One Step Forward

I wrote about my condo gym facility being a place where an important lesson can be learned. My building has many senior citizens, some with debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, as well as other people who are recovering from knee surgery or a stroke. What I realized from using this gym is that these individuals are not focusing on what they cannot do, but rather on what they CAN do. They refuse to allow their ailment to keep them back from being as healthy and fit as they can be.

It was in my building gym where I first met personal trainer and health coach Brenda Holder. She was working with her client “John”, an elderly gentleman who suffered a stroke. They worked on some walking as well as doing some light weights as he sat in his wheelchair. What I loved seeing was Brenda’s interaction with John. She gave him the perfect combination of gentleness and a firm nudge to complete his workout to his full potential. I could see in John’s face he felt happy to achieve these goals.

Brenda was kind enough to meet me at a nearby Starbucks to discuss her experience as a personal trainer and health coach and answer a few questions. Her primary goal is to help the client focus on the positive and having a healthy mindset before achieving their physical goals, as she feels the two go hand in hand.

I am pleased to present my inspirational story for this month.

• How did you start training adults who are in their middle and senior years?

I had previously been working with children and adults in a fitness capacity and a friend of the family contacted me regarding an exercise program. This individual was of senior age and she was looking for some guidance and support on starting some exercises in a safe manner. I started working with this individual at her condo gym, and a result of me working with this person; I had the pleasure of meeting other residences that lived in the building. There was a couple that came to the gym every day and the husband was recovering from a stroke. They asked me if I would be able to work with the husband because he was struggling to walk again and they were looking for some additional support in his recovery. I was very honored and excited that they were interested in my services.
I have been working with this individual for over 2 years and he has made sufficient gains with his mobility. When I first started working with him, he spent 80% of his time in the wheelchair and presently he spends 10% of his time in the chair.
I have always been open to trying new things and I am truly grateful for having this opportunity, we can all learn so much from each other.

• How are some ways physical activity can positively benefit a senior’s quality of life or people in general as we age?

There are so many great benefits to why we should exercise; first off our bodies are made to move, so when we go for a walk, dance or ride our bikes, we are releasing the hormone called Serotonin which is often referred to as the “Happy Hormone” this makes us happy. We are providing our heart and brain with more oxygen which allows us to remember more and be more alert. It also provides us with more energy and we sleep better when we are moving our bodies. The other important benefits are that when we do exercises this helps us to strengthen our bodies; we release the minerals that are needed to help keep our bones strong which in turn reduces our chances of injuries. When we are more active there are less need for medication and our overall health is better.

• What kind of suggestions would you make for an individual who is say, in their 50’s, but has led a sedentary lifestyle, but now wants to become more active?

I would highly recommend that the individual follow up with their family Doctor and make sure there are not any health concerns to consider. Also it is very beneficial to consult a fitness professional, like a Personal Trainer who can develop an individualized fitness program that will take into account the person’s health needs and goals and create a program that will be safe and fun.

• What is your most memorable success story?

My most memorable success story would be working with my client that had a stroke and witnessing him walk independently. This story has been very meaningful for me because it really speaks to determination and the spirit of never giving up. This individual truly has the determination to keep going. Every day no matter how he feels, he continues to keep moving and he has been very focused on his goal of walking again. Two summers ago, I had convinced him that it was time to go outside and walk. Since his stroke, he hasn’t been able to leave his condo unless it is for medical appointments. This was a big step for him. When he got on the sidewalk, he found it very challenging to lift his left leg which is paralyzed. He wanted to stop and asked a few times to sit in his wheelchair; however, I knew that if he stopped he would probably not try again, so he continued to walk ahead with my support and guidance. When he reached the tree, he was so pleased and proud of himself. This was truly a proud moment for him and especially for me.

One of Brenda's clients enjoys the benefits of walking on the park with his wife and improving his mobility after a stroke.

One of Brenda’s clients enjoys the benefits of walking in the park with his wife and improving his mobility after a stroke.

