Chocolate Protein Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Protein Zucchini Muffins

Today’s post comes to you from deep in the SoCal dessert hills. I’m here at a ranch (or maybe it’s just a house with a lot of land) animal-sitting with a friend. The peeps that own the house/ranch aren’t ranchers per-se, but they are BIG animal lovers (as am I) so I’m in all my glory right now.

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So, for the last few days I’ve been hanging around with a Great Dane puppy, a gigantic Rottweiler (who’s nothing more than a 150lb pug IMO), a sweet old Saint Bernard, a chocolate Lab, 2 horses, 3 coy fish (now only two as one got eaten by a Crane last night), 25 goldfish and one very feisty little goat.

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I’d like the say the goat has captured my attention the most, but truly it’s the Rotti – pug. He just reminds me of my little baby girl pug, only he’s 400x bigger and could probably take my head off in one bite if he had the inclination. Fortunately he’s more inclined to run around with an orange in his mouth or lounge in the pool.

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Anyway, as we’ve been out here without much contact with other civilization, I thought it wise to make chocolate protein zucchini muffins, just in case. Not only are they awesome to eat, surely they could distract a wild coyote or bear that could potentially be encountered in this enormous kitchen. I mean anything could happen, right?

Or maybe I’m just channeling my inner Pioneer Woman….

Seriously, these are great, and totally guiltless. Lots of healthy fats and protein, easy on the carbs and so soft and moist you might eat 6 at once (speaking from experience here).  It’s a good thing I’ve got a bad-ass private gym to workout in, too!  #Gymselfies to my heart’s content :)

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Chocolate Protein Zucchini Muffins

  • 1 c almond flour
  • ¼ c Protein powder
  • ¼ c xylitol (use stevia as an alternative, but cut way back on the volume)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 raw cacao (or just regular cocoa – doesn’t have to be raw)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a muffin tin or loaf pan.
Mix dry ingredients well, then add grated zucchini, coconut oil and eggs.
Stir well and add to pan.
Bake for 25 mins to 30 mins or until no longer soft.

Enjoy!

You can find this post around the interwebs!  Check out Sprint 2 the Table’s Strange but good (cuz it kinda is), Bun in the oven’s What’s Cooking Wednesday and CandyFit’s Recipe Friday!

”Sprint

 

If you and I were having coffee right now… here’s what I’d tell you.

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It’s Sunday, I’m sitting here by the fire (yes, it’s actually a little chilly in LA this morning) and I’m thinking about The Fit Habit. I’m feeling a little bad that I haven’t been around much lately, but that’s by design.

Things are overwhelming in life right now (as I’ve mentioned in the last 6 posts, I know), but it’s important to me that I keep sharing here, if even just once a week. I don’t blog for notoriety (clearly) or even for money (there’s none of that here), but I do blog for connection and expression. I love to express myself in words, and I feel good sharing things that benefit others, if even in some small way.

That’s why my blogs have been more about “how to’s” lately and less about my personal world.

But it’s Sunday, I’m feeling chatty and Jill, Nikki and Lynda have created this sweet virtual coffee date. So I thought I’d join in (since I’m already drinking coffee anyway) and share some insights into my personal life.

Here goes!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I just had one of the most overwhelming but amazing weeks. I launched my company on Thursday and I was blown away by the support and interest I received from friends, family and people I don’t even know who bought my product. It felt so good to get positive reinforcement, especially when I had massive fears that nobody would want it. You know that fear you have that if you have a party, nobody would show up? It’s like that, only more expensive.

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Fear averted. Big deep sigh of relief.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve been feeling a little lonesome for my friends lately. I haven’t had time to make social dates with local friends these past few weeks, and I feel disconnected from my good friends in the Bay Area, Toronto and Australia. Distance can be isolating, and while social media has been a big help, I find that Facebook is so frustrating now so I’m not on as much. I have no idea what’s going on with my peeps these days and that makes me kinda sad (I’m in need of some marathon facetime dates).

Fortunately I’ve got a few straight days of hanging out with a dear friend next week who’s goat-sitting (true story).  I will post pictures for sure.

