Category: Uncategorized

I’m Coming Out

It’s been about six years since a doctor told me to get this tiny lump on my thyroid checked out… a goiter, I guess I’m supposed to say. I don’t use that word very often because it’s about the ugliest word on the planet. As ugly as itself. I think of that Seinfeld episode where the lady’s (g-word) was so repulsive Elaine literally couldn’t look at her.

Over the years, It’s transformed into an actual presence in our home. From a barely being acknowledged thing, to practically having its own seat at the table. From whispering to me, to bellowing at me in photos.

When it was first diagnosed, I thought it had to do with my malnourished diet of coffee and Cliff bars for a couple years while I built my business. So I started eating better and expected to see a change.

I read somewhere that throat illnesses are often manifest from issues with not speaking up; or shutting down your own voice in some way. And about three years ago, I learned on a TED talk, the way I held one arm tucked into my torso, with the hand of my other arm clasped around my throat was the most insecure posture a person could hold. So I have scrupulously sought ways to express who God made me to be through written word and speaking; and unlearning shame and resentment. And I expected to see changes.

I’ve been to two naturopaths, a DO, an endocrinologist, a pathologist and consulted many experts through web sites and book authors. On many occasions, I’ve had blood drawn for every known thyroid test. I’ve spit into a vial for evaluations of cortisol, testosterone and sundry other hormones; I watched an intimidating needle aspirate pink fluid for a biopsy; I laid silently in the head-tilt position reminiscent of a CPR victim on many occasions for ultrasounds. And I expected to get help to make changes.

Well… I guess…change has happened… just not in the right direction.

Recently my husband and I started a plant based diet, and a product called Juice Plus (which is fruits and vegetable in a capsule) because I’m done being passé with my “first brain,” the GI tract, and its inevitable relationship to my overall health, including my desperate thyroid. And, about a month ago, upon the request of my new functional medicine doctor, I carefully scraped a few samples of my feces into a tiny vial for the lab techs at Diagnostic Solutions to perform a DNA Stool Analysis.

Today, I got those results back. The good news is, if I was not a person who is so diligent about healthy lifestyle choices, I could be seriously suffering. The bad news is, my digestive system is a mess. A real mess.

So, in two weeks I’ll be starting an aggressive supplement regimen that is aimed at eliminating the bad stuff and balancing the good stuff. Finally some hope for a positive change, and I’m excited to get started.

I’m a little nervous about coming out with a goiter because I seriously do not want this ugly thing to be a conversation starter. But it’s important because I believe in a body’s ability to heal itself when given what it needs, and I want you to believe it too.

Stay tuned!


If you have read any of my blogs, you’ll see I’m pretty transparent.

So… my most passionate desire is to be a person who does not judge people. I don’t care who you voted for. I don’t care if you like piercings on you nipples. I don’t care if you’re a high-powered executive. I only care about your heart, and I guess, frankly, your wiliness to accept me for me.

Why is my weight such an issue? As a personal trainer, and gym owner, I have made it my goal to inspire an environment that encourages people for their wins, and boosts people when they’re down, regardless of their size.

Why is my size such an issue? I am seeking the advice of business pros to help me establish my business in a new community, and I am told I should not show how “thin” I am. I get why. I get it. And I get that if I don’t take their advice (which I won’t), it could be an uphill road to convince people to get to know me anyway.

Why is my size such a bloody issue?!

When a successful author speaks to a class of new writers, does she not tell them she’s published?

When a famous chef is invited to cook dinner for an important fundraiser, does he feel self-conscious about the divine flavors he’s created?

When you earn an A, on your chemistry exam, do you hide the results?

When your daughter has her first grandchild, are you ashamed of the pictures?

I just hate feeling like I have to be embarrassed for my success, which is demonstrated, in many ways, in my body.

I keep thinking of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron. Smart people were implanted with zappers in their head when they had a thought. Beautiful dancers had to wear sandbags around their waist and bags on their head. All in an effort by the government to equalize people, so other people didn’t feel stupid or ugly.

I don’t want to come across as vein. I really, actually want to avoid that. But I feel like every other profession can display their accolades except people like me.

