The Blog

My Life, Enriched

 

“Life is about making an impact, not making an income.” – Kevin Kruse

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The week after getting back from my (much needed) personal holiday in Phoenix, AZ I got doing some reflecting. On my trip I had celebrated my 33rd birthday with my Mom, whom I’m incredibly close with. We made the trip up to the Grand Canyon, and it was spectacular. Witnessing one of the Wonders of the World can really make you pause. In the past I used to dread my birthday. I think as I was getting older, I started to become more and more disappointed that I didn’t achieve certain milestones within the time-frame I envisioned. My expectations weren’t necessarily unrealistic: I wanted to have all my kids by the time I was 30; have my own house; and I thought I’d be married by now. Not unrealistic, but… these are not things one can feasibly control. Control. That’s me- and also a huge part of the problem.

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I can honestly say that this was the first year that all those thoughts and feelings of failed expectations and disappointment stopped. Maybe it was the help of the Canyon; maybe it was a little bit of added maturity. As I drove home from a belated birthday dinner with my girlfriend last week, I made some positive affirmations:

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  • I am 33 years old, and in perfect health
  • I am in a loving relationship where I am respected and cared for
  • I have a steady career in nursing and am able to provide for myself and my partner
  • I have a supportive family that always has my back on every pursuit I embark upon
  • I have a small, but solid group of girlfriends whom I can trust with my life, and share mutual respect for
  • Each and every day I am reminded (via social media) the impact my sharing my goals and experiences have positively influenced someone else

Image (77)Each of these affirmations… priceless. All of the above listed have been earned by hard work, respect, and love. The things in life that are priceless are also irreplaceable. I see a lot of people posting pics of mansions, sports cars, watches, purses that cost more than my pay check- hash tagging “life goals”. Really though?? I definitely enjoy the finer things in life, but I can tell you fancy, lavish items won’t bring you happiness. Money can make certain things a little easier, but not necessarily happier. Some of the most miserable people I have met seem to put the most emphasis on ‘things’. I have seen people have more than enough money to last twice their lifetime, but in the end it didn’t buy them their health.

I am by no means what you would call a ‘rich girl’: I work a shift work job that has an salary cap on income; I live in a modest townhouse (which I am proud to be the owner of) with basic furniture and decor; I drive a Ford SUV, but it’s reliable and doesn’t cost a mint to repair; I look for deals on groceries where I can get them. BUT I can tell you that I have a life that is EN-riched with quality friends, family, and more experiences than I ever thought that I would have- even at my age. I could not have predicted a life more full, or to be more proud of. So many of us fixate on what isn’t there. Once we stop and see what IS there, life is actually pretty amazing. One your very last day, think of who and what would be there: that is your legacy <3

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How I Fell in Love with Bodybuilding

Friday nights are usually reserved for ‘quality time’ for My Champ and I. 9 out of 10 times this usually involves watching something on Netflix. This past Friday I had suggested we watch ‘Pumping Iron’.  For those of you that don’t know, Pumping Iron was documentary-style film made in 1975 showcasing the then-bizarre world of bodybuilding. The film’s main star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was the highlight featured as he was in preparation for his 6th Mr. Olympia win in Pretoria, South Africa. He was then, and arguably still is the most famous bodybuilder in the world. This was My Champ’s first time seeing the film, and likely my 6th or 7th. It still gives me goosebumps when I watch it.

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I still have the copy 🙂

Growing up in my childhood home, my bedroom had this very large bookshelf. My parents kept many of the family photo albums and cherished books in this shelf. I distinctly remember being about 10 years old, and snooping in the section of the shelf where the books were kept. There I found my Dad’s copy of the 1977 version ARNOLD: The Education of a Bodybuilder. I flipped through the pages in complete awe. I loved how muscles looked! Although I knew absolutely nothing about bodybuilding in my tender youth, I knew that Arnold had quite the aesthetically pleasing physique. The attraction was not of a sexual nature, but more of a keen interest and admiration in how one could transform their body in such a way. Not only was I impressed with his appearance, I also became intrigued with the information provided regarding exercise and nutrition. Though there have been many changes to what constitutes a ‘proper’ bodybuilding diet over the years, it was obvious that to look like a beast you would have to eat and train like one! Even today (as I still have the copy in my possession) I admire the confident, no-bullshit approach Arnold had toward his craft. In order to be the best, you have believe you are the best: feed yourself with the best, train with the best, practice the best, sleep the best, always question ways you can be BETTER. I believe this applies to anyone and everyone trying to get ahead in life, no matter the goal.

