DDP

Website 2.0…….. Liz 1.08.27.003.98

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I experienced series of unfortunate events recently, and the end result has been some weight gain. The weight gain could have been avoided, and while there are mitigating circumstances, I am choosing to avoid using those circumstances to excuse what has happened, and instead really learn from them so that I can be even better prepared for next time I encounter hurdles.

I wish!

A quick synopsis first: I came to DDP Yoga tipping the scales at 198 lbs. I quickly lost the weight and got down to 145 lbs and it then became time for the maintenance phase. Over the course of a year, my weight crept up by 10 lb. Then in the last month, I had a really bad cold that knocked me out of action for a couple of weeks. I was back in action for about a week before I cracked my rib, and I have been completely out of action ever since. Coupled with the holidays and my own shortcomings, the weight jumped by another 10 lbs, and that was all it took for me to do some real thinking about what has been going wrong, and I what I need to do to get back to where I should be!

Here’s What Happened:

1. Side-effects Of Medication.

In addition to many other things DDP Yoga enabled me to do, I was able to take up running. I achieved many things running (a full marathon, a wall of medals, a great sense of achievement), but I also achieved a nasty cluster of migraines which appear to have been caused by excessive exercise/electrolyte balance. I started taking amitriptyline which worked great for the migraines, but does have the nasty habit of making you gain weight. In addition to the straight-forward weight gain side-effect, the amitriptyline likely contributed to my gradual weight gain in a second way by increasing my resting and working heart rate. This increased heart rate gets interpreted by my heart rate monitor as more calories burned, thus allowing me to eat more that I probably should. Ideally, I would like to manage my electrolytes better and stop taking amitriptyline within the next year!

2. I’m Liz, And I’m A Compulsive Eater:

I am a food addict. There’s all sorts of interesting reasons as to why I ended up looking for love and fulfillment at the bottom of a candy wrapper, but the point is that I have no power over food. Other people can open a packet of gluten-free cookies, eat three with a cup of coffee, seal the packet up and put them back in the cabinet. I can’t. Stacey Morris can make any number of delicious 8 – 12 serving desserts, eat a single portion, and stick the rest in the fridge. I can’t. I am addicted to sugar and I am a compulsive over-eater, and in all likelihood I will have to actively keep that in check for the remainder of my life. In addition, the food supply is addictive by design. We are flooded with sugar and refined carbs that light up your brain in the same was cocaine does. It’s no accident that so many of us are overweight. While I adhered to the letter of the DDP Yoga nutrition program, I didn’t always adhere to the spirit. I replaced the Dairy and Gluten free junk I used to eat with all-natural, whole ingredient treats like raw, organic almond butter or Larabars, but I still ate way too much of it. I tricked myself into thinking I could have a packet of Larabars in the house, but the packet was always empty by the end of the day. A Larabar is great snack. A Larabar. One. Eight of them is not good for you and overloads your system with excess sugar, which gets turned into fat.

3. To Count Or Not To Count:

After a few month of maintaining, I decided to quit MyFitnessPal, and stick with healthy eating to maintain my weight. That has worked for a number of people such as Stacey Morris, but given my recent weight gain, both the slow crawl to 155, and the more recent rapid jump to 165, I think we can safely assume I need a more rigorous regimen. Between weight-gain from amitriptyline, my overeating and the effect of Leptin (thanks for nothing, Mother Nature), the lack of monitoring let small amounts of over-eating and self-denial creep in.

4. Not Sharing:

When I first started this journey, I shared every single fat-roll, failed forearm balance, or diet malfunction I had. That made the success all the more sweet, and it helped other people realize they could find success, even with personal shortcomings and minor failures and setbacks. However, since I became a nutritionist, a DDP Yoga instructor, and more visible within the DDP Yoga community, I found it harder and harder to share the weak moments and shortcomings. Who wants to take nutritional advice from a failure? This was of course a self-imposed hurdle. No one in the community would have judged me, and clients understand that fitness coaches and nutritionists are people too! The problem is that failure thrives in the dark. When I had the first episode of over-indulging, had I shared it, that would have been it. But I didn’t, and it became a weird mix of exciting and shameful. That triggers the next episode of over-eating, and the next, and the next. The other issue is that hiding your mistakes allows you to believe your own nonsense without reasoned input from your peers, such as “muscle weighs considerably more than fat” (it doesn’t).

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Here’s What I Am Going To Do:

1. Be Honest

I’m going to post my eating on MyFitnessPal every single day, regardless of what I eat. I am not going to be hiding my weight gain, my diet, my failures or successes any more. I will be much better about sharing either here, on YouTube or via Twitter. I will also be logging everything I eat, ill-advised or otherwise, in MyFitnessPal (no more mystery missing days!).