• I have heard you use the expression, “move it, or lose it.” What happens to our physical being if we are not active?

Yes, this is a common expression “ move it or lose it” our bodies were built to move and when we stop moving our joints they get stiff and we are not as flexible which affects our balance and coordination. When we are not physically active, it also affects our mental and social health which impacts our energy and the desire to socialize. It is very important to not only move your body to keep your heart and bones strong, but also to maintain good mental health.

Brenda speaks at an event.

Brenda speaks at a wellness event.

. Finally, you say that if an individual has a negative attitude, they will only sabotage their goals. As you are a firm believer in being in the correct mental place before you can get to a healthy physical place, what strategies would you use to help someone who is plagued with a negative mindset reach their goals of becoming physically fitter?

I would take the time to develop a better understanding of what the challenge are for the individual and discuss any patterns which maybe affecting their ability to follow through and be successful.
One of the strategies that I provide to my clients is called “Life Scripting” this is written document of the person’s goals. The focus is having the person’s goals aligned with their subconscious which is the key to achieving success. We often have little conversations with ourselves and they are not always very positive or productive. We tend to be the most crucial towards ourselves and this often what gets in the way of our success. The Life Script includes the individual’s goals and incorporates positive statements that the person repeats out loud to himself morning and night time. The reason that the script is read twice a day is that is gets inputted into the person’s subconscious and starts to remove the old patterns.
When this strategy is followed consistently, the individual starts to feel more positive and they are more willing to stay focused and follow through with their goals.


Thank-you Brenda for taking the time to answer my questions, and may we always be aware of the importance of being active.

Health coach, personal trainer and positivity advocate, Brenda Holder

Health coach, personal trainer and positivity advocate, Brenda Holder.

For further information about services offered at One Step Forward contact Brenda at:

Brenda Holder, CCF, PTS

Health Wellness Coach

Mobile Health and Wellness Service

Office# 905-431-1034





Back on Track

IMG_2661 Yes! I woke up to the sound of chirping and tweeting, instead of snowplows and salt trucks. Yes my dear friends, Spring is in the air and it’s not just the birds who are happy. People are out and about everywhere, from children on bikes, runners, walkers, shoppers and gardeners. What a magical time of year. The energy is palpable because you can feel how happy folks are to not have to be cooped up inside. It is funny how much the temperature affects my mood and mental psyche. My taste for thirst quenching and refreshing fruit also increases. Oh what a little sunshine can do to give me a pep in my step and put a smile on my face. My winter blahs are a thing of the past.

Today was supposed to be a rest/restorative yoga day, but California skies, sunshine and warm weather are not meant to be lazy indoor days. When it’s nice outside, I always head for the high school track. We would have gone for a hike but the trails are mostly likely still muddy, so the track was the place to be. I love running on the track because I can keep “track” of mileage through counting laps. I got in close to three miles, and surprisingly it felt great. I haven’t run since February so I was pleased. I am not supposed to do beyond two days of cardio training, but I truly enjoy working on my running and building stamina this way. I also feel wonderful afterwards.

A little post run stretch.

IMG_2664 (1)IMG_2663








Without a shadow of a doubt, I am ready for Spring.



What is putting a smile on your face today?

Insta Inspire

Hey fit fam! I love your ‘Grams.  When I started an Instagram account I doubted I would be scrolling through it much. That was not true. Almost every night, I go through my feed for recipes, workout ideas, to travel off to exotic places and to unwind.

I myself like to post about three times per week, but haven’t yet mastered the whole idea. Non-filtered, filtered, black and white, yadda yadda. I just snap something in the moment and share. In the very initial stages I snapped everything and anything to just get the feel for it. Okay, perhaps I was a little over zealous when I shared my favourite  dish towel from Williams-Somona.  Fine, duly noted. No dish towels when you can scroll through beaches, resorts and exciting things, however it is a really quality dish towel. Not a single double tap to be found for my dish towel.

There are a few accounts that have caught my eye, and I look forward to seeing posts to give me a little insta inspiration.


