Apr 15, 2014

Interview day!

Today I have my interview with the Dean of Functional Medicine at The University of Western States.

I am feeling nervous but very excited!  At this point all that stands between me and acceptance into the MSHNFM program is this interview!  I am feeling pretty confident in my application package.  Well really - that application package is ME.

All the independent studies, degrees, certifications, and continual learning about the human body, nutrition, and functional medicine is culminating into this next step.  My new company, Shine Total Health and Wellness, is the first pixel in a much bigger picture.  And all of this is the continuation of the journey to the best possible me, so that I can help others achieve the best possible them.

2014 is going to be such an amazing year!  My 2nd Ironman, returning to graduate school, launching my own business and wellness brand, growing further with my amazing husband, and of course continuing to grow in my position at Continental Corporation.

Mar 30, 2014

Investing in myself.

Over the past few months I have been traveling back and forth between FL and MI as per my new normal life. 
With the worst winter to hit Metro-Detroit in about 35 years upon us, I have welcomed the break every few weeks as it gives me the chance to recharge my batteries and soak up the sunshine and inhale the sea salt infused air.
With that much travel, I have spent a lot of reflection time on myself and my health goals.  Lots of air time and sunshine-fuelled happy tends to lead to self reflection and realization I guess! 

I am an eternal student of life, always reading up on the different parts of overall health and wellness. I have been feeling a pull to learn more and in a more holistic sense, no longer in parts.  I have been called into a new direction as it pertains to how I look at all that I put my body through be it food, exercise,  stress, self care, or sleep. 

Through the past few years I have picked up bits and pieces of ideas from the academic and clinical worlds on so many health topics that it had left me hungry for  much more.

I am an engineer through and through, and by taking a Functional Nutrition lecture series through the Holistic Nutrition Lab in Portland, OR, I have learned about our body's physiological processes as they were put in focus under a lens of science that makes So. Much. Sense.  Combined with my health coaching training program a solid foundation is being formed. 
Ultimately, I do see a need in our health system to provide a safe place for clients to understand lifestyle choices and the resulting impacts on their health in ways they may not even realize are connected and in ways that doctors just do not have the time to outline and explain to their patients.
Even more directly and immediately, I see a need for myself.   Ever since I have been learning about the physiology of our bodies, my lifestyle changes have taken a deeper and more meaningful root.  To hear "eat this not that", or "do this exercise not that" is one thing; To see clearly how those actions impact my body on cellular level makes it more real for me than just generic health advice. 
I have an underlying eating disorder that has plagued me for much of my life.  For the first time I am feeling my disordered eating habits breaking up and with that clarity, I am inherently being drawn to a more stable and normal food relationship.  The impacts of our lifestyle choices on our bodies are outstanding!   

After much research and careful consideration, I have decided to gain an even better understanding of the human body, the human mind,  and the all too often ignored connection between.  I am returning to school!

I am working on some prerequisites and foundational certifications (CPT, CHHC), and will be working on a Master's→ Ph.D program over the next few years as a passion project of sorts - as an investment in my health and my ability to help others make sense of theirs.

I found out last week that I have been accepted into a Doctorate of Science program and a Masters of Science in Holistic Nutrition - this is my Plan B.   My Plan A is the Master of Science program in Nutrition and Functional Medicine with the progression in to a Ph.D in Natural Medicine following.  I should find out by the end of April, early May if I am accepted!
While this will be my 2nd Master's degree (and obviously my first and only Ph.D. *wink*), this will be the first degree that I go into for pure desire of learning and educating - not for a job requirement/advancement purpose.

I am so excited to grow this part of my life, one which has been calling to me over the past few years!

Jan 14, 2014

A funny thing happened on the way to the weekend...

A funny thing happened on the way to this past weekend.  I realized that I miss running.  Not run training, but good old fashion running for the love of lacing up the shoes and getting out of breath out on a trail somewhere.

Heck, I love running.

