Taking On Too Much + Yesterday’s Workout


Well, it sure has been a while since I’ve posted anything! It happens. I’m hoping to be able to pop in here 1-2x per week going forward. I have a lot to share and in addition to being a resource, I like to have an outlet to write in!


(heyyyy! still flexin’ my life away)

Taking On Too Much

Something that I’ve been doing lately (besides working out of course ;-)) involves a whole crap-ton of introspection. Looking in to all that encompasses ME and figuring out what pieces are essential, and what pieces are just taking up space. (I sound so yoga-y, but I promise I’m not all meditative-hippie-sage burning….not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m just not even close haha)

While I’m generally a happy person, I’ve found that I also take on things that are there for no other reason then, THEY ARE THERE.

This can be good at times, but can also leave me really overwhelmed. It becomes a vicious cycle that looks a bit like this:

-Take on too many projects

-Not able to fulfill all projects (so someone gets delayed, cancelled, etc)

-I feel guilty because I’m not fulfilling all of everyone else’s needs

-I simultaneously feel that I am not fulfilling MY OWN needs because I’m busy trying to fill everyone else’s.

Does that sound familiar to anyone else? I know I’m not the only one, I’m just not sure it’s talked about much. 


(yup, still flexing)

I’m beyond blessed to be given so many great opportunities. I’m currently training clients at 2 gyms, teaching classes at 3 gyms, training myself, training my online clients (you can go here for more info about it), and working full-time doing sales/marketing/admin/everything-in-between for my main job. Did I mention I’m also studying for my CSCS? On top of that, I have two different companies that have approached me in the last week to help them with their own email marketing. Once again…GREAT opportunities and I’m not complaining about that…but I am definitely in a predicament of sorts.

It leaves me with VERY little time to rest. The time I do have to rest, I end up trying to spend doing fun things because I don’t want to miss out on doing fun things just because I’m busy.



(like wakeboarding and hiking!!!! no way i’m missing out on that!)

Do you see how this isn’t at all sustainable in the long-term?

But the question becomes, what do I give up? What is most important to keep?

I think this is something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives (and likely, multiple times), but it’s been very present for me lately and I am determined to truly figure out what I WANT and not just do things because others want me to do them.

I attended the Fitness Summit at the end of April in Kansas City (you can see my full review HERE), and I remember Alan Aragon making a comment about this very thing. He said that at some point, you’re going to have to learn to say no. To turn down opportunities, and to only go after the things that will be the most fulfilling.


(Alan is the man! you are too Bret! ;-))

It’s a HARD thing to do when you actually like 90% of everything that you do.

Who do I say no to? Who do I turn down?

I’m still not sure what that answer is, but I risk a 2nd burnout if I don’t figure it out soon. (I had a similar burnout 2 years ago).

Unfortunately, I don’t have all of the answers just yet. And you may not either if this is something you relate to, but I think it’s still important to talk about it. To bring up the issue and connect with others who are in similar situations.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat! (email: fitlizzio@gmail.com)


Ah, the very thing that started this blog in 2008!!! Yep, it’s been 8 years that I’ve had this dang thing. It’s had plenty of time where nothing was being posted, but it is still a very important blog to me and has YEARS worth of content. Old posts actually embarrass me, but I figure that it highlights a certain time in my life so WHATEVS, I won’t delete them.

In training news, I’ve been continuing to train as a powerlifter with the addition of some other exercises that I incorporate because I like them such as box jumps, various bodybuilding movements, and extra glute work (duh).


Yesterday’s workout was:

Hip Thrusts

275×13, 305×10, 135 + knee band x 5-5-5-5 (5 reps + 5 second hold x 4)

Back Squats

165 x alt. 1, 2 reps for 10 sets


175 x alt 2, 3 reps for 10 sets

KB Swings

70 x alt 10, 12 reps for 10 sets

This KICKED MY ASS. Not every day is this crazy, but this is just how it went down yesterday. Today I took it easier and did chin ups, deficit reverse lunges, and single leg leg press. Once upon a time (like up until 6 months ago), I used to try to go balls to the wall EVERY DAY. I’ve since gotten better at balancing the super hard days with less intense onces. Only took me like 8 years haha. (“FINALLY!!!” said every coach I’ve ever had).


Speaking of that……this August marks 10 YEARS since I started working out. To some, that may seem like nothing, but it is a big milestone for me. I’ve been through SO MUCH in those 10 years and I fully plan to put out a picture-filled post that highlights the ups and downs and everything in between in the last 10 years.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll be popping in again soon.

Keep up the training!



Round-Up: The 5 BEST Health and Fitness Articles I’ve Read This Week (May 2016)


I love to write, but some people (okay, A LOT of people) are way smarter than me and know a lot more things than I do.

I am constantly trying to take in more information, but my head is actually kind of small which leads me to believe that my brain only has so much capacity, which puts me at a disadvantage, and well, I just am not ever going to be the smartest person in the room. But i might be the most resourceful depending on who’s in the room, so here goes:

These are the 5 best on-bullshit, logical health and fitness articles i’ve read this week. Enjoy!

1. Superfoods List: The Best Foods That Burn Fat and Help You Lose Weight
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK. PLEASE, give this one a read. My favorite quote from the article:

‘“Superfood” isn’t a scientific term. It’s not even a nutritional term. It’s a marketing term.’ – Jay

2. Are you sure you want that meal plan?

While I think there is a place for meal plans (meal plans that are used as a GUIDELINE, are flexible and not an end-all be-all that is), most of the time, they are exactly like this guy states. Some trainer telling their clients that if they eat these magical foods at magically spaced intervals throughout the day, they will magically see better results than anyone else.

