Oh yeah, I opened my gym!

PANDEM(IC)ONIUM PART IV- The conclusion (for now. And it’s long!)

I feel like this is the perfect blog to be posted late… ya know considering it’s late because I had too much work to do last week. But, without further ado here we go:

I opened a facility when most were closing down. It felt weird and conflicting. I was sad that businesses were closing, but sadness aside, I have a business to run. People who’ve never met me would probably say that’s a dumb idea. People who truly know me, know that I have been working towards this for years; planning, saving, making endless spreadsheets of what I want and how much it is, writing off fewer things so I showed more income in preparation for a loan, and taking all the things I had learned at every gym I’ve been to and analyzing how I would do things if I were in charge.

It’s cool and all that I planned everything out, but then a pandemic hit as well as the sh*t to the fan…

My plan– to branch off on my own later in 2020- effed.

My savings– reallocated to things like rent and food since we weren’t able to work, and the whole unemployment system in all of its gloriousness. (Jokes aside, I can’t imagine anyone or any system would be prepared for what happened, but this is my blog and it severely inconvenienced me to say the least.)

My spreadsheets– everything was sold out or backordered for months… and I didn’t have money to spend at that time on things even if I did order them months ahead of time. And if I did receive it, where would I put it? In every closet in my house? (Foreshadowing.) Really glad I spent hours on that in the past though…

My taxes– I paid more in taxes due to writing fewer things off, and although I took the June date, it was still MORE in taxes in a year that I was unable to work for three months. I did that for a loan, right? But do you really think anyone would give a loan to someone who literally cannot work right now, and is in an industry that was shut down for an unknown amount of time? Even with great credit, I couldn’t even get a $5000.00 loan. (I did have a few virtual clients and a few programming peeps which were amazing and wonderful, but a lot of them had credits I applied from unused training in March.)

What had I learned­– At least this one still paid off how I intended? Yay for that. The funny thing is, I not only learned a lot of movements and knowledge of the fitness industry, I learned a lot about the business side of things which allowed me to set things up a certain way from the beginning.

So, because of the shutdown and restrictions put in place from the state and the facility I was training out of, I knew I definitely needed to open the doors on the facility I had been dreaming of, and ASAP. I was able to get some gym equipment due to being in the right place at the right time, and having built a network of people over my years in the gym industry. That was the biggest concern honestly, because even if I had everything else in place (loan, location, clients, etc.,) I didn’t have enough equipment to open a gym. Once that puzzle piece went into place, I KNEW it was going to happen.

Adrian is wonderful and let me slowly fill every space in our house with barbells, kettlebells, dynamax balls, and right at the end with huge boxes containing cardio bikes, a squat rack, and more. I am not going to lie, I am very impressed with how well I hid everything in plain sight, and didn’t really make our living space feel like a storage unit.

I reached out to a friend who was in residential real estate for advice after I was coming up short on my own with commercial real estate. She spoke with her connections and had a recommendation from them, funnily enough, who I had met in a networking group a few years prior. I am going the leave their name out, because I have nothing nice to say about them except, I needed our interactions to be fully prepared to own my O.W.N. location.

I’ve never been condescended to or mansplained to so much in my life, but guess what? IDGAF, and I will put on my “business pants” to handle what I need to. I kept our interactions civil, but I quickly realized this person didn’t give a sh*t about me or my business. They repeatedly told me how it wasn’t really worth their time because it’s such a small space. Rant about them over (mostly,) because honestly, karma came around and I didn’t have to do anything. Thanks, Universe (but actually, thanks to my friend who found out about the experience and made sure their shared boss heard about it. She’s a badass and I am so thankful to have her in my life!)

The first space we were scheduled to visit, I was late to because someone rear-ended my car on the way. Cool, huh? With all that, I was only 15 minutes late, but the c-word listing agent, only scheduled 15 minutes for us to view it and scheduled another viewing right after. When I arrived, she said we couldn’t go in because they said they didn’t want me to. Fine, I’m not mad at those people for that. But this listing agent was so abrasive, rude, and also, don’t try to play mind games with me. I will not be pressured or manipulated into anything, and if you try, I can pretty much guarantee the opposite outcome will happen. I never actually saw the space because “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

The second space we saw is now O.W.N. Health & Strength. I loved it from the moment I drove up and saw it. Huge windows everywhere on a corner unit of a brick building. Tons of natural light, great little outdoor space with bamboo separating our building from the neighboring businesses, and super convenient for all of my peeps! I’m a fairly decisive person, and I knew I wanted it. It had freakin’ chandeliers hanging inside (that the realtor GAVE AWAY WITHOUT MY PERMISSION,) a black and white striped wall, beautiful wood floors, and so much potential. We were able to negotiate a little lower rent since it had been available for a year prior (which also made me happier since I knew it wasn’t a COVID-19 related real estate opening.)

