The Wagon – Getting on and Falling Off

It is so easy to be fit and healthy when it’s new and exciting, but what happens when life happens?

Right now, I’m falling off the wagon. Life has gotten busy, and I’m struggling to find the motivation hit play on those workouts every day.

What are we supposed to do, to find that motivation? I’m a mom … I work part time out of my home and also am building my fitness coaching business at home. I feel so incredibly busy sometimes.

I have a house to clean; one that has been neglected through 17 months of post partum depression and the clutter and mess get into my brain and cause frustration and anger.

Baseboards are visibly dirty. There’s dirt on the walls that you can easily see when walking through the house. There’s milk on my sons floor that dried and I didn’t clean it up, only for me to see a few days ago. Yes, I have left things on the floor for a long time. Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, I just cleaned our toilets for the first time in a long time a week ago. Yes, our backyard is COVERED in dog poop. It’s embarrassing, and it’s disgusting, but it’s real.

It’s also a reminder to me of the hell I went through, and the hell I’m picking up the pieces from, as I trudge my way through this messy thing called healing. And I choose to share this, and not be embarrassed, because I KNOW other women are going through this, and I want to talk about getting back on the wagon, over and over and over again, and how I’m doing it, because I know it will help others too.

So what do I do?

Firstly, and yes, this is apart of my job, is I make fitness and nutrition a priority in my own life. Working out brought me out of depression and into a life I recognized; a person I recognized. It hasn’t been easy, but I believe firmly, even if you don’t want to be skinny, or buff, or whatever, that fitness is an absolute must in life. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. It decreases your chances of diseases, lifting weights decreases your risk of osteoporosis, and it aids you against aging yourself into assisted living when you’re old, because you can’t lift yourself off the toilet. My job is to workout up to 5x a week, and to constantly learn about food, portions and supplements, to ensure I am first and foremost making myself better each and every day.

Secondly, I point people towards the programs and supplements I have used to get me to where I am. I help my friends, family and strangers, who turn into friends, pick a program and I help them use it. I hold them accountable to it. I encourage them on hard days, I am a phone call, email, text or FB message away when someone needs help, has a question, or just needs a word of encouragement. I’m here to make your goals my goals. I’m here to help change peoples lives by helping them get the nutrition and fitness into their lives, in simple ways, that create lifelong changes for the better.

Lastly, and this is the one I’m always scared to share, but the one that has genuinely impacted my life the most, is I’m here to run a business that is setting my family on the path to financial freedom, and I’m here to give that same opportunity to others.

My fears in sharing this are numerous. Why? Because I’m not certified in anything. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a personal trainer. I’m a mom and a hairstylist with a passion for fitness and a passion for bringing others on the journey.

But that’s kind of the exciting part…you don’t need to be in shape to coach people. You don’t need to know it all, to encourage others to start making healthy changes in their life. You don’t need to have a personal training degree. All you need, is the passion to share your story, the commitment to daily changing your life, and the courage to invite others to join you.

All this circles back to me getting back on the wagon. The big thing that has changed my life is coaching because I am accountable to others to stay on track. I can’t just stop. I have to find a way to keep going. I have to have a strong why, which I wrote about in my previous post, in order to get my butt in gear when I’m losing steam. And I have to revisit that why daily, sometimes hourly. Because if I lose it, I lose credibility, I lose my business, but most of all, I lose myself. And I will not go down that road again.

This is not a get rich quick scheme. This isn’t a diet. This is a way of life. This is choosing to have a new side hobby, which lets you pursue your full time career and still stay healthy and in love with yourself and getting paid to do it.

This is choosing to fire your boss, and start building something on purpose, for you and by you, that you can look proudly on and say “I did that.”

This is choosing to be apart of a team, just to keep you accountable if nothing else, that will lift you up and encourage you every step of the way.

I don’t have all the answers. In fact I have very few of them. But I commit to learning more about what I do every day. I commit to my challengers, I commit to my coaches, to be on the journey together.

This is what is getting me back on the wagon.

This is what’s keeping me accountable to myself.

This is what’s changing my families life.

This is what I want to do, every day, for the rest of my life.

So here’s to #kickingmybrass and getting over how sorry I feel for myself, getting over my excuses, and getting to the core of the thing.

