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!

Be Strong + Well!

September is back to school month, when learning resumes. I like to think I am always learning and reading about new things, but somehow September gives me renewed interest in exploring new concepts. With Labor Day suddenly upon us, this year is no different.

As a FitCoach, I feel I am supposed to be an example to my clients. I should look “fit” and “strong”. I know that to build muscle and shave body fat I have to lift heavy things and put them down. I know strength is measured by how much weight I can lift now as opposed to a year ago. I know that it is important to do this consistently to keep making progress.

In my head I know all this, but then there are those days that I feel tired and really don’t want to lift heavy things. There are days when my back gives me an issue from doing something stupid like picking up a heavy Adirondack chair and carrying on my chest with my back bent backward.  I know I need to rest my back before weight training for a few days. Then there are the precious days my family is visiting that I do not want to take the time away from them to go lift heavy things. It’s times like these that leave me feeling like I am somehow not meeting my expectations of being “strong” and “fit.”

Today I read a quote that made me stop and think about what it really means to be strong. Measuring strength solely by the number of pounds lifted is a very narrow definition of strength. We are so much more than the number of pounds we lift or the number on the scale. We are people – humans – and there is a lot more to us than numbers. I came across this quote from the book Pressing Reset,Original Strength Reloaded:

That quote summed up the true meaning of strength. I now realize that even though I must lift heavy things, it does not define how strong I am. For me, strength means being able to push my furniture around to clean behind it. It means being able to lift my two-year old grandson out of the crib and safely carry him downstairs. It means being able to clean and organize my whole house, spending the day going up and down three floors. It means a daily bike ride around the neighborhood. It means walking up the beach path and not feel my heart pumping out of my chest (like 6 years ago.) Strength is me out there passionately living my best life.

As we move into the new month of September, take a moment to consider what strength means to you. Please comment below (on Facebook post) and let me know how YOU define strength in your physical life.

Happy September! Be Strong + Well!

Food Sense – Makes Sense!

This week my two-year old grandson was being a picky eater. One day all he wanted was goldfish crackers and peas. The next day he had a plate of meat, potatoes, and broccoli. Broccoli was always a favorite, however on this day he ate two pieces of broccoli and devoured the meat and potatoes. While we may think this is typical for a two-year old, I learned something about food this week that made me think twice.

When we are hungry our body is asking us for fuel. It wants macro nutrients like protein, fruits, veggies, and carbs. If we feed it sugar, caffeine, and white flour in twenty minutes we are hungry and it’s asking for fuel again. It’s like your car needing regular gas and you fuel it with diesel. It can’t run. Neither can our bodies and our bodies will keep asking with “hunger” until we feed it the right kind of fuel it needs to run.

Each of my grandson’s meal choices were made by him listening to his body. A two-year old can’t opt to feed it sugar or white flour when he’s hungry like we can. He intuitively chooses the foods his body needs on any given day and that’s why his choices seem haphazard.

We adults would be smart to take a lesson. At two pm when our stomach is feeling so empty it hurts, our body is not asking for a candy bar and a diet coke. When we feed it these foods, we are hungry again by 3 pm. It is a signal we are not giving our body the right fuel so it keeps asking. We give it a bag of chips next. The carbs might sate us for awhile, but we have added a ton of useless calories. If we gave it protein and fruit in the first place, we’d be good until dinner time and avoid the sugar crash. Our body would be sated and able to power through the afternoon.

And so, as another day goes by, we would be smart to pay attention to what goes “IN the mouth of babes.” Lol! Have a great weekend, everybody!


I spent 23 years teaching Kindergarteners to read. When they formed that letter A for the first time, they had no idea it made a sound or could be used to form words. They had no idea how vast the world of reading was. Each day they came in and focused on the one small bit I presented. They had no idea they were learning to read. It took 10 months of focusing on small parts and eventually it all came together and they were reading.

Starting a weight training program is very much like that. Here at Koko we have a Smartraining system that works similar to a beginning reading program. It takes a long time of putting small parts together, and if done in the right way, you get big results. Each workout is built upon the previous ones and is designed to work with the future ones, just like my reading lessons.

Three years ago I set a goal for myself. I was going to follow the Build program right through from the beginning, through the intermediate, and finish with the advanced. Each track takes one year to do. This week I am proud to say I finished the advanced program and reached my three year goal. I couldn’t even chest press 40 lbs in my first year and my strength test capped out at 100 lbs this week. My strength was built slowly, without me even knowing it. Just coming consistently, three times a week for three years and focusing on the small bits each session presented, and here I am just a week before my 66th birthday – strong and able.

