Summer Changes

I spent a much needed week with the boys at the beach last week. It was perfect… just what I needed: relaxing, soaking in the sun and enjoying quality time with my little loves. Today was my first day back to my “regular life” and it just felt strange. I felt a shift, a change. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

School is out, summer is just around the corner and as the seasons shift it is natural for us to feel a shift in our own lives. I talked a lot about feeling like I was in limbo in my last post, limbo is usually a temporary state before change happens. Now, rather than feeling the weightlessness of being in limbo, I am feeling the gravity of change. The settling, the weight, the heaviness. And that is NOT a BAD thing.

As I settle into my new state I feel more grounded. It is like a breath of fresh air has been breathed into me. I have new hopes, new desires, new perspectives. I am looking forward to freshening up many aspects of my life. Here are some things I will be working on this summer:

  1. Starting a morning routine: writing, exercising, setting goals for the day
  2.  Cutting back on caffeine: its no secret that caffeine is my drug of choice, and while I have cut back some, I am sick of the highs and lows that I still feel.
  3. Creating my first online course

How about you? Have you felt a shift this summer? Do you feel the need to freshen things up to make a change? Are you ready to get healthy? To get in the best shape of your life? To set goals and achieve them? If so, I can help. I’d love to work with you to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. You can find out more here.

What are you working on this summer?

XOXO

Valerie

 

Posted in Fitness, Goals

Patience

My house is on the market and it feels like I have been living in limbo for the past few months. I like stability and all this uncertainty has created a sense of impatience in me. I am impatiently waiting for my house to sell. I am impatiently waiting to find a new house and I am impatiently wondering how it will all turn out. And then I remind myself Patience is a virtue. In fact, patience is a virtue that pays dividends.

It is so hard to be patient. Especially in modern society where we expect everything instantaneously and depend on instant gratification from things like Netflix, Youtube and Google. But trust me, patience is a skill that is worth honing.

About this time last year, I was SUPER pregnant. I’m talking over 40 weeks, which, if you don’t know anything about pregnancy means past 9 months, in other words, ABOUT. TO. POP. At the time, I was plagued by the same sense of impatience that I am currently experiencing about the sale of my house. I was impatiently waiting to know when I would go into labor, impatiently wondering how it would go down and impatiently worrying about my baby’s health and safety. Because I had a previous c-section, I could have side stepped over the impatience and scheduled the birth, but after learning about all the health benefits of having a natural birth, I decided the trial on my patience would be worth it. And it was! 2 weeks after my due date I had my healthy baby boy, and labor went great! Unlike my c-section delivery where it took weeks to feel back to normal, I felt totally fine the day my baby was born. Patience in that case paid off.

And patience will pay off for you too. If you get impatient in the search to find your perfect partner, you might end up in a bad relationship out of your desperation to find a match. If you are sitting in traffic and you begin to feel impatient, does that get you to your destination faster? No. It simply makes you more stressed and angry by the time you arrive. If you get impatient with the process of getting in shape—working out and eating right and decide to go back to your old habits because you are not seeing results right away do you think you will ever get the results you desire? No! Of course not. These situations, like many others in your life, require patience.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in taking action and working toward what you want to accomplish. But I think patience is a complement to that. Action is great in situations where you have control and can take action. Patience is necessary when you don’t have control and when action is not necessary. I think of taking action as sowing the seed for your success and patience as the time it takes for those seed to blossom.

So how can you have more patience? Well, it helps to know that patience is like a muscle. As you exercise patience, your ability to be patient grows. So next time you find yourself in a situation that requires patience, don’t get frustrated, look at it as an opportunity to strengthen your patience “muscle.” If you are feeling impatient, try techniques to help mollify that feeling. Deep breathing and meditation are two great ways to help calm feelings of impatience. It can also help to look back on your past and recall times that required patience and how you made it through and how that patience paid off.

As you can see, patience is an important virtue to cultivate. The more patience you can find in each day the more peacefully you will journey through life. There are many situations where you will have no control, and getting worried, anxious and impatient will only hurt you. As Arnold Glasow said “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”

Do you struggle with having patience? How do you handle it?

