Saturday, August 19, 2017

Live Fearlessly - Sometimes Easier Said Than Done

One of the things I love about working out is when I work out, I have no time to worry.  I have no time to be anxious.
My goal -- LIVE fearlessly!
Maybe some of you are saying, "What could you possibly be anxious about?  What do you worry about?"  Well let me tell you --  I worry about

My weight
My belly fat
My kids
Our Business
Our finances
If my trainer had to stop helping me, how would I do?
Will there be a United States for my grandchildren to live in?
Will I even have grandchildren?

Now some of you might say, Now, come on Patty.  You know what the Bible says.  Well let me tell you, I do know what the Bible says.  I should have Philippians 4:6 engraved on my forehead.  I also know there are great books like Dale Carnegie's "How to Stop Worrying and Stop Living."  And for the most part I do really well keeping myself in check.  There are times however, where it proves to be more challenging.

Something happened on Monday that momentarily took my breath away.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but the anxious thoughts have been resurfacing all week.  So my point here is that when I work out, I pretty much can only think about one thing - the workout.  Working out also makes you happier.  Remember what Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde while trying to clear Brooke's name?  "Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don't shoot their husbands.  They just don't."

AMRAP = As Many Rounds As Possible
Since this blog is also a summary of my 20 week plan of which I am completing week two, I wanted to share something cool that happened on Wednesday morning.  I was doing a "Ryan" workout which consisted of 20 Kettlebell swings, 15 kettlebell deadlifts, 10 kettlebell rows, 5 gassers for 25 minutes straight - AMRAP.  I'm always setting goals for myself, so I wanted to try and get 5 rounds done in 5 minutes.  I had my headphones on and my music blaring and I went after it.  There was a young man (mid-20s) working out in the same room as me.  I've never seen him before.  He was doing his workout, I was doing mine.  After the 3rd round, I was walking back from the sprints to the kettlebells and he got my attention.  (Remember I had headphones on.)  I looked at him and he raised his hand in the high five position.  It brought a smile to my face as I high fived him back.  It was nice a 20-something was encouraging a 55 year old woman.

This girl helps me forget my worries in a hurry!
So back to my week and my worries.  Let me tell you - I can quote the words to the song "One Day at a Time."  I can quote the article, "One Day at a Time."  I can almost quote all of "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living."  Heck I can even quote Baby in Dirty Dancing,   "Me?  I'm scared of everything.  I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you."  (Great movie by the way.)

So it's okay to be scared or anxious.  I still struggle at times and that's okay!  But I work on getting myself back on track as soon as I can because I know I do NOT want to live in fear or live with anxiety.  And for me - exercising helps me get back on track mentally -- whether it's the endorphins or just the great friendships I have built--I get my head back to its happy place.

It's been a successful week two of twenty.  My challenges this week were more of the mental sort.  But I got all the workouts done and the calorie deficit met and it's on to week three from here.  If you struggle with worries or anxiety, do all you know to do to "beat it" and come to the gym and exercise too!  Tori and I work out every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:00 a.m. together and we are always looking for more people to join us!  Have a great week!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Week One of Twenty - Done!

My daughter graduated college on a Friday in May and then my son graduated high school on the following Monday.  Since then it's been a bit of a whirlwind summer.

I've been in Branson, Missouri for a week, Bermuda for a week, Ohio for a week, and most recently Virginia for a week.  Some of those trips I was able to exercise, but not near as much as I am used to.  And it wasn't as easy to prepare the "best" food.

So needless to say right before my trip to VA, I asked my trainer Ryan if we could do a plan "similar" to what we did during the 12-week challenge, but perhaps not AS intensive.  He was thinking along the same line as I was, but he had to ask - "When will you be home for a stretch of time?"

So we came up with August 7 as a start date.  He has a 20-week plan mapped out for me and now all I need to do is follow it.  (I check in with him, of course, but I believe this plan will work great.)

This is MY Journey
One of the "benefits" of having a restful summer is that a lot of my more "nagging" injuries are healing and I don't wake up saying, "Oh, my ankle," or "Oh, my knee," or "Oh, my elbows," or Oh, my wrist."  So that is a good thing.  I've also found my voice to tell whomever I am training with if something is hurting me (in the not good way.)

Most of you know he had me remove the scale from my house over a year ago.  I used to stick to the plan really well, but I would also weigh myself EVERY day.  If my weight was not going down, I'd wander off the plan to try and self-correct.  (Like I knew anything about anything?????)  So he had us get rid of the scale and only weigh with him once a week.