3. Unneccessary Fitness Expenses

It’s true that there is a place for personal training, supplements, etc. But there are so many people who take advantage of this and try to sell people on things they don’t need, just to make a profit. This is a great quick read.

4. Top 10 Fitness Industry Charlatans

It’s important to take what “perceived experts” say with a grain of salt. Do your research and talk to people that are true scientists in their field. Most often, these are the people whose #1 priority is to sift through the bullshit and find the truth.

5. How Do I Know How Much Weight to Use In The Gym?

Shameless plug…but if I’m not writing things that I don’t think are the best, than why write at all? This is one of many approaches to getting stronger in the gym and it answers the common question: how much weight should i use in the gym? This should help you out.


Have more awesome articles that I should include next week? Comment below or e-mail me at fitlizzio@gmail.com

How do I Know How Much Weight to Use in the Gym?


How do I Know How Much Weight to Use in the Gym?IMG_0151

This is probably one of the most common questions I get from clients and friends alike. It makes sense, as everyone comes from a different level of strength and there isn’t really a “guide” that will tell you what weights you should be using. (Side note: Comparing yourself to other people is NOT the way to determine this.)

We are used to looking at a chart to let us know where we fall within a category.

  • If we are a certain height and weight, we should ideally be within a certain body fat range for optimal performance.
  • If we look at our height, weight, and activity level, we can determine approximately how many calories we should be eating on a daily basis.
  • If your heart rate is at a certain level, a chart at the gym will tell you what “zone” you’re in (I have an entire post on this topic coming in the next few weeks as well)

But when it comes to the weight room, no such chart exists. It leaves people doing the same weights with the same rep ranges for YEARS and wondering why they don’t see changes. It is a factor that pushes people to “confuse their muscles” because their current program is “broken”. So let’s break this down once and for all so you can start seeing results in the gym and feel confident that you’re using the correct weights for YOU (remember, everyone is different, ESPECIALLY when it comes to strength).

A Simple Way to Determine What Weights you Should be Using and How to Progress Each Week

1. It’s important to start out by having a plan when you walk into the gym. Whether that is a program that you got from a coach, a plan you printed off from the internet, or just a workout that you or a friend jotted down onto a sticky note, always walk into the gym with an idea of what you’ll be doing.

2. Buy a journal or notebook so that you can track your weights and reps. I know many people that will say “oh it’s ok, I remember all my numbers!”. I’m sure you do….until you don’t and you end up looking like a lost puppy in the gym. Just don’t be stubborn and write your damn workouts down. 🙂

3. Be sure that at the very least, there is a number of sets and a rep range for you to follow. You could also get more technical with predetermined rest periods and tempos, but for simplicity, we’ll leave that out for now.

4. You’ll also want to make sure you can perform the prescribed movement with a full range of motion with bodyweight before you start adding weights. For example, if your workout has you doing back squats for 3 sets of 10,  but you can’t do 1 barbell back squat with a full range of motion, you’d be better off backing down to either a bodyweight squat, box squat, or goblet squat to start.

5. Once you know you can perform each exercise with a full range of motion, you can start to begin adding weight. 

Alright COOL. So you’ve got your handy dandy notebook in one hand, your workout program in another hand, and your coolest workout outfit on (these are the important things people). You’re ready to go!

Using our previous example, your workout program says to do Back Squats for 3 sets of 10 reps. Those are your working sets and typically do not include any warm-up sets. You’ll want to warm up for a few sets prior to starting your working sets (more on that below). Ideally, you’ll also perform some dynamic movements before starting your workout as well.

Someone who knows approximately what weights they’ll be using for their working sets will know when they crossover from warm-up set to working set. Because of this, they will also likely keep their warm up sets shorter (less reps) in order to preserve energy for their working sets. You’ll get to that point in no time, but for now, our warm-up sets will be the same rep range as our working sets so that you can determine what your working sets will be without over/under shooting.

Let’s say you put the barbell on your back (45 lbs) and do 10 reps. It’s no problem and you feel like you could definitely do more, so you rest for a minute or 2 and then add 10lbs on each side (65lbs). You perform a set of 10 reps here and while it’s slightly harder, you still feel that you could go heavier. You add another 10lbs on each side (85lbs) and perform your set. This time, you struggle with the last 2-3 reps. While you could probably go heavier, this is where I’d recommend starting. Remember, you’re not trying to be a hero on Day 1. You’ll have plenty of time to go for PR’s later on, but determining a manageable starting point will set you up for success.

Since you’ve determined that 85 lbs is a good working set for you, you’d perform 2 more sets at 85 lbs and move on to the next exercise.

The next time that back squats are prescribed at 3 sets of 10 reps, you now know that you did 85lbs for 3 sets of 10 last time (because it’s written down in your AWESOME notebook that you’re still carrying around even though you spilled coffee on it this morning, right?!)

