Give Hope

Bridgette Messed Up hair muscle shot                                                                                                                                                One of the best gifts I ever received was hope. I had reached a very dark place in my life and was very dissatisfied with myself to put it mildly. After having 3 children, I was not in the best of shape. This led me to turning down the lights at night before any intimate time could be achieved. I considered myself to be too ugly to be beholden in the daylight.

As I look back over this, I know part of it was foolish. My husband didn’t really care how I looked and always made me feel beautiful. I, too, should not have been so focused on my body, but I was. I was the source of my own insecurity. I knew something had to change.

I began to take baby steps. After several attempts at various workouts, I stumbled upon the Tracy Anderson Method. Her method was fresh, innovative and unique. I tried it and enjoyed it. And it wasn’t just the workout that I enjoyed. I enjoyed her. I enjoyed the fact that she told me I could do it. She told me I could change. She told me to stick with it.

And I believed her. She made me believe I could do it. She gave me hope. Hope was exactly what I needed. I needed it more than I needed the workout regime. It was an intangible gift that grew and translated into tangible long lasting, ever fruitful results. Hope was my spring. It was my new beginning.

Now I fervently believe in giving hope. I love to give hope to others through the mechanism of physical fitness. I want people to believe that they can go from being weak to being strong. And they can. Many people do not realize that being healthy and strong translates to every aspect of their lives. Because of hope I began to workout, which then led me to being more bold in the bedroom and to being more bold in general. I now feel good in my body, good in my mind, and good in my spirit. It isn’t about a perfect body, it is about strength and confidence. I believe hope is a conduit for change.

With all my heart,

Bridgette

 

Putting Myself Out There

Bridgette's HeadshotAs many of you know I have made many life changes over the past few years. I went from sedentary stay-at-home home schooling momma to fitness freak. When the fitness bug struck, this got me off the couch, but not out of the house. Then my husband decides he wants to make a major life change so we find ourselves in the Denver area while he pursues his Master’s Degree. I support him 100%. This however, is a costly endeavor.

When the bills started piling up I thought it would be a good time to become a group fitness instructor. I was already leading a workout group for well over two years, so it just made sense that I should get paid for something I absolutely loved doing. After a few months of study, I secured my certification. I then went on to get certified in High Intensity Kettlebell Fitness. In the world of working out, I soon realized that having a specialty was a must. Now I am on the job hunt.

Since I have lived in my safe stay at home mommy cocoon for such a long time now, going out into the real world actually feels kind of strange sometimes. It’s like  I have to learn how to navigate all over again. I have to learn how to sell myself and my skills. I have to believe in myself enough to persuade others to believe in me as well. This takes confidence and courage. I really hate putting myself out there so much, but it has to be done. I really do have to believe in myself because if I don’t, how can I expect to have others believe in me?

So if you have a worthy endeavor, go for it. Put yourself out there. :)

With all my heart,

Bridgette

 

2nd Week-30 Day Kettlebell Challenge Workout

Dear Friends,

BR_kkp_51I hope you enjoyed the first week of the 30 Day Kettlebell Challenge. You should be a master at the swing by now.

I know some of you are just beginning the first week, and that is just fine. It doesn’t matter when you start it, it just matters that you finish strong.

In this weeks workout, you will do 4 new moves. Please watch the instructional video before commencing with the workout. I would like for you to practice the moves for a few minutes just to get your body familiar with the movements.

Here is another video teaching the Clean by Mike Stefano of KBNY gym in New York. He is my coach and he explains the Clean incredibly well. Please watch it as well to get a thorough understanding of this complex move.

I have included the swing in this workout as well. Since you have been performing this move already for 7 days now, try and use a heavier weight on the swing this time. If you try it, and you still don’t feel ready for a heavier weight, then go back to your lighter one.

You may also be able to use a heavier weight on the push press and on the double hand swings. When you do the push press, you are using your lower body, so a heavier weight may work nicely for you and add a bit of a challenge. But again, only move up in weight when you are ready for it. If the weight you are using feels really easy, then it is time to go heavier. Challenge yourself, but don’t hurt yourself.