I’d tell you if we were having coffee that I’m LOVING being a part of Marie Forleo’s B-School Program this year. This is a 6-week class she does every year and even though it was outrageously expensive (and typically I would NEVER do this) I put my money where my mouth was and decided to invest in myself. So far, it’s been amazing. Not only have I learned so much about online marketing, I’ve also had a mindset shift about the way I approach my business, and how I spend my time. I’ve also connected with so many amazing women, I can barely keep up. So while I miss my old friends, I’m certainly not missing out on meeting new ones. I’m so glad I did this.

And finally, if we were sitting here having coffee right now, I’d say that even though I’m way in over my head with all these things and I haven’t had a night out with the girls in forever, I have to say I’m so grateful for everything I’m going through right now. It’s a huge learning curve, but I love that. It’s a terrifying ride, but I know I’ll be okay and even though it’s a lonely road, it’s also kinda thrilling.

The good news for the blog is that B-School will end this month and I should be done with my personal training certification in May, so I’ll be dialing things up around here then with some pretty cool new stuff.

How was your week? What would you tell me if we were having coffee right now?

PS – I’d also tell you that I watched Wolfs of Wall Street on Friday night. Um, does anyone else think that movie was totally overrated and that the story would have been better told in half the time??? Holy smokes, what an ass-burner!

3 cardio workouts you can do in your jammies

WARNING – your jammies will get sweaty!

workout videos, workout dvd, jillian michael, exersize dvd,

Things have been a little quiet around the blog lately. Between launching my new company, working on my fitness training credentials, noodling through B-School and selling our lake house, I’ve been stretched pretty thin. That said, I have zero complaints, as I’m beyond excited about everything that’s going on right now, and I’m definitely getting that engagement I was craving a while back!

Today is also the first day in two weeks that I’ll be heading out for a long bike ride and I’m SO excited! With all that’s going on right now, I have very little time to spend on my workouts, but I still find 30 minutes a day to move, whether that’s to go for a run, spin on my indoor bike, or pick up heavy things here in my office.weights!!

For me, working out is not just a priority, it’s a habit. So much like brushing my teeth and showering, it just happens without much thought as long as I make it as easy and accessible as possible.

If you’re feeling pressed for time in your life, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your well being is to maintain a habit of carving out just a little time to move every day. Depending on how you feel, or what you’ve got access to, that might only be a brisk walk, but the key is to maintain the habit of intentional movement EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. The more habitual you become with your 30 minutes of movement, the less likely you’ll be to talk yourself out of it (and I know you know what I’m talking about here!).

If you are super crunched for time, I do recommend dialing up the intensity of your workouts. You’ll get a similar “bang for your buck” in a shorter period of time, and still get an effective boost to your metabolism.

Here are three effective workouts that you don’t even have to get dressed to do. I’ve done all three in my jammies (and a sports bra) and I love them.

  1. T25 – I just bought this series (on ebay for $40) and although it’s not perfect, it is only 25 minutes and there’s a big red countdown on the screen for the duration of the workout, which has tremendous psychological benefit. NOTE: if you don’t like excessive bouncing around on your toes (like a boxer might), this might not be the workout for you.
  2. I LOVE this metabolic workout from Oxygen Magazine! It’s quick, full body and you will SWEAT! It does require a few free weights and an interval timer (here’s a free app for that) but it’s fast and furious, which I like!
  3. Jillian Michaels, Ripped in 30 – I have mixed feelings about Jillian in general, but I can say with confidence that if you’re pressed for time and you want an effective workout, this particular video series is both challenging and all encompassing. I think it’s safer and more effective than T25 (from what I’ve seen so far), and hey look – you can view it free on my YouTube channel! The workouts progress in difficulty every week, so start from week 1 and go from there. This workout does require some free weights, but you can go through the motions without them if you don’t have.

I think if you could alternate a few days of just weight lifting with any of these programs, you’d have a pretty decent workout plan.

Do you have a quick and dirty home workout? If so, share it in the comments below as I’m always looking for new inspiration!

My conference list for 2014 – where will you be?

Do you go to personal or professional conferences and events? Do you get a lot out of them?

2014 conference list

As an introvert, heading to a conference with a bunch of people I don’t know can be hugely intimidating. I’m also not a big fan of crowds or loud noises, so one day at a big expo and I need the next three days to recover.