This week, you’ll want to try to add slightly more weight. Here’s what you’ll want to do now:

1st Warm up set: 5-7 reps at 45lbs

2nd Warm Up set: 3-5 reps at 65 lbs

3rd Warm Up set: 1-3 reps at 80 lbs

1st Working Set: 90lbs for 10 reps

From here you will decide where to go:

  • If you couldn’t finish all 10 reps at 90lbs, you’d go back down to 85 lbs.
  • If you completed all 10 reps and it was pretty hard (last few reps were a struggle), then you’d stay here for the remaining 2 sets.
  • If this felt pretty easy to you or you felt that you could do more, you may try for 95 lbs on the next set.
  • You can also increase the amount of reps that you did without increasing the weight used. For example, if you couldn’t complete 90lbs for 10 reps, but you could do 85lbs for 12 reps, that is still an increase in what you did the week before.

These strategies can be applied towards virtually any exercise. The big take away here is to try to increase either the amount of weight used or the reps completed each week. I say TRY because it won’t always happen. Some weeks the weight will go up smoothly and other weeks you will easily convince yourself that all of your muscles must have been abducted by aliens. And hey, maybe that is what happens. I’m no xenoarchaeologist.

While there are about 100 different ways you can determine what weights to start with and how to progress in the weight room, this is a very simple way to do it. You can continue to apply these principles each week to your workouts and over time, you’ll get stronger.

Be aware that at some point, the weights won’t go up as easily. Strength is not linear AND has diminishing returns. This means that a new lifter will likely see quick gains in a short period of time. Someone who has been lifting for many years sees much smaller gains over time. This doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, it is just how the body works. It’s part of what keeps it fun.

I love to keep in touch with people and am happy to answer any other questions you have. Feel free to leave a comment below OR email me at fitlizzio@gmail.com. Even if it’s just to say HEY.

Happy lifting!



Recap: The Fitness Summit 2016


An incredible weekend of learning and shenanigans has come to a close and I can’t wait until I have the energy to start processing it all (because I think I slept a combined 7 hours in 3 days -_-).

Thursday night, my friend and I flew out to Kansas City to attend The Fitness Summit. I’d never been before, but have heard great things about it. I have been craving some new learning experiences and since this meant I also got to travel to another city, this seemed like the perfect event.

Some of the presenters I was very familiar with and some were brand new. I walked away with a new perspective, tons of new information that I can apply to training my own clients, and new friends. Here are some of the recaps:

Tony Gentilcore

…went over the Deadlift. This was one of the presentations I was most looking forward to, since deadlifts are one of my favorite exercises. He not only went over technique and deciphering the type of deadlift that a client should perform based on where they are at physically, but also showed us some really awesome practical modifications to get clients to reign in their form and get their bodies to learn the proper patterns of the deadlift. I easily have 5-7 new deadlift modifications in my toolbox and I can’t wait to use them with my clients.

This article highlights most of the “hip hinge badassery” as Tony calls it.

TonyGentilcoreHipHinge copy

Source: Tony Gentilcore

Why this was so helpful: The deadlift is such a great movement because of the recruitment of so many muscle groups. Because of this, many people have a hard time following all of the cues and maintaining proper form such as pulling the hips back, engaging your glutes/hamstrings/lats, keeping your chest out, neutral spine, and the list goes on. I personally have 2-3 clients that have an extremely hard time with this and it limits our training a bit. I am 99.9% sure that with some of the exercises Tony went over, I’ll have these clients deadlifting with proper form very soon.

Nick Tumminello

…discussed single leg movements and this was a pretty interesting topic. We practiced several of the movements that he went over and while the actual movements weren’t necessarily new to me, some of the positioning was different. It was interesting to perform these single-leg movements (such as reverse lunges and step-ups) in different positions to recruit more of the glutes or to put a higher load on the actual working leg based on the rest of your body positioning. I also added some new-to-me single leg exercises that I can add to my arsenal.

This article goes over some of those movements.


Source: Nick Tumminello

Why this was so helpful: As a trainer, the basics will always be the majority of what I’ll focus on with my clients. However, depending on the type of client (and especially the athletes), there are some single leg exercises that just do a better job at certain things. The more tools in my tool box, the better equipped I’ll be with my clients and their needs.

Bret Contreras

…talked about squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. While I’m pretty familiar with Bret’s style and have a slight bias considering I’ve learned a good portion of what I know from him, it was still a good refresher and I always learn something new from him. I think the biggest take away from this particular presentation was not being afraid to adapt. We’d all like to have optimal squat and deadlift form, but that isn’t always possible. We have to be able to adapt to what works best for the individual, even if it is outside of the “normal” technical recommendations. The main focus should be safety and as long as a client isn’t being injured, it’s okay to be less-than-perfect.


Source: Bret Contreras

Why this was so helpful: I think as trainers, we get it in our heads that everything needs to be perfect at all times or else it is to be avoided. While I think striving for that perfect form is where we all should be thinking, accepting that that isn’t always plausible is also really crucial and making adjustments that will get the job done without injury is an option.

Last but not least,

Alan Aragon.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, then you saw that he is my new #braincrush. Not only is he a brilliant guy, his delivery of information is incredibly sound. He gives real-world advice and leaves out the fluffy bullshit. I think I speak for most people at the conference when I say that he left all of us inspired and ready to take on the world. His tips and tools for pursuing your own career in the fitness business were really insightful and I think he touched on all of the “fear” aspects that many (if not all) of us have.


Source: Alan Aragon

Why this was so helpful: I’m often crippled by fear and have often felt like the only one. Alan’s advice was to find the things you love in the industry and build your business around them. Not only that, but he provided some tools to figure out what those areas might be for people like me who aren’t 100% sure what that “dream job” looks like. Fear is present in almost every single entrepreneur’s venture at some point, but his best advice to move past that is to just DO IT ANYWAYS. You da man Alan.

