block. It wasn’t so people can walk in, grunt and take selfies. It's because I wanted a safe place, to mentally and physically become with oneself. I wanted to teach and mentor those going through shit times that lifting weights (properly) is one of the most self care things one can do for themselves. It's not always about getting a big lift, or looking hot and sexy, or beefing up and bulking. It's definitely not about EGO-Who cares what others think, its about YOU. It's about the opportunity to become strong physically but more importantly mentally. I can't tell you how many times, I have asked a client to do an exercise, and they look at me and say “I can’t” when I know they in fact can. And when i push them and guide them and they find out they actually can... the look on their face and what happens to them mentally, is life changing!!!! That's what FitMod is about. Changing the way you see yourself. Not how others see you, how YOU SEE YOU! We all have our stories, we all have been beat up in life. But we need an outlet. We need a safe place to push ourselves beyond what we thought possible. And if we fail, we try again until we defeat it.
See, in life, if we fail, we are guilted and shamed by the outside world. We are worried about what that means to fail. At FitMod! I teach that FAILURE IS GOOD.
Example. When doing an exercise…. Most people count numbers. While this is necessary sometimes, it's not always the best way to go. If I told you all to stand up and do 10 push ups.,a few things are going to happen...it might be a great number for one person, but over here maybe this guy can do 20. So If I stop him at 10, am I really doing him a favor? NO. But If I tell him to give me as many as he can, and really push himself, how do you think he will feel. Now… what if I tell you all to do 10 pushups, but you can barely do 1 or 2…..now how do you feel? Maybe a little self defeated? Maybe down on yourself because you couldn’t make it to the number I gave? That's why I use the word FAILURE in my studio. I want you to do as many push ups as you can!!!!!! And then try for one more than that because if you fail at doing one more than you thought you could…. Then you succeeded at pushing yourself harder than you thought possible.
Let's get back to what I said about being mindful. I have a degree in social work, with an focus on DBT-Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I really try to incorporate mindfulness into my training. I have found that the more the person is in their head about their day the less they get out of training. They just simply aren’t focused on what they are doing they either end up not pushing themselves, or they do an improper lift and could injure themselves. Being Mindful, and in the moment not only creates power and strength but the ability to realize that maybe what we are worrying about out there, isn’t quite as important as we thought. Maybe finding strength and focus in the studio and the ability to let it go for a little bit allows us to look at things in a different perspective. We release the stress that's built up and focus on ourselves for 1 hour in order to conquer the world out there.
When I have a new client, I notice that sometimes there is a sense of urgency when they first start. Be it that they are excited to start getting in shape. Maybe they are nervous because its something new. Or fearful that they might be judged on their lack of strength or coordination. Whatever it is there is a tendency to want to speed through exercises. To GO GO GO. This is where I have to incorporate Mindfulness and slow them down. Speed doesn’t make you stronger. In fact it can lead to injury. Being mindful and in the moment and Doing reps in a superslow manner improves form by reducing momentum and therefore helps trigger the target muscle. Some guys try to work so fast each day that they get sloppy on virtually every set, so slowing down will better isolate the muscle you’re working. So be mindful when you workout. Whatever you’re doing just pay attention to how your body is moving, and be in the moment.
FitMod isn’t about showing off. If you notice on social Media I never really put personal Stories out there….. Why? Because I believe that what my clients are doing is a Personal Transformation. It isn’t to show off, it isn’t about anybody else but their growth. If I have a client that reached a goal or had a moment where they accomplished something they thought was impossible, emotions can take over. These intimate moments that are created are not for the outside world to see or judge, at least it's not my business to share, they are for that person only. Me blasting it on social media makes me feel like I have some sort of responsibility for that client feeling that way, like “Look at me”.....When it has NOTHING to do with me. I didn’t lift that weight, I didn’t do that jump, THEY DID.
I want everybody who walks into FitMod, whether its for a class, personal Training, or just a solo workout, to understand and feel that there is a deep connection between Mind and body. Its their time, their success,
FitMod isn’t just a gym, it's a safe place to find your inner and outer strength, and And to understand the only way to succeed is to Fail. We are all warriors, just sometimes we need a little help finding that strength.