The beachyyogagirl Kerri Verna has a wonderful page. Who could not like a Warrior 2 pose with the ocean as the backdrop? Always stunning images that make me feel so peaceful and serene.

IMG_1222Weight training:

Camilleg33 is a Team Blade bodybuilder with a beautiful physique and humble attitude. What a great combo! What makes her stand out for me are the array of different exercises she displays. Many moves for strength, endurance and stamina are new to me and I am always learning from her posts.

IMG_1229SimplyNathalia. What can I say about this beautiful lady? I am truly in awe of her transformation. She has not only lost weight, but has built a body of muscular proportions from grit, determination, a complete lifestyle change and God. #Love!


More Fitness:

NatalieJillFit is always sharing time efficient and effective workouts. I have tried many of her 5 minute core and glute blasters when I am strapped for time. I would also be lying if I said that I didn’t love her workout gear. Visit her website and read her inspiring story about how she made a positive change for her mind, body and soul at


For nutritious and delicious meals that are always artfully displayed I look out for posts from Fitness_Meals

IMG_1226and for colourful and rich fruits and vegetables, sweet treats and refreshing looking smoothies cleanandgreeneating



Lifestyle bloggers (fitness, food, travels):

I wrote a post about this young lady because she can do a mean handstand and is a globe-trotter extraordinaire who loves her desserts. Her IG is as beautiful as her blog, always with a positive message and the importance of embracing change. TheZenKat

IMG_1220I recently discovered her blog and immediately subscribed to receive more posts. Island_Living_Midwest’s IG is classy, pretty and a little sassy! This Island girl shares lovely recipes from back home, fashion finds and tropical smoothies that make you daydream of summer on the beach, under a thatched-roof palapa.


Now, anyone wanna see my favourite potato peeler? Really, really good stuff here. Can I get a double tap? And feel free to give my dish towel some love.

What are some of your fave IG accounts?

Easter Snapshots

Good day and blessed Easter Monday. I am just winding down from a glorious four-day weekend. It is back to the grind tomorrow.

Easter always reminds me of precious moments. Easter egg hunts, ladies in their Sunday finery with white lace gloves and wide-rimmed hats and litte girls in their cute dresses and little boys in bow-ties at church.  Most of all, my faith is renewed. Christ is risen and gives me hope, even in a very troubled and at times disturbing world. Faith is hard to describe, it is just something you have to feel in your heart to believe.  Along with faith, comes time with family. I hope you enjoy a few shots of Easter before I head to the gym.  Welcome Spring.

IMG_2628On Good Friday, traditionally we have fish, specifically king fish. My mom always prepared a Belizean Good Friday meal called Boil-up. If you’re familiar with the Caribbean or of Caribbean background, you may know what Boil-up is and all the hard work it entails. Essentially, it is ground provisions, or root vegetables such as eddos, yams and cassava, all brought to a boil until cooked through. Next, you steam or bake your king fish. The star of the Boil-up is a tomato-based sauce with hard-boiled eggs mixed in, along with garlic and onions to pour over your fish and provisions. As I child, I really didn’t like this starchy and hearty meal. I was not a fan of fish, and hated finding all the bones (that is quite common in king fish). Now I enjoy this dish and it is one of my favorite Easter traditions.  This year, Andy and my sister Francine did most of the work. Fran did an excellent job on the sauce, and Andy’s fish was delicious, and not very “fishy’ in taste from all the fresh lime and lemon he used to marinate. My bro-in-law Rick made his wonderful pepper bottle, and his mom Gloria made the flour boiled cakes/dumplings, another staple of boil-up.

Boil up- 101

Ground provisions cooked and ready

Ground provisions cooked and ready

King Fish

King Fish


Gloria makes the dumplings.


Francine’s sauce was perfect.

I set the table. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it:

IMG_2642The finished plating:

IMG_2643Not complete without Marie Sharp’s Habanero sauce:

IMG_2644While the “grown-ups” cooked, I helped my nephew Malakai hide Easter eggs for a hunt after dinner.