So this is what I want to say: I want to wear a damn bikini top and short shorts to work out!! I want it to be ok to demonstrate to the world all of the years of time, toil and effort I put into my craft  (which Is NOT my body, but IS my sport, a fit body is a by-product).

And, if I want my photos on my marketing material to show off some muscle, I’m going to do that! Because anything else would be hypocritical of my mission!

Written January 2017 and still applies today



Is Pure Water Really Necessary?

I can’t find any advice from any reputable medical science that show us it’s necessary to drink ½ our body weight in ounces of pure water per day. And believe me, I have searched! Fitness professionals like me believe that is the best practice for good reason, but we have been twisting the actual information which is roughly to: consume ½ your body weight in ounces in total water (more if you exercise, more if you are in hot climate, and especially more if you exercise outdoors in the heat).

Total water includes water in beverages and water in food.

So, this means, your beloved iced teas and “hydration” beverages are sufficient to hydrate your body.

However, things to remember are:

  • Caffeine dehydrates a body.
  • Non-organic products, like tea grown with pesticides, and taste chemicals made in a lab make your liver and kidneys work harder. And if you’re eating a typical SAD, or you take medications of any kind, your liver and kidneys already have to work pretty hard.
  • If you are thirsty and interpret it as hungry (a common phenomenon) , you can gain weight. Or by the same token, if you are thirsty and your body has always satiated thirst with food, your habit for eating when thirsty can cause weight gain.
  • If you don’t typically cook your own food from fresh, whole, organic foods, you are likely eating too much processed, and/or high-sodium, and/or damaging fatty foods that will harm your GI tract. If you are adding caffeinated, sugary, or toxic beverages, instead of pure water, to a GI tract that is already working very hard to function properly, your chances of truly hydrating your body are diminished.

Shall I go on?

Of course, I don’t know your diet, so this is food for thought. If you are consuming the recommended 9-13 servings of fresh organic fruits and vegetables every day, I’d say you do not need to supplement with ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water per day.

Loneliness is your problem

Loneliness is a health risk. Not just not being connected with family and friends – because someone can be connected with family and friends and still be lonely – but not being connected in a way that is meaningful. Loneliness contributes to everything from dementia to inflammation; high blood pressure to stroke. Its affects are similar to smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. Lonely people are less likely to seek help that could affect physiological and mental change. Loneliness is increasing every year.

My readers will know my religion is exercise – I want everyone to experience the transformational power of exercise and great nutrition. but people who are lonely are less likely to find the willpower to exercise… even though exercise is an anti-depressant, and in fact any person of any mental state will tell you they feel better after exercise, but the idea of putting sneakers on and walking out the door to get the exercise going on is just very, very hard. I am learning to recognize exercise may not be the antecedent, but the consequence of a change of mental state.

I have been an active member at a lot of churches, I have belonged to a lot of social groups, from athletic to entrepreneurial, I have been part of a lot of educational environments both live an on-line. In every one of these circles, over many decades, I strapped my ankles and my wrists to the Rack and cranked the wheel, stretching every sinew of my soul, aching for connection; understanding; value.

In these circles, I have discovered, the overarching theme is everyone seems to proceeded as if everyone is ok. The level of instinctive empathy, especially on the part of a leader, seems stunted to me…. And shamefully stunted in some cases.

I want you to know, many of your followers, your students, your congregation, your mentees are fading away from loneliness, desperate to be part of the picture you are painting. You don’t know why they are lonely, but you need to know it’s your task to alleviate it.

I want you to know, loneliness is everyone’s problem. Just like we learned to speak English in language arts, math in geometry, prisms in art, we are called to learn to communicate connection. You might look at someone who needs emotional support and assume they just need a stronger medication, but really they just need stronger meaningful relationships.

I want you to know, people you are walking past in the supermarket parking lot, or you are standing 6-feet away from in the drug store, or you are noticing on the front porch of your apartment complex, or who are sitting in the pew of your church, or chair in your classroom, or are peering in your zoom meeting are drowning in loneliness desperate for breath that you can provide.

Maybe you didn’t know it’s your responsibility to grow empathy; cultivate words that sprout worth and value; propagate patience for outliers, and welcome their wisdom; till your micro-expressions to be those of acceptance.

