Confidence

There’s a woman at the gym that i cross paths with often. And by often i mean pretty much daily. Our daughters are similar in age. We both nursed until they were 2. She is so dedicated, constantly training. We talk in passing about her workouts, and in a non professional sense- i just listen usually because she has methods she likes to stick to. But she came to me a few months ago burnt the fuck out. Life & training had her down, and she wasn’t getting the results she wanted. I listened. And i said, you are someone else inspiration, take a break or make a change if you need it, but don’t you spend your time comparing yourself to someone else’s results. We parted ways and went back to our normal exchanges. Yesterday, as we swam with our girls out of coincidence, she made a point to thank me for my words. Because it helped remind her to keep going.

Confidence is something we build from the inside. It’s not in a high heel or a new lipstick or perfect arms. It’s in you. Your light shining through. No one else’s. We are all so different and it needs to be embraced, not fought.

May challenge

It’s May first! I’m using it as a chance for a fresh start. Tomorrow, I will not only make food for my daughter. I will do more than drink coffee. Even if I’m not feeling well (I don’t usually do well in the morning with food) I will make myself a smoothie. I will get myself to eat and eat healthy foods. They are right here in the house. There is no reason I care for everyone else and then just leave myself to the wind. I deserve to be cared for too. So that’s what this is about. This challenge is to better care for yourself. If your long term goal is to lose weight, maybe that means you choose to eat out less during this challenge. Or drink less alcohol. One big thing? Get some better sleep. No laying in bed with the TV on or your phone being checked. Let your body have some down time this month. Be kind to yourself! Don’t worry, I want you to choose to workout too- so if that’s where your motivation is lacking, make that part of your month. Let your choices be driven by your hopes and goals. Take a picture of yourself today. Send it to me. When the challenge is over, we are going to compare the people, the one you were, and the one you became through better habits, and more happiness.

Kettle bell workout

Little total body for the calorie burn but the focus is on the booty and thighs.

Curtsy with curl and press x10

Plié (2 pulses) with single arm row x10

Curtsy with curl and press x10 on the other side

Plié (2 pulses) with single arm row x10 on the other side

Kettle bell swing x60 seconds

Heel Lifts x30 seconds

Pulses x30 seconds

(Give yourself an active rest with some nice inchworms or V ups)

Do it again, 3x.

Go!

Barre arms

You have so many options when it comes to barre arms. Here are the main sticking points though. Keep your weights between 1 & 3 lbs. Tiny movements or long series are meant for tiny weights, save the bigger weights for the big movements and longer rest breaks. I’m demonstrating 3 different positions you can use so that you a. Up your calorie burn, b. Don’t get bored, c. Keep the whole body working.

Start with push ups.

5 slow with wide hands, knees on the floor is totally acceptable.

5 regular count with wide hands.

5 tight hand/Pilates position so that elbow scrape your ribs.

5 with hands in diamond.

I’m happy to pst another video a different day to demonstrate.

Kneeling:

Knees should be fist distance apart and parallel. Toes can be curled under if it’s more comfortable to you. As you add in the lift and lower of the hips like I demo, you should be imagining your back sliding down a wall- your hips tuck under on the way down to keep them under your shoulders as best you can.

Parallel Chair:

Use the wall to slide yourself down so your hips are one inch above knee height, or as close as you can keep. Feet can be hip distance or zipped up. Heels high. Tuck your hips and press your low back into the wall.

Wide Second:

Walk your feet wider than your hips. Feet turned out toward 45 degrees (not a full turnout) so that heels are right under knees. Lower your hips down to knee height.

If one lower body option doesn’t work for you, try another. If you can do a little of each, do a little of each. If you can only do some arms with weights, do it. If you can’t do any? Focus on where the movement in coming from instead! Engage your body. Guess what? The push ups are just a suggestion. If they also don’t work for you- switch it up! These are options. Ways for you to play with your workouts. Want an exact workout to follow? Message me. I’ll make it happen. XO

Begin again. Always begin again.

As I lay here on a Sunday night, a basket of laundry in my peripheral vision calling me (very quietly) to put it away (I never really do) with SVU back on the tube, I reflect on the last two years of my life. They have been no doubt the best, and also that worst of my life. Tonight, at dinner, my sweet Rowan turned to me and said, “Daddy saved you, didn’t he, Mommy?” I blinked. And then said yes baby, I think he did. We have been keeping each other going. Quietly. Slowly. We have spent the last two years trying to get settled. Ive had a million reasons not to write or reach out. I’ll share them all, eventually.

Recently, I realized I need to start looking outward. I’ve taken the better part of the past year to just focus inward. On my child, my husband, myself. I changed my position at work so that I could keep my tunnel vision. It was what I needed to do right then. For my body too. A few weeks ago, my mind came back. It started to work again. Ideas. Passion. Like something broke back open.

Here I am. Beginning again.

