“Long, Lean & Sexy… Not Bulky”… Say, What?!

Last week, I was forced to take some unexpected rest days because I was fighting a cold. What’s a girl like me to do with extra time spent at home on the couch? If you’re thinking: get caught up on blogging, reading, etc., well, yes, that’s what I would’ve liked to have done. But what did I really do? I got sucked into reality TV shows… #guiltyascharged

As I was flipping through the channels, I stumbled upon a “Revenge Body” marathon. This is the show that Khloe Kardashian’s created and although the name and my initial idea of what the show was about (we should make changes for US and because WE want to, not because of or for others) turned me off, I did want to give it a chance.

While I thought there were some positive aspects of the show, there was something that really bothered me when it came to what  one of the trainers was saying as “motivation” to keep her client moving. Before I get to that, let’s set up the tone of the situation that had me crawling in my seat:

The girl wanting revenge grew up as an athlete and due to a lot of really terrible life tragedies, stopped working out and turned to food instead. She had gained a lot of weight and wanted to get back to what she knew she could and wanted to be. She was excited to get back into the gym and a training program: flipping tires, slamming ropes, lifting heavy weights, etc.

In turn, what she was faced with was a dance-focused, high cardio based class format & trainer. I will preface this post by saying there is nothing wrong with this type of training and workout. BUT, only if it’s something you enjoy. After the first session, this girl was not feeling the workout- she wanted to be lifting heavy things rather than just doing cardio.

Long story short, she ended up sticking with this trainer, enjoying the workouts and losing 30 pounds, BUT, I couldn’t get past what the trainer was saying as motivation and as a way to “sell” her on the workout, why it worked and why she should stick with it:

These workouts will help you get long, lean and sexy… and not bulky! These workouts will help you get that long, lean muscle body like a dancer!

Say, what?! First off, as many of my friends have talked about in their blog posts, we simply cannot change the length of our muscles. It’s just not possible. On top of that, what’s wrong with being “bulky”, which, by the way, is very subjective. What exactly does that even mean? How does that mean you won’t be lean? Or that you won’t be sexy?

Unfortunately, this type of marketing sells for a lot of people, women in particular. Which is exactly why magazines are covered with “7 ways to lose 7 pounds in a week” or “foods that will flatten your belly” or “2 weeks to a new you”, right? This hooks people in, but, ultimately they’re all false promises. Unless you’re genetics result in you having “long, lean” muscles, all the cardio & small weight lifting in the world won’t get you them. And, just because you may not have those and you may prefer lifting heavier weights, flipping tires, pulling ropes, etc., does not mean you will get “bulky” (but again, what does that even mean?!).

I get so frustrated when I see/hear people use those types of false statements to get people motivated. How about “this workout may not be what you were hoping for, but because of the combination of cardio and plyometric exercises paired with low weight and high repetitions, you will notice a change in how your body reacts. That said, let’s swap out 1-2 days of this with heavier weights if that’s something you prefer.”? Right? At the end of the day, we should do workouts that we enjoy (or at least don’t hate 😉 ), ones that challenge us, but ultimately, ones that make us feel strong- both physically and mentally. Because working out to get “long, lean muscles” or to avoid “getting bulky” are only short term, surface level motivations and likely won’t be enough for you to sustain whatever diet/workout you’re doing.

So, I urge you to think beyond “wanting to lose 10 pounds” or “get a flat stomach” or getting “long & lean” and instead focus on how workouts make you feel. What do you like? Dislike? What makes you feel STRONG and POWERFUL and most importantly, HAPPY? When you dial in to those feelings, I think you’ll find yourself connecting more to your workouts, your body & your mind and ultimately getting the results you want. And the best part is that this all happens while appreciating your body, rather than the alternative which always leaves you feeling like you need to give more or that you aren’t good enough because you still need to lost X pounds or workout for X minutes or do X type of workout.

At the end of the day we have one life and one body and it’s up to us to learn how to treat it with love and compassion and to break away from the stereotypes of “good” (long, lean, not bulky, etc.).


Questions for you: What’s a workout that makes you