I swear I didn't convince him to hide any eggs by the wine :)

I swear I didn’t convince him to hide any eggs by the wine :)

Easter bun fun

On Saturday, I headed over to my mom and dad’s for more eats and fun. Mom makes Easter bun for the masses. Easter bun is paired perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee and of course cheese.


X marks the spot!

No bun is complete without cheese.

No bun is complete without cheese.

Holy Easter bun, Batman!

Holy Easter bun, Batman!

Mom and I pose with a bun fresh from the oven, and a special appearance was made by the capped-crusader.

Huge Potluck

On Sunday, we headed east to Whitby where Andy’s cousin-in-law lives. She always has a huge spread that never disappoints. This year, there was salted cod-fish cakes, ham, stewed chicken, stewed king fish, macaroni pie and every salad known to man on the menu.

People make their rounds in true potluck style.

Can you believe I made time for the gym between all the eating? I got in a little 5 by 5 action, cardio from the Nike app shredder as well as some foam rolling.

IMG_2631Before some Spring cleaning and eating some leftovers, I am heading to the gym for workout 1 of my 5 by 5 cycle.

As always, wishing you a wonderful week, and faith. Faith in your beliefs, your goals and in yourself.


Spring Training/ Workout Update

It’s officially spring. I wish someone would tell this to winter. Spring has sprung! It snowed today. Albeit very light flurries that didn’t stick around, still it was snow.

My cold weather ranting aside, now that it is a new season I changed my program. I recently started the 5 by 5 program. This program was first introduced to me by my nephew about a year ago. Although at the time I wrote a post about his program, I did not implement it in my training.

In a nut shell the 5 by 5 program:

5×5 uses five free weight compound exercises: the Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Overhead Press and Barbell Row. You do three of these exercises each workout, three times a week, for about 45 minutes per workout. You Squat every workout, three times a week.
5×5 stands for five sets of five reps. These are the sets and reps you do on every exercise except Deadlifts. Deadlift is only one set of five reps (1×5) because doing more would beat you up. Plus, Squatting three times a week will get you stronger at Deadlifts since it works similar muscles.
Although I use Stronglifts as a resource, I also tweaked the program to suit my personal goals. I have completely omitted the dead-lifts and squats, and only use the 5 by 5 for the upper body. This program’s aim is to gain mass and strength, which continues to be my goal for my upper body. I also added some pull up and smith machine body weight back rows in there to replace the squat and deadlift absence. This tweaking makes it not a true, certified 5 by 5 program. Visit stronglifts or this post for more information.
 These are the exercises I use in my trexified 5 by 5 rotation on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays:

Bench press


Over head press


Pull ups (assisted)


Back rows using smith machine bar

back rows


I always do the pull-ups with two other exercises. I still do small muscle isolation exercise for biceps and triceps, such as extensions and curls. I love using the TRX suspension ropes to work the biceps and triceps.
 Tuesdays and Thursdays are strictly leg days. I find that high repetitions of 15 to 20 with high sets of 4 to 5 work best to keep my legs the way I like them to look, since this is where I tend to accumulate fat. HIIT moves such as jump squats, jump lunges, walking lunges as well as weighted squats and lunges are very effective in keeping the evil saddlebag twins at bay.  I also do leg curls, hamstring curls, and calf raises. I tell you this. I have to really work hard to keep these gams in check and to prevent my cankles and baby knees with dimples from returning (no offence, babies.) If I am not too pooped, planks and Russian twists finish my leg days. We are still trying to train for a 5K once the ice is melted from the trail and sidewalk. This will be considered a leg workout on the Tues and Thursday. Why are you so stubborn, Winter?
Saturday and Sunday are my rest days, as well as a little restorative Yoga, rotator cuff work and foam rolling thrown in to get ready and stay injury free for the week ahead. The new routine is feeling good.
Have you started a new program/training?  Is it snowing in your neck of the woods?
Exercise diagrams found at:

New Posts, Deleted Posts and Upcoming Posts

Sometimes it’s challenging being a blogger. It is not easy to come up with content consistently. I read blogs who come up with fresh content almost daily, but I find that difficult.  I definitely get writer’s block and lack motivation. But……


Never fear, Trex to Tigress is not gorging on cookies, nor is she drinking Merlot from the bottle. (although the latter seems tempting, doesn’t it? Joking…)  She is trying to come up with some new content and deleting some old ones that are still in draft. She is still working hard in the gym and has recently started the 5 by 5 program. She is loving this program because it allows her to go as heavy as she can with 5 sets to 5 reps. Why am I referring to myself in the third person?