I am a RUNNER not a triathlete, I told myself in the beginning. I figured that I would always be a runner who just does triathlons.  Not soon after I started in on my tri adventures, I ditched running and fell in love with swimming and cycling.  AH!  Freedom!  So much to do!  I will never get bored!
Yeah.  Until burn out happens.
I had not run (for teh sake of running) in so long I forgot that I liked it.  I paced a half marathon, ran a marathon, the Goofy Challenge and an Ironman in 2011-2012 and hated running.  At the end of my bike leg at Ironman Florida I asked if I could go back out and do it again.  I wasn't really kidding.
I am not a runner, I am a TRIATHLETE.  I must run to finish line, or be an aquacyclist.  And I would be just fine with that honestly.
Only now, after a good break from the act of running with purpose, I have grown to love it again.  I realize that now I am running from a happy place, a place of contentment, not one of obligation.   It is no longer the bane of my existance.  Whew. The next few years would SUCK if I did not find my run mojo again.
So now I am going to be focusing on my running for the next few months, to really break myself of my preconcieved notions of running and build a stronger me. 
I mean afterall at one time I was RunnerGirl. 
RunnerGirl - Same great triathlete taste, now with 300% more run, and 50% less complaining! 

Jan 9, 2014

I found the word.

Ok, well no.  True, bird is the word, but while surfing bird was a great song it is not what I found.

I have been stuck with making some goals for my 2014 season.  I had no problems making them, but I sit back and look at what I have put into my head and think... OMG... can I do that?  Partly because goals are scary, but partly because I know who I am. Or rather, I have a pre-conceived notion of who I am. 

Who is the girl I think I am?  A slow runner.  A slow swimmer.  A powerful cyclist.  Overall a weak racer on long distances.

And while it may be true today, why do I think that is going to be true tomorrow? Or in 6 months?  Or in a year?  Why do I think that I can so easily discredit the training that I have ahead of me?  I mean, certainly if I put in the work as intended I will see the results I desire.  But no, not this girl. 

Because I label myself as slow and weak,  I never give my all to something like training.  I was never sure why I have not seen improvements in all of my years of doing sports, until last night.  Last night, while I was at the gym getting ready for my 5k TT run test (which was OK by the way- 1 point higher than expected woot woot!) I had the extreme pleasure of running "into" my friend, Fraser teammate, and fellow ENer Trish.  After my run I stretched out a lot and then hit the locker room, where I ran into her again.

Through our talking and going over the amazing year she had in 2013, it became very clear what was "wrong" with me.  It is not ability.  It is not will.  It is not determination or that I am lazy. It is not a lack of speed, or a lack of race execution.  It was due to lack of something much greater, more powerful than any of that.


Confidence is what I have been lacking in all these years.  If you read through my blogs leading up to Ironman Florida in 2012, over on my IMFL blog, it wreaks of lacking confidence.  Only after completion of the race do my blogs turn to words of strength and celebration.  Almost a verbal sigh of relief that I actually, against all odds, succeeded. 


So yes I have some steep goals this year, but honestly the biggest of all of them is to have confidence in my ability to execute my training, and to make my training a priority this year.  As Trish said, to live with no regrets.

I am tired of the sufferfests that I put myself through, but those sufferfests will always be there until I change myself and the way I look at training.  Firstly - I need it.  If I am a slow runner it is because quite honestly I do not respect my run training.  It is hard for me and uncomfortable so I give up and wimp out.

My new goal for 2014 is to gain confidence in all that I do, from public speaking to racing an Ironman. I need to start each day with intent and to STOP labelling myself as slow and weak.  This is the year that this girl becomes fierce and confident!  This is my year of awesome.

As a final run down on my 2013 year, I realized that I did more than I thought that I did.


I also decided that I really enjoyed have a blog dedicated to my Iron and endurance goals, but also really like having this blog to catalog the greater journey.  After much thought I closed the IMFL blog and started an off-shoot blog called The Iron Seashell where I will track all of my training and races in more detail, while this blog will serve as the chronicle of my overall lifestyle change to being the healthiest person that I can be.

Head on over and follow The Iron Seashell if you are interested in following my journey to being the best endruance athlete that I can forge.  Click the logo and you will go right there.


So how do you handle self esteem and confidence?  Have you overcome a lack thereof or have you always been confident in yourself and your actions?  Do you have any labels that you impose on yourself that you want to remove this year?

Jan 8, 2014


As part of my goals to be more accountable to myself and to give a balanced 100% to my training, I am going to actually be blogging about my training once again.  This is why I started this blog more than 7 years ago, time to get back to my roots.