But I’m a big fan of learning, so I constantly push myself to attend events in my areas of interest to keep my ideas and inspiration flowing. That said, I admit I tend to be the one at the back of the room, ready to slip out the door when the speaker asks the audience to team up and share personal details about themselves (does anyone else hate that??).

Conferences and workshops can be pricey, so I tend to be selective in terms of how relevant, valuable and close to home they are to me, but some are just plain can’t-be-missed because of the people who are there, or who the creator of the event is.

So far this year I’ve been to the Los Angeles Fit Expo (which was all kinds of crazy boobs and muscles in spandex) and the Natural Foods Expo in Anaheim which was just all kinds of crazy, period.

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In Februrary I attended a local DIY PR workshop that was great, but totally made my head spin with all the to-do’s I walk away with.  Early in March I started Maria Forleo’s B-School, and although it’s an online event, I’m already blown away by what I’ve taken away from the program.

Next month I’m actually exhibiting at Artisanal LA with my company ProCakes (which I’m equally excited and terrified about). But it’ what I’m SUPER excited about is my May event! I’m heading up to wine country to an entrepreneur/wine safari event (yes, you read that right) called Women, Wine and the Wildebeest. We’ll be “glamping”, learning and drinking wine for a whole weekend, so it’s right up my alley. If you’re in the California area (or even if you’re not), this is one of those can’t-be-missed events that I was talking about. You should come!

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Over the summer I’m also scheduled to attend Blogher, San Jose in July (but I’m thinking of selling my conference pass if you’re interested) and then hopefully Blogfest/Idea World in August.

I’m not quite sure what my fall schedule will bring, but no doubt there will be more to come. I’ve also looked at attending Blend and Fitbloggin, but I’m trying to avoid flying to conferences this year, so I’m going to wait and see where they end up next year.

What about you? What’s on your conference list this year?

Fitness Purist or Dabbler? Why you should cheat on your exercise.

A quick clarifier: Cheating on your exercise does not mean not doing any exercise. Sorry :)

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The more I started to explore the world of body building and physique competitions and the more I sought out fitness role models in that area, the more I heard about how weight lifting was “it” and cardio was kinda bad, or perhaps just for amateurs. In fact, many would say that cardio is not even necessary to achieve the ideal physique and that one could just lift weights faster to get that desired heart rate and cardiovascular pump.

Personally I think that’s a pretty clever idea…if you like lifting weights.

The problem or limitation with this bodybuilding mentality is that it seems to be very focused on one activity to the exclusion of all others. But then, many athletic pursuits are. Much like we’ve come to define ourselves by our diets (paleo, vegan, pescatarian, locavore, flexitarian) we’ve also starting defining ourselves by our preferred sport – runner, roadie, bodybuilder, crossfitter, gymrat, yogi, zumba-freak (okay, not sure about that last one).

The point is, we tend to align ourselves with certain athletic personas, which is fabulous in terms of finding like-minded folks, but it’s counterproductive when we limit ourselves from other pursuits because we are hardcore and committed to that one camp. Because really, it is just exercise after all.

In full disclosure, I’m saying this as someone who finds it very easy to slip into a fitness camp and raise my little groupie flag tall and proud. And while it’s comforting and psychologically natural to want to belong to a positively perceived “in-group”, it tends to be detrimental to one’s overall fitness progression.

As I work through my fitness training certification, I’m learning more about the perils of repetitive motion, especially when it comes to muscle imbalances and potential for injury. Last year when I packed in my weight lifting persona and took up running 5 days a week, I quickly found that my knees weren’t game with my mental choice to switch all-or-nothing camps. Now I realize that the massive jump to the repetitive motion of running caused too much stress on my knee joints without any consideration to core stabilization and addressing tight, overactive muscles that was throwing off my form. Hence, my really cranky knees emerged fast and furious.

So what’s my point with all this?

I would have been much better off to drop the all-or-nothing self-identified sport purist attitude and become a dabbler instead. So rather than my workout schedule looking like this:

Mon       Tues       Wed       Thurs       Fri         Sat        Sun
Run          Run         x-train        Run         Run       Run       Off

(Look familiar??? I know some of you have training schedules like this!!)

