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ELIZABETHDS's Recent Blog Entries

Gluten-free Cranberry Pear Loaf Cake

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

I cooked something delicious! tinyfitnesshouston.com/2014/10/06/mi
These little cakes are under 300 calories each if you make them as described and they are so, so tasty. Mine came out like fluffy pound cakes...and it was hard to save some for my students to sample in class yesterday.

I don't always remember to post my recipes and stuff on Spark (between twitter, instagram, vine, etc, I feel like I need to hire an assistant! lol! I'm trying!), but I do try to post them on facebook (facebook.com/tinyfitness).

This weekend I'll be going to NY to teach a little Zumba and have a day or so of vacation time before I jump back into training full time. I'm so proud of all my clients and how hard they're working toward their year-end goals!

This month I'm challenging them to work on their motivation - as we all probably know here, it can be hard to continue the journey day in and day out. During those days (...or months) when it seems like the scale isn't moving and nothing is changing, motivation can be the glue that keeps things together. I remember giving up and "starting over" plenty of times before I tapped into my real motivation :)

Their first challenge was to list 10 reasons that they keep pursuing their health and fitness goals. Next they will have to make motivational vision boards, either in real, tangible form or on Pinterest. I can't wait to see what they come up with! I'm working on my example Pinterest board tonight...I also shared my own real top 10 reasons that I stay active and healthy, and I know they were glad to see that it's normal to have reasons like "jean size" alongside the pageant-winning answers like "live my best life" and "push my boundaries".

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COOKINGSTARS 10/7/2014 5:53PM


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Free personal training?

Saturday, October 04, 2014

I will finally have time to be more active on Spark again because I am now fully self-employed! I'm so excited to take my studio to the next level.

Today I filled in for a friend of mine at an "Afro-Latin" cardio class - I've never seen what she does with the class exactly, but she keeps telling me "Zumba" while her students keep telling me that my classes are VERY different from hers haha. The first time I did a regular Zumba fitness class, the second time I kept to more traditional latin rhythms (salsa, merengue, a little break for some island-style soca...), and today I brought in a lot of dancehall and popular African music. (I was fortunate to study some contemporary African dance this summer with a talented choreographer, so I didn't have to fake it too much.) Everyone had fun and broke a sweat, so I'm satisfied.

As for the subject of this blog post...to celebrate my freedom, I'm offering free personal training mini-sessions at my studio. (Call me crazy.) I blogged about it on my other site (tinyfitnesshouston.com/blog) and in the past 48 hours the response has been great! I remember how much I wanted to work with a personal trainer for *decades* but I was scared that it would be intimidating, hard, and expensive. I'm glad I get to bust some of those myths now that I'm certified :)

I'm curious...what questions do YOU have about personal training? Would you ever try it? Happy Saturday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEE1221 10/4/2014 7:50PM

    WOW!! That is wonderful!! I wish I lived in Houston. I tried zumba! I loved the music and tried to not look too much like a crazed, out of step, non-dancer lunatic! My ankles on the other hand did not enjoy the lateral moves and had the final say. They had me limping for days.

Keep up the great work! Good luck with your new career!!

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Three year Sparkaversary

Friday, August 08, 2014

I actually missed my sparkaversary by almost a month! I noticed on my birthday that it had passed, but since I don't like posting to my spark blog from my office (and I don't have a lot of free time at home anymore), I've found it hard to keep up with blogging :(

But! What a third year this has been! I...

...gained and lost and gained and lost the same 10 pounds from stress
...can see my abs all the time, no flexing or trick angles needed
...got certified as a personal trainer and opened my own Zumba mini-studio
...became part of an internationally recognized dance performance group (what?!!) and took many steps toward my dream of becoming a pro/semi-pro dancer
...have never been happier. Deeply, authentically, grounded-ly happy.

If I look back to when I started on Spark, I never would have believed that my life could look like it looks now.

I never would have believed that *I* could look like I look now....

I have my bad days...I have my accidental run-ins with gluten and the subsequent bloating that endures for weeks and makes me doubt my progress. I don't do everything right. We had jell-o shots at my birthday party, and during a recent very hard week of grieving I lived off of bananas and breakfast cereal. I don't skip workouts, but sometimes I probably should. Some weeks I definitely overtrain because I teach extra classes, have extra rehearsals, take extra classes, work out alongside my clients to keep the motivated....

I've gotten rid of so many things that didn't serve me. People, beliefs, objects, habits...this was definitely the year of the well-used dumpster!

I am so grateful that everything finally clicked for me. I am so grateful for the motivation and encouragement that this community provides me with, because without it I would not be where I am now. I'm far from done, but I've come a long way.

I continue to work on leaning out a bit more as time goes on, on tweaking my eating habits to make it easier to eat nourishing foods on a tight schedule, on keeping up my good emotional habits. But it doesn't feel like work anymore - it feels like life.

My last two sparkaversaries:


Thank you, thank you, thank you Sparkfriends for sharing your love and light with me. Here's to another year!

PS - I am going to the ZIN convention next weekend! Are any of you going? I would love to meet you!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMPROSKE1 8/9/2014 11:34AM

    I've missed you! So glad everything is going so well. You deserve it girl.

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144AUTUMN 8/8/2014 9:49PM

  Keep up the good work!!

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Some Recent Lessons...

Friday, May 23, 2014

...just to remind you that even if you become a fitness professional, you will still be on the ever-improving track, not the laurels-resting track.

