Monday, December 14, 2015

Meet my FXB Instructors: Boss

Boss: a.k.a. Taylor

Don’t let Taylor’s age fool you. Even though I think she’s our youngest FXB instructor, there is no question in my mind that Taylor is the Boss. Part of it is because of her no BS approach to getting things done. If a Wacky Sock Wednesday photo needs to be taken and there’s only 30 seconds left before class starts, well you best get your crazy socked feet on the mat. We’re there for a reason, and Taylor will make sure we don’t get far off track. But it’s more than that and, as usual, I’ll attempt to defend my theory.

First up are the 7 Personality Traits of a Great Boss, as outlined by

Taylor doesn’t sugarcoat things on the mat. If you need to do more burpees, she will tell you. If you need to kick a little harder, she will tell you. Some might not be able to handle her level honesty, but that’s OK. She can just tell them to toughen up.

Taylor definitely walks the walk. She works at the same level on the mat as she pushes everyone else to achieve.

Commanding Presence
Um, yep.

She may not always want to admit it, but I can see it in her eyes. She’s an optimist, even if her honesty tries to bring her down from time to time.

Taylor was one of my coaches during my 10-week challenge. She was a huge support to me then, and continues to be the same today. I know I’m not the only one that can count on Taylor to be there in a time of need.

Just watching Taylor out on the mat is an inspiration. She pushes hard, even when she might not be feeling all too well.

Sense of humor
Taylor can be on the quiet side, but when you can get her talking the laughs are sure to come. Besides, she has to have a very good sense of humor to put up with many of us at FXB!

Next up for justification is my favorite: According to this legendary site, Boss is a term used to describe something/someone that is “supercool, fly, awesome to the max.” Check, check and check!

Finally, we have RBF. Taylor herself will tell you that she has classic RBF. For those of you not in the know, traditionally RBF stands for Resting Bitch Face. However, in Taylor’s case, that’s not the definition.

RBF actually stands for Resting Boss Face.

Bottom line is that Taylor gets it done—like a Boss. And I, for one, am grateful!

~ Carrie

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Clarity, Courage, & Endurance

“Please give me the clarity to see the path in front of me, the courage to take it, and the endurance to stay on it.”

This was the prayer I said back in May of 2013 when I first started my leave from Cummins. I was about to embark on a journey that was new to me—a stay at home mom. I was also trying to once and for all find a solution to my health and fitness issues. I couldn’t clearly see the path in front of me at the time, but I knew it was there. I just had to find it, take it, and then stay the course.

For my career, I saw the path before me but I was scared to take it. I had to take a lot of deep breaths, but I found the courage to write and publish my novels. The endurance for me to stay on this path is connected to my courage to even write. It’s still hard to me to say out loud that I’m a published author without it coming out sounding like a question rather than a statement. But I’m getting there.

For my health and fitness, I didn’t see the path at first. I had planned to tackle it on my own, using the knowledge I had gained from all the previous programs I had been a part of. But then one day my husband called to chat and asked me if I had ever considered doing Farrell’s. The call came at a time when I didn’t know how to move forward. Suddenly, my path had been shown to me and I started my 10-week session the next week. I’ve built up my endurance over the last year for the workouts, and I’ve got that down. Most of the time people have to convince me to take a break. It’s the nutrition part that I’ve got to overcome. I have to address my binge eating disorder. I don’t like how it makes me feel, not just physically but emotionally too.

Now I’ve been given another path. A path that I know will help me because I can feel it in my soul. It took me a while to find the courage to take the path, talking myself out of it every other day. But then finally I did it—I reached out and asked for help. If you’ve been following my blog then you might remember that I have difficulty doing that. Now I have to find the endurance to stay honest and true. I have to continue to let go and stop trying to do this alone. I have to trust those around me and let them help me.

Back in 2013 when I first said my little prayer, I thought I was going to be answered with one path. What I’ve discovered is that what lies before me is a series of paths that interconnect. This is now a constant prayer in my life.

With the start of the new year approaching and goals being established, I’d like to extend this prayer to you. Even if you don’t believe in prayer, let me extend it to you as positive energy.

May you all gain clarity to see the path before you, find the courage to take it, and have the endurance to stay on it.

