face for radio

by MrsFatass on March 26, 2014

There are those weeks, you know? The best of times, the worst of times, when you are walking around feeling half nauseous, but you’re not sure if it’s because of the awesome things, the awful things, or the stomach bug that is attacking the kid’s school like a plague. It’s a split-personality kind of week. One day I was wearing a bikini and laying on my deck, the next I was back in layers and Uggs. One minute I’m surrounded by kids squealing in enjoyment as they eat the rainbow cupcakes I made, the next I’m watching those same rainbow colors, uh, coming back up. One morning I’m sitting in a leather chair around the conference table in a law office talking business, the next I’m sitting in a leather chair around the conference table in a makeshift radio station talking business.

Photo Mar 26, 7 48 33 AM The awesome gentlemen who hosted me during a segment of their morning program on Jammin’ 99.3 today.

 

A big part of our business model at trio fitness is and has ALWAYS been a spirit of giving. We do a lot to connect with charities – mostly local, but a few that are meaningful to us outside of our community as well – and this weekend, #TeamTrio will be participating in the events surrounding a major fund raiser put on by our local women’s shelter. There is a 5K run/walk on Saturday (that also includes a Men’s High Heel DASH!) (Trophy Husband may be making an appearance) (Pics will follow) and a celebration the night before, where trio will be part of the auction. We have members that have trained for this run/walk, not only coming to the studio or to the track on our practice days, but also on their own time, and Samantha will be parked at the finish line, cameraphone in hand, to get lots of photos of ALL of the teams finishing the race that day.

Wilson wasn’t ever a place I envisioned would be my ‘forever’ home, but honestly today? I can’t imagine leaving.

Photo Mar 26, 7 45 56 AM The sign that greeted me as I arrived at the remote location this morning. And you know what? I DO love Wilson. Go figure.

 

So I slipped in the door, and was instantly greeted by a friendly face. After introductions were made, I was taken to the “green room” (a chair on the other side of a black curtain), and offered treats. My favorite donuts were eaten by my predecessors, and even though Southerners take their biscuits very seriously, I opted to say No Thanks to both. Because of the aforementioned nausea, and also the aforementioned venture back to My Fitness Pal.

Photo Mar 26, 7 51 27 AM There were some serious looking biscuits in all of that white paper. But I was more than a little terrified of the prospect of having to enter that into my app.

 

So I stuck to my normal coffee with a touch of cream, because you know, more coffee would help calm my nerves, right?

Not sure what was going on with my pompadour this morning, but I was hoping the listening audience wouldn't notice. Not sure what was going on with my pompadour this morning, but I was hoping the listening audience wouldn’t notice.

 

I was early, as usual, and had a few minutes to text my friends and family to remind them to listen and see if somebody could tape the daggone thing collect my thoughts, and I could overhear the radio personalities finishing up a topic with a few lawyer jokes. Which was funny to me, for obvious reasons.

"You never think a friend is going to sue you, but as long as there are lawyers, there will be lawsuits." #truth “You never think a friend is going to sue you, but as long as there are lawyers, there will be lawsuits.” #truth

 

And just as I was beginning to settle in, one of the gentlemen came back and led me to the “booth”. And I got to sit down at the mic. And put on the headset. And boy oh boy does MrsFatass love a mic and a headset.

Photo Mar 26, 7 58 54 AM (1) Is this thing on?

 

My only real instructions were not to swear. For REAL. It’s as if they knew me or something. And they said they had a little news to talk about first, and then they’d introduce me.

Photo Mar 26, 8 00 42 AM On air selfie!

 

It was a great interview. I mean, a little nutty in that there were like 5 people and we talked over one another and there were a whole lot of one-liners (my nerves prevented me from jumping in with many in a timely manner, but next time, watch out), but they instantly calmed my nerves by totally speaking my language - the language of compliments and offers for more air time – and all in all, I got to speak semi-intelligently about both the charity event AND my business, which is what I came to do.

Photo Mar 26, 7 58 15 AM “Leave your card on the way out. You seriously have a face for radio”

 

And the fact that they took my card and said that someone would call about cutting some commercials? Well, that didn’t suck either.

As I was walking out, thinking about sharing these photos with members and readers today, I got to thinking that I have to stop thinking about this as the best of times and the worst of times. Because honestly? There is no worst. There have been challenges, yes, but with each one has come such abundant blessing. Friends who have done amazing things to show support. One opportunity has lead to the next and the next and the next. More than just a few likes on a Vaguebook post, the last 9 months since opening our doors have been full of real, honest, amazing friendship. And I’m just so thankful to be a part of this community.