And remember, I am using a 17lb. kettlebell in my workout, so I may do less reps than you. If you are using a much lighter bell, you will most likely do more reps. You don’t need to match me rep for rep. It is possible you will do more or less depending on the weight of your bell.

Also, I have made these sets a bit longer this week. Longer sets are great for weight loss. :)

Enjoy your workout!

Bridgette

 

How to Take Your Measurements for Weight Loss

Blue Tape MeasureFor those of you wanting to track your weight loss, it is important that you take your measurements. This way you can monitor your progress either daily or weekly. You will need a friend or a spouse to help you with this. You will also need a measuring tape. You can either do this naked :)- or wear tight workout clothes.

1)  Measure the biceps first. Flex your muscle and measure around the tallest point of your bicep. If you don’t have a tallest point, then measure the distance between your elbow and your shoulder and then measure at the point that is exactly in the middle.

2) Measure the chest. You want to run the tape measure around your nipples, or nibbles as my youngest son used to say. I kind of like nibbles. :)

3) Now measure your waist. Go around your belly button and make sure to include your love handles. And why are they called “love” handles? Most people don’t find their love handles lovely at all.

4) Next measure your hips. Go around the biggest part of your bottom. Stand up straight and make sure your legs and feet are together when you take this measurement.

5) If you are Irish, you will measure your “ties” next. If you are American, you will measure your thighs. To make sure you measure in the exact same place every time, measure from the top of your inseam down to your knee, and then take the measurement halfway between those two points. Make sure you stand with your feet shoulder width apart and that your feet are firmly planted on the ground when you take this measurement. Measure around both thighs.

6) The calves are next. Make sure your feet are firmly planted and that your weight is evenly distributed. Measure around the widest part of your calf.

7) Don’t forget to write this all down.

Now you can track your progress. Once you start to see changes in your body, it will encourage you to work even harder and to make wiser eating choices. Positive results are incredibly motivating.

Wishing you success.

Bridgette

 

30 Day Kettlebell Challenge

pinkkettlebellIn celebration of my new High Intensity Kettlebell Fitness Certification, I am hosting a 30 Day Kettlebell Challenge. Everyone is welcome to participate. Here are the rules:

1) Take a before picture. You do not have to show your abs,  booty or face. I don’t show my abs in pictures as I am not comfortable doing that. :) However, if you want to show your abs, please feel free to do so. I will choose several before and after pics to include on my website. You may be one of the lucky ones whose pics go up on my website. If you don’t want to do pictures, you may still participate in the challenge. I would like to know your results at the end of the 30 days though, as that is the whole point of the challenge.

2) Take your measurements and record them. Chest, Arms, Hips, Thighs, Waist.

3) Weigh yourself. Record your weight.

4) Watch the Kettlebell Disclaimer Video on youtube.

5) Watch How to Find the Right Kettlebell.–I encourage women to start with 10 or 15lbs. Men can start with 15 to 20lbs. Try not to use bells lighter than 10lbs. if you can help it.

6) Watch Kettlebell Instructional Video.

7) Practice the moves.

8) Proceed with Workout. Kettlebell 30 Day Challenge Week 1

9) I included a warm up video and a cool down video if you need them.

10) At the end of the 30 days measure yourself again, weigh yourself again, and take an after picture to send to me along with your end results.

11) Remember diet is important too. You can ruin all your hard work with eating too much or by eating the wrong foods. If you want to lose weight during this challenge, eat wisely and cleanly and pay attention to your caloric intake. I am not a nutritionist, so I am not going to tell you what or what not to eat, but use your noggin and make wise choices during this challenge. You will burn around 300 kcal during each of these workouts.

Please feel free to email me during this challenge. My email is bridgetteralph@sbcglobal.net. I would love to hear your feedback or answer any questions you may have. And remember this is your workout. Only do as much of each workout as you are able to do, until you are able to complete the whole thing.

Happy Swinging!

Bridgette

 

jukeboxcardio update

Dear Readers,

I am sorry for abandoning you for so long. My life has been topsy turvy these past couple of months. In January, my father passed away and that included travel and time away and lots of emotion. Then when I came back home, I became sick with the flu, which then transitioned into the never ending cold. I am finally on antibiotics after trying a few home remedies. I think the chemical compounds are working their magic because my snot is now clear for the first time in a month. Maybe I should spare you the gross details.