The Posts that Were Not to be:

Down in the Valley. This post was supposed to be about my snow shoeing adventure in the Rouge Valley over the March break. I will put the blame on mother nature. There was no snow :( It would have been more like twigs, puddles and mud shoeing.) There were a few patches of snow on the trail, but not enough to snow shoe on. So, there goes that bucket list item unless we get a Spring snowfall  like the Eastern U.S. So, this post is on standby.

Spice up Your Cold Winters. This post that never happened was supposed to be spicing up my depressing winter with some Latin dancing. The gorgeous Tiny Dancer was leading this class at a local lounge/restaurant very close to my home. At is turns out, I am an old fuddy duddy. The classes, which included, Merengue, Salsa and Batacha, started at nine thirty at night. On a week night I  might add. At nine thirty on any given night you will most likely find me in my flannels, head scarf, fuzzy slippers, zit cream on any budding spots under my Snuggie watching T.V until I fall asleep.  I was supposed to go with my friend Trish, but as it turns out, she’s a fuddy duddy too and it was hard for her to get off the couch to go Latin dancing after a hard day at work. This is disappointing, because she is my wild and crazy friend with boundless energy who is always up for fun. Hope you’re not getting old on me, Trishie. Anyhow Trish, when a gorgeous local asks you to cut a rug during your trip to Dominican Republic next month, think of how handy these classes would have come in. When he looks at you with his dark pools of brown eyes, a twinkle in his perfect white smile, and bulging pectorals, don’t blame me when he dumps you for stepping on his toes on the dance floor. (I’m such a good friend.)

Upcoming Posts:

Again, never fear. Trex to Tigress has some great content coming up. All on the matters of teen fitness and fostering a positive body image in your teen, senior fitness and the importance of moving in your mature years, as well as more on my 5 by 5 program. Who knows, I may even get to write that snow-shoeing post, weather permitting.  Surprisingly enough when I looked at my stats, my most popular post of all time, ever, is this one. Even though I burned the recipe, it always gets hits. So, I will have to find more quick, tasty recipes for the busy folks out there. Also, my fave day is coming up! April Fools Day. I have some crazy pranks I hope to be blogging about. I can’t reveal what they are because Andy reads my blog. Stay tuned…….

Anyhow people, that’s a wrap. Don’t be a fuddy duddy like me. Go to Zumba, Salsa classes or Socasize. Take off the head scarf, put on those heels and spice up what’s left of the cold weather while you still have the chance.

Peace out.

Andy’s Fish Tacos

As the weather warms up, and we are no longer suffering through experiencing sub-zero temperatures, my palate starts to crave my favorite summer recipes. Andy’s fish tacos happens to be one of them. They are a light, tasty warm weather fare that is getting me geared up for summertime. Here is another recipe from the recipe-less chef.

Andy’s Fish Tacos. (serves 2 or we’re just very greedy)

  • Season two fresh tilapia fillets. Andy seasons with half of the juice from a lemon, salt and pepper to taste, and his secret ingredient, Caribbean green seasoning. (this is just like a condiment with peppers and spices for flavour.) Put the fish to marinate for a few hours in the fridge.


  • Next, prepare your fresh salsa. Finely chop half a cup of cilantro, one full roma tomato, 1/3 of a red onion, and jalapeno pepper to taste (he uses about half a teaspoon) It really depends on your tolerance for heat. Some like it hot! Put in large mixing bowl. You should have a nice tri-coloured look now in your bowl.



