My Runs Are Powerful Beyond Measure

I will be the first to admit, I have struggles in my mental fortitude and discipline from time to time. This week was a prime example of that. I am about due for my cycle, yes – maybe too much information – but there, I said it! And, boy can our cycle be a powerful wind of resistance and often times, hijack our physical stamina, emotions and discipline. 

This past week, I was unusually tired, I was craving non-compliant foods and I wasn’t the most pleased with my physique for the week. That all said, I did not waiver. I coached myself through with positive affirmations and fighter talk daily. I spoke to myself as I would a friend or client, after all, isn’t that what we should do? Sadly, more often than not, we aren’t as kind and forgiving to ourselves as we are others. That has been one of my own efforts of personal growth over the past eight months and it’s working brilliantly.

This morning I went out for my routine five mile run (and when I say routine, I mean since I was 12 years old!)  My run was SO powerful both literally and figuratively. My stride was strong and graceful and my mind was going wild! I starting thinking about the following few things and came up with this:

“Talent gives me goosebumps, but witnessing passion and hard work strikes the bull’s eye of my heart.” – Alli McKee

“Though they are directly correlated, I train to be strong and to perform optimally, but I eat to be lean. Both of these however work to challenge my mental fortitude.” – Alli McKee

More signs and positive affirmations from the universe 🙂 :

When I woke up this morning, I took a closer look at my calendar and the quote for the  month of June said: “You must feed your mind even as you feed your body, and to make your mind healthy you must feed it nourishing, wholesome thoughts.”

Then, as I was running, I saw a few butterflies along my path – something that may mean nothing to most of you, but when I was 16 years old, I got a tattoo of a butterfly because of the quote that states, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was coming to an end, it became a butterfly” – I smiled and took that as a “keep your chin up” sign.

Last, but not least! I had my ipod on shuffle and on came a song from Kings of Leon – Immortals. I have had this cd since the day it was released and I have NEVER tuned into the lyrics of this song until today..

They said:

The open road, the path of greatness, it’s at your fingers
Go be the one, that keeps on fighting, go be the stranger
Just put your foot, in front’ the other, crow like the rooster
We are allowed to get us something, fear is a danger
I say

Spill out on the streets and start, right away
Find out what you are, face to face

The windows are, the perfect picture, they’re always changing
Go on get lost, jump in the waters, when they are raging
I say

Spill out on the streets and start, right away
Find out what you are, face to face
Once you’ve had enough, carry on
Don’t forget to love, before you’re gone

So I picked up the pace in my run just to get home and put these thoughts down. No, not everything is easy for me and yes, I do falter, but I am learning to coach myself first and that helps me coach others. I have no doubt in my mind I am in the field I was born for.


Saturday’s at the Turf & Track, Vol 2

“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.” – Mia Hamm

I thought about this quote on Saturday a few times when I was bent over, at the point of exhaustion, during my sprint workout. No one was out there with me, just myself and the drive to push beyond comfortable limits.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my “Saturday’s at the Turf and Track”. I posted a track workout I did however it wasn’t my standard session due to some discomfort with my left quad. Going into my most recent session, I was extra aware to avoid a similar occurrence because I really look forward to these track days – just me and the open field – I absolutely love it.

Saturday's delightful view...

This past Saturday was a success on all fronts. The weather was great, the field was all mine, my body and mind were in sync with the demands and I ran the hell out of myself. I actually felt like my whole body got worked to the max and not a weight involved. In fact, my abs are always sore after my track workout and not a single, isolated ab exercise will be found on this day. Sure we can finesse the technique and mechanics of our sprints, but in my opinion, these are one of the most elementary and best exercises for a sharp physique and overall athletics.

My current, traditional sprint workout from Carter is as follows:

Dynamic Warm up:

  • 1 lap (casual) around the track (400m)
  • Ground mobility work and muscle activation
  • Stationary movement drills on my feet
  • Linear and lateral movement drills
  • Build up sprints

Phase 1: Acceleration Runs
(Note: I do a gradual build up throughout the runs, hitting top speed at 40 yards and maintain through target distance. So if it’s a 60 yard run, top speed is the last 20 yards. I did not time my rests, rather I just walked back and rested as needed between runs).