And also? Somebody really did totally tape the daggone thing.

 

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tough love

by MrsFatass on March 17, 2014

I’m back at MyFitnessPal. I’ve said for years that when I track, I lose. But I have just never made myself keep up with tracking. Usually it’s because of an off day. How does one even log 6 beers and a bag of Ruffles without feeling like a total loser? But I’ve been doing some things over the last few months that really made me ready to get back at the weight loss game. For example, I gave up beer for Lent. Which, as you may notice, happens during March, and if you’ve been reading here for any length of time at all means you are astounded that I gave up my favorite beverage during my favorite month to drink it while watching my favorite team play my favorite sport.

Yeah. I’m as surprised as you. But what can I say? If, when giving something up for Lent, you’re supposed to pick something that causes you some discomfort, well, no beer during March Madness was the way to go for me.

It hasn’t been truly horrible. But it’s been a challenge. And in the bigger picture of some of the things I’m getting in order in my life, it made sense to do it.

So, tracking.

In the last five days I’ve tracked everything. Four of the five days I was at or below the calorie goal generated by the app. One of the five days I tracked a basketball Saturday, complete with a couple vodka and sodas and an unfortunate incident with a bag of Hint of Lime chips. And this morning, like I do every Monday morning, I stepped on the scale, ready to see an improvement. However, I was up. A lot. SIX POUNDS.

Okay, so before you all reach for your keyboards to write your loving messages of muscle gain, water retention, and get rid of your scale, I thank you, but please don’t. Because I have not gained muscle in 5 days and I am not going to get rid of my scale. It’s just not going to happen. And while I know there are many of you out there who have struggled with disordered eating, and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect, my opinion based on my own experience is that my scale has only as much power as I give it.  A scale is a tool just like a measuring cup or My Fitness Pal. One tool of many that can help a person lose weight.

One of the reasons I’ve slowed down writing about my actual weight loss journey here is that I have grown very tired of the sort of PC, everyone-gets-a-trophy attitude in the weight loss world. I’m tired of hearing people apologize (or worse yet, hide) for drinking the occasional Diet Coke. I’m tired of food politics. I’m tired of people saying they can’t seem to lose weight even though they have fancy pedometers or apps or HRMs or scales or other gadgets, and I’m tired of people saying they can’t lose weight because they don’t have them. I’m tired of defending my use of words like Fat, Diet, Deprive or Scale and I’m tired of people expecting to be able to eat burritos and chili cheese fries and pints of Ben and Jerry’s and still wonder why they feel like shit and aren’t losing weight, even when they are staying within some calorie guideline.

I’m tired of hearing the same excuses over and over again, of people doing the same exact things and expecting a different result, of trying to give people an honest answer about how to lose weight/get healthier/be stronger, only to see their eyes glaze over because the answer isn’t easy. It’s not a gimmick or a trick or a potion. It’s not a fiber pill that expands in your stomach to leave less room for actual food.

Losing weight does mean denying yourself certain things. It is saying no to second helpings. It’s preparing a healthy meal even when you’re tired or not in the mood to cook. It’s getting up early to work out in your living room or walking through your neighborhood even though it’s cold outside and your bed is warm and your family is still sound asleep. Sometimes it’s just about putting the damn fork down and stepping away from the table.

It would be so easy if we only ate when we were hungry. If we only ate to fuel our bodies. If there weren’t all of these other urges and emotions attached to the process of eating. I’m not so naiive to think that is reality. Food is comfort and entertainment and stress relief and celebration and all kinds of things that have nothing to do with actual physical hunger. I get that.

And during the process of weight loss, these other issues surface. Sometimes our actual goal might not even be weight loss. Maybe, as we peel the onion, we find out that what we really want to do is to fix these underlying problems.

And sometimes we use these underlying problems as justification for stopping when it gets hard.

And part of the reason why I’ve laid off of writing about my own weight loss journey is because there is always someone who will help me justify my stops. Somebody will understand my plight and just encourage me to get back on the horse tomorrow. Somebody will always blame my unreliable scale, my time of the month, or the ever popular “it’s muscle gain” over saying “well, if you want to lose weight, then why did you eat that plate of fried chicken?”

Once in a while we NEED that. Once in a while we NEED our people to be our soft place to fall. But sometimes reaching out to support somebody else who has failed gives us our own permission to let go of the reins when it feels too hard.

