My journey from CAN'T to CAN – one workout at a time.


The Truth About Overcoming Fibromyalgia: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

I’ve written about this several times, and I’m sure I’ll write about it several times more.  The thing is, most people out there aren’t quite hearing what I’m saying.  My journey has been nothing short of amazing.  But here’s the kicker: every single person out there could experience results like this IF they were willing to TRY.  That’s where I lost most of you.  But, I’m not one to give up that easily.  And so I’m going to lay it all out: what I did, how I did it, and how you can do it too.

The Decision

This is step one.  First you DECIDE you want a better life.  That you DESERVE a better life.  For me, this came during a serious ROCK BOTTOM situation.  In bed for a couple of weeks, in excruciating pain (as usual), and completely SICK of feeling that way.  That’s when I knew this wasn’t the life for me.  That I had to do something about it.  Now, no one can make this decision but YOU.  Just like no one can do the work but YOU.  This is all up to YOU.

Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

Can I say it again? NUTRITION!  Few things are as frustrating to me as seeing people that claim to want to feel better posting about their fried chicken dinner or McDonald’s excursion with the kids.  THIS IS NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER.  THIS IS WHY YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP ALL THE TIME!  Seriously folks, you will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER feel better until you CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT.  EVER!

Where do you start?  You start by eliminating processed foods, fast foods, and soft drinks.  YES, REALLY.  Why? Because they are poisoning your body.  Then you identify the foods that are making you sick by keeping a food journal.  Then you eliminate those foods.  The end result is a largely plant-based diet – that means, lots of fruits and veggies with lean, healthy protein.  I personally am vegan, but you can get healthy protein from animal products if you make SMART CHOICES.  Since I don’t eat meat, I can’t really help you identify the right meats to eat, but a little research will steer you in the right direction.

Shakeology helped me get my nutrition on the right track and it helps me keep it there.  It has been one of the single biggest factors in my transformation.  Send me a message if you’d like more info on that.

Fitness is HARD WORK

I know what you’re going to say: I CAN’T workout because I’m in pain all the time.  Guess what?  So was I when I started.  But I did it anyway.  You have to be willing to FIGHT to make progress. Once I corrected nutrition and started using Shakeology, I was able to get moving and start working out.  As you get fit, lose weight, and build strength, that’s when fibromyalgia starts to lose and that’s when you start to win. If you aren’t willing to work hard, fibromyalgia will always win.  ALWAYS.  It’s really that simple.

There is No Magic Pill

If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a magic pill, you’re in the wrong place.  If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a cure, I just did.  Fitness, nutrition, and HARD WORK.  That’s your cure.  I HAVE NO SYMPTOMS.  NONE.  Your cure is fitness.  Your cure is nutrition.  YOU CAN FEEL BETTER.  YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LIFE BACK.  Put in the work and you too can feel better, look better, and be FREE FROM FIBROMYALGIA.

I’m not saying the only way to do it is with the programs I’ve used.  I personally believe Beachbody products are the best out there because I am living proof.  BUT find what works for you and stick with it.  DO SOMETHING. MAKE A CHANGE.  Find your way out of the grips of this horrible condition.  Be willing to FIGHT.  Be willing to COMMIT.  Be willing to WORK HARD.

Complaining = USELESS

I used to complain all the time about my condition.  USED TO.  And a lot of you insist upon complaining day in and day out.  I understand that.  Really I do. BUT, until you STOP COMPLAINING and start focusing on POSITIVITY, nothing will change.  Change your mindset, change your life.  CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE.  Shift your focus.  Don’t let fibromyalgia be the center of your life anymore.  CHANGE IT.  Focus on your goals.  Focus on the things you want to do when you conquer your symptoms (not if, when).  Make the choice.  Change your life.


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Why Shakeology?

The more important question is, why not?  

Investing in yourself, in your health, requires sacrifice.  There’s no question that some shuffling has to be done to accommodate the budgetary needs of adding something new to your daily menu.  But, sacrifice makes possible great rewards.  At least in the case of Shakeology.  So, why am I so into this product dubbed “The Healthiest Meal of the Day”?  Well, because it literally is the healthiest meal of the day.