Well now he is living across the U.S.  So I am weighing and measuring with Misty at Gold's Gym who I adore.  We did starting measurements and weight on Monday.  On Wednesday, I went to CMU and did the Bod Pod.  They weigh you there and my weight was already down 5 pounds from Monday (Now there's a reason for this.)  But my mind was like, RIGHT ON!  And so on Thursday, I didn't push as hard because I was like, "Well my weight is already down, I can let up a little."

Bod Pod 
I shot Ryan a text and asked, "Hey are we doing weight AND measurements every Monday (with Misty.)  He immediately replied -- "No, only once every 4 weeks."  WTF?  Seriously.  And then I thought, "Hmm, That's pretty smart actually because look what I did on Thursday."   I guess old habits die hard.
Swimming 2 to 3 x's a week
Anyways I am still swimming 2 to 3 times a week.  I lift weights 2 times a week (Rheumatologist requests only 2x a week).  I have a Ryan (heII) workout twice a week - cardio/weight based.  And depending upon where I am on the numbers, I may add one more workout in there.  Good times!
Day 1 of 140
Stats and the "why" of why I call them the workouts from hell!
This workout was a little bit more fun than the Monday Ryan one!
Cleaning out my desk and came across this photo on the left.
It reminds me that this is definitely ALL worth it.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

"I Need a Ryan in My Life" - my most heard comment

Oftentimes when I tell someone about my fitness journey and my incredible weight loss and equally incredible non-scale victories, their number one comment is "I need a Ryan in my life."  I thought I would re-visit how I met Ryan.

Mana, me, and Ryan. 
I decided to take the step forward to get "in shape."  Joe, my 15 year old son was 6 months out after scoliosis surgery and wanted to get back to the gym to "maintain" that solid core the doctor's told him about.  I was 6 months out from foot surgery.  So back to Gold's Gym we went.  We have been members since the doors opened, but life sometimes makes it difficult to get through those doors.  This time however, we were determined.

Are you determined?  Are you ready?  This was May of 2015.  The director of fitness at the time told us about this program called Next Level Performance.  There were two levels to it.  One level included all the classes - Foundations, Afterburn, and Elite.  These classes were led by certified trainers who walked the floor and corrected your form and/or gave you a modification to the exercise if you were not able to do it.  The next level ( a step up) included all the classes mentioned above AND semi-private training with a certified personal trainer.  This is what Joe and I joined and two weeks later my husband Dave joined.

This is how I met Ryan.  He was coordinating the NLP program, so he was one of the trainers we met with at the semi-private level and he was one of the trainers that led the classes mentioned.  He had to make a LOT of modifications for me.  I was 276 pounds or heavier.  I could not do a push up.  I started by doing standing push ups against the wall or against a big tire.  But I DID IT.

Ryan took me from the Patty on the left to the Patty on the right.
One of the greatest things about the NLP program is a perk called an "On Point."  EVERY member of NLP is entitled to these, however not every member takes advantage of it.  So my question is where is your desire?  How bad do you want this?  During an on-point the certified personal trainer gets your weight and measurements.  Then you sit down and talk about your goals.  They can also give you ideas to clean up your nutrition.  Ryan did this for me and it CHANGED my life.  I HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of these on-points.  Ryan and I met once a week for these.

So if you follow this blog, you know that Ryan has moved on.  He is no longer at Gold's gym.  However the coordinator of NLP is Paul Manzella.  He has helped numerous NLP members reach their goals, just like Ryan did for me and others.  He has a good team of trainers working with him teaching the classes and the semi-private training sessions.

Paul with a client.
I 100% believe NLP is worth the investment.  If you are a gym member and you ask to meet with a trainer, most likely that hour will cost you roughly 50.00 -- maybe more/maybe less depending upon how many sessions you commit to.  NLP is priced at or lower than 3 of those 50.00 sessions for the month.  Yes that may seem like a lot of money to some, but let me ask you this?  Do you like Starbucks?   A $5.00 Starbucks 7 days a week for 30 days is $150.00.  I believe NLP will help you reach your goals MUCH faster than Starbucks will.

Now that all being said, NLP is not the "golden ticket."  You will need to clean up your eating and you will need to attend the classes/semis.  Just "joining" does not suddenly make you lose weight.  But I want to show you some pictures of friends of mine who did both - cleaned up their eating and committed to NLP.  (DISCLAIMER:  These are real live people who live in Grand Junction.  These are not Gold's Gym corporate stock photos.  These people did not have this type of transformation in 6 weeks.  These people commited themselves to themselves and over time saw these remarkable changes.)

This family was my inspiration when I joined.