I am also updating my blog. I have a wonderful web developer who I am working with and hopefully soon we will roll out the new design and content. It will finally become what I always wanted it to be.

I am still trying to become gainfully employed as a group fitness instructor and trying to find my niche. I think my niche is kettlebells. In case you are wondering, kettlebells are iron cannon balls with handles. Are you intrigued?

My kiddos are thriving and still driving me bonkers, and I am driving them bonkers too. My youngest is learning the violin and he really loves it. It took him a while to realize the benefits of practicing. He would throw huge fits which involved writhing on the floor in hysterics. I have learned that bribing him with candy is a good way to get him to practice. He only gets the candy though if he masters a skill.

My daughter is in choir this semester and she really enjoys singing. I think she may be a soprano. She has a soft and smokey voice. She is also on the wall of fame at school for being such an outstanding student. I am so proud of her.

Liam is making amazing progress on the saxophone and he really enjoys it. When he started playing, I thought I would die. I’m not a huge fan of the instrument. If you aren’t Coltrane, then don’t play. He is musically very gifted and I can see him getting to Coltrane’s level one day. I’m an optimistic mother.

My husband is finishing up one of the biggest assignments given at Denver Seminary, known as the James paper. You have to write this paper in your fourth semester of Greek. It involves lots of grammar, diagramming, theology, etc. etc. He also has to present the paper and preach a sermon on the James passage that he was assigned. It is due next week. He will be very relieved when he turns it in.

As far as working out goes, I am using kettlebells now. Tracy is still my first love, but I must move on. Kettlebells provide a cardio and resistance workout all in one. I love them. I have seen changes in my body after just one week. I put on a pair of size 4 pants yesterday and they fit nicely. I’m not trying to be a 4, it just happened. I think it was the kettlebells.

Please leave me your thoughts and comments as I would love to know what you are thinking. And subscribe too. I would love to have more subscribers.

With all my heart,

Bridgette

So What’s Next?

Bridgette and Tracy ballIt has been a month since the last time I blogged. I am so sorry. I was busy working for my friend and I was finishing up my personal studies to be an ACE certified group fitness instructor. I am happy to say that I passed my test last Friday. Whew!! It was hard, but it was worth it. So what’s next?

For starters, I want and need to get a job. I am going tomorrow to a gym downtown on 16th street called DumbBells. I love the name of the gym. It looks like a very comfortable place to work without a bunch of posers. The trainers and the clients all look pretty normal which is a good thing. I don’t think I would be comfortable working in a place where the people looked perfect. I called them this morning and they are hiring new group fitness instructors for the new year. I am super excited! I am going to get a free pass for the day and see how the place feels. If I can see myself working there, then I will put in an application. It is so exciting to know that now I can get paid for doing something I am so passionate about.

I am still faithful to the Tracy Anderson Method and always will be. Even if I teach spinning, pilates or HIIT, I will still do Tracy. It would be amazing if I could work for her one day. But alas, she does not have any gyms in the Denver area.

One of my readers also expressed an interest in reading exercise related material. As I shared before, my blog will continue to become more fitness oriented and less mommy focused. However, I won’t abandon you mommies, as I’m sure I will still have much to share on that front.

The kids are still enjoying public school. They were put on lockdown last week when the shooting happened at Arapahoe High School. It’s a bit scary sending your children into such a dangerous and unpredictable world. This incident has made my husband wonder if we should home school again. I told him I would do whatever. But until then, I am moving ahead.

With all my heart,

Bridgette

PS: If there is something specific about exercise or diet that you would like to know, please leave a comment or question below.

Sign up for FREE Book Giveaway!

Journey to the MangerMy dear friend and pastor, Jean McLachlan Hess,  just published her book, Journey to the Manger with St. Patrick & Friends, A Six-Week Celtic Advent Devotional. I read this book in one sitting, although it is meant to be read one devotion at a time, one day at a time. I am reading it that way now, but I just couldn’t put the book down. Every devotion was filled with wonderful truths and stories and tears stayed ready to spring at any given moment. This book is a wonderful way to experience the Celtic Advent season in a very profound and meaningful way. Don’t let the Christmas season rush you about. Slow down and experience the manger with many saints, sinners and storytellers. You won’t be disappointed. Scroll down now to the bottom right of this page and click on the link to enter the giveaway to win Jean’s amazing book. It will change your life.