I’m putting on my running shoes, and I’m going the distance.

I want as many people running behind me, with me, and passing me as possible; we rise by lifting others.

Don’t let these opportunities pass you by.

Wherever you are at in your journey, this is for you, just as much as it is for me.

Being a woman isn’t about having the perfect body, clothes and hair.

It’s about being strong of heart when everything is crumbling around us.

It’s about being strong of body to lift our kids, to go for that hike, to backpack through Europe, to have adventures and life abundantly, not in how the world views us, but how we view ourselves.

It’s about being strong of soul. To be grounded in who you are, in what you believe, and in what you’re headed for in life.

I want to do this together. Because together we will sweat. Together we will fall and get back up again.

Together, we will rise.

Send me an email at michrgross@gmail.com if you’re interested; I’d love to connect and discover your goals, your story and your passion.

 

No Quick Fixes

I had an email response recently that caught me off guard, and it caused an emotional response in me, but I’m genuinely glad for it.It wasn’t rude, it wasn’t mean, it was genuine, and yet it really struck me. It caused me to grow and really take a look at myself and what I believe, which you have to know if you’re going to do anything in life.

And this is what I believe. 

I don’t do quick fixes. It actually took me a good amount of time researching and studying Beachbody and shakeology, before I could really stand behind the business. I loved the workouts, but could I get behind it all? 

My ethics in fitness boil down to hard work. Blood sweat and tears baby. If you want results, you have to put in the time and you have to learn how to eat and take the supplements our bodies need to function properly, and you have to show up every day. 

I had so many fears signing up; is this the job for me? And I still carry them with me. Does this fit my values? I believed they did, and then I got that email describing the workouts as just what I feared and didn’t want … quick fixes. 30 days to ripped ads … and to be honest, the videos turn me off too. It made me think … do I believe in this? Really? Is this what I send people?

But what got me really interested in this business is seeing someone I know, my coach, talk about community, and making real consistent changes in her and her challengers lives. Things that speak to my heart. 

And it occurred to me suddenly what the big difference is here. 

It’s me.

It’s why coaches exist. To get you INTO the 30 days, and then PAST the 30 days. To put you into a community of like minded people who will give you that extra shove to just get up and get it done. Because without community, without accountability, it’s literally just sales. “Here buy this stuff, enjoy, good luck! K bye!”

But that’s NOT what this is about. When you join me in a challenge, you get put in private groups with me, my coaches, and everyone else struggling and succeeding every day, ready to encourage you and motivate you. People open up and share really deep and personal things there, it’s a place people feel safe and like they belong, and I’m yours for life if you want me. I don’t ditch you once your money is spent, or once the 30 days is done. Not at all.

So, you don’t have to buy into Beachbody. 

You have to buy into me. 

You have to trust me. 

And it’s on me to be open, honest and truthful, and maybe I need to take a look at myself and my content and make sure I’m staying true to me, because I am a fitness coach. I’m not a Beachbody coach. I use Beachbody products, I get paid by Beachbody, but I AM my business; I decide what to say, I decide how I want to advertise me and what I do. It’s my business. It’s me. I can change any time to do something else in the same field, but this fits my values. I believe in it. 

And I think that’s what truly got my heart turned around, once I got into the community, and past the Salesy ads (because even to me they are Salesy and promoted in a way I choose not to promote my own business), I got into the core beliefs of the company. The beliefs that fill my heart and cause a burning desire in me:

Work hard. Be dedicated to your health. Make daily changes and turn your life around. Not your month. Not your summer. Your life. 

I’m truly glad for the honest and kind review I was sent about those videos. It’ll change how I do things. Even though it scared me a bit; “dear Lord no, not quick fixes, is that what this looks like? Is that what I do?” It caused me to grow; I’m failing my way forward. And it made me realize just HOW important my role is, and WHAT it is, and how I can go about posting in the future.

Firstly, I don’t think anything would sell these days, if it said, “introducing the new 365 day fitness plan!” It would be so overwhelming for people to commit to a FULL year. We start change one day, one pound at a time. 30 days is a manageable time frame in our minds, and it gets us going.