This June I am honored to be a speaker at Fitbloggin’ 14 in Savannah alongside Steve, and together we are going to talk about FitBlogger Tough Love. As a blogger for the past 5 years who is still trying to take off the same weight today that I set out to lose when I wrote my first word, I have a lot of experience in the fits and starts of healthy living. I’m excited to partner with Steve and facilitate some serious, raw, and honest discussion about the support of the fitness community, when it is instrumental to change, and when it actually just enables us to stay the same.

And in the meantime, if you’re a food logger too, come be my friend on MyFitnessPal!  

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#hashtagged

by MrsFatass on February 4, 2014

I’m writing this with The Biggest Loser finale playing in the background. This show is big news where I live right now. One of the contestants is local, and since being eliminated, he’s been working out at the gym where I worked before opening trio. I’ve met him. He is nice and personable and is certainly working hard, and the Facebook page this gym has created for the party that will celebrate him this weekend states a 150 pound weight loss for him since June.

Since June. Seven months. Both forever and no time at all.

Look, I want to love this show. I want to be as excited as my former colleagues who are no doubt having an awesome time enjoying the Biggest Loser celebrity status that has surrounded them for the last few months. I want see the men and women cross the stage tonight and not think about the articles I’ve read about the anguished lengths they go to in order to hide the loose skin that hangs on them after rapid, major weight loss. I want to listen to their taglines full of gratitude for the ‘second chances’ they were given by the show and not want to remind them that there are real life loved ones and trainers and support systems that will give them  chances and encouragement and support even without cameras in their faces. I want to watch with a hopeful heart that they all really do realize that losing weight does not equate to finding happiness, and all of the jump squats or marathon training in the world won’t fix what was broken inside of them that lead them to be so severely overweight in the first place.

But I just can’t quiet the cynic.

A few days ago I posted a status update on Facebook. It said “You can always tell when the Spartans lose a game because Facebook grows eerily silent.”

Somebody I was connected to commented on my post, and then within seconds posted their own status update: #sadforthosewhofindjoyinotherslosses.

Yep. I was hashtagged. HASHTAGGED! Holy crapballs!

I ruminated on that for a long time. I just couldn’t figure out what to do about it. I mean, in one respect it didn’t bother me because it came from a person who OFFline has been toxic to my family and me many times.  And in many ways. And on many forms of social media. (#GrantedMyselfPermissionToUnfriend  #ShouldHaveDoneItYearsAgo #3Strikes) But to think I am the kind of person who finds JOY in others LOSSES? Is ridiculous. It is one of those statements that are laden with meaning, but meaning that has nothing to do with the actual words that were said.

You know?

Anyway, I’d pretty much decided to drop it. Until tonight. While watching The Biggest Loser. While I’m wondering why I just can’t get on the bandwagon and cheer for these folks without feeling kind of queasy and uneasy about the whole dog and pony show. And then it just kind of dawned on me why I can’t:

#BecauseIDoNotFindJoyInOtherPeoplesLosses

The part of losing weight that is the most difficult isn’t in the getting it off. It’s in the keeping it off. And maintenance? Just isn’t sexy. Nor is it easy. (Nor is it the subject of a popular television show). Yet it’s the point in which many of us fail in our journey. It’s when we stare down the demons. Handle the really tough stuff. Turn ‘dieting’ into living a healthier lifestyle.

And very often it’s when we realize we aren’t necessarily any happier, more fulfilled, more self-confident, or any more emotionally healthy at our thinnest than we were at our fattest.

I’ve known people who would have done just about anything to get on this show. People who pinned every single hope they had of becoming healthy on being selected to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser. People who were so convinced that being on the ranch was the only way they could possibly get on top of the mountain they were trying to climb that they did dangerous things – like purposely putting on even more weight so they might be more attractive to producers  - and coming away from the whole process just wrecked.

I’ve also had casual, social-media based interactions with a few former contestants. There are many who put all some weight back on. Who say the show abandoned them when the season ended. Who ‘expose’ all the ways that being on the show isn’t ‘real’ and who are pretty much back where they started.

I am uncomfortable as I watch this big finale because anyone who has any kind of experience at all with losing weight knows that this isn’t really a finale at all. It’s really just the beginning. We’re cheering for them like they’re done when we know darn well they have just barely gotten started. It’s not that I don’t want to cheer them on, it’s just that I want to cheer for the right thing. At the right time. So, while their accomplishment awesome and amazing in the short term, this kind of weight loss has an incredibly low success rate even when you do it under the healthiest of circumstances. But when you do it in a fishbowl where all of the resources that allowed you to do it in 7 months disappear and it’s just you? Well. It seems like we are applauding their setup for failure. And contrary to what you may have read about me on The Facebook, that’s just not the kind of girl I am.