A lot of you are just beginning your Smartraining program here at Koko. Just come consistently, follow your program, trust the process and you, too, will make huge gains over time without even knowing it. One day you’ll notice how much stronger you are and how much better your clothes fit.

And so, as another day goes by, it’s a million little things that make up the big things, but you have to trust the process. Have a beautiful weekend!


Hello again! Koko Linda has been gone for two long weeks. One was a lovely vacation with our adult children and our grandchild, the other was a week spent training new people at another club. I’m happy to be back at work in Centerville resuming my normal schedule.

On my vacation week there was very little time for working out. A two-year old never stops, except for his nap, and at that time I needed one too! I let my daughter and her husband have that few hours on the beach alone, while I sat in the cool house and watched the baby monitor. Time with him was precious since they live in NY and my husband and I weren’t going to give up a minute. Needless to say there wasn’t much time to workout that week or even on the weekends.

In addition to no time to workout, vacation brings with it all the foods and drinks we don’t normally have. There were trips to Seafood Sam’s for that yearly taste of fried fish. There were specialty mixed drinks, and of course, there were endless bottles of wine by the fire at night and spiked sparkling waters for the beach.

I enjoyed every moment of that week and can’t wait until they return on Labor Day weekend. I did not say no to any food I wanted. I totally ate a pint of popcorn shrimp all by myself. I sat and enjoyed the drinks while visiting with our children. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon naps while monitoring the monitor.

I often hear my members say “Oh no! I have to go on vacation and you know what that means. All I have accomplished will be lost.” Me? I didn’t think that way. My thoughts were “Bring it on! It’s finally here!” It was 10 days out of 365. Those 10-14 vacation days are not enough to hurt you. In fact, it’s why we spend the time the other 355 days following our meal plans and going to the gym 3X a week. When that vacation comes around your body will be ready for it. A few drinks and bad meals are not going to sabotage what you spent a year working on. Remember, it’s not what you do on vacation, it’s what you do every day of the rest of the year that determines your fitness and health.

August is vacation month. If you have a vacation or even a staycation planned, look forward to it. Forget the gym and the meal plan. Focus on the people you’re with. Nap by that pool or on the beach. Rest your mind from everything you do the during the year. Plan a few fancy cocktails. Pick some good restaurants to dine out in a few nights. Approach your vacation without a hint of guilt over food and exercise. Keep in mind vacations and holidays are the reason you live the way you do every other day. Your goal is to be able to keep enjoying vacations and your family well into your golden years.

And so, as another vacation goes by, it’s back to business – until Labor Day! Have a great August!

Feeling Small

Sometimes when I watch the news I feel very small and insignificant. I think to myself, “Besides my small vote, what can I do about these big situations?” It’s overwhelming to think of myself on my tiny speck of Earth in the face of all that adversity. What can I do about anything? And then I saw this:

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room”

Dalai Lama

Well, that changes things. Whatever I do or say each day in the rooms where I work and live CAN make differences. I don’t need grand gestures. Constant kind words here and there, constant considerate gestures to those around me, and what happens? I become just as effective as that mosquito.

It’s the same with working our food and exercise routines. A healthy fitness journey is not meant to be done with a grand gesture. It’s meant to be as constant as the buzzing of the mosquito. One meal or one workout might not seem like much when the big picture includes 3 workouts a week and 3 healthy meals a day for 52 weeks. But every single little 30 minute workout and each meal make a huge difference in forming the big picture of your healthy lifestyle.

And so, as another day goes by, try applying this to other overwhelming things in your life – be the mosquito.

‘Tis The Season…

It happens twice a year – December and July. ‘Tis the season for the parties, the bad food, the wine and sugary drinks, etc. July is the beginning of the beach season and of course, we need a stocked cooler for an afternoon at the shore. You don’t have to fear this. There are some great choices out there that won’t sabotage your weight loss and workout routine. Handling the food issue is just a matter of making the best choices. Summer is definitely easier than the middle of winter because of the plentiful variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits. When out, and dependent on others for your food, just keep in mind your plate needs a serving of protein, vegetables, and a little carb to keep you full longer. Drinks are another matter.