This week is Week 1 of my Out Season: get more powerful and faster plan.  I will be doing this for 14 weeks and then transition into Half Ironman training to be ready for Welland Half Ironman in mid-June.  After that I switch gears to Ironman training for Rev3 Full Rev this September.

But before all that I must put in the work. The sweat and wanna puke work.  The OMG I am back in the game work. The WORK WORKS work.


1 test down, 1 more to go!  I also want to start getting back into the pool - not for workouts but just so when the time comes I am not afraid to get back in.  The OS work is hard enough without adding crazy other volumes, but for me swimming is no longer optional.  I tend to skip swims, wimp out on the runs, and bag the bikes when I am not feeling it. 

I see the pattern and have lived it for 2 solid years.  Time to make some change in that! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! What is going in your book this year?

Ahhhhhh... smell that?  New year smell!   I love this time of year because it gets people motivated to do things, hopefully some things out of their comfort zone.

I saw the neatest thing on New Years Day on Facebook and it really resonated in me.

That is such a great way to look at New Years time. Nothing has been written for us - it is all a story that we are in the prices of writing every single day.

How great is that?!  If we look at each year as a book in the series of our lives, we are building the great story of who we are.  Building upon the years past, setting us up for a story that WE write, not someone else. After all - we are each in charge of ourselves and how we react and create in our lives.

What will you write down in your book this year? Will it be an epic story of weight loss?  The tale of going back to school to finish a degree or learning a new skill?  Will it be the training log for an event? 

My book will be a tale on how I took charge of my happiness and continued on the path of creating those sustainable changes which allow me to live my best life possible.  There will be some adventure along the way with epic reports of battling the triathlon beast scoring and some PR's at the 140.6 and 70.3 distance thrown in there for good measure. There will be a romance story woven in as well, working together with my husband as we reshape our bodies though weight loss and better choices in eating.  And it will be a comedy because, well it is me.


The blank book analogy got me thinking about how resolutions are made and why we really should not make them.  While it is great to have goals, and the start of the new year is the perfect opportunity to make some changes, very few people succeed because they either set unrealistic goals, are not willing to make the changes necessary to achieve the goals, or just simply do not know how to go about it and become frustrated when they do not see the progress they had hoped for.  

Statistically, according to the University of Scranton's Journal of Clinical Psychology (as of January 1, 2014 data collected), of the 45% of Americans who make resolutions less than 10% succeed.

Less than 10% of us will succeed in achieving our goals this year.  When you look at what goals we are setting, that makes the numbers even more sad as our goals are all to live what we perceive will be a better life.

Type of Resolutions (Percent above 100% because of multiple resolutions)
Self Improvement or education related resolutions
Weight related resolutions
Money related resolutions
Relationship related resolutions

Everyone has heard the old cliché of the definition of insanity being to do the same thing expecting a different result.  In order to achieve a different outcome to 2014 than from 2013, then you must change what is put into 2014.  This also means that we can change how we approach the upcoming year.

Resolutions fail because we look at things so black and white.  My goal is to quit smoking, so the first time I light up in the new year, I think - gee I have already failed!  That is it.  I cannot quit. 
We need to stop looking at step backs as failures. 

No road is ever a straight path. There will be stop signs, bumps, distractions, obstacles.  But ato point should any of these be a dead end.



I started my change back in October by waking up earlier to get in my workouts and by meal planning and meal prepping.  I will continue to do so in 2014 as this makes me happy and I found that I lose weight and save money in the process.  Win win! 


I have learned through many set backs that I need to to look ahead a week at a time to be prepared to juggle all that I have going on, and that I cannot just wing it anymore.  The days of waking up and looking at the schedule or events for the day to see what I have to accomplish are done for me.  I just have too much to balance to leave it up to chance that I will make it all fit.