Go easy here if heat-sensitive

Go easy here if heat-sensitive


  • Combine all ingredients by stirring well. Next, add half the juice from a lime to your salsa. Mix again. Sit bowl of salsa in fridge for flavours to marinate for a bit.


  • Time to fry your fish. Coat a large non-stick frying pan with your choice of cooking oil on high heat. (about 1/4 cup.)  Once oil is hot, add your fish to pan, and be careful of any oil splatter. Reduce heat to medium-high and let fish cook until both sides are golden brown. About 5 to 6 minutes per side. When the fish is done, put fillets on a plate coated with paper towel to observe oil. On a side note, grilling and baking is always a lighter option, but Andy says he likes the crispy texture that pan frying creates. With a fork, pull fillets apart into smaller pieces for the tacos.


  • Next, warm up your tortillas. Andy just warms a pan on medium to low heat and puts the tortillas directly in the pan. He flips to other side until tortilla is just warm, but still soft-shelled.


  • Get your salsa out of the fridge and prepare your taco. Cut a half of avocado into a few slices. Assemble your fish taco. First add fish, then layer fish with salsa, then add a few slices of the avocado.


  • Now for the most crucial step. Fold ‘er up and dig in!


Life Lessons From the ATL Ladies

Welcome, welcome to the life lessons from the ATL ladies. My favorite guilty pleasure, dem housewives! Although many will debate, this is trash T.V and may reduce brain cells (hi Andy),  I disagree. There are valuable lessons to be learned from the lives of these ladies of which I would love to share. I will try to add an evening of thought-provoking exchange, as well as an inside study of human nature (cue intellectual music here.) based on my favorite episodes.

I was thinking of doing a Housewives franchise recap via Youtube. I wanted to drink a special cocktail to represent the housewife region, as I recapped the life lessons from the episodes. For the ATL ladies, I would sip on a peach snaps, for the Miami ladies, a Mojito obvi, and for the OC ladies perhaps a crisp, cold California white. I chickened out, and decided just to write a post. People are mean in Youtube comments. Say I didn’t pluck my uni-brow thoroughly enough or wax my mustache well? For sure, commenters would mention this. So, a post it is my friends.

The life lesson I will recap is when the Southern Belles were in Puerto Rico for newcomer Demetria Mckinney’s performance as an up and coming pop star diva. If you’re wondering where you have seen Demetria’s  face before, wonder no longer. She played ex-drug addict Janine on House of Pain. The ladies were invited to an all expense-paid trip financed by Demetria’s man, producer Roger Bob.

Ok, life lesson #1…..

If someone was kind enough to pay for your trip to Puerto Rico, and take care of your accommodations, do not complain about the rooms, Nene and Phaedra! Do not screw up your faces while you clutch your designer bags, and snicker about  “how small” the rooms are. Not cool ladies. It’s all about gratitude.

Life lesson # 2……

Do not insult your host’s fashion, hair and make-up, Phaedra! This woman invited you to this exotic island to see her show, so in no way was it necessary to snicker about her dress and make-up artist’s job. Do that when you get home (behind her back like you usually would.) Be a gracious guest Phads.  Jealously does not become you.

Life lesson # 3…….

This one is for you Nene (or Nay-Nay). Words hurt. New this season to the show is beauty Claudia of Price is Right fame. Claudia was one of the models on the popular game show who would gracefully glide her hand across a dish washer or new car in a ball gown with a large grin, while Bob Barker showcased the prizes. Anyhoo, exotic Claudia may have taken a low blow at Nene by saying her bangs looked glued on to her forehead, but what Nene said was inexcusable. She implied, rather she didn’t imply, she outright said that Claudia has been around the block and then made a vicious comment about Claudia’s nether regions. To me, this just made Nene look bad, not Claudia. It made her look tasteless, crude and ignorant. When you pierce someone with verbal venom, you will look bad, not the victim of your words. Be careful what you say in anger, because once it escapes your lips, you can never take it back.