It’s easy to support them now. But where are we all going to be a year from now? We’re not going to be there when the new-car smell fades and real life sinks in. When the now-contestants slip back into the anonymity of their real-lives, and when they tire of disappearing to the gym for hours a day. When there isn’t anyone to scream at them to work out until they barf. When their mates or spouses are tired of all of the focus and attention it takes. When the families or friends aren’t really on board with all of the ‘healthy changes’ and become catalysts for the bad habits to start creeping back in. When there isn’t the promise of a pile of money and temporary fame keeping them motivated to cook every day and pack their lunches and take a pass on that second or third beer while they are watching the football game.

I really don’t understand why the show has to focus so much on extreme losses so quickly, except that it is probably too cumbersome to film a group losing the healthy 2 or so pounds a week. And I don’t know why they don’t do more to work with former contestants – both those who have maintained and those who haven’t – because it seems a natural way to grow The Biggest Loser brand. Except maybe to do that means to highlight what is wrong with the process in the first place.

But I do know that when I met the contestant from my town, we talked for a minute about trio fitness, and I welcomed him to come in any time. Maybe someday when the fanfare fades, and he’s working on maintaining this amazing loss, and it’s hard, and he’s discouraged or burned out or bored or thinking people don’t remember his name, maybe if there ever comes a time where he finds himself in a struggle, he’ll remember our conversation and find his way into our studio. Or any studio. I just hope when he needs it, he has a place that will find joy in helping him lose.

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serious business

by MrsFatass on February 3, 2014

Today’s pick from the mailbag: “Please discuss your ‘experience’ opening and running a successful business.” Which is funny because even though Sam and I have been branding our business for 2 years, our studio is scarcely 6 months old. And I have no idea, really, if we’re successful. It depends on how you define success, I suppose. On the one hand, we lost a business partner, have alienated several of the gyms where we used to work, have angered our neighbor who (rightfully so) struggles to deal with our noise, and most months only kind of barely scrape by.

But, on the other hand, we have incredibly happy members who are committed to us and who are patient during the growing pains because what happens in that room every day is really special, and they think it’s awesome that in our first year of business we are actually able to scrape by.

It’s all about perspective, really.

So, when people ask me questions about opening a business, first I ask them if they are interested in a trio franchise opportunity, there are a few lessons I typically share.

1. Know your ‘why’. If you want to make your business a success, you should know exactly why you need to open. You need to have the elevator version, the cocktail party version, the ‘sitting down with potential partners or investors’ version, and the ‘reminding your spouse when times are tough’ version all well learned and rehearsed, because people will come at you from every angle with a critique or a reason WHY this won’t work, and you need to be able to meet these critiques with positivity and preparedness.

And I am not here to criticize your ‘why’. But I am here to point out that owning the whole shebang is a lot different than performing the service that made you interested in this in the first place. Like, loving to eat ice cream? May not be enough of a reason to open an ice cream shop. Because owning the shop has very little to do with eating the product. You can eat the product at home on your lazyboy. Owning the store means sanitation codes and ordering and inventory and waste and hiring and training and firing and marketing and advertising and selling and cleaning and repairing and paying the bills and paying taxes and …

Well, you get my point, right?

2. Get a prenup. Whether you are a sole proprietor or a partnership, whether you have investors or are using your nest egg, consult an attorney who knows how to create corporations and decide right away not only how the company is going to form and to run, but also how it will be dissolved in the event that a partner or investor wants out. I know none of us can even fathom a divorce when we are planning the wedding, but shit happens. Even to the best of relationships. And Sam and I are living proof that no matter how strong the bond in the beginning, you cannot rely on a person’s moral compass to make them do the right thing in the event of a breakup. A signature on a lease or a loan is not enough to make a partner honor their financial commitment to you or your company once they decide they want to leave.  Without an operating agreement that outlines the terms of the working partnership as well as its dissolution, there will be conflict at some point about how to utilize the profit or how to divide the debt, and the person who ends up being screwed will probably be you.

3. Have some swagger. I cannot figure out a way to make a success of a business if you don’t have the confidence to tell somebody why they need you, why you’re the best at what you do, or why you deserve the business versus the guy down the street. It may make you a jackass to say “the guy who owns the ice cream shop down the street picks his nose while he’s driving,” but it does NOT make you a jackass to say “my ice cream is handmade, all organic and non GMO, and you aren’t going to get that in the shop down the street.” So if you or your partners are squeamish about being able to do this, you may end up losing your shirt to the guy with his finger in his nose.