Also, in our society, we want fast. We want results. And these programs are designed to deliver just that. Results. And you CAN shed tons of weight and get ripped quick, but it’s really on you (and me) to get the results you want. If that’s not what you want, you won’t push that hard in your workouts, you’ll press play, you’ll sweat a bit, and you’ll have fun. That’s still success in my books, and all I want is to give you the tools for success. 

But most importantly, my job is to discover your goals and make them my own. Down 5lbs or 50lbs, 2″ or 20″, I don’t have a box to fit you in for an ideal of what fit looks like. You tell me what it looks like, and you get you there, with my encouragement.

The majority of my challengers share with me that firstly, “I want to love myself”.  Which tells me I’m doing something right, because that’s the community I want around me. That’s the community I’m trying to build. Self love baby. Stretch marks, size 14, extra skin, tiny, super ripped, whatever it looks like to you, love yourself.

I’m SO grateful for the reminder that THAT is my focus. I need to be grounded in that reality, and not get caught up in everything on the outside; I need to remember where I started. Where I come from.

I have used these really wonderful programs and the supplemental shakes to get me to the healthiest I’ve been in a long time. It pulled me out of depression, it got me eating balanced meals filled with protein and healthy fats; it gave me energy for my day and workouts through REAL supplements, nothing fake or added, and the chance to enjoy motherhood for the first time. It got me meal planning, getting my whole family healthier. It’s the push I needed. 

But it’s ok if it’s not for you! The market is diverse and full of wonderful people and things to get you healthy! This is what I’m doing, and I love it, but I’m also ok if you don’t. Truly, no hard feelings.

Fitness is a part of my life. It’s embedded into my lifestyle, and I’ll be doing this job forever. Through Beachbody forever? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m going to be growing, learning and hopefully one day adding some certifications I’m passionate about to my resume, but right now, I’m Michelle. Encourager. Here to put you on the path to success, however that looks to you, and however it looks to me. 

Growth is hard, looking inward is scary, but we have to dig deep, and find the core of what we believe, and make sure it’s right for us. Otherwise we become habitual quitters. Constantly looking for the next best thing. So I challenge you to challenge me, because I want to grow, and be the best coach I can be. 

**Email me any time at michrgross@gmail.com to chat, ask questions, or simply find out how to make me your free coach so we can talk goals and get you involved**

***Photo taken at 20 weeks pregnant with baby#2 after my first round of CIZE; c-section scar and all<3***

Abs, Instagram and Happiness

Being fit does NOT mean having a six pack and cut obliques. Being fit CAN mean that, but to me it means being strong of body, soul and spirit.

For the last 18 months, I have been fit of body, but my soul and spirit were weak.

I am a mother of almost 2 (second is due June 29th!). My son, born July 2014, suffered from constipation for 8 months, which caused him to have reflux as well, and we trudged along for 17 long months of him waking every 30 min-2 hours, nursing all night long, needing help to sleep through naps, never having a moment to ourselves. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, truly.

I quickly sank into post-partum depression, but denied it for a very long time. I even went to my Dr. once, and talked my way out of anti-depressants, and never went back for help. It’s hard to open up about it when you’re in it, and having convinced myself I didn’t really need help, it was even harder after that.

Then winter of 2015 hit, and I hit my ultimate low. This is where my journey begins.

I was angry all the time. I hit my dog harder, and more often than I can bring myself to admit, and I’m grateful dogs are as loving, and forgiving as they are loyal.

I began yelling at my 17 month old son to sleep, to stop touching me, to stop nursing, and I’d have to put him down and go, leaving us both to cry in anguish, so I didn’t do anything really harmful to either of us.

I began contemplating ways out; adopting him out to one of our families, for certainly they could do a much better job than I ever could as his mother. Thankfully other things were too horrid for my mind to contemplate, so as soon as those darkest of thoughts entered, they shuddered away. I believe this was Holy Spirit, guarding my heart even when I had completely lost sight and touch of who God was.

My mind, was a fog. And the battle was waged under the haze.

I finally broke. I needed sleep, and I needed it because I was dying. Inside, but maybe outside as well … I felt like I could not live one single more day without a full nights sleep. It was the slowest torture I’ve ever felt, and even as I write, tears well up in my eyes to think of the pain I surrounded my family with, because I didn’t get help. I asked for help; I opened up.