It should have looked more like this:

Mon      Tues      Wed         Thurs              Fri                  Sat                       Sun
Run         Lift          Yoga     Run or bike           Lift        Circuit Training       Off/yoga

Now granted, if you’re training for a sporting event, there’s reason to keep your training focused more to one sport, but it should NEVER be just that one sport (yes, I’m talking to you runners!). Addressing core stabilization, proper joint strength/mobility and overall balance training are so important to staying lean and strong, so try doing a little yoga or Pilates once or twice a week. Speed and agility training in short circuit bursts is fantastic for burning subcutaneous fat (that’s fancy terminology for cellulite), so try a boot camp or doing a HIIT and Run if you’re pressed for time or gym space.

The takeaway here is to think holistically about your fitness. Get out of the mindset of being one particular kind of athlete and train in different ways using different forms of motion. Overall, as long as you’ve got one foot in the strength camp and one foot in the cardiovascular camp, you’re going to be much better off in the long run.

Live long and dabble.

Check out more fitness related content over at Jill Colyer’s Fitness Friday Link up!

 

4 Reasons Your Fitness Resolutions Are Crapping Out And What to Do About It.

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Let me caveat this by saying that I’m not a huge “resolution” person. I do set them occasionally, but it’s more of a mindful practice of thinking about what I want to focus on throughout the year, rather than making hard and fast goals in January. When it comes to my personal and physical growth, I prefer to focus on behavior change rather than setting goals.

Why?

A goal is just a desired end result. It’s actually the behavior change we need to implement to achieve that goal that make the biggest impact on our lives and dictates how successful we are at reaching them.

If you’re not doing well on the fitness goals you set for yourself this year, here’s some ideas about what might be holding you back:

What’s the intrinsic motivation behind your goal(s)? Does the action you’re taking directly line up with the overall end result you’re looking for? (ie) Are you just working out because you want to be more attractive to men?

  • Tip: If your motivation is based on aesthetics only, you might have a hard time sustaining interest. Aesthetics alone is typically based on a greater need (to feel loved or accepted) and your feelings of success are not controllable through fat loss alone, which will lead to frustration and failure. Dig deeper to find a more meaningful reason that can be directly related to your fitness/health goals. For example, my primary reason for making healthy choices is that it makes me feel better (physically and emotionally) when I eat well and move. When I don’t feel like working out, I think about how much better I’ll feel if I just do 15 minutes (and I always end up going longer and feeling much better).

Is your resolution something that at least some of the people around you have already accomplished, or are you trail blazing a new direction away from your social norm? (i.e.) Are you committed to loosing weight even though your family/friends are still binging Twinkies? 

  • Tip: If you don’t have social support and some strong social examples of others who have accomplished what you want, you’re might find this goal very very difficult execute.  Fortunately, I married a guy who values fitness as much as I do, but beyond that, I follow fit women I admire and who’s message resonate with me via social media. Some of my personal fav’s are Jillfit, Tosca Reno and Lori Harder. They provide constant doses of inspiration and confirmation that I can achieve my goals.

Are you 100% confident you can accomplish your goals? Did you set the bar too high?

  • Tip: Studies confirm that when we’re confident that we can achieve a goal at the onset, we’re more likely to follow through and succeed. If your confidence is wavering, consider breaking your goal into smaller ones that you can feel better about (BUT STILL CHALLENGE YOURSELF!)

Can you easily see yourself maintaining the habits and behaviors related to your resolution one year from now?

  • Tip: Unless you’re doing something extremely short term for an out of the ordinary event (like prepping for a bodybuilding competition), then taking on new behaviors that you KNOW you have no interest in continuing a year from now is a waste of time. Short-term behaviors bring short-term results (and this is hard learned from experience). That’s not to say that new behaviors can’t be learned over the course of time (I wasn’t always someone who worked out 6 days a week), but if it’s not reasonable for your lifestyle or interests, it won’t stick. Take on small behaviors that you feel confident you can adopt for the long term and you’ll be shocked how little effort it takes overall to reach your goals.

The biggest takeaway I want to stress here is to focus on your behaviors, and less on the outcome. Try finding ways to eat to satiety, move in a way that you enjoy, do your best to avoid health-sabotagers and choose incremental changes that you know you can’t fail at. This is enough to get you pushing forward in the right direction, so that you WILL succeed with those resolutions this year.