I’m just saying this in case you didn’t know.


There’s nothing like an injury that hurts like a MF to remind you you’re human. In fact, it reminds me that most things need to remind me I’m human.

Our pantry door crashed to the ground, finding, somewhere in the tumble, my bare foot. And although, whatever hit I took, yielded considerable pain, it lasted only a few minutes. And I wince at the thought that if I had just stood one inch to my left, life would be very different as I write this right now.

In those few minutes, as I writhed in pain, my  mind meandered through the millions upon millions of miracles that happen every day just to keep my body upright and cognizant. Every instant represents a potential for everything in our lives change, I thought. It wasn’t a Debbie-downer moment, but a profoundly appreciative flash.

I wouldn’t be accused of not being grateful. But it gets left behind in the managing of life and dreams and shitty things that happen. But as I held the bag of ice to my toe, and washed the blood off my hand, I got super grateful for Ziplock bags and towels and soap… and it just kept going from there.

One of my favorite things about me right now is my reaction time. I attribute this superpower to my sport of trail running. The trails I choose are technical, loose, rocky, up-and-down terrain. Every time I run, I get to practice my righting reactions, and equilibrium reactions and proprioception. My Golgi tendons and my muscle spindles practice contracting and releasing with just the right tension; my eyes tell my brain to tell my feet to land just in the right spot, and if they don’t, my sensory perceptions tell my body to reply in such a way to keep me moving forward.

This didn’t happen overnight. It happened with consistent, unwavering commitment to not get injured. in reality, however, only in hindsight can I see the benefits of my actions. Every time I ventured to the trails, I gambled with my well-being in favor of building a stronger body and mind, and now I can say it’s paying off.

My husband and I experience pretty good health. But it didn’t happen overnight. It happened with consistent, unwavering commitment to not getting sick. We have accumulated decades-worth of gambling our time, resources, and energy toward making healthy choices that will set us up to avoid illness.

So, I’m sitting there, hyper-ventilating from the pain, thinking: Bodies heal… and my toe will too! And as humans are quarantining one another, trying to avoid a virus everyone says is different than any of the other thousands of virus’ they fight every day, I thought if everyone chose health — selected spinach over donuts; exercise over TV; prayer and meditation over shopping, for example – maybe, if another virus welcomes itself on the planet, next time, my husband and I would be enjoying coffee with friends on Easter Sunday instead of watching a sermon on line.


A speakeasy, is an illicit establishment that sells alcoholic beverages  the use of exercise equipment and fitness training. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during Prohibition era the Covid 19 fiasco (1920–1933, in Winter 2019 – Spring 2020 longer in some states). During that time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation and use (bootlegging) of alcoholic beverages group exercise equipment or live training services or use of an actual fitness center was illegal throughout the United States.

Some speakeasies were operated by people who were part of organized crime  certified personal training organizations. Even though police and agents people on social media of the Bureau of Prohibition would often raid and arrest shame their owners and patrons, they were so profitable  essential so they continued to flourish. The speakeasy soon became one of the biggest most important parts of American culture during this time because exercise is an immune-booster- and the gateway drug to all kinds of other healthy things that fight viruses. Several changes happened as speakeasies formed; one was with integration. With “black and tans” seasoned and new exercises, people of all races types, black or white all people who wanted to be part of the solution would gather together, sweat together and even mingle hug . People would mix together and have few or no problems because their mental health continued to improve.


Imagine Health Care (part 1)

I was imagining all the great things that could happen from this Covid19 disaster. I was thinking how great would it be to gather brilliant minds in one place who don’t feel compelled to bitch together about what is wrong, who won’t be tempted to fall prey to media hyperbole, but who will respond as a unit to begin to solve some of the aches our communities suffer.

“What is my community’s immediate aching need?” we would ask. “What can we do as a unit to solve some of the needs of the community that existed even before quarantine?” we would ask.

So, in the absence of my imaginary committee, and in the privacy of my own living room, I decided the biggest problem is health.

