Create the Perfect Home Gym

Hey y'all! In case you haven't noticed, I love to workout. I love to stay active and fit and once upon a time it was more vanity focused. In my college years I wanted to shed those extra pounds and look good. But as I age and grow wiser (or so I try to tell myself), vanity is less of the focus as sanity becomes the prime focus.

Working out keeps me sane.

In the crazy, hectic life of a working mom with a full-time job, a coaching business, and a blog I need some recharge time and I find that in my workouts. P.S. They have also helped me stay off of anti-depressants as depression and anxiety are ugly things I have to battle. But that is another post for another day.

I have always loved the gym. All the equipment at my fingertips, the workout programs, and the machines PLUS the motivation of others around me doing amazing things for themselves. The thing is, when I could go to the gym there were no scheduled group classes and if I had darling daughter with me, I had to time it with childcare hours on site, hope that there was space available, hope that the staff actually showed up, and get my workout done in x-minutes...no exceptions. And I am talking one hour.

I know, I know, an hour is a good workout...most days....but when you are training for a marathon and want to get a good run in plus maybe some stretch or foam rolling time, that hour can speed by especially if....GASP....you need to wait for a treadmill!!!!

It all became a bit too much and this momma started building her home gym beginning with a treadmill.

Ladies, you can do it. If I can in a teeny house on Maui, you can. Nope, I do not have a separate room. Just a corner in the living room/play room for my treadmill and some creative storage spots for other home gym essentials.

What are those essentials?

Well, here are my faves (and you already know the treadmill).

Foam Roller - Yes, you should have one for routine loving care for your body and mine is actually stored in the corner by my treadmill (and kinda on it) but I can use my treadmill and keep it there.

Exercise/Stability Ball - I have had one since darling daughter was a babe and use it less now but she loves it. I also love it for stretching out my back and it makes a good chair. I keep it on my treadmill and it is easy to move it back and forth. In fact, this ball even has gone to work with me for a work chair until I started working standing up.

Hand-held weights...yep, dumbbells. - Get them! It took me way too long to truly invest in these. Yes, I got some 1 pound soft weights when darling daughter was a baby and I was trying to get my pre-pregnancy shape back but I didn't truly seen the benefits of them until I increased the weight selection and started using them right. We can talk more about another day. Currently, my selection is 1 pound, 3 pound, 5 pound, 8 pound, and 10 pound with two of each and they are stored under the lounger. Seriously, this rocks as they are out of the way (so to speak) but easy to grab and get to when I want to use them.

Resistance Bands - I use these less but have some workouts that require them and learn from me, invest in them, don't buy the cheaper versions. You truly get what you pay for. I also like having these on hand as darling daughter likes to use them when she does some workouts with me and there are some amazing leg exercises you can use them for. I store mine in a wicker basket by my treadmill. This basket also contains other fitness related stuff like pressure point balls, BodyGlide, hats, and a tote bag for taking my fitness on the go.

Weighted Exercise Ball - I love my 8 pound ball and have used it for fun fitness games with darling daughter and have added it into workouts they don't require it but I want to up my game and push myself a wee bit further. It stores nicely between my treadmill and wicker basket (that is under an end table by the way).

Yoga Mat/Jump Mat - I have been through tons of these from less expensive thinner versions to thick and bulky hard to store versions but recently have stumbled upon a new fave. I got a Jump Mat for bringing my workouts outside where I needed a bit more plush than the thin mat. I recently used it for yoga in the house and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! It stayed in place (Hello! That never happens!) and didn't smell too funny even when brand spanking new. Yep, I don't like odd smelling mats when doing downward dog, etc. Having a stinky guinea pig cage from time to time is enough. Don't give me a stinky mat. (FYI - Darling daughter says they should invent peppermint smelling mats. She may be onto something!) The mat has grips on it so I know it will stay put when I am doing insane jumping workouts and is thick enough to be a benefit to outside on the deck, on the driveway, workouts.

Circulating Fan - You gotta keep things cool when you are working out and I have a standing up fan situated right by my treadmill, where I need the most cooling.

Now for the good stuff that you may not realize you can get in your home gym.

Workouts! - Yes, you can purchase or stream amazing workouts into your own home so you can challenge yourself under the guidance of instructors when the kiddos nap, play, or do homework. Y'all, this is really cool and I would love to help you pick out programs that are best for you in terms of your goals and finances. I understand budgets! Email me to learn more and yes, this is a shameless plug as I am a coach striving to help others and perhaps earn a few pennies on the side. And did you know -- right now you can sign up for an annual All Access Pass and get all the programs PLUS any new ones coming out this year. This is HUGE, y'all!

Accountability! - Remember me saying I liked seeing others at the gym? I have found that online originally in groups I joined but now in groups I lead. Many of which I do through an easy to use app so we (or maybe it is just me?) don't get sucked into facebook scrolling when we are trying to get our fit on.