Life Lesson # 4….

I usually like Nene. Although crude and rude at times, (see above) she is very authentic. She makes no bones about her checkered past in the strip club industry, and is very candid about her plastic surgery. Nene is so honest about herself that she seems like one of those girlfriends you could talk to about anything and she would listen without judgement. You could tell her that you cheated on your taxes, test, partner or stole a fitty dolla chapstick from Sephora and she wouldn’t bat an eye lash, except to say, “child, we all been there.” What I am not feeling about Nene this season is her emphasis on riches and money. Nene, riches come in many forms, many of which are way more important than cash and material things. These riches include, Spirituality, health, wellness, good friends and family. I am sure she would rather live a healthy disease free-life than own a Cadillac.  I would hope. If you don’t have the list above, but have financial wealth, I still think you are poor. While I applaud that Nene is ambitious and has made herself money from many lucrative projects, I find flaunting her wealth is a bit much now.

Case in point:

"8 Days of NeNe" Day 3!

(Gif Source)

Life Lesson # 5….

Stop having sex parties, Kandi! They cause nothing but drama. You say in your tagline, “I ain’t ’bout the drama. Don’t start none, won’t be none. Yet, your sex parties always seem to create drama.

Well, here concludes my life lessons from the ATL housewives. If not for all this “throwing shade”, I would have no post to write, so thanks ladies. I still however have to say insults, greed, jealously and pettiness are all so very shady.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to go on over to this post for some more housewife insights.

Bringing the Fun Back and Falling into a Pit of Rats

A very heartfelt thanks for all your encouraging words and suggestions from all my whining in my last post.  This only confirms why I love the blogging community so much. You gave me a virtual push from afar (or should I say “pull.”) I was ready to give up on my pull-up goals, but you all helped me to pick myself up and dust myself off with a renewed spirit of confidence.

I started a pull-up challenge with my brother in-law Rick and sister Francine yesterday. They added a pull-up bar to their home gym in their basement. It really brought the fun back into this goal and made it less daunting. Rick’s goal was to do 5 unassisted pull-ups, but he polished off 10 without breaking a sweat.

IMG_2592IMG_2591Francine also wants to do one, because she said at her fittest (she was a bodybuilder in the ’80’s) she could not do one unassisted.  Fran is starting off using a step to assist in puling her chin up to the bar. This is a great starting place, and has helped and continues to help me immensely. She did a great job.

IMG_2590Now, it came to me. I was worried that I would not be able to budge and was crying for the security of the stepping stool. Then Rick had an idea I that I really liked. He measured the inches I was able to pull myself up from starting position with a tape measure. I loved the idea of measuring my progress.

IMG_2583And the verdict was……….


3 inches up from starting position! I was thrilled with this. For one, although just a bit, it told me that I can actually lift my body weight without any assistance and two, it is marking my progress through measurable results.

I think the best of us all was my nephew Malakai. Little guy was able to lift his chin pass the bar (with only a little assistance from dad Rick. And I do mean very little :) We are going to meet again in two weeks to check in on our progress. Thanks to Rick and Fran who are always so supportive of my goals. (and Malakai too of course.)

IMG_2586IMG_2587Previous setback aside, I am feeling very positive. All advice I received was so beneficial, but I really loved what Dr. Lynn suggested I apply. She said to never underestimate the power of the mind. She advised I picture something I would absolutely hate to fall into and use my adrenalin to avoid falling into my biggest fear, and use this to pull myself up to the bar. This way of thinking reminded me of some sprinters who wanted to increase in speed. I have heard of sprinters who imagined they were being chased by a pack of wolves or a crazed axe man. Not wanting to get caught to pending doom, they ran even faster.

On Wednesday, my first pull-up training day of the week, I started to think of something that truly makes my skin crawl. It is said Ragnor Lodbruk, legendary Norse warrior fell to his doom in a pit of snakes at the hands of his enemy. Pretty horrific, but not enough for me. Snakes terrify Andy, but don’t bother me in the least. What truly makes me faint-worthy are rats. I really can’t handle mice either. I am terrified of beady-eyed rodents, with long, scaly tails, scurrying in subway gutters or near garbage dumps. I shudder just thinking of the squeaking.