Also, I am going to give my training my balanced all this year, and not settle for hitting 70% effort like I have in years past.  I say balanced all because I do have a full time job with a full time family and full time friends outside of triathlon :-)   


I have gone to a cash-based spending system (not even debit card, but actual green cash) and while I have had a budget for as long as I can remember, I am actually going to adhere to it.  Novel idea, right?  I find that this has helped me two fold: 1, I am more conscious of my money and what I am purchasing, and 2 - I am more conscious on spending the money on needless calories!  Do I really want that


I no longer see the goals ahead of me as daunting simply because I have failed before and lived to give it another shot.  Sure I could look at it as re-losing the weight I lost 2 years ago.  Failing has given me permission to just go for it.  I failed and lived.  What more do I have to lose?  Nothing at all! 

I have closed the book on 2013 and on some lingering emotional topics from 2012.  They now sit atop a shelf, not gone and not forgotten; just as prior volumes in the series that is my crazy and wonderful life.

Here is to the best edition yet!  2014: The Year of AWESOME!

Dec 26, 2013


Today I decided to get back into the gym even after I did not feel terribly motivated to do so.  Hence why I was at the gym at 9pm at night. :-)

I started out by doing my "Stretch to Win" lower body stretches.  I figured that my biggest issue is that I spend too much time breaking DOWN my body and not allowing it to relax, rebuild, recover.  I am incorporating some yoga into my plan next year as well as mandatory daily stretching.

After stretching I got on the good old treadmill and ran for 20 minutes.  That sucked. Big time. BIG TIME SUCK.  But, what do I expect?  It was my first ANYTHING since Miami Man in November.  1.5 months without exercise results in BIG TIME SUCK.  Remember this kids.

After the run suck fest I decided to give a new workout app a try.  It is called BodeeFit and it gives you a daily workout.  Not only does it give you a Daly workout, it provides the time and all videos on how to perform the workouts autoplaying while you are working out.


This is a game changer for me.

So I log in, super easy, and boom - there is my workout.  The Cyclist.

Oh!  How appropriate!  I am a cyclist!  So I look over it.  15 minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) of the following:

15 air squats
30 second push up holds
15 bicycle sit UPS
Oh many easy peasy I say, so I head on over to the stretching area and hit start.  15 air squats? Not a thing.  30 second push up hold?  Yeah I modified it.  15 bicycle sit ups? Hmmm... that was a little tougher than I remember.

After 3 rounds of the above I was dying.  OMG...  WHY am I doing this?  To get stronger. To give it my all and not quit.  To show myself that I can, in fact, push through the suck and embrace the awesome on the other side.  I am out of shape.  It sucks.  But one day in the future, as long as I continue to work at it and for it, it will suck less. And then it will suck even less. Until one day the suck is so small I forgot that it ever sucked at all.

I have pushed through the suck at many a triathlon. I am employing the push through the suck mantra in overall fitness as well.

So after it was done, I hit finished with 1:45 left on the clock as I would not have time to do another round. Imaged 6 rounds in 15 minutes,  Not great, but it is my baseline.  I cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

I was so impressed with this app that I decided to give another app I downloaded recently a try.  It is a stretching routine app and again, one that did not disappoint.  It shows you the stretching routine in live time while you are doing it, with a count down for each hold as well as showing you the full routine at the bottom so you see what is coming up next. The app is by Fitness Reloaded, and is called Stretching Exercises.  They have a whole slew of apps with different workouts such as lower body, AB, arms, etc. If they re anything like the stretching one, they are really well put together.  I do believe that this one is a pay app for ~ $1.99 if I recall correctly.

Also important to note is that I downloaded these on my Windows device (Surface) so I am not sure if there are Apple or Android versions on the market as well.

So day 1 of awesome is in the books.  Stretching, running, WOD, stretching.  What a nice workout!

So how are you working on beige awesome today?

Dec 23, 2013

Looking Ahead to the New Year

Christmas is upon us and soon we will be gathering to toast the past year and usher in a new one.

I am so excited to really put myself out there.  2013 for me was a wash in some ways, but at the end of the year I realize that I needed a reset year to solidify who I am in my own head. I have no doubts now as to what I want and why I want it.

Sure I went through so set backs, weight gang AGAIN, depression, juggling a new career and a new home life.  But I realized that there is nothing special or remarkable in that.  It is life. 

In 2014 I am putting my nose back to the grindstone and working on myself.  So here are some of the things that I am working on in the new year:

No more being so competitive - life is not a contest.
Try to live the best possible life I can each day.
Shine more shade less.
Give myself the gift of giving my all, no more half-assed excuses and half-assed attempts.
Be content in what I have, but work harder for what I want.

