Get Sweat Strong!!

Untitled design (1)Back to school is on everyone’s minds and with this turn of the season comes a more structured week schedule, as well as…FOOTBALL SEASON!!  This mean both workouts and calories are easier to find so along comes the #SweatStrongChallenge to coach you through how to take those extra calories you are enjoying into strength gains.

The #SweatStrongChallenge

August 1st we officially kick off 90 days worth of focus on getting Sweat strong.

We are asking you to join our challenge and commit to not only tracking your progress in push ups, pull ups, front squats, and dead lifts, but also promoting strength as a valuable measure of health.

Each month we will reward Sweat members or class package holders with not only the highest PERCENTAGE of progress but also their commitment to the message behind the #SweatStrongChallenge.

Here are the deets:

1.  To join the challenge send me your email address so I can add you to our email list.  You will receive a link to our google doc spreadsheet to which you will have editing capabilities so that you can enter your information and progress at your leisure.  You will notice that each trainer, including myself, will be documenting our progress right along with you!  Your journey is our journey as well.

2.  Throughout these 90 Days you will keep track of several benchmarks.  Each time you hit a new benchmark you should go into this document and record it.  YOU are responsible for keeping track of your progress.  I will send out a FB post reminder so that at the end of the month all your information is entered.

3.  Using FB and/or IG post a #SweatySelfie and celebrate your accomplishment(s) using the hashtag #SweatStrongChallenge so we can find your posts online.  Sweat will provide monthly prizes for those who not only have the GREATEST PERCENTAGE of progress but also are actively promoting the importance of strength via social media.  If we brag about fat loss, lets balance it out with strength gains too!!

Bench Marks:

Push-Ups- How many push ups can you perform in 5 minutes?

Example 1:  I benchmarked at 63 on Wednesday.  The 66 simply displays an example of how to document the next time you do this in August.  There are columns for each month.

Screenshot 2015-07-23 10.48.35Example 2:  For those who are doing a mixed set of standard push ups and push ups on your knees, this is a suggested way to document.  It’s worthwhile to begin to increase the # of push ups you do on your toes but once you lose the required depth, go to your knees to maintain depth.
Screenshot 2015-07-23 10.47.06

Pull Ups- How many pull ups can you perform consecutively???

For Sweat this means strict, hanging, no kip pull ups.  We’ve spent the last month really focusing on form and positioning to put your back and shoulders in the strongest and safest position for pulling your bodyweight.

However…THIS is one of my favorite tutorial videos ever.  Watch it, PRACTICE it, and I promise your numbers will sky rocket!

Document your max consecutive reps.  If you are using a band, keep track of that as well.  Consider changing band colors an added benchmark to this challenge.  If you can get 15 reps with a green band, I’d say ego check.  Head over to a black band and see if you can hit 8-10.  In terms of building strength less assistance is what we are looking for.

Screenshot 2015-07-23 11.09.58

Front Squat:  At what weight can you perform 5 consecutive front squats?

I can already sense the disappointment that I’ve chosen a front vs. a back squat, however, in terms of full body strength the front squat is an undeniable winner.  It’s also a self correcting exercise because a break in form especially from the core is quite obvious.  Breaking form in a back squat is too easy and harder for the ego to accept.

You are NOT looking for your one rep max here either.  You are looking for your 5 rep benchmark.

What’s a bad ass weight to work towards in a front squat?…roughly your body weight.  I’m not there yet but am excited to work my way there!

Romanian Dead Lift:  Once again, we are not looking for your one rep max.

In classes like Vain where we keep our rep counts low, you need to make sure you are using a weight that is appropriately difficult for your body.  I think we often sell ourselves short with this move.  What are you using for 5 reps of RDL’s?  Are you staying at that weight for too long?  We hope no more!!

What’s a bad ass weight for an RDL?  1.5 x’s your bodyweight.  Once again, I’m not there!  I do respect this movement tremendously and am not 100% I can get there within the next 90 days but I am up for improving and progressing as always!


Let’s not fight what is an engrained and positive part of our Southern culture.  We love our football and we love to share this season with friends, family, and food!!  I promise to still talk to you about eating right and keeping yourself lean.  We are not taking this as an excuse to fall off the wagon and practice unhealthy eating patterns.  However, if spring and summer are our leaning out phases then Fall and Winter can certainly be the time of year where we LEARN to use those extra calories appropriately and gain muscle over fat.

ARE YOU IN????  If so, I expect my inbox to be FULL messages!!  Send them to: or our facebook page:

Unapologetically Authentic

I open up my news feed to one of the best FB brags I’ve seen in a very long time:Screenshot 2015-07-16 07.55.28

Sharon has given me permission to share it with all of you.

I met Sharon in March but our first opportunity to really sit down and chat was in June at the pool.  I’d say within the first 30 minutes, I knew that she was a newly recovering alcoholic.  I remember thinking the moment she very matter of factly exposed a part of her life that could leave her judged and ostracized, this woman has some real deal guts.  I like her!