With all my heart,

Bridgette

Jesus, the Devil, and the All Seeing Eye

window-191077_150I have recently realized that the phrase “separation of church and state” really means separation of Christianity and the state, and state run institutions. In my daughter’s class, she learned about the all seeing eye from the Hindu religion. The all seeing eye also has origins in the occult. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to her learning about another religion, or even about the existence of the occult. In fact, I am for it. I think that it is only when we know what we believe and what other’s believe, that we can truly defend our own beliefs. If your belief system is sound, then you have nothing to fear from the knowledge of other religions. I don’t want to live in a world in which I close my ears to all other belief systems. I don’t have to embrace them as my own, but I do need to learn about them. Because if I really believe in truth, then I must make sure what I believe is true. The only way to do this is to study not only your own religion, but the religion of others, and see if yours stands up to reason, logic, historical facts, archeological evidence, eye witness accounts, and etc. A fancy word for this is apologetics. So, with that said, I don’t have a problem with her learning about it, I just have a problem with the fact that I am sure she would never be allowed to do a presentation in front of her class on Jesus. But a presentation on the all seeing eye is deemed acceptable. Where is the separation of church and state here? The last time I checked Hinduism is in fact a religion, and the occult functions like a religion as well.

Now on to the devil. How does he come into play here? Well, my son was being traumatized by a website that several kids were going on at school. It is called scaryforkids.com.  When I went onto this site, it was certainly scary for kids. There were evil horrific pictures on it and links to movies such as The Exorcist, Halloween, and The Amityville Horror. The kids couldn’t link to the films themselves, but they could read about them and also read hundreds of other terrifying stories of murder and possession on this website. In defense of the school, they did not know kids were going on it until I pointed it out. However, they did not strictly forbid the kids from going back on it, they just strongly suggested the kids make better choices. Honestly, I did want a stronger response from the school; as in we will block this site completely. So even though murders and unspeakable evils happen everyday in our world, the devil is treated like a plaything or like an innocuous being. Has his existence been completely erased? People may not realize it, but he leads his own religion too. It is very covert and he is definitely not separated from the state.

And that’s all I have for today folks.

With all my heart,

Bridgette

 

 

Do It Afraid!

This week I am in snowy Breckenridge drinking in peace and relaxation with my good friend and pastor, Jean Hess. I am reading, studying, eating, and just simply being. It is wonderful. We also have a little fox that we see every day and he is a source of much joy.

Since I have been here, I decided to take two of my practice tests for my Group Fitness Certification. I was really nervous to take them, b/c I was afraid I would fail them. But, I knew that if I took them, it would show me where I needed to focus the rest of my studies before taking the real exam next month.

I took the first exam and I failed it. I got 42 answers correct out of 60. Not too bad, but not good enough. I then studied all of the questions on the exam, retook the exam, and passed it 100%. Then I took the second exam. This one I passed on the first go. Whew! Now, I didn’t feel like a complete idiot. My biggest worry now is taking THE exam. What happens if I fail? I have told myself that I will tell no one about when I am going to take the exam so that if I do fail, then I don’t have to tell anyone. This is pride right? Why am I so afraid to fail? I have put in a lot of study and plan to put in a couple of weeks more before I go and take this giant exam. I am nervous and afraid. I am afraid that if I fail it you will all think I am a big dummy. I will think I am a big dummy too.

My other fear is that even if I do pass the test, that when I am leading classes and people come up and ask me a question, I still won’t know what I am talking about. Will I automatically remember all the muscles and what they do and everything else that I am supposed to know? I don’t know. Fear is such an ugly thing. I have struggled with it for a very long time. However, I won’t let fear stop me. I will pass this test even if it takes me more than one try. Hopefully, it won’t though. I plan on being very prepared for it.

If you are afraid of failing, that’s okay.  Whatever it is you want to do, do it afraid. That is what I’m doing. I’m doing it afraid.

With all my heart,

Bridgette