My Tribe / #7daychip / Great Stair Climb 2011

17 01 2011

"The Warriors" (one of my favorite childhood movies)

My friend Ryan (nomorebacon) wrote a really great blog post last week about the Power of the Tribe. He was referring to the power of coming together and helping a fellow blogger (journeybeyondsurvival) get a  therapy dog for her chickadee. It was awesome to watch everyone come together and in the blink of an eye raise the multiple thousands of dollars needed to get her the four legger she needs to lead a great life.

I am part of that tribe.

That tribe is a part of me.

I’ve been in a bad place the last couple of days. Normally I could chalk it up to it being “that time of the month” but this time it was purely depression sinking in. Big events are looming in front of me and my husband and with that comes more stress than I was am ready to handle (though handle it I will). On top of that a feeling of being stagnant in my journey and it was a combination that brought some dark clouds over me and my emotional state of not well-being.

I don’t really know how to reach out to people. When I am on top of my game, (the game of the  LCJ) I feel confident people want to talk to me, be around me and it’s easier for me to put myself out there to be vulnerable to what others bring to the table. When I am far from being on top of my game I shut down. I begin to think  people don’t want to be around me. That they don’t care what I feel or think. That I don’t deserve to be a part of my tribe.

That’s where I’ve been this week.

This post isn’t about where I was.

It’s about where I am.

It’s about my Tribe.

When I started to descend into the darkness of feeling bad about myself I immediately received texts  and twitter messages from people I know in real life and people I’ve never laid eyes on and only know them in 140 character conversations. All checking in with me to make sure I was okay. I wasn’t. But I was honest about where I was. They didn’t turn their back on me. They didn’t ignore me, or make me feel like I was being a bother. In fact, they sent me messages like:

“You are NEVER alone”

“I love ya T, stay strong”

“What is today (scale of 1-10 on my depression)?”

“Sending you love, compassion, hugs”

“Blues are okay, just don’t derail your progress. Talk it out, don’t eat it out. We emo eaters must be careful.”

“Sunshine and stars are ALWAYS there. Sometimes we can’t see them behind the clouds and darkness”

“I wish my depression could meet your depression and kick one another’s asses!”

I’m realizing I need this tribe more than they need me and I’m beginning to understand that I can no longer down play the power of having people in my life that lift me up when I am not able to do so for myself. That being said, I’ve also come to understand that while I can work out on my own and break my own sweat there is one other tribe member that I’ve been missing and have decided to go back to seeing Godfather. I don’t need him to tell me how to work out (I’m pretty good at it on my own) but I do need him to give me the all important (important to my emotional psyche) pat on the back and the “good job kid’ that I’ve been missing like you wouldn’t believe. I haven’t really kept the blogging world up on his where abouts lately because I was still getting used to not seeing him every day. He has since moved to Innovative Fitness. I’ve come to understand that he is as much a part of my tribe as anybody else and it’s important to me to keep having him as my trainer.

My tribe is important to me.

My tribe is essential to my success on this journey.

I am essential to my success on this journey.

I am fighting back.

On a scale of 1 – 10 today.

I am a solid 5.5

And that is outstanding!


Another thing I’m learning about this LCJ is when I don’t have a goal of some sort, my oomph for being on this journey is pretty much suck ass. This last week was proof of that. I went from doing something nice for myself (getting my toes did) to trying to buy something nice for myself (shopping fiasco) to eating all the crap in my house to purging to saying some very hateful things to myself and finally sitting under one of the darkest clouds I can remember having. One of the reasons for this downfall? I’m not really involved with anything at this point. This is one of the reasons I’m going back to seeing Godfather. Seeing him on a regular basis will keep me focused on making great decisions. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve decided to join the #7daychip challenge put on Brad Gansberg. As a recovering addict, I am well aware of the recovery chip idea and I think it’s a fantastic tribe for me to join. I have a dysfunctional (unhealthy) relationship with food and with my own thought process and I think this will be a great way for me to be aware of both while attempting to earn my #7daychip and beyond.

The great thing is I get to define what standards need to be met in order to earn this chip. After much thought I’ve decided on the following:

*I will not eat mindlessly (no random snacking without first making sure I’m hungry)

*I will drink at least 64 oz of water each day

*I will take my vitamins

*If I think something negative about myself I will say at least three things I like about myself in front of the mirror.

*I will eat consciously ( I will thank my food for keeping me strong and making me healthy)

*I will not eat any chocolate


In case you missed it I started my Great Stair Climb of 2011 at the beginning of January. I am on a mission to climb 13,428 floors (the equivalent of climbing the Empire State Building 132 times). As of today I’ve climbed 16,125 stairs or the equivalent of 1075 floors. This means I’ve climbed the Empire State Building approximately 8.7 times.

I am 8% of the way there!