Of course, we all want to imbibe a little when at the beach or out with friends. Two weeks ago, I found a drink in my local convenience store that I thought was rather unique. I bought a variety pack to try on our weekend beach day. It was something called Crook & Marker. I read the can and found out it was only 60 calories, zero sugar, made with organic alcohol, quinoa and was also gluten free. It was called spiked and sparkling and the flavors looked yummy. This seemed too good to be true, but it was. I took a couple cans to the beach for the afternoon and it was truly delightful. The flavors were bold and fruity. Last year I tried something called White Claw, another sparkling seltzer, but the flavor was thin and I quickly grew board with the first can. This Crook & Marker was hands down a hundred times better in the flavor department.

Since that beach day, I tried it at home in an ice-filled wine glass and it did the trick. I was able to enjoy a drink on the patio and not feel I was sabotaging everything I worked for all week.

And so, as another day goes by, let’s raise a glass to summer finally arriving on Cape Cod and fill it with a healthier, more sensible choice.

(If you know of any other drinks that fit this category, please comment on the Facebook page so we can all benefit!)

Celebrate the Struggle

What? I don’t know about you, but I go through my days trying to avoid the struggles in my work and personal life. My workout life is where I learn to deal with most of my struggles, and today was no different. Sunday my little toe met a couch it didn’t like. We recently got a new sofa and the old one is sitting in the kitchen in a usual traffic path awaiting donation. This little toe has made my week difficult. I can’t put a shoe on my left foot, so how was I supposed to workout? I can’t stand the thought of missing workouts because of a toe – there’s nothing wrong with the rest of me – so I had to figure it out. Well, running wasn’t feasible, so the elliptical with flip flops it is. Weight training with a flip flop was okay because it’s relatively stationary work. Anyway, I made it through and by Sunday I should be able to wear shoes for the next workout. Wearing one shoe and one slipper sock all week at work was a bit inconvenient, too, but I made it work.

Isn’t that how we are supposed to approach all our struggles? Accept that it’s not the best situation, but if we persist, we can usually make it work. My two groups of 6 week challengers here at the club are in their 2nd and 4th weeks. The challenge of taking on a new food and workout program is overwhelming. Changing your schedule to get to those 3 workouts a week, revamping your food shopping routine, preparing your meals for a whole week, etc. is a struggle. My challengers who have completed their programs and achieved great results are also challenged by keeping up their fitness routines. Missed workouts, sickness, injury, and bad food slip ups are what makes the challenge a challenge. Living a healthier lifestyle involves change. Change is never easy because we struggle with giving up what we are used to doing. It causes us to leave our comfort zones.

Leaving our comfort zones and taking that leap into the great unknown is one of the biggest life struggles there is – it is also one of the best parts of life. Don’t miss it. Don’t be held back by hanging onto the familiar. It’s hard? You hit a roadblock? Persist. Don’t give up. You WILL figure it out. I guarantee that when you do, you will marvel at the strength you had that you never knew you possessed and you will find yourself celebrating that struggle.

And so, as another day goes by, let’s approach our current struggles by remembering – “It seems impossible until it’s done.” (Nelson Mandella)

How I Got This Strong

June is Summer Strong month here in Koko Centerville. Today I am sharing the post that is on our leader-board here in the club. I hope the 5 things I have learned over the past 6 years in fitness will get you on the right path sooner than I was.

At 50 years old I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. It was then that I started to take aging very seriously. The doctor told me that the only way to reverse it was to put weight on my bones. He told this to a person who never set foot in a gym or exercised in her entire life outside of high school gym class. Thus began my venturing into weight training. I did go to various gyms for 10 years, but not much happened in the way of results because I had no idea what I was doing. Then I found Koko at 60 years old. Now, at 65 in that pic, I grew muscle at an astounding rate and reversed my osteoporosis. All due to Koko’s Smartrainer. I weight train 3x a week and haven’t missed a workout in 4 years. It took me the first 2 years to realize a few things about how to get these results. These are the things I want to share with you so you can start to see results sooner than I did.


           It’s all about consistency. I didn’t know this my first two years, until my daughter was getting married and I had to “get in real shape.” That’s when I began to rigidly adhere to 3x a week with weight training. Five weeks in I felt my core tighten and that did it. It clicked. Since then I have learned that motivation comes and goes, but showing up and doing the work creates the results.


            As my journey continued well after the wedding, I realized that whether it’s new workout clothes, a certain sneaker, or a supplement, no one thing makes you fit and there are no hacks to get there. It’s about doing many small healthy things for positive results that build up over time. I learned to eat and move for my health and not for a weight goal.


           Wandering around a gym to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that and then grabbing a salad is not a plan. (Although for 10 years I thought it was.) Your workouts need to be planned and fitted to your body. With Koko that was taken care of for me. Next came food and all that comes with it. Finding a healthy meal plan and prepping food for the day so I am never without anything to eat at least every 3 hours, is a mainstay to a healthy lifestyle.  Scheduling food and workouts in my life soon turned into habits akin to brushing my teeth. Which brings me to number four.