 

HIIT & Run Lower Body Workout For Butt-Less Runners

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photo by asya tabdili

There are two reasons I don’t run very often anymore.

  1. My knees hate it
  2. Longer distances are catabolic and tend to break down what precious little muscle I have in my glute area. And I don’t need any help in the flat butt department. I’m plenty flat already…..

Having said that, on gorgeous “winter” days like today, when it’s 70 degrees and sunny, I find that a short run is fine on the joints and literally life-altering to the mood and spirit. It was also nice to run without any little toy or gadget to track timing or speed. I just did my regular 3-mile loop and enjoyed every brainless minute of it.

The HIIT (high intensity interval training) part of the workout was intended to wake the glutes up and get them working as well, rather than just hanging out all deflated and bored. The muscle complex in your backside is mostly working to stabilize your hips during a typical run, and they don’t really fire up unless you’re running on an incline (which is hard to do in my flat beach town) or sprinting (which is just hard to do). So instead, a short burst of lower body plyometrics after the run will help to make this a well-balanced workout.

If you can’t do this outdoors, you can always do it with a treadmill and a little corner of the gym!

  1. Run for 20 to 30 minutes at 75% effort. It’s important not to over work this portion or you’ll have nothing left for the killer part deux.

When you get home, give yourself a 2-minute rest, a quick drink of water then hit the HIIT:

  • 10 jump squats
  • 10 reverse lunges (each side)
  • 10 deep squats (no jumping, but get your butt below your knees)
  • 10 side lunges (each side)
  • 10 deep squats (no jumping, but get your butt below your knees)
  • 10 forward lunges (each side)
  • 10 Charleston kicks

Repeat 2 or 3 times with 1 minute rest between sets.

Make sure to STRETCH after this workout or you’ll be hobbling around on sore legs for days (like I was!).

Enjoy!

{OMG} The big reveal …ProCakes

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So, for the last few months (okay, over a year now) I’ve been talking about a company that I’ve been working toward launching. It’s been a long time in the making, but it’s finally here!

My company is called ProCakes. We’re not the first, but in my opinion we’re certainly the highest quality protein pancake mix on the market. We don’t use wheat or oat flour at all, there’s zero added sugar, and protein is the first ingredient on the nutritional label (organic coconut flour is second).

Image by Asya Tabdili

Image by Asya Tabdili

I have worked diligently for over a year now, coming up with a formulation that I was proud to put my name beside. I’ve had to fight my investor to keep things like powdered eggs out of the mix, and go the extra mile to keep the overall mix lower in carbs and higher in protein than originally intended.

I wanted this to be awesome, and in my opinion, it’s there now.

Anyway, the plan is to have the product hit the “cyber shelves” in late spring, and start rolling out to a retail market later this year. I cannot describe in words how amazing and completely frightening this whole experience has been.

And I love it.

But beyond just telling you about my new business, I wanted to share my experience with creating something that absolutely scared the shit out of me. I have questioned my ability to pull this off more times than I care to admit, and the road has not been an easy one. But the value of pushing through hard times has never been lost on me. This has been a time of tremendous growth, not just because I followed through, but because I followed through in spite of some pretty big unforeseen challenges that almost derailed my efforts several times.

This experience has been fun, but it has definitely NOT been smooth sailing.

Never in my life have I ever had so few people return my calls, take me seriously or have no interest in helping me, even when I was more than willing to pay them to do so. Apparently the food industry has seen one too many startup failures and they’ve developed a pretty cynical attitude toward newcomers. All this was taken extremely personally of course, which is lesson #1 in what NOT to do when starting a new business. But given that I’ve been feeling ultra sensitive and insecure about my lack of knowledge and savvy in this industry, my skin hasn’t developed its request degree of thickness yet.

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I share this with you not because I’m looking for a pity party. Certainly there are lots of entrepreneurs that go through much harder times than I did and lived to talk about it, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s one of those times in life when pushing through fear is the only thing you can do to keep the lights on in your heart and on your dreams.