So, on Monday, my next pull-up training day, I am going to hang onto the bar and look down in terror, to a pit of rats, all squeaking and moving about, peering at me with those beady black eyes. I will pull myself up for dear life or fall to my doom of hungry squeaking.

Lord knows I don’t want to rub elbows with anything remotely similar to this guy….


*And on a completely different note, I was excited to be featured on Rachel’s beautiful blog   Click on the link to check out my tips for staying active in winter from her Winter Fit series. If you love outdoor active living, with the beautiful backdrop of snow-capped mountains, rivers and valleys, be sure to visit her inspiring posts.

Now tell me, what are you terrified of??

Trying to Hold On

According to Merriam-Webster, a pipe dream is a hope, wish or dream that is just not possible or practical. Today on my walk home from the gym, I wondered, is achieving an unassisted pull-up my pipe dream?


As a child, *Sandra (a friend from my past) wanted to be the next Julia Roberts. As teenagers, we loved Mystic Pizza. We took Mr. Hook’s drama class in high school, and Sandra usually got the leading roles in his theatrical productions. The always precocious Sandra promised that as soon as she turned 21, she was Hollywood bound. On her way to Tinseltown to become the next leading lady with luscious curls and a big, white smile. I lost touch with Sandra when she went away to university to study drama and English Literature. Recently, a mutual friend of ours sent me a friend request on FB. I asked this friend about Sandra. Did she ever pursue her acting dreams? No, the mutual friend responded via a private FB message. Sandra is 42 with three children, on to her second marriage and works in accounting. Odds are that Sandra is not going to hop on a plane to Hollywood and make it as the next Julia Roberts at this stage in our lives with three children and a pending marriage.

That’s the funny thing about dreams. We can have them, but who’s to say they will come to fruition? We are told the old cliche of working hard and believing and it will happen. Surely though, we can work hard and pray and believe, but will it always happen?

This is how I feel about my pull-ups now. Maybe it is just not in the cards for a body shape such as a T-rex. Yes, weights have made me drop a lot of weight while transforming my body, but I still am genetically prone to having a larger lower body and a smaller upper body. A cop out? Perhaps.  I wanted to do 20 on my toe push-ups, and I made it happen. I progressively saw improvement. Starting with wall push-ups, then onto elevated bench push-ups, to on the knees and then on to toes. Same thing goes for planks. I wanted to do a 2 minute plank, and I made this goal happen. When I look back and think I could not do a plank for more than 20 seconds, I can’t believe the gains I have made. It feels incredible.

Naturally, I want this feeling in my pull-up progress, but it’s not even close to happening. I have received excellent advise from seasoned lifters of which have helped me immensely in many ways, such as building upper body strength and I truly am thankful. I am working, but I am starting to question the believing part. To be honest, I kind of feel a little foolish for putting it out there on my blog that my goal of one unassisted pull-up will happen, because I truly don’t know that it will. My palms are calloused and swollen. But for what? Okay, maybe for a nice tapered back that is starting to develop and better posture. True enough.

IMG_2577I am beginning to resent pull-ups. What I used to find fun and challenging, I now find daunting and intimidating. I don’t want to resent strength training because I love the sport and what it has done for me both mentally and physically. So, I have decided to let go a little bit and scale back in the demands I make on myself. I am not going to outright give up, but I am not going to give myself a time limit or be so hard on myself. I want to bring the fun back!

So, my very supportive brother-in-law Rick has made me a fun challenge I can’t refuse. He has put a pull-up bar in his basement, and we are going to work on our pull-ups. He wants to do 10 in a row, and I want to do 1…..when I’m ready. There will be no time limits and no more comparing to the countless women who can do pull-ups without assistance.  Exercise should be enjoyable, as well as challenging.

It is never something I want to come to resent. I love it too much.