I was then on the hunt for flooring and knew that it was going to be a large chunk of money for what I really wanted. Without getting approved for any loans, I was doing this all out of savings and didn’t really want to put it on my credit card. I looked on craigslist one more time before completing the purchase on my credit card, and BOOM! I found the flooring I wanted and a great price, and despite the fact it may have been a scam (cuz, craigslist,) I reached out and asked if they had 42 sheets. The seller was a contractor that always buys extra when he has jobs because it’s less per sheet that way, AND he was willing to deliver them for a super cheap fee. I literally saved $5000.00, and am for sure “tooting my own horn” about it.

All while this is happening, I was training clients at parks out of the trunk of my car. This topic could be a whole blog on its own, and very well may be soon, so stay tuned. I have a Rav4, and that thing was a trooper. I programmed everyone with the limited equipment that fit in my car, tried to make sure I had everything all of my clients needed for their bodies and goals, and am SO over parking in Seattle… Let’s just say, I don’t need to do farmer carries for a while lol. It was super fun, we only had one day with rain that caused us to cancel, and we only had one time where I was about to dropkick some dipsh*t for being rude to my client and being a jerk in general. I think I’ll save that story for the W.O.O. blog though. Then the smoke from all the fires hit Seattle, and considering I am a “health coach,” and smoke is pretty terrible to be in for long periods of heavy breathing, we needed to get things together ASAP, and we did!

Luckily, the weekend before the smoke hit, my Dad and Adrian helped with the bulk of what needed to be done in the gym. I seriously cannot thank them enough for helping me, because I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone, and didn’t have the funds to pay people. The moving truck got canceled twice and we ended up with one that was 10’ longer than needed, but whatever, we had one. I dropped my Dad off at the gym to start on things while I had a few clients at a nearby park. I do feel the need to say: I told my Dad that he could do anything, except move ONE thing because it wasn’t stable and could fall on him…. And luckily, he’s got catlike reflexes because that exact thing almost happened. (Funny note: When he told me this on the phone, he led with “I already told Mom, so you can’t,” LOL.)

We picked up the trunk, went home and loaded all of the equipment that had been stored throughout our house, and were off to Home Depot to get the extra stuff we needed for the build out. I am not sure if you’ve picked up on this, but I love organizing/organization. I had a list of what we needed and had researched the specific aisles that the things were on so we didn’t have to go back and forth a bunch of times with panels and drywall. We unloaded all of it in the back of the gym, moved around the piles of flooring Adrian and I had loaded a few days before, and got to work.

Adrian and I had ton a tiny bit of demo and had started a dump pile. We had to remove a metric sh*tton of shelving made of MDF (medium density fiberboard= cheap and heavy.) We took a run to the dump for everything we needed to get out, and it was legitimately 1600lbs for the first load… meaning we loaded it up, and unloaded it (2200lbs is a ton, so NBD, we’ moved over a ton of stuff. *flexes*)

For this next part, I’m just going to make a list:

– We installed soundproofing in the shared wall and covered it with drywall and awesome wood paneling. The walls are crooked though, so I had to get creative with that one.

– The rubber flooring that I love so much was actually super challenging to install, even though we were just able to place it on the wood flooring directly… but the walls of the space are not straight. So luckily, we started in a corner and realized that instead of getting there at the end and being effed a little bit.

-The sink was literally glued to the wall and wasn’t properly installed. When I removed it, I took out a chunk of drywall, which I was able to patch myself and install a vanity eventually, NBD.

-The track lighting is the hardest version to find things for, probably because it’s a little older. It took 4 online orders (because no stores carry it) to get the right thing, EVEN THOUGH the others said they were compatible.

-Painting took place in stages, with the bathroom being the last piece finished a few months after opening.

Things kept working out, with only minor setbacks or obstacles. We built enough of a gym that I only missed a few clients due to smoke, and we’ve been going in some capacity ever since!

