Mental strength

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I don’t typically repost or pass these things along. Why? Because motivation posts are everywhere and what do most people do?  They comment, high five, thumbs up and say how much it means to them but then they do nothing about it. It’s like reading all the business books or training books in the world, but never actually applying them to your trade.

When I saw this the other day, I read it, loved it, shared it with a few friends and went about my day (which is probably what most people did). But then I came back to it again…. and a third time, finally screenshotting it to save. As I read each one slowly and carefully, it got me thinking about which ones I’ve improved on lately and which ones I still need to work on. The hard part… and what most people lack when it comes to “self-improvement” is being honest with their own strengths and shortcomings.

The past year and a half has had lots of ups and downs. Every single one of them has challenged me and forced me to grow. Yes, forced me. If I didn’t grow, I would still be stuck in the same spot. I would still be timid and quiet. I would still be afraid to speak my mind and stand up for myself. I would still be scared to communicate my stance to others for fear of backlash, judgment, or heaven forbid, a disagreement. But in this past year, I’ve had to get real with myself. I’ve had to take risks. I’ve had to put myself out there even when I was unsure of the outcome. And you know what…. I don’t regret a single moment.

I’d be lying if I said I did this alone. “This” meaning make some significant changes to my mindset and attitude. A good friend of mine is always so bubbly and perky. At first I thought, “Ok, they just have a great life.” Or, “That’s just their personality.”  At one point, I even said, “How do you do it? How do you stay so positive all the time?”  I started to question myself, who I was and thought maybe my situation is just so crazy that no one understands me. (Or was that really just an excuse to continue to throw a pity party for myself.) But over the past year of getting to know this person, I realize that their life has just as many struggles as mine, but how they choose to respond and react is what makes the difference. Sure, they still text and call with issues, mind f*cks, questions and problems, but nearly every conversation ended with this person saying, “Well, I can’t control what my (boss/friend/mom/spouse/trainer) said to me. But what I can do is…..”

That rubs off, folks.  That kind of attitude rubs off on people.

Another good friend of mine helped me to see things from a different perspective as well. Do you know a person who every time you talk to them, all they do is complain? Negative Nelly about everything. It’s pretty annoying. Looking back, that was me at certain times. Granted, I had a lot going on and there was a lot of issues, feelings and emotions that I had never gone through. Every day was a struggle. I vented and cried to a few of my friends. And as much as my words probably became obnoxious, they picked me up every time. Well this one friend, over months and months, helped me to see the good. When I got sad, down, anxious, nervous, stressed or worried, we would talk about it but then always come back to what is good in my life. They always say to me, “I understand how you feel, and that’s ok. Just don’t stay down there.”

I learned to appreciate and be thankful for the little things. To not stress about the things that are out of my hands, but to be in the moment with what’s in front of me. I learned to communicate… and do it right away. In fact, something this person did the other day bothered me. Old Julia would’ve held it in, let it fester and build up, and pile up with every other little thing and eventually implode (or explode). Instead, I spoke up right away. The issue was dealt with and I felt better for being open about it.

Now…………. in being completely transparent, it still bothered me. I went to bed still feeling a little hurt.  I was hanging on to that issue by a strand. I’m not sure why. But what I do know is I woke up still feeling sh*tty.  So, I checked myself.  In fact, I remembered this list.  “Don’t live in the past.” What happened is done. The issue was sincerely apologized for. And in fact, continuing to hold on to it won’t change what happened.  So why the heck am I still hanging on to it?  I decided to admit to them that I hadn’t fully let it go and that it was just the cherry on top of a few other emotions I was feeling. Outloud, I stated that today is a new day and I’m moving forward. The past is done. See, it was important for me to speak those words aloud… not just for the other person, but moreso for myself.

I’m not perfect at these listed items all the time. I get scared of being alone. I sometimes have a hard time letting go of a hurt. And I sometimes spend too much time thinking and worrying about things that are out of my control and not my issues. But every time something from this list pops up, I am getting faster at pinpointing what and how I need to change. And I think that’s a true measure of growth.

