About Me

About Me

Linda Bartosik...
First steps of a beginning writer. Follow me on my journey. Read More...

My newest book now available on Amazon!

My newest book now available on Amazon!

Many treasures lie under the sea, but will Alistar find the one that will make ‘The Perfect Birthday Present’ for his mom? Join this adventurous little sea star and his best buddy Barnaby (a blob fish) as they travel through the beautiful deep blue sea, meeting many other creatures of the deep. When the two friends finally stumble upon the perfect present, Alistar needs to make a difficult decision, which only he can make. When he does, the little sea star learns that there are times when it is not the present that is important, but the thought behind it.

My First Cover! Now available on Amazon – Kindle & Hardcover

My First Cover! Now available on Amazon – Kindle & Hardcover

For Linda Crowley, the first day of the year had always been set aside to work on new, positive beginnings and 1970 was no different. Her husband and children were by all accounts healthy and no one even considered the terrible thought that tragedy would strike before the day was over, and life as she had known it was gone.

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My first illustrating project available on Amazon

My first illustrating project available on Amazon

Haley doesn't have a normal pet she has a goat, Ralph. He thinks he's having fun but he's causing untold trouble for Haley. Trouble seems to follow Ralph everywhere he goes only he doesn't know it. Haley's father says Ralph has to be sold!

“One Day” or Someday?

Today a fascinating article came across my desk. The quote at the end was:

“Tackle your ‘one day’, or your dreams become someday.”

The article was about creating. Whether it’s creating an article, a blog post, a business, a song or anything else – it really doesn’t matter. It talked about how, in one day, you could create something that changes your life and possibly the lives of others forever. The part that hit me was the scary part. At the same time, this means that skipping that “one day” by wasting it away or procrastinating, being unfocused, or being distracted, or lacking the energy, means that whatever you were going to create that day will never see the light of day. They said that this is the case, unfortunately, for most people despite their ambition, motivation, or creative talent.

I realized the same goes for our fitness goals. Let’s rephrase that quote:

“Tackle your ‘one day’, or your goals become someday.”

Wow. Many of the same things that sabotage our creativity, also sabotage our fitness. Many things get in the way of both our dreams and our goals. Our own excuses get in the way. Our subconscious fears get in the way. (Especially when trying to change our diets – we are really scared to let go of our food!) Our habits get in the way. It could be external distractions. It could be stress. It could be our own limiting beliefs. It could be lots of things. The fact is the same – things get in our way. When these things get in our way, one thing is for sure – we fail to take action.

When we are about to go to the gym, we get sucked down the rabbit hole of social media distractions. When we think about shopping and prepping our food, our subconscious fears take over, and we end up bingeing on Netflix. This leads to “one day” closer to achieving our goals, lost. Miss out on too many “one days” and you do a tremendous disservice to yourself and the people who love you and need you be healthy so you can be there for them.

So how about we add a new affirmation to our morning thoughts:

Today I can do one thing that puts me closer to my fitness goal. I can attend my class. I can shop for and prep my food. I can call or text my coach and ask for help. I can do something that changes my life. I will stop letting excuses get in my way and stop being my own worst enemy. I owe it to myself and my loved ones to get up and do amazing things for myself today.

I, just like you, need to be reminded of this everyday in order to accomplish my own goals. I need to see written reminders. My latest is a new workout tank. On it it says:

I am a warrior. Not a quitter.

And so, as another day goes by, let’s get out there and be amazing. Let’s be warriors in our own lives!

Show Up

Once again my inspiration comes from my members. Each day they come to me with wonderful non-scale victories. This week was no different.

Wednesday is my only day to be at work at 8 am. Yesterday as I was walking up to the door at about 7:40, the door burst open and a member stood on the sidewalk with his arms wide open and said, “I did it! I never thought I could make a 7 am class, but here I am! I did it!”

I replied, “Yes you did! You showed up. I am so proud of you!” He went on his way and I went into the club and both of us were starting our day off with a win. He and I had a conversation about signing up for that class – because of his schedule this week he couldn’t make his usual afternoon class. Rather than just skip the workout, we rescheduled to the early morning class. He was hesitant. He really didn’t know if he could show up that early in the morning. But he did. He showed himself he is capable of way more than he ever thought.