(Also, he’s really freaking smart, so you should go look through his articles too.)

There were several other speakers that gave really great presentations and I think it’s safe to say that there was really something for everyone there. From the fitness enthusiast to the personal trainer to the nutritionist to the fitness business tycoon, there was plenty of good information in all realms of the fitness industry. I will definitely be back next year!

The Location

It’d be a tragedy if I also didn’t mention the amazing gym that the conference was held at, Impact Elite Gym in Kansas City. This gym had everything you could ever need/want (except a hip thruster) and had tons of space to do it. The “feel” of the gym was hardcore/oldschool and the bar at the front desk where they made protein shakes, pancakes (!!!!), and had all kinds of drinks and snacks was bar none.

As busy as we were, I obviously couldn’t leave without getting a workout in.

Here’s what I did:

-Good Mornings + Squats: 45×10, 75×10, 95×5

-Back Squats: 145x10T (got all 10 reps in 1 set)

10 min. AMRAP

-RDL’s: 145×10

-Squat Jumps: bwx10

I did 6 rounds in 9:36 and called it. It’s barely 24 hours later as I’m writing this and my glutes and hamstrings are already sore.

-Leg Press: 140×10, 180×10, 230×10, 270×10, 320×10, 320×15, 320×5

EMOM – 10 min.

-Kettle Bell Swings: 70×6

This workout kicked my ass and I ended up having to go back to the hotel to shower afterwards. Totally worth it though!

Time to go read, write, learn and GSD(get shit done)!!!



What I’ve Been Up To


It’s been a while since I’ve been an every-day-blogger, and for now, it’s what is working for me. There may be a day when daily blogging is back in my life, but for now I’m on the when-I-feel-like-it train.

I thought I’d pop in for now and let you know what I’m up to these days, so here goes!


-Still doin’ it! It’s crazy to think that 9.5 years ago, I stepped into Lifts for the first time and started this crazy, wonderful adventure. I’ve been consistently working out since then and I plan on never stopping.

-My focus has finally shifted to powerlifting. It was something I’d been eyeing for the last 1.5 years and I had started gearing my workouts towards that style, but I finally bit the bullet and started training at a powerlifting gym this past January. I LOVE IT. Not only do I love the fact that I’m getting stronger, but the vibe of a powerlifting gym is just so much different than a regular gym. The focus is very little about aesthetics and very much about strength. You get a break from those who are there “to be seen” and instead get to lift weights with a bunch of like-minded people that also want to be strong AF. It’s quite wonderful. (I still do tons of glute work too, in case you were worried ;-))

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-I’m eating what I want and being mindful of it. I’ve never been happier. I’m not focused on losing weight, I’m in control, and I’m happy with my body. Could I afford to lose 10-15 lbs to be leaner? Sure thing. But it’s not my focus right now. I’m simply focused on eating to fuel my workouts and also enjoying life.


-I’ve been gone almost every weekend this year! Multiple trips to AZ to see family, Seattle, Park City, Dana Point, and Maui. I’m headed to Kansas City at the end of this month for a strength training seminar and then to Big Bear at the end of June. I guess you could say I’ve got the travel bug!



-I’m still training clients at 2 different gyms, teaching a weekly boot camp, and working as a business consultant to gyms. The balance is great and I’m so happy that I’m able to work hard and play hard too!



-This is always the first question I’m asked by family and friends. “How’s Oscar?” He is definitely the star of the show and he loves every minute of it. This dog makes my life better. He’s the best friend I could ever ask for.

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That’s what’s going on with me! Tell me what’s up with you! Traveling? Working out? I want to hear about it, so comment below!

3 Things You Must Do to Reach Your Fitness Goals


I sat down here to write, knowing I felt like writing, and found myself with nothing to write about. Cool story, right?

But I also know that once I get going, sometimes the words just start flowing.

And as I started writing that, I instantly saw the relationship of that statement as it relates to exercise.

The fact that sometimes you are a little unsure, not in the mood, or flat out dreading a workout. But if you just start, maybe you’ll get into the zone and end up with a kick ass swole session under your belt.

it reminded me of why it is so important to push yourself to do something, even when you’re feeling unmotivated (and boy is this something I needed to remind myself of, but that’s another story for another day).

The #1 question I’m asked (and it’s almost on a daily basis) is how I find the motivation to workout consistently. Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, random people at the grocery store, even fellow gym-goers are curious as to what I have that they don’t.

The answer is going to surprise you, I think. But first, let me fill you in on a few things about myself (and many other fitness “freaks”) that you may not know.

3 Misconceptions about the “Fitness Freak”

  • Working out consistently does not come from motivation. Yes, you read that right. I haven’t worked out consistently for 9.5 years because I was motivated. I’ve worked out for 9.5 years consistently because I made that choice. Don’t get me wrong, I find a lot of joy and fulfillment from working out. I have always been a bit competitive and have always been an athlete. One of my biggest fears is losing my athletic abilities. It’s the reason I not only lift weights, but find other ways to stay active as well. I also see how well working out translates into how I carry my personal and professional life. I see what getting stronger physically does to my mental wellbeing (it’s life-changing, btw). HOWEVER, if I only worked out when I was motivated, I guarantee that my workouts would be all over the place and extremely INCONSISTENT. Motivation is wavering. Sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low, and it usually doesn’t stay for very long. It’s unreliable and while you can take advantage of it while it’s visiting, you shouldn’t let it be your crutch or your reason.