Of course, there have been challenges that have come up (looking at you: homeless dude who broke my front window,) but honestly, I LOVE having my O.W.N. facility. I love being able to create a whole culture in my space as opposed to doing it with my individual clients in someone else’s space. I appreciate every facility that I have ever worked out of, and have learned things at each one. I am hopeful that I can continue to create something that’s bigger than just ‘working out.’

I want people to O.W.N. their lives, whatever that means to them, and I want people to see this as a lifelong commitment to their health. Goals will change, bodies will change, but the thing I hope remains always, is that they O.W.N. their bodies, O.W.N. their strength, and O.W.N. their lives…and I’m going to be there as they do it, with gentle pokes along the way!



Part 1:

What did I do during my time off?

Well, not write blogs clearly… but a lot! I am creating a 3-part series because there is too much for one blog, and I don’t expect people to read a novel about me… yet. 😉

First two weeks: Panic. For me panicking looks like the little Wall-E robot, M.O. For those of you who haven’t seen Wall-E, watch it, but for time purposes, just know that I was obsessively cleaning and organizing anything and everything I could, (cleaning was my “M.O.”) I finally shifted my calendar over to a different service, I added all of my client’s info into a nice organized system for emails, I reprogrammed everyone so they could do them at home with bodyweight or household items. My kitchen cabinets were organized perfectly, which also lead to a deep clean of the refrigerator, and organization of our storage room and laundry room. I started reading a book, organized any and all files I had, went full force into filming instructional videos for my clients, tried to cancel our trip we had planned to Italy in April, and made my husband super anxious because I. Don’t. Stop. I try to control things, and when the normal things I control are changed, I shift my focus to something else. (He also works in the gym industry, but was unable to do anything for his work since he works for a larger organization.) We only got in a few arguments because of this, and it was partly because he is normally at work and doesn’t see how I function on that deep of a level, and partly because my constant movement made him feel that he should be doing something too. Oh, but one thing that I loved immediately was getting to see my husband and dogs so much. I love them deeply and they are all very calming for me, almost all the time.

First two months: After the two weeks above, we started to figure things out a little more. I have made spreadsheets to track my business and figured that I could still be okay without unemployment for a month or two, it would just cut into my gym savings a little, but what are savings for if not to use them when you need to, right? We were reading books, having morning coffee together, taking the doggos out on morning walks before coming in to watch a show, and then I would go to work. Work on what you ask? Everything, still slightly panicky, but starting to set boundaries for myself (and some were set by Adrian, which I now appreciate but was a little butt hurt at first. I don’t like being told what to do by anyone, hence why I own my O.W.N. business, *snaps with finger guns* but he was right to do so because he saw what was happening to me aka ball of stress and anxiety.) I started to prioritize where I put my time a little better, and realized that I never took enough time to work on myself. When you’re in a field where you’re always helping others, it’s very easy to put yourself on the backburner, which can be fine for a while… but are you really leading by example then? Are you really able to provide the best experience for those around you if you’re never replenishing yourself? Things started to shift inside me.

Doggos: They would love for us to never have to leave again. We went on walkies all the time, we trained them a little better, we got to see them start to love each other more (OMG, my heart hurts when they lick each other’s faces,) and Jack will no longer be fat-shamed by the vet. To be fair, he was overweight and it was bothering his knee/hip. The vet tried to put him on a “weight loss” food, but I look at the ingredients and they were junk and fillers. I asked the vet if it was temporary, and she said that most people just leave their dogs on it since they usually have weight problems. I never realized a vet visit could be so triggering for me lol, but it was. I asked for other options and she said with a snarky tone “well, not really unless you’re going to track every calorie he eats.” BAHAHAHAHA, ummmmm, YEAH, I can do that. I did it to myself for years in an unhealthy way, and now I finally get to use those skills for good instead of evil. Jack would argue that it’s evil, but his weight is healthy, his energy is better, and he suddenly likes belly rubs! Thanks, former Shea, your torturous behaviors that you did to yourself actually turned into a positive for your pup! It happened for a reason.

Anyways, they love us, they love each other, and our family is so happy to be around each other whenever we can.

So, to sum it up, the beginning started with anxiety and survival mode. Then, filled with organization, not to avoid dealing with what was going on, but to process things, which I do by moving my body and clearing my mind of clutter. We finally got into a “flow,” but that’s for next time!

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay strong!