  • 50 yard x 3
  • 60 yard x 3
  • 70 yard x 2
  • 80 yard x 2
  • 90 yard x 2
  • 100 yard x 1

Recovery was approx 5-10 minutes, hydrate, etc. (I walked from the track to my next location for phase 2 which took about 8 minutes, perfect!)

Phase 2: Hill Sprints
(Note: Full out effort here)

  • 5 sprints – 30 seconds each to the top of the hill.
  • 2 minutes to walk down the hill, recover and reset between sprints.

Recovery was approx 5-10 minutes again, hydrate, etc. (I walked back up to the track for phase 3 – about 8 minutes again)

Phase 3: 400m (1 time around the track)
This took me 1:24 minutes to run the 400. A few weeks ago it took me 1:25 minutes. I’m not sure if it’s good that I was consistent or not so good that I didn’t beat my time but a second 🙂 I’m not even sure how to compare it to others. Either way, it was my best effort as I was starting to feel quite gassed from the acceleration runs and the hills prior to the 400m.

Phase 4: 1 mile run around the track
This was a casual run to chill out, enjoy the pace and wind down. I still kept track of my time though – 8:30 minutes.

Phase 5: Walk it out, stretch, hydrate, home, eat, nap.


As for current training, I have just wrapped up my eighth week of training (two 4 week blocks) with Carter. Sometimes people ask me what I’m training for now and I simply tell them, “to get better every day.” We are taking a deload week this week (week nine) and I will begin a new four-week block on Monday. In the next post, I’ll share a little detail on my deload, a few training videos and upcoming plans!

My Perspective: 25 Values and Lessons Learned

I’m going to get a little personal here and share with you 25 lessons / values that have developed for me over time. I personally feel that if I stick to these and keep them in perspective regarding all goals, challenges and the day to day, I am doing alright.

Over the past 3.5 years, I feel I have really learned a lot about myself and life. It has been a dense couple of years for growth between experiences with death, relationships, career choices, figure competitions and the journey inward.

I thought I would share some of my personal findings with you – take what you want from them, after all, they are personal to me. Though I may be not “old” enough to be “wise,” I believe living through experiences and taking a deep look at them (and yourself) can really provide a lot of opportunities for growth. I’m sure there are a few I’m missing on this list, but it was getting long enough 🙂

1. I train to be strong. I eat to be lean. – With this simple rational, it’s easy for me to justify why I do what I do. It helps me make the choices I make on a daily basis. I have also found that no matter how hard I train, I will not have the body composition or the physique I want if my intake and diet do not match my efforts in the gym. To me, proper eating is equally important as the time I put into my activity – and to be honest, proper eating requires a hell of a lot more round the clock effort than my training.

2. Habits – After competing for 2.5 years, I’ve learned that good habits die hard too 🙂 It now feels unnatural for me to eat crap or skip training. Put in the time and consistency to develop good habits, they are just as hard to break as bad habits.

3. Believe In Yourself – If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?! If you want to achieve something, expect that you deserve it and believe that you will attain it until you do.

4. Follow Your Heart – This can be a scary thing, sometimes the road less traveled – but do it. Be true to you, you will feel so rewarded. There may be days of challenge and your strength and positive attitude could waiver, but dig deep to move through those moments. Don’t lose sight of your passion and continue to pursue / create what makes YOU happy. You only get one life, you ought to live it for you and for what drives you to fulfillment.

5. Consistency – Whatever you want to be or do, wherever you want to go, however strong you want to be or lean you want to look – I’ve found consistency will get you there. Just apply appropriate efforts and repeated daily.

6. Training Is A Gift – I heard this one from Martin Rooney years back and I tell it to myself and clients all the time – Training is a gift you give to yourself. It is your time, your money and your body. It is also a gift as not all people are capable to train. Appreciate your training.

7. Strength – is so important in every capacity. Strength in character and internal strength are equally important to cultivate just like physical strength.

8. Sacrifices – be prepared to make them. To have great things, you must do great things. It’s likely you will go against the grain at times and you will have to stand strong and or make choices and sacrifices that are not easy. Keep the bigger picture and goal in mind.

9. Eliminate the Negative – get rid of the negative people, places or things from your life as best you can. We can’t always avoid such people or circumstances, but have your antennae up and steer clear when you can. It’ll make the day to day much lighter.

10. Integrity – Be honest with yourself and others. Act according to the values, beliefs and principles you claim to hold.

