On Celebrating Failure

The year of discipline continues 📖 
Since the start of my journey, I have been trying to find my way back into the word of God. In all truth I was mad at Him for a long time for all the hell we went through and I had a hard time reconnecting. 
But I know my Jesus, and despite the struggles and hard times He is with us, and I knew I had to come back to him. 
Fitness saved my life, and God gave me fitness. I used to feel guilty for being able to dedicate myself to a workout daily but not to reading my Bible and now I don’t because I understand something, that fitness was the only way BACK to Him. It’s the only way to clear my head of the frustrations, of the fog that was post partum depression, of the anxiety … it’s what gave my mind rest. 
Sometimes I cried when I finished workouts in the beginning. Sometimes I still do, because it’s through movement I find peace, I find God there. 
Fast forward to today. Today has been a long long time in the making, and it’s only through trying and failing daily for a year that I sit here successful today, and by trying I mean thinking about doing it and not doing it. That’s it. I made no big efforts except the intention in my heart to succeed, knowing full well my standing with God was not dependent on my Bible reading, but my growth is. 
I look at this the same way it takes some people to start clean eating or to start exercising, because I don’t LIKE reading my Bible. Not yet. Because there’s no emotional joy attached to it. It feels like a chore and so that is how I am approaching it. 
Instead of sitting down trying to have these all powerful moments every day I’ve simplified the process for myself. I wanted to start January 1st but I didn’t and that’s ok, I started today. I will simply read the Bible on a schedule for the simple sake of finishing it in one year (which fully reminds me of the days in Jakarta that we spent reading the Bible non stop for THREE DAYS over the city we were ministering to. Powerful stuff.) 
And for some reason, today was the day. 

It’s the slight edge. It’s the compound effect of positive steps forward every single day, so whatever you’re trying to accomplish I encourage you to fail gloriously every single day and rejoice in your failure because it will lead to your success. 
Never feel bad for your journey. It is yours and yours alone, and if you need someone to celebrate failure with, look me up. I’m really good at failing forward. 

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.

 

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.