A letter…

30 08 2010

It high time I wrote a letter to the Head Trainer at All Star  Fitness so I sat down with some tea at Starbucks and hand wrote the following:


This letter is long in coming. I spent hours wondering how to put down in words the life changing experience I’ve had since walking through the doors of Allstar Fitness back in april of this year. The beginning is probably the best place to start. December 29th 2009 I decided I had had enough of living the life laid out before me. I weighed 263.5 pounds. I was depressed and my life had come to a screeching halt. I had just celebrated my 40th birthday and I realized if I didn’t start to move and move with purpose, I wasn’t going to have too many more chances to get my life back.

December 30th I began to move. It wasn’t much, but it was more than I was used to. I took stairs instead of elevators. I parked as far away as possible from buildings and began walking on my lunch breaks. I began to eat consciously and slowly the weight came off. This was a fight to save my life. I promised myself that I would take the first 30 pounds off myself, then join a gym. The day the scale said 233.5 I walked into Allstar. I’ve never been a  card-carrying member of a gym before and to say I was intimidated would be an underestimation of how I really felt.

With the membership came the free assessment with the trainers and after acclimating myself for a few weeks I took the plunge and set my first appointment with Kent (Superman). I hear stories about people having bad experiences with trainers and having to try a few out before finding the right match. I never had that problem. Kent and I hit it off right away. He saw something in my that I never saw in myself: Potential. Kent is very much a “get down to business” kind of trainer. I am very much a “get down to business” kind of person. We made a great team and over the course of two months he helped me lose an additional 20+ pounds. He set a fire inside of me to become what I was born to be: an athlete.

Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond both of our control I had to transfer my remaining sessions to another trainer in June. Kent had set the standards pretty high so I had to be firm with my choice. I’d been watching trainers for a few weeks knowing a choice had to be made. One particular trainer caught my eye: Chuck Carone (Godfather). Every morning I would watch him with his clients and I knew I needed to be a part of his team. By the end of our first session together I knew I wouldn’t need to keep looking for a new trainer. Kent set the fire to become an athlete. Chuck has made me an athlete.

Chuck sees in me things I never knew possible. He sees strength and determination. He sees me as a stronger, fitter, faster person. I’ve been with Chuck for close to 2 months. When we first started training together I weighed 213 pounds. As of this letter I weigh 183 pounds. I am stronger today than I have ever been. When I didn’t believe in myself, Chuck believed in me. When my thoughts are full of “I can’t”, Chuck shows me that I can. When I am tired and cranky and dragging my feet into the gym at 6am for our session, he is full of energy and has a smile and enthusiasm that is contagious. I don’t know how other people feel about Chuck, but he has become an extremely important person in my life. A coach. A trainer. A mentor and a friend.

In all honesty he not only makes me want to become a better athlete; he makes me want to become a better person.

There are very few people who I look to as role models and even fewer people I aspire to be. Chuck is easily on the top of both of those lists.

~ Tara Martin

Brick wall…

22 07 2010

When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable” ~ Walt Disney

I write that quote first thing because I am living with some serious mental blockage. You’d think after being on this journey for almost 7 months the proverbial brick wall would be coming down but I woke up this morning feeling like someone added another layer to it.

As my body changes shape (getting thinner) and I start to notice more muscles coming through (getting stronger) I also spend more time focused on what else is still there: loose skin. I don’t like it at all. I don’t really like the way my stomach feels (skin wise) and I definitely don’t like the way my thighs look. I’m having a hard time not being negative about what my body looks like today even though I don’t weigh 263 pounds anymore and I am stronger right now in my life than I’ve been in the 40 years that I’ve walked this earth.

I want to be strong, fit, fast and at my goal weight of 170 and I want it to happen right now. I know, I know slow and steady wins the race but try telling that to my loose, feels like aunt bettie’s underarm gibblet, skin.

Today I woke up weighing the same as I did yesterday. Same as I did two days ago. Same as I did on Saturday. I didn’t feel fat on those days. Today I woke up feeling fat and unhappy. The mind has a wonderful way of sinking it’s teeth right into you at the first sign of negativity. It didn’t take too long for rest of me to catch up with that negativity and for the first time since I started working out with a trainer, I thought about canceling. I didn’t want to go and sweat in front of other people. I didn’t want to go and look at myself in the mirror wearing a swim suit. I didn’t want Godfather to tell me to jump on that red box. I wanted to crawl back into bed and just forget about this journey.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I am a stickler for keeping appointments.

I went. In fact, it was pretty awesome. There were some parts that I  struggled through. I had to look in the mirror a few times while doing squats and the face staring back at me was not thinking the best of thoughts about what my body looked like. Godfather did want me to jump on the red box. He wouldn’t let me leave until I got up there and it took me 30 minutes to battle the “I can’t” and get over to the “I can”. He did this really wicked (and by wicked I mean mind boggling) thing after watching me stand in front of the red box and contemplate why I  couldn’t convince myself to jump. He stood in front of me and told me to put my arms out and not let him push them down. I did. He pushed but I didn’t really waver. Then (with the declaration that what he was about to say was not true but to listen) he said the following words to me:

You’re lazy

You’re fat

You’ll never be strong

Then he told me to put my arms up and BAM he just pushed them down like it was the easiest thing in the world. He then said (with the declaration that everything he was about to say was true, to look him in the eyes and to listen) the following words:

You’re stong

I care about you

You deserve this

Up go my arms and sure enough, he can’t push them down. I was letting myself think all those negative thoughts and they were keeping me from getting on the box. I didn’t jump up right away in a fit of super human power. In fact it took another 15 minutes of serious mental work to jump and jump high enough to land my feet.