Tell me more, tell me more.

Okay, so if that explanation isn’t quite enough for you, let me expand on it a bit.  I won’t get into the technicalities of Shakeology (it contains x% of this, and x% of that) – you can read that on your own.  What I will discuss is how Shakeology helps me.



So, apparently, when you get all the nutrients you need for the day in one healthy shake, you have a TON of energy.  Maybe that’s because our bodies are typically deprived of these ingredients.  Maybe it’s because the ingredients used for Shakeology are the purest available on earth.  Whatever the reason, all I know is Shakeology gives me energy.  And, this is coming from someone that has lived in a constant state of exhaustion (fibromyalgia-style) for YEARS.  After having Shakeology for a couple of days, I was completely taken aback when I realized: “I’M NOT TIRED!”


The nutrients in Shakeology create harmony – both physically and mentally.  It’s difficult to explain, but it gives me a sense of balance that was lacking before.


Eatin’ Right!

By starting my day with Shakeology, I am setting the tone for the whole day.  It’s my way of telling my body “I will nourish you today with the proper food.  I will eat healthy all day!” – somehow, it makes me not want junky foods.


I had read some things prior to starting Shakeology that suggested it could actually help with fibromyalgia symptoms.  I thought it was too good to be true.  But, it IS true.  Aside from addressing “fibro fatigue”, it also helps tremendously with fibro fog, pain, and depression – to name a few.  Along with the Ultimate Reset and my fitness program (TURBOFIRE!), Shakeology has all but eradicated my symptoms.  But, without Shakeology, I truly don’t think I would have even been able to begin Turbo Jam or any cardio program.


One of my FAVORITE things aboSlide1ut this amazing, healthiest-meal-of-the-day beverage is the taste.  You can really tell they put a lot of effort into the formula and were careful to pick the best of the best.  Personally, I prefer the Vegan Chocolate (because, hello, I’m vegan) and I’m stuck on making it this way:

  • 12 oz. Almond Milk (plain, unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp. peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana*
  • 4 oz. water*

*We use frozen bananas because we live in a somewhat remote area and only go shopping once a week.  Also, I have a distaste for overly ripe bananas.  If you use fresh bananas, substitute the 4 oz. of water for 8 ice cubes and you’re good to go!


I realize for many people, the cost is an issue. BUT, when you calculate it versus the cost of a meal (or going to Starbucks every day), it is a very affordable option.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • The cost of a 30-day supply of Shakeology: $129.95
  • Cost per meal breakdown: 129.95 ÷ 30 meals (1 per day for 30 days) = $4.33

Let’s compare that with a typical meal or visit to Starbucks:

  • Cost of a Venti Mocha: $4.25 (no food here folks; just coffee, fat, and sugar) = – .08 vs. Shakeology
  • Cost of a breakfast meal at your favorite fast food joint: $4.50 = + .17 vs. Shakeology

Need I go on?

The Moral of the Story?

Shakeology is amazing.  It’s my favorite meal of the day and I believe it will improve the wellness of anyone that tries it.


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Recap: Beachbody TurboFire Challenge Week 3


Dates: June 17 – June 23

Total Workouts: 6

Total Workout Duration: 315 Minutes / 5 1/4 Hours

Nutrition: Beachbody Shakeology Vegan Chocolate DAILY; Vegan Power Diet

Supplements: VegaSport Pre-Workout Energizer; VegaSport Recovery Formula; CoQ10; MSM / Glucosamine

Okay, I’ve made it through another week!  Phew!  As usual, TurboFire was the perfect combination of CHALLENGE and FUN.  That’s why I love it.  I was super impressed with some of my progress this week.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say I AMAZED MYSELF!  So, let’s take a look at the recap so you can see what I mean…

First Impressions

This is week 3 – I can totally do this.  I began with ZERO anxiety and 110% confidence that I would KILL every workout.  And I did.  A positive attitude goes a LONG way!