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in life, Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: ,

The Green Eyed Monster

Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This week in my classes I have been focusing on achieving “your personal best.” Meaning, instead of compairing yourself to others, you look inward, dig deep and give it what YOU have. To compare yourself only to yourself. This is easier said than done.

I have green eyes and my mom used to call jealousy the “green eyed monster.” Hey could she be talking about me? And the truth is I find myself in the trap of comparison and jealousy a lot. A few weeks ago, I got news that a friend got a promotion in a prestigious organization and is moving to a location I have always dreamed of living. While I was happy for her, I couldn’t help looking at my own life and feeling inferior– In the middle of a divorce, trying to sell my house and reinvent myself I felt like I was light years behind where I should be. Did you catch that “should”– one of my least favorite words. Because you see, its all about perspective. If I really look at my situation, I have a great life. I am working my dream job, helping others through Pilates and Health coaching. I have accomplished my goal of writing a book and am working toward my goal of creating an online course. I have a nice house and I am looking to upgrade. I have two sweet, beautiful and healthy little boys that I get to spend plenty of time with each day. I am healthy and fit and I have all the material things I need. So why let comparison steal my joy and what should I do about it?

Instead of letting comparison get me down, I am using it to teach me something about myself. What is it about my friends news that stirred up jealousy in me? Is there something I am looking to accomplish, is there something I am yearning for but don’t have? How can I make my life into one that I would envy? What actionable steps can I take to achieve that life? I have also found it helpful to focus on the positives in my life and the things I am grateful for. It is so easy to get into a negative thought pattern so each time I find myself in one, I force myself to see the positive and try to think of something I am grateful for in that moment. And you know what? I have seen a huge improvement in my habit of comparison and jealousy.

With the prevalence of social media, it is so easy to get trapped in the cycle of comparison and  jealousy. But instead of letting comparison be the thief of your joy, try my tips: think of the positive things you ave going on in your life and come up with some actionable steps that will move you closer to what you desire.

Do you find yourself falling in to the comparison/jealousy trap? How do you get yourself out?

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in life, Motivation Tagged with: , ,

Closet Clean-up

Hey Guys!

Hope you are having a great week! I am in the middle of selling my house. If you have ever sold a home while living in it with two young kids, you know how crazy that can be! I have been on a cleaning and renovating blitz and now it seems like most of the work is done and I JUST have to constantly keep my house perfect. (totally realistic with a one-year old cruising all over the place ;)).

Well one of the things that is nice about selling your house is that it forces you to clean up and get rid of all your junk. If you have listened to Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you know that minimalism has kind of become a trend. So trendy in fact that even my mom has been listening to minimalist podcasts. There is something empowering about letting go of your physical belongings. You feel lighter, freer, happier. In Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project” one of her missions to find more happiness IS cleaning out her closet …. so I’m going to suggest you do the same this month and I am going to tell you exactly how to do it.

 

Messy and unorganized spaces can make you feel messy and unorganized mentally so just imagine how much more productive you will be once you clean out your closet.

Here is what you will need:

Start by going through your clothes and putting them into 3 piles: Trash, Donate, Keep. In Marie Kondo’s book she suggests picking up each item and asking yourself if it brings you joy. I think this is a good template for deciding whether or not to keep an item. If you haven’t worn it in a year, it most likely needs to be donated or trashed. If it doesn’t fit, it most likely needs to be donated or trashed. If you are saving it for a Halloween Party that hasn’t yet happened, it most likely needs to be donated or trashed. YES, even if it has the tags still on it. Trust me you will feel so much better without all that clutter that you will never use. Put the items you will donate and the items you will throw away in separate trash bags.

Next, you are going to put all the items on the new Huggable Hangers. Maybe you think I am crazy for suggesting you go out and buy all new hangers but when you see how much space you save and how nice it looks with all uniform hangers you will understand. Also, your clothes will actually stay on the hangers! Organize your items by sleeve length and color.

With the hanging shoe container, you are going to fold your pants in half, then in half again and stack them in the little sections by color, brand or function.

And there you go! Your closet will be clean and you will be way more productive. Let me know if you try this. I would love to know how it worked out for you… I am loving my new closet space!