~ Carrie

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Meet my FXB Instructors: The Liger

The Liger: a.k.a. Pete

The first time I had Pete for an instructor was back during my first 10 weeks at FXB. About halfway through the workout I thought, “Man, this guy is funny.” Over this past year I’ve concluded that Pete jokes around while on the mic for two primary reasons:

(1) He’s naturally funny.
(2) He aims to give us the best workout possible. His jokes make us laugh, which makes it harder to hold a resistance band, and therefore we work harder. In addition, laughing burns extra calories.

If you’ve attended one of Pete’s workouts, then you’ve likely heard such cracks as:

“Protect your money-maker!”
“Show off your Superman quads.”
“I just want to hear a gentle rain before the thunderstorm.”
“Are your biscuits burning yet?”
“Bueller . . . Bueller . . .”

But that’s not all. He can get creative in the workouts as well. I was extremely disappointed to have missed his session where he introduced The Easter Egg Hunt. Maybe someday he’ll bring it back.

It should be no surprise that for a while I considered Pete “The Joker.” However, whenever I think of The Joker, I think of this guy:

Well, Pete is no villain so that just wasn’t going to do. I had to come up with something more creative that would be worthy of the all the awesomeness that is Pete. As I’ve gotten to know Pete better, I’ve learned that he’s kind of a Napoleon Dynamite fan. I imagine that he’d be able to apply some of the Napoleon Dynamite quotes to his roles at FXB.


He could use this during a kickboxing burn out.


I think his 10 week students would appreciate this kind of direct approach.

FIT Member

Pete could intimidate his bag partner with this one. Because he probably does have secret ninja skills he learned from the government.

Fun Day Participant

Although for Pete, the tots would be replaced with donuts. But only on Saturday Fun Days.

The shared ability to deliver hysterical one-liners isn’t the only reason I reference Napoleon Dynamite in this post. Enter the Liger.

I know Napoleon Dynamite didn’t invent the liger, but the movie certainly made it more popular. The Liger just seemed a fitting nickname for our Pete. Why, you ask? For one, the liger is bred for magic (at least according to Napoleon Dynamite) and Pete must have some magic skills. How else can he make a 45 minute beating, er workout, seem fun and fast? Magic—that’s how. Also, the liger is a cross between a Lion and a Tiger. I’ll show you how I think this fits Pete with just a few examples.

The Lion

According to the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, lions are highly territorial. They are known to occupy the same territory for generations. At FXB, Pete has his specific territory. It’s a good thing he arrives early enough to ensure he gets his spot, because I’m not sure I want to see what would happen if someone tries to take his square!

Lions have been a symbol for strength and courage throughout history. Not only is Pete strong, but he makes each and every one of us stronger as well. And his courage can be seen mainly through one of his non-FXB lives where he often steps on the stage to portray a character in one of many plays.

The Tiger

Pete’s Chinese zodiac sign is the Tiger. Coincidence? Me thinks not. The primary characteristics of someone born in the year of the Tiger are: Powerful, Tough, Dynamic, and Mighty. Yep, that sounds about right.

Tigers also maintain control over their territories by constantly patrolling them. Pete’s got that down.

So, Pete is The Liger to me. If you haven’t already, you really should attend one of his magical classes! And when you do, Napoleon Dynamite would only have one thing to say:

Monday, October 5, 2015

The path less traveled

A couple months ago I posted about how I was afraid to take time off my workouts so I could recover from an injury to my foot. I thought it was about time I give you an update to let you know the result of this most recent test to my journey.

To briefly recap what happened: at the beginning of August I had spent about 3 days painting my home office (barefoot). My foot was sore after that, and then later in the week I ended up hurting it at the end of a kickboxing session. I kept going to my workouts on a restricted plan, but then hurt it again about a month later. I was forced to take time off of not only workouts, but off most activities that required me to be on my feet a lot. I was scared that the time off would set me back.

I took a full week and a half off my workouts, as well as most activities at home. I then went back to my workouts but just for the resistance training days. After a week of that, I eased back into kickboxing.