Now tell me, did I miss something you feel is essential in your home gym? Tell me about it!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my growing home gym.

Daily Bible Verse: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:26


Join Me! Run & Walk for the Whales

Disclaimer: I am writing this post by my own free will. I am employed by Pacific Whale Foundation. I am the race director for the Run & Walk for the Whales. I am not being paid to write this. Everything I say in this post is my own opinion. Got it? Great!

Did you know on February 4th you could support an amazing cause by running, or walking, for whales?

How cool is that?!

In case you didn't know, I kinda love whales. In fact, it was a very cute dolphin that transformed my life and started me on my course to a B.S. in Marine Biology before getting my MBA but that is a different story.

Nature and whales have always held a certain special spot in my heart. I loved my studies at Texas A&M in Galveston and my time volunteering for the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. I remember the animals I worked with and they melted my heart. Working to make a difference, to save animals in need, is an experience I will never forget. Ironically, it is also in those same college years I came across an amazing running coach who planted the running and fitness seed that would bloom much later in life and is still blooming today.

But that doesn't mean I forgot about those precious marine mammals and the amazing ocean environment that is so critical to so much on Earth. Y'all, we are all connected in so many ways and the air we breath, water we drink, and those precious marine currentS matter. Whales matter too and if you have ever seen one up close and personal, I bet your life will be forever changed.

So on February 4th you have the chance to support a great cause as your race registration or virtual team donation go to a wonderful cause ---- supporting the mission of Pacific Whale Foundation and the researchers, who are the cutest, smartest, most caring people ever, in their programs and projects. Y'all, come on and join me.

I believe so strongly in this cause, and my fitness mission and business, that I am personally donating 5 door prizes to the Run & Walk for the Whales that will include samples of Shakeology and Hydrate PLUS I am offering two prize packages to you amazing followers who have been with me, and continue to support me, through so much that I do. You can enter my blog giveaway below and I will announce the winners post race day to make it one HUGE celebration.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for all your love and support and good luck!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be able to live out the passions of my life.

Daily Bible Verse: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27


WANTED: Subscription Box for Kids

Hey y'all! I know, I know...this post is a bit out of the norm for me and hang in there with me because once we get chatting, you will realize it is ALL me.

So, grab a cup of coffee and let's chat.

Topic: Subscription Boxes

I gotta confess, I LOVE the idea behind subscription boxes and have tried a few for snacks for the fam. As good as they were, the fits were not quite just right for us with a dairy free mom and a somewhat pickier eating kiddo and a hubby who would prefer a bag of junkie potato chips. Seriously, I do not comprehend how he doesn't gain a zillion pounds with some of his high-calorie, high-sugar, high-carb eating habits. I know, I know....genetics. So let's forget all that and get back to the fun stuff.

Subscription boxes!

Recently darling daughter stumbled onto a wonderful craft program on our Roku TV and she is whirling with inspiration and looking for supplies. The idea popped into my head...what about a craft subscription box for her?!

So of course, I started googling immediately and tons of things fell in front of my eyes and then the picky, smart-shopper, gotta have a value, mom in me came out fierce and front center.

If I am going to be paying x-dollars a month, this box has to have value. I mean good value. Good quality items, good for the environment is a plus, educational value is a huge plus, and then I started seeing more and more ideas.

Did you know there are reading boxes, science boxes, gratitude boxes, higher level art boxes, faith boxes, do good boxes? I even found a spice box, coffee box, runner box, knitting box, bath supplies box, gardening box, and so many more. I was left with my head spinning as I shut down my computer.

So many choices!

Getting a nice and useful box in the mail appeals to me but it can't be too costly. Hey! I am a mom on a budget and my kiddo has riding lessons. That takes priority.

So why am I interested?

Because I believe in supporting interests and personal development and that we need to continue to grow ourselves. I think boxes can help with that.

I like the idea of a craft box since darling daughter is always crafting but any activity box could fill the need/desire I see in our house.

Imagine this moms. You have a workout or run to do and it is Saturday morning. You only have so much time to get it done before x, y, and z need to happen. Maybe it is even a LONG run that will take 2+ hours and you need to run while being a mom. It isn't easy to do. Sometimes those little ones get bored or maybe you can only handle so much Sponge Bob or My Little Pony on the TV while you run. Seriously, running 2+ hours in itself is hard. Let's not make it harder!

What if your gem had a special activity box they could pull out and work on when you run? Better yet, what if you had an activity box you both loved and it could be a special Mother-Daughter/Son post-workout reward for the two of you after a successful workout with minimal, "Mom, are you done yet?"

I like this idea and see value in it. The problem is....what box?

So today while I sip my coffee chatting with you, I want to hear...have you tried any subscription boxes with your kiddos? What did you like? What didn't you like?

