Following Chelsea

Follow JCC member Chelsea as she works to lose weight, gain strength, and build a healthy lifestyle.

Chelsea is working with JCC Personal Trainer Menachem Brodie and attends group exercise classes several times a week. You can share her journey through the "Following Chelsea" blog on this page and @followingchels via Twitter. Also, watch Chelsea's progress via our JCC Pittsburgh YouTube channel.

Start your own journey by contacting one of our Wellness staff at 412-521-8011 x273.


Watch Chelsea's Progress: 1  l  2  l  3


Watch Fitness Tips: Doing it Right l Plyometrics l Almost There? l Role Model l Abs

Chelsea Being Real
Real Food, Real Workouts, Real Progess... This adventure is a way to challenge my views on weight loss, being healthy, working out, and my approach to it all.


The RACE, The Big One, & My First Tri
Sunday, August 14

EDIT: Some people were asking me about the tri distance, and my time. I completed the Olympic/International Distance 1500m swim, 40K bike, 10K run. I finished in 3:48 (sloooowwwww BUT gives me motivation for next year and the years to come)

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The night before my big day I started my pre race ritual around 7pm. I know that everyone who races has something that they do that is “their” thing. So, I was like “hmm.. What can I do to calm me down that I can do every time I race?” Well, earlier in the day I was at my buddy Shmuel’s house so he could show me how to wrap new handlebar tape and he was like “Did you ride today?” and I was like “yeah, this morning” But what he was really getting at was that my bike was dirty. He told me “You can’t show up to a race with a dirty bike!” So, I figured my pre-race ritual would consist of: washing my bike, laying out my tri suit, packing my bag, and making a checklist of everything I needed.

Washing my bike turned out to be a very calming, soothing thing. I got a pail of very warm soapy water, and a rag, and just started visualizing how I wanted my race to go. I then had time to trim my race number, and put it on my bike (learn from my failure: if you are putting your number on your tube instead of your seatpost—make sure it goes UNDER your brake cable—learned on race day that I essentially stuck my brake cable closed and my wheel wouldn’t spin). I then put my number on my race belt, helmet, and laid out my transition area bracelet. I was ready!

I went to bed around 9:30 because 4:15 comes pretty early. If you’ve never raced a big race before—most transition areas open 2 hours before the race to accommodate all racers. This was no exception.

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube2:00am: woke up with a growling stomach, decided against eating anything in favor of getting back to sleep—mistake.

4:13am: woke up before my alarm! Woo!  I shuffled downstairs and made my usual pre-race breakfast of 2 eggs, 1 egg white, zucchini, spinach, cheese, ketchup, and a piece of whole grain toast.  All washed down with 12oz of water.  Shake the nerves out, listen to my ipod full of pump-me-up songs.  Visualize how my race will go, go over transitions in my head, picture how I will set up.
TIP:  GO to the race expo the day before!  I was able to see where the transition area was, and could walk the course from the swim to transition to get a feel for it.  Basically I got to practice it.

5:00am: leave the house no if’s and’s or but’s.

5:30am: get to transition and set up—forgot my transition towel.  I had to go back to my car and get it.  Then I realized that I forgot my gloves—second trip back to the car.  Here’s my transition area:

6:48am: make my way down to the water, and watch the two waves before me go off before finally getting into the water.  RACE ON!

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeSo, as I’m swimming, I am concentrating on my stroke and conserving my energy for the remaining part of the race.  For the first 500m of the swim, the sun is shining right into my eyes so that I can’t see the turn buoy.  Oh, and those eggs that I had?  Well, that is my pre-bike race meal, and I eat it 2 hours before my BIKE races.  I really need to re-think my pre-swim meal.  I didn’t think about the fact that your whole body is under pressure when you get into the water.  So every other stroke was breathe,stroke, stroke, eggs, breathe, stroke, stroke, eggs.  I truly contemplated just throwing up in the water so that I could stop having that feeling (the feeling of eggs working back from whence they came).  Another thing that happened in the water—I saw the Pittsburgh police boat!   I was like “how NICE of the Pittsburgh police to come out and support the triathlon!”  Well, it turns out that there was a DEAD BODY in the river that they found WHILE we were swimming.  True story.

So, I felt pretty good after the swim.  I knew that one of the biggest mistakes of new triathletes is not pacing yourself, so I tried really hard not to use up all of my energy during the swim.   I just didn’t realize HOW leisurely my pace was… I’m pretty sure that I was last getting out of the water, or close to it. 

Next:  TRANSITION!  I make my way out of the water and run to transition.  This is the WEIRDEST feeling that I’ve ever had.  There is no way to describe how transition feels but I’m going to try.  OK, so take a shot of Bacardi 151… heck… take two or three!  THEN do a dizzy bat spin race, and top it all off with a douse with the hose!  Everything is WET, and Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeeverything is SPINNING.   You can’t put your gloves on because your hands are still wet.  You can’t put your shoes on because you are dizzy and disoriented.  It was honestly the weirdest feeling.  Although I practiced this… next time, I think I’m going to practice it hammered drunk.  

Struggling to get my wet hands into my gloves.

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeShuffling out of transition!  I think I look kind of awesome in this pic.  Thanks Brodie for being such a good photographer and coach!

OK, so on to my favorite part—the bike.  I am really pleased with my bike time.  I think if it weren’t for the bike portion, my tri time would have been much more abysmal than it already was.  So, I mount my bike and clip in.  The first two turns before the HOV land were nice and wide streets.  I got onto the HOV and start pedaling at endurance pace.  I’ve been warned about the false sense of security on this, so I don’t want to blow up (bonk, skid, run out of energy).  For some reason, I just start singing the same verse of G6 by the Far East Movement, and over, and over… for the entire duration of my bike portion.

“Poppin bottles in the ice, like a blizzard.  When we drink, we do it right getting slizzard.  Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride. Like Three 6. Now I’m feelin’ so fly like a G6. Now, now now now now I’m feelin so fly like a G6”

You can’t have ipods on any portion of the race, so I made my own music…. albeit bad music over, and over, and over again.

Anyhoo, back to the bike.  I maintained endurance pace for the uphill portion of the bike because although I am losing weight, I am still overweight.  This makes pretty much any hill a huge battle for me.  So I had a strategy.   I wanted to use my weight to my advantage on the downhill.  So, I plugged away at the uphill and then when it came time for me to come back down, I got as low as I could in the drops (the curved portion of the handlebars), put my gear as high as it would go, and just zoomed down that hill.  I pushed my legs to that burning, aching feeling.  I think my top speed was 40mph  on the downhill at one point.  This totally made up for my speed getting uphill.  It was bad.  Top speed uphill? 12mph.  But the average was about 8mph,  truth be told. 

Back to transition:  more drunk feeling.  I heard someone calling my name- Brodie!  “Chelsea!  Take your time and WALK out of transition, then jog”  He caught me coming out of transition, and grabbed me by my arms and said “I just want to let you know that I’m REALLY proud of you”  I was out of it at this point, really feeling disoriented so I’m not even sure if that’s what he said… but that’s what I heard in my mind.  So I sort of half hugged him in this weird push my ear up against his arm hug, and took off.  And, by took off, I mean walk/jogged.  I tucked my gatorade bottle in my armpit because I read that this was the most efficient way to carry it.  I took a couple of swigs and it was just sickeningly sweet.  The more I drank, the more it upset my stomach with its sweetness.  I found the first trash can and just chucked the water bottle at it.  I’d drink on the run, and if they ran out of water at the aid stations… then I’d just have to make due.  

