A PR Wasn’t Good Enough

AKA Why are we so hard on ourselves? + Lessons on Failure

On Sunday, I ran the Broad Street run, which is the country’s biggest 10 mile race and kind of a big deal in the City of Brotherly love.

broad st 2
broad st 2

It’s a wonderful race – 10 downwardly sloped miles through the heart of Philly and some diverse neighborhoods.  It was my first long distance race ever back in 2011, so it holds an extra special place in my heart.

This year was my second time running and I had big dreams of cutting close to a minute off of my per mile pace… I know that seems absurd, but my running and recovery has vastly improved since adding Crossfit, T25, and most recently P90X3 into my training routine over the past 18 months. 

My training runs were on target to meet my goal, but about 2 weeks from race day, my training fell apart.  I got distracted, I had competing priorities, it rained a lot, and running just really wasn’t that attractive to me.

Fast forward to race day.

There are about 40,000 runners who run Broad St. (not counting any rogue runners) so it’s PACKED to say the least.  I crossed the starting line probably 25 minutes after the first heat, but I was distracted and I didn’t catch the clock time.  Instead of focusing on my time, I put my phone on airplane mode and decided to focus on the race, my feet on the pavement, the cheers, the change in neighborhoods, and the excitement of the day.

When I finished, I had NO CLUE what my finish time was like.

Of course, I obsessively checked the results page every 5 minutes for it to be posted.

When it finally was, my heart sank.

I had PR’d (set a personal record for the non-runners out there), but only by 32 seconds a mile.  Even though I’d run one of my best races ever, I was disappointed to still be so far from my goal.

Writing that now, I want to smack myself. ONLY by 32 seconds a mile.  It’s absurd. 

Cutting 32 seconds off your pace is INCREDIBLE.  I should have been jumping off the rooftops, but instead I was down in the dumps.

Here’s the thing: I expect a lot from myself, not just with my running, but in every aspect of my life.  So, when I didn’t reach my goal, it was a huge blow to my ego.

I set the bar as high as freaking possible, but sometimes I don’t give myself true freedom to fail.

It really got me thinking… it’s something I see a lot with my clients (and with myself) – not just a fear, but an apprehension, about failing.  It manifests itself in all kinds of different ways – from working around the clock to meet unrealistic deadlines to never actually starting and pretty much everywhere in between.

But, the thing is, failure is a remarkable teacher.  We learn more about ourselves through failure than through any of our successes.

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” –Morihei Ueshiba

This week I learned that I need to consciously practice kindness towards myself, that sometimes the experience is more valuable than hitting a goal, and that all wins (even if they aren’t the wins I want) are worthy of celebration.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from failure?

What To Do When You Wake Up Dreading the Day

The alarm goes off and you snooze for another hour.The idea of getting out of bed and starting your day is almost too much to handle.

There is absolutely NOTHING that you’re looking forward to.  In fact, it’s fair to say you’re absolutely DREADING the day.

Here are a few simple steps to get you passed the point of crawling under a rock for all eternity:

1. Define Your Personal Mission Statement

Chances are, if you’re feeling completely drained, you’re doing work that’s not aligned with your values.  By defining a personal mission statement, you can flip your perspective and focus more attention on tasks that align with your mission.   To create your mission statement, start by answering these questions:

    • What do I want to do?
    • Who do I want to help?
    • What is the result? What value will I create?

Stay tuned next week for a complete mission statement how-to.

2. Sweat It Out

exercise sweet
exercise sweet

Unless you’ve been under that rock I mentioned above for a REALLY long time, you know that exercise helps elevate your mood.   When you absolutely do not want to workout, that’s the exact time when you SHOULD.  Get moving with something fun – you really don’t have to be chained to the treadmill for this to work.

3. Fuel Up Right

One of the reasons I love, love, LOVE talking about food (aside from it being delicious!) is that what you put in your body has a huge effect on how you feel – both physically and mentally.  To clear some of the “gunk” that’s dragging you down, start your day with warm lemon water with cayenne and a green smoothie.  Load up with a huge leafy green salad for lunch.  Go meatless for dinner (veggie burritos or one-pot quinoa, anyone?).  And of course, hydrate like a mofo.  Divide your weight by 2 to get a rough estimate of the oz. of H2O you need daily.

drink your greens
drink your greens

4. Call Me!

As a coach, I work with clients all the time who are going through EXACTLY what I described above.  Hell, I’ve been there myself!  Overwhelm, underwhelm, lack of motivation and inspiration – whatever it is that’s got you dreading the day, we can work through it.Schedule a free Breakthrough Session to get you back to feeling great.  Remember, procrastination is NOT your friend!