Joe before surgery/after surgery and NLP

My great friend Jenna 
Troy before / after

Judy before / after

Me and Tori

 In conclusion, I'd like to say if you need a Ryan in your life and you are ready to see some changes/transformations come check out NLP.  Ask for Paul at Gold's Gym Clifton.  We are ALWAYS looking for more people to train with and to motivate.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fortified Wolfpack - Semaj Baldwin

When Semaj came to Gold's Gym, he had a vision.  He wanted to form a group of athletes of all different ages and abilities who would train with one another and encourage one another.  He created a private Facebook page where we could upload pictures/videos of ourselves, memes, positive quotes, and encouraging words.

In his own words:  "Wolfpack began with a very simple idea. That men and women have lost themselves within themselves, unable to see the world for what the world really is. That the qualities we held 1000’s of years ago were slowly eroding and what was left was a watered down version of humanity. So I wrote a very simply description of this belief:
“There was a point where we evolved past our primal instincts and into simpler, content, vulnerable beings. But not all were drawn in the system of contentment. A few remained conscious enough to fortify their minds, bodies, and souls. Reversing evolution, they are known as the “wolfpack.”
If you live with a passion for greatness and strength and resilience towards all obstacles that may attempt to derail you; if you are bold and aggressive in the pursuit of the things you want in life; if you are meant to overcome everything that stands in your path of reaching your goals; if you strive to become the strongest version of yourself by fortifying your mind, your body, and your spirit then you are a Wolf and we are proud to have you represent our pack."

He also began forming a "power lifting" team and he would train with them.  The strength that they have gained while training with Semaj is incredible.  There is a group of them who will be competing in Colorado Springs next weekend.
His personality shines through in every photo!
Stephannie (aka "Tube Socks") told Semaj he was like the wizard in The Wizard of Oz.  And she was like the lion with no courage.  He helped her get the courage she needed to not be afraid of the (heavy) weight and also to trust herself in the process.

Nancy states that thinking about walking into the gym (this week - Semaj's last week) is hard for her.  It's hard to imagine not training with you every day.  I am also very happy for you and for Laci!!  Things I will miss most are you asking me "What was the best part of your day?"  Your positive energy, dancing, and laughing your way through killing us daily.  I wish you and your family the best in Florida and look forward to when you move back.  I will miss you.  You are family to me!

There are many of us that would echo that sentiment.  
Katie and Patricia R feel the same way!
Angela who is one of his fairly new clients states "I am really going to miss him.  I think I am like his last client.  I had a training session with him today and I have one on Wednesday.  I only had 20 days of training with him. 

Semaj and Angela - made an impact in 20 days or less!  Not surprising.

How could you not love that face - right there!

Hannah told me that she loves that Semaj understands the ups and downs of losing weight and gaining strength and how he is with you every step of the way.  He is always so positive (I concur) and makes his workouts fun!  Semaj is a great trainer and a wonderful person.  I am so glad to have had the opportunity to work out with him and get to know him.  He will be truly missed by many.
I think that is very well stated Hannah.  Semaj - there is not enough room in this blog for all the good things we have to say about you.  We are so thankful you came into our lives and we fully intend to carry on with the Fortified Wolfpack - supporting one another and encouraging one another.  
For those of you who are local, you may notice us in our "Wolf pack" t-shirts in a couple of weeks.  Now you'll have a little bit of background to go with the shirts you see us wearing.  God speed to you and Laci and know that we WILL keep in touch.  Thank you for the many ways you have blessed our lives!

 This is just a representation of a much larger group of people whose lives Semaj has touched.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Developing Mental Fortitude with Semaj Baldwin

I wanted to write today about an old soul and a young man - Semaj Baldwin.  Semaj came into my life right about the time Ryan and Mana were giving their notice to leave Gold's Gym.  Ryan and Mana were an unbelievable duo that had changed a lot of people's lives - mine included.  I was pretty shook up and scared and not sure if I was going to be able to stay on course with my weight loss with them gone.

Enter Semaj Baldwin.  He had moved here from Denver where he had run his own gym.  I remember coming to Gold's Gym to train with Ryan and Semaj would be sitting in the trainer's office.  I'd walk right into the office and stick my hand out and say, "Hi, I'm Patty."  He was like, Okay.  "Hi, I'm Semaj."  Then I would leave and go train with Ryan.