Not “health care,” but Health that is present in a person’s body to withstand disease and viruses. Health that exists in a woman’s body because she is making good nutrition decisions. Health that is present in a man’s body because he is thoughtfully acting in a way that prevents illnesses that could cause him serious harm. Health that exists in a community because the populous is taking personal responsibility to do those things that promote well-being.

What needs to change to make this happen? Obviously, my ideal Healthy-person/Healthy-community scenario does not exist, or we would not have taped shut our playgrounds and force-closed our small businesses and schools.

What could be different by the end of 2020 that did not exist at the end of 2019?

Is it more education? More coaching?

It’s so easy for me to see there is more than enough education out there. It is easy for me to make good health choices. But I remember: your living medication-to-medication, could compare to my living paycheck-to-paycheck. I have no doubt if my husband and I had personalized coaching to help us accumulate a bigger savings, to invest in a long-term financial plan, or whatever… we would be living our best life financially. Just as If you had personalized coaching to help you get your exercise, to purchase and consume healthy food choices, or whatever … you would be living your strongest life.

Someone might say it’s too late for you to get in the best shape of your life; you’ve made too many poor decisions, just as someone might say it’s too late for Warren and I to be in our best financial space; we’ve made too many poor life-decisions. I get the frustration. I empathize with the conundrum, but I don’t believe it is ever too late.

I believe real Health Coaching is the most pressing need of our communities.

Real, actual coaching for individuals who need help – from qualified people who are not salespeople selling a diet plan or a magic potion of some sort. But a person who cares about your health and the health of the community she lives in.

Real Health Coaching. Not by someone who believes you need to lose weight, but by someone who can empathize with your desire to be healthy – so you can fight infections and viruses so you can enjoy life with loved ones and work without worrying about sickness and injury.

Real Health Coaching by knowledgeable people who will compare your real life with what can reasonably happen next; not compare their mindset to yours; who genuinely understand you are different and your needs are unique.

Real Health Coaching -to take people from knowing they need to make changes to actually making changes – is the aching need of our communities!

Who’s in?


Wake Up!

“And you will try to hide and make it seem like it’s nothin’

But really you feel like everything is crashin’ around you

And you develop a problem in trustin’ in other people

Which later became an issue that will mentally pound you

You only get one life

But every time you lookin’ at yours you feel like all you ever see are mistakes

And the problem and the reason you could never move forward in life

Is because you were never awake

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

Wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

Wake up!

wake up!

wake up!

wake up!”



Today, God called me to Wake Up!

I took the Predictive Index recently. The PI is a behavioral assessment that measures a person’s motivating drives and needs. It’s used in the business setting to help professionals work better together; and for hiring, to assure people are placed in a setting where they are most happy and most productive.

The stark contrast between how I perceive myself and how am actually wired solved a life-long problem. Actually, it wasn’t the contrast, it was the Why for the contrast.

And I’m done. I’m done sleeping.

My strengths, it said, are: building strong relationships, motivating, teaching, sharing information. That I tend toward uninhibited expressions of friendliness. That I am interested in people; focused on meeting goals with people; I thrive on teamwork and building relationships.

The dilemma I felt looking at it – just as I have with any other index like 16-personalities (ENFJ), Enneagram (3), and DISC model (High I) – and wondering how this fits in with how I feel.

I feel afraid of people. I feel afraid of being a disappointment, incompetent or late. I feel like I must stay quiet because no one wants listen to my words; I feel like I must stay still because no one wants my influence. I feel like this is prison.

I know what it feels like to be at home in my skin. I was motiving, teaching, collaborating. Using my voice to build relationships. Goal-setting with small groups. Sharing exciting information. I was confident, decisive, enthusiastic. I feel like this is freedom.

When a person resides where she is not wired, she suffers a slow death. She actually creates sickness that affects her physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

The PI showed a graph they called my “Self,” and a graph they called my “Self-Concept.” As expected, the Self-Concept graph is the exact opposite of the Self graph. I was told when a person experiences change such as moving, starting a new job, going to school, jumping into new environment, their self-concept might be affected by the change.

And this is where I WAKE UP!