So I struggled today at the gym but like I said, it was awesome. At one point Godfather gets down on the floor with me and does everything that I’m doing. How awesome is it to look over while doing “I think I’m going to throw up” crunches and see your trainer doing the same thing? You can’t give up or slow down when you totally want to kick the ass of your trainer and show them who’s boss (he’s still the boss!). I walked away from our session, out of breath and a little irritated with myself. But I also walked away with something else…

One brick out of that wall.

I don’t know where you are on this journey. I don’t know how high your brick wall is or even if you have one. Whatever it is you are trying to accomplish it must be done with every fiber and you must believe. There are going to be days where you just want to crawl into some dark hole and hope that no one notices that you’re gone. You’re going to look in the mirror and wonder if you’ll ever make it. You’re going to wonder if it’s all worth it. You’re going to try to convince yourself you’ll start again tomorrow. Some days you’re going to stand in front of your red box and wonder if you can…

The answer is yes.

You can.

You will.

Right now.

Let’s talk about coach chuck…

14 07 2010

I’ve wanted to sit down and write a post about coach chuck for a while now. I’ve been working out with him for about 3 weeks and while I am sad that I had to make the switch from Superman to him, he has not let me down at all. In fact he has upped the level of performace that I am looking for and I feel he is the right person to take me where I want to go over the next three months.

I gave Superman his name for a few different reasons. First reason is because his real name is Kent so it was easy to associate him with that particular superhero name. The second reason was because in the story of  Superman he flys around and saves people from perilous danger and for the last three months Kent  has been doing just that: helping me save my life from the perils of depression, obesity and allowing my life to slip past me. Finally Clark Kent is a very quiet and reserved person to most of the world around him and Kent is much the same way but when Clark Kent becomes Superman he has all the charm of a true superhero. Kent possesses that quality as well.

Unfortunately due to his illness I had to move on to another trainer and when I picked Coach Chuck I wanted to give him a nick name that was fitting and appropiate to how our relationship was forging. It didn’t happen overnight so instead I’ve taken the last 3 weeks to really get to know him before bestowing the honor of having a nickname. I thought about just calling him Coach Chuck but it just didn’t seem right. I mean don’t get me wrong, I call him “Coach” when we’re training together but it just didn’t have enough substance or oompha in describing his personality. For three weeks I waited for the nick name to come to me. I researched male superhero names in hopes that something would pop out at me, but I got nothing.

Until yesterday.

Coach Chuck is very demanding. Not in a bad “I’m gonna yell at you until I’m blue in the face and you’re gonna lay there and take it you weakling” kind of way. I think they have those kind of trainers at my gym. No, Coach Chuck is a “this is what you want and this is how you’re going to get it” kind of trainer. He has some high expectations when it comes to the 60 – 90 minutes you spend with him. He wants you to work hard. He wants you to earn every drop of sweat you leave on the mat and he doesn’t want to hear any negativity come from your mouth. He wants you to take pride in the work you’re doing even if you feel like you’re going to puke up your guts if you have to do another round of stations he set before you. He pushes hard. And when you feel like you can’t continue, he pushes even harder until you finish. He can tell when you’re physically tired or when it’s a mental obstacle and if it’s mental you better believe you’re not stopping until it’s done. When you think you can’t, he’s gonna let you know you can and he’s going to make you prove it to yourself. He’s asks and in the end all you want to do is give because you may not want to do it for yourself but there is something that makes you want to do it for Coach Chuck.

During our session yesterday, another one of his clients came up to him. I was sweating profusely and pretty much curled up in fetal position after having done a total of 60 crunch like exercises while my feet were in straps. I hurt. I was loving every minute of it. He looked right at her and said the following sentence:

You need to work harder when you’re working with me

In that instance I knew I never wanted to hear those words come from him and have them be directed towards me. If Coach Chuck ever has to tell me to work harder then I’m not there for the right reasons. I wanted to look up (but I was still laying down waiting for my stomach muscles to relax) and say to her “How can you not be working hard with this guy” He knows if you’re  not pushing yourself enough and he’s not afraid to put in out there for you to recognize: Either get it together or move on. Here he is offering me the chance of a lifetime…

It’s an offer I can’t refuse.

Much like Marlon Brando in the Godfather, I can’t refuse when Coach Chuck asks me to perform to the best of my ability and just when I think I can’t keep going to take a deep breath and push through the fatigue to show him I can and in the end prove to myself I can. Much like the Godfather, he asks and much like the mafia I respond. Much like the Godfather, he doesn’t want to be disappointed by his “family” and much like the mafia, I do not want to disappoint!

Coach Chuck = The Godfather

It’s going to be an AWESOME summer!