Here’s a picture of one of my closets:

Before

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in life, Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: , ,

Pierce is 1

I can’t believe this little cutie is 1! As I came home late tonight after teaching, I couldn’t resist scooping my sleeping now-one-year-old up for some dream time snuggles. Reminiscing about 1 year ago today when he was born.

 

First trip to the beach

 

 

Having fun on the swings

Eating Farro

A year ago today I achieved my goal of having an all natural VBAC thanks to my amazing doula, Michele, and my awesome Midwife, Bev, During labor they commented about how strong Pierce’s heart rate was. I took comfort in that fact and knew that it was a sign that he would be a strong and healthy little boy.

 

showing off his cruising skills

 

First time abroad– Mexico\

Pierce loves going for walks

Pierce is so happy and sweet. People always comment on how cheerful and easy he is. He has 4 teeth, gives high fives and kisses on command, claps and can say yay, cyrus, mama, yes and hi. He crawls and stands but doesn’t walk yet. He loves hugs and adores his big brother. He likes being tickled and thrown in the air. His favorite toys are balls. Pierce eats EVERYTHING. After a slow start with solids he now will put pretty much anything in his mouth. His favorites are bread, oatmeal, “yummy greens” and chicken.

Practicing for his passport photo

 

Brotherly Love

Learning to crawl

This year has been a whirlwind. If you have read my previous posts, you know that my life has not exactly been smooth sailing but I am thankful everyday for this sweet baby and the joy he brings.

Sleeping like a baby

These brothers love each other so much it is the best thing to watch

Cyrus, Pierce’s older brother, has also grown so much from being a big brother. He is more helpful, more responsible and loves to smother his brother in hugs and kisses. My heart bursts when I see the two of them together. They have a special bond that I hope will only get stronger as they grow older.

Happy Halloween!

So, Happy Birthday Pierce! I love you to the moon and back, can’t wait to spend many more years together.

Love,

 

Mom

 

 

Posted in Cyrus, life, Pierce, Valerie

Bubbles

bubbles

You are at your 4 year old’s Karate class. He is taking his test to earn his first Karate belt. Your 3 week old newborn is strapped to your chest in a carrier, nestled into your warmth and asleep. It is the day before your husband’s 35th birthday. But he is not here. He is in Florida. You are trying to pay attention to your son’s Karate test, but your phone is clutched tightly in your hand and you can’t drag your eyes away. You are waiting for a message from the private investigator. You are giddy with anticipation. You are not disappointed. Your phone buzzes three times. Three pictures have arrived. They are of your husband. But who is that with him. Who is that with her arm tightly snaked around his body? Who is that whose collagen filled lips are meeting his? He’s with another woman. Your suspicions confirmed. He is cheating.

Your heart stops. Your heart is free falling. It take a few minutes but you finally hear your heart shatter into a million jagged pieces on the floor. Your head is exploding. You feel the room collapse around you. A fat, hot tear rolls down your cheek and you wipe it aside quickly so the other mothers around you don’t know that your entire world has imploded. You know then and there that you will divorce him.

The next few days are agony. You can’t tell your husband you know. His birthday passes without you saying a word. He is still in Florida. You go to Home Depot and purchase a big box of contractor trash bags and new locks for the doors. You chuckle to yourself that they should market the items together and call it the “cheating ex starter kit”. You change the locks on your doors. You put some of his things in the garbage bags and leave them in the garage.

His flight is delayed. You text him that he should find somewhere else to stay when he gets back. You tell him you changed the locks. You send him a picture the PI sent you and tell him to stay with the collagen lip girl. You leave his stuff in the garage. He breaks in anyway.

A fog descends on your world. Nothing is easy. Your husband moves out. The next few months are a blur of tears and pain and caring for a newborn and a four year old, alone.

3 months pass. You feel better. You decide to try your hand at dating. You join Tinder. You heard that its known as the “hook up app” but you don’t care. You just want to flirt and feel like a woman… not just a mom. You start swiping, mostly left but here and there you swipe right.

You go on a date. You clutch the steering wheel. Your palms are sweaty. You walk in the door of the restaurant. He greets you with a warm smile. You order a glass of champagne. You don’t drink. The bubbles go straight to your head. “You’re kind of brilliant” he tells you as you part ways. You throw your head back and laugh partly because the bubbles are hitting you and partly because you believe him.