I could go on and on, but this is my elevator version. Aside from my children, business is probably my favorite topic to discuss. And I would of course be remiss if I didn’t say – if your business is fitness, can I interest you in a franchise opportunity? Because that’s what is coming down the pike. Because I love what I do, I know why I need to do it, and I have swagger. And because I just honest to goodness can’t see myself doing something else.

Can you?

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ask mrsfatass

by MrsFatass on January 20, 2014

MrsFatass Status Update

My first job working in a gym was about a gazillion years ago when I was in college. I was the Party Coordinator at Lakeshore Athletic Club in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. My job was in birthday party planning for the children of club members – and without the benefit of a Zumba kids license or anything like that (I can’t believe I can tell my children that I was alive before the invention of cell phones, Google, and ZUMBA for Pete’s sake), I got the job because I sold them on the notion that I could make a great party based in fitness that didn’t feel like exercise. We DID dance (in my infinite wisdom I called it Movement to Music), acted out stories (Creative Yoga), and practiced agility (Obstacle Course!) I’m not even sure I worked there a year, not because of the kids, who were pretty sweet, but because of the parents. I was young and inexperienced, and this was a time before Bravo taught me about housewives and Birken bags, so as you can imagine, the women in a luxury athletic club in a ritzy Chicago neighborhood in the early nineties both fascinated and terrified me. Now I know they were probably in their mid to late 30s, maybe a few had hit 40, and were probably going through lots of life’s battles that I have now gone through, but to me they were lifetimes away from my 18 year old self. My observations were watching them pursue FAT FREE indulgence (Snack Wells!)  and hours of CARDIO (in Spandex!) while their husbands worked downtown and came home late, and I was the girl who threw the thousand dollar birthday parties designed to secretly melt the babyfat of the children of the club. Moi.

I think about that from time to time. Now those children are well into their twenties, older than I was then. And I’m 40, still selling fitness disguised as a party.

class 2

I’ve been writing here since 2009. This blog has afforded me great opportunity to travel and conference and network. I have heard from people all over the country (and really, all over the world) who have connected with my writing somehow and shared with me their experience trying to live a healthier lifestyle. And also I’ve heard from a lot of people asking me how to get skinny.

Which is funny. For obvious reasons.

victoria's secret

But one thing I learned early on is that the growth and success of the fitness ‘industry’ depends greatly on a person’s desperate desire for change. It is the desperate person that very often makes the middle of the night infomercial purchase, or has the year-end binge before vowing to clean it all up on January 1, or who orders the shakes/supplements, or finds the doctors who will prescribe the pills. Who pays for the fancy gym membership long after he or she stopped going. Who wants it to be as easy as popping a pill. Who thinks that their pain or insecurity or personal failure is because of their body, and if they could just be THIN they would be happy.

But the other thing I have learned about the fitness industry is about the instructor or trainer. Just like there are different levels of need from a client, an instructor has many competing interests as well. If we’re legit, then we have to be good students to earn the certifications and licensure to teach and train safely and effectively. We have to be good planners to be able to put together a class or session that will keep the student motivated and meet his or her expectation. We have to be an engaging personality so that students will want to be in our classes. And we have to be willing and able to spend lots of money and time to obtain these licenses, certifications, continuing education, conferences, events, and personal liability insurance.

And on top of it all, we have to make it look easy, or at the very least, look accessible, so that people will give something a try.

Some instructors don’t do those things. Many of the formats you see on the group fitness schedule at your gym require nothing more than a check for $300-$1500, and 8-16 hours of your time on a given weekend, and whether or not you have any real knowledge of fitness or safety, you can get a job teaching that format because you completed that training. You don’t have to be a member of any accredited fitness organization to get many popular licenses. And they can be on the same teaching schedule as somebody who has dedicated much time and effort to the study of the science of exercise, or health, or nutrition. It’s up to the integrity of the instructor to put the additional work in, and not all of them do.

And how are YOU to know the difference?

Further, whether we work for a gym or for ourselves, trainers need to attract people in order to have clients. So whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we are salesmen, advertisers, and marketers. Whether it’s utilizing our social media, wearing a tee shirt with a slogan, giving a class away for free or doing sales/incentives, placing ads, offering discounts for referrals – we are the sellers of the dream, and though we are in a ‘helping’ profession, few of us do it for free. We are earning income in various ways – we sometimes make money ‘per head’ in a class, or sometimes we are vying for the best time slots on a gyms schedule, or sometimes we teach the group fitness classes  in order to attract potential personal training clients – all reasons we want a big turnout in class. And truthfully, many trainers (including the one that inspired this post) work for cash, making hundreds of dollars a week totally under the table. Which, for the trainer, is a great gig.  So for myriad reasons, it’s important to a fitness professional to generate a loyal ‘following’ of satisfied (and repeat) clients.