  • You don’t have to love everything you do. As I stated above, I do love working out. But that doesn’t mean that I love everything I do to stay fit. There are plenty of exercises that I’d happily trade in permanently, but often times it is the exercises that you wish to do least, that you probably should be doing more. It’s fun to do things we’re good at. It’s not as fun to do things that we struggle with, so it makes sense that we all have exercises we hate. While exercise should generally be enjoyable and you should like what you do, be aware that there will be pieces of what you do that you may not always enjoy.


  • Piggy backing on the above statement, sometimes you will start to love the things you previously disliked. I used to despise chin ups and bench press. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t very good at either of them. But I also knew that I wanted to get better at both exercises, so I just did them. Low and behold, I now LOVE both of them A LOT. You don’t have to start out loving something to potentially start loving it. So hang in there, keep practicing the things you’re weak at, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn to love them.

3 Things You Must Do to Reach Your Fitness Goals

The 3 previous statements bring me to the answer you were looking for earlier in this post. The question of “what do I (and other fitness “freaks”) have that you don’t?”…

The answer is: NOTHING. 

Mentally, I don’t have any magic tools that you don’t have. As much as we all like to think we are “unique”, we’re also kind of the fucking same guys. Sure, we have unique qualities, but at the end of the day, we’re the same damn breed. (And before you tell me I have more time, I have the same 24 hours that you do. We choose the way we spend them.)

Now that we know we have the same tools to work with, it’s important to look at what will make us successful in our endeavors, whether fitness and health related or not.

  1. The goal has to be stronger than your excuses. If it’s not very important to you to be fit, it will probably be hard for you to choose hitting the gym over crushing an entire season of New Girl on a Tuesday night. Finding the reason WHY you want to be fit is crucial. Maybe it’s because you just want to look better naked (totally valid goal). Maybe you know that your family has a history of obesity-related health issues. The fact that you don’t want to be put onto 4 different medications in your mid-30’s. The bottom line is, if you don’t have a WHY, you will likely not be able to push yourself to make the time and effort to consistently exercise.
  2. Just like your muscles, mental strength must be exercised. Just as the current habits we have were learned, we can retrain ourselves to forge new habits. This doesn’t come easily, and requires us to practice. For example, if you’re used to getting home from work each day and sitting on the couch for the rest of the night, it won’t be easy to just start going to the gym after work instead. You may be able to get by with some motivation for a few days, but once that wears off (and it almost always does, hence my advice to NOT rely on motivation), you’ll want to go right back to sitting on the couch after work. These are the times that you have to exercise your brain. These are the times you have to fight the urge to sit on the couch, and just go to the gym anyways. Over time, your habits will change and it will get easier and easier.
  3. You have to be ok with NOT BEING PERFECT. This one is really difficult, but likely the most important. We love to beat ourselves up when we fuck up. We love to throw in the towel when things don’t go perfectly. We love to sabotage ourselves further when we’ve gotten off track even in the slightest bit. And what we REALLY need to understand is that we will never be perfect. We will fuck up, fail, derail, and make the wrong choice. It is not an if, it is a when. Being OKAY with that fact, is what will actually keep you ON TRACK with your goals. It sounds a bit ass backwards, but it’s actually the truth. It doesn’t give you a pass to skip the gym and eat like crap and then just throw your hands up and say “eh, i’m not perfect”, but it DOES give you permission to pep talk yourself and say “i fucked up, but i am not a fuck up. I got off track, but I will not stay off track. I fell down, but I will get back up”.

At the end of the day, consistency wins the race. It’s funny, because we like to think that the extremes are what get us from point A to point B. It couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the small steps that actually move us forward. It’s the acceptance that not everything will be perfect. It’s the fact that some days we won’t have time for our hour long weight lifting workout and instead, we’ll have 15 minutes in our living room to move. It’s the days you end up at a pizza joint with friends and decide to just eat 1 slice of pizza instead of eating 7 slices and writing off the day as an entire failure. THAT is how we reach our goals. THAT is how we get the things we’ve always wanted. We accept what is, and we do the best we can with it. 


1. Tell me, what is your goal and what stands in your way the most?

2. Do you push yourself to workout/eat well even when you don’t want to? Or do you give in to what you want to do at that moment?

My Fitness Journey: 9 Years of Ups and Downs Part 3

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In my last post, I left off with my recovery from a bad relationship with food and my elimination of steady state cardio. It was something I knew I needed to do for a long time, but it didn’t make it easy. While it was difficult mentally, it was made a bit easier by the fact that I almost effortlessly lost 10lbs in the first 2 months of putting focus on weight training, doing very little cardio, and eating foods I wanted to eat without feeling guilt.

Slowly but surely, my goals started to change towards getting stronger and the emphasis on “losing weight” was dwindling.

Throughout the rest of 2013 and into 2014, I started to really remember why I got into this in the first place and started to remember my roots. I was taught how to lift weights first and foremost, and that was what I loved most.

I continued counting calories throughout all of these years. At some point, I switched from Sparkpeople over to My Fitness Pal, but I’m 99% sure that there isn’t a day in the last 9 years that my food isn’t tracked somewhere. Impressive? maybe. Scary? Definitely. It’s a sign that my relationship with food could still be improved.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve been really comfortable with my body and even though I’m not the lean bikini-competitor girl I once was, I’ve actually grown to love the body I do have, added body fat and all.

