Fears & Physical Transformation: Sharing My Struggle


Can I be vulnerable with you?

As much as I like to cheer others onto succeed at their goals and overcome fears,  I find that quite often, I am just as afraid of success as those I’m cheering on. I didn’t think I was, and in fact never understood being afraid of success.  It seemed absurd to me – who fears being great at something?

Well, apparently I do. Oops.

Fear of Success

See, to be great at something requires work. Hard work. And hard work is not typically something I want to pursue. I’d rather keep life fun and easy.

Yes, I’ve put in a lot of hard work to change my physical body, and I’ve seen it pay off, so I didn’t think I feared hard work or success. However,  that’s just one area of my life. (And to be honest, I don’t feel I’ve really succeeded yet).

Now I’m at a place where I’m trying to build a personal training business and brand out of me, which requires the use of a website, blog, videos, photos, and self-promotion – in other words, lots of attention focused on me. If I succeed, people will look at me. I’ll be held accountable to doing things well. female personal trainer

I’ll have to admit that I’m not immediately great at everything, and struggle for excellence. To build a great brand, I have to lay all of me on the line. Truthfully, I’ve discovered I’d rather just hide behind decent work, make excuses for why I’m not excellent, and maintain a mediocre business and level of success that doesn’t  hold me to higher standards.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

Building this business, where I encourage others to look deep within themselves to the real fears, insecurities, and reasons behind lack of progress, has forced me to do the same. After all, I can’t teach what I haven’t learned, right?

What did I discover? That I like to appear strong on the outside, because it hides the inside that often feels weak. That sometimes, the hard work is more for the approval of others than for myself. Yep, I just admitted that.

What else have I discovered?

Outer Transformation Does Not Transform the Inside

That unfortunately, physical transformation can’t transform the inside. Outward strength doesn’t make me strong inside. Controlling what I eat doesn’t bring control or freedom to my life.

Many of you have told me your struggles, so I know I’m not alone in this.  Some of you struggle with under-eating to find a sense of control, or overeating to find comfort. Others try to protect yourselves with extra weight, hiding your beauty with a less-than-ideal figure to prevent being sexualized. And some stay just slightly overweight because you’re comfortable with mediocrity and fear failure.

We can search all day on Google and YouTube for “lose weight fast” tips and “get a bikini body” programs, but if our weight is an emotional and spiritual issue, quick tips aren’t going to do us any good.

No matter how physically fit I look, God and I still know that there are poor choices I make, ways I settle, and weaknesses in my mind and spirit that keep me from truly being my best. If our weight is an EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL issue, -quick tips- aren't going to do us any good.

In the process of starting my own training business, God has been calling me out and forcing me to look at my fears. Like a scary movie, I don’t want to look, but as I slowly peek through my fingers covering my eyes, God brings healing to insecurities through his love.

He’s breaking strongholds, and teaching me that as I let him transform my insides, the physical transformation comes much easier, and it’s just the cherry on top.

You Are Unique – Find What Works For YOU!


Are you going low-carb because someone else said it’s the most effective way to lose weight? Are you using Twitter to increase business because it worked for a friend? Are you serving in children’s ministry at church because it seems like the kind thing to do?

If those choices are proving to be effective and bringing you life, then great! But what if they’re not? What if you’re lacking passion, feel out of place, or not getting results?

One of the most freeing realizations I’ve had in life is that there is no one “magic” way to achieve success.

one way sign

No “Magic Bullet”

After years of seeking “the best way”, or the “one solution” that would skyrocket a business, launch a non-profit into financial stability, please God, develop creativity, or attain the perfect physique, I realized that there truly is no magic bullet for anything.

Every person and every circumstance is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

I just finished reading a blog by one of my favorite authors, Todd Henry, which speaks to this. He ends with this quote: “Two places people get stuck: emulating others, or emulating (a past form of) themselves.”

It’s true, and it’s exhausting. Many entrepreneurs and sales people make money by convincing us that their way is THE way. And many of us are convinced that what worked for us in the past will always work. But neither is a guarantee, and often doesn’t work at all.

Instead, you can find freedom in the fact that you are different, and another person’s solution may not work for you. What someone else does may help motivate and inspire you, and deliver some initial results, but eventually it needs your unique spin.