6 months pass and your first date is your boyfriend. You are at the courthouse where you got married to your husband. Now, you are getting divorced. The judge asks you questions. You answer with a straight face. You tell her about the pictures you got from the PI, your heart does not shatter, your head does not explode, the room does not collapse. The judge pronounces you divorced. You are surprised that instead of sadness or anger you feel peace and relief.

Your boyfriend takes you out to brunch to celebrate. They don’t have eggs so you order fish. And champagne. You still don’t drink. It is delicious. The bubbles go straight to your head. They fill up the space where your heart was. You can’t believe you are this happy. You close your eyes and smile, because you realize that in the aftermath of destruction, space is created: space for bubbles, space for opportunity, space for hope and space for love.

Posted in Divorce, Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: , ,

Perspective

They say hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes the way we experience something is all in the way we see it: our perspective. I have been thinking about this lately. If I am feeling down or struggling with something, I try to see it a different way, the best way possible. This has been extremely helpful, especially in dealing with my divorce. I could look at what my ex-husband did and get mad at him, I could think that I am an unlucky victim, but instead I choose to see it as a gift. I choose to see it as an opportunity for me to explore a different path in life, to find a love better suited for me.

perspective

Fitness is kind of like that too. You can look at working out as a burden, something else to spend your time on, hard work. You can look at healthy food as bland, disgusting or boring. OR, you can change your perspective. You can see working out as fun, exciting and challenging. You can see eating healthy as a way to nourish and celebrate your body. And which will you choose? As soon as you DECIDE to make that shift in perspective your whole life changes. Things get lighter, easier, you have more joy and fun. Because the reality is that most things are not just good or bad, most things have qualities of both good and bad and the more you can see the good the more you will find happiness in your experiences.

I have been loving fitness for so long sometimes its hard for me to remember that many people don’t share my perspective. When I work with clients it is my job to coach them into having a new perspective. And learning the ability to shift perspectives will make everything in your life better and easier.

Have you ever had a shift in perspective that changed everything for you?

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Divorce, Fitness, Goals, life, Nutrition Tagged with: , ,

5 things I learned going through a divorce

My divorce was finalized last Friday. I found it satisfying and somewhat poetic the my marriage, which began on 2/2 ended on 3/3.  If you have never gone through a divorce, one thing you might not know is that your emotions and reactions during the process are sometimes surprising. So, on the day of my divorce I woke up not knowing what to expect. Would I be sad, angry, hurt? Well shockingly, I was giddy. 5 things I learned from my divorce

You see this whole divorce process has felt riddled with uncertainty and instability. Having the finalization from the court was closure. It was the clear end to that chapter of my life and I cannot blame myself for being super excited to start the next chapter.

The trial was not bad. We had an uncontested divorce so there was no fighting and all the arrangements had been agreed to in advance, so basically I just had to tell the story of what happened and reiterate what was in the agreement. That was a blessing. My ex did not even show up to the trial, since he was not required to. I’m not sure how I felt about that. On the one hand, it was easier not to see him, on the other, I wanted him to have to acknowledge the end of our marriage, I wanted him to see me describe the photographic evidence of his infidelity so he would have to confront what he had done. I wanted him to see the judge ask me if I had forgiven him and hear me answer that I had. (This was not the answer the judge was looking for so I had to clarify lol: Forgiveness did not mean that I wanted him back or that I condoned his actions, it meant that I was moving on with my life and letting go of his actions). But you know what? In divorce you don’t always get what you want and perhaps those were selfish desires anyway.

After the trial was over, I fought off a huge grin while my lawyer debriefed me, thinking that it would be an inappropriate time to smile. However, as he walked to the elevator, he caught me in a happy heel click. “I’m so excited” I sang as I danced out of the courthouse “and I just can’t hide it.” I was shocked that I didn’t feel an ounce of sadness in that moment.