I’ve been hesitant to write this post because I don’t want to jinx anything—because that’s how my life rolls. So I won’t tell you how my foot is doing, but I’ll let you come to that conclusion on your own based on my cryptic message here.

Instead, I’ll focus on how I survived this break mentally/emotionally.

When my injury occurred, I was disappointed that it happened so close to the one year mark for me. I wanted to finish out the year strong and log more than the 299 workouts I was able to do. I was on pace to have only missed 3 workouts total in that one year. However, now I see that it was the best time for me to sit out. One of the things I was afraid of was that the time off would give me the excuse to start skipping more days for various reasons. You know those reasons:
  • My writing is finally in the groove and I don’t want to stop
  • Im too tired
  • I have laundry to do
  • Its too hot
  • My eye is twitching
  • I have to go to the store
  • I have cramps
  • Fall TV started and there are only so many hours in a day
  • I forgot to charge my Fitbit

The list could go on and on and on . . . But with my rolling over into a new year, I wanted to get back in because I knew I was starting fresh again. It’s motivating to see how many I can log this year. Thankfully, I’m no longer afraid of excuses keeping me off the mat. At least for the next year.

My other fear was that I would suffer a setback. In this case, what I learned is that I need FXB. It’s actually hard for me to type that. I feel like I should be able to sustain my healthy lifestyle on my own. I mean, what if we move? What if the Jedi Master (Erik) and Lindsay move and close up Columbus FXB? What if some day I sustain a larger injury that takes me out completely?

I’ve always been a very independent person. I’ll admit that part of it is because I’m kind of a control freak. I’m working on it, but I suppose it’s good that I’m my own boss now. Because of this desire to control things, I’ve learned to do most things on my own. But for some reason my health and fitness is one area of my life that I can’t seem to maintain control over without help from others.

I know what some of you might be thinking. You’d tell me that I am controlling it. That I was the one who made the decision to sign up for FXB. That I’m the one who made it a point to push myself to 299 workouts in one year, even on the days when I didn’t want to.

I get all that, I do. I even believe it. But the thing is, when that’s not an option I’m still not doing so good. I had these great plans to still workout while I was at home. I have bands. I have free weights. I have a Bowflex machine. Even with all of that, I only worked out a total of 1.5 times in that week and a half that I was off. My nutrition wasn’t great. Then again, it’s not great when I’m going to FXB on a regular basis either. It’s still my struggle point. I’m making progress, but I’ve accepted that it will take me time to get where I want to be.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I figure I can approach this realization in one of two ways.

1) Be disappointed in myself.
This is the most natural path for me. The path is nice and paved. It might be dark and depressing, but I know where it goes. I’ve been down that path so many times before. I could beat myself up for not being strong enough to do this on my own. For being too dependent on a program to achieve my success.

2) Accept that in this journey I will always need help.
This path is less familiar for me, and I havent traveled down it often. I live to help others. It’s one of the reasons I write. I get a huge surge of gratitude when someone tells me how much my writing has helped them. I had always felt that the one thing missing in my life was helping others. Now I get to and I’m so blessed. Yet, I don’t like to accept help. I don’t know why. I’ve not analyzed that side of me yet, but I’m sure that some day I will. As a result, I’m not familiar with accepting the fact that in some things I will always need the help of someone else. For me, it’s my health and fitness journey. My monster challenges me when I’m alone (physically or emotionally) and so I suppose my answer is that I can never be alone on this journey. And I have to find a way to be OK with that.

In case you’re wondering, I’m picking the second path. I’m just so thankful to have found a family that is willing to stick by me through the good and the bad.

~ Carrie

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Meet my FXB Instructors: Jedi Master

Jedi Master: a.k.a. Erik

Transform your life, you want.
Encouragement and support, you need.
Lost and discouraged, you feel.

Help you, I can.

OK, so Erik doesn’t employ Yoda-speak on the mat, but that doesn’t stop me from hearing it in my mind. I can imagine there are a few Yoda quotes he would be able to accurately apply to the FXB life-style (found thanks to

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
Always pass on what you have learned.
Patience you must have, my young Padawan.
You must unlearn what you have learned.
You will find only what you bring in.
Do or do not. There is no try.