That’s what “showing up” does. It pushes us past our comfort zone. Breaks our usual routine and shows us just how much more we are capable of. Every time I attend an event that I didn’t want to go to, I come away with a renewed sense of purpose. I meet people and hear things that inspire me. Every time I try a new cardio program that I was not sure I could do, fearing it would be too hard, I realize I can do way more than I ever imagined.

Saturday is our kick off with a new group of 6 week challengers. Are you one of them? If so, make me proud. Show up. Show up for your weight session. Show up for your class. Show up for your weigh in. Show up to do extra cardio. If you are an at home challenger, do the same. Show up in front of your computer and press play. Show up to shop and prep your food for the week. And guess what? You will make yourself proud. Whether it’s week 1 or 6 for you, show up and show yourself just what you are capable of.

And so, as another day goes by, remember…

Glasses

Let’s start with a bit of humor today. This morning my husband shared a Facebook post with me that made me laugh. It said “If you see your glass as half-empty, pour it into a smaller glass and move on!”

I did laugh and then I really thought about the message in that when applied to something we all face in our fitness routines. How many times have you left work, knowing you’re supposed to go to the gym, but you are so tired the last thing you feel like doing is going to the gym and jumping around? Yup. Your glass has barely anything left rattling around in the bottom. So pour it into a medicine cup and get to the gym. How? Simple. Learn the art of re-framing. No, not with real pictures – with the thoughts about working out going through your brain trying to derail you.

Wipe out the thought of being too tired to work out, and replace it with “The gym is my haven to relax my mind after a hard day. I can settle into my workout and decompress. My work world can stay outside the gym door and I can seek some mind peace. No one is going to bother me inside these doors. It’s precious me-time.” Suddenly the gym is a place you look forward to going after work. It’s now a promise of peace and time to take a break from the rest of your life. Wow. Who wouldn’t want that after working hard all day? Right?

Re-framing also works with other difficult or just annoying times in life. For instance, a favorite app of mine redid itself and took away a lot of my favorite cardio workouts. I was mad. I read the negative comments about it on Facebook. I sat there thinking, “I’m going to quit this app! How dare they!” I bought into all the talk in the post until today. I re-framed it. I told myself this will force me out of my rut and challenge me to do some different workouts. It worked! I tried new ones and loved them. On the elliptical I used glute muscles I didn’t know I had. Give it a try the next time you are upset about something.

And so, as another day goes by, don’t let circumstances define you, re-frame it – pour it into a smaller glass and move on.

Start Where You Are, With What You Have

In my 66 years one thing I have learned is that before you ask for or get more of something, you have to learn to take very good care of what you already have. Whether it be your job, money, your home or your health and fitness, you have to be a very good steward of what already exists. It’s great to strive for better in every area of your life. You set goals, make a step-by-step plan, and work toward it everyday. We all wish we had more money, but we’re not going to be trusted with it until we learn to manage the little we have now, effectively. Without goals, a plan, and steps, it remains just that – a wish.

In fitness, you need to start with the body you have. Bring it into the gym and let’s sit down, set a goal and make a plan to change it, but let’s not focus completely on that goal. I’m sure you heard of the expression “keep your eye on the prize.” Well, it’s sort of like a side-eye – the goal exists on the sideline, but what you need to do today sits front and center. You have 30 pounds to lose. You need to stop snacking at night. You need more exercise. You have a body that aches and doesn’t move well. You need a plan. That is where your focus each day needs to be.

Start by taking care of the body you have now, today, this very minute. Just the fact that you can still walk it into the gym is a victory. You CAN walk 5-15 minutes on the treadmill. Yay!! You CAN do modified movements in your small group training class. Kudos to you! You CAN adopt a plan to cook and eat healthy food. Way to go! You CAN take care of the body you have today, while keeping your side-eye on that goal.

And so, as another day goes by, let’s focus on what we already have and take really good care of it – today. If you do this, it will morph and change into something even better in the future.