What one step will you take within the next 48 hours to get you jumping out of bed in the morning?

5 Home Remedies for Muscle Soreness

No matter where you're at in your fitness journey, muscle soreness is bound to happen.  Instead of reaching for over the counter drugs, try one of my favorite home remedies for muscle soreness.

1. Coffee

Research at the University of Georgia suggests that drinking coffee prior to working out can reduce muscle soreness and fatigue by up to half. This is due to the blocking of adenosine, a chemical released by your body in response to injury. Be careful not to overdo it on the coffee, as too much caffeine can cause muscle spasms; two cups of coffee is recommended. And, with your cup(s) of joe, you’ve also got the added bonus of the well-documented caffeine endurance boost.

coffee reduces muscle soreness

2. Magnesium

Magnesium, the primary component of epsom salts, is essential for healthy muscles and is a natural muscle relaxant. Absorption through the skin, via epsom salt baths, is more effective than taking an oral supplement, but eating foods high in magnesium, such as dark leafy greens, squash and pumpkin seeds, halibut, soy beans, and brown rice can also support reduced muscle soreness.

3. Tart Cherry Juice

tart cherry

A 2010 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport identified antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins in tart cherries that are believed to work by reducing inflammation. Add the juice to a post-workout recovery drink to get the most bang for your buck. I like Trader Joe’s brand. Bonus: tart cherry juice has been found to have more antioxidants than the popular superfood pomegranate and may also help to improve sleep quality.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Among its many talents, apple cider vinegar is touted as a muscle reliever. ACV draws lactic acid out of muscles. If you can get beyond the smell, saturate a cloth with ACV and wrap it around the muscle for 20 minutes. Repeat every three to four hours for continued relief until the pain is gone for good.

apple cider vinegar

5. Foam Rolling

Foam rolling uses a technique called self-myofascial release, which uses pressure and targeted massage to help prevent scarring of the connective tissue between your muscles (the fascia). You can pick up your own foam roller at a sporting goods store, Marshall’s/TJ Maxx, or Amazon (because you can buy anything on Amazon).

foam rolling

Do you have any favorite home remedies?  Share them in the comments.

13.1 Things Running Taught Me

In recent years, running has been one of the greatest teachers I've had.  Not only have I learned a lot about myself from a physical standpoint, but running has also helped me grow mentally and emotionally through some of the most challenging (and rewarding) years of my life.  Here's the list of the top 13.1 lessons learned from running.

1. Every mile is a victory

When I started training for my first long distance race, I’d never run more than 4 miles.  As I progressed in my training plan and added 1 mile per week to my long run, I found myself running further than I ever had before.  Each week, I was in shock and awe.  “Holy shit – I just ran 5 miles!”  “Holy shit – I just ran 6 miles!”  “Holy shit – I just ran 7 miles!”  You get the picture.

2. I’m my own worst critic

I have a bad habit of calling myself a “slow runner”.  Negative self-talk is a killer.  How could I possibly ever be a “fast runner” if I’m calling myself slow?

3. I only need to compete with myself

It’s unlikely I’ll ever win a race.  I’m competing with myself at every start and every finish.  That’s it.

4. When to Back Off

After running my first 10-miler and 2 half-marathons in the span of 6 months, my running game was spent.  Now, I realize that there are lots of people who can go from race to race to race without burning out, but clearly not me.  I was DONE.  I couldn’t get excited about running.  I took a race hiatus for almost a year and only ran when I wanted to. 

5. Injuries Are Real

Don’t be a tough guy or gal and try to power through an injury.  Injuries are real and can be quite serious and continuing to run with them can result in something much more serious.  Give your body the time it needs to heal.

6. What to Eat

When I first started running, even before I was logging aggressive mileage, I noticed subtle changes in my body’s response to food.  Keeping a food journal along with your running log can help you tune in to what’s the best for your body.

7. You Don’t Have to Be Fast

It’s never about how fast you’re going.  It’s about crossing the finish line.

8. Good Shoes are Key

One of the best investments I ever made in my running was to invest in a good pair of shoes.  Go to your local running shop and get personally fitted for a pair of kicks by an expert.  They’ll assess your gait and your needs and send you home with the PERFECT pair of shoes.

9. The Running Community is Awesome

I consider myself a solo runner, but even I have to admit that the support that the running community provides is awesome.  Case and point – after the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year, thousands of runners descended on Philadelphia’s City Hall for a memorial run.  Although thrown together at the last minute, the City agreed to shut down Market Street (a main thoroughfare) for almost 10 blocks and provide police detail, all in support of Boston and of runners.  It was a pretty awesome thing to see and be a part of.