2. Be Mindful

I am going spend the next few months learning how to be more mindful about eating. These include but are not limited to: a brief meditation before eating any food (and more meditation in general), a large glass of water before food, all food on a plate, all plates at at table, no iPhones/computers while eating, fork down between bites. I will be implementing these bit-by-bit, and I am sure I will forget from time-to-time. That’s okay. This is a journey. I’ll be re-reading Mark Van Buren’s incredibly insightful book, Be Your Sh*tty Self to remind myself of the importance of mindfulness.

3. Stay Home

I have been eating take-out way too much recently. Even though I go to better restaurants than I did before, and keep within my vegan and GF food restrictions, eating at home will always be better where portion control, ingredient quality and calorie counting is concerned.

4. Be Consistent

I had been adjusting my food intake to match my calorie output. That worked for weight loss, but it didn’t work for healthy habit formation. My maintenance goal was about 1800 calories per day. If I ran for 30 minutes and burned 400 calories, that would allow me to eat 2200 calories (or an extra two Choco Boom Boom bars). Overtime, that turned into making exercise decisions based on knowing I had some Larabars at home that I may want to attack later, which in turn became a bad habit of overeating first and then exercising the excess of later. This ended up with me being used to having a huge calorie intake on a daily basis, and thus a rather quick weight gain as soon as I became sick or injured. I was talking with a friend who is also an overeater, but who has lost a lost a larger amount of weight than I did and has successfully kept the weight off. She eats roughly the same number of calories day in, day out regardless of what she has done for exercise. Obviously, when I am running full marathons, I may carb up in advance, but short of that, I will be following a more consistent approach with my diet.

5. Work With What’s Available

I routinely tell people who are experiencing injury to use the time to focus on nutrition. That’s great advice, so it boggles the mind as to why I typically use injury (or other impediment to exercise) as an excuse to fall off the nutritional wagon too! I am going to be side-lined for at least a couple of weeks with my stupid rib injury, so I will be using that time to really nail down good, healthy eating habits.

Here’s What I Am NOT Going To Do:

1. No reboots, Liz 2.0’s Or Do-overs

There’s only one me, there will only ever be one me. I don’t get to scrap the old one every time I make a mistake. I am stuck with myself for the rest of my life, and with all the scars, extra weight, and other reminders of where I have been and what I have done. And that’s a good thing. If I scrapped all the memories and lessons of my first time through the weight loss process, and pretended this was my day 1 again, I’d lose a massive opportunity to learn both what did work last time thought, and what didn’t worked. This is not a second weight loss journey. This is all part of my one and only weight loss journey.

Couldn’t have put it better myself!

2. No Taboos

I consider myself a gluten-free vegan, and avoiding foods that contain those things has become second nature to me. I am no longer tempted by Dairy Milk or Hershey’s, so that is not an issue. I am, however, struggling to be a sugar-free, gluten-free vegan, and I am extremely tempted to Choco Boom Boom bars, Larabars or Amy’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies! Instead of saying, “I will never eat gluten-free cookies again,” which invariably leads to me thinking of nothing but cookies, I instead will say, “I am avoiding them for now.” And when I reach my weight goal, I will buy a single Larabar rather than a bulk-purchase. For most people, the multipack is better value, because it costs less per bar, but that saving only works if you don’t eat the entire packet that day! In the meantime, I will be focusing on developing the habit of turning to cucumber, apples, celery or other whole foods for snack-time!

3. No Labels, No Bullying

I am a little heavier than I would like to be. I feel healthier when I am leaner, and I struggle with feelings of regret for having given into food addiction and squandering the weight goals I achieved. However, this is temporary. I will regain my weight goals. In the meantime, I will not be defined by the extra weight I am carrying in my midsection. I don’t like how I look right now as much as I liked how I looked at 140 lbs, so instead of spending hours staring at the mirror and beating myself up for what I don’t like, I will choose not to look in the mirror. And when I do, I will actively force myself to be positive and focus on things I do like. Similarly, I will not call myself some of the horrific names I used to call myself, or bully myself for having weak moments or setbacks. I frequently explain to people that they should treat themselves as they would others. If your friend came to you, and said, “I feel awful, I broke my diet and demolished an entire pack of Oreos,” you wouldn’t tell her she’s a fat, worthless, pig, nor would you berate her at length for tripping up. No, aside from the fact that you would have to be a horrible, evil person to treat someone that way, you are also aware that it wouldn’t help anything. After being treated that way, your friend would end up in a shame-spiral and would probably end up overeating again to bury those feelings. The exact same thing happens when you treat yourself that way.

So that is my now, very public, setback and roadmap to getting back to where I was. I will update this post with my weight every week until I get to my target (below 147):

  • 12/01: 167 lbs
  • 12/08: 160 lbs

 

Hello Ladies… It’s Dave Orth!

Dave_MainIf you have spent any amount of time around Team DDP, you know exactly who Dave Orth is. He greets every single new member of Team DDP, helping them to get started on their journey with some great resources. He frequents the Team DDP chat rooms and Facebook groups giving out great information – if you missed his advice, fear not, we’re going to get some great tips from him in the form of a December Challenge (see below) – he’s a regular at retreats, workshops and all things DDP Yoga, and he’s a certified DDP Yoga instructor.