11. Drive – the relentless pursuit of the goals and things you want to achieve. You must have this in order to achieve your visions.

12. Hard Work – Be prepared to put in the extra time and energy. To achieve above average, you have to do above average and most often, above average is not easy.

13. Death – I hope most of you reading this haven’t had to experience a death so close it leveled you. I did unfortunately, back in 2008. Today, I can finally reminisce about him with smiles and be grateful that I knew him for seven months rather than zero. I wouldn’t trade one minute of my time with this person to spare any of the pain and loss I felt as a result of his untimely death. What I did learn however, was that life is precious and short. That bad things happen to great people and most importantly, if we care about someone, we ought to value our time with them always and tell them often.

14. Injuries – We’ve all had them. Some we can work around, others we must learn to respect and let heal. It can be frustrating to sit out of activity, training or sport in order to let the healing process take place – but considering longevity and quality of lift / activity down the road – respect the injury. Just like the heart needs time to heal, so does the body.

15. Life Goes On – I’ve arrived at a pretty peaceful and happy place in my life. Despite challenges – whether loss of loved ones, loss of security or a hard practice in general – I’ve come through to the other side a few times and found with hindsight, that life does go on, all things pass and we will get through.

16. Stand Strong and You Will Grow – Stand up for yourself. Whether it be in a work environment, in a relationship or for something you believe in – it’s empowering to stand up for yourself and you will grow from it as it makes you stronger from the inside out.

17. Support Systems Are Great – sharing things with family, friends, colleagues and coaches, helps double the joy and lessen the difficult. Also, it often “takes a village” when aiming for a big goal, so work people into your support system that can help you towards your goals. Besides, if you don’t have loved ones to share life with, what good is it really?

18. Networking – can serve as gasoline to your fire. Not only does it help you grow, it can be uplifting and inspiring! Especially if you are on the road less traveled. Also, no need to reinvent the wheel – seek those who can help guide you.

19. Passion – passion, one of my favorite words – it fires our souls and lifts our spirits. It breeds enthusiasm and enthusiasm turns into a positive energy which attracts success. Passion is a great navigational tool if you will listen to it. I am driven by passion and to create the environment and day to day tasks / activity that make me happiest.

20. A Positive Attitude – We live our day and lives through the attitude and perception we have. You can focus on the difficulties and annoyances or focus on the good and be grateful. Having a positive attitude makes life so much more peaceful. You may not be in control of circumstances, but you are in control of your thoughts and actions. During tough times, aim to keep a positive perspective in order to keep your chin up and eyes on the things in life that are going your way (whether it’s the big picture that everyone you love is healthy or the small simple pleasures like a beautiful day or a good training session.)

21. Adversity – it’s going to come and will do so in all different shapes and sizes. Having the ability to stay the course and plow through — as Winston Churchill says “if you’re going through hell, keep going” – You will hopefully come out of the challenge stronger, more empowered and with more experience to handle the next difficulty. It can also make us more empathetic to others.

22. Failure – Failing can be an opportunity to learn, grow and gain perspective. Aim not to blame others and not to be too hard on yourself. Rather, recap your strategy, your efforts and move forward with additional experience and a positive perspective.

23. Let Go Of Expectations – When you have expectations of something – you put it in a predetermined box that has little to do with reality. You set up an idealized version of the thing (or person) and then try to fit the reality into this ideal, and are often disappointed. Instead, try to experience reality as it is, appreciate it for what it is, and be happy for what it is. (took this wording from Leo Babauta)

24. Always Aim To Be Fair, Honest and Kind – to yourself and to others.

25. You All Keep Me Inspired – I have realized in the pursuit of my goals and dreams, I am most inspired by all of you. To continue eating, training, studying, coaching, writing, creating and living through example. If it weren’t for the fellow passionate fitness friends and professionals, the process wouldn’t be half as enjoyable. 


Strength In Numbers

This past week has been a really exciting week for networking! It all started when Bret Contreras wrote a blog post titled “Where My Ladies At.” Be sure to check it out for yourself because it’s a very inspiring compilation of 13 strong women training hard in the gym!

Bret’s post was a take off of Nia Shanks Beautiful Badass movement. Nia is one STRONG female!! She can deadlift 300lbs and ladies, one look at Nia and you will see she is FAR from “bulky” – so get that silly myth out of your head right now if it’s your reason for not training heavy! I suggest you witness this for yourself, check Nia out here.