WARRIOR DAY- June 16th

O.W.N. Fitness was created from the beliefs instilled in me throughout my life. I was raised to be driven, kind, caring, empathetic, and among other things, to be strong. Several people influenced me throughout my life and I would not be the person I am today without them. My father helped me with dedication and determination. My mother helped me with creativity and patience. My grandfather helped me see that learning never stops and you decide your future and nobody else. These are just a few people I have mentioned in the past, but today, on June 16th, 2020, I want to talk about my Godfather, Warrior.

This day is and will always be important to me because today is his birthday. Although he passed away a few years ago, I will always treat June 16th as a day of celebration. I will always celebrate the time he was in my life, starting when I first met him on Easter when I was 6. I remember my parents telling me that Dana (my Godmother and one of the most B.A. women ever) was going to be bringing her new husband over. I heard the doorbell ring, peeked through the stained glass by our front door, and told my parents “he has long hair,” and didn’t open the door. Not sure why THAT was what I noticed first, but kids are weird and I remember that.

When they came in, I realized that he not only had long hair, but he was tall, had a giant voice, and was super nice. I was shy at first, but that almost immediately flew out the window. I had a bag of gummy bunnies that I had received in my Easter basket, and I sat on his lap and probably fed him the whole bag. This was not a man who eats candy, ever. But he sat there with me and ate ever one that I handed him. From that moment, I decided (at 6) that he was okay to be in our family and that I was happy Dana was with him.

Easter was just the starting point to having this wonderful man in all of our lives. He was there for dance recitals, holidays, birthdays, and sometimes just to hang out. He and Dana would let me stay with them when my parents had to travel a few times, and it felt like such a cool sleepover instead of being “babysat.” He and Dana both encouraged me to be strong and creative. They would tell me that I was brave and beautiful, but also smart, strong, and many other things. They would tell me to always believe in myself and what I do.

When I was 11, Dana and I were reading the same book so we could talk about it. I told her that I didn’t understand some of the words but I could figure it out. Warrior got me a dictionary so that I could look up and learn the ones I didn’t know, and better understand what was going on in the story. Instead of just telling me what it meant, he wanted me to figure it out and gave me the tools to do so. He was always there to be extra support, and be in my corner no matter what. I know that I am not alone in that feeling, and he changed thousands of lives during his time.

Anyone who met him was inspired in their own way. For some, it was through his wrestling career. Some knew him through his public speaking, and some knew him through his writing and art. But only a few people knew him just for him. Honestly, he was just as great as anyone could have hoped. He was grateful for the life he had, and also knew that he earned it through hard work, perseverance, and by doing things his own way.  O.W.N. stood for One Warrior Nation because he didn’t have a team of people doing the hard work for him, he did it. He’d come charging into the ring, shake the ropes, and do what he wanted to let everyone know something big was about to happen.

I chose to call my business O.W.N. Fitness for several reasons, but basically, I wouldn’t be who I am without all of the wonderful people in my life. Warrior was one of those people who encouraged me to be bold and brave. He saw something in me even I didn’t see at the time, and may still not fully grasp. I chose O.W.N. because I am a warrior woman fighting to make my company in my own vision despite going against a majority of how the industry operates. I chose O.W.N. because I not only want to enjoy the end result, I want to enjoy and own the process of getting there.  I chose O.W.N. because nobody is going to do the work for me, and I can’t do it for anyone else. I can, however, help inspire them to find their inner greatness just as Warrior did for so many and help them O.W.N. the process.

He truly was not only a great athlete, but he was such a wonderful man, fantastic father, great husband, and the best Godfather I could have had. I am thankful for those who have helped make me strong, brave, and bold, and I can only hope to inspire people the way they have all inspired me.

June 16th, 2020 will be the first official ‘Warrior Day’ with O.W.N. Fitness. Today I invite you to write down goals that you want to accomplish this week, month, or year. Be bold and brave with these goals, and write down how you are going to O.W.N the process. Be a warrior and O.W.N. your strength!

My goal for this year: Open my facility and take the next step towards spreading a positive, sustainable message in the fitness industry. I’m gonna shake the ropes, put on my warpaint, and handle what needs to be handled!

Want to share these goals? Message me with them, or post them on Facebook or Instagram and tag @ownfitnesspnw. How will you make Warrior Day your O.W.N.?

I feel ________ (squishy, chunky, etc.)