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeI walked a good portion of the run. Several of my cycling teammates saw me on the run to give high fives and encouragement.  I just kept on, knowing that there was eventually an end.  I got to the turn around, and a guy on a moped yelled to the volunteers “We still have people on the course!”  What?!?!  I’m not the last one?!?!  That gave me hope, and I wanted to stay ahead of these other people!  I kept on!  I didn’t slow down, and I pushed my body.  I even played leap frog with this guy.  I’d pass him and slow down… then he’d pass me and slow down.  We joked about how long we could keep it up.  I told him that he was my inspiration to keep going, and he said the same about me!

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeI got around the bend, near the last 0.25 miles, and my buddy Shmuel was riding on his bike towards me.  I could see the finish line, and I knew that I had to kick it in and get a respectable pace going. So I mustered up every ounce of “push past the pain” and took off.  There were really only 3 people at the finish line since I took so long- Brodie, Shmuel, and Matt from the PTC.

But, I finished and I didn’t finish last.  Those were my goals.  So I consider my first race to be a success, and a PR, and the start of a beautiful relationship between me and triathlons. I think I surprised myself. 


The most fun you can have in a cape
Sunday, August 7

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeWell, to be honest. If you can’t have fun in a cape then you’re probably a stick in the mud anyway. Let’s be real. But a couple of months back I had the pleasure of doing a 5K for CASA of Allegheny County. Let me tell you—it was more like a party than a race. I had an absolute blast, and I had a PR (personal record—breaking out the runner’s lingo OHHH!!). See? When you have fun, it just works better!

The run for CASA was put on by The Superhero Foundation which, if you are not familiar, is an absolutely amazing cause. Their motto is “Every child needs a hero. But abused and neglected children need superheroes.” How awe inspiring is that? You’re telling me that I get to dress up like a superhero, AND help out children in the foster system to boot? I’m game! Anything to help out the kids.

So, I was super pumped about this race. My friend and I met up at JoAnn Fabrics, and started plotting out our costumes. I already knew what I was going to be, so all I had to do was get some felt. I thought my costume was pretty appropriate given the circumstances—I was Underdog. She went as Supergirl. We made a dynamic duo indeed. Don’t you think?

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeThere were so many awesome goings-on that it would make this blog post a novella. There were kids, adults, grandparents, pets… you name it. There was even a kangaroo running!

You could tell that everyone was having a blast. There were people with their underwear on over tights—as is, of course, the traditional superhero get-up right?! I mean, if you want to run a 5K in the Pittsburgh area, and haven’t run one before—this is your run! It goes through North Park and there are raffles, cookie making, and Mikey and Big Bob from the Kiss Morning Freakshow were there to DJ and emcee the event. And I HAD to take a picture of this lady. She was certainly a superhero—a mom—complete with bath robe, curlers, and a wand. There were so many creative costumes I could sit here all day and tell you about them!

Next year, I will give you a heads up as to when this race will take place! If you are in the Pittsburgh area, I HIGHLY recommend it!


If you love it so much, marry it
Wednesday, July 20

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeDid you ever hear that when you were a kid? You’d be talking about how much you loooove your new slap bracelet, or your new markers that smell like fruit, or your neon pink and orange splatter paint shirt-- and your friend goes “Well, if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”. Yes, I was a child of the 80’s. I had all of these things and an obsession with the New Kids on the Block to boot. In fact, I recall being insanely jealous of Shannah back at Watson Elementary because she got to go see NKOTB and had pictures to prove it. (Yeah Shannah… I remember that!) But I digress.

Anyhoo. I think this phrase has really helped me stick with my training plan and fitness regime. Because, when you are married to something (or someone) you stick with it. You go through the sometimes mundane day-to-days of it, yet you are committed one hundred percent. You know that despite the fact that there are rough patches, you will get through it. Much like a marriage. Yes, I know that people sometimes divorce but that’s irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make! haha! Just hear me out.

What I’m trying to say is that your weight loss or fitness isn’t going to be perfect all of the time. In fact, sometimes you may wonder how or why you even started. However, if you get that stick-to-it attitude and instead of using exercise as an ends to a means it will reap HUGE benefits. Much like in a marriage you need to keep things fun, interesting, and keep a level of commitment.

If your workouts stop being fun, then you need to switch it up! Fun is the name of the game!

My friend asked me “Did you ever think you’d be the type of person who looks forward to being active?” to which I replied with a big. fat. NO. I used to think of exercise as an ends to a means. “Once I get skinny I can stop working out” was sort of my mentality. But now, I would rather go out and do something active instead of loaf around. My whole attitude about weight loss has changed. I am pretty sure it changed once I started having fun.

It all changed the day I married my fitness.


Tuesday, July 19

OK, so I am sure that some people know about my goals and what I am trying to accomplish. I write all of the time about having fitness goals, and how having those goals helps to take the pressure off of you when the scale doesn’t budge. Well, on July 31st I am going to accomplish something I never EVER thought was possible.

What is this you may ask?

I am going to compete in a triathlon. Not just any triathlon. An Olympic distance triathlon.
That is:

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0.9 miles of swimming

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25 miles of biking

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6.2 miles of running

There are no words to express the amount of nervous anticipation that I am experiencing.

So, all of these workouts have had a purpose. They are making me leaner, stronger, and giving me more endurance. It is amazing what our bodies can do when we ask it to do something. The more you push your endurance levels, the better the workouts feel. If you’ve never gotten that ‘workout high’ don’t worry. It will come with time! I promise! Now I get that good feeling with almost every workout. It is such an intense pleasure, that there are no words to describe it. I am so excited to share my experience with you when the day finally comes (which is SO close!) But, I wanted to give you a heads up! Wish me luck!!


Ridin' Solo
Monday, July 18

Well, there always comes a time when you need to leave the nest and head out on your own. So, you put on your gear, lace up your shoes, and say “Today, I am going to make my own way” and you do. It is in these moments that we surprise ourselves. We learn about what we are made of. And, isn’t that what it’s all about?

There is something to be said about a group ride. We find camaraderie and companionship. We find out what we are made of when stacked against the odds. We find, sometimes, that we are not as good as we thought. Maybe we find that we are better than we thought. But most importantly, we are given a litmus test for our abilities when pitted against other riders.

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It is an incredibly humbling experience when you ride with people who are amazingly gifted with abilities far beyond yours. I have the amazing opportunity to belong to a cycling community of very talented women riders from all walks of life. We have women who have overcome injuries, major crashes, surgeries, weight issues, you name it. Most have their obstacles, and you would never know it to watch them ride. It is in the quiet moments between gulps of gatorade and what seems like endless panting up that last hill you get to know these women. You get to see how strong they are not only in their rides, but in their every day lives.

It is riding with these women, and racing against them that I have found a strength that I didn’t know I had. Not one to immerse myself in pain, I tend to back off whenever something feels uncomfortable. Not-so with these ladies. So I aspire to be like them. “One day I will be riding with them, not behind them” I say to myself, as I always end up off the back of the pack—especially during a climb. And I go out, and I keep coming back for more because it’s fun. Sometimes you don’t realize how far they are pushing their bodies until after the ride. Talk of lunch coming back up swirls around, and you realize that they weren’t out there for a joy ride. They are out front because they are pushing themselves.