I would love to hear from you and please, please, please, share this post. This momma needs some advice!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the power of the internet and social media and for all the feedback from y'all!

Daily Bible Verse: For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ ~ Matthew 25:35-40


10 Reasons I Love Working from Home

Call me old-fashioned but I would love, love, love to be a stay-at-home mom. Not because I feel they work any less or have it all great (as the grass is hardly ever greener on the other side) but because being a mom is the best job ever and I am in love of taking care of my family.

We are all different but here are my top 10 reasons for working from home --- or better named, 10 reasons why I LOVE working from home...listed in no particular order.

  1. No commute and that saves gas money and when filling up the car cost me $3.60/gallon yesterday, that is a plus.
  2. Flexible hours. Yes, I have flexible hours in the office too but when you are at home, there is an added flexibility as I can start as early as I want as no waiting for the office doors to be unlocked.
  3. Double-duty: I can tackle the laundry while I work and moms, you know the machines do most of the work and it only takes moments to move from one machine to the next. Now the folding, that takes time but it is doable.
  4. Pets. Yep, pets. Hearing them squeak and tweet throughout the day is soothing.
  5. Music and talk radio. I have a greater freedom to listen to what I love without earbuds and that is a plus-plus! Earbuds tend to give me headaches after a while so this is really cool.
  6. School break day fun. If school is out, I can be a mom, do my job, and watch the little one while she plays and entertains me. Being able to work and be there for your child is a PLUS and I can take work on the go many times as well. That means, I can tackle work while she tacks up to ride and then watch her ride!
  7. Meal prep: I can squeeze in the time to get a big batch of whatever going and it can be baking, etc. while I tackle more on my to do work list.
  8. School drop-off and pick-up. Yes, I get to pick up darling almost every single day from school but being able to drop her off is a HUGE perk as it gives me the time to do an extra fun hair style for her if she wishes....and she often does. 
  9. Comfy work clothes. Yes, I work in a pretty casual work atmosphere but being able to work in my workout clothes before workouts, or in my jammies as I slowly move into my day is pretty darn cool.
  10. Home is where my heart is. I LOVE being home. I have all I need and love here and can workout, cook, bake, relax, work, and find my inner peace. Yes, some days are harder as I am a mom tackling anxiety and depression, but my work from home days are the closest I can get to being a stay-at-home mom, at  least for now, and I love it!
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for being able to work from home.

Daily Bible Verse: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. ~ Psalm 127:3-5


3-Day Refresh Review

This post includes affiliate links. Y'all, I'm just a mom working hard trying to get my family out of debt so if a product appeals to you, I would love to be your coach and guide you along the journey of fitness, health, and faith. I am not being paid to write this post. All opinions are my own.

Last week I tackled the BIG and tried the 3-Day Refresh challenge and having accountability partners made it all the better!

First, why.

I was feeling a bit off over the holidays and as much as I wanted to stay on track, I did up my carbs a bit more than usual but more of a focus was....I was drinking waaaaay too much coffee! I thought three days of focused eating and clean, vegan nutrition could be good AND I had heard wonderful things about the program.

Second, my fears.

I thought I would be starving to death and irritable. I thought it would be way too hard to manage an eating plan for myself while feeding my family and didn't want to make two meals or stand out as a sore thumb as the one eating odd. And I didn't want to eat odd. I wanted to be modeling good, healthful eating for my daughter. I didn't want to sit there at dinner and just drink a shake. I worried about tummy upset, diarrhea, and if I could do this program on the go and at work.

Third, learning more.

I ordered the program and read through the details and immediately realized that some of my fears were ridiculous. I wouldn't be just drinking a shake all by my lonesome and the dinner suggestions were amazing! Darling daughter and I immediately reviewed them all and came up with a meal plan for all of us. She wanted to give it a whirl too but I did stress that I was getting my protein via the shake. She didn't to get some too so would be modifying but having a kid eager to eat more veggies, and try more veggies, is cool! But that girl would do almost ANYTHING to avoid meat. I did modify a bit more for dear hubby so he wouldn't abandon ship and added mini cheeseburgers to his dinners to make it more "manly" but I got to tell you, men can do this too. My hubby just doesn't eat much during the day and needs a HUGE meal and he does love himself some meat!

Fourth, the plan.

It is easy to follow and you can do it at home, on the road, or at work. There is room for you to modify it according to your taste buds and pick your own snacks. Where I did broccoli and homemade hummus, one accountability made a fresh juice (recipes provided on the plan but I lacked a juicer) and another did apple slices with almond butter. I loved the integrated tea breaks and that it got me back to starting my day with a glass a water.

Fifth, the results.

I lost almost 3 pounds but that wasn't my goal. I wanted to feel better and cut back the coffee. Win-win! The bloat decreased and I lost 0.75 inches at my waist....all bloat. Honestly, I think my coffee and carbs contribute to my bloated belly issues.