Dave is one of those incredibly humble and modest people, despite his amazing physique and seniority in Team DDP. It’s even more impressive when you learn about the journey he’s been on. To look at him, you would definitely think he has been in peak physical condition for his entire life. That is not the case…

Were you always into fitness?

I was more active as a kid as opposed to being into fitness. I played a lot of sports, hockey and basketball mainly which helped me to stay in shape and be lean. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I started to get into fitness more seriously and started weight training.

How did you get into weight-lifting?

Well, as a teenager I started getting into weight-lifting due to always being very thin and lean and I was picked on as a kid from time to time. So when I was in my mid teens I started to lift weights on a more regular basis. My goals at that time were just to put on muscle and get stronger. It wasn’t until my late 20’s, early 30’s that I started taking my training more seriously. When I got into my 30’s my goal was to be big, bulking and strong. At one point my highest weight was 235 pounds.

Dave_3When you started weight-lifting and fitness, did you have any focus on nutrition?

When I really started weight-lifting seriously, I started to look at my nutrition a little bit but it wasn’t until my late 30’s when I really took a closer look at when I ate, what I ate and how I was eating much more seriously. I started to see how what I was eating directly impacted the success I had with my results in fitness.

I understand you have experienced some injuries.  Did the injuries impact your fitness regime?

Yes, absolutely. The impact that my heavy weight training had on my body was significant. Over time it really took a toll on my body and especially my joints. The injuries really caused me to not be able to be active where exercise was concerned because I was spending most of my time rehabbing and recovering from all my injuries. I had to change how much I was working out and how much I was able to do because of all the injuries I had suffered.

How did your fitness and weight-lifting affect your weight over the years?

The impact of my weight-lifting was sort of a roller coaster ride in a lot of respects. There were times I wanted to be very big and bulking and so I had to eat a lot to gain weight. Then when I was injured and unable to workout, I’d have to change all that to lower my weight. But there were many times I was not good where changing my eating habits were concerned, and I’d put on weight I did not wish to gain.

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Did you have a mentally healthy approach to weight-lifting and body image at that time?

I would have to say I’ve struggled with body image issues over the years and so at times I didn’t necessarily have the best approach from a mental health point of view. I think I always felt I’d never achieve the results I was looking for to where I would feel comfortable with myself when I looked in the mirror.

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How and when did you discover DDP Yoga?

I discovered DDP Yoga in the Fall of 2011. I had started weight training earlier that year after 4 years away from any serious weight training due to my injuries. I felt like I was in pretty good shape at the time and had finally found a good balance with my weight training….that’s when I found myself injured once again. This caused me to start physical therapy to try to recover from an injured shoulder and leg. However, after 3 months with very little improvement I became very frustrated with my physical therapy and decided I might need to find a different way to heal from my injuries. I had gained about 25 pounds due to not being able to workout which really impacted how I felt about myself. That’s when I started to look into Yoga and came across DDP Yoga on Twitter. I started DDP Yoga with some trepidation as I had never done any form of Yoga before. My initial goal was to lose the weight that I had gained while rehabbing my injuries and improve my strength and flexibility at the same time. At first I was surprised just how out of shape and had very little flexibility; I hadn’t realized how out of shape I was and how I lacked any flexibility at all. But what I also realized was that it was a great workout that really challenged me in ev every way possible. I found that not only was I getting stronger and more flexible but that my injuries were healing much faster than I had ever expected.

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What has DDP Yoga enabled you to do that other workouts didn’t?

The DDP Yoga workouts enabled me to lose the weight I had gained through injury, as well as significantly increasing my strength and flexibility, and at the same time I get a great workout. I can definitely say without question that DDP Yoga has helped me with all of the injuries I’ve suffered through heavy weight lifting, including my shoulders, leg and low back. The workouts have improved my strength overall which I can say has prevented me from any further injuries.

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What have you achieved with DDP Yoga? What are your future goals?

Wow, that’s a tough question, there are so many things I can say I’ve achieved through DDP Yoga. I was able to lose the weight I wanted to and have kept it off for the almost 3 years I’ve been doing the workouts. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about nutrition, and how what I put into my body directly affects the results I get, in contrast to my previous fitness regimen where I had little knowledge about nutrition, which probably contributed to frequent injuries I suffered. I’ve gained a lot of friends in the DDP Yoga community that has really helped me to be able to focus and stay on track with my workouts. I recently became a certified DDP Yoga instructor which was a huge accomplishment for me. I also completed my first half marathon recently which is something I never thought possible due to some of the injuries I’ve had prior to DDP Yoga. One of the most significant achievements was an improvement in my mental image of my body, where I now work with it and not against it and I feel my overall body image is very positive compared to how I looked at myself in the past. My future goals now that I’m certified is to inspire others to become healthy through DDP Yoga and to assist people as much as possible through my experiences with my DDP Yoga journey.