I blamed God for giving me a great personality that I couldn’t experience because I was imprisoned in this skin that repelled people. But the insecurity was a consequence – literally! – of moving, of changing my world, having to prove myself to new communities, new people, new cultures. AND I made a habit of living in that bubble of uncertainty, timidity, self-doubt, self-loathing. Instead of figuring out how to bust out of the coma, I allowed it to define me.

But today, I Wake up!

The problem and reason I could never move forward in life is because I was never awake!

Today, my fists in the air, I shout WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

Whether or not you need an assessment to tell you how God has wired you, WAKE UP and LIVE IT! Admit your great qualities! flaunt what makes you amazing! Be the person who feels the most alive! Maybe you’ve allowed some outside circumstances to shape your personality into someone you’re not comfortable with. Get out! Re-evaluate! Shatter the parts that don’t belong! Sometimes you’re not sure who you are. Take one of those assessments, and if it feels right, make it happen… exponentially! Find a coach or a mentor to help you develop the you who can uniquely impact the world! And then impact the world!

That’s what I’m going to do! I promise, I’m no longer going to pretend I don’t need people. Because that is exactly what I need! This child of God has the ability to impact the world for better, and it will be done with people! I promise I will find you! I am no longer ashamed of this mind, this heart and this voice! I am waking up, and I am allowing God to use the real me!

Your Logo

When we bought our blueberry farm we knew we wanted the name to reference 1 Cor 9:22, where the Apostle Paul says something about having Common Ground with all people, because it cast a vision on what we wanted for the Farm. The logo designer we hired gave us one of the best pieces of business advice I’ve ever gotten: people don’t really care what your name is, they care what you do. So we named the farm Common Ground Farms Blueberries, not just Common Ground Farms, or Common Ground. Feel the difference?

I’m so aware of that now as I drive around and notice other logos. It’s strange how much it annoys me when business owners have the audacity to just throw a word and a picture out there without telling me what they do. I read, and think: am I supposed to know what you do? How are you going to grow your business if I don’t even know what you do? Are you thinking you’re so damn important that I want to spend time looking it up? In fact, because of your arrogance, I’m pretty sure I won’t ever patronize you. These are things that go through my head. And I appreciate business names that are very clear and unambiguous about what they do.

I guess it’s another reason why I am uptight when people call my business Next Level Fitness because it isn’t Next Level Fitness. It is Next Level Fitness Training. Because that’s what I do: fitness training. It’s a very important distinction.

Which brings me to my point about the honesty with which we portray ourselves, and the justifiable reasons why we don’t.

I read a post today from an exercise instructor who wanted advice from her peers (other instructors in leadership positions) about how to reprimand a man via email for not wearing a shirt to her exercise class. She thought it was inappropriate in a gym that mostly caters to women. That’s the gist of it, anyway.

One of the reasons why I want my own gym is because I want a space where everyone can just be who they are. If you want to show up in stilettos and a mini skirt then, My goodness! show up and stilettos in a miniskirt! Why should a grown-up be told what she should wear to a gym?

A place I used to go to, had a giant sign taking up a whole wall numbering the rules of the gym. About 10 things regarding voices, clothing, cleaning up after yourself, moving equipment around. And the last rule was: If you don’t like these rules, we’ll gladly show you the way to the YMCA.

I loved this because in the town I was in, it was exactly why this gym would never compete with mine. In my gym, we have one rule, well, two:

  1. Show love and respect to others
  2. Show love and respect to yourself

That’s it. If you respect others, you wipe up the equipment and put it away. If you love yourself, you pay your dues and you show up, etc. To me Love/Respect + Autonomy is always best.

It also means, if you show up in stilettos and a mini skirt, or shirtless to a place like my gym where it completely acceptable, and someone else asks you kindly to change because it’s a distraction, you say “By all means! I do not want to distract.” Because there is not judgement. Only love. And respect.

So, I guess this is where I make my point. I think we all want autonomy for ourselves, but we forget about showing love or being love. We want love for ourselves, but we forget about others’ need for autonomy. I think people are afraid to express their authenticity; afraid to use distinct, transparent language about who they are and what they represent because they fear others will be unhappy with them, or show disapproval toward them. If the default was love, there is no fear. When the default is love, we accept in love and we offer in love.