Lessons from a Sled Dog

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I recently traveled with my husband on a business trip to Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska has not been on my bucket list of places to travel and NO OFFENSE to any Alaskan readers. It’s just that I’m a beach and palm trees kind of girl. But since he was already going, and knowing I wouldn’t go there on my own, my husband booked my flight and away we went.

He attended a lot of meetings and sessions and I went with him to most of the evening receptions. We toured the city of Anchorage on segways one day and tried to eat at a few local eateries. One afternoon, the conference group went to the Native Alaskan Cultural Center to tour the facility, taste local delicacies, and enjoy local Native Alaskan music. The reindeer sausage and elk sliders were pretty good! The music was a mixture of tribal and contemporary. The small hut and village replicas that we entered and read about were very educational and gave us a whole new appreciate for the people of Alaska. One of the highlights is that we were able to observe a sled dog pack. There were some that were pulling wagons for tourists to ride on. There was a mom and her pups in one pen. But there was one pup who was being passed around for tourists to hold. As he was passed from happy holder to happy holder he whined to be back in the pen with his momma. And as I took my turn embracing and petting this special guy I listened in to the Musher as he talked a little bit about the dogs.

I don’t remember exactly what the question was but his response has stayed with me and immediately I knew I wanted to blog about it. I heard the Musher explain, “There is not an Alpha dog. The stronger dogs are more of the lead dogs and they help train the younger ones but the Alpha dog is the Musher. They take their orders from US”.

In all honestly, I have not studied sled dogs. I know there are several sled dog races in Alaska and I know that they are born and bred with that one goal in mind. I know that from the time they are pups they bond with the Musher and are dearly loved and, therefore, work hard for the Musher. But they also are trained to be part of a team. (I guess I know more than I thought-lol. Now I recall seeing a documentary or two). There is no ONE Alpha male dog. The Alpha male is the Musher.

You probably know where I’m going with this :) We are like the sled dogs. We are born with a purpose and dearly loved by our “Musher”. But then we are trained to be part of a team. His team. There is no ALPHA dogs other than our Alpha and Omega. There are strong leaders that the Musher allows to lead our team but they take orders from Him. Isn’t that a great picture?

The Musher of the sled dogs never actually said what happens when the dogs WON’T be part of the team. Or, maybe he did, but I just wasn’t around to hear it. I was snuggling with a puppy, after all. But I think we can surmise that if the dog was not trainable then he/she had to be replaced with one that was. And the untrainable dog would never fulfill the purpose for which it was bred.

I guess each one of us “sled dogs” should give that some thought.

Blessings!

A Good Loser

Show me a good loser.

IT’S MOJO MONDAY! And in honor of the start of Football Season I’m quoting legendary coach, Vince Lombardi.

We teach our kids to be “good losers” when they compete in sports or competitive activities. We want them to walk across the field and shake hands and offer a less than heart felt, “Good Game”, after they’ve just played their hearts out and lost. As a football mom, I have held a 220lb+ sweaty middle linebacker in my arms after his team suffered a heart breaking loss. And cried right along with him. We don’t wish the other team a loss, but we certainly play the game to WIN! We practice to win. We sweat to win. We bleed to win. We eat and sleep to win.

So what’s the point? What are your goals this week? Do you want to be a WINNER or LOSER? Are your “off the field” activities moving you closer towards your goal? Are you “practicing” with focus and discipline? Are you REALLY giving it your all or just going through the motions and calling it WORK? Are you playing to WIN?

Consider this a cyber pat on the bottom and shove back on to the field! If you’ve lost your MOJO then post this quote somewhere so you can see it OFTEN. Now, GET BACK IN THE GAME and GIVE IT YOUR ALL!

~Coach Deanna

GROW Into Your Dreams

Quote by Zeeza Gibbons

I read this quote the other day by Leeza Gibbons, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person a couple years ago. She gave a PHENOMENAL motivational talk at the Southern Women’s Show in Nashville, TN.

The question is, HOW do we grow into our dreams? Does it just happen by chance? No, it does not. Then HOW?

You INVEST time and energy in growing into your dreams. Just like investing time to work out you must invest time to grow by reading books. listening to audios, and attending events that are geared towards your dream. In the past 6 months, I have invested HOURS upon HOURS on these very things because I want to GROW into my dreams.