I went and slept at my parents house for 5 nights, leaving my husband, who had lost just as much sleep as I had, to fend for himself and take on night duties full time. To this day, I know God surrounded him with the fiercest of love and strength, to pull him through those nights, as he had anguish and sorrow in his heart as well. It was a long, weary battle. But I slept. And I slept again. And again…

I finally started regaining clarity and with that, a sense of direction, and something I’d been praying about for a few weeks became the clearest of answers to me, I contacted my friend and asked her how to become a beachbody coach. I knew I needed to get working out again, that this was my happy place. I’ve loved fitness for a very, very long time, but as a new mother, almost forgot how, unless I was running outside during the summer. I knew winter had shut me in (Canada, hello freezing), and I knew that I needed to make myself a priority again. So I started to research.

I researched the shakes, because it was something totally new and foreign to me, but I knew that I absolutely needed something to get me healthier on the inside than I had been capable of getting myself for the past 6 years, and especially in the last 18 months. Once I fell in love with the shakes, I researched the business, and what I kept finding was: people first, profits later. People first. People first. People first. It was like their banner. Be YOU. Help OTHERS. Be healthy. Be fit. People first. I couldn’t love or agree with something more.

I joined, first for myself. And really, I can’t even verbalize a ‘why’ that I joined. I can’t explain it. I’ve always wanted to get into fitness for a living, but never knew how, and why I figured this was the time, well I can’t say. But it changed my life. What I see now, is that I knew I needed accountability, I needed something to be passionate about, and I needed something that was just mine.

I got my program, CIZE; Endorphins began to rush, my fog began to lift, I began to figure out how to help my son sleep, we started sleeping more, eating better following the nutrition guide; I drank my shakes and had energy like I hadn’t had for a long time. I began to heal, and my amazing husband who has loved fitness as long as I have joined with me, and we started taking our lives back. Back from depression, back from lethargy, back from apathy. We wanted to win.

I cried a lot over the next few weeks, and 5 weeks later, I still cry at the end of every single workout. I cry because it’s a burst of joy that I can’t explain. It’s a sense of accomplishment, a sense of my old self, a sense of a bright future, and just plain fun in my life again.
When you workout, and eat right, your body will be what it will be. If you end up having some physical goals, so be it, but they will come from a healthy, happy mind. A mind that has exercised daily the habits of self love, dedication, and feeding their body like the temple it is.

If when that is done, you are still bigger than me (which is 5’3 and around 110-120lbs, I don’t weigh myself, ever), then guess what, you’re still freaking fit and an absolute rockstar in my eyes. You don’t need to be me, or anyone else on this planet, to succeed at fitness. You just do you, and that joy is yours to own. You don’t need a six pack to post a body proud photo on Instagram. You don’t need 600 likes to tell you that you meet this societies standards. You also don’t need to stop working out because working out means you don’t prioritize your family first. I don’t believe in fit shaming, I don’t believe in fat shaming, I don’t believe in skinny shaming … I don’t believe in mom shaming.

I don’t believe in shaming.

My highest engagement posts on Instagram aren’t ones of flexing, they aren’t of my “tiny preggo body”, they are of my raw, real posts about the challenges of motherhood and PPD. It  became so clear to me that fitness of mind is more important, and it’s a much harder muscle to work, but it comes from determination, and just hitting play every single day.

We are all worthy of looking in the mirror and seeing a masterpiece, created with purpose. That doesn’t give us a reason to eat like crap and sit on our butts all day, because that’s not how our bodies were designed to function.

But it does give you a reason to love your curves, love your chub, love your skin and bones, love your thighs, your arms, wings, tire, muffin, thunder thighs, big hips, cankles, skronny, lanky self. Whatever you use to describe you, turn it into a compliment. And then get up, and get to work, and treat yourself like the freaking princess God made you.

You ARE worthy. You are ARE beautiful. And you have my support.

Welcome to Braids and Brass, my name is Michelle, and I am a fitness and health coach, a mom pulled from the wreckage of depression, who still struggles day to day, but continues forward none the less.

I hope I can help you find community, accountability, self love and encouragement on your fit journey, and I welcome all that you bring to mine.