10. I Can Do Anything

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I’d run a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face.  Me?  No way!  But once I got it in my head that I was going to run one, I got serious about training and made it happen.  All it takes is hardwork and dedication to accomplish anything.

11. No one is judging you; Everyone is cheering you on

I actually heard a friend say this to a new runner who was concerned that other runners were judging her for running slow.  When I see someone running, I never say “Wow, they are dogging it.”  I say “Get it!”  Don’t you?

12. Every PR is a PR

About a month ago, I ran a half marathon and I was sure that I was going to PR it big time.  I hadn’t trained much, but all my cross-training had really upped my running game.  I was pumped.  About a week before the race, I pulled my quad.  I iced and nurtured it all week.  I was on the fence about running, but ultimately decided to go for it.  For the first 7 miles, my quad felt ok and my split was on-point.  The second half of the course was a little hillier than the first half and my quad started to feel tight.  I backed off and ended up walking the hills, including a big one right at the finish.  I PR’d the race, but only by about 6 seconds.  I was disappointed.  It took a couple weeks for it to sink in that I’d performed well under less-than-optimal circumstances.  And that PR is still mine for the taking... I’m going after it later this year.

13. I’m a Runner

My finish times, the number of medals I have,  the number of half’s under my belt – they don’t really mean all that much.  I’m not a runner because I have these things.  I’m a runner because I love running – it feeds my soul, helps me clear my mind, and just feels right.

13.1 You’ll never finish if you never start

Have dreams of someday running a big race?  What are you waiting for?  Sign up, find a team to train with, and make it happen!


Are you a runner?  What has running taught you?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Recipe for Success: Lessons Learned at Beachbody Coach Summit

I spent 3 days last week at BeachbodyCoach Summit 2013 in Las Vegas.  It was a whirlwind filled with celebrity trainer workouts, team building, and personal development.  I’m honestly still reeling a little from the experience; I felt like I didn’t STOP the whole time I was there (which seems very unhealth-coachy), but the excitement and buzz of the 7,000 other coaches in attendance was contagious. 

Tony Horton
Tony Horton

The theme of this year’s conference was Dream Big- this was a game changer for me, both personally and professionally.  I have always had a hard time looking forward in my life.  When I’d sit down with professors or managers and was asked where I wanted to be in five years, it was rare that I had an answer.  Looking back, it’s clear that I was not in the right place.  I’m in the right place now and my experience this weekend only helps to solidify My Dream.

Since this conference was so powerful for me, I want to share with you some key takeaways - my a-ha moments!  Here are my top five plus some important updates at the bottom:

John C. Maxwell’s The Rule of Five

“You want to cut down a tree in your back yard.  Instead of cutting it down in one swing, everyday, take an ax, swing 5 times, and hit that tree.  It doesn’t matter how big the tree is, just consistently swing at the same tree.  One day, the tree will come down, with what seems like little effort."

-John C. Maxwell (paraphrased)

Best-selling author John C. Maxwell (Daily Dozen, How Successful People Think, and Today Matters) was the Keynote Speaker and I loved every second of his talk.  I wish I could share everything I learned from him, but that could take hours and as he says: Read the Book! 

For the sake of time, I will just share one of my favorite things from his talk: The Rule of Five.  The Rule of 5 is a series of activities that you do EVERY DAY that are fundamental to your success. Through discipline and diligence, you will achieve your life’s work. 

Step 1 to the Rule of Five is identifying your tree.  Step 2 is identifying your five required actions.  For John, his tree is writing books and his Rule of 5 are reading, filing, thinking, asking questions, and writing.  I’m still identifying my tree and Rule of Five.  What’s yours?

Beachbody’s Mission

Beachbody’s mission is so in-line with my own.  And it’s simple.

Help people achieve their goals and live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Unlike many other companies, this is NOT lip service.  After Summit, Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler posted this on his Facebook page:

"Selling" just for the sake of numbers is for other companies. We are here to help people. So think about how you can "be more creative about showing people you truly care about them" and then get out there and do it.

Beachbody truly wants to change the world and END THE TREND of obesity.  So do I.  Perfect match.


Finding  A Tribe

Human beings can’t help it: We need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people.

-Seth Godin, Tribes


My Beachbody team is all over the U.S. and Canada, so even though we talk in pretty much every day, we rarely see each other face to face.  It was great to spend 3 days with my team – I feel really connected to these people. We are on the same path of helping people improve their lives.  This is my tribe.