As I stated, Erik doesnt talk in Yoda-speak, but somehow everything he says has a sort of hypnotic resonance to it. It makes you want to push for that Level 10, even if all you want to do is take a nap on the mat. And, thankfully, unlike Yoda you can clearly understand everything Erik says.

In addition, Erik has a unique ability to bring out your Level 10 simply by being in the room. It’s as though the FXB-Force pulses from his every pore. (What he won’t tell you is that Liquid Awesome actually transforms into the energy that makes up the FXB-Force once you reach the status of Jedi Master. Sorry—you can’t look this up to validate because it’s an ancient FXB secret, but you can trust me. I’m a fiction writer so it must be true.) As soon as he steps into the building, his presence is felt.

Dig deep, young Padawans.
Level ten you must find.
Stronger, you will become.

If you happen to be the Padawan (a.k.a. 10 week student or FIT member) he selects to be his bag partner when he’s not instructing, well, may the FXB-Force be with you because you’ll need all the help you can get!

Go faster, you can.
Push harder, you can.
Tired, you are not.

Finally, I’ll use some on-line definitions of a Jedi Master to support my claim. I added in the numbers to help order my follow-up comments.

(1) The title of Jedi Master was the highest formal rank obtainable by a member of the Jedi Order. (2) Reserved for those who had shown exceptional devotion and skill as well as balance in the Force and (3) often combat.

(1) If we think of ‘the Jedi Order’ as Mr. Lance Farrell himself, then as an FXB owner Erik has earned the highest formal rank obtainable.
(2) I’ve used the term FXB-Force above already. This is the energy of living a healthy lifestyle. Erik has certainly shown exceptional devotion and skill and balance toward the FXB-Force.
(3) If ‘combat’ represents the 10-Week challenge, then yep—he’s conquered it time and time again (because I truly believe he experiences each new 10-week session right along with all the new Padawans).

Jedi Master: (4) A term of respect used by beings who respect the Jedi. (5) Regarded as among the most recognized polymaths in the known galaxy. (6) Upon completion of vocational or postgraduate education, a Jedi Knight become a Jedi Master after successfully training a Padawan learner to Knight status.

(4) Erik is certainly respected by all of us FXB beings.
(5) Erik’s recognition in the known FXB galaxy is growing, as evidenced by the picture shown below of the larger-than-life photo of Erik that now adorns the FXB East Peoria location.

(6) Erik has trained several Padawan learners to Knight status (a.k.a. instructors). I mean, look at that crew (and this photo doesnt even show all of them)!

Add all this up, and hopefully you’ll agree that Erik can only be the Jedi Master.

The Force is strong with this one, yes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Fear Will Set Me Free

About a month ago I commented on my Facebook page that I had hurt my foot while painting my office. I’ve continued to go to my workouts, with self-imposed restrictions. That meant no:
  • running
  • jumping
  • jumping jacks
  • plank jacks
  • lunges
  • multiple kicks on the left side
  • burpees (darn)
  • basically anything that would cause me to put pressure on my foot while it was in a flexed position

While my foot has not gotten worse, it has not gotten any better. There were days when I felt as though it was feeling better, only for it to hurt the next day almost as bad as it did on the first day I hurt it. In my last post about obstacles, I mentioned how I didn’t want to let this stop me because I’ve had so many other things thrown in my way lately. I didn’t want one more thing to keep me from my goal.

Well, I’ve come to terms that it’s now time for me to take a break. And I’m so afraid right now. What am I afraid of?

I’m afraid that if I take a break from workouts then I’ll let it become too easy to skip in the future for random reasons.
I’m afraid that the scale will start to tick back in the other direction.
I’m afraid that I’ll let self-doubt start to seep back in.
I’m afraid that I’ll be adding another failure to my long list of F-bombs.

I don’t say these things lightly. I’m truly scared. I’m crying as I type this post. I don’t want to fail again. I don’t want to go back to the way things were before. I’ve been happier with myself over this past year than I have been in a long time.

This morning, my trusted friends voiced their concerns and brought be down to reality. I have been in a form of denial these past few weeks, thinking that I could just push past the injury and everything will be OK so long as I don’t overdo it. But that’s not happening and now it’s time I do the right thing. This fear has been circling me all morning, and then I remembered something.