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I know you have had some surgeries. How did that impact your ability to DDP Yoga?

I have had a couple setbacks during my journey with DDP Yoga. Over the past 2 years I’ve needed to have an umbilical hernia repaired twice in my abdomen. This caused me to not be able to workout for 2 months with the first surgery and 3 months when I had the second surgery. There were definitely setbacks due to those surgeries…I gained weight from not being able to workout but I gained 20 pounds after my second surgery which really impacted my mental state in a negative way. I was also limited in what I could do with the workouts initially due to the need to protect my core from any strenuous activity. It took some time before I was able to get past the mental hurdle where I was no longer holding back from pushing myself during the workouts. I was able to overcome these setbacks by discussing my fears with other people in the Team DDP Yoga community as well as easing my way back into the workouts gradually and building my strength back which directly impacted my confidence levels and allowed me to feel comfortable enough to get back to a normal routine again.

Obviously you have come back from your surgeries and setbacks… Twice! You now have some of the most ripped abs in all of DDP Yoga. Tell us your secrets:

One of the most important tips is going to be nutrition. You need to lower your overall body fat for your abs to show through. You really need to watch what you’re putting into your body because otherwise you’ll be spinning your wheels. When doing Red Hot Core you really want to focus on the contraction in the movements. This will allow you to get the most out of that workout and really build your core strength. While I didn’t do any other routines for my abs…your core is being workout throughout all of the other DDP Yoga workouts and the same focus should be given to contracting the muscles in your core during any of the ab movements in the workouts. I would not recommend doing Red Hot Core everyday because you’re working your core with all the workouts. I try to do Red Hot Core 3 days a week, and I do it after my DDP Yoga workouts. But keep in mind that we’re all built different and we don’t always get the same results. So it’s important to change your routine up from time to time to see if you get better results.

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P.S. We didn’t even talk about his guns…

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4 Half Marathons in a Month… Goldilocks Style!

Having bombarded Facebook, Twitter and other places online, I promise this is the last time I will mention this: PLEASE consider donating to the JDRF here. This is one of the few, perhaps only, charities that supports Type 1 Diabetes research and patient support. All other charities and funding goes to Type 2 Diabetes, which dwarfs Type 1 research. This is particularly tragic or unfair as Type 1 Diabetes is not preventable, nor is it treatable by simple diet and lifestyle changes, so research is the only way it can be dealt with. I would love to raise $10 for every mile I ran, but honestly I don’t care if you donate via my JustGiving page; I just want money to get to the JDRF. It’s a really important cause!Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 12.15.42 PM

A few months ago, I pledged to run a half marathon every Saturday in October in order to collect money for Type 1 Diabetes (also known as Juvenile Diabetes). I picked this charity in honor of my late Uncle and a friend from secondary school, as well as numerous other friends and acquaintances who live with this condition. Although the races have come and gone, it’s not too late to donate: click here for more information! My initial goal had been to get one race in under 2 hours, but thanks to a hip injury from running in August, I had the opportunity to check my ego, and actually heed DDP’s advice to do all exercise in your heart rate zone, not just DDP Yoga. I switched my 2-hour goal to trying to do at least one race entirely in my heart rate zone. Here’s a recap of the races, and the comedy of errors that they amounted to:

October 4th, Run for the Hills: Not enough sleep

When I ran a full marathon back in May, it ended up being a a grueling endurance test thanks to a distractible barrista at a popular coffee chain that shall remain nameless. Let’s call it Schmarbucks. Thanks to their inability to hear the word “decaf”, I ended up getting 1.5 hours of sleep before heading out for a 26.2 mile run. Shame on me, the day before my first October half marathon I went back to Schmarbucks and ordered a venti decaf Americano with an extra espresso shot. They got 3 of the 4 parts of that order correct. I felt shaky about an hour after drinking it, and pulled the empty cup out of the trash only to find that they decaf box hadn’t been checked. I took some Zzzquil before bed, and then again at 3am when I still wasn’t asleep. I spent the next 3 hours tossing and turning, playing Words with Friends with my European friends, and, most importantly, not sleeping. At 6am, my alarm went off, so I got out of bed, and after precisely zero minutes of sleep, I got in the car and headed to Moraine. Halfway through the race, the Zzzquil finally decided to kick in, and there were a couple of miles where I struggled to keep my eyes open. I have never taken heroin, but I am reasonably sure you get the same high as you get at the turnaround point in a race when you realize you aren’t in dead last place. I somehow made it to the end, where the organizers were cheering people to the finish line and encouraging us to sprint. I had been planning to forgo sprinting the last stretch but there enthusiasm was so infectious I couldn’t resist. On my way home, I bought a Scharmbucks (I can’t stay mad) so I didn’t fall asleep in my car. My husband found me later that day asleep in bed cuddling my venti coffee cup… yes, I have a problem.