I’m A Customer, Too

During one of the breakout training sessions, one of the trainers said “Don’t forget, you are a customer, too.”  I partnered with Beachbody because I use and enjoy their products and I truly believe that they provide real value.   Even if I wasn’t a Beachbody coach and never earned a penny from them, I would still sing the praises of Shakeology and talk about how kickass P90X and Insanity are... granted, maybe not as often, but I still would.

Productivity is Not Busy-ness

It’s the engineer in me - I LOVE learning about how to be more productive and efficient.  The training focused on being STRATEGIC ABOUT HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME, something that even the best of us time managers need to constantly keep in mind.  For more info on productivity and time management, check back next week for the release of my free eBook, You Don’t Have Time to Read This Book: 8 Strategies to Find More Time in Your Day.

Beachbody Product Updates


Summit was the launch of a brand-spankin-new program from Shaun T, the creator of Insanity and Hip Hops.  In my opinion, T-25 is a game changer as far as workouts are concerned – you see results in just 25 minutes a day!  Here’s the T-25 highlights:

  • Workout 5 days a week for 25 minutes (note: (2) 25 minute workouts are suggested but not required on Day 5)
  • Fully modifiable so ANY ONE CAN DO IT
  • Alpha, beta, and gamma phases are all 25 days (5 weeks) in length

T-25 (alpha and beta phases) is on sale as a bundle with Shakeology for $180 through the end of July.  That’s like getting T-25 for just $50 – a freaking dollar a day!  Intrigued?  Let’s chat to see if this is a good fit for you.

Vanilla Shakeology

Yes, you read that right.  Shakeology has finally made the leap into Vanilla.  The Shakeology team has been searching for years to find a clean, non-GMO, organic, ethically-farmed, sustainable source of Vanilla and they finally found it... in Madagascar! 

Beachbody has really high standards for what goes into Shakeology, so even though they found other products that met FDA guidelines, they went above and beyond to source this vanilla (another reason to love them).  This stuff is so yummy – it literally tastes like cake batter on its own and its a great base for flavor experimentation.  I tried a Vanilla Latte Shakeology and it was delish!  Interested in samples?  Email me.

Perhaps better than the Vanilla flavor, though, was learning that Beachbody has committed to the development of the Madagascar farming community that is supplying the vanilla.  They are providing training to farmers, ensuring fair prices, and helping to build schools.  If you know me, you know that international development is near and dear to my heart, so this really struck a chord with me.

Updates to Fit Club Membership

Staying true to Beachbody’s mission to support people in reaching their health and fitness goals, I have decided to offer the first 30-days of Rockin’ Hot Body Fit ClubFREE

Of course, I do encourage you to work with a Beachbody program and Shakeology, because I know these products work and will get you on the right path, but I understand that maybe you can’t afford to invest in a program right now or you’re skeptical about what the Fit Club is all about or you're not sure that working with a virtual coach will help you. 

Trust me, I TOTALLY understand your concerns – I had the same concerns when I joined my first challenge group.  So, try it on for size for 1-month for free.  You literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Email me today so we can talk about your goals and get you started in my upcoming online group (starting July 8th).

6 Reasons To Stop Counting Calories

Last week, I alluded to the fact that I don’t think you should focus on counting calories.  Despite all my research and the conversations I’ve had recently about this, my belief holds true.  Here, I’m providing you with the 6 top reasons why you should stop counting calories.

1. Reported Calories are Inaccurate

Did you know that the USDA allows some variation in the reported calorie counts on nutrition labels?  According to the FDA, actual calorie counts can be as much as 20% higher than what is printed on the label. Further, in 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article that stated that “19% of individually tested [restaurant] foods contained... at least 100 calories more than the stated energy contents, an amount that could cause [11-15 pounds] of weight gain per year if consumed daily.”

The other side of the equation – calories out – is equally difficult to track.  Each person has a unique base metabolic rate (BMR) or resting burn rate, as well as unique aerobic and strength training burn rates based on sex, age, exercise intensity, duration, body mass index, genetics, etc.  Although these numbers can be estimated, their accuracy is questionable.  For better results, a personal heart rate monitor can be used, however, this reading is really only accurate for determining the aerobic burn rate, not a strength training burn rate.

2. Calories were not Created Equal

In theory, a calorie of protein should be equal to a calorie of carbohydrates should be equal to a calorie of fat, but research suggestions that the energy required to digest the three different macro groups varies.  Protein requires more energy to digest than carbs, while carbs require more than fats.