I have heard this from several people in my life recently. Some are just saying it as a statement with no negative intent, and some are saying it because it’s making them doubt themselves or feel sad. I just want to tell them they aren’t and it wouldn’t matter if they did gain weight, but I don’t want to make anyone’s feelings less valid. I understand that bodies change, and sometimes we don’t love what they do… but maybe we should focus more on why things are happening instead of just getting upset that it did happen. I’m a health positive advocate, meaning I care about overall health, first and foremost, and do not base that off of weight.

What is the worst thing if you did gain a little weight? Are you still you? Are you any less of a person because of a fluctuation? Is your overall health still good (lungs, heart, brain?) If a little “squish” is the worst thing happening to you right now, I’d say that you’re doing pretty well. I know it may seem like a bad thing, but it may not be! Maybe your body is trying to protect you or tell you something?! Try to give yourself some grace right now. Use this time to heal, to listen to your body, and to take care of yourself.

I understand that we all may feel certain ways about our bodies, and that sometimes we can’t help but feel we are being judged for how we look. We may feel uncomfortable sometimes and have things we don’t like, and I know I definitely have times where I don’t love how I look and feel. BUT I know there is a balance that we can all find, and it’s different for everyone. I have done so much work to heal my body after torturing it for years. It’s taken a lot of work with a lot of support, but I have been able to learn what my body is telling me a lot of the time. We can teach ourselves to listen to our bodies and if we pay attention, we can address things that need to be and accept and embrace our individual selves.

So, I feel squishy and watery, why?! It could be something salty I ate. It could be hormones that are out of sorts a little and trying to adjust themselves. It could be that I have been having a glass of wine or beer that my body is not used to. It’s not the end of the world, and after you do a little work to see what’s going on, you can address how you feel mentally and physically.

If you don’t like what I just said, that’s fine, but here is some science-based info on what may be happening right now if you are feeling squishier than you’d like:

Water retention, which can have several causes. A lot of us are not drinking the same amount of water compared to a few months ago. We are all in a heightened stress state right now, whether you feel it or not, and that means there is probably a little more stress hormone (cortisol) running through your body. Due to stress or just the changes that have happened we may be drinking more coffee and/or alcohol. These changes can all be part of what is causing this feeling, and here are a few possible explanations, and some tips on how to adjust them (if you want to.)

Dehydration- Did you know that if you drink more water, you retain less? It’s a biological response to hold water when it is scarce. Your body decides to hold onto water when you’re dehydrated because it’s not sure when you will get more, and it is vital for survival. Not sure if you’re dehydrated? Look at your pee. It should be a pale-yellow color, and if it’s darker, work on increasing water intake slowly each day. (You can do it all at once if you don’t trust me, but you will pee constantly and have a real bad time.) Keep a water bottle nearby, and check in with yourself throughout the day to see how much you’re drinking. (P.S. I realized how little water I have had today as I was writing this. Even if you know something, that doesn’t mean you always are perfect at it. Be kind to yourself and do what you can.)

Stress- What does cortisol and stress have to do with how I look and feel? A. LOT. When your body is stressed and cortisol levels increase, that causes a spike in the hormone that controls water balance in the body, known as the anti-diuretic hormone or ADH. Prolonged stress can also lead to other issues such as Adrenal Fatigue (but I am not qualified to diagnose/treat any of these. I know people though, so please ask if you think this may be a problem for you.) What can you do to help with stress? Meditate. There are a ton of free apps out there if you are like me and have a hard time doing self-guided meditation (I use one called Stop, Breathe, Think.) You could try to minimize unnecessary stressors in life, like reading article after article of negative information. Stay informed, but pay attention to body language, and if you start to realize your shoulders are migrating towards your ears, maybe that’s enough for the day.

Alcohol and caffeine- These are both psychoactive substances, meaning they affect your brain, which is why we take them. Alcohol slows things down and caffeine speeds things up… can you see where this is headed? It’s VERY easy to have a drink with dinner, go to bed, and wake up tired. Then you have some coffee because you’re tired. Then you are super awake since you pounded coffee all day and now you just need something to relax. If this sounds like you, please know I am not judging at all. I have done the same thing at points in my life, and it’s a challenging habit to start breaking, but totally doable. Start by cutting the daily amount down by either limiting each serving, or cutting down on frequency.