I made some major strides this week and grew a lot in my strength and durability.  I attribute that to two things: one, it’s been 3 weeks since I moved to a high altitude climate and I think I’m getting used to it; two, I’ve worked my butt off every single day.


Well, well, well…  How to pick a favorite?  6 awesome, challenging workouts. 6 days of feeling empowered, strong, and invincible.  Here are a few favorite moments from the week:

  1. HIIT 15 + Tone 30 – Thursday June 20: This is the second time I’d done this workout and, well, it got a LITTLE easier.  The biggest thing?  I CAN JUMP!  When doing plyometric training, jumping is key.  When you have FM, jumping is HARD.  But, I kept trying until I could do it.
  2. BURPEES:  Okay, okay, okay.  I know a lot of you do these without breaking a sweat.  But, really, I didn’t think it would ever happen for me.  Chalene calls them “SUMO” but you know what she means.  You know you’ve got to try.  Until you CAN.  This week, I finally could.  And I was AMAZED.  This was the day I wrote my post “Amaze Yourself”.
  3. Core 20 + Stretch 40: In last week’s recap, I listed this as my least favorite workout of week 1.  After doing it each week, it’s moved to the favorite category.  It’s TOUGH.  But it WORKS YOUR CORE!  What I’ve learned is: your core really is the key to all movements, so you need to WORK IT.

Secret Weapons

  1. Shakeology: I suppose it’s really no secret, but I LOVE Shakeology.  It REALLY helps my symptoms and truly is the “Healthiest Meal of the Day”.  It gives you everything you need to FUEL your body and keep moving through the day.
  2. VegaSport: In watching TurboFire before beginning the program, Chalene mentioned drinking Beachbody Results and Recovery during workouts, especially HIIT workouts.  The thing is, it’s not vegan so I knew I couldn’t drink it.  So, I looked for a vegan option.  I found VegaSport.  Not only is it vegan, but it’s also formulated with ALL NATURAL ingredients. I use both the Pre-Workout Energizer and the Recovery Accelerator and LOVE THEM BOTH.  A great option if you want a natural way of soothing sore muscles after working out so hard.

Overall: Week 3

Hey, I did it!  I LOVE the challenge of TF and I love that your strength grows exponentially each time you workout.  My body is changing, I am growing stronger, and I feel better each day.  Actually, I feel AMAZING.  Fibromyalgia who?  Yep, it can kiss my grits.

See y’all next week for another recap!


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“No, You Can’t” | “Yes, I CAN”

IMG_3064We’ve all got ‘em.  Those opposing inner voices.  There’s the good one.  The one that believes in you.  Then there’s the naysayer.  The one that thinks you’re a quitter.  When you’ve got something like FM, those voices are always at it.  Especially the naysayer.  Whether you’re walking the dog or just trying to get out of bed, that voice is always trying to get you to give up.  To admit that you just can’t do it.  And, man, how do you shut that thing up???

Well, I wish I could say I have the answer.  But I don’t.  That voice has developed over many years — over a lifetime of experiences — negative and positive.  She has been “trained” to tell you “you can’t do this”.  That voice is still in my head trying to convince me to give up on this journey.  To believe I shouldn’t be doing this.  To go back to being unable to do anything.  And, well, she doesn’t get to win.  Ever.  Again.  Nancy Naysayer already had several years, now it’s time for Polly Positive to get a chance.

So, how do you ignore that voice?

How do you push past the negative images, feelings, words, and beliefs to find your inner strength?  To find the voice inside you that believes you can?  It’s not easy.  And it’s something you have to focus on always.  Like all things, it’s a choice.

  • You choose to believe. 
  • You choose to try. 
  • You choose to hear positive words rather than negative ones. 
  • You choose to motivate yourself.  
  • You choose to overcome.

How do you get through a HIIT workout when you have FM? 

How do you choose to tackle an intense 20-week fitness challenge when you could barely walk up a flight of stairs just a few months back? 