And, just like you must make wise nutrition choices so that you move closer toward your goals, you must make wise choices on what you spend time on so that you can GROW into your dreams. What are the biggest time wasters in your life? TV? Social Media? Don’t get mr wrong, there is a time and place for everything. Even I have to step away once in a while and give my mind a break! LOL! But I’m sure you get what I’m saying. It takes being proactive: Invest time and energy to ADD great content into your heart and mind and invest time and energy SUBTRACTING those things that don’t cause you to GROW into you dream.

About 3 years ago I could have been the poster child for , “Non Dreamers”. But one day a small spark entered my mind that said, “What if?”. Investing in PERSONAL GROWTH has completely changed my life!

Strong Women Lift Each Other Up

Gorgo Beasts Only

There is a saying that goes, “Strong women lift each other up”. No truer words were spoken. I think most of us are naturally competitive. As athletes, workers, goal setters, we compete against teams, others, and ourselves.

In this photo you see women of different age groups, strength levels, shapes, and sizes. And every one of them was cheering the next lady on to lift heavier, dig deeper, and push herself to her potential. A real SISTERHOOD began to emerge.

F5 friends. We think we are so strong and don’t need anyone else. In actuality, we NEED each other. Yes, we’ve been hurt, criticized, left out, and ignored. I get that. I have felt that, too. But when we step outside of our hurt and begin to lift each other up a beautiful thing begins to happen. When you LIFT someone else up YOU gain TRUE STRENGTH and some “sisters” along the way.

Trainer’s Tip Tuesday #2 (No, #1 isn’t on here but will be later)

Trainer’s Tip Tuesday tip #2:

LISTEN to your body! Today was day 2 back in the gym after having to take about 8 days off due to Mr. Bulging Disc making an unexpected visit. All my loads are cut in half and some I have to eliminate altogether based on what I’m doing. I’m still seeing a Physical Therapist but he said I can proceed “as tolerated”. I worked as PT tech for many years and I know the importance of following orders and not letting my pride push me farther than I should go.

But the fact is that I felt the issue coming on for a couple weeks and just ignored it. I can look back now and see how my back was warning me but, like most, pushed through it and concluded it would just, “take care of itself”. It took care of itself, alright! Mr. Disc BULGED and in almost an instant I couldn’t move.

There is a difference between LISTENING to your body and making EXCUSES. I’m NOT an excuse maker but I’m also not a good listener until the damage is done. I need to use more wisdom and swallow my pride. I was lifting more than I ever have since making lifting a huge part of my lifestyle! But now I’m back to half of that because I didn’t listen.

Listen to your body, F5 Friends! It’s worth it!

4th of July and a Smaller Gun Salute

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So far, this 4th of July has been the best ever since moving to Kentucky. Aside from Christmas, this holiday has been our long time family favorite starting when I was still in the womb. But that is a story for another day.

After the pool and before jumping in the shower, I did what probably most fitness people do. I flexed in the mirror. Expectedly, the “guns” were a bit smaller. Last Monday I arrived to the gym and planned to get in a leg work out before I taught a Pilates class. While going about my usual bending and turning to load the plates on the leg press, I felt the startling but familiar sensation of a reoccurring bulging disc BULGE! Within seconds I was locked up and by that evening barely able to walk. Prior to that, I hadn’t actually lifted since the Saturday before. So, as of today, 8 days. I knew in order to heal I would have to take the rest of the week off and immediately get in to see my Physical Therapist. 4 days later, I’m mobile and about 60-70% better. But after being up and out shopping and cooking yesterday I am definitely feeling more stiff and sore today. And I knew when I took my Flex Friday Selfie the arms I would see would be smaller.

I started off very frustrated that Monday night as I lay off and on ice packs and took Aleeve. But then, as I looked around my bedroom, I gained a little more perspective. I saw furniture that I have had since my kids were born. I was sitting in a beautiful home that we moved into a year ago. And I also saw some baby items that we would be needing soon when my grand daughter arrives in less than two weeks. I realized, no matter what shape my back was in and not matter how small my guns or other muscles may shrink to, I was blessed.

And so, with smaller guns, I salute the UNITED STATES of America on this Independence Day. I salute waking as an American and FREE. I salute the fact that I CAN show my guns on social media and not suffer and repercussions. And I salute the fact that life is a journey and sometimes there are detours that we don’t expect but we have to make the best of them.

Enjoy this day fully, F5 Friends! Happy 4th of July!

She Bakes AND She Benches!

The 4th of July is a HUGE event at my house. I’ll post write about that on the next blogpost because I’ve got some traditional pancakes and sausage to prepare.