Time: 2:21:48.2

October 11th, Prairie State: Too much sleep, too little water

Having proven that I can run a half marathon with no sleep I decided to never, ever test that theory again. The day before the Prairie State half-marathon I didn’t drink any coffee, decaf or otherwise, nor did I trust anyone else to prepare hot drinks for me. Instead, I stuck to camomile tea that I prepared myself. Nevertheless I was nervous about waking up on time as I am not a morning person. It would be particularly embarrassing to miss any of these races as I had made such a big deal about doing them. My husband has dealt with enough of my pre-race jitters that he gets so scared of making noise that he can’t get to sleep, which resulted in him getting in and out of bed a few times as I was trying to get to sleep. Editing out the part of the story that doesn’t reflect well on me, my husband ended up sleeping in the guest room and I was so mad I didn’t get asleep until about 2am. I had my alarm set for 6:30 am which left plenty of time to get dressed, eat breakfast and hydrate properly, drive to the satellite parking, take a shuttle to the race site and warm-up properly in time for the 8am start time. Waking up at 7:38am, which is what actually happened, did not leave me enough time to do all those things. Instead, I woke up, saw the time, screamed the F-word, jumped out of bed and ran straight to the car grabbing whatever clothing and race bibs I could as I passed them, drove in a semi-legal fashion to the satellite parking while getting dressed, ran barefoot to the shuttle where I finished getting dressed (discovering that I had not brought any socks) and spent a very stressful 10 minutes comparing how long Google Maps thought it would get to the race to how long I had left before the start of the race. When the bus finally got to the race grounds, I sprinted off the bus and straight into the start chute as one of the last runners to enter the race, and just kept going for another 13.1 miles. Having not eaten or drunk anything, the first couple of miles before I hit a water station were the worst, but once I got some water I was good. Between the lack of food and the adrenaline-fueled start, my heart rate was a mess so I gave up on trying to stay in my zone but it was a fun race, and it was nice to get back to the first half marathon I ever did.

Time 2:25:15.0

October 18th, Des Plaines River Trail: Too much water

I managed to get just about the correct amount of sleep before the Des Plaines River Trail race, and arrived to the start site at a good time to warm-up before the race. The weather was pretty cold, but tolerable until about 3 minutes before the start of the race when it started raining that very light, cold rain that feels like hundreds of tiny razors. Luckily, the vast majority of the race had tree cover, and it was the most beautiful race course I have ever seen. The trail was lined with whatever type of tree it is (yes, I got my degree from a botany department, can’t you tell?) that has large, bright yellow leaves, and the trail was a carpet of yellow, orange and red leaves. It was like running through a painting. I saw a number of runners taking photos as they ran, which is quite unusual for a race. I didn’t stop running when I took a photo, hence the blurriness. 1614535_10101413629616767_5520314335472699528_oAt the 7 mile mark we found where all the rain that had been falling went when we encountered and underpass with 6 – 8″ of standing water. Some braver runners ran straight through it, but I did the math on how much I didn’t want to run for an additional 6 miles with cold, wet feet, and joined the other runners who climbed along the pile of rocks along the side. This was my favorite race of the month, and between the beautiful scenery and really friendly organizers I will definitely be running this one again.

Time: ??

October 25th, Monster Dash: Just right

The good folks at Schmarbucks once again tried to thwart my efforts to sleep before a race, but luckily, I drank the coffee early enough in the morning that most had been metabolized before bedtime, and the remainder was dealt with by my Zyrtec. During the relatively short bout of insomnia I had that night I realized that the stressful part about this challenge wasn’t doing the races; it was overcoming my disordered sleep patterns and getting to them on time. The morning of the race, I drove out to Chicago and painted my face to look like a Zombie with a mullet wig (a nod to my desire to see Eugene from Walking Dead be dispatched by some hungry zombies post haste). Most people had made some effort to dress up, and the race was a lot of fun, despite being run by the jerks at Team Ortho (long story)! The course started at Avery field and went 6.5 miles south along Lake Michigan which was beautiful. It was a little daunting on the way back seeing the Hancock Building which now looked as if it were about 6″ tall, and realizing we had to more-or-less run all the way back to it. It turned out that the Komen Foundation had a charity walk at the same time, and a lot of Monster Dash runners accidentally took water from their aid station. Luckily, of all charities, we don’t need to feel to bad about stealing their water! I did learn a valuable lesson during the race: if you plan to run in a wig, go ahead a splurge on a high quality one. Otherwise, the second your sweat hits the $10 wig you found on Amazon, you’re going to spend the remainder of the race feeling like you have lice! As this was the last race of the season, I decided to dispense with paying attention to my heart rate and go for pace instead. I got the first 10 miles in under 10 min/mile, and the last 3 miles were a little slower, but overall I was happy to get closer to my pre-injury pace. I had parked in a structure, and on the way back to my car I scared the tar out of a rather large bodybuilder as  I was coming out of an elevator. Once I convinced him I wasn’t actually undead, we had a good laugh about it.