Illness & Injury Smarts

Many times my inspiration for this blog comes from my members. They may say something or tell me a story, and I think, hmm..there’s a message there. Today was no different.

A member came in while I was working out who had been out for a long time with surgery and after that a bacterial infection that landed her in the hospital for 5 days. While she was telling me about her ordeal, she said something I had not thought of. She said, “If I had not been coming to Koko regularly for all these years, I would not have made it through this illness. It was only because my body was strong and in good shape that I was able to kick the infection and recover rather quickly.”

Wow, I thought to myself, after she had gone on to do her workout, I never realized that my 16 years of working out consistently wasn’t about weight loss or a better body at all. (Those are just bonuses.) It really was 16 years of banking strong muscles and healthy cells to be able to battle such health issues that could hit me as I get older. I feel better just knowing that if I suffer a fall, a gall bladder attack, or a horrible infection that my body is strong enough to take on the fight.

Day by day, pound lifted by pound lifted, yoga stretch by yoga stretch – it’s all deposits in your health bank for whatever the future holds. Every class you take, every weight training you do, every effort to change your diet – it’s all time and money well-spent to grow your healthy body bank account. Keep making those deposits – day by day, week by week, and year by year. It’s the most valuable retirement account you will have, because if you don’t take care of your body where will you live in retirement?

And so, as another day goes by, it’s what you do for your body every single day that writes the tapestry of your future.

Results.

Everyone starts an exercise program for one reason: they want results.

I remember my first years of retirement where one of my focuses was to get myself into a regular exercise program. I really struggled with consistency. When something else would grab my attention, I dropped that planned session or class quickly. It is only now, after 4 years of consistent weekly strength training, I can look back on those days and understand why I had such a problem with consistency. In my mind exercise didn’t have it’s proper place. I looked at it as some extra-curricular activity that was more fun than serious, therefore when serious stuff stole my attention, exercise was the first thing to go. Yet I still wanted results.

It took working in the fitness business to help me see that I could only get those results through consistency. And to be consistent, strength training had to take a new place on my priority list. I came to realize that all those other serious things that took it’s place wouldn’t even matter if I was no longer able to do them. In our 40’s and 50’s we still have a lot of energy to give to our life. We think that will last forever. It won’t. Running, biking, yoga, and all the outdoor activities we enjoy are great – but they do not build muscle. Muscle is our fountain of youth and must be attended to consistently, 3 times a week, for the rest of our lives.

I get people all the time saying I can’t come to the gym because my job is overwhelming, my daughter is getting married, etc. and the best one? Because it’s summer. Since when does muscle building not have to happen in a particular season?

If you find yourself in the same situation I was in years ago, here is a simple solution to help you develop consistency. Print out a calendar. Schedule your workouts 3 times a week like appointments. On the top of the calendar write “CONSISTENCY = RESULTS” and hang it someplace you can see it every morning – in your closet or on the bathroom mirror. Give yourself a big fat star for every workout appointment you keep or reschedule. I’m serious. There is nothing more motivating than seeing all those stars. 12 stars for the month and guess what? You will start seeing those results. And those results will be the reason the you print out a new calendar for the next month, and the next month, and guess what now? You have achieved consistency and your results are getting better every month.

And so, as another day goes by, learn to look at those planned exercise sessions as appointments you keep with yourself. Be mindful that building muscle must be number one in your life because without it, all those other things keeping you from your strength training will not matter when you can no longer do them.

Change. Is. Hard.

Change is hard. I always adapt well to it, but whenever I’m asked to change the way I’ve been doing things for so long, there’s always a bump or two in the road. When you have been operating a certain way for so long, your processes are second nature. When facing change you are being asked to upend things ingrained in your nature. You don’t like it. You act like a whiny child and do a lot of kicking and screaming in the beginning.

Embarking on a new fitness program is certainly a change in your very nature. The change has to first take place in your mind. This can’t happen without a few bumps in the road. And bumps in the road DO NOT mean you are not being successful in adopting your new healthy lifestyle. It simply means you are learning and growing. None of us is perfect. We are not meant to be. If we were, there would be no need or room for improvement. I sometimes think we are made this way for a purpose. Change and improvement can be an exciting thing. It can be positive and invigorating. It can light a fire in your belly in a spot where there was just complacency. The process of change is even better than reaching your goal. It makes you feel alive again. It gives you a renewed sense of purpose.