Sleep- Everyone knows we need it, but it’s still a challenge for a lot of us. A lot of times our sleep is disrupted due to the three things we already discussed: dehydration, stress, and psychoactive substances like coffee and alcohol.  You’re dehydrated so you’re thirsty. You drink a bunch of water before bed, and now you have to pee several times in the night. You’re stressed out and can’t shut your brain off. Then you stress out about only getting 7, 6, 5, hours of sleep and it takes even longer (or maybe that is just me.) You can’t sleep because you have coffee too late, and now you want a nightcap. You fall asleep, but alcohol decreases the time of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is where your body gets to recover. Then you wake up tired and have some coffee. Your sleep is super important, and by working on improving habits listed above, you can hopefully improve your sleep habits. This will in turn help with stress and allow you to feel better throughout the day. You may not need as much coffee to feel alive. You may not feel as stressed throughout the day because you had a nice deep sleep the night before.

I hope this has been helpful, and has given you some things to think about. Regardless if this is the cause of your “squishy” feeling or not, improving these areas is only going to help benefit your overall health. You can only control so much in life, and you get to choose to do something about it, or just talk about it. One is a positive and the other is a neutral, at best… you decide what you want to do, and if you want help, I am always here for you.


O.W.N. your body. O.W.N. your strength. O.W.N. your life!

X- Shea

  P.S. Jack Jack is always a little chunky, and he loves life. Be like Jack Jack (loving life no matter what.)

Photo credit: dirtiedogphotography.com (Marika is the best! Check it out and if you’re in Seattle, she can capture your furry, scaly, or hairy loved ones and all of their personality!)




“You can’t have a rational conversation with an irrational person.”- Gary Leonard, Mr. America 1980, husband, Pops, and my dad.

We all have more time to be online nowadays, so this seems like the perfect time for this topic.

UNFOLLOW THEM- Shea says, “Look at you, being mature and whatnot.” If this person doesn’t affect you, and isn’t worth getting annoyed over, so the easiest thing is to remove their influence from your life. I know this isn’t an option all the time, but even minimizing the amount of interactions is helpful. Trust me, cutting down on seeing negativity is going to allow you to make more thoughtful decisions, and be happier the whole time you think about them. If you’re worried you may be wrong, research it or seek out those whose opinions you value.

POLITELY DISAGREE AND STATE WHY, CALMLY- Shea says, “Good luck, and break a leg.” You’ve thought about it, you still want to say something, or maybe you can’t avoid them. Maybe this person doesn’t know any different, or maybe you aren’t the audience they were looking for, but you can be neutral and calmly ask questions. Hopefully they are willing to discuss like a human. If they get defensive or take it personally, reevaluate how much effort you’re willing to put in here. Will they ever be able to have a conversation? No? Maybe try talking to a wall instead; at least the wall doesn’t say stupid things back. Or a more practical approach is to have a “b*tch book.” I do! Anything that annoys me, but isn’t worth doing anything about, goes in there. I write it all down, why I disagree, why I didn’t say anything, and honestly, it’s enough.

GET ANGRY AND PARTAKE IN THE “CALL OUT CULTURE” THAT DIVIDES PEOPLE- Shea says, “Don’t be this person. If you’ve tried other options, do what you got to do I suppose. In that case, buckle up cupcake, the internet is rough, and everything is there forever.” What good will come of this? You’ve put someone on the defense, are you prepared to deal with a conversation that will go nowhere? I’m all for sharing opinions, disagreements, and learning from each other. Even if we don’t end with the same opinion, we now understand more about this person and maybe ourselves. Calling people out just because you have anonymity online is not awesome in my opinion, and if you don’t like my opinion, I am happy to discuss this calmly. If you insult me, or initiate any sort of engagement negatively, I’ll kill the conversation with kindness, or at worst, just kill it, and move on. My day will be fine, will yours? This is one thing that I have a really hard time dealing with, and I’m working on it, but I strongly disagree with this as a first or second option in most scenarios.  

PUT OTHERS DOWN TO FURTHER YOUR OWN POINT/OPINION- Shea says, “*facepalm & deep sigh* No! *flicks nose of person doing this* If you feel that you must go negative or insult someone to get ahead, you’re either a politician, or someone I don’t need in my life. My brain does this his pitched ‘boooooooooooooo’ sound as soon as someone does this. It’s not that I can’t sink to their level, it’s that I choose not to.” This is not really an option or shouldn’t be in my opinion. If you feel that you must put down others to further your opinion, that probably means that you don’t fully understand your own opinion to defend it or properly explain it. Just because you don’t agree with someone (whether they’re wrong or not,) does not give you the right to put them down or insult them. Have you thought about that fact that this is a human, and we are all flawed? Have you forgotten that you have been wrong before, and didn’t know until someone politely spoke with you? Or maybe some have done this to you, and now you’re just defensive of any inquiry, do you like that feeling?! Treat others how you want to be treated.