“Fear is a difficult emotion to overcome. It’s as if it casts a shadow over everything. When you let it take over, it holds you in darkness. It cloaks the bad, but it also transforms the good—making you believe it’s just another demon hiding in the shadows, waiting for the chance to overpower you. Controlling your fear, working with it to move forward, that’s what will set you free.”
~ Kingston’s Promise by Carrie Beckort

I wrote those words above. They are in my second novel, Kingston’s Promise, which I published just over a year ago.

Right now I’m so afraid of failing that I’m letting it cast a shadow over everything. I’m letting it transform what’s good for me (taking a rest) into something bad that I believe will overpower me. I don’t know how I came up with those words I wrote in my novel. I wrote them to help my fictional character Marcus face a tremendous fear. But now I’m thinking it’s possible that they were given to me because someone watching over me knew that I’d need them myself some day.

I realize now that I have to face this fear. A vast majority of my journey is a mental game rather than a physical one. I’ve made significant progress over the last couple years, but the way I’ve reacted to the idea of taking a break has opened my eyes.

If I can’t trust myself, how in the world will I ever be able to make this sustainable?

Because that’s what this is about—trust. I need to trust that I can recover from this. I’ve come to believe that this is just another test that has been thrown down in front of me. I know that I’m never tested with something I can’t overcome, so it’s time to listen.

It’s time I start working with my fear. It’s time to be set free.

The best way I know how to do that is to have a plan. So, here it is:
  • I’m not going to go to the gym for the rest of this week or next week. I’ll decide on the following week at that point.
  • I’ve set up an ‘immobile’ office so I can elevate my foot while I write.
  • I’ve set up alarms to remind me to take ibuprofen and ice my foot regularly.
  • I’m going to ask my husband to do the grocery shopping.
  • I’m going to skip walking to the bus stop, watching instead from the front door, and hope my daughter will understand.

All of the above will help me stay off my foot for the majority of the day. However, I decided that I still need to figure out how to get some form of a workout in every day. I have bands here at home and we also have a Bowflex machine. I can use that as an alternative to resistance band days and do exercises where I can sit. The real challenge is getting in some form of an aerobic workout. We have an elliptical in our basement, but that’s no good—it will apply too much pressure to my foot. I haven’t been able to find any credible chair dancing routines on the Internet, so that’s out. That leaves me with the Bowflex machine again. It has a rowing feature that I’m just going to have to try using to get a good calorie burn. It won’t be the same as kickboxing, but at least it will be something.

I feel better knowing that I have a plan. I’m still worried about my eating. It hasn’t been 100% lately, and usually when something like this happens I turn to food. I’m just hoping that the fact that I’m supposed to be off my foot will help—because we don’t keep what I want in the house and I won’t be able to go and shop for it!

I’ll take all the positive energy you want to send my way. Thanks for being here to listen.

~ Carrie

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Don't Forget to Love the 'Before'

As I approach my 1 year mark at FXB, I’ve been thinking back over not only my FXB journey but also the months before I signed up for the 10-Week Challenge. In addition, I’ve been seeing a lot of social media posts recently from people showing the progress they’ve made on their own health and fitness journeys.

I love seeing how people have been able to transform their lives. I love hearing their confidence and seeing how proud they are of what they’ve accomplished. I love that they can inspire others to want to do the same. For these reasons, I hope to keep seeing these types of posts from others. I also hope to share my own some day.

However, there is one thing that I wish could change. I wish that all of these wonderful people could look at that before picture with as much respect and love for the person it in as they do for the person in the after picture.

Don’t get me wrongI get it. Anyone who loses weight does so because they felt the weight they were at before wasn’t healthy. Maybe they didn’t like the way they looked. Maybe they didn’t like the way their clothes fit. They lost weight, got healthy, and it feels great! They worked hard and were dedicated to a difficult journey. They have a reason to be proud.

But it seems as though sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in being proud of the person we’ve become that we forget to acknowledge the person we were—or we believe that we have to find fault with the person in the before photo. Because if there was no fault, then why would we have made the change?