Time: 2:11:27

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I was meant to bookmark the month with a Spartan Sprint but my immune system had other ideas, so I typed this up instead. For my future goals, I am going to try and register for the 2015 Hustle Up The Hancock race tomorrow morning. I have been really looking forward to this, so I hope I get a place. I want to run a full marathon (I’m thinking the Lake Michigan Trail Marathon in August) and to do the Racine 70.3 ironman next year…. stay tuned!

My Inspirations: Hey Girl, it’s Craig Funk

Craig Funk is the owner and trainer of Funk Fitness, the newest certified DDP Yoga instructor, host of multiple (amazing) DDP Yoga workshops, and has amazing strength and physique.

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I first met Craig at his 2013 DDP Yoga workshop. Obviously I noticed his amazing physique and strength, especially when he did Psycho Push-ups in the middle of the workout. Craig is one of those fitness moguls that are in such amazing shape, and holds themselves with such confidence that you can’t imagine that they were every any other way. I was bowled over to learn that was not the case with Craig. It’s beyond inspiring to see how far Craig has journeyed, and really important for people to read that it’s possible to go from being and overweight, bullied kid to being a successful, popular, modern-day Adonis.

Q: You have one of the most amazing physiques I have ever seen. Have you always been into sports and fitness?

A: I actually was very overweight as a kid. I was close to 250 pounds my sophomore year of high school. I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when I was 15 years old because I was getting bullied at school on a daily basis. From there I started wrestling at age 16 and then got into Kettlebells half way through the season. MMA kinda took over after high school and by the age of 19 I stepped into the cage. I never really played any other kinds of sports. I’ve always been into combat sports where it’s a you versus the other guy. Ya know, the stuff that typically takes 2 balls.

Q: What do you attribute your physique to?

A: Kettlebells and DDP YOGA. I also do a lot of calisthenic work. Mix that in with grappling and sparring, plus a day or two of circuit training, and you’re gonna build somethin’! DDP YOGA 10 Second Push Ups play a huge part ;)

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Q: You’re the owner of Funk Fitness. How and when did you get to be a successful gym owner?

A: I was about 22 years old. It started off very small. One day I decided that Funk Fitness would be a pretty cool name, since everyone knew my family for working out so much. There wasn’t a lesson plan for a business or how to start a gym. I just kinda did what I thought was the right thing to do and offered to people the things that I believe in for health and fitness. To this day I’ve done zero advertising and have gone 100% on word of mouth. But as the gym grew, I decided to contact the guys I knew who had successful dojos and gyms. Taking advice and changing things accordingly from them and my lovely fiancee. But as of today the bills are paid and members are happy! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Q: In addition to being a gym owner, you’re also an MMA fighter. How did you start training for that, and how does that fit into your DDP Yoga and Kettlebell regime?

A: I’ve actually backed off MMA and decided to sit on the smart side of the cage. The outside! haha I do a lot of coaching now. I still do my best to get in to train with as many professional fighters as I can to know I still got what it takes.
Q: I believe you suffered a pretty serious back injury. How did that happen? Was that before or after you started DDP Yoga? How did you recover from that?

A: Yes, I was stacked on top of my head from another MMA fighter and then driven down with my bodyweight and his at the same time. Something cracked and popped in my lower back. I went about 2 years living in unbearable pain and noticing my hips and knees were paying the price too. I then found DDP YOGA and never went back. I followed the eating guidelines and lowered the inflammation in my body, and did DDP YOGA up to 3x a day! I’m 100% pain free!

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Q: How and when did you discover DDP Yoga? What were you hoping to get out of it when you began?

A: I woke up at 5:45am on a Saturday morning. Getting ready to head to the the airport to go on a cruise with my now future wife, I sat on the couch and saw a video advertised on Facebook. It was Arthur’s video (the extended cut). When I saw that Diamond Dallas Page was the creator of this program, it instantly caught my attention. I told myself that the moment I returned home, I would buy his program. I did, I ordered on a Monday night, the program came by Thursday. I started Friday morning and I never went back. I was praying for a miracle to stop the lower back, hip, and knee pain. And thanks to DDP YOGA, I got just that! This is a miracle program that is not a fad, and will be alive and well for a very long time. I will never stop!

Q: What have you gotten out of DDP Yoga that you didn’t get from your other exercise forms?

A: Functionality! More flexibility and 100% pain free lifestyle. From sitting in a hunting blind, going on a long car ride, practicing martial arts, being active with my kid, I am 100% pain free!! If I felt any better, I’d be dangerous!

Q: You’ve hosted one or two popular DDP Yoga workshops. How did you get involved in organizing those events? What was your favourite part of that?

A: 4 actually! I had such a belief in what this program can do for people, I absolutely had to get in touch with DDP himself and set this up for people in my home town and state to get a chance to train with the man who literally created a program that changed and gave me my life back!