But still, there is a part of me that has wanted redemption. A part of me that wants to say a giant FUCK YOU to my eating disorder and to show it that I’m better than that, stronger than that, and can get lean WITHOUT losing my mind. It’s a me vs. me that I haven’t quite figured out yet, but also haven’t given up on.

I’ve tried a few times and have seen some success, but ultimately have failed. I’m actually not embarrassed to admit that, it just shows that I still have work to do when it comes to my relationship with food and my mindset.

I’ve worked with great coaches (Sohee and Erik) that have each taught me some valuable lessons, but ultimately, a coach can’t do the work for you. I’m a personal trainer and know this first-hand. I can’t make my clients take action, work hard, show up, etc. I can only guide them. The coaches I’ve had helped me as best as they could and I did see results and made progress with each of them. BUT, there has always been a fear in me that by heading down the road to fat loss, that I’ll end up in the same position I was in back in 2009. It’s, what I believe, has subconsciously held me back and made me self-sabotage my efforts.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about it over the last few months as I’ve tried to figure myself out and this is what I do know:

-I’ve been able to maintain my weight more or less for the last few years at a weight/look that I am comfortable with

-I’ve been able to lose fat, but haven’t really been able to keep it off (that’s the self-sabotage)

-I’ve gotten stronger and have continued to kick ass in the gym

-I’ve been paying entirely too much attention to what I eat

Did that last one make your head turn? Every article you read asks that you pay attention to what you eat. But this is what has really been striking me as of late. I’ve been tracking my food intake for 9 years and while that can be a great tool for some, I realize that I also have ZERO clue about what my body needs WITHOUT looking to see how much protein/carbs/fat/calories I’ve had for the day. I don’t pay attention to hunger cues very much other than when I’m hungry, I check to see how much i can eat without going over my numbers.

I’ve come to the realization that by tracking everything I put in my body, I’ve become completely obsessive. I could probably tell you how many calories are in almost any serving of food you present to me. I know HOW to eat, yet I rely on calculators. Exclusively.

I think tracking was a great thing for me for a long time, and in the future it may be a great tool for me again, but for now? I think it’s time for me to break up with My Fitness Pal.

I think I need to take a leap of faith and start learning to eat based on my hunger cues and what my body needs, as opposed to choosing to eat based on what the numbers are telling me. This may sound counterintuitive to some, but I believe it is a necessary step in my journey.

There is a good chance that in doing this, I’ll gain weight initially because I won’t really know how much I’m eating. At the same time, I do believe that over time, I’ve been doing this long enough (and know how to properly put meals together to fuel my training) that I think it will benefit me in the long run. I think it will be the key to me putting all this shit behind me FOR GOOD.

It’s a giant unknown, but is something I’ve pondered a lot in the recent months. It’s scary and that may sound silly to some, but it’s been my security blanket for 9 years. I think it’s time to pay attention to my body, and not my data.

It was a good run My Fitness Pal…and Spark People? Thank you for your help over the years, but it’s time. It’s time for me to give up the trackers for a while. Maybe I’ll be back to them, but for the next few months, they’ve gotta go.


*I appreciate all of you that read through all 3 parts of this. It was a lot and definitely wasn’t easy to write. It’s a tough subject for me, but at the same time, if I can help even one person, it’s worth it. I believe going through that is part of what makes me a great personal trainer and coach to others. I’ve been there, I understand the struggle, and I’ve (mostly) gotten away from it. I’m not perfect, I haven’t solved everything, but I’ve been through quite a bit and have helped others in their journey as well. Please feel free to reach out to me (or someone) if you need help. You can e-mail me at fitlizzio@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post. 

My Fitness Journey: 9 Years of Ups and Downs Part 2

boot camp day 3

I left you all in part 1 with the day I competed in July 2009. I was more than ready and felt great. I looked great too. After my show, my coaches all told me how impressed they were. They said I nailed my peak week and looking incredible on stage. Mind you, this was only the 2nd NPC Bikini show, so it wasn’t a huge thing like it is today. I think there were 7 people in my height class and maybe 30-40 total competing in bikini that day. Not many people were doing this and social media wasn’t really “poppin'” at the time. I’m pretty sure i was still on myspace….

This was my myspace profile pic at the time..don’t judge me haha

And we're off!

Anyways, this is where things got bad. Up to this point, I had been fighting off my poor relationship with food. I had kept it at bay because I knew I had to compete. Once I was off the stage, I lost control. I had scheduled a photo shoot for the day after my show with Bret’s brother Joel (who is an amazing photographer). I binged right before the photo shoot and tried throwing up so that I could suck it in enough for our photos (I don’t think I succeeded by the way). I was super lean, so a lot of food actually just made my veins pop a lot, but it was the start of a very long spiral down a shitty, shitty road.


(a photo from the shoot)

I had planned on competing in another competition 5 weeks after my first show, but with Fitness America this time (a different federation). A lot of the ladies that I’d been posing with were doing it, so I wanted to do it with them. I had become close with many of them and it just sounded really fun.few pics. more to come

I binged 1x/week leading up to that show and couldn’t really control it. It showed on stage. I placed 5th and was told afterwards that they’d like to see me a little bit leaner for next time. I knew I didn’t look my best (although I’d argue that was the best my butt has EVER looked haha).