Feeding your mind with negative thoughts begets negative actions. The realization that your mind really can create your reality is very powerful. I once heard someone say a fitness journey is about your mind-set evolving from who you are to who you aspire to be. For me, that has proven to be so true. Buying the gown and visualizing how I wanted to look in it kept me motivated. Positive visualizations of your future self can help you stay true to your fitness routine. This brings me to number five.


            Many people cycle through workout programs looking for fast results. Rarely does this work. You need to COMMIT to a more sustainable regimen for ONE YEAR before you entertain anything else. I did and 6 years later I am still here. My now life-long routine consists of weights 3x week, cardio, and yoga 2x a week. My eye is on the “future me.” I am looking ahead at what I want the 75 -year-old me to look like and focus on the things I still want to be doing at that age.

Sitting here now watching 6 women do weight training and cardio warms my heart. These ladies are preparing for their future selves. They, along with me, want to be driving and lifting their grandchildren 10 years from now.

And so, as another day goes by, is it never too late, you are never too sick, and you are never too old to establish an exercise routine to prepare for the rest of your life.  Let’s go – Summer Strong – consistency, the big picture, have a plan, stay positive and yes, look to your future in years, not months

On Resistance:

Today on the elliptical the coach in my ear said something that resonated with me. The workout had me using the resistance in intervals. I would do 30 seconds at a higher resistance to raise my heart rate, then lower it to let my heart recover. While instructing me to put up the resistance he said, “Resistance is what causes the changes to happen in our bodies.”

All kinds of light bulbs went off with that statement. Whether it’s cardio resistance or speed, or a heavy weight, or even a life issue, the struggle presenting itself is really change happening. My heart was getting stronger with each interval.

When I went on to my weight session I was feeling good. Thinking this is an easy workout. Until I reached the last two exercises, that is. Second to last was 10 90 pound squats – ok, not too bad. The last one was a 60 pound squat to curl. Ok, that one was doing me in. I had to do 10. I struggled with the last 5. In that moment of wanting to quit on number 8, I thought of what I had just learned. Here, right here, on numbers 8, 9, & 10 change is happening. Muscles are tearing and will heal up stronger than they were before this workout.

In that moment, my struggle that had first appeared as an obstacle morphed into an opportunity. It was an opportunity to change something (even if was only my biceps). I left that workout applying this thinking to more than my weight session. I thought about the struggles awaiting me in my work day. As if I had a magic wand, I turned each one into an opportunity – an opportunity for change to happen. In many cases at work this means me learning a new skill by wrangling with something I was struggling with.

And so, as another day goes by, whether you are struggling with something in your fitness or life journey today, take a moment to look for the change that is happening right before your eyes. The issue may not get resolved quickly, but it will be encouraging to know something good is happening as a result of the struggle.

It’s A Holiday Weekend – Be Kind To Yourself

It’s finally here! Summer on Cape Cod begins this weekend. For many of us that means college graduation parties, boating and backyard barbecues as we gather to remember those who gave their lives so we may live our lives.

As we take a moment to remember them, let’s consider what that means for our fitness lives. Everyday I get members coming back from vacation and the first thing they say to me is “I was very very bad with my food and drink.” That makes me sad. That so called “bad” food and drink on a vacation or a holiday weekend such as this should be a positive thing. Let’s consider why we workout in the first place. We workout to live, we don’t live to workout. We do what we do everyday here at Koko so we can all live our best lives. Living our best lives means going on vacation and enjoying holiday weekends with family and friends. It means eating fun food and having a reasonable cocktail or two. It means sitting on the beach for an afternoon enjoying a book and that bag of chips in your beach bag.

Remember- vacations and holiday weekends are NOT your everyday life. And as far as your fitness goes, THAT is what matters. What you do everyday is where your focus should be when trying to be fit and healthy. What you eat and drink and the time you spend sitting and relaxing on vacation or a holiday weekend is NOT going to derail your fitness. In fact, every single one of my members that spent the winter working out consistently and then went on vacation came back astounded that they didn’t gain a pound despite all their indulging. And that is why we workout. We spend 80% of the year taking really good care of our bodies so that they can withstand the 20% of the time we vacation and party.

And so, as another Memorial Day weekend goes by, take the time to remember, but be kind to yourself and enjoy your food, family and friends.

Have a safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend!