Wonderful Wednesday: Inspiring Stories, Ruthie

 Good morning! The snow is falling and I’m preparing for a snow day tomorrow. But my guest today, lives in beautiful Florida, near the Emerald Coast area…so jealous. Her name is Ruthie, and I cannot tell you what an amazing lady she is! She’s stared obstacles straight in the face and is very inspirational to me as a person and fitness professional. One of my first memories of her was attending our first PiYo training together at the Dowd YMCA in Charlotte! What a fun trip and a tough, but totally worth-it workout! Both of us were experiencing major transitions in our lives, and I’m proud to say, she’s a great example of how important of having a strong faith and great support system are for even us fitness professionals. Here’s her fitness strory:

My journey from a group dance fitness instructor and Personal Trainer to (a stay at home) (home based) Health and Fitness Business owner.

My personal health and fitness journey started in 1999, I was a working mom with 3 kids. At the time I was working as a dental assistant, a very unhappy dental assistant.
You see I’m one of those people that need to see a greater purpose, just working a job to make money just doesn’t motivate me. I want to feel a part of something bigger, something with purpose. I was looking for something that excited and challenged me, made me look forward to getting up each day to meet the challenge. I wanted to be involved with people at a deeper level.
One day a couple of my fellow employees invited me to join them at the gym, after work.
This is where I found my passion, you see it was the first time I had participated in a group aerobics class! It didn’t feel like I was even working out! I loved the music, the energy, and the fun.
From that day forward I knew that I wanted to be teaching some type of group fitness activity.  I loved dance, so I soon found a local Jazzercise class to attend.  It became my happy place! I so looked forward to attending the class several nights a week after work.

Soon after I became a licensed Jazzercise instructor.
And for a couple of years, I taught a couple classes a week at a local studio. But I wanted to do more, so I opened up my own Jazzercise studio which I ran  for 5 years.
Wanting to go deeper into fitness, I soon received my AFAA group instructor certification. I continued my fitness education and I became a N.A.S.M. certified personal trainer, Sports Nutrition Specialist and a Zumba instructor. During this time I was teaching some group classes at area gyms and holding fitness Boot camps.
Several years ago I decided to get certified to teach a  format called PIYO Strength, the certification instructor introduced me to the Team Beachbody Coaching opportunity. (Virtual Fitness Coaching)
At first I wasn’t sure how I could incorporate this type of training into my fitness business, especially since it didn’t involve hands on training with a client or group as I had been accustom to.  So I continued to teach some classes and run a few boot camp fitness classes, while I also worked on growing my Team Beachbody business from home.

Fast forward a couple of years and I am now dedicating most of my time to developing my Team Beachbody business. With virtual coaching, I work with clients nationally, on their schedules, providing support, encouragement and accountability with superior nutritional products and workout programs. All keys in attaining and maintaining health and fitness.
For more information about Beachbody products, programs and accountability groups visit http://ruthiegage.com/beachbody  
or connect with Ruthie on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ruthie.gage

Jeremiah 29:11

11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Please check out Ruthie’s website and pages. She is a breath of fresh air with her positive attitude, and her love of helping people! 