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 5.48.59 PM(i’m on the right)

I had qualified for Nationals at my first show and was planning on doing a national show in October or November, but from here on out, I just couldn’t get myself together. And so started what would be the most miserable couple years of my life. Battling an eating disorder.

I gained about 25-30 lbs in a short time, and felt awful. It’s a funny thing that happens. You get used to seeing yourself so lean, that only a few pounds makes you feel HUGE. The cycle becomes this: you binge, you’re REALLY bloated since you don’t normally eat like that and your body isn’t used to it, you wake up the next day 10 lbs heavier (water weight mostly) and just feel like you look awful (and let’s face it, you look like shit because you’re holding so much water). You vow to not eat all day and you mostly don’t. You perform at least an hour of cardio to “work it off” and then in just a few days, you do it again. Before you know it, the scale is TRULY going up and you’re depressed about it so then it starts again. It’s a cycle of binge, restrict, binge, restrict, and it is VERY common in the competition world. I know so many that dealt with the same issues, although at the time, I thought I was the only one and was very quiet about it. There weren’t a bunch of articles about the issues, and nobody talked about it. I was completely ashamed and watched as my friends stepped on stage. I wrote out my goals, started telling people I was “x” weeks out, and kept trying to get myself together. Eventually I started telling people I was bulking. That was a lie. I wasn’t bulking, I was just not comfortable telling people I had an eating disorder. That I couldn’t eat 1 cookie without eating the whole box. That I couldn’t enjoy any food that I didn’t know EXACTLY what was in it. It was embarrassing and I just wanted to hide from it all (even though it was very apparent something was wrong).

I remember my sister’s wedding. I looked awful. I look at those photos now and it doesn’t even look like me.

makeup(getting ready for the wedding…this is one of the “good” ones)

I remember standing in my dad’s kitchen and him asking “are you gaining weight?” I freaked out and responded “I DONT KNOW DAD” and stomped out.

The thing is, when you get in really good shape, people start telling you how much they look up to you. How they wish they could be like you. How they wish they had the determination that you have. And it feels really, really good. So when you start to unravel, you feel like you’ve not only let yourself down, but everyone else too. Everyone starts to expect that you’re the one that’s going to be eating healthy all the time, working out, and looking awesome. At least that’s what it FEELS like they expect. Whether they do or not, I’m not sure. I can tell you that I not only felt pressure from myself, but pressure from my peers that looked up to me. My family that had complimented my successes. My friends that couldn’t believe I would bring my own fish and veggies on the boat with me to the lake.


I moved to Los Angeles in May 2011 and the disordered eating continued. It wasn’t until late 2012 that I finally started getting a handle on it. I finally decided that I was going to be OK with who I was, no matter how i looked. This was me and I could either continue to dwell on the past, or I could start anew. I knew that I had to allow myself to eat what I wanted in order to rid myself of the “guilt” I had from eating “forbidden” foods.

At first it wasn’t pretty, but over time, the glamour of a cookie wasn’t really that glamorous anymore. I could eat 1 cookie and be fine with it. I didn’t need to eat the entire bag of chips. I could eat a subway sandwich and not feel like I was a giant loser. In the past, I had not allowed myself to eat ANY of that stuff in the presence of others. I felt like i had an image to uphold, so this was a big step for me.

Over time, I was able to create a healthier relationship with food. I found that most of the time, I actually LIKED eating healthy foods. I ate junk when I wanted it, but it actually wasn’t that often. I finally felt like a normal person again.

I followed that up with giving up cardio. That was another piece that I knew needed to go. In the past, if I didn’t stand on the elliptical or treadmill for at least 30 minutes a day, I felt off. It was useless, and yet that tiny little bit of sweat I drew up made me feel OK so that I could move on with my day. Cardio came before weight training at that point and I knew that needed to change.

Oddly enough, as my relationship with food changed for the better and my physical activity decreased, I actually started losing weight. I dropped 10 lbs in about 2 months and finally started looking like ME again….

2013-07-15 21.42.25

Part 3 is up next…

My Fitness Journey: 9 Years of Ups & Downs Part 1

pics..more to come

Hello friends!

It’s been a while, but I believe that this blog has grown up with me, and that means it has changed quite a bit from what it was in 2008! I’ll be turning 28 in just 8 days and life is busy. Daily blogging just isn’t what I want to be doing right now in my life, and I’d rather have great content than just content. This blog houses almost 7 years of posts (on and off) and documents so much of my fitness journey. From the days of competing all the way until now with my focus mainly being hitting PRs. I’m so thankful for this outlet and hope that at some point, it’s been helpful to you as well.

I want to discuss something today that I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few months. If you are sensitive to food-related or eating disorder topics, I suggest skipping this post.

Let’s start from the beginning: 2007

It was August 2007 when I started working out for real. I had played sports my whole life and briefly had a personal trainer when I was in high school (thanks mom!), but I was not really committed and probably only went a handful of times. I count the start of my journey as the day I walked into Bret‘s gym and worked out for the first time. Up to that point, I had eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was thin most of my life and because I was so active, the plethora of junk food and fast food never really settled into my body. I did start to notice that changing a little bit when I was 19 and wasn’t active at all anymore, which is why I decided to do something about it. I didn’t start dieting then, but Bret and Jordan (my coaches at Lifts) encouraged me to start making better food choices. I vividly remember sitting in the lounge at Lifts eating turkey and grapes after my workout almost every day. (Maybe that’s where my love for grapes started).