I learned that I do NEED carbs in my diet and continued to workout through the program. On day 2 I had to eat a very small carb bite to dull the headache and day 3 for dinner, I had a very small portion again and my body just felt better with that. Yes, some may say I cheated but one thing I have been very good at over the years is listening to my body and if I can take a bite of carbs to stop a headache versus taking pain killers, I will take a bite of carbs.

But I am just one person and results can vary as we are all so different. One thing my whole group had in common was a tough day 1 with carb and other "bad" habit withdrawal but we all felt energized by the second day and got better and better. But don't take my word for it. Here is what they have to say.

This was the first time I did the 3 day Refresh program. I really didn't know what to expect but I questioned the fact that I would follow it through. I felt I was going to be starving the entire time and would eventually deviate from the dietary instructions. I've had hypothyroidism for 17 years now and although I take my medication daily, I've always experienced bouts of exhaustion and decrease in mental clarity. I did crave carbs between lunch and dinner but felt the juice option helped depress them. I did feel more energetic after the 3 days and felt more alert and not as foggy headed as usual. I dropped an inch from my waist (36 to 35). I lost 2 and a half pounds (143.5 to 141) and although that may not be a lot I feel great. The constant bloated feeling from the post holiday smorgasbords disappeared. I feel refreshed and ready for the year. Looking forward to making healthier diet choices and to my fitness journey. ~ Mercedes

This 3 Day Refresh was much needed to re-introduce structure & clean eating to my much maligned eating habits. It really brought me to my knees in gratitude. The belly bloat is gone! Down 2" on my waist from 42" 😞 to 40" 🙂 Day 1 was a bear without sugar & caffeine. Days 2 & 3 were smooth sailing. Down 5.6 lbs overall! ~ Terry

Finally, would I do it again?

Absolutely! So if you are interested, let me know by emailing me.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful the great products that are nutritionally sound.

Daily Bible Verse: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


I'm depressed...but I am not weak

I am coming out of my self-imposed cave of shame and admitting, I am depressed. I have been battling it a bit more in the past couple of months and I am tired of it. I know what I need to do and will do to come out of this darkness but also believe, by telling my story I can help others.

I hate that so many with depression feel shamed or embarrassed to say it out loud and to ask for help. I also hate that when you do, many will rush over your words with an easy "snap out of it", "you have so much to be happy about", etc and never truly listen.

Y'all, depression is an illness that needs to be respected and treated.

But how do you know if you are depressed?

We are each different so my signs may not be yours but here they are: I am more tired, I lose interest in things that I love, I slack in motivation, I get moody, I am ready to give up.

The thing is, these are all very vague symptoms and can be signs of many other things. I could really just be tired. I could be over training. I could be coming down with a cold. I could be having a bad day. I could be slacking on my good nutrition. My vitamin D levels could be going down again. 

So how do I know it is depression? It sticks with me. And I see the triggers in my life.

Like signs, triggers can vary from one person to another but most are pretty much the same. For me, I am stressed at work, I have been juggling financial issues at home in attempts to get out of debt and balance increased expenses, there are relationship issues that are ongoing and wearing me out, I have been worried about loved ones fighting life-threatening diseases and/or alcohol. 

And this starts the vicious cycle. The depression and stress weaken me so my outbreaks intensify and become more frequent. This makes me tired, achy, annoyed, and I can lose my cool. We all do sometimes so please, be kind and understanding when your loved one loses their cool. There is a reason. Anger, etc. is a sign of something wrong. Not the problem to be fixed.

And words. Words can hurt. Being told I am a Christian and shouldn't get mad is irritating. It just escalates feelings of failure as yes, I know I am a Christian, yes, I know I should be loving, patient, and kind, and yes, I know I am flopping at times. But really?! Do you think pointing out my failures is going to make anything better? In all reality, I already know I am flopping. And y'all, Christians flop too. No one is perfect outside of Jesus. 

I know all this but this doesn't make things magically vanish.

So what am I going to do?

Take my life back and get back into control.

I will run every day.

I will cross train.

I will pray and keep the faith.

I will read the book and do the journal I purchased at the end of the year on Surviving Depression. This will be my personal development commitment right now. 

I will go talk to someone, a professional or an unbiased friend, and just get things off my chest.

I will attend the healing mass at church this coming Friday. When I announced it darling daughter quickly piped up, but mom, you aren't sick. Well, first, you don't need to be sick to attend a healing mass and second, I am sick. Depression is a sickness that needs help and care and I will turn to God.

I will drink my daily shake. It makes my tummy feel better, it energizes me, it fuels my body well, and all of those added together will only help me move forward.

I will NOT beat myself up anymore or hide in shame. 

Depression hurts but I am strong. 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the strength of God in times when I feel weak.

Daily Bible Verse: The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. ~ Psalm 34:17