Monday after Bret’s post ran, Molly Galbraith and I were tweeting back and forth about lifting. That quickly turned into an idea of training together. She mentioned that she and Jen Comas Keck  were getting together to support Julia Kaufman Ladewski in a meet in August. I thought, let’s get some more ladies involved and one thing lead to another – now the weekend of August 20th evolved into a gathering of some serious brains, beauty and brawns! We will all be joining for one hell of a girls weekend to support Julia, train together and have a girls night out…including but not limited to Molly Galbraith, Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, Jen Comas Keck, Mandy Stafford, Nia Shanks, Jen Grasso, Julia Kaufman Ladewski and possibly Neghar Fonooni. I am SO stoked to meet these amazing women, train, talk shop and hang!

Bret also connected a handful of us from his post (Thank you Bret). I can tell you readers this, great things are ahead. We are all going to put our strength, passion and brains together as we join forces to create a bigger movement for females and strength training.. REAL STRENGTH TRAINING.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these Beautiful Badasses yourself. I have previously mentioned Jen Grasso, but make sure you bookmark the rest of them as they all have great knowledge, passion and hard work ethic!

Your valuable list of strong female resources:

Elsbeth Vaino – Her Blog and Female Fitness Forum
Molly Galbraith – On Elite FTS
Marianne Kane – Free Fitness Workouts
Rachel Guy – Rachel’s Website
Nia Shanks – Nia’s Website
Jen Grasso – Renegade Fitness, Jen’s Blog
Neghar Fonooni – Neghar’s Blog
Jen Comas Keck – Jen’s Blog and Interview on Robertson Training Systems
Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic – Website (and link to her blog)
Julia Kaufman Ladewski – Blog
ellie Davis – Mother Fitness and Get Glutes

If I have missed anyone or another valuable website, please feel free to add them in the comments section!!

Again, I am so STOKED to begin networking with these incredible women of strength! Together we are going to bring new meaning to STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – we are joining forces to bring you all the best in the female side of the strength and conditioning industry.

In the words of Bret Contreras “It’s about time you gals made some shit happen” — AMEN!

More exciting news to come!

p.s. For those of you who want to check out the original Beautiful Badass post – you can check them out on Nia’s site. She is also in the works for creating great T Shirts. Join the movement!!

Saturday’s at the Turf & Track

I haven’t posted in a while. My blog is not a low priority, in fact, it’s been on my brain a good bit as I’m excited to reveal a new and improved site in the near future.  On the flip side, when I’m not training clients or training myself, I’ve been spending a good bit of my free time studying for my CSCS. By the time I’m finished reading, my mental energy has been spent and I’d rather get up and move than write.

Anyhow, that all said, I’ve been training as regular as I always have – minus a bit of the cardio.   My weekly training schedule is typically the following:

Monday – Strength, Power and METABOLIC day
Wednesday – Lower body STRENGTH
Thursday – Upper body STRENGTH
Saturday – Track Workout
Tuesday, Friday and Sunday – I freestyle with outdoor runs, recovery work or a rest day

I love to train with the iron – no doubt about it. However lately, I’ve been enjoying my Track Saturday’s the most. It takes me back to my roots of athletics, sports and training. I love going outdoors – no equipment, no walls and no crowds. It’s just free space, sunshine and athletic movement.

I’m really fortunate to have gone to a highschool that has a phenomenal facility. Among the great athletic programs Hereford High was known for, it’s weight training facilities also had a great reputation. That’s where I started lifting when I was 15 with Coach Turnbaugh, the highschool Varsity Football Coach. I still have my training folders from the good old days which show I followed a Mon / Tues, Thurs / Fri split with a track day on Wednesdays…  🙂

Ten years later, I’m so grateful to still have my highschool grounds for personal use.

I was really looking forward to my track day today. I put my earbuds in, turned on Wolfmother and started with a dynamic warmup on the center of the 50 yard line. I tend to freestyle my warm up, but always incorporate consistent activation, mobility and movement drills. Now that it’s a track day, I also dug into my library of movement prep from my days at the Parisi Speed School.