The next day I would come into Gold's Gym and see him in the trainers office and I would say, "Hi, I'm Patty."  "Hi," he'd reply, I'm Semaj."  This went on for several days.  I remember saying, "I'm trying really hard to remember your name.  So he told me, "It's James - backwards."  Well that really messed me up.  I was like that would be Se-maj; I swear you are saying Se-maj-ay.  (It's Se-maj-ay)

Well, it didn't take long for us in the semis to get to know his name AT ALL.  He was scheduled for two of the 10 available spots on the semi schedule and we kept asking for him to be scheduled for more and more because we LOVED training with him.  First and foremost his positive attitude was just what we needed, because we were all pretty bummed about the two trainers that had left.  Let me just say that Semaj is like a party in a box.  His attitude is infectious.  (And his workouts were killer -which is what we wanted.)

I loved that he really got to know me.  And God bless him, I pretty much said, "Even though Ryan left, he is still helping me with my food and watching over my training.  But I would like your help in the semi- privates.  But that's it."   He was always like, "Cool, I respect that."  There was no ego - nothing like that at all.

I think sometime in the future,  I will devote an entire post to the changes a person goes through mentally (emotionally) as they lose weight.  I was not in a good place mentally when I met Semaj.  I was super angry at the way the two guys had left the gym.  I was scared about my future progress.  I was a mess.

There would be times that it would be just me and Semaj training together.  He would take me in the NLP room (we call it the FUN room).  He would set up a work out, explain it to me, and then put Les Brown (a motivational speaker) on the audio system in the room.  And I would work out listening to Les Brown tell me  "If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you."    "Our ability to handle life's challenges is a measure of our strength."   And this one was HUGE - "Forgive those who have hurt you."

Mental Toughness is keeping strong in the face of adversity.

Semaj didn't say much.  He'd just play the podcast.  It makes me tear up just thinking about it.  Because I believe the biggest thing I have gained from training with Semaj these past 8 months is mental strength.  Unbelievable, undeniable, mental strength.  I will be forever thankful for that - for the rest of my life.  I am a different person today then I was 8 months ago.    I had carried around past hurt like it was a badge of honor.  I have LET IT GO - like Elsa says.  I also used to be VERY influenced by what others thought of me.  I'd change entire plans to do what someone else thought I should do instead of believing in myself!  NO MORE.

Personal Trainers change people's lives and yet they are paid peanuts.  It's the industry and it's really too bad.  In my opinion they should be paid like our doctors are paid.  I see my doctor once a year for a 45 minute check up.  I see my trainer once a day for a 60 minute physical/mental/ and sometimes emotional evaluation.  The trainer makes me strong (if I do what they say) so that I do not need the medical doctor so much.  I don't know if I am communicating that well or not.  But your value as a PT is very HIGH in my opinion.

Semaj also has his Corrective Exercise certificate and he has helped me get back to squatting WITH weight as we have worked together weekly on rehab.  Before that he helped Joe (my son who has had surgery for scoliosis and has a rod T4-L4) continue getting stronger and stronger.

My son Joe on a Semaj "leg" day!
He even taught us how to use the cardio equipment.  LOL

And who could forget his semis ending on the "shaky" thing.

I do not know who will try and follow in your footsteps, but I can tell you I am less afraid and less anxious about that then I was back in October.  You have taught me the mental strength to know that I can do this - even on my own if I had to.

The results Tori and I have had in the short time we have
known Semaj!
Semaj is moving to Florida because his girlfriend, Laci, has been accepted for her doctorate at Palmer College of Chiropractic.  He would love to return one day and work the wellness side of Laci's future chiropractic business.  We would love to have him back!!

Best wishes to all three of you!
  God speed!   

(Semaj developed a group of athletes and some of us will be competing in two weeks at a Power Lifting competition.  I'll need another post to tell you about that.}

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What Are Your Goals - And It Can't Be a Number

Imagine if your trainer asked you to get crystal clear about your goals, EXCEPT those goals can't have anything to do with numbers on a scale.  What would you say?  How do you want to FEEL?
"Because that's really it, isn't it?  When we start out on any fitness or health journey, whether we know it or not, we're chasing a feeling.  Maybe we desperately want to feel in control again.  Maybe we want to feel free.  Maybe we want to feel strong.  Maybe we want to feel accepted.  Maybe we want to feel seen or appreciated or valued.  But I guarantee you we aren't actually chasing the feeling of 125 pounds."
Perhaps a goal is to do a pull up!
I loved this because I had just written about "What was the best part of my trip to Bermuda?"  And all I could say is that it was a "feeling."  A friend of mine told me about this article she had just read - that I quoted above.  It's called You Weigh WHAT?! and can be found on

She asked her clients about their goal as stated above.  Then she took before pictures.  At the end, she took after pictures.  Every week she weighed them, measured their body fat and checked for change in inches (waist and hips.)  However, she did NOT let them see the numbers.    The program was designed to take the power AWAY from numbers.