My name is Irish. I’m a 33 year old Harry Potter addict who works out on the side. No but seriously. I have been a personal trainer, yoga, Pilates & barre instructor for over ten years. Teaching is my happy place. It’s how I share light (and pain) with those I love. My clients become my friends, my family. I want to share that with you too.

I will be posting workouts. Sometimes 5 minutes of stretching, like today. To be kind to yourself. Because no matter what your fitness goals, that is so very important. I cannot tell you how much kindness & happiness can change the body. Kindness to yourself, and happiness in your body will alter your appearance. You will read my rants about this.

Sometimes I will post challenges. Ways to push yourself, to find creativity in your workouts to keep your mind alive, and your body progressing.

Sometimes, like today… I’ll be thinking about the need to begin again. To have the courage to keep beginning again. No matter what. It’s ok to take time when you need it. Pause. For minutes, days, months…but you have to begin again. You have to wake up and try again.

My name is Irish. I have anxiety, chronic migraines and nerve damage in my left shoulder. I am hyper-mobile in many of my joints and have been working for years to find the correct way to workout to care for myself. I’ve taken this search for knowledge, this search, and translated it to helping others. The greatest majority of my clients who see me in person, come to me for help with pain. Pain management tends to be like a puzzle. Each piece has to be found and put together the right way to find relief. I pride myself in being part of the puzzle for so many.

My pain also helps me see the world a little differently. Perspective is so very important. My anxiety skews it from time to time…but the workouts help.

My name is Irish, I love donuts, perusing the ‘we made too much’ section of Lululemon, drinking too much iced coffee and leaving cupboard doors wide open so that it looks like a crazy person has been in my kitchen always.

I started teaching because I liked the workouts and benefits of yoga and Pilates, but I could not find anyone who had a message that resonated with me. The explanation of how my body was supposed to find what it needed was….. lacking. There was not enough. I wanted more. Different. So that’s what I became. I became the instructor I was looking for. I teach classes that are meaningful to me.

This life is meaningful to me. I’m not a super nice person. I’m not a cheer leader. My teaching style has been rebellious, and sometimes compared to a dominatrix. I don’t have all the answers. I’m on a quest to find them and share each one.

A body not my own…

Those of you with children know the struggle of the post partum life. You worked to grow a baby & your body feels foreign the entire time- then the baby arrives & you try to figure out how to “feel like yourself again”. Physically, emotionally- a giant mess! Your body feels like it’s made of bread dough, & your mind is so scattered it’s hard to breathe some times. My favorite as a breast feeding mom is how often I wake up & think I had been holding her- I search the bed covers frantically before realizing she is safely in her bassinet.

My journey through pregnancy was tough- not a single thing went as I had hoped besides the very end result of a healthy happy beautiful girl coming into the world. I can’t talk about her birth without crying. It will forever be a source of such intense fear- I thought I was going to lose her forever. I considered myself very healthy before pregnancy- I learned quickly that means jack shit during pregnancy- your body has a mind of its own, it’s run by hormones & a placenta that don’t know your plans or your life before. At 19 weeks, I was put on a week of bed rest for an infection that left me in unbearable pain. At 20 weeks? I ended up with gestational diabetes. I sobbed- what did I do wrong? How do I control this? Relatively easily it turns out! Unless you count in pregnancy cravings- which no one ever does. My blood sugar was picture perfect the entire pregnancy. I started contractions from another infection around 30 weeks- and that’s when they started noticing my blood pressure rising. That’s what got me on the induction train. Choo choo! No more water birth I had hoped for and all the weekly monitoring no one wants. I started labor at 37 weeks but didn’t dilate enough- I was sent home to hope my body would push itself all the way into labor. I tried everything, all the old wives tales. I couldn’t work. I could barely take a daily walk or sleep for that matter. At 38 weeks it was go time. Full induction. We were to arrive at the hospital at 7am and get the ball rolling the rest of the way. If you have been lucky enough to have a vaginal birth that kick started on its own, you have no idea the torture devices that exist to try to open a woman’s cervix! My poor husband had to watch the dr dig around up there so many times and hold my hand while I tried to be brave as relative strangers shoved their arms in up to their elbow. At around 10pm we were on a roll, I was dilated to 5! They decided to reach up there with a glorified crochet hook & see if they could get my water to break and move this show a little further along. By midnight- My water had broken, I was in horrible pain & exhausted. I started being monitored a little more closely- through every complication my baby girl had never faultered- her heartbeat remain a steady source of comfort for me, no matter what, I wasn’t a failure because she was fine. And then she wasn’t. All the sudden the nurses started prepping me for surgery as my dr said I’m sorry, I know this is so far from your plan but we are losing her. She has to come out now, if we wait…. Why would I wait? Why would we even chance that we wouldn’t get to keep her in this world? 15 mins later, I had a beautiful baby next to my head as I cried- is she ok? Please tell me she is ok! My poor poor husband. He repeated it as many times as my drug induced self needed to hear. She was better than ok. She was perfect. Tiny at just 5lb 9oz- but perfect. They found that her cord had been too small, that’s why she wasn’t growing more, why I felt so sick near the end, and why we started to lose her after the cushion of the amniotic fluid was gone.