Q: You’re training for your DDP certification. How has that experience compared to your experience of teaching other fitness classes?

A: I am now officially the 1st DDP YOGA Instructor in Michigan! Knowing how to teach a class and being comfortable talking to large groups of people really helps! But DDP YOGA is it’s own animal! This is one of my favorite classes to teach at the gym! Such great energy!!

Q: What’s next for you? How are you going to integrate your DDP Yoga certification into the current classes at Funk Fitness?

A: I’ve already started working with a core group of guys who really needed this program. I worked with them through my entire certification, and they have really spread the word and every time I teach a class, there is a new to several new faces! This isn’t just a fad workout, it’s a lifestyle! Word travels fast, especially when you see results like this program can provide when you put in the work!

Q: Back to you! What is your proudest achievement?

A: Honestly, Being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. I also have 3 goals on a piece of paper that I look at every day. 1. Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 2. Black Belt in American Karate. 3. DDP YOGA Instructor. DDP YOGA has played a huge part in my life, because without it, I wouldn’t be able to do any kind of training at all! I will spend the rest of my life spreading the knowledge and promoting this program to those in need. I 100% believe in this system!

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Q: Is there anything you still struggle with?

A: My goal in DDP YOGA is to get my foot up and leg completely straight in the standing leg lift. I am 100% more flexible, but that is something I am working on and I will get to! Never Stop Pushing.

Q: What would you say to anyone considering DDP Yoga?

A: Without question, without hesitation, without a doubt in my mind, I will always say this is a miracle program. There is nothing else like it on the planet. It is going to be around forever. This is an absolutely amazing lifestyle and I could not stronger recommend that you get involved in DDP YOGA!

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Q: Where can we find you?

A: Funk Fitness in Brighton Michigan! Check our gym out on Facebook! If you’re in Michigan, stop in for a DDPYOGA workout sometime! I have people that come from hours away just to feel the love and positive energy inside the walls of Funk Fitness. Everyone is welcome!!

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My Inspirations: Kristin Pasquill

I set up this blog to help others be inspired the way I have been inspired. Part of that is sharing my story, which I have done over, and over, and over…. You guys must be getting sick of hearing about me now; I know I am getting sick of typing about me! Other ways to inspire include sharing motivational posts about DDP Yoga, nutritional information, and the occasional bit of yoga humor.

But one inspiration I somehow overlooked sharing until now is the stories of people around me in the TeamDDP community who inspire me. Seeing their success, their grit, their motivation continues to motivate me everyday. After all, it was a the achievements of a certain Team DDP member that prompted me to give DDP Yoga a try in the first place. There have been numerous times when I just lack the energy to get on the mat, but then I hop onto teamddpyoga.com or one of the DDP Yoga Facebook groups, and when I see members of Team DDP overcoming obstacles, achieving a goal they’ve struggling with for a long time, or even posting about the workout they did that evening,  I find the inspiration I need.

I want to promote the people who inspire me most so that they can inspire others too.

I am kicking off this series with a BANG! I have chosen to present an awesome success story, and coupled it with a challenge for the month of October.

Kristin came to my attention recently when her transformation story appeared at TeamDDP, and she became more active in various groups. In particular, I noticed that Kristin has the most amazing biceps I have ever seen so I reached out to her to ask how she got them. It turns out that in addition to packing some pretty impressive guns, she’s also a really nice person.

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The Interview

You look like someone who has been lean and athletic all their lives. Has that been the case?

Thanks but not at all! I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I’ve fluctuated between chubby and down right hefty, but lean and athletic were never words to describe me until I discovered DDP Yoga.

How did you discover DDP Yoga?

A friend of mine introduced me to the program. He came over for a visit after not seeing him for months and looked so good! I asked him what miracle diet he was on and he replied with DDP Yoga. He left that night and I immediately started my research. Found Arthur’s video, cried for a while, and started my journey just a few days later.

What shape were you in when you first started the program?

Unhealthy, sad, over weight… just about every negative adjective you can think of. I had my daughter 10 months before starting the program and in those 10 months of her life I managed to gain 70+ pounds. I struggled with depression and had poor eating habits. I was a mess to say the least!KP01

What was your first few weeks with DDP like? What did you struggle most with?

I have to admit, my first few weeks were rough and honestly thought about quitting. I did nothing but The Diamond Dozen for a couple of months. It took me a while to learn the moves, using my yoga blocks and getting into safety zone more than I was actually doing the moves. It was hard. But I kept at it and the more I practiced, the easier it got. And here I am now with my yoga blocks collecting dust on the shelf!

How have you changed since starting DDP Yoga?

I have said this before many times and to Mr. Page himself: this program literally saved my life. I’ve struggled with my health and weight related issues my entire life. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis as a teenager, spending a lot of time in physical therapy and taking medication for pain. My doctors always told me if I got my weight under control, the pain wouldn’t be as severe, I just could never get it under control until starting this program. And at one point my weight was so severe my doctors were talking Diabetes.Today I am medication free and the healthiest I’ve ever been. So when I say DDP Yoga saved my life, I truly mean it!

