Category Archives: Personal Stories

YOU ROCK!

Are you a person who goes to the gym and never looks anyone in the eye? Do you put on your headphones and notice nothing else around you? If so that is ok, but I have a challenge for you. Check out what other people are doing!yourock

Every now and then I get awesome messages from past and current clients. Recently I received 2 messages from one. The first telling me that she got compliment for an exercise that she was doing at the gym that I taught her. Next, was another from her telling me how she paid it forward a few weeks later and complimented someone else on their hard work.

So many times we get into what we are doing and don’t notice what else is going on around you. Try to break that trend. I know when I run, I always try to make eye contact and say hello or good morning. And you know what happens? The person I just talked to usually smiles and you can see their pace pick up. It is AWESOME!

There are many ways in which you can reward yourself for a job well done. There are those that are obligated to tell us we look good or did a good job (i.e. parents, spouse, kids – or at least they are supposed to). But then, there are those people who notice what you are doing and tell you about it. It builds confidence. It builds character. And it builds strength.

Build someone’s strength with your words the next time you are at the gym. Try it. You might just like it!

Stay happy, healthy and as always, keep moving!

My Favorite Things, Part II – TRX

One of my favorite new toys (as I like to call it, torture devices said by my clients) is my TRX . If you have never seen one or seen one and wondered how it could possibly help your workout, well let me tell you – IT IS AMAZING. I must admit that I was a skeptic for a long time. I would see other trainers using them and think, how in the world can you get a workout from that. Then, in March I went to IHRSA where I was able to sample. It took me less than two minutes to know that this was something that I needed to use and my clients would hate and love at the same time.

The TRX is suspension training. What is that? Well, in my words, it is a workout that uses your own body weight, suspended by straps to do a variety of exercises. It focuses on core strength with each and every move as the position of your posture can help to challenge you. There are modifications for each exercise that are controlled by the person doing the exercise.

The following are a few extra perks:

  1. Great workout for the whole body in 30 minutes – I love the fact that I can challenge my entire body in 30 minutes. I have several clients who come in for 30 minute sessions only of TRX workouts and leave feeling completely satisfied.
  2. You can take it anywhere – I have taken my TRX to the park, basketball hoop in my driveway, high school track, a tree, inside with the door attachment, pretty much anywhere!
  3. You are only limited by your imagination – while there are videos you can buy, hundreds of youtube videos to view, ideas from fitnessanywhere.com, I am constantly making up my own “cool-combos”, 40/40 or 20/20 challenges, adding the Bosu ball (see next week for more info on that), etc to challenge myself and my clients.

Here is a video  link of how I use it with my daughter for some swimming exercises:

http://www.youtube.com/user/heatherbrunk

I got the best email from a client today regarding her TRX workout from yesterday:

Chest = Sore ALL OVER

Quads = SUPER SORE

Core = It hurts to laugh!

Getting a killer workout with Heather = PRICELESS!!

That, thanks to my favorite thing, part II, the TRX!

My Favorite Things, Part I – Octane Elliptical Trainer

I have spent many hours in gyms throughout my years. For the last 3.5 years, they have been in my own studio. During that time I have found some equipment that I really like and some that I don’t so much. I am going to talk about one of my favorite pieces today and do my next few posts on some  of my other favorite (I can’t live without) pieces.

Today’s favorite is my Octane Elliptical. The following are a few reasons why:

  1. Converging handle bars – the natural range of motion for the arms this provides is priceless. I don’t feel as if my arms are way outside my body and I can put my hands in several places to get different parts of my upper body a good workout.
  2. Rear entry – If you don’t know what I am talking about, think about all the ellipticals as the gym. Think of the ones you have to step into, or trip over trying to get where you want to go. With the Octane you don’t have to step over anything like that. I find that it is easier for my older clients as well.
  3. Angle of the foot pedals – this is a big one for me. I always had the problem of my feet falling asleep. The angle of the foot pedals decreases this problem. If my clients do start to feel the tingling, I have them move their feet toward the back of the pedal and this helps.
  4. The programs! – Anyone can jump on an elliptical and hit quick start, but the Octane provides many different programs. A few of my favorite are the 10k and the 30/30. The 10k counts down from the 6.2 miles changing levels every 10th of a mile. The 30/30 can be an intense interval workout that I will use either for a killer warm up or interval during mid workout.
  5. Xmode and Glute Kicker– If you want some variety and to challenge the lower body, these modes put you in different positions (squatting, backwards, slow, etc) to give your body a new challenge, not to mention an excellent calorie burn
  6. Arm Blaster – The elliptical does not just have to be about your legs and cardio. The Octane provides some great upper body strength training when in this mode. It will up the tension and has you do 10 rotations with the upper body to get the strength up top and also revs the heart rate.