So, after those rides that ended in talks of potential regurgitation, I decided to see what I could do on my own. I wanted to see if I could open up the throttle and just… just fly. I wanted to push myself like these women did. So I set out to do that. And I surprised myself.

I went on the GAP trail by myself. I didn’t want to hold anyone up. I didn’t want to drag anyone along. I just wanted to be in my own thoughts and ride my own ride. It felt amazing. Not to mention, the scenery was absolutely brilliant.

When I started the ride there was a snake coiled up at the mouth to the trail, but when I doubled back to snap a picture it had already disappeared. So I kept on and really opened it up. I was averaging 19.5mph on the flats and just loving life. It wasn’t a difficult pace, so I decided to push it a little more. 20. 21. 22. holy crap! 26! 27 miles per hour! I am riding by myself at 27 miles per hour! Well, my endurance at this pace wasn’t great so it didn’t stay there for more than 30 seconds. But just knowing that I could take myself to that place where your muscles are screaming, and every cell in your body is saying ‘STOP’ was hugely gratifying. I ended up riding 35 miles round trip in just over 2 hours, and I snapped some pictures along the way. I felt very accomplished during this ride, and it’s a feeling that makes you want to come back for more.


Just Keep Swimming

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym - Facebook - Twitter - YouTubeSwimming has to be the most fun way to get your physical activity in EVER! I’ve been taking swim lessons with Kelly and she is such a good instructor. I always thought that I was a decent swimmer but just needed to work on my stamina. However, after my first lesson I realized that swimming isn’t about working harder! It’s all about streamlining yourself and gliding through the water with as little effort as possible! Sounds almost too good to be true, but I found that when I started getting the stroke down, the effort almost became minimal!

We started first on my stroke, and how to align my arms. Did you know that you’re not just windmilling around in there? I sure didn’t!!!!! There is a little swoop you add under water to help grab the water. I felt myself getting faster just adding that swoop!

Then we worked on my kick. My biggest mistake was that I was bending at the knees instead of keeping one long fluid kick. I guess the best way to describe it would be to do the ‘rubber pencil’ trick you used to do when you were a kid. Remember that? Where you take a pencil and hold it in the middle and bounce it up and down so that it looks like it’s made of rubber? Yeahhhh… that’s what I think my legs needed to look like. Kelly has so much patience with me and I love swimming now! Before, I was freaking out about ‘how am I going to swim 1600 yards when I can barely do 25???’ Well, I don’t worry about that now. I’m more focused on my position in the pool, staying on top of the water, breathing, keeping everything in line, and just relaxing.

If you have any sort of inkling about getting into the water, DO IT!!! It is so much fun, and you’ll thank yourself for sprinkling in some super fun workouts.


New Favorite Food

OK, I have found the perfect pizza. Oh WOW, it is absolutely delicious. If you are into Mediterranean food at all you should try this pizza. Here’s what I do:

Pittsburgh Day Care - Pittsburgh Early Childhood - My Baby and Me - JCC PittsburghTake 1 whole wheat flat bread and top with

  • Crushed canned tomatoes
  • Sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • Red onions
  • Red Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast cooked with Montreal Seasoning (my favorite)
  • 1 oz feta cheese crumbled
  • A pinch of asiago cheese (optional)

So apparently I deleted pics of the finished product… but here is the work in progress pics. You can imagine the amazingness of this pizza for yourselves.

Also, if you have a pizza stone, it makes it that much better! Enjoy!!!! I make this at least once every other week (and it’s QUICK!)


50 Marathons in 50 Days
Wednesday, June 1

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymWhaaaa??? Yeah, totally not me doing this whole 50 marathons in 50 days business. However, there is a guy named Dean Karnazas who DID. I got an email from my friend April who won an entry to the “Run with Dean” 5K and couldn’t do the race. Well, she knows that I work the night shift and would be OK to do something at 9 am on a moment’s notice. (THANK YOU APRIL!!!!!!) So Monday I got the email that I would be doing a 5k on Wednesday! Holy CRAP! My first 5k EVER was scheduled for that Saturday, so basically I was asking my body to do TWO 5K’s in a week after 28 years of successfully NEVER doing a 5k! Well, I was up for the challenge.

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So, I get there really, really early… because A) I was nervous and B) I didn’t know what to expect or where to go. And I think that I just looked like someone who didn’t know what she was doing because this super tiny, petite girl named Molly sort of took me under her wing. She was a seasoned vet and is running her second marathon this May (I’d soon find out that all of the other runners had either participated in or were training for marathons…) She taught me to tie my car key into my shoelaces (because my running pants had no pockets) and that I will usually get a bag of goodies after the race. (I love free stuff!!!!!)

Well, we waited around for what seemed like forever for Dean to come in—on the back of an antique fire truck no less. And since we were racing at an elementary school the kids were going nuts. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that his whole premise for running across the country was a way to help bring awareness to the childhood obesity problem. These kids were SO pumped to be running. Well, some of them. I kept hearing one kid tell her teacher “My legs are broken! I don’t want to!” Haha! Hey, at least she’s a creative thinker!

I started out slowly, and kept up a slow series of run/walk intervals. Oh and MAN was it HOT and HILLY!! 82 degrees at 9 am! What??? So, for my first 5k I think I did pretty well…My goal was just to finish, and I did. Needless to say, since all of the runners had either already participated in (or were training for) a marathon, I got left in the dust! That honestly did NOT matter to me at that point! I felt so accomplished afterwards! I *may* have cried a little, but I am pretty sure that it was just ‘eye sweat’ right? What have you proven to yourself that you can do lately? Any interesting 5k/10k/cycling races? I want to hear about them!


Well, I did it!
Wednesday, May 10
I signed up for my first 5K and I am so happy because it started this incredible snowball effect! In the past two weeks I have run three 5Ks, done a 12ish- mile bike race, signed up for a 25 mile bike race, and done several 850 yard swim workouts!!! Whew! I’m tired just typing all of that!! I’m definitely noticing a change in my endurance levels and my overall fitness. Even though my weight has kind of reached a plateau, my fitness has increased dramatically. I think I’ll do a separate post for the races I did because they were each so amazing in their own way, and I am SO happy that I did all of them. Here’s a list of all of the races that I did:

Run with Dean 5K (This was with Dean Karnaszas, and it kind of fell into my lap! He’s the guy you see on Regis and Kelly)

Superhero Foundation 5K (The MOST FUN 5K EVER! And it supports a cause very dear to me—CASA of Allegheny County)

Susan G Komen Race for the Cure Pittsburgh (I raised nearly $100 dollars for this race! Woo!!)

Bud Harris Cycling Oval Crit series (This was an absolute last minute decision, and turned out to be AWESOME!! The people were so genuinely nice, and they even cheered me on as I went around the track. This is also every Tuesday down at the oval and it is an event that I highly suggest.)

And I just signed up for the 25 mile Pedal Pittsburgh ride. I actually am thinking about upgrading to the 35 mile ride. I was concerned about Pittsburgh hills, and as it turns out, these courses aren’t terribly hilly. So, maybe 35?? EEEEEKK!!!

So, even though I am not very fast at running or biking, I still signed up. I think that the reason that I ended up signing up was because of this quote that I read on the ACA website: “Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.”