"At the end of the program, every one of my challengers made remarkable visual progress!  Many of them were comfortably wearing their 'goal' outfit by weeks 3 and 4, so needless to say, come week 8 we were seeing some pretty dramatic changes in those pictures."  She mentions how in the before photos, she noticed looks of defeat and shame and even tears.  However, in the after photos, there were giant smiles!  They didn't need her confirmation, they could feel it in their bodies, in their clothes and in their daily interactions with others.

She shared the progress photos at the end with the whole group and it's just our human nature to want to know the "numbers" that go along with the photo.  She didn't tell them.  They each voted on the challenger they thought made the most dramatic change.  Once all the votes were in, she shared the pounds, body fat and inches lost with those challengers that wanted to know.  "Even after they SAW their own transformation, they let the numbers (even "better" numbers) steal that joy as quickly as it came."


I can't tell you how many times I would come to Ryan and tell him about the most excellent doctor appointment I had and how blown away the doctor was and how she would say "Keep doing what you are doing."  But then perhaps the next day I would "weigh in" and maybe only lose 1/2 pound and I would get physically angry.  (Drove him crazy.)  We should strive to NOT live like I was.

That doesn't mean I don't keep striving towards my goal; it means I don't let my mind try to trick me into thinking I'm not making progress because of a number!  Look at this before picture.  I think I've made some progress!  Keep at it folks.
Jan 2016 / July 2017
 I'll never forget Suzanne telling me to "keep moving."  She helped me with rehab on my knee, and it hurt particularly bad that day.  And to add insult to injury my arthritis was bothering me.  She said, "The best thing you can do is KEEP MOVING."  So whenever I have a day where my body feels funky, I just remember I'm helping my future self by continuing to move today.

Keep moving - no matter how my body feels.
Here is the article for further reference:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Life is Incredible

Oh my goodness I have so much to say.  Shocker, isn't it?!?

My husband and I recently returned from a cruise to Bermuda.  Several people have asked me "What was your favorite part of the cruise."  The only thing I can say is that it is a "feeling."  A feeling of thankfulness for where I am today, a feeling for how active I can be today, a feeling of how great life is for me!

I've slowly (over time) made a shift in my thinking about my fitness journey.  For so long I was caught up in the number on the scale and why hadn't it moved down more or faster or whatever!  I really think I put pressure on myself to get down to at least 100 pounds lost before Ryan decided to move on in his career and possibly stop helping me.  I don't know if that makes sense or not, but for a long time I wanted to lose the weight to make him proud.  Yet all along he has said, "You are doing this for YOU! Not me.  Not anyone else.  YOU."  I feel like that has clicked in the past few months (only took a year.  lol)  I think the biggest thing I can stress here is make sure you are doing it for you!  Maybe you want to look good for your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe your parent is pressuring you??  You need to get to the place that you want to do it for YOU!

Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us.  If my mind is made up that I am doing this for ME, then it is easier for me to work around the curveballs that are thrown my way.  I've always been a competitor so throw a curve ball at me and I'll show you how I can overcome.

The other thing I realized is how many women there are who are much thinner than I am and look fantastic, yet still are unhappy with their body or their weight.  (Was I going to get to my goal weight and still be unhappy?  I need to change that perception now.)  And then also how many times a day they weigh themselves. Let me ask you this, when you weigh yourself (more than once a day) are you going to do something different that day based on the number?  If not, why weigh yourself?   I hope to help change your perception of yourself by writing what I am learning.

Would I love to have the body I had at 20 and before 3 children?  Maybe.  But I'd much rather be happy, healthy, and strong. The last time I weighed myself was before Ryan left at the end of May.  The next time I will weigh myself (because of my summer) is at the end of July.  I cannot tell you how freeing this is.  I get physically angry at the number on the scale and it usually ruins my day if not my week.  Do you know how crazy that is?  I need to STOP that.

So far I have lost 66 pounds.  I have NOT lost 100 pounds.  BUT - here is what I have done so far this summer that NEVER would have been possible 18 months ago (or for the past 12 years).

First time EVER - zip lining
First time EVER as an adult cliff jumping
First time in a VERY long time - I wore a bathing suit in public.
First time EVER - simulated skydiving

First time in 10 years to go away with just my husband -
AND stay in the same room because I don't snore like a freight train anymore.
Please do NOT let the scale define you!  Do not let it occupy space in your head.   I am not near my goal weight at all, but I am also no longer almost 300 pounds.  I am so much healthier AND happier.  I will get there.  It's just going to be on a slower timetable than some.  And I will get there because I am doing this for ME.

You are more than a number