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You’re a huge success story. What parts of the program worked best for you?

Thank you kindly! It is still crazy to hear that and to see my story on the website as a success. It’s hard to decide what’s worked best for me because it has all worked so well! I will say, I love Strength Builder and Stand Up. Two things I never thought I would have- strength and balance. And those two workouts in particular have really helped me out a lot.

What is your proudest achievement with DDP Yoga?

In the beginning I thought it would be to lose the weight. And while that’s something I am very proud of, getting my health under control has been my proudest achievement. I have always been unhealthy, even as a child. I love food and always will, but growing up I made poor choices with food. Lots of processed junk and fast food. DDP Yoga and the eating program have taught me so much. I can still eat plenty and stay healthy! And my body is thanking me for it. I no longer have to worry about weight related issues with my fibromyalgia and arthritis. Diabetes scares are a thing in the past. And that’s a beautiful thing!

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Is there anything you still struggle with?

I would like to think I’m pretty alright with most of the moves, but to this day I struggle with Wrap and Burn. I actually used to skip that move a lot of times. But luckily there’s a great group of people on our Facebook group that had the brilliant suggestion of using a towel so that’s what I do now! Hopefully I’ll get rid of the towel one day… baby steps :)

You’re a Mom? How does that impact doing DDP Yoga? How did being a mother impact other systems you may have tried?

I am! A proud mother of 2. My son started kindergarten this year but before that, both of my kids were at home with me the majority of the day. And even when both of them were home, doing my DDP Yoga was still very doable. I either waited until their nap time so I could have complete “me time” or just do it when they’re awake! They crawl under me like a bridge in Down Dog from time to time, but that doesn’t stop me. :)

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At one point after having my son, I spent a lot of time at the gym. And while I had success with it, I was hurting constantly and not getting near the results I’ve got with DDP Yoga. Not to mention I would have to find someone to watch my son so I could drive all the way across town to get to the gym. It just wasn’t doable for me. I’ve also tried other at home workouts that required a lot of room moving around and that’s a bit difficult with kids. I love that I can get an amazing workout even in a small space. All I need is my yoga mat!

What advice would you give to someone considering the program or starting out?

DO IT. Just do it!  Coming from someone that’s pretty much tried it all, just try it. Try it and stick with it. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

How have people around you, either online or in person, taken your transformation?

It’s been pretty crazy! A positive crazy I mean. I get the majority of support from the wonderful people I’ve “met” online through teamddpyoga.com and the awesome Facebook groups. Without them I’m not sure if I would have as much success as I’ve had. In person from friends and family, I’ve got a lot of positive feedback. The best has been my parents and relatives telling me how proud they are of me. Gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside!

How have you taken to the role of inspiring others? I am in awe sometimes. Never in a million years did I think I would ever inspire anyone. I have received countless messages and emails from people I don’t even know telling me I’ve inspired them to start the program or stick with it. It’s an amazing, hard to believe feeling that I am truly grateful for.

You have the most amazing biceps any of us have ever seen… Tell us your secrets!

Haha thank you so much! No secrets really. I typically do some kind of DDP workout 5-6 days a week. The slow burn pushups have really helped tone my arms up. I also have started what I’ve dubbed Bathtub Pushups, although you honestly could do them just about anywhere. I started the habit of every time I went into my bathroom of doing a rep of 10 pushups. And by the time the day is over, a lot of times I’ve done 100+ pushups! Clearly I spend a lot of time in the bathroom lol. But they have really helped a lot I think. I have never been a fan of push ups, but the strength I’ve gained with DDP Yoga and only doing 10 at a time have really made them doable and fun!

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What is next for you? What are your future fitness goals?

It’s funny, when I initially started the program my goal was to lose 30 pounds. I met that goal and then another. And another, and another, until here I am now 100 pounds lighter and the healthiest I’ve ever been. DDP Yoga has taught me the sky is the limit. To believe in myself and anything is possible. I’m far from it, but my next goal is become certified as a DDP Yoga instructor so I can teach others (literally) that they can do exactly what I did.

The Challenge

And now the challenge. We all want arms like Kristin’s, right? So let’s do what she does. For the month of October, anytime you are in the bathroom, do 10 inclined pushups. I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I am definitely seeing a change! I have added my own rule in: if for whatever reason I can’t do the push-ups (running late, not wanting my HR up at 3am), I do 10 full push-ups later. Here’s Kristin to show how it’s done!

BANG!

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Where You At? Find a Local DDP Yoga Instructor!

I put together a map of all the Level 1 Trainee Instructors (and some of the certified ones too!)… Want to find a DDP Yoga class in your area? Check to see if there are any here! Click on the marker of the instructor in your area to see their contact info to set up a class! Check back often, new instructors are signing up every day!

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