So, even if you come in dead last like I did at two of the four events that I did… just remember that one day you won’t be last. You may not be first, but you will not always be last. And that’s a good feeling.


Do not go gentle into that good night
Monday, March 28
I remember a poem from when I was in high school by the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. This has always been my favorite poem, and I think that it really can apply to my situation right now. You see, I’m at a stalling point—a real, live, make you or break you place in terms of my weight loss. I can’t Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymseem to bring myself to get past the 50 lb. mark. I don’t know if I am subconsciously sabotaging my efforts because I am afraid, or if I am CONSCIOUSLY doing it because I’m rebelling against my regime. All I know is that when I was doing the JCC indoor triathlon, I met this couple—Rochelle? and Heath? I hope that’s how they spell their names. But anyway, Rochelle said to me,

“Just don’t you quit. Whatever you do, you can’t quit this because if you do, ten years from now you’ll look back and regret it.”

She said some other things to me that remind me constantly why I am doing this, and I won’t post them here because I am sure they were personal. Some people have no idea how much such a small interaction can have on another person whether it be positive or negative. I think of that interaction sometimes, and it reminds me to fight. I also think of the poem that I mentioned, “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night”

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I think that, although the poem is about death, and doing everything you can to fight for your life, I can apply it to my weight loss. I have to fight. I have to rage against being complacent. I have to get myself into the mindset of success.

If you knew that you were going to succeed at something before you even started, would you want to try? Heck no! We take the path of least resistance! As humans, we hit the easy button! That’s why weight loss is so hard!

There is such a transformation involved not only physically, but emotionally. We have to prime our friends, loved ones, and family for the eventual ‘new normal’ that will occur. And not everyone will like your new normal. But you know what? We can’t go gentle into that good night.

I have to know that I have done everything in my power to succeed. I have to know that I have raged, and clawed, and fought my way through. This isn’t over.

I am having setbacks, and I am having struggles, but I am not done. No, I will never be done. But that’s what is so beautiful. I can make mistakes, and I can learn, and I can be so much more. So much more.


Sweet, Sweet Redemption (weigh-in)
Sunday, March 20

Well, my last weigh in really gave me a wake up call. I used that as a tool, and really stepped up with tracking and watching my intake. The results were phenomenal! I am proud Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymto say that not only did I lose the 2.6lbs that I gained last week, but I lost 4 more on top of that for a total of 6.6lbs lost this week!!! Whoa! I’m only 2lbs away from the 50lb mark!! That’s HUGE!!!

I also had another fitness test on the bike with Brodie to make sure that I was improving as far as my cardiovascular fitness goes.

This was during my fast pedals. I tend to ‘hunker’ down during these. I’ve been doing OK with the fast pedals aspect of my training… Although I’m not where I want to be. I am currently at about 112rpm for my fast pedals, and I’d like them to be above 120. In time they will… in time.

I also went to a running clinic at the JCC and really learned a lot! I got some pointers as far as form, and we learned (and even did) some functional stretches. Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym It’s amazing what you can learn when you get out of your comfort zone and just engage yourself! I never would have gone to anything like this before because I was always afraid of people looking at me like “why is she here?” But, I put that fear aside and just went because I have just as might right to access this information as anyone else! To be honest, I almost didn’t go because I was afraid, but I am glad that I did. I ended up winning a workout log!

And speaking of winning, stay tuned for an AWESOME giveaway soon!


Why do we call it a 'Journey'?
Wednesday, March 16

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym
When I first started losing weight and writing about my weight loss I read several blogs. Almost all of the bloggers referred to their weight loss as a ‘journey’ and I asked myself “Why is this so common? Why does everyone refer to it as a journey?”

It wasn’t until I hit a bump in the road this past week that I fully understood why people call it a journey.

Journeys are long.

Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. It will take several months, or even years for you to lose weight at a healthy pace.

Journeys take planning.

Great explorers in history didn’t just leave for a journey without careful planning. They mapped (or tried to map) their path, and envisioned the route they would take to ultimately be successful in their journey. They had to plan to have enough resources for all of the men on the ship for the entire duration of the trip, plus extra if the unforeseen happened. Weight loss is much the same. First, you must ask yourself “how am I going to do this?” and then plan your path. Then you must prepare yourself mentally for setbacks and how you will handle them.

Journeys don’t always go as planned.

You may recall a certain trip to the Indies by a man named Christopher Columbus? Well, that obviously didn’t go as planned! However, something better happened—the discovery of ‘a new world’. You may find that things don’t go as planned on your weight loss journey, but something BETTER is coming. You just don’t know it yet!

Journeys are hard.

If anyone has ever said that weight loss would be easy, they were either lying, or trying to sell you something weight-loss related. You will go through some serious emotional catharsis along the way. There will be tears, there will be exasperation, and you know what?

Journeys, in the end, are worth it.

You, my friend, are worth it.

Do this for yourself. You will not be sorry.


Struggling/Making Peace
Tuesday, March 15

So, this past week was NOT the greatest week in terms of weight loss or having control over my food choices. Last Saturday the hubs and I had date night at Gran Agave at the Waterfront. Soooo delicious. I hadn’t had cheese dip in awhile, and I allowed myself to order it. Well, that was a bad move! I ended up housing the entire bowl along with the chips. I then proceeded to eat my entire meal (and you know how huge restaurant portions are). My eating just spiraled out of control after that, and although I won’t get into the boring details, just know that it wasn’t pretty.

I ended up gaining 2.6 lbs at my weigh in this week.

There’s something about highlighting it in red that makes it look more threatening… I’m not gonna lie, but it freaked me out to see my weight go +2.6 at my weigh-in. I figure that I have one of two ways to look at a gain. I could either use that as an excuse to throw in the towel and say ‘well, I’m done…’ or I could use that as feedback to tell me ‘um hellooooo! You can’t chow down on Mexican and chili all day long and expect to lose weight’. A-duh!

So I had an issue with one week. I’m frustrated with myself, and I really need to learn how to reign it in. I can’t let this disappointment completely derail my efforts. I’ve worked too hard to just give up. I just need to remind myself of the following:

  • Six months ago I weighed 268 lbs.
  • Now I don’t. Six months ago I couldn’t run.
  • Now I can run 2 miles.
  • Six months ago I was miserable.
  • Now I smile more.
  • Six months ago I had no direction.
  • Now I am going back to school, training for a triathlon, and becoming a positive influence on others.
  • Six months ago I got winded walking up a flight of stairs.
  • Now I can run up three flights of stairs three times in 4 min. 38 sec.

So, there are a lot more things I can do now that I couldn’t do six months ago. As long as I can remember this, I’ll be ok.

What can you do now in your journey that you couldn’t do before??


An appreciation for where my food comes from
Wednesday, March 9

So, there’s a show that I’ve caught on demand a few times called The Fabulous Beekman Boys. The show is about two metropolitan NYC boys who have purchased a farm in rural New York and the show’s purpose is to show the transition from city chic to country. While I was watching one episode, it quickly became apparent that the episode was going to focus on the pigs. These pigs were raised by the Beekman Boys and were now of age for slaughter. Never did I think that I would bawl my eyes out over a show called ‘The Fabulous’ anything… but this episode really struck a chord with me. They had to bring in the help of another farm because they couldn’t kill the pigs themselves. It was very humane, and they fed the pigs (Porky and Bess) their favorite meal of apples and spent a little bit of time petting them before they went through with the process.