3. Counting is not Sustainable

The act of calorie counting is incredibly tedious.  At a basic level, focus needs to consistently be placed on both reported calories and portion size, but the puzzle is much more complex than that.  As an example, your body doesn’t absorb all the calories that are ingested – how do you account for that?

4. Focuses on Quantity, Not Quality

As I mentioned in #2 above, all calories are not created equal.  In that case, I was talking about macros (whole foods), but let’s take it a step further.  100 calories of Twinkies is NOT the same as 100 calories of kale – can we all agree on that?  But, in your calorie counter they are the same!  When solely considering calorie counts, the concept of eating a balanced, whole foods based diet is completely overlooked.

5. Food is More Than Energy

Thinking of food solely as an energy source is a limiting belief.  As I’ve stated here before, I believe that food is medicine and that we can heal many of the ailments of our modern society simply through changes to our diets.  Your diet also provides the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to aid in processes such as cell growth, muscle repair, and bone strengthening.

6. Counting Calories Removes Intuition

Meticulously counting calories masks a piece of the puzzle that logic can’t replace: your body’s natural intuition.  Your body is very good at sending signals regarding the food and hydration it needs.  Unfortunately, when you’re focused on 100 calories this and 200 calories that, it can be hard to hear the message. 


Now, it’s time for you to weigh in (see what I did there?)... are your thoughts on calorie counting changing?  Leave an insight in the comments.

Six Tips for Creating a Fit Lifestyle

Wedding season and summer are just a few months away… it’s the time of year when I find women are scrambling to fit into that dress or cute little bikini.  The truth is, though, that if we start to look at fitness as a lifestyle choice, and not as a seasonal to-do, we won’t find ourselves struggling every spring.  Here are six tips to finding your fitness mojo and creating a fit lifestyle.

1. Small Goals = Big Rewards

I’ve seen it often… people set big, lofty goals for themselves and then get discouraged and derailed when they don’t see the progress they want.  For weight loss, shoot for no more than 1-2 pounds per week.  Or, better yet, set a goal to workout a certain number of times per week.  With each win, set the bar just a little higher.

 2. Start Before You’re Ready

You’ll never be “ready” to workout.  You won’t “have more time after [you] finish [your] current big project”.  It’s unlikely you’ll “have more free time next month”.  Start now, don’t wait!   (Bonus tip: If you have trouble finding time to workout, SCHEDULE your workouts ahead of time.)

3. Find an Activity You Like

If the idea of running makes you cringe, don’t do it!  No one says you have to be a runner!  Pick something that you love.  If you like dancing, check out Zumba or maybe even a cardio kickboxing class.  If you really need to relax and de-stress, try yoga.  If you crave variety and love a challenge, try a Bootcamp or Crossfit class.

4. Create Accountability

Let’s be serious, staying accountable to yourself is tough.  Join a training team, an online fitness group, or leverage social media to stay accountable and on track with your fitness goals.   I am running 30-day fitness challenge groups through Facebook – email me to get started with one.

 5. Track Your Progress

Knowing where you started and how you’re progressing is a huge motivator.  The engineer in me strongly believes that data tells the story, so be sure to take before and after photos (front, back, and side) and measurements (arms, chest, waist, hips, and thighs) and weigh-in weekly or monthly (ideally the same day and time).

 6. Celebrate Success

Celebrate each fitness win… but don’t use food as a reward.  Whether its weight loss, developing a consistent schedule, or finishing a big race, reward yourself for a job well done.  Splurge on some fun new workout clothes, get a massage, or relax in a soothing Epsom salt bath.

What’s been the biggest help for you in creating a fit lifestyle?  If you haven’t been successful yet, what tip above will you start with?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Pulling It All Together - The Keys to Brain Health

The last four weeks, I’ve been talking about brain health.  I think this topic is hugely important AND interesting and I hope you do, too.  In case you’ve missed out over the last couple weeks (or if you’re type A like me and just want everything in one neat place), here’s what you can do NOW to keep your mind young and spry.

  1. Eat your Vitamins: Eat foods rich in Vitamin E, folate, B6, and B12
  2. Focus on Metals: Ensure you’re in the metals sweet-spot by limiting excess iron, copper, and aluminum
  3. Ditch Bad Fats: Steer clear of hydrogenated oils and trans fats
  4. Hit the Hay: Get 6-8 hours of sleep EVERY night
  5. Get Moving: Get 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week.


And, since you’ve paying such good attention to your brain and keeping it healthy, here’s one last FUN tip to protect your mental capacities.

Studies suggest that anthocyanins, the dark pigments in grapes and some berries, have protective effects.  You can get your fill of anthocyanins from modest amounts of red wine or from grape or blueberry juice.  Cheers!