I also use my Octane in my training sessions as part of a cardio interval. With this, I will have my clients start in the upward position and then every 15 seconds I will have them squat and then return to standing after 15 seconds. I up the intensity to get the calorie burn up and we do this for 1-2 minutes. TRY IT! You might just be surprised how hard it is and how good of a workout you can get. We know the importance of cardio and I like to try to get the most out of my time. Adding resistance will do just that.

Bottom line – I love my Octane!

What’s on your radar?

Do you remember the movie “The Rookie ” when Dennis Quaid is standing in front radar sign and he throws the fast ball to get the ball to register the mph of the ball. Well, I had one of those moments on one of my runs last week . My friend and I were running and we were determined to see if we could get the radar to go off. Now, I am not the biggest of people, so I wasn’t sure I could make it happen, but my training partner is about 100 pounds more than me and he was confident we could. So we started running faster and faster waving our arms and guess what happened – boom the number 7 popped up on the sign. I must say that was pretty cool.

If you’re wondering where this is going, I’m about to tell you. It got me thinking about what is on my radar. For instance, my upcoming race, my kids events, my family reunion….

Most of us have a reason why we exercise, try to eat right, etc. There are the typical;

  • I need to lose this last 5 pounds
  • I don’t want my arms to wave
  • My thighs jiggle (come on, you know you have said it)
  • I have my class reunion and I want to look really good

But, have you examined the bigger picture

  • I want to live a long healthy life
  • I have a family history of heart disease
  • I am not at my ideal BMI
  • I have no energy and I want more

We all know that our health and wellness is very important and we each take different steps to make sure we stay around for a long time. So what is on your radar? What number do you want to pop up on that sign? Is it a healthy weight? Is it a good blood pressure? Is it a healthy cholesterol number? Is it a race time?

Find the number you want and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Dam to Dam 10

So yesterday I ran one of my not so favorite races, Dam to Dam. For those of you not from Des Moines, this is a race that begins at the Saylorville dam and runs to downtown for a total of 12.4 miles (20K). Well, let me tell you about one thing that is always changing in Iowa – the WEATHER!

I got dropped off about an hour and 45 minutes before the race and it was just starting to rain. By the time I made it over the bridge, there was the announcement of “If it begins to thunder and lightning, stay low to the ground and do not touch the rails on the bridge” – serious! My shoes were soaked, I was shaking with goosebumps, and just laughing, because what else do you do in a moment like that!

Once the race started, I had the opportunity to run with a good friend of mine I hadn’t seen in 18 months. It was such a pleasure. We decided to use the Jeff Galloway method of running where we run for 5 minutes and then walk for a minute. My friend has been recovering from a stress fracture and I knew this would help her to hit her goal and finish the race.

The race began at 7am. It was rainy, windy and warm all at once. But I really didn’t care because I was running with a great friend. Many times she told me to just go, but I was not leaving my friend. At one point we ran up on a man who was 76 years old. He started singing and everyone around him sang with him. (I told her we couldn’t get beat by him, and we didn’t).

The last half mile the sun was beating on us. Cathy wanted to walk and I wouldn’t let her. She may have yelled at me. I may have ran backwards to encourage her, the Isiserettes were beating on their drums, I was dancing and waving my arms. And guess what? She didn’t walk – she ran – finished strong – hugged me at the end and told me she was sorry for yelling at me. I didn’t care.

Then, the reason I run was shouted out by another person – this gal said (and I’m sure I don’t have it 100% correct, but close) ‘We all need somebody like you to run with. You are so motivating.” I looked at her and told her “That’s what I do.”

  • I’ll never be the fastest
  • I’ll never be the slowest
  • But I can certainly keep on going!!!

Top 10

So sometimes I have a bad day, just like everyone else. And sometimes it is hard to pick myself back up. I have a good friend who always told me to keep my “Heather file” of good attributes of mine. Today, I decided I would take that one step further and I want to challenge everyone reading to do the same. Today I created My Top 10. This list is 10 things I think are good about me. These are things that:

  • Nobody Can Take From Me
  • I Own Them
  • I Control Them
  • They are what I think about me!

So here we go, Heather’s Top 10

  1. I am smart
  2. I am funny (at least to me)
  3. I am a good friend
  4. I am a great mom
  5. I am good at my job
  6. I am a good sister
  7. I am a good daughter
  8. I make great cookies
  9. I am a good training partner
  10. I am a good writer

I know I sound a bit Stuart Smalley, but hey, what can I say. There are times we all need a little lift and some positive affirmations!

I challenge you ALL – Make your Top 10! If you are having a bad day, take them out and read them. If you doubt yourself, take them out and read them. If you just want/need to feel good, take them out and read them!

So go ahead now – make your top 10 and I would love to hear from you and how they worked!