It’s all the same.  You make a choice.  You either try or you give up.  You either listen to Nancy Naysayer or Polly Positive.  Believe me, I’ve got the “I can’t” voice SCREAMING at me during some of my workouts.  But I also have Chalene Johnson yelling at me to PUSH harderAND I have ME.  I have the person that I choose to be.  I have the person that I am becoming.  I have the will to be healthier than ever and to continue to strive for more.

You’re not alone.  Everyone hears “no, you can’t” – sometimes it’s from within, sometimes it’s from friends or family.  DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF THEM.  Only YOU can decide that.  It’s up to you.  Shut down the negative, elevate the positive.  You can do this! ‘Nuff said.


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Recap: Beachbody TurboFire Challenge Weeks 1 & 2


Dates: June 3 – June 16

Total Workouts: 12 (6 days a week, one much needed rest day per week)

Total Workout Duration: 570 minutes (aka 9 ½ hours)

Nutrition: Beachbody Shakeology DAILY; Vegan POWER Diet (that’s what I like to call it)

Unlike how I felt when entering the TurboJam challenge, when I began the TurboFire challenge, I KNEW I could do it.  I knew I would do it.  I also knew it wouldn’t be easy.  With that in mind, I started the challenge in Monday, June 3, 2013.

TF_product_configuration_170x100First Impressions

Well, you start with what’s called the “FireStarter” workout.  This is meant to familiarize you with the combos you’ll see for the next 20 weeks.  Yes, 20 weeks.  So, it would seem as though it would be a “light” workout.  Well, Chalene doesn’t do light workouts.  While it does take things a bit slower to teach you the key moves and it is MUCH lighter than the other TF workouts, it is still very challenging.  At least for me.  Especially considering I had just moved to a high altitude (8600 feet) city only 2 days prior.

My first impression of TurboFire?  Holy crap, this is going to get me in the best shape of my life.

Moving Through Each Workout – Week 1

Even after one day, I was already excited to get up the next morning and tackle another CHALLENGING workout.  I get up at 6 am every day – non-negotiable – and get my workout in before I start my day.  That’s how I start my day and I love it.  I put my workouts in my schedule so it shows up on my phone as well as my MacBook.  That adds a layer of accountability to the process — and something I need on days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

  • Favorite Week 1 Workout: I think the workout that I was the most excited bout in week one was the Low HIIT 20 / Stretch 10 – just because I was SO excited to take on a HIIT workout. (High Intensity Interval Training).  I guess the main reason it was my favorite of week one was I DID IT!  Fire 45 EZ / Stretch 10 was pretty awesome too.
  • Least Favorite Week 1 Workout: Core 20 / Stretch 40.  Okay, seriously, I think I asked Chalene if she was crazy like 6 times during this workout.  Keep in mind, I’ve done yoga for years.  “Stretch 40” is a pseudonym for “I Will Kill You in 40 Minutes”.  Seriously though, I hated it because of how hard it was, but that makes me love it too.  I was sore until Thursday from this (I did it on a Saturday).  I know I will see a great deal of progress each week when I do this workout. And, yes, I will do it each week.

Finishing Up – Week 2

I think one of the most important things about doing a fitness challenge is that you celebrate every success – no matter how small. And, so I celebrated the fact that I finished week 1.  The fact that I did even better than I’d imagined I would. I was ready to tackle week 2!  What was really great about week 2 is that there were already things I couldn’t do in week 1 that I found I was able to do in week 2.  Now that’s progress!!!  Well, she really knows how to start it off – the first workout would be the longest one to date and it was TOUGH!

  • Favorite Week 2 Workout: Fire 45 EZ / Stretch 10.  This is SO MUCH FUN!  The energy is high and I feel motivated the entire time to just keep pushing harder.  Also, the Stretch 10 workout is amazing.  It feels so great after working so hard!
  • Least Favorite Week 2 Workout: Fire 55 EZ / Stretch 10.  Okay, I do love the Fire 45 EZ, but I wasn’t sure if I would survive the 55 minute version.  What I didn’t realize beforehand is that she sneaks in a HIIT about halfway through.  Really about killed me, but I REALLY DID IT.  YAY me.