How did I get through it?  I have to say there was a lot of encouraging self-talk, many pep talks from people I love and who’s opinion I respect, guidance from mentors and plenty of detailed to-do lists. In the end, I got it done and the product is now in manufacturing and we’re launching mid April. Seriously, I am still mildly in disbelief that it’s finally here, and it’s time to let the cat out of the proverbial bag ☺  Now that it’s out, I’ll be adding a Fitpreneur section to this blog as you’ll be hearing more about my journey and how I’m launching a business without hopefully loosing my mind!

And now, I’ll pay it forward with my 2-second pep talk for those of you who need it….

Have you ever thought about taking a huge risk in your career or personal life? Something that totally scares the poop out of you? My first reaction is to say GO FOR IT, but I suggest doing so cautiously and with as little risk to your life situation as possible (just in case!). Sure, you might fail, you may face rejection, and yes, you might make an ass out of yourself (I sure have), but a life well lived is worth it and those that poo poo your efforts are typically those that are too afraid to follow their own dreams, so they spend their time judging the efforts of those who do.  So go do what scares you!

PS: I’d love your support as we work to launch ProCakes.  Would you hop over to facebook and Instagram and show me some love?  We’ve got a little blog on our website too!  Your support would mean a lot to me.

Check out other fitspiration posts every friday on Jill Colyer’s Fitness, Health and Happiness!

{Fat Loss} The best advice you’ll ever hear (and it’s not from me)

I just came across this webinar hosted by Jill Coleman of Jillfit and her husband Jade. Jill is a fitness industry pro, and someone that I admire a great deal. She’s got a solid academic background, years of experience and even more importantly, she’s got the right idea about fat loss that won’t make you crazy.

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Take if from me, someone who has gone through the crazy-making process of loosing fat, and now the non-crazy-making way, there’s a huge difference between the two approaches and one’s going to work for the long haul, while the other will probably leave you on Xanax.

She’s one of my fitness superheros and I deeply admire her work. If you have the time, and the desire to take your body to a “lean-and-healthy-all-the-time” place, then you need to get to know this gal.

This video on metabolic efficiency is an awesome place to start.

Have a great weekend!

Turning Pro – A Commitment To Being 100% In The Game.

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I just finished reading the book Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. If you have not yet read it, please stop reading this right now and go pick it up on amazon. It’s by far the best book I’ve read this year, and not just because it’s an easy read that I completed on the flight to Cabo from LA (which is 2.2 hours), but also because it spoke to why I’m not the success I feel I should be at this point.

So I made the commitment to turn pro, and in the span of a moment, my attitude toward everything changed.

What does that mean? Turning pro is about having a level of commitment that’s far beyond what an amateur delivers. It’s saying yes to what you want and then going for it. It’s showing up every single day to do the work, even even on the days when you’d rather do anything but that work. It’s about owning the process, but accepting that the result is not within your control. But then doing it anyway.

It made me realize how spotty my efforts have been to date on a number of projects (mostly work related). I’m half in, half out and sometimes I don’t follow through when I should. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a while, and I know that it’s holding me back. There’s a whole bunch of reasons I can list off for why this is, but the takeaway is that it’s not going to happen anymore. Because I’m committed to turning pro.

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Image by Asya Tabdili

What is it in your life that you need to turn pro on? What is it that you really really want, but haven’t totally committed to it yet because it’s a pain in the ass, or you’re just feeling too lazy?

Commit to going pro (don’t “try”, just do). Decide that you’re a professional now. Decide that you will wake up every. single. day. and work toward the acceleration of that goal.

Like I said in a previous post – balance is far too overrated. Pick three things and go turn pro or go home.

Here’s mine:

  1. My own well-being (I already show up 100% for this every day)
  2. My business – remember I talked about wanting more engagement in my life? This is where it’s at for me.
  3. My loved ones – friends or family, they always have my attention.

Since I made this decision (about a week ago), it’s had an incredible impact on the way I spend my time and more importantly, how I invest in myself.  I just signed up for Marie Forleo’s B-School, which was not something I was planning to add to my plate this year, but I knew there was something I could draw from that as I continue to grow as a fitness professional, and as I launch my new business (which you’ll hear more about verrrrry soon!).  It’s also made me reevaluate many of the things I’ve been wasting energy on and helped me to finally let them go.

And you? What will you go pro on? If you haven’t already, seriously go buy that book!