But last night I prepared, FROM SCRATCH I might add, a fresh blueberry pie. The thought of warm blueberry pie with creamy vanilla ice cream sent my taste buds into orbit. Although, I would usually choose chocolate over anything, I HAD to make it for today. It came out PERFECT! I gotta’ admit, I’m pretty proud of myself.

As a health and fitness professional, like most, I advocate moderation. I preach clean eating 80% of the time so you can treat yourself 20% of the time and have no guilt. Life is a CELEBRATION! The fact that those of us in the United States woke up FREE is a blessing that we cannot fully comprehend unless we have immigrated from another country. And WHY do people immigrate here? OPPORTUNITY!

I LOVE my country! Many of my family have or are serving in our U.S. Military. I so appreciate, as a woman, that I have equal rights as men and that I am FREE to express myself with all my quirks, uniqueness, strengths, and weaknesses. And, although I LOVE to lift weights, drink protein smoothies post work out, sweat like a dude, and love baseball and football, I also LOVE being domestic. Baking is something I ALSO do well!

I’m proud to be an American! And GOD BLESS the USA!

A Lesson From my Checkbook

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Last Thursday I went for my two week fill on my nails. Since starting my own company I decided that my hand should look a little more professional and presentable. And not wanting to take money from the family budget, I decided to use my business account for this one indulgement. I still consider it an investment into the success of my company but I’m not so sure the I.R.S. would see it that way.

As my nails were drying I retrieved my business debit card to pay the $20. The sweet nail tech came back and informed that there was not enough money in my account. WAIT! WHAT? I pulled out the ledger and by calculations I had over $70 in that account. Not much, I know, but surely enough to pay for nails! She showed me the print out that said I only had $18.17. COME ON! I produced the “family” credit card to pay for my nails and was determined to get to the bottom of this by making my first stop the bank. To my dismay, but to no huge surprise, they confirmed the balance and gave me a print out so I could go back and calculate my error.

Let me just share that I am NOT good at math. I was a straight A student in school except for math class. My husband has been doing our finances for more than 28 years. He gives me a weekly budget and I’m pretty good at staying within that budget. But if the finances were left up to me I am sure that by now we would I would have destroyed our credit and we’d be living in a cardboard box due to my lack of math skills. But when I started my company my husband put me in charge of keeping track of my own budget which I was happy to do and just KNEW I would be able to balance the smaller amounts I am currently making each week. Uhhhh, nope.

I had to wait a few days to pour over the printed record and compare it to my checking ledger due to the HUGE baby shower I threw my daughter over the weekend. But as I sat down yesterday to review the error the evidence was clear. I hadn’t written down and deducted several small items I had purchased. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, I’ll write that down when…”.
Have you ever done that? Anyway, I have the ledger balanced now and am committed to making sure I write down and deduct my expenses IMMEDIATELY! But, crazy as it sounds, I thought of a great analogy to this whole story. It’s called FOOD JOURNALING.

As a personal trainer and health and fitness professional for over 17 years, I have learned that the best way to keep track of what you put in, or don’t put in your mouth, is to journal everything you eat and drink. Thanks to technology, there are several phone apps that make this easy to do anywhere you go. But the biggest hindrance to the success of anyone wanting to lose weight and/or gain muscle is that they don’t keep a current record of what they deposit or what they subtract from their diet. And when they don’t they wonder why things don’t add up in the end and why they aren’t seeing the progress they expected.

Like me and my checkbook, sometimes you have to sit down and review the facts. You have to see your mistakes and make a new commitment to WRITE IT DOWN. It’s okay. We all make mistakes. Just make your corrections an move on towards keeping yourself MORE accountable. Then you will see the numbers you want!

The Bigger Picture

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Yesterday I attended a day conference here in my town of Bowing Green, Ky. It was attended by fellow Independent Distributors of Zija International. We were educated by our Director of North American Sales and our Research Scientist. We were taught by one of the TOP leaders in the Network Marketing Industry. We were encouraged by several in our company that have had tremendous success. We were inspired by a former NCAA and NBA champion whose story of his childhood would make you weep. And then we were blown away by our Keynote speaker, co-founder and Publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, Darren Hardy. I am still trying to process all the valuable information and will be pouring over my notes in a bit. But I was reminded, while sitting in church this morning, of an earlier occurrence in the day that was only known to me and the other person, but no less significant for either of us.