I wrote a post a while back about Shooting the Curl. In that post I mentioned that I’ve learned it’s important to remember that we can’t separate out the past from the future. One builds off the other, and they have to be able to coexist to shape the turbulence of the present. If it wasn’t for that person in the before photo, there would be no after photo—the future needs the past to exist.

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote something for myself. I wrote these words in an effort to help myself achieve an emotionally healthy mindset.

Who I Love the Most

I realized recently that I have one more step to make before my journey can be successful. And it’s huge.

I have to love all the versions of me that have existed.

1) The pre-college me.

This girl was innocent. She was caring and didn’t pass judgment on others. She hung out with various groups of people and respected them even if she didn’t agree with their choices. In return, they never pushed her to do anything she wasn’t comfortable doing. She learned how it felt to fall in love. How it felt to have her heart broken. How it felt to hurt someone who loved her more than she could love in return. She learned how to make decisions that would impact the rest of her life. She learned the value of a true friend.

She was young, beautiful, carefree, smart, funny, athletic, and hard-working.

She’s easy to love. And even though my image of her fades more and more over time, my love for her remains strong.

2) The college me.

This girl. Yeah, this girl had it. She had something about her that made me fall in love with her instantly. She navigated the unknown territory with a hunger in her eyes. She was ready to learn—inside the classroom and out. She made friends quickly. She fell in love with the wrong boy. Then she learned it wasn’t really love. Then she fell in love with the right boy. She worked hard and played hard. She jumped out of planes. She sat in a sea of men and held her own. She challenged herself and others around her. She made people listen and want to talk to her. She made people like her who didn’t really want to. She danced and sang and smiled and laughed.

She was bold, confident, strong, adventurous, and in love with life.

She’s fun to love. My love for her often carries me through the difficult times.

3) The new adult me.

Although I want to call her a girl, she’s really a woman. She was challenged almost from day one of her existence. She had to learn how to not only float in a sea of men, but how to stand out among them. She was told she couldn’t do or know things simply because she was a woman. She started her life without many friends. There were tears. There were questions. But she learned to lean on love. To find her voice and make it strong. She learned how it felt to lose someone so dear. She learned that true friendship didn’t come with strings attached. She learned that life didn’t always go as planned. She started to let insecurities take hold. She internalized comments and let them fester. To survive, she split herself off into two different people—the confident woman inside the office and the insecure woman outside of it.

She was ever changing, unsure of her future, and was often lost. She started to feel she wasn’t good enough.

It’s not that she’s harder to love, but my love for her stems more from sympathy than admiration. I look back on her and want to hold her hand and support her along the way. To be that friend she so desperately needed in the beginning.

4) The adult me.

This woman had to fight. Life was good to her, but it also threw challenges her way. Certain things didn’t go as planned. While her career was successful, her personal life suffered. She felt the effects of depression. She learned what it meant to make difficult decisions. She didn’t always take responsibility for her circumstances. She was let down by some of the people she cared about most in the world. She had to find a way to make herself a priority and deal with the criticisms that came with that choice. She learned that unconditional love did exist, but she still had to fight for it. She learned that there’s a reason for everything, but she may never get the answers she wants. She had to learn anew how to have faith. She lost a lot, but gained just as much. She often looked for the negative. She blamed herself when things didn’t go the way she expected. She felt alone. She felt out of place.

She was a disappointment. She was confused. She was conflicted. She didn’t believe in herself. She believed she lived under a constant shadow of judgment.

She’s been hard to love, and so I haven’t. I won’t go so far as to say that I hate her, but I don’t respect her. I blame her for all my failures and disappointments. For letting go of the person she used to be.

But now I see her for who she truly is.

She’s strong. She’s beautiful. She’s an inspiration. She’s caring. She’s daring. She makes difficult choices and sacrifices for others. She wears her flaws and failures on the outside for everyone to see, and still she walks with her head held high.

I realize now that I love her the most. She was the final phase before I could become the person God wants me to be.

I may be working toward a new life, but I’m no longer working toward a new me.

I love the me that I am.

I’ve decided to share this because I hope that it will help others look at the person in their before photo a bit differently. Don’t be ashamed of who that person was. Love them for having the strength to endure the challenges that formed the person in the after photo.