To be bluntly and unapologetically authentic in the face of potential negative perceptions is an open act of courage and self love.  By honestly talking about any aspect of her past, Sharon, now, OWNS her story instead of depending on other’s opinions and chatter to narrate who she is.

I couldn’t help this morning, after being uplifted by Sharon’s post, think about how many of our own imperfections we (consciously or unconsciously) occlude from others in order to appear like we’ve got our lives figured out.

I remember when Sweat was opening how I worried tremendously about my bio being too revealing.  Why would anyone want to train with a former anorexic?  Did my struggle with food and overtraining take away my credibility?  How would I be perceived by friends, family, and complete strangers after exposing what I’d only very privately admitted to very few?  Had my husband not encouraged me to be honest, I’m not completely sure I would have published the bio you see today.

And what a mistake that would have been- To pretend I had “it” all together…What a lie!

I’m on an ever evolving journey to this day and care so much about your individual journey’s because I see myself in YOU and I do hope you see yourself in me as well.  The good, the bad, the ugly…it’s real…it’s human.  I’ve struggled with the mirror, compulsive food guilt, obsessive calorie counting, manic heart rate monitoring, rigid eating routines, crazy training schedules, and Garmin crazed runs.  Dark, dark, dark fitness years that I work hard to never ever see again.

I read, I learn, and I blog because, as Sharon so openly reminded me today, being unapologetically authentic is one of the STRONGEST things any person can be.  There is no shame in our quest to change and be the best version of ourselves we can be.  You are a bad ass Sharon!!!

Photo Shoot Is Back On!

It’s official…August 18th and 19th…6 weeks to prep!

NO PANIC ATTACK- A notable difference from the last time I booked my photo session.

In fact, I’m experiencing the exact opposite because the changes I made in March were sustainable, healthy, fit my schedule, and gave me results.  Now for a bit of “detail” work so that I feel at ease in front of a camera.

Here’s what I’m focusing on…

Phase 1:  Clean up and Recovery – 2-3 weeks

Food:  While I eat clean on a regular basis, I’m not food obsessed either.  I do eat “junk” on occasion.  I will absolutely need to make sure that my snacking is packed w/ more nutritional value.  In other words, less white cheddar popcorn and more fruits.  I also get lazy with my water intake so a visible difference will how much I’m drinking.  My vitamins and protein shakes are still coming from Isagenix.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

1.  100 oz of water/day MINIMUM

2.  12-14 hour fasting.  In other words, if my last meal is at 8pm then breakfast is no earlier than 8am the following morning.

My day:

1.  Wake Up, coffee + almond milk + morning vitamins

2.  Isagenix IsaLean or IsaPro shake

3.  Post Workout- IsaPro plus starch – probably oatmeal or sweet potato but if I have a hankering for bread, I’m not afraid of it 🙂

4.  20-40g Protein + veggie + fruit

5.  Afternoon snack:  2 eggs+2whites and avocado or Quest bar or whatever delicious protein based mini meal is easily accessible.  I may be at  home or on the run.

6.  20-40g Protein + veggie dinner (or shake if I’m not at home)+ evening vitamins

*my goal is to stay ahead of my hunger so if my body is asking for a carb towards the evening I’ll have a bit.  I know myself well enough that if I deny then I’m setting myself up for disaster later.  Some of my evenings are really active evenings and others are chill.  It’s more important to navigate through my circumstances than to follow a set plan to a “t.”

Training:  DECREASE metabolic training.  I’m going old school Vain.  Why?  I can tell my body needs the break.  At some point last week, I began not sleeping very well and my energy levels fluctuated from normal to tired almost at random.  That’s my body’s nice way of saying, I’m ready for a break.  From experience I know that if I “heroically” push through this I will be tired more often than energetic, my workouts will lack intensity, my cortisol will continue to rise and cravings will increase with it.  I will without a doubt GAIN FAT this way.

As I’ve coached many men and women at Sweat, more exercise does not necessarily equate to more results.  Oftentimes, LESS is BEST.  Practicing what I preach…

1.  I’m increasing recovery activities like leisure walking to make sure cortisol goes back down.  No less than 4 hours of walking/week.  This is NOT power walking.  This is walk the dog, put on a podcast, and meditate style walking.

2.  ZERO CARDIO.  That’s right!  No burpees, jump squats, jump lunges etc.  Heavy leg day, heavy arm day, abs, and one heavy full body day which I’m crazy excited about…only 4 movements. Push Ups, Pull Ups, Front Squats, Deadlifts.  We will do it in Vain sometime next week!!  It’s going to be awful and amazing!!IMG_0627

Phase 2:  3-4 weeks

I’ll reveal details later.  I can tell you that this is when I kick workouts back into high gear and I will add in metabolic training again.  Higher reps, lower weights.  I can’t detail quite yet how I will change my food choices, however.  I need to see how much I am able to shred during Phase 1.

You are more than welcome to follow along with me btw.  If you feel your body dragging you might be ready to change things up as well.  Don’t let less cardio scare you!!!  I’d love to help you through it and show you  how to change things up during class to make it work.  You  know how to find me or contact me at