My goal is that in one year I will be looking back and smile on all the hard work I put in during the year.

Shine on!

Dec 13, 2013

Making Dreams a Reality

There comes a time when all the dreaming in the world, while a nice distraction from reality, no longer comforts.  I am at that point.  I have been there a while really, but finally made an effort to turn those dreams of mine into reality this past November. 

It goes back to the desire to work for something as opposed to the desire for something.  I am ready to work for it and to go get it done! 

While in Florida in November I ordered a study kit from the American Council on Exercise. After much research and years of thinking about it, I decided that this is the time.  The time is now.   I am starting on the next leg of my journey.  I am studying for my ACE Personal Training certification, and am building hors towards my coaching dreams in order to sit for my USAT Level 1 coaching credential in 2015. 

I have taken on two clients in coaching already and am really excited that I have taken some substantial steps towards a new life!   With this I have also started a new company!  Welcome to 

This is the home for my new path in life!  I will be keeping up the journey blog more consistently again now that I have a renewed spark in my own personal journey, as well I have started a business specific blog  which will have the purpose as being the outlet for my clients and my personal develpoment in fitness.

Expect some great things in the new year!

Shine on my friends!


Nov 15, 2013

Plant Strong Recipe Friday: Jennifer's Plantastic BBQ Beans and Quinoa Pilaf

Jennifer's Plantastic BBQ Beans and Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1 can of rinsed and drained pinto beans (Great Northern or other white beans would work just as well. )
  • 1 bag of shredded cabbage slaw mix
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 C of frozen kale
  • 1 Jar of Bone Suckin' Sauce
  • 1 Jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 C uncooked red Quinoa
  • 2 C water

  1. Bring to boil 2 C of water in another pot. Add the 1C of quinoa when ready and cook per directions. I added in the last 5 minutes 1C of frozen kale and 1 chopped white onion.
  2. While the Quinoa cooks, Add the drained/rinsed beans in a pot with diced jalapeno (if desired), 1 - 1 1/2 Cups of shredded slaw mix and 1/4 - 1/2 C Bone Suckin' Sauce. I started with 1/4C and added another 2 Tbs only, but use per your preference. Heat over medium heat until completely combined and the slaw mix is soft. Should take about the same time as the Quinoa to cook.
To Serve:
I scooped out some quinoa pilaf and topped with a healthy serving of beans. I then topped with additional raw cabbage mix, a few sliced of avocado, some hot sauce and some nutritional yeast.
This dish reminds me of all of the best parts of BBQ with none of the guilt.. you get your BBQ, baked beans and cole-slaw all a top a clean pilaf of quinoa.

Finding the way.

To summarize quickly how October ended up for me:  well, it is official.  I am now a 5am waker-uper!   I like morning workouts as I can get them out of the way and have the night to spend hanging with Moosie and Otie.

In addition to that I have cut out sugars and went completely, no excuses plant based the Engine 2 way.  Real whole foods. No fakey sugars, no oils. Heart healthy.  Doing such, I have lost over 10 lbs already and am feeling amazing! 

I am currently in South Florida visiting my husband and my in-laws as well as raced in the MiamiMan Half Iron triathlon - which was one of my bucketlist of races.  Two down, many more to go!

My time in Florida this trip, much as most of my time in Florida, has been spent really looking internally at my life and the choices Mike and I are making.  He is making some major headway at his work here in Miami, and I am doing very well with my job in Michigan.  While we will have a long and winding road ahead of us to make these two lifes one again, in the meantime I realized that it is time to make my dreams a reality.

I have always wanted to help people and over the course of this past year I realize that I can do that in the capacity of a mentor of sorts.  I am working on my ACE Personal Training certification, as well as am starting to coach friends in triathlon in order to apply for and sit for my USAT Level 1 coaching certification.  My hobby of fitness and sports has taken a turn for me and I feel more passionate about this all as a lifestyle than ever before. 

While I love my day job, I want to expland the horizons on my knowledge in health and fitness, and who knows where that will lead me one day.  I know that I am on the right path... my gut is telling me so.