About Me

About Me

Linda Bartosik...
First steps of a beginning writer/artist/illustrator. 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!

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.

FIRST, AND FOREMOST…

           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.

SECOND – LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE

            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.

THIRD – HAVE A PLAN

           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.

FOUR – STAY POSITIVE

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.

FIVE -THINK YEARS, NOT MONTHS

            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!

“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.