 And somebody with years of practical experience, all kinds of formal education, certifications and training and lots of happy clients can be working in the same arena as somebody with an 8 hour license, an engaging personality, and a gimmick. Hardly seems fair, but it’s true.

It’s funny that so many people ask me questions about healthy living, because from a superficial standpoint, somebody could easily say that I’m not a great ‘commercial’ for the commodity I sell. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I’m not thin. My vastly improved strength/endurance/flexibility isn’t something seen when you look at me. Nor is my daily defeat of the anxiety and occasional depression that working out has helped me manage. The fact that my social life consists more of fitness parties and 5Ks instead of pitchers of beer and shots is something that has to be explained because when you look at me, you see only my right now. And the truth is, for most people, fit equals thin and that’s not me. But still, people who know me or know something about my journey will ask me questions, and sometimes I will give my opinion. And if something sounds dangerous or unhealthy, I will say so.

The email that pushed me to write came from somebody I’ve met along the way who lives in a gated community in Florida, where beachbodies are a hot commodity. A trainer approached the HOA about coming in and utilizing the pool and fitness facility to work with residents of the neighborhood, there was a vote, and she was approved. She went door to door with fliers about classes, personal training, and nutritional counselling. Every now and again I hear from this woman who tells me something that goes on there, usually because she herself feels a little uncomfortable with it, but just wasn’t confident enough to say so. From what has been shared with me, the instructor makes a lot of jokes about calling her workouts ‘torture’, but really they kind of are. She said it’s a pretty common occurrence for somebody to have to stop during a workout due to dizziness or nausea. My reader said it’s kind of like a badge of honor to say you felt like you needed to barf, or better yet, to barf and then get back to work. She shared with me this trainer’s reaction to her story about taking a trio Zumba class at a conference, where her HRM showed a great calorie burn, and she actually had FUN – where it wasn’t torture at all! The trainers response?  “Wouldn’t the teachers be thin if they really knew anything about fitness?”

Yeah.

But this trainer keeps a tight hold on her clients, and just like with any “diet” or fad, people lose weight when they stick with her every day. I looked at this woman’s website and social media – lots of pics of women flexing their muscles and talking about Her! Amazing! Results! with any and all kinds of credit being focused on the trainer.  But from what my friend has told me,  it’s not so much a teaching environment as it is a just do what you’re told environment. From the one-side of the story I have received, this trainer has ONE way of training EVERY client, regardless of their starting point, and it is the clients job to get up to speed.

The after pics my friend has shown me of these women –many of whom are her neighbors and friends – are way more telling than the flexing and the duck lips – the AFTER afters. After the student has run out of money or motivation, burned out, and dropped out of this elite fitness clique. You know, when the weight came back.

A few days ago this reader emailed me, and in the subject line was: THE LAST STRAW. She was told by this trainer that she couldn’t have the information on a “cleanse” lots of the clients were doing if she was going to just run to somebody else for an opinion. The trainer said if my friend didn’t trust her to make her thin, then she should just go find a Zumba class.

Blink. Blink.

Now I realize this is an extreme story and most trainers are NOT this egotistical. But there are glimmers of truthful experiences we have all been through in this example. My friend said she could see now how her desperation to ‘fix’ her body is what this trainer picked up on and exploited, and even though so many of the other woman didn’t see that yet, they would eventually.

And that, my friends, DOES happen. All the time.

My friend wrote “if that stupid cleanse isn’t something she’s willing to put out in public, then it’s probably not something that’s going to truly benefit me. These things keep us dependent on her. If I’m going to change myself, it has to come from ME. I can’t believe how caught up I got in trying to fit in with that.”

Even though she asked my opinion, she already had her answer. And she found that she had the confidence to go her own way.

So the moral of the story is, listen to your inner voice. Ask for credentials as well as testimonials, and if you are ever shamed for getting second (or third or fourth) opinions, move on. If you like the boot camp style, if you want to work out until you puke, if that’s what motivates you and makes you push your limits, that’s okay. But if it’s not, that’s okay too. You’ll know when you’re in the right place for YOU.

Biggest Jazz Hands EVAH Biggest Jazz Hands EVAH

And if you’re ever unsure, you can always ask MrsFatass.

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brand! new! you!?

by MrsFatass on January 1, 2014

So it’s the first day of the new year and this resolution business is already making me cranky. Well, it’s not the actual act of making a ‘resolution’ that I don’t like. I totally get why the first of the year makes people want to get started on so many new things. It’s kind of the closest thing to a clean slate we really ever get, right? So why not take advantage of it? I am an encourager of setting goals at the new year and all year. Keeps us putting one foot in front of the other.

The problem, though, is that January One brings out the novice. Just like I stay in on New Year’s Eve because I don’t want to share the road with all the novice partiers out there, who only drank a little champagne but then get behind the wheel, I should stay off of Facebook on New Year’s Day because of all of the bad resolutions that I bump into. I am a goal setter all the time, not just when the clock strikes 12, so I’ve had a lot of experience in this arena. I’m good at setting goals and I’m kind of good at sticking with them. Do more cardio? That was my resolution in 2009, and a year later not only was I still doing more cardio, I was on my way to becoming an instructor. I have resolved to floss. To take more care with my appearance. This year? I resolve to send birthday cards to my immediate family and to do it on time. I’m buying stamps tomorrow and I might even go ahead and buy birthday cards too. Set myself up for success.

Goals are good when they are specific. When you know what you want to achieve and you have a clear path for getting there. But today I’m tooling around Facebook and see ridiculous stuff like “live every day like it’s my last.” WTF? I mean, I love the notion of a goal like “make sure the last thing I always say to my child is ‘I love you’” because I would never want my last words to a loved one to be “you drive me batshit crazy.” But live each day like it is my last? What does that even mean?

I saw a lot of “be a better person” kind of stuff too. Now, you may be asking yourself what kind of a person picks on a person who just wants to be a better person, and I’m with you on that. I don’t want to criticize someone who wants to be a force of good in the world. My problem isn’t with the desire to be better, my problem is with the lack of specificity on the HOW. HOW do you want to be a better person? Most of us want to do just that. But being so vague will just leave you lost in the sauce. What are you going to do? Are you going to go back and fix something you broke? Right a previous wrong? Say you’re sorry to someone you screwed over? Or are you going to be a better person by starting to tithe? Volunteer? Or are you going to be a better person by always taking the furthest parking spot from the door so you leave a closer one for someone who may need more? By always paying for coffee of the person in line behind you at Starbucks?

The possibilities are endless really. But if somebody isn’t writing down the specifics - I want to be a better person this year by always letting someone with only one or two items cut in front of me at the grocery store – then chances are they haven’t really given much thought to the how. And so how will they measure their progress?

That’s kind of the problem with resolutions. They are for the novice goal setter, who really has no choice but to forget about them in a month or two because they didn’t really set themselves up for success. These lofty, fluffy, Brand! New! Me! resolutions give the whole process a bad name. It’s a time waster. I’m more of the put up or shut up school of thought than the “lets find more ways for me to justify being who I am without really having to work to change a thing” camp. You know?

It’s top of mind for me right now, being a person of my word. I took a big knife to the back recently and it’s made me much more aware of how my own actions affect others. Even if it’s just standing up in front of a group of students at trio and saying “I’m going to lose 10 pounds with you all this month” (which I kind of did. EEk) I want to make sure they all know they can trust me. That I’m not just saying that so they’ll buy another membership. That when I say we’re in this together, I really mean it.

So, for me, resolutions at this or any other time of year have to ring true, so while some folks are making a brand! new! them! this year (I mean, REALLY? You’re resolving to make a brand new YOU?) I’m going to stick with the me I’ve got and go with these:

1.      Send birthday cards (and send them on time) to my immediate family and best friend this year.

2.      Work with a dog trainer to help my puppies have better manners. Blue was obviously mistreated before he came to us and he needs to be better socialized.

3.      Make sure “I love you” is the last thing I say every time I say goodbye to a loved one. Every. Time.

Happy New Year! (I love you!)

(See? See how I did that?)

{ 6 comments }

the season

by MrsFatass on December 22, 2013

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I have had a lot few sleepless nights this week, laying in the dark blinking at the ceiling trying to get my arms around the fact that it’s almost  January. Back when trio was actually a trio, last Spring when we were strategizing and planning and birthing our baby, several times we commented about just making it to January, when we would be bustling and busy and getting ahead and replenishing the ‘cushion’ money we spent during opening. If we can just make it to January, we said, even though it would be hectic and crowded and a little bit out of control, we’d actually be able to relax a bit. Because it’s the busy season for the fitness industry. The period of time you wait for all year long. Harvest time. Like February for Hallmark. Even if we were just mediocre, we’d still experience a surge in business. And trio is not mediocre. Not even close.