1. Peanut butter is not my friend.
I can't control its portions at all. I have never been anything like a binge eater in my life, but peanut butter's siren song is irresistible and half the jar disappears in two days. So, peanut butter is back off the grocery list.

2. 30 Day Shred workouts (and Ripped in 30) are still fun.
I have been doing these quick workouts as add-ons to my own training at home, or combining them with other videos to get the balance of workout that I need, and they are just timeless, great workouts. I love you, Jillian! If you've never tried these workouts, they are worth a gander. Quick, efficient, challenging.

3. Setbacks still lead to complacency...or secretly giving up.
My body did *not* like one of the low-low-carb plans that I followed for a few weeks when I was doing my carb cycling experiments, and it made me pay for almost a month. Hormones were all over the place, I was cranky and suddenly gaining weight, and I thought I was basically done for. So, I gave up! I got my "fat pants" out of the storage closet and settled in, thinking I was unable to fight the tide. My body worked things out, however, and I am glad to say that my abs are back and I was able to wear my little cropped top out dancing last night without fear of ...spillage. The lesson there is not that I do, in fact, have some nice abs. It's that I am still human, still vulnerable to discouragement, and still in need of the motivation tools that I used to keep myself going on my weight loss journey because they are still motivating to me!

4. Walking the dog is not optional! (Not a euphemism.)
Back when it was "winter" here, I got in a habit of letting the dog into the yard instead of walking him. He was cold, I was cold, it was late and dark and he couldn't wear his sweater for a walk without making a mess every time, so it seemed like the thing to do. Now, of course, it's May and I have forced myself to make his walks a habit again. Even 10 minutes makes both of us much more happy and calm. Good habits are good to have.

5. Stress is pretty lame.
I have hit a sudden productivity stride. Curtains are sewn and hung (after 10 months...). Landscaping is happening outside as I type this. Unneeded things have been posted on Craigslist. My office at work is clean and organized. My workouts are tougher than they've been since last winter. Coffee? Drugs? No, just a lack of stress. I finally shrugged off the remnants of last year's life hurricane and I feel much more energetic and clear, which means that I have an extra 2 hours in my day back since I don't have to fret over every little thing to the point of exhaustion. (I feel so calm, in fact, that it stresses me out! Surely I must be forgetting to worry about something! My brain is so useless sometimes.) This is a fitness tip in disguise, because the less stress you have, the harder you can work and the more you can focus. Less stress = more results!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEB62BIE62 5/23/2014 7:51PM

    Thanks for sharing. It's good to know that others struggle.

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    Peanut butter is off my list, too. I think I'm mildly allergic--not the dangerous type of food allergy, but the type that can sometimes cause cravings.

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KNEEMAKER 5/23/2014 4:21PM


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Changing Trainers

Thursday, May 01, 2014

I have been with my current trainer for a loooong time. He has been training me for almost 2 years on TRX, and he was one of my Zumba instructors even before that.

And I have changed a lot in the past few years.

Recently, I had been wondering if I'd outgrown my trainer. My results plateaued for about half of 2013, and I was only able to jump-start them this year by adding extra workouts to my week on my own. One of my goals last year was finally to do a pull-up, and we talked about it several times but the training never went in that direction. A few weeks ago, he said to me "Gosh, isn't it time you worked toward a pull-up?" Yeah...that's what I thought to myself last year! The only reason I can't do one is because I don't specifically train for them, so...looking at you, trainer.

But, we were friends (I think?!) and I was very loyal to him because of the changes he had helped me make. My best friend was also in the equation since she has been working out with me all this time, and I didn't want to change things for her.

However, my trainer's studio recently changed the schedule and abruptly cancelled our workout sessions without even notifying us.

After years of (pricey!!) workouts, that was the sad but final straw for me.

I was devastated by the way the change was announced. How could someone I had trusted so long as part of my team not even take the time to call or text me? We had *such* a bond because I had to have some serious trust to take the risks that he wanted me to take with his TRX moves...and I am not always the most trusting/least fearful person. I could spend quite a bit of time going on about how bad I felt; in sum, I felt like someone had died, that same cold certainty that something is gone and will never be back.

I definitely took some lessons from this that I will always remember in my own training business. I am not sure how I could ever forget to put my clients first since they are the lifeblood of my studio, but I will always make sure to take the very best care of them that I can. And, when it is time for my clients to move on from working with me, I will make that easy on them and leave the door open for friendship.

I'm still grieving, but I'm also looking forward to trying something new and finding a trainer who will mesh with me. Since I'm also a trainer, and since I'm in real danger of overtraining with the full load of Zumba classes I'm teaching right now (9 per week?! I love my job!), I am planning to "date" several trainers and see which one can really help me reach my goals.

Don't get me wrong - I can train myself, and that might be the answer for a few weeks. I like working out with my friend, though, and we would both like to keep that part of our week. We can't work out together if I am training her (since I would have to pay attention to her and her workout), so we need a third party on board. And a little extra support is always nice to have!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GETUP-N-GOGIRL 5/1/2014 11:36PM

    Hi Elizabeth. I think it was very smart of you to write out your feelings. There's something about articulating an important experience in our life that helps process our emotions. I just visited your Spark page and you asked for others' input on home workouts. How about Kelly Coffey-Meyer? I know this isn't clickable on here, but check out her page at www.coffeyfit.com.
. . . s u s y . . .

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