Wonderfully Made

I had just turned 21. I was a successful senior in college at the time, and one of the top voice students in a nationally renowned private university. I had suffered on and off through the years with body image. From anorexia, to being picked on for having more of a strong look than a skinny one, when the skinny look was at its peak. I’m small-framed, but when I train and eat right….the muscle shows…I will never have a thigh gap, and I most certainly do not want one now. When it came to my creativity, and my reasoning skills, well, I was pretty secure in those, but well, I had a problem…that problem was stress. I was flat broke, and had found out that two of my closest friends were spreading rumors about me in addition to their picking on me in class.
I saw one of these “friends” 2 and 1/2 years ago, and she still can’t look me in the eye. I would love for her to know that I love her and forgive her, and maybe she’ll read this one day, and know that.
 I wasn’t perfect; I’ll admit…I over committed myself because at this point, I just wanted to belong. My church rejected me. I went to a church where no one, wanted me around because I had been homeless at one point during the previous summer. Students that went to that “certain” school were successful, had good jobs, even while in school, and always kept up appearances, but oh, if they only knew how many of us went hungry at night.
By my spring semester of that year, I was malnourished, and gaining stress weight. When my parents came to pick up my stuff from school, my mom gave me a hug, and when she did, a clump of hair broke off in her hands. I looked gray. I had gained 35 pounds…Well, by the time I started to knock it off, my chorus mates and friends had noticed, and I was at my lowest point, when I came out of the back of a tour bus to hear a classmate say, “I hate girls with bigger legs.  For goodness’ sake, they have lipo for problems like that!” I remember being utterly crushed because this guy prided himself on being an intellectual and not focused on appearance. That was when I started to crack…..I would have panic attacks before choir, while everyone else thought it was just allergies, my bodies response to stress was killing me, literally. I had so much socially anxiety, I would lock myself in my basement apartment and cry myself to sleep at night. I had the flu 4 times in one semester…I’ve NEVER been sick that much in a span of 6 months. My church didn’t want me, so I stopped going. I reached out to people, but everyone smiled and walked by. Although on the outside I still appeared to be friends with everyone, I felt that my true circle of trust was growing smaller and smaller.
Well, God told me to go back home, and I did, and I didn’t tell anyone else, because I didn’t feel that I mattered, yes, that’s how low my self-image was…I knew the Lord, but I had forgotten that He had made me in His Image, and how beautiful I was in His eyes. When I realized that, amazingly, I dropped the weight quickly, and got certified to teach group fitness. I am so grateful to my friend Ms. Tina, who pushed me and encouraged me along the way.
I remember hearing from a “friend” that my professors were so upset with me because I told no one I wasn’t coming back until I had another offer from another school. They may never understand why I did this, but here is why: I needed to finalize this decision between myself and God, I needed to stop pleasing people, for once in my life. Because that semester, I lived for PEOPLE, not God, but people, and I was lonely and let down. I love those professors dearly, and maybe someday they’ll read this too. I hope that somehow they’ll read this and understand that even I didn’t know the big picture then.
The happy ending, my relationship with God is awesome, and I’ve kept my weight off for 4 years! I also have true friends who love me for who I am now and a husband who encourages me to stay healthy, but who loves me for my heart, and I go to an awesome church too! I’ve learned to get away from bad influences, to forgive myself for my mistakes, and hold on to what God’s Word says, and LIVE it out. I have value.

Maybe you have bad body image, are dealing with bullies, maybe someone close to you crushed you with their words, and still has no clue. Know that you are unique, you are one of a kind. You can be healthy and rock it like no one else can. God wants you to look like only you can. Stop being afraid and let his perfect love cast out fear. The people that put you down are afraid of the amazing person that you are, and are only seeking that affirmation because they themselves do not feel adequate.

And hey, if you’re reading this blog, and you know it’s about you, just know that I love you, ok?

Only when I was able to realize who I was made to be on the inside could I successfully change the outside.

Good morning!

First of all, Happy Veterans Day! I’m so thankful that there are brave men and women who risk their lives everyday for us all here in the US!

Today being Monday, I’m back in my workout and food routine full steam. Today is lower body day on my personal calendar, but it’s also a day on which I have to teach a really challenging group fitness class! Not that I mind the challenge, but it can be tough discerning how much I need to push myself when I have a challenging class to teach later. So I said to myself, “Self, you should just put 3 exercises together and do the whole circuit 3-5x…” So there you have it. I took two of the most effective lower body exercises, the squat, and the bridge, and paired them with an easy-to-do ploymetric (explosive) move, the jumping jack and got a great workout! This workout is a quickie toner for your thighs, glutes, and calves! The key here is adding the pulses, squeezes, and presses at the end of each set. pulses really involve the gluteus maximus, while squeezes target the inner thighs, and presses target the outer thighs. I hope you enjoy the workout. Warm-up by marching in place and perfoming 15 kick backs for each leg.Here’s the tutorial:

Put your arms out in front to help keep your balance, put your weight in your heels as you sit back. Newbies, put a chair behind you. Pro’s, add some weights or a resistance band. Oh, and keep your gaze up. Squeeze your glutes to stand up.

Split Squats:
Keep your weight in your front heel, then lower straight down as low as possible. Squeeze muscles and stand. Repeat.

Glute Bridge:
Put your weight in your heels.Squeeze your bum before lifting, this makes sure the glutes are doing the work.

Jumping Jacks:
Keep your knees and toes the same way…and absolutely no pidgeon toes. This will hurt your knees.

Here’s the workout:

 ENJOY and keep perservering! You will reach your goals!