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Love me some Madge

It was around this same point in time that I also became infatuated with Madonna. For a female singer/actress, the girl was RIPPED! I actually remember watching one of her music videos while my cousin was baby-sitting me, and I uttered “I want to look like that when I grow up.” Sure, Madonna has done some things in her past that are maybe questionable for a young girl to view her as a role model- but the impact she had on me as a confident, strong, independent female was huge. She was fierce. She was intimidating. I just remember loving the flow of the muscles in her arms: the visible delts, the separation of biceps, the veins in her forearms… I wanted all that. I loved that she made no secret that her appearance took much discipline through diet and training.

Many people have celebrity heroes from their childhood, and mine were Arnold and Madonna. So I guess it makes sense that I would eventually fall into the world of bodybuilding and fitness. I knew I’d never be a model for Vogue or Elle, but I knew in my heart I had what it took to be a fitness competitor. It was my desire, my passion, my everything to pursue the sport I grew up admiring. And although I’m not being displayed on a stage anymore, I’m still very much all about challenging myself to my absolute physical limits. Everyone has a ‘why’ as to how they started, and it’s important to always remember what that ‘why’ is. Keep going, because truly anything is possible 😉

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Why I Never Want to be Like You

The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that.”- Arnold Schwarzenegger

While some might dispute me choosing to quote Arnold, fan or not, the man has done some great things in his lifetime. I use Mr. Schwarzenegger as an example because his rise to fame all stemmed from what was once an unusual anomaly: bodybuilding. It’s hard to believe now, as in recent times muscle is very much ‘in’ and desired. But back in Arnold’s heyday, it wasn’t so. It was considered freakish and strange: why would anyone want to look like that? Confident in his pursuit to be the best in the world at his craft, he did just that: and went on to succeed in many other storied achievements. He is now one of the most successful and powerful celebrities on the planet.

Many of the role models I look up to have at least one of two things in common: they overcame some type of adversity, and/or chose a road less traveled to attain success. There is no such thing as the ‘perfect journey’. In fact I find the more difficult the pursuit, the more inspiring the story.

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When I began competing in fitness, my start was not easy. Many people thought it was a strange choice of sport: hardly anyone was doing it. My coworkers would vocally accuse me of not eating enough, and exercising too much: even calling me obsessed, which I was. My mother was concerned that I was going to morph into this bodybuilder and render myself beyond recognition. It was hard for her to accept me not eating the same things at family dinners. I did lose a few friendships along the way, but also gained many others. As each season went by, I continued to get better and better, and my hard work was paying off. Others started to notice this wasn’t some onetime ‘fad’ I was partaking in: I was genuinely passionate about this lifestyle. I BELIEVED in it. Fast forward 7 years later, fitness competitions are everywhere! I’m sure everyone reading this can list 3 people they know competing in some type of bodybuilding category. It’s amazing to see. The sport has become ‘mainstream’!

Competing all those years has brought me many opportunities; and the opportunities continue to present themselves. Even though I have hung up my clear platform heels, I am still very much living the fit life. That will never stop. I am so passionate about living and sharing this lifestyle that I created this very site you are on. So what is my point? There is something to be said for being true to yourself. Be unique. If there is something out there you want to do and can’t stop thinking about it: DO IT. There will always be naysayers. Even some of the closest people to you will question your decisions. You need to take a stand. Follow your instincts. Work hard on your craft and prove what you already know to be true. The more you stick to your guns and stay true to your goals and your plan, others will start to notice. They will start to see different. People are afraid of what they do not understand. It only needs to make sense to YOU. And who knows, maybe one day those very same people that questioned your aspirations will be telling others how they know you… 😉

 

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