With that said, I don’t want to diminish the fact that divorce is hard. It is a major grieving event, like losing a loved one, and if you are facing a divorce, you will likely go through Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Although I am still relatively new in the divorce process, I wanted to share 5 things that I have learned along the way to help you if you are going through something similar:

  1. Forgiveness helps YOU- As I mentioned before forgiving my ex was a huge step forward. When you hold on to anger and resentment you become bitter and only hurt yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what your ex did was ok, it just means that you are moving on and not letting his or her actions get in your way. Even if you are not feeling forgiving, saying that you forgive your ex or want to forgive your ex will help you find the strength to forgive.
  2. Use this as an opportunity to improve yourself- While its easy to get dragged down by the negatives of divorce, there are many good things that come with it as well. Sometimes the separation can open up new opportunities to go back to school, to start a new job, to move, or simple to find a better relationship and start over. Its also an opportunity to look at what you did wrong in the relationship (yes everyone has fault, even if that fault was just choosing the wrong person to marry) and trying to improve yourself for your next relationship.
  3. If you have kids be their rock- During a divorce, you may have all kinds of crazy impulses of things to do to your ex. DON’T. Especially if you have kids. If you have kids with this person, they will always be in your life and it is in your kids best interest if you can maintain a civil relationship. Before you act, ask yourself “Is this the best thing for my kids?” Your kids had no fault in the destruction of your marriage and yet they have to face the consequences. Do your best to be their rock and take actions only in their best interest. Don’t use your kids as a pawn to make your ex angry, it will only hurt them.
  4. Give yourself time to heal, find support- I consider myself a goal oriented achiever and this divorce really had me sitting on the sidelines for a while. Even now I still feel like I am playing with a handicap. Its easy for me to get frustrated with myself, but that is not helpful or healthy. Give yourself time to feel better. Go to a counselor or support group. Surround yourself with people you love. Healing is a process, it doesn’t happen over night.
  5. Take the high road- This has been my mantra throughout the divorce process. It was given to me by a wise friend (you know who you are). Although, sometimes my feelings have gotten the best of me and I have had me moments where I acted impulsively, overall I try to take the high road and do what is right and what is best for my kids. If you stick to that, you will avoid many of the pitfalls people fall into that cause more problems and more drama.

If you are going through a divorce, my thoughts are with you. Do you have any advice to share?

XOXO

Valerie

Here are some books I recommend for coping with the divorce process:

Getting Past Your Break-Up

Getting Back Out There

Surviving Divorce

Posted in Divorce, Valerie Tagged with:

Weekly Workout Wednesday

weekly workout

Today is International Women’s day, so what better way to celebrate than getting your workout on and feeling like the strong, healthy confident woman that you are.

weekly workout

Here is an all body weight workout you can take with you anywhere. I love doing body weight workouts when I go on vacation if the hotel gym sucks. Yes, I am that crazy girl doing lunges on the beach. Haters gonna hate…

Walking Lunges 20 x each leg

Prisoner Squat 20

Hack Squat 20 x each leg

Frog Jumps 20

Switch Lunge Jumps 20 (10 each leg)

Repeat 3 times.

Let me know if you give it a try!

XOXO

Valerie

 

Posted in Fitness, Goals, Motivation

Weekly Workout Wednesday

weekly workout

As I mentioned before, I am always curious about what type of workouts others do. When I first started working out, I looked to magazines for workout ideas. However, as I became a certified personal trainer and started to learn more about fitness, I began to create my own workouts for myself and my clients. Over the years I have created hundreds of workouts, so I thought it would be a great idea to share them. Starting this week, I will post a new workout each Wednesday.

weekly workout

Here is a quick little leg workout that is guaranteed to kick your butt. It is based on German volume training and although you will be doing just 4 exercises, you will be doing a lot of sets, which will maximize your muscle time under tension and thus help you sculpt your legs. For the exercises that call for 10 sets, you will want to go a little lighter on the weight than you might usually use.

 

Barbell Deadlift 10 sets x 10 reps

Super set with

Goblet Squat 10 sets x 10 reps

 

Leg Extension 3 sets x 10 reps

Super set with

Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps

This workout took me less than an hour to complete but I was super sore the next day. Let me know if you try it an what you think!

XOXO

Valerie

Posted in Fitness, Goals Tagged with: ,