I had volunteered to help out with the morning’s registration. Because we were using phone technology to check people in I asked to be put some place else because my outdated phone is so dern slow. I was paired up with another woman who was a bit older than me. We worked a different registration table that did’t require technology. She was new to me so we chit chatted and got to know one another. She had a cancer survivor story that was truly remarkable. We then began talking about our business and relationships. Out of respect for others, I won’t go into great detail, but she felt very discouraged. Even on her way to the event she was wondering if she should continue in her business. Not because her business wasn’t going well. But because she felt over looked, unimportant to those in line above her, and neglected. Now, I don’t know the entire story. In no way am I judging those on her team. I’m just saying how she felt that morning.

I can relate to not feeling important or over looked. I can relate to not being “the favorite”. I shared with her that I understood. But then I encouraged her to remember her WHY. WHY she had started her business to begin with. I also encouraged her not worry about all that other stuff or let that be a distraction to her. Since she was a strong woman, I told her she should push forward toward her goals. We then got busy with happy conference attendees and had little time to talk. But at the end of the day, she made a point to find and talk to me. With tears in her eyes thanked me for encouraging her. We hugged, I gave her one of my business cards so we could connect and we have done so.

Yes, I was there to be encouraged, inspired, motivated, educated, and taught. I want to grow personally and financially. However, as I was reminded today, there is always a bigger picture. There are always people around us that are hurting, discouraged, and feeling overlooked. If we don’t take the time to look around, even when we are there for our own self growth, then what value does all that knowledge have in the end? As the saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care”.

I THANK GOD for allowing me the chance to hang out with this precious lady as the beginning of my day and for reminding of the lesson: There is ALWAYS a bigger picture.

Best Day Everrr!

Did I ever mention my son played football? It’s difficult to write that in the past tense.

My son played youth league, then middle school, then high school, then college football. He just finished his college career this past November, 2013. The memories, the stories, the laughter, the tears, the LIFE that was experienced during that time is more than I can write. We lived it, slept it, ate it, and breathed it. Vacations weren’t taken, money was tight, and hours upon countless hours were spent at football fields, doing laundry, and doing it all again. You’ll think I’m weird, but football moms will get this, my favorite smell in the whole world is stinky-boy-football sweat. The very last time I washed his uniform I cried because I was going to miss it so much. And now, as a football mom in mourning over the end of her son’s career, I was JACKED OUT OF MY MIND to be able to attend the Women’s Football Clinic hosted by our local university, Western Kentucky.

As a former college athlete, and now fitness instructor, personal trainer, and nutrition advocate, I am probably at my healthiest and strongest. Much more than I was as a young athlete. I wish I was in this kind of shape when I played college softball. I would have been unstoppable. And when my son started playing football 12 years ago I fell in love with the game and was the freaky football mom painting up for games and screaming at the refs. I sent my son “pep talk” texts in a football language. I’m sure you get my meaning. And I’m not ashamed. It’s a culture. It’s a way of life. It gets in your blood and never leaves.

Today, as I sat in the room with about 50 other female football enthusiasts it was a little bit of heaven. As the head coach, defensive and offensive coordinators, and position coaches showed us very simple basics I was absolutely enraptured. As the recruiting coach explained the criteria they look for in players and even as two College Officials explained some basic rules and calls I was mesmerized. But when the ladies got to tour the weight room, locker room, and put on jerseys I thought I was hyperventilate. I looked for a jersey with my son’s number, number 48, but there was none. So I only did the most logical thing, chose number 1. And then…the head coach, Jeff Brohm, gave us a pregame pep talk. Oh-my-gosh. Please don’t wake me up!

Us ladies took the field, formed groups, and went station to station as we put to practice the skills they were teaching. And then we ran some plays. At one point, I looked up in the stands to find the seats my husband and I would normally sit in when we were able to make a game. I thought of my son a lot as we took a knee on the hot field and as we went through drills that I’m sure he had done at one point in time or another. And I thought of the conversation we had, or didn’t have, two days ago when we went to a movie together.

As usual, there were 30 minutes of trailers before the start of the show. They previewed a new football movie coming out about a high school team. I knew there was a pit in my stomach and knew there had to be one in his, too. I turned and quietly asked him if it is still as hard missing it. He didn’t want to talk about it. I got my answer.

We finished our clinic with an obstacle course and received a shirt. I ended my day catching a ginormous pass from the ball machine and ran it back in the end zone. I grabbed my bag, water, and smiled the whole way to my car. I immediately began posting pics on social media. I stopped for a healthy sandwich and then had a mani/pedi. Now I’m sitting in the back yard typing and smiling. Honestly, it has been the BEST DAY EVERRR!

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