So fast forward 6 months and we are down one partner, up four or so new class formats, and standing on the brink of The Season. The past six months have changed me. Opening a fitness studio has little to do with loving being a Zumba teacher. And I? LOVED being a Zumba teacher. And one awesome thing I have learned about myself since we opened is that I’m actually more than just a good Zumba teacher. My love for Zumba has evolved into a love for fitness and for teaching/coaching. I can say now that I’m a good Fitness Instructor. I’m proud of that.

Unfortunately, teaching good classes no longer gets to be my first priority. There is a whole lot of business involved in running a business. And our third partner and business manager bailed. One day the three of us are together in my living room celebrating my daughter’s birthday and high-fiving over the enrollment numbers in a boot camp, and 4 days later Samantha and I wake up to an email saying “The stress is too much, I need to quit, please call the landlord and the bank and the utilities and take my name off of everything. Hope I can still come work out with you though!”

Yeah. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.

See, Samantha and I were indeed running ragged all over town teaching here, there and yonder. But it was this third partner that came to us with the dream of opening a studio. “I’ve always wanted to do this” her first email to me said. “I want 2 or three classrooms, and locker rooms, and memberships. Would you ever be interested in something like this?”

Well. We got interested. We made the decision to join forces, and we all held hands and jumped together.

Except that we weren’t quite together. Obviously. Because the last article written about the studio? Was titled “The DUO behind TRIO.”

There have been times that I’ve actually been jealous of that third ‘partner’. Because within days of that email, she’d rejoined the gym we all came from, and just kind of absolved herself the stress of being a business owner. Of making sure we make payroll and that our customer service is second to none and that we make real connections with the people walking through our door. Sometimes I wish I sent the email first. I mean, are you kidding me? This is hard fricking work! We set the bar HIGH when we opened trio’s doors. Our instructors are TOP NOTCH. Our sound system is BOOMING. Our events are PROFESSIONAL. Our students feel like they BELONG. Our attention to detail is UNPARALLELED. To say that running this kind of business is exhausting? Doesn’t even begin to cover it.

So no wonder number three wanted out.

But in leaving, she created a lot more for Samantha and me. So the thing that I loved most, that made me want to open a studio in the first place, continues to fall further from the top of the list. But it is the reason we HAVE a business, so letting our aches and pains and frustrations and tensions show is not permissible or professional and it won’t keep the business going strong. Because as much as it is a happy place, a place where we have not just made friends, but have added to our FAMILY, and a place where we can be real, it is also a business.

I forgot where I was going with this.

Oh! Yes. January.

So here we sit with the pressure of January looming. It will be the best of times (holy crapballs you guys, you should SEE our SCHEDULE! Fitness parties and special guests and just total amazingness!) and it will be the worst of times (being down a second partner for 2 weeks smack dab in the middle of it all, being on the schedule for all but 3 days the whole month) but this is it. This is the month we’ve been waiting for. What if we’ve done everything wrong in getting ready for our busy season, and we won’t have enough room or enough offerings or enough towels? Or, what if we’ve done everything right in getting ready for our busy season but the people just don’t come?

Who knows. All I know is that we didn’t bail on our members and our family when it would have been much easier to do so. And the fact that I have ugly cried numerous times in the last week from emails, Christmas cards, and texts from students and colleagues who are in the same “preparing for the new year” state of mind that I am, who are saying “you don’t understand what trio means to me” means that there is no place in the world I would rather be, and no person I would rather be doing it with.

I am not really a resolution maker. But I am a goal setter. And one of my goals is to find my way back to my blog. MrsFatass isn’t over. And I have a feeling 2014 is going to be her year.

Merry Christmas ya’ll.

{ 6 comments }

November 4, 2013

mailbag

Dear Mrs Fatass, My fat ass misses your fat ass. You used to write – things that touched me, things that were vulnerable, things that made me snort with laughter. Then something dark happened, and you alluded to it, but you didn’t elaborate, and you became silent. Cautious. Reticent. I just want you to know, […]

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September 13, 2013

tiny dancer

Dear Thing Two; Last year we had your ears pierced for your birthday. You were nervous, but so very excited to get to wear earrings like a big girl. I picked you up from school and took you to lunch and the pictures you drew on the placemat was full of designs that you wanted […]

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August 26, 2013

frenemies

My biggest struggle in losing the 50 pounds that I’ve wanted to lose since beginning this here blog four years ago isn’t a lack of knowledge about how to do it. It isn’t because I have no resources or that I think that tracking or eating right is too hard. It isn’t because I battle […]

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