One of the first things we learn in life is that you don’t get your way when you throw a fit, (or at least that was one of thing first things I learned,) and it seems that some people forget that. Hopefully, we’ve also learned to be kind. If not, you’re an adult, you now have control over your life and can take action to change things, so pull it together. (It can be hard, you may need help, but why stay in a vicious cycle of unhappiness?)

Since so many of us have multiple sources of media input/output, we have the opportunity to interact with at least hundreds, if not thousands of people within minutes. You’re reading “Exhibit A.” 😉 I had a thought after seeing so many people just cutting each other down, I chose to write about it, and now you’re reading it. That is effing cool, right? But what if I specifically targeted someone, or spewed negativity under the guise of standing up for the ‘little guy?’ What if I stated my opinions as facts, and cut down all who don’t agree with me? You wouldn’t be here (hopefully,) and it would spread negativity like wildfire, instead of making progress by starting a conversation and asking questions.

If you have a conversation, both parties have the opportunity to learn. If you start by insulting someone, do you think that they’ll ever agree with you, even if you have scientific facts to back it up? Probably not. Or, they may come to that conclusion eventually, but due to how you delivered the information, you hindered their progress. Weird how one little snippy comment can make such a dent in someone’s life, huh?

In the gym, when you have an issue, you go back to the basics. The “back to basics” principle is helpful no matter what area you’re having issues in. The definition of a human being is a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.(Source: Oxford English Dictionary.) Our basics are advanced. ACT. LIKE. IT. Stand up straight, use your words, and continue to grow your brains!

Do you want to be a negative part of someone’s day one time? Or do you want to help build them up, so they have more positivity in their life going forward? We all have power and resources to influence others, and that can be great, or it can be detrimental. Choose to be great. Build each other up. Ask questions. Seek out knowledge. Throughout all of that, be kind. You will help make the world better one interaction at a time.

Do you have another way to handle situations like this that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment or send me a message: shea@ownfitnesspnw.com!

It’s Baking Season, Wha Whaaaa?!

Warning: It’s a long one!

It’s the best time of year! No, not Fall/Autumn, although I won’t argue with that, but no. It’s baking season. The time of year where you can bake homemade goods to your heart’s content, and not overheat your whole house!

If you have met me, you know that I really enjoy baking, and have been doing so for over 20 years. It started with my Grandma Leonard when I was around 5 or 6. She always made pies and would let me help by “crimping” the crust (shaping it to look pretty/ sealing the top and bottom crusts together.) From there, she taught me how to make the crust from scratch, and her tricks for kneading the dough just enough to make it super flaky. I would make some gross creations as a kid (all edible, just odd combinations and a chance of raw cookie dough as a “crust,”) but it taught me patience and provided an outlet for creativity. Now, it is one of my favorite ways to “disconnect” and take time for myself.

I love baking for the same reason I love lifting weights- it’s amazing what you can do/create, it involves failure which provides opportunities to get better, and it brings people together.  It’s a way that I can show that I genuinely care, and it comes from the heart. I have tried new ways to make things have more nutritional value (less added sugars, possibly some protein,) but not seem like the recipe is altered at all. I have modified recipes for food allergies, and I have definitely made some “protein brownies” that the texture and taste of a dry sponge. It’s all exciting and once a bake is complete, I feel a sense of accomplishment, just like after a lift.

I know what you’re thinking- having your trainer talk to you about baked goods can be conflicting right?

My opinion: I have mentioned “balance” several time before, and this is a perfect example. Some people have an “impending doom” feeling around this time of year because of all of the delicious baked goods and desserts that will be readily available and seemingly irresistible. I hear what they’re saying, BUT… you need to be able to live your life, and that life might include a homemade pie or some cookies here and there, and that is OKAY! I like talking to my clients about this stuff because it provides a platform to educate them about how to have balance in their life. I can hopefully encourage them to trust themselves when making food decisions, and educate them on how their bodies process what they put into it. It is important that they have established that inner trust and do not need to feel restricted or have “guilt” around certain foods.