My Own Worst Enemy

One of my two jobs I GET to do is to be a Corporate Wellness Coach. What this means is that initially I go in and do biometrics which consists of height, weight, waist and hip circumference (determiner of future risk disease), body fat and blood pressure in a given company. We also have blood drawn to check out the key trouble spots such as cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting blood glucose. Once all this is done the patients are placed into categories of Critical, high risk, moderate risk and healthy. I would say that less than 10% of the people who go through these screenings are in the healthy range and that is scary news to me.

When I start the coaching process, I help people take a good look at their nutrition, their exercise level and their overall quality life. I am always big on goal setting. Once we set these goals, one of the questions I ask has to do with potential roadblocks. The one that seems very constant is this: WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY! We all know what to do. We all know we need to do it, and most of us have a pretty good idea how to do it. The IT is to be healthy, exercise and eat right to ensure a long, healthy life. Our mind can be very powerful!

At first, I have to build the trust factor when I work with someone. Once that is done, a beautiful thing happens – change. I am in the business of changing lives. The bottom line is we hold the power to control what we eat, how much we eat, if we exercise, how much we exercise and how healthy we can be. I always say there are 3 things we cannot change:

  1. Our Age
  2. Our Genetics
  3. What we have done in the past

Beyond that, the sky is the limit – don’t be your own worst enemy, be your biggest fan!

Weather the Storm

brings all kinds of weather. We can have it cool, warm, wet and windy. It could be a light drizzle or tornados! Today, I decided to weather the storm and run in 20 mph winds and rain. I decided I would stick with my mentality that I was trying to adopt last week the “I GET TO” mentality. So on a Sunday morning, the day I usually try to sleep past 4:45 AM, I was up at 5:30 instead to get on the road by 6:30. My sleepy friend met me and we were off. (It was storming on Saturday at 5AM or I would have gone then!)

We started out into a heavy head wind for the first 2 miles. But something about it felt really good. Really challenging and really exciting. I love when I am out running in inclement weather and I see very few other people out (I think we saw 3 others today in our hour and a half run). Now some people look at me like I am a crazy woman when they see me in this kind of weather. Others see me as dedicated. I see me as a little of both.

My friend had a harder than normal time today so I reminded him that WE GET TO RUN. I also talked about PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. As with most things we endure in life, the way we approach a situation can make or break our outcome. Running is not just about physical toughness, but mental toughness.

In the end, I made it the double digits I was aiming for (testing my injury) and was as pleased as could be! My running partner did also. Runs like today build physical and mental toughness that I can use in my day to day life!

I GET TO…..

What do you GET to do today? I read an article the other day in Runner’s World, by Kristen Armstrong talking about what she Gets to do. My friend Angela Maiers and I have had many similar conversations like this. For example

  • I get to get up at 4:15 AM
  • I get to go to work everyday
  • I get to go to my children’s ballgames
  • I get to walk the dog

I think you get the picture.

Yesterday morning, I was running with my brother-in-law. We ran from my parent’s house to my brother’s house, about 10k. My brother-in-law had never run that far. It is always great conversation! We had both been out late the night before but we

  • Got to get up at 5AM
  • Got to see the sun rise
  • Got to accomplish a new endeavor
  • Got to start our day off with fresh air and good company

When things are hard, I often think about the good things I have in my life that others may not. When I run a marathon I think about how I run the 26.2 miles for people who may never be able to run 26.2 feet.

I GET TO BE A MOM

I GET TO BE A FRIEND

I GET TO BE A DAUGHTER

I GET TO BE A SISTER

I GET TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIVES

What will you GET to do today?

Starting Over

Do you ever wish you had a do over? Or another way to look at is do you ever GET a do over? I have decided that sometimes starting over does not have to be a bad thing and that my attitude can make or break me. If you have been following me for a while you will remember that I have had an injury since my last marathon in January. During the last three months, I have been in a boot, tried anti-inflammatories, nerve meds, resting, cross-training, you name it! While my injury still lingers on (though not as bad), I have started running again. I have started over. As I was running this morning, I thought about the following benefits of starting over.

1. New Goals – I am always looking for a new goal to reach and setting my plan on how to get there. While my goals may be altered a bit for the moment, I have new goals now nonetheless.

2. Getting Old Sucks– like we didn’t all know that! I don’t heel as easily as I did when I was younger. I have to work harder to stay fit and eat less to maintain a weight I want too!

3. I’m not ready to quit – I have had people tell me that if they had an injury it would give them an excuse to stop exercising. I look at it as reason to try new exercises and challenge myself in different ways.

We all know that life does not always turn out as we expect it to and sometimes we have to start again. It is all a matter of perspective. I guess this is why I enjoy the sport of marathoning. My life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. It is not about the finish line, but all the miles along the route. I may have temporarily hit the wall, but I will reach my destination!