Dr. Brent (the one who lives at the farm full time) made a comment when they were eating the ham made from Porky and Bess about never wanting to eat off of the ‘dollar’ menu because they were worth more than that. Their lives were worth more than just a dollar menu meal. That really made me sit back in my chair, fold my arms, scratch my chin and go ‘huh… I really see where he’s coming from with this’. It wasn’t a pro vegan or pro veg agenda, which I liked. They were just appreciating the animal and the meal that the animal provided.

How I took it was… how much value can I place on the food that goes into my mouth if it’s on a dollar menu? Can I really develop an appreciation for my food this way? I mean… trust me… I’m not saying that just because a food is more expensive means that it’s better… nor am I saying that I’m totally cool with spending a lot of money on food. (Growing up, we had a single mom and we got food stamps while she was going to school to provide us with a better future. I am extremely sensitive to the fact that money is hard to come by. I don’t know how many times I thank my lucky stars that I am fortunate enough to know where my next meal is coming from.) I just think that by me bingeing on low quality highly processed food doesn’t do any good for my body, nor does it make me feel better. That episode really opened my eyes and prompted me to slow down to appreciate my food. I remember someone mentioning ‘mindful eating’ and thought that the emotions that I’ve been having surrounding my food may be similar so I, of course, googled “mindful eating principles” and came across this site for The Center for Mindful Eating. I thought “YES! That’s what I am trying to do!” I especially like that they encourage a non-judgmental atmosphere surrounding your food. I have SUCH a tendency to feel guilty about certain things that I eat. Also, it’s not uncommon for people to judge the eating habits of others, so it’s nice to get the gentle reminders that we all choose different ways to nourish our bodies. Here are the principles (Source: The Center for Mindful Eating):

Principles of Mindfulness:

  • Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally.
  • Mindfulness encompasses both internal processes and external environments.
  • Mindfulness is being aware of what is present for you mentally, emotionally and physically in each moment.
  • With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
  • Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, neutral or dislikes) without judgment.
  • Learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin eating and to stop eating.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

  • Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
  • Accepts that his/her eating experiences are unique.
  • Is an individual who by choice, directs his/her awareness to all aspects of food and eating on a moment-by-moment basis.
  • Is an individual who looks at the immediate choices and direct experiences associated with food and eating; not to the distant health outcome of that choice.
  • Is aware of and reflects on the effects caused by unmindful eating.
  • Experiences insight about how he/she can act to achieve specific health goals as he/she becomes more attuned to the direct experience of eating and feelings of health.
  • Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of his/ her food choices has on those systems.

I am trying very hard to put these practices into play. What are some of your strategies for eating healthy? What has worked for you the best? I am so new to this journey, and I am like a sponge so any thoughts are HUGELY appreciated!!!


How a $38 (or even less) investment
can save you hundreds on getting healthy

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymSunday, March 6
What???? Is this even possible, Chelsea???

“Getting healthy is SO expensive!”

“I can’t eat healthy foods because they cost too much!”

“When I buy fruits and vegetables they just go bad in my crisper bin.”

“ACK, I hate fruits and vegetables” (okay, I can’t really help you with Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymthis one… you’ll have to figure that out on your own… sorry. I’m only one woman!)

Well, now I’m telling you that it IS possible to eat a healthier diet, and it is affordable. I’ll tell you how to do it. You just gotta have a little ‘try’ and a lotta patience.

I grow my own veggies and fruits!!

I’ve always had a green thumb, and Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymgardening is my passion. Actually, I think the worst argument my husband and I ever got into involved my plants. I was on the way out the door to go to work one night in August, and I saw something on the news about a freak frost (in August? whaaat?) so I asked my husband to bring my plants off of the porch because I didn’t have time. I mean, I had hibiscus, a peace lily, anthurium, various cacti, bamboo, begonias, orchids, some seedlings etc.… a tooonnnnn of plants. Well, he didn’t bring them in and when I came home that morning, all of my plants had frozen and I tried to bring them inside… they all turned to green jelly… resulting in the worst fight we have ever had.

But, that’s water under the bridge now, right?

I present to you…. my first veggie garden in our new house! I was so excited when we bought this house because there are three planter boxes in the little back yard. Three little planter boxes just for me! (For some reason, every time I say ‘just for me’ I remember Kevin in Home Alone eating his cheese pizza)

(I could’ve used the million-and-two pots that I have already…. but then I wouldn’t have been able to shop for cool new goodies!)

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym3 pack seed starting flat/greenhouse $8.97
seeds approx $20

  • summer squash
  • zucchini
  • mesclun
  • romaine lettuce
  • green leaf lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • pak choi (or bok choy)
  • celery
  • green beans
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon (make sure to get a dwarf variety for limited space)
  • sweet peppers
  • hot peppers (peppers need hotter germinating temps, so these may not do well in the community planter that I’ve set up…. we’ll see if they sprout)
  • stevia (I dunno about this one… it may end up making me cuss because it was 2.50 wayyy more expensive than any of the others… like over twice the price, for 6 tiny dustlike seeds) See?? 

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gympopsicle sticks $1

seed starter soil $5.47 (you do NOT need a bag this big, but since I am always starting seed of some sort in the spring, I bought the big boy)

spray bottle $1

Total with tax=$38.97

The popsicle sticks were held together by a flimsy piece of paper…. needless to say it broke and they went everywhere…

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymSo, fill the reservoir tray (the one without the idividual cups) with some pebbles or small rocks for good air circulation

It was raining, so I just ran outside and grabbed a big hand full of rocks and twigs

Put the seed container on top of the pebbles and fill with your seed starter soil and saturate (not soak) the cells with water and let the excess drain for a little bit. And now for the fun part!!!

Decide how many types of seeds you are going to plant, and label your popsicle sticks with either pencil or permanent marker and place the sticks in your rows

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymI only planted three cells with the most prolific plants or ones that I knew would be huge (green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, cantaloupe and watermelon) The others I planted six cells.

Now, poke a hole (for larger seeds) the depth of three seeds length (this way you don’t plant the seeds too deep. It’s much better to plant the seeds too shallow than too deep.)

This picture is a little blurry, but you can see that I placed three zucchini seeds end to end and marked my stick so that I knew how far down to plant the seeds.

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymAs for the seeds that look like dust… just plop them right on top of the soil. Although it seems unnatural to plant them on top, I promise you that they will grow. I did this for celery, stevia, and all of the lettuces (lettuce is notorious for being a giant pain in the tush btw… especially during the hotter summer months because it is soooo needy for water and heat will wilt it like nobody’s business)

For the peppers, I just scraped a bit of soil out of the way and planted juuuuust below the surface.

And for my SUPER SECRET tip! To avoid damping off (ever planted seedlings and got some moldy fuzz growing around them? That’s damping off) lightly sprinkle cinnamon all over the top. Its natural antifungal properties will help keep damping off at bay so that you don’t lose your precious seedlings!!!!

Now, don’t place your flat in a windowsill (it’s still a bit drafty in early March so the cold air will halt growth), but let the flat sit in a warm area (on top of the refrigerator is a nice warm place provided that you don’t forget your seedlings up there!)

When the seedlings start to poke through, you want to provide them with light as close to them as possible so that they don’t get leggy i.e, stems too long from reaching for sun (a fluorescent shop light costs around 10 bucks at Lowe’s, and you can place them almost directly on the seedlings without fear of burning them)

If you like YouTube, this girl aka The Garden Girl is an amazing resource for those of us who may not have an abundance of space, but would like to grow our own food.

Also, this place gives away seeds to help you get started. Just google "free seeds" or "free dinner garden seeds" because saving seeds from your store bought veggies may not work. They are usually hybrids, so you may find yourself with seeds that don't sprout. Or, if they do, they may not fruit.

So, if you want to turn 38 bucks into hundreds of dollars worth of produce for your family this year, go ahead and start some seeds! You’ll be amazed at how much a dollar’s worth of seeds will yield in delicious organic fruits and veggies!


If you love Chinese lo-mein...
you will LOVE, LOVE this recipe!

Friday, March 4

Okay, so you know how I’ve been bored to tears eating the same old same old same old stuff day in and day out. Well, oddly enough, my Weight Watchers meeting was titled “Shaking Things Up” and we all gave ideas for recipes. Well, I took this idea one step further and used my new cookbook (Eating Well on a Budget by Jessie Price and The Eating Well Test Kitchen) to find any recipes that looked interesting. Well, this one jumped out at me because I love stir fry and we haven’t had it in awhile. I don’t know why we haven’t, because it’s actually VERY healthy with all of the veggies and lean meats mixed in. What’s not to love? Well, I’ve never made a stir fry with noodles as the base instead of rice, and this one tasted a lot like the lo-mein that I used to order whenever we had take-out. So, here it goes! Oh, and this was my first time cooking with bok choy and some other ingredients. Bok choy, as I discovered, was actually Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymmy favorite part of the lo mein that I always ordered! All this time I was thinking they were bean sprouts!!!!

Pork and Bok Choy Stir-fry

  • 8 oz soba or rice noodles (I used 6 oz of soba cuz that’s all they had at the store)
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat (I marinated mine in Lowry's sesame ginger marinade overnight)
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/4 c Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry (Modification: I didn’t have either so I used 1/4c water in addition to the 1/3 cup already mentioned)
  • 2 T reduced sodium soy sauce (Modification: didn’t have any, so used regular… high blood pressure anyone?)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (used flour)
  • 1 T peanut oil or canola oil
  • 1 med. onion thinly sliced
  • Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym1 head of bok choy (found in the produce section)
  • 1 pkg of sliced mushrooms (optional, and my personal addition to the recipe)
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • 1 T chile-garlic sauce

This is the chile-garlic sauce I found at the grocery store… I picked the one that looked the most fun… and it sure was tasty!

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, slice pork into thin rounds; cut each round into matchsticks or a little larger. Whisk water, rice wine (or sherry, or more water), soy sauce, and cornstarch (or flour) in a small bowl.
  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven (or large skillet) over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bok choy and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the pork, garlic, and chile-garlic sauce; cook, stirring, until the pork is just cook through 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymWhisk the cornstarch mixture again, add it to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring until the sauce has thickened 2 to 4 minutes. Serve the pork and veggies over the noodles.

(My pictures didn’t look as perty)

Nutritional Info: 374cals, 6g fat (1g sat, 2g mono), 55mg cholesterol, 51g carbohydrate, 29g protein, 2g fiber, 775mg sodium (although mine was probably through the roof since I used regular soy sauce), 975mg potassium

So, if you ever find yourself craving Chinese, make this instead! It’s super quick and sooooo delicious! Enjoy!


Weigh in, Measurements & Training 3/1
Thursday, March 3

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This week was such a fun training session. I found out that I LOVE running stairs. It makes me feel so tired and I love that feeling. (yes, I may have a mental problem...) But seriously, a workout where I can actually feel my heart pumping and my muscles burning is such a good feeling! Right after we got done doing leg extensions, Brodie said “We’re gonna run stairs now” and I thought he was joking until I saw this girl come out of the stairwell with a bright red face. Then I realized that he was serious. He told me that I had six minutes to get up to the third floor and back three times. Well, I started out of the gate entirely too fast. I had my ipod on (which kept shuffling to Nickelback-ugh- because of all the jostling around) and heard a muffled “don’t forget to pace yourself!!!!!” So I slowed down. He said for every 5 seconds I was over 6 minutes would be another set of stairs… well I did it in 4:38… and still had to do two more sets!!! Whaaaaat? That was TOTALLY not the deal! But I did them anyway… I liked it.

Oh, and my weigh this week was less than desirable. I lost 0.4 lbs and it was the first time that I did what I was told as far as nutrition and didn’t see the results I wanted… I gave myself a pity party of two lime popsicles, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a handful of lentil chips with hummus… bad move, and I knew I was emotionally eating. I even told my husband “I’m having a pity party for myself because yesterday I only lost 0.4 lbs and I did everything right” Well, as it turns out (TMI alert!) it was my lady-time, and if you know anything about PCOS, you will know that they are so few and far between that I never know when or if I am going to have lady-time any given month. I also asked Brodie (well, before I found out it was my lady-time) about the weight loss slowing down, and he said it was because I just started a structured routine. He explained it like giving kids recess vs handing them a football and telling them to play. Once you get structure involved it takes a little bit of time for everything to figure out what you want it to do, so weight loss is somewhat slowed (or you even gain). So, since I started my training block, hopefully I can resume with my weight loss this week.*Crosses Fingers*

But, for the piece de resistance…. my measurements! Since 12/20 I have gained an inch on my chest, and an inch on each thigh…. and LOST 6.5 INCHES FROM MY BELLY!!!!!!!! Well, as far as the gaining in the chest and thighs… I am just telling everyone that I’m getting more of an hourglass figure tee hee! I hope that’s what’s going on with me!!!!

Weight: 224.6 Starting:268 Loss of:43.4lbs!


Weigh in & Training 2/21
Wednesday, March 2

"You get to that point where you can crumble, or you can conquer"

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Well, my weigh-in was sort of lackluster this week –0.8 lbs. Like I said, I’ve really been struggling with my eating habits and I need to reevaluate my dietary habits. I’ve been following the guidelines that Leslie set up for me, but I haven’t been measuring anything other than my protein. It’s like I know what I need to do, but I’ve been doing it for so long that I am starting to lose steam and everything that I eat seems to be the same. So, I bought some cookbooks and have been browsing through my Cooking Light magazine stock. I really hope to get back on track, and I’m glad that I’m starting to evaluate my habits before things start to get out of hand.

It’s so easy to backslide. But I'm not going to crumble. This time, I'm going to conquer!

I just don’t want that for myself. You know, the first 43 lbs came off easily enough… I mean, it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t have that desire to slack like I do now. I mean, I have this incredible desire to just sit around and eat. It’s not that I don’t want to go to the gym, because that is my favorite thing to do…. it’s that I am getting super bored with eating the same things all of the time. So, the cookbook that I bought was from and it’s called “Eating Well on a Budget” and since I’m going back to school in August (which means only working on weekends=less money) we need to learn to eat healthy meals that don’t cost an arm and a leg. I’m learning to cook more vegetarian dishes that incorporate beans and tofu. It is SO much cheaper to incorporate plant sources of protein like edamame, tofu, beans, and nuts than to eat animal products. I just need to learn ways to cook them and how to include them into my diet. So, any cookbook or recipe suggestions would be very appreciated!


I. AM. an. athlete. and athletes go to specialty stores
Friday, February 25

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gym
I have been wearing a $15 pair of Target gym shoes for awhile now, and ever since I’ve been working with Brodie he has asked me (every time) when I’m going to get a new pair of shoes. Well, I finally decided to bite the bullet when they started to get a little funky. Brodie was stretching out my hamstring and said ‘hmm… your shoes stink!’ OH MY GOSH HOW MORTIFYING! I was so embarrassed. A huge fear of mine is body odor and being the stinky kid.

There is something to be said about specialty stores. I was always afraid that I would be judged if I went into a store for ‘athletes’ being overweight. I just assumed that they would think “what is SHE doing in this store? She’s obviously not an athlete!” Well, something my husband said really resonated with me. It was “Who cares what you Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymweigh? Your money spends just like anyone else’s.” He also said “If you don’t know how to do something, you hire someone with the right tools to do it… so why wouldn’t you do the same with your athletic gear?” That really got me thinking… So, I put all of my preconceived notions aside and ventured to a store called Fleet Feet, a specialty shoe store geared towards all things running—shoes, sports bras, spikes, running gear and socks. When I got inside the store, people couldn’t have been nicer. The girl who helped me was VERY attentive, and I told her that I had lost 42 lbs already and was looking to compete in a triathlon in July. She had me roll up my jeans and walk across the store. She told me that I over pronated—more so with my right foot than my left. But my left was the one causing me the most problem. hmm… odd. She then brought out the shoes that she thought Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymwould work best for my problem—a cuuute pair of Saucony progrid Omni 9’s (with pink soles!!!) She also suggested some non-cotton socks to help wick away moisture. I tried them on and walked through the store, and then got on the treadmill. This was cool. The treadmill had a camera and tv set up so that I could see my feet when I run. She showed me what happened when I over pronated and how those shoes fixed it. I asked her to snap a few pics for the blog, and she obliged!

So, if you think that specialty stores are only for the hardcore two-a-day athletes… think again! Thanks FleetFeet!!!

Here’s the link to their website: Fleet Feet Pittsburgh


Does My Posture Make My Butt Look Fat?
Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymThursday, February 24
So, remember this post about the training session where I couldn’t do a lot of the exercises? I went home after I couldn’t do them (frustrated with myself) and googled “what being fat does to the musculoskeletal system” yes, I’m a dork. I also googled “what obesity does to your posture” as well as “why is losing weight so hard” out of exasperation. There is a TON of information out there to show what obesity does to your body in terms of disease, but I was very hard-pressed to find out what it did to my posture and my muscles.

I finally stumbled upon what I was looking for. Some answers. Obesity throws your body out of whack, I mean I knew this but couldn’t see how! I threw MY Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymbody out of whack! My spine had taken on a curvature called lordosis which was why I always had lower back pain and made me look like I had a big ol’ shelf booty! See how the back of this guy gets more and more curved and the butt sticks out further and further (or is it farther and farther?) to accommodate the increased size of his belly?

That’s why I had a shelf booty! And, his shoulders are more and more slumped. It’s no wonder why people asked me all of the time if ‘everything was ok’!!! I’m sure I gave off a sad appearance with my shoulders always hunched over.

I remember following this one girl on her weight loss journey, and I remember seeing a picture series much like this one. I remember saying “Melanie, in your pictures, as you lose weight your head is held higher! You look amazing!” Look at the picture above—isn’t his head higher?? His shoulders aren’t rounded and he is standing up straighter. You know, Brodie is always very sensitive about what he says to me, and never makes me feel like I can’t do something… but sometimes when he stops me in the middle of an exercise because my form is wrong it drives me crazy! It makes me try to find out WHY I can’t do it.

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymHe kept telling me to ‘have a neutral spine’ and for the life of me, I thought I was! You see the look on my face. I am like ‘why is this wrong? I feel like I’m doing it right!’ So, as crazy as it seems, every time I see my reflection, I try to tilt my pelvis forward and re-train my posture. I hope to one day get rid of my big ol’ shelf booty!


Valentine's Day... Fitness Test/Weigh-in
Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymThursday, February 17
I did a quick warm up of 27 inchworms, then did some core work. After that, we went upstairs to do a fitness test on the bike. Yaaaaay! For some reason, the side planks were SUPER hard to me this time. I kept falling over!

 The past few weeks have been really hard for me nutrition-wise. I think I’ve been sort of relaxing a bit, and I don’t really know why. For instance, superbowl sunday I just went a little crazy with my friend October’s mac and cheese (so delicious… a combination of alfredo, havarti, smoked gouda, and smoked cheddar cheeses). Ididn’t even keep track of how much I had, not to mention the pulled pork bbq and pizza dip I ate. I’ve always had a problem with binge eating, and I think that I am acutely aware of just how much I’m eating but for Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymsome reason it just didn’t matter to me. Someone mentioned to me that you ‘can’t sit up straight and proper all of the time’ and that you have to relax every once in awhile. So true. I firmly believe in having one ‘fun’ eating day each week where I either go out to dinner or order in. That is not negotiable to me. I just think that what bothers me is just how much relaxing I’ve done over the past few weeks. That scares me. Brodie talked about the ‘check mark’ phenomenon where people who have lost weight have a downward progression, but then they get complacent and start to put the weight back on. I don’t want to be another member of the ‘check mark club’. I just don’t. So, I think it’s good that I’m slowly finding my way. I guess I’ll find out what works and what doesn’t and I’ll be able to use these tools forever.

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymDespite all of the craziness, at my weigh in this week I lost 2.2lbs for a total of 42.4lbs. So, maybe my perception of a ‘pig out’ has changed? Maybe I’m actually eating less during these moments of temporary insanity weakness, because my portion sizes have drastically changed in every other aspect? This changing thing is hard. Just sayin...


I can't be the only one who's ever done this...
Wednesday, February 16

I just got done working out for an hour and a half... and stumbled upon a dunkin donuts on my way home (by 'stumbled upon' I mean drove to, parked, and went inside)... Well, they didn't have the reverse Boston Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health ClubCreme that I've been eyeing for 3 weeks (well, I can't even remember the last time I had a donut...) so, naturally I needed a regular Boston creme, and a triple chocolate something-or-other to sort of offset the difference right? RIGHT?

bleep bleep bleepity bleeeeeeeeeeeppppppp


Little Miss Muffett ain’t got nothin on me! (Update) aka seeing the nutritionist and using whey protein…
Monday, February 14
Friday I haPittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymd the awesome privilege to see a nutritionist. Okay, not just ANY nutritionist… but THE nutritionist for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins. How awesome is that?!?!?! Her name is Leslie Bonci, (UPDATE: here is a Q&A on nutrition that Leslie did for as well as here where she writes for Runners World) and she works through the UPMC Sports Complex in Pittsburgh’s South Side (awesome place btw… autographed jerseys EVERYWHERE… Sportscenter on big screen TVs in the lobby… total guys paradise)

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymHubs and I arrived at the sports complex and sat down for a couple of minutes before Leslie could see us. Momentarily I hear my name called and this incredibly fashionable woman wearing mustard yellow leather gloves (she had just arrived as well), this mustard, plum, and burgundy gypsy-esque scarf, knee high boots, and this killer plum-colored coat, introduced herself. I had an immediate girl crush on her outfit, not gonna lie. She took us through this windy route to her office which is probably harder to get to than the Disney vaults and tucked away just as securely. As we sat down, I could tell that she was going to really get down to the nitty gritty with my nutrition. She looked through my logs and asked me how many calories I typically try to eat in a day (2300), and looked at the ratios of carbs to protein to fat. I also told her about my PCOS, and that I work the night shift.

So, after about an hour and a half discussion, this is basically what I needed to do to tweak my diet:

  • Eat my calories in reverse, sort of. I start with a 600 calorie breakfast instead of 300-350, eat 800 cals for lunch, 300 for snack, do my workout, eat recovery food within 30 min of doing my workout (another 300), and then finish off the day with my usual 300ish cal bowl of cereal before bed. She called my breakfast ‘this bran flakes phenomenon you have going for you’ hahaha!
  • Up my protein… like… double it. This is where the whey protein comes into play. My recovery food is a protein shake which is so freaking good it tastes like a real milkshake. Here’s the recipe:
    • 1 heaping scoop of whey powder (I use Gold Standard Whey Rocky Road, and I also bought French Vanilla Crème both are awesome flavors)
    • 8oz skim milk
    • 1 c fruit (I use FROZEN strawberries or blueberries or bananas, and I’m going to try some frozen mango I bought at Trader Joe’s) using frozen eliminates the need for ice and makes for a better drink in my opinion
    • 2T bran flakes (for fiber I’m assuming)
    • Blend it all up in my blender, then put it in this nifty blender bottle that I bought from GNC (so amazing… helps stir your drink with the little orb so it doesn’t settle on the bottom… a real lifesaver)

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymContrary to popular belief… you don’t need a fancy shmancy blender. I had one at one point in time but it crapped out on me… we bought a cheap-o less-than-20-bucks blender at Wal-Mart and honest to goodness, it’s worked way better than the fancy shmancy ones I’ve had in the past… no joke… Scouts honor.

I also have to concentrate on:

  • Incorporating other types of whole grains into my diet besides whole wheat bread. So I bought quinoa, barley, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, and whole wheat couscous
  • Eat more protein at lunch (I limited myself to 4 oz of lean meat… now I get 6 woo hoo!)
  • Eat a protein every time I so much as think about eating a carb… even a piece of fruit I must now pair with almond or peanut butter and/or a string cheese.
  • oh yeah… did I mention I need more protein?

So, instead of the 80 grams of protein I was getting… I now need 150ish grams. It would be very difficult to do this without the whey supplement. The reason is that since I am working out so much I don’t want to strip away all of my lean muscle with all of the exercise so I need approx 1g of protein per pound of lean muscle mass. And, having PCOS, the body just holds on to carbs as fat so incorporating more protein, I’m really helping my body shed fat easier. I should do a post on PCOS someday….

I am really REALLY feeling good about this meeting!!!! Super pumped about my successful triathlon career btw!


The Training Session that Killed Me...
Wednesday, February 9

Training Session: 2/7/11... Word to the wise: NEVER tell your trainer that your nutrition was “crappy” due to the Superbowl. This was most definitely the MOST intense training session that Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymI have had to date. Whew! Most of the pictures I have this bewildered look on my face because I was engaging muscles that I’ve never felt before!

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This wouldn’t be so hard to do, except for the fact that you’re trying to balance the ball on top of the bench all while pulling Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh Gymyour legs up into the air to clench your butt muscles. Not gonna lie… it’s REALLY hard to take Brodie seriously when he is basically telling you to watch him clench his butt muscles. Okay, okay… his exact words were ‘watch how I’m using my legs to engage my gluts’ but we all know it’s really ‘butt muscles’. I was standing there, and I could not keep a straight face to save my life!!!

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymOh, and this one was super intense too! I had to swing a 16 lb kettle bell in between my legs and then use my hips to propel it up in the air like the picture shows. I kinda felt like a gorilla, but it was fun!

Can I also say that I’m really starting to like looking at the pictures of my training sessions?

Before, it was really hard for me to post the pictures because I just couldn’t look at myself. All I would see was a lumpy girl, now I’m starting to see myself as an athlete, and although you can’t see it in the pictures, I’m starting to get some definition in my shoulders, triceps, and biceps. That’s why I like to wear clothes that I probably shouldn’t wear to the gym—being a big girl and all. I like wearing stuff that’s a little more form fitting because I can actually see my progress.

When I first started working out I wore a jacket all of the time (even to spinning class). Well, there was this one spinning class where I was absolutely roasting, and I battled with “should I take off my jacket or shouldn’t I?” “Nobody wants to see your fat arms! You’re in the front row! EVERYONE will see your fat and they’ll be so grossed out!” Well, I finally got SO hot that I said ‘heck with it’ and took my jacket off. Something completely unexpected happened! Patti, the instructor, said “GOSH CHELSEA! I thought you’d never take that jacket off!” and people behind me started clapping!!! WHAT?!?!!?!! They even said “you were making US hot wearing that jacket all of the time!” I wanted to cry tears of joy! They didn't care that I was easily the fattest one in the class, wearing clothes that were too tight... Hmm! I guess you never know what people are thinking. I just had to take that chance and do what I needed to do!


Training Day: 1/17/11
Friday, February 4

This was from the week of my birthday! I’m a little bit behind on uploading my pictures from the past two training sessions so they’re coming! Oh, and there’s also the INDOOR TRIATHLON post! (my first medal!!)

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club - Pittsburgh GymBasically these are pics of my new full body workout that Brodie has come up with. I’m doing walking squats with a 15 lb bar, inchworms, lunges, pull ups, lat pulldowns, bicep curl and press, squat thrusts, jump rope, and side and front planks.

Just a quick post to get caught up!!

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Weigh In Day!
Tuesday, February 1
Weigh In Day! -0.8lbs this week. Total- 29.8lbs lost for WW, total weight loss of 39.8lbs.

I really was afraid that I didn't lose any weight this week because of my injury, but it all turned out OK.


Nobel Prize Winner 2007 — For Nutrition
Sunday, January 30

I've read several times over about the 'botomless soup bowl' experiment, and happened to stumble upon this video on youtube. The man presenting is Brian Wansink, a professor and former director for the USDA's center for nutrition policy and promotion. It is amazing how very unreliable our stomachs are at providing satiety cues. He talks about setting up your environment differently in order to avoid over eating. The things that he has done research on are fascinating. Some of his research findings (courtesy of wikipedia) are:

Pittsburgh Personal Trainer - Pittsburgh Fitness - Pittsburgh Health Club
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  • Moving from a 12-inch to a 10-inch dinner plate leads people to serve and eat 22% less.
  • A person will eat an average of 92% of any food they serve themselves.
  • The average person makes an excess of 250 decisions about food each day.
  • Low-fat labels lead people to eat 16-23% more total calories.
  • The Nutritional Gatekeeper of a home influences an estimated 72% of all of the food their family eats.
  • Because of visual illusions, people (even Philly bartenders) pour 28% more into a short wide glasses than tall ones.
  • 50% of the snack food bought in bulk (such as at a warehouse club store) is eaten within six days of purchase.


Friday, January 28

So cute, had to pass on