Today’s Dynamic Warm Up looked something like this:
On the ground – T-Spine mobility, Double leg hip bridges, Single leg hip bridges, Fire Hydrant Hip Circuit, Push Ups, Push Up Plus
On my feet – Prisoner squats, Good mornings, Jumping Jacks, Seal Jacks, Crossover Jacks (repeat x 2)
Movement Drills (20 yards up, 20 yards back) – Walking High Knee Hugs, Skips (for frequency), High Knees, Walking lunge, Reverse lunge with an overhead reach, Lateral shuffle, Side runs, Dynamic lateral lunge
Running Prep Drills – Arm mechanics, then a mechanical sprint drill: quick feet (5 yards) into high knees (10 yards) into a build up sprint (20 yards) x 3 rounds.

All was great…music, environment, sun, sweat, free space… my left quad however was feeling a bit off.. As I ran through my first 40 yards at a build up pace, it seized up on me. NOT TODAY I thought – I was so pumped to sprint! (Although, it’s never a good time 🙂 ) I stretched and tried again a few more times. Each time it got tighter and more painful – my body wasn’t having these sprints today. I was determined however to make the most out of my time and the gorgeous day… so I improvised, tried a few things and made due with what I could tolerate.. it still wound up being a great day of movement. Not full blown intensity but still good. My quad seemed to bug out with full force hip and knee flexion on the flat surface, but it was tolerant of hills. fortunately, I had those nearby too.. in fact, the hill at Hereford probably makes any athlete cringe at the memory of climbing it!

So the following was my workout today:

The Dip - well, most of it...

Phase 1: Hill sprints (aka, up the Dip ;)) 8 rounds (1 Round = roughly 30 second hustle to the top (I say hustle bc I couldn’t sprint) plus 2 min rest to get back down, recover my heart rate and stretch my quad)
Phase 2: Back up to the track – 8 rounds of 10 explosive burpees (push up included variation) Rest between rounds was self regulated – as much as needed but as little as needed.

Phase 3: Slowing things down a bit with two miles around the track (quad is tolerant so long as I don’t try to exert too much force on the flat surface)

Phase 4

Phase 4: (I still wasn’t ready to call it a day.. too nice out… so I incorporated “Four Corners” A, B, C, D – which included the 50 yard line, sideline, the endzone and the other sideline)
Round 1 – Point A to B jog, Point B to C side shuffle, Point C to D reverse run, Point D to A side shuffle
Round 2 – Point A to B High knees, Point B to C Side run, Point C to D High skips, Point D to A Side run
Round 3 –  Point A to B Walking lunge, Point B to C Lateral lunge, Point C to D Reverse lunge, Point D to A Lateral lunge
Round 4 – Jog Final Lap

Overall, still a great day despite a resistant left quad. I will post my “real” track workout in an upcoming post.. plus videos of the warm up drills AND the new and improved site should be up soon 😉


Interview with Not Just A Man’s World (Part 3 & 4)

About two months ago, I participated in an interview with Ammi from Not Just A Man’s World. Ammi put together a very thoughtful and organized set of questions that dug a little deeper into where I came from, what I’m about and where I’m going in regards to training. She also provides an inside look at my mental and nutritional strategies during previous Figure Competitions. The interview was broken down into four parts and released throughout the month of May. I shared part one (personal history and motivation) and part two (nutrition) in a previous post. Now we have the final two segments to wrap up the interview. 

You’ll find in parts three and four, more details about my training for the Figure Competitions as well as what to expect in the future.  

Check it out, as well as Ammi’s blog. We hope you enjoy!

Shed Fat & Shape Your Legs

Don’t miss the May issue of Oxygen Magazine! Just a few more weeks left to grab your copy off the newsstands for an inside look as Sled Training hits the mainstream magazines!

Last year was an exciting time for me as I began developing a relationship with the staff at Oxygen Magazine. Over several months, we worked together to create a killer feature article on Sled Training – one of my favorite training tools for a great challenge, a lot of bang for your buck and a ton of fun!

Finally, a few weeks ago, the piece was released and we can all see and enjoy the fruit of the labor! Sled Training is not just for the Performance Athlete – Sled Training can and should be done by all!

For additional information on this feature, you can also go to

A HUGE thanks to the staff at Oxygen – Rachel, Val, Paul, Diane, Stacy, Nadia, Erin and the many others who contributed to a memorable experience and who put together such a special piece!