And if you’re still reading this, really really read the 12 again. Which ones do you need to recognize and improve on the most?  I don’t know about you, but my life is much more happy, joyful and pleasant when I do all these things.

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Thanks Afrobrutality

Just Strong: 12 week program

I didn’t have any intention of running another strength program right away, but when I received emails like the following, I couldn’t resist:

Hi Julia-
I just wanted to let you know how much I loved the past 10 weeks of the Push, Press, Pull program!  I have to admit I was a little skeptical, at first, about working out 4-5 days a week, ( I’d been doing 3) and I was also worried if my elbows could take it, as they’ve been bothering me lately. Well after 2 or 3 weeks I adjusted and my elbows have been good!
My proudest accomplishment is that I now can do 4 pullupsI had been trying to get 1 for the last 5 years!  I’ve read every article about how to do a pullup, and even though I could do up to 7 chin ups, I couldn’t get 1 pullup.  It was very frustrating and I was beginning to think it was all in my head!  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am!

I’m also psyched that my bench went from 65-100 lbs!  Also, when we had to do abs, I did hanging leg raises-  in the past I could only do them with bent knees, but I tried them with my legs straight, and I can do them!!


And another:


This (Push, Press, Pull) is the best program I’ve ever done……I’ve improved on absolutely everything. I’ve found power I didn’t know was there and quite frankly I’m not sure what I will do the week after this program is done!! Thank you!


And a note in our Facebook group:

Yay! I did my first unassisted pullup today!  🙂  This course is amazing and Julia you are a genius! I’ve got so much out of it already – thank you!

When I first started the programme I couldn’t even do one decent push up, I’d never benched anything before and I’d never managed a pullup or chin up – even though I’d tried pullups/chins countless times. In the past I’d tried doing reverse pullups for a while, because I’d read somewhere that it helps you with doing a regular pullup – but it never worked for me. (As a background – over the last few years I’ve been working out at home with kettlebells, and doing lots of swings, presses and squats).

On week 1 of the course I tried doing a pushup and it wasn’t happening, so I had to do the pushups on my knees. I managed to do 7 pushups on my knees and that was it. At the time it was tough and that was how I did them for a few weeks.

On week 5 I thought I would have a go at doing real pushups and see if I could just do 1 – I totally surprised myself because managed to do 11 in a row – I was over the moon! The following week I did 20 in a row!! I really used to dislike doing pushups but now I quite enjoy it! I can’t remember which week it was when we had chinups but I tried one of those unassisted and managed it – I just thought wow and felt like a badass!

I can’t believe how strong I’ve become in a few weeks. Oh and I love looking at my arms and shoulders now. Sorry for the long post but I’m so happy with what I’ve achieved. I love this programme and I’m getting so much out of it!


While I will argue about my own program being “the best program” (I don’t believe there is really a “best” program out there), I’ll certainly take the “genius” comment. 🙂  All kidding aside, these folks went from literally not being able to do 1 pull up or even a pushup to killing it by the end.  As the weeks were winding down, they just kept saying, “I wanna get stronger! I want to do another program!”


So, here we go.  I decided to name the program “Just Strong” because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “You’re strong for a girl!”  Well, I’d beg to differ…. I think I’m just strong, gender aside.

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This program, like the other, will be given each week at a time. It is not customized to the individual, but that does allow me to keep it cost effective for you.  We have a private group to post workouts, ask questions and with this Just Strong program, I will do video critiques of your big lifts… in fact, I am almost requiring it!!  Part of getting strong is making sure you are technically sound. We can add many pounds to a lift just by seeing your technique.

The program will begin January 4th.  From now until December 27th, it will be $99.  After that, it goes up to $149. Click the buy now link below, make sure your email is correct and I will email you further details on joining the group.