If you are one of my 42 Day Detoxers and you are in your first week, you are changing the way you cook, eat and shop. At the same time you are changing your schedule – trying to fit those 3 exercise sessions in somewhere. You are resisting cravings. Things that were second nature to you are being upended. By week 2 or 3 you might have a few missteps. You might miss a workout due to a sick child. You might snag a piece of cake at an office birthday party. Yes, we both know you shouldn’t, but the best way to deal with these bumps in the road is to put them behind you. Tomorrow is a new day. Each day you get a new chance to do better than you did the day before.

And so, as another day goes by, don’t let the process of change derail you. Use it to help you dig in, focus on your goal, and do the job set before you. You are strong, you are powerful and you can do this.

PS – Those of you who are facing different life changes outside of fitness, apply this same line of thinking. Let change wake you up and invigorate you as you wrangle with whatever you’re going through.

Isn’t that the truth!

Smart Training

Here at Koko we workout on a Smartrainer – but today my workout was about BEING a smart trainer. The workout was a lot of arms and I knew the total weight was going to be about half of what I normally do. Arm exercises run at 15 lbs forever, and it took me six years to get to the 17.5 lbs I was doing today. It made me think of where I started out when I didn’t know anything about weight lifting and just had to trust the process and follow the program, no matter if I thought I could lift heavier weights or not.

When I work with people new to weights, I always hear “Why is it so light? I know I could do more.” I get it. I have been where they are, but I learned early on that you don’t buck the professionals. People new to weight lifting don’t understand it’s not about how heavy the weight is. It’s about the consistency over time that you do it. You cannot rush muscle building. This was the was the quote on the beginning of my workout today that got me thinking down this road:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a great physique. But consistently putting a couple of bricks, i.e. strength sessions, in the foundation will yield visible results. Stick with it!” – Karen Smyers, World-Class Professional Triathlete (and Koko User).

I instantly pictured a huge building being built by adding a few bricks a day – brick by brick – a few a day, until the magnificent completion of something that didn’t exist. Our bodies gain strength the same way the building does – a few pounds lifted, a couple of times a week, and in time we have magnificent muscles where none existed maybe a year or two ago.

And so, as another day goes by, step by step, bit by bit, day by day…that’s how strong things are built.

Some muscles that were definitely not there 6 years ago!

30 Seconds to Decide

30 seconds. That’s it. 30 seconds to decide and make a new plan.

I never, ever let anything get in the way of my workouts. They happen on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. When something like an appointment, or travel, or a holiday interrupts them, I always reschedule – never skip. That’s easy to plan for. It’s the unexpected “crop ups” that could derail me.

This morning on my way to my workout I was approaching the rotary on 149 and realized I forgot something important for my work today. The rotary was coming up and I had 30 seconds to decide to go around it and go back home or continue on to the gym. In that 30 seconds I pictured my workout not happening, my day starting late, my food all messed up, and on and on… Once on the rotary I headed straight to the gym. I reasoned that the material I left home could be worked with tomorrow – even though it won’t be as quiet of a day as I’ll have today, I’ll make it work.

After my workout I was glad I made that choice. Clocking in and sipping my protein drink felt so much better than if I had hurried home, hurried back and rushed to start work. Both my body and my mind had a calm start to the day, making the quality of my work today so much better.

And so, as another day goes by, I realize it’s the small choices that add up to the big decisions that guide us on our path.

Green Food

To me, green food signifies healthy food – I always picture lettuce or broccoli. It being March, I thought I would share a green food recipe. Kale Chicken Soup. I love homemade chicken soup, but when you add kale and make it extra healthy it’s a win.

My hubby made it for me! Yum!
Here’s the recipe…enjoy!

And so, as another March goes by, settle in this St. Patty’s Day weekend, warm up with some comfort food, and think spring!