In recovery, my husband helped me to breast feed. Laying there covered in tubes after they had to put me out completely to stop my shaking long enough to close my csection…. I couldn’t get her to latch on my own. I’ve never loved my husband more, or had something mean so much to me. Finally, something I planned had worked! I could do this! My body fought me on being pregnant, but I was born to be a mom. I quickly found that I was able to move much better than most after a csection. My blood pressure stayed high- with all the visits from Drs & nurses, I couldn’t rest. I convinced them to let me go home only about 48 hrs after her birth. My blood pressure on release was around 145/94. I went to the dr the very next day for both of us to be checked, it was down to 122/79. I was a new girl!

Fast forward a week and my incision was infected. I couldn’t feel it so I was doing too much. I didn’t want to nap, I didn’t want to ask for help- my body could do so much, I wasn’t in pain. After an er visit, and a week of 4x a day antibiotics, and being told to cool it, I was back on track. Right? Wrong. Fast forward another week or so to so much more blood being lost & my incision looking infected again, I went back to the surgeon. Not an infection he says! You’re allergic to the dissolvable stitches and your body is trying to show them out of your belly. He likened it to a zit. Nothing to do but keep it clean and let it happen he said. Thank the lord I could stop the antibiotics that were killing my stomach. But at 6 weeks post partum I was told to only walk. My incision was still so inflamed, my bleeding still so heavy- I needed to heal physically before I could try to get stronger- or to me, heal mentally.

So much of my identity as a trainer & instuctor is in my body. It’s abilities, its strength- my confidence. It’s 7 weeks now. Rowan June is more beautiful every day. And I feel more hideous. Less like myself mentally & physically than I’ve ver been. We walk every day. My weight is less than it was when I got pregnant. But my figure….. Is awful. I know it will come back. I know I need to be healthy first. But my frustration in being in a body that is not my own has never been higher. I know this is temporary. I have time to get stronger before I go back to work, and can continue after. But for now? I am struggling. My focus stays on my health & on my joy- my beautiful girl.

Fake it till you make it

There have been a lot of times in my life where the mantra Fake it till you make it, has come in handy. When learning anything, when trying to get better at anything, when trying to get through a hard time… The situations are limitless because you are limitless. There are occasions where I have to teach but I feel like garbage, I fake it. I act like I’m fine and I do actually feel better when the class is done, it’s like I tricked my brain into forgetting my allergies were terrible. When I start a new pose, going toward it with the determination to conquer it but not really knowing if I have the strength to accomplish it… I fake it. I just do it. Even for a short time until it eventually gets easier. When my self esteem is low and all I see in the mirror are flaws, I pull myself together as best I can and pretend to be confident. No one sees your flaws like you do. Fake it, pretend you like the way you look, pretend you don’t see the little things like a hair out of place. Your confidence makes you beautiful. Not perfect features.

In most things in life, you need to have the courage to try, to learn and to grow. And sometimes that means you need to fake it till you make it. Put yourself out there.

Do not be your harshest critic- it’s silly! Life is too short and you are too lucky.

Be well. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. And always have the confidence to try.

Sail away

Sometimes when I try to fall asleep I imagine being drifted away on a boat. I’m lying there in the sun, I can hear the waves, feel them rocking the boat gently. There is no pain. I keep repeating, there is no pain. My mom taught me this, and imagining the sun on my face, like it will draw the pain out, keep the sharp stings from coming on, protect me somehow. I’m thankful for it. Sometimes all my brain & body needs is rest but it won’t let go. This meditation soothes me, takes me away.

I’ve only been taking the added magnesium for a few days. I’m not the best with patience. Ok, I’m the worst actually. But for nerves to heal and pain to lessen takes time. More time than I want to be robbed of, so I quietly try not to be frustrated with my body.

Instead I cling to what it can do. I remind myself of my strengths & talents- after all, perfection would be boring really. Then what would I strive for? To maintain? Never! Always a new goal, always more ways to heal & help. Just not always at the pace I want. So I’m working on enjoying the little things more. Playing with my little piglet, who although is four, still looks like a perpetual puppy to me. Taking care of my flowers. Cooking! Maybe this pain is a reminder sometimes to slow down. I have so much to do that I end up like the white rabbit, when really I need to reign it in and get back to the beach.

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Awareness

I almost missed looking the most beautiful Iris, huge and purple and wonderful because I was looking at my feet. Yep. My feet. I was out walking The Pig, my ridiculously adorable Westie, and I was completely unaware of my surroundings and myself. My mind was stuck on my lists, all my things I need to do. So I took a deep breath, drew my shoulders down and back, brought myself to my full height and continued on my walk. Then at the beginning of each song that came on as I walked, I did the same thing. I realigned myself, brought myself back to center and assessed my body. I recommend you do the same- no matter what your preferred form of cardio is, take a moment at least part way through and re-align your posture. And take a moment to notice the flowers too.peeg