Overall: Weeks 1 and 2

Closing comments: I DID IT.  That’s really all.  I started week 3 this morning and I’m already excited for my workout tomorrow.  I’m killing it – one workout at a time.  Thank you Chalene Johnson! 


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Food = Fuel


The sooner you start believing that, the healthier you’ll be…

I figured in this journey of mine, it wouldn’t be fair to go on without addressing nutrition.  It has played a HUGE role in my ability to transcend my condition and become stronger, happier, and healthier.  To overshadow it with talk of fitness routines and challenges would be leaving out what is the main reason I am able to do it at all.

Giving it Up

As soon as I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was reading as much material as possible so that I would feel empowered and in control.  I read up immediately on the dos and don’ts of FM – largely diet and nutrition.  Of course, the top 5 things I could not have were the top 5 things I would NEVER give up – or so I thought at the time.  Here’s what I found on the list of foods to avoid for FM sufferers (also note my reaction to the list when I read it several years ago – before I changed my diet):

  1. Caffeine (Hello, my name is Wendy and I’m a coffee addict)
  2. Aspartame (Hello, my name is Wendy and I’m a diet coke addict)
  3. Gluten (Do they really expect me to give up beer? AND bread?)
  4. Dairy (What would life be without cheese?)
  5. Nightshade plants (Seriously? No tomatoes?)

Okay, so after years of pretending none of this applied to me, I came to realize this line of thinking was ruining my life.  So I started to change.

The first to go? Diet Coke.  Seriously, the stuff is basically poison.  I gave it up in 2008 and haven’t had a single soda since.  And I don’t miss it at all.  Goodbye aspartame.  It’s been nice knowing you.  The rest of the list took some time.  Like YEARS…

How to Give Up the Rest?

Slowly, I began to connect more with my body, how I felt, and what was making me feel that way. I was seeing a clear connection between what I ate and how I felt.  Seems pretty obvious, right?  Well, do you really SEE the connection?  Or do you eat things that are really, really awful for you because it’s too hard to eat healthy?  Uh huh.  We became vegetarians sometime in 2010 or 11.  Cheese-loving vegetarians, but vegetarians nonetheless.  At least it was an improvement.  The next thing to go was gluten.  This happened thanks to James.  He was reading up on how it affects FM and said, “Maybe you should think about giving up gluten”.  At the time, we were regularly going to our favorite pub to sample the latest craft beer offerings.  And what he was saying was we should think about giving up gluten.  And so we did. And things started to get better.  Slowly.

Shakeology & Ultimate Resetbeachbody ultimate reset

This was KEY to my transformation.  I can’t stress enough what the Ultimate Reset experience did for me.  For both James and I really.  We started it March 3, 2013 and finished March 23.  What does it do?  It retrains your mind and body.  It redefines how you see food, how you feel about it, and what you choose to put in your body.  You don’t starve.  In fact, you eat a LOT.  Week one, you’re still eating some dairy – you’re alsShakeology_logo_with_tag_LRo GIVING UP COFFEE.  Yes, that’s right.  This confirmed coffee addict gave it up.  AND I haven’t had it since.  Week 2, you’re going vegan baby.  I thought it would be SO difficult.  And yet, here we are – July 14, 2013 – STILL vegan with no plans to EVER go back.  We’ve NEVER felt better.  I’ve never been healthier.  And without this change, I would NEVER have been able to do the rest.  No Turbo Jam, no TurboFire, no hiking, no conquering FM.  Diet is KEY.  What you fuel your body with is key.  Shakeology is a part of every single day and it truly FUELS my body.  Amazing stuff.  Truly.

Food is FUEL, Not a Reward

Food is not a reward.  Food is how you prepare your body for the things you want to do.  Food is how you prevent disease.  Food is how you prolong your life.  IF you choose the right foods.  It’s not easy.  But it IS worth it.  I never thought I would go vegan.  I never thought I would give up coffee.  I never thought it would make a difference.  But you never know till you try.  And I’m so glad I did.  Because, before I gave those things up, I NEVER thought I could hike, workout, or ever be active again.  Here’s to eating healthy.  Here’s to being healthy.  Here’s to make the right choices for your body.


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