The three main arguments I hear are usually: 1) So you tell your clients to eat pie all the time?! 2) That’s dumb, aren’t you a trainer, is that just job security? 3) Isn’t that just giving them an excuse to eat crappy food and never get better?

My answers to those: I can’t make a decision for anyone, but I can help make sure they are knowledgeable about how their body works and what happens when they eat different things. I make sure they know that it is okay to have some pie as long as they are listening to their bodies, and paying attention how things make them feel. If they need to eat a whole pie and feel sick to their stomach to learn, guess what, they learned and hopefully now they are self aware enough to not do that again- NOT because I told them, but because they now know how THEY feel.

Encouraging them to make their own decisions is why I have job security. We are in a time that it’s easy to get caught up in the “no pain, no gain,” “Low calorie ice cream so you can eat the whole thing,” “food guilt,” nonsense, and I have definitely taken part of that myself.  This is why I coach people through their workouts, and let THEM control what they eat. I am happy to give advice or my opinion on foods, but I do not dicatate what they can/can’t eat, and I refuse to cause the endless cycle of restricting> binging> guilt> restricting> and so on!

And on that note, favorite pies to make:

Savory- Chicken Pot Pie

Sweet- Chocolate Cream Pie (to eat), Marionberry Pie (to make)

Live your lives and revel in the season of baking!! What is your favorite thing to bake, or something that you have always wanted to try?


This applies to life in general in my opinion, not just the gym. Sometimes we can get caught up with people that we think we should like. We’re drawn to something about them, and it might be good or it might be bad. In the past, I was constantly worried about “looking like a dude” if I had muscle. How did that thought get in my head? I had some of the wrong people in my life.

Full disclosure, when I started doing strength training, it was purely for vanity purposes. I wanted to “look good” and have people think that I was attractive or whatever “looking good” entailed. So, when people I was close with started to tell me that I should stop working out because I was starting to look like a man, it really hurt my feelings, and only made me workout more and eat less. What they could have done instead was mentioned that they cared about my health and wanted me to be healthy and happy, OR just not commented on my body that I was so clearly uncomfortable in.  

The cool thing is, I have no hard feelings towards those people. I now see that they were just very unhappy with themselves, and were threatened that I was trying to make myself “better,” while they were perfectly okay with staying unhappy. I didn’t realize at the time those weren’t my people; even though I was wearing dresses, low cut shirts, 6” heels, a full face of makeup, and pretty much anything screaming for attention, I just thought I had to be uncomfortable and eventually I would get used to it. Now that I have amazing individuals in my life, I am wearing what I like and what I am comfortable in, which is workout clothes and Vans/Chucks, or if we’re going somewhere that that is not acceptable or I am feeling “fancy,” it’s jeans, a shirt or tank, and nicer Vans/Chucks.

Now that I have found who I am, I can confidently build relationships with the people that I chose to have in my life. The gym has been a key part to this process. If I hadn’t started lifting, I would never have left that toxic environment. I would never have moved to a new city I had never been to, never got a job at a gym, never made great friends (including my now husband,) built confidence in myself- mind and body, and I would not have the wonderful network of positivity in my life. Now I have people who think it’s cool that I like to pick up heavy stuff, and understand that I do it for fun (because they do too!) Now I have people who say that I am “strong” instead of commenting on the size of ANYTHING on my body (unless it’s in a good way #hamstringgoals.)

If you are starting to work on your health and fitness, and you have people making that seem like a negative thing, take some time to think about if they are worth having in your life. If so, call them out on it! Tell them how important your health is to you, and why what they are saying makes you feel negative. I say “health and fitness” because my journey did not start out as healthy at all. Your “people” will support you, ask questions and check in, and maybe even go to the gym with you. They will snap you out of “a funk” when you start to say negative things about your body, strength, confidence, ect. (shout out to my husband, Adrian, for working on this with me for years! It’s our anniversary and the photo is from our wedding!) Your people should add positivity to your life and care about you, and in return you will add positivity to their lives. You get to a point where you keep bringing each other up to the next level and growing as individuals and together. IT IS SO COOL!

If you’re not sure who your people are yet, work towards your “why,” and it will just happen. (psst-> https://ownfitnesspnw.com/2019/07/31/why-why-why/ ) Find your people that make you want to O.W.N. the day, the week, the year! Find your people that see you O.W.N. your life, and get inspired to do the same!

P.S. If you’re reading this, I consider you some of my people!