A Change Will Do You Good

When it comes to fitness, this is just as true. So many people watch videos and copy exercises, follow the same diet plan as an “expert”, and take the same supplements. But if you pay attention, every “expert” is doing something a little different from the next.

Some people thrive on high carb diets, other on high fat. Some can’t digest some vegetables well, and others can’t take supplements. Some do 30 minutes of cardio a day, some do 10 minutes of HIIT twice a week.

female fitness coach

Personally, my diet, weight lifting, and cardio plan has changed about 4-5 times over the last 9 months alone! Sometimes I want to gain muscle mass, other times I just want to be skinnier; sometimes I can spend 45 minutes on a stair machine, and other times I’ll only do plyos for cardio because I can’t stand even 5 minutes on a treadmill.

Your body – and your life – are ever-changing and evolving. My advice?

  1. Learn what works for others and try some of the same tactics for yourself
  2. Pay attention to what isn’t working for you and get rid of it. Test out some new methods.
  3. When you find what works, stick with it.
  4. Change it again by testing more new methods when you hit a plateau.

Remember, there is no “one way”, whether in business, relationships, or fitness. Part of the fun in the journey of life is exploring the complexity of layers God designed you with.

You are unique – find freedom and life as you embrace that!

photo credit: Always more than one way via photopin (license)

If I Made a Cheesy Christian T-Shirt…


If I made a cheesy Christian t-shirt it would say, “God is my personal trainer” with an image of a super buff Jesus making someone do squats or push-ups.

You know what I’m talking about? Those t-shirts with Christian-ese slogans and images that genuinely attempt to share a great message in a creative way, but are mostly just awkward? the lord's gym tshirt

A friend and I laughed about this recently, because we both owned (and proudly wore) several of them back in elementary school or junior high.

We joked and brainstormed some of our own ideas.That’s when the “God is my personal trainer” one popped out, because it suits me in my role as a fitness fanatic and trainer.

Yet as I was reading through Revelation 7 recently, I realized that it actually has some truth, and parallels that I think are important to keep in mind.

In Revelation, God is speaking to various churches, and asks them/us to live with high standards of righteousness, to be set apart from the world, and to stand firm in faith no matter what is going on around us or how much the world tries to sway us.

There are also many glimpses into the future – martyrs who persevered in their faith until they stood before the throne of God. They’re given the promise of an eternity of protection, no hunger, living water, no tears. It’s a beautiful, joy-filled picture to imagine them worshipping with the angels after standing tall through tribulation. They stood firm in their faith through trial, and all the pain was worth it.

As a trainer, when I’m working with a client, I’m asking them to act in light of a future that is to come, which holds great potential for a far better way of living.

I intentionally have them do some very challenging things that make them sweat, grunt, complain, and exhaust their bodies. Because I’m masochistic? No, because I can see strength in them that they can’t – both physically and mentally – and know that if they keep persevering, they’re going to get stronger; their bodies will become more capable, endorphins will lift their mood, they’ll feel better, they’ll reduce medical bills, and their self-esteem and confidence will improve.

I know how badly they want to look and feel a certain way, andI have full faith that they can experience it. If they’ll just persevere…. chest press

I also ask them not to eat certain things. I ask them to give up a lot of delicious, comforting foods. Because I want to see them suffer and take away joy? Not at all. It’s because I know it will be good for them. That temporary sacrifice will ultimately lead them to a greater joy. I know they’ll see in the end it was all worth it.

Amazingly, they come back to me week after week, allowing me to put them through what feels like torture – and they pay me to do it! – trusting that I know what I’m doing even when they’re in pain.

But do we do this with Jesus? Do we really believe that he knows best and that if we go though the suffering life may require at times, that he truly works all things for our good?

It seems that sometimes it’s easier to beat ourselves up at the gym for a physical accomplishment than it is to trust God when he allows suffering or pain in our lives. We tend to fight it with everything in us, get angry, even walk away because we think God is there to make life easy.

I can tell you this, God is much wiser than I am! He sees much more than I do. So, if I can be trusted to put people through challenges in order to grow, change, and find more joy, can’t God?!

I encourage you, the next time you face a confusing, painful situation in life, to think about the times you’ve overcome a tough workout, and remember that in far greater ways, God is using it ALL for your good!

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4