I eventually started incorporating cardio into my life (because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do when you worked out) and then started counting calories. I was using Spark People (a food tracking website) at the time to track my food intake. I didn’t pay any attention to the types of foods I was eating other than I tried to eat healthy food most of the time and my goal was to keep my calories around 1800 each day. I ate a lot of Kashi heart to heart, fruit, frozen dinners, and other low-calorie foods on the market. I lost about 10lbs in a short time and I was skinny. I believe I was about 132 lbs at this point and didn’t have much muscle. (I’m 5’7)

I remember the summer of 2008 is when I started having some issues with food and was slightly battling the urge to binge eat. It wasn’t a huge problem at the time, but I do remember being obsessive over my weight and body. I gained back the 10 lbs I had lost over about 6 months and I remember going into Lifts and we would all joke about the fact that I was now closer to 140 lbs. “EEK” was the term we used. It didn’t really bother me that much, but over time I started to feel out of control with my eating. (side note before anyone thinks this wasn’t cool: the coaches and clients at Lift were like family to me, so we all constantly gave each other a hard time about stuff..it was all in good fun and i gave it right back)

Towards the end of 2008 I had had enough. I had been reading articles on bodybuilding.com for long enough and had started to see that they were introducing a Bikini division in the NPC (a bodybuilding federation). The first show was going to be in March and while I wanted to do that, I knew it wasn’t enough time so I decided to prepare for the next show in July 2009. A few days before 2009 began, I swore off binge eating, jumped right into clean eating, which meant nothing artificial, lots of chicken, egg whites, sweet potatoes, vegetables, fruit, oatmeal, and brown rice. For the first several months, I felt really damn good and it was actually pretty easy to follow. I didn’t follow a set meal plan, but instead made sure I had protein at each meal with a complex carb and a veggie. I included fats a few times per day and kept my calories at around 1800-2200 each day (via Sparkpeople lol). I didn’t have any urges to binge, I was just on a roll. I was working out several hours per day and was finding that I was so motivated and seeing results so quickly, that eating clean became really easy for me. It all became easy actually. I was boxing 2 hours per week, doing cardio 5-6 hours per week, and lifting weights 5-6 hours per week. I wasn’t restricting too much with food on a caloric level, but I was restricting food choices a LOT. (I wouldn’t add salt to anything, I wouldn’t eat ketchup, I wouldn’t use spray oil on my pans, etc.)

progress 5.16.09 014

Eventually, as with anything, it became harder to stick to. I was getting super lean (see above) and was planning to compete in July, but I had done so well with training and eating (and being 21 years old with a fast metabolism) that I was ready to compete by May-ish. This gave me some lee-way and I started incorporating a 1x/week cheat day. I would get up early every Saturday, go to Sprouts or Whole Foods, buy “healthy” junk food and eat about 2000-3000 calories over a 2-3 hour period. Then I wouldn’t eat for the rest of the day and I’d keep myself busy hanging by the pool or with friends. Still, at this point, things were manageable.

I competed in July 2009, placed 2nd, looked amazing, and then all hell broke loose….

Lizzy compete 21

-To be Continued…

Snowed In Workout


Good morning peeps! In case you’re curious about the title of this post, I am currently NOT snowed in. In fact, it’s been about 75 and sunny here the last few days, but I’ll stop there before someone throws a tomato at me. 😀 (but before you do, there’s a workout at the end of this post that you can do anywhere with ZERO equipment..woot!)

BUT FIRST…let me talk about me haha.

Random Tidbits

-I started training at a powerlifting gym near LAX (Game Time Strength) and it is awe.some. It’s nice to be in an environment like that (I love the old school garage gym feel) and the people there are super cool.

Here’s a video of me doing Bench Press with 105×10 with 3 boards. I’m working my way up and hope to hit a 135lb bench press in the near future!

-In other news, we have our very last Rockstar Fitness™ Boot Camp at Six:02 this Sunday! It’s been such a fun month with these people and I love seeing new faces every week! After this weekend, we’ll be back at IRON Santa Monica every Saturday at 10am.


-I recently started looking into Masters programs. I guess I’ve been out of school long enough to not remember how much it sucks haha. I’ve been finding that I want to learn more about psychology and more specifically, the dynamics of organizations in regards to psychology. I still have a lot to do before this actually starts (the GRE is 1st on my list, followed by actually applying to schools!), but I’m excited to do this. It wasn’t something I EVER planned on doing, but yet, here I am. Life is funny like that, huh?

-I’m headed to MAUI next week!!! WOOHOO! My awesome boss is taking our team on the trip of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to any part of Hawaii, so this will be a whole new experience (if you have any advice on things to do, send them my way)!

-This is also random, but it is on my mind constantly and I can’t stress it enough. For anyone that believes lifting weights and getting exercise is just about the body…oh, how wrong you are. I would actually argue that the affects it has on your life OUTSIDE of the gym is far greater than in the gym. You cannot cheat, you cannot have someone do it for you, you cannot become better without putting in the work, and the list goes on. It builds patience, dedication, character, humbleness, and accountability. It builds the mind, really. Sure, it builds your muscles too, but I’d say that’s just a side effect compared to the impact it has on your life in general.

Snowed In Workout

While I may not be in the snow, I know so many of you are! I actually did this workout yesterday morning while my dog ran around the park, so I thought I’d share since I didn’t need any equipment aside from a tabata timer (I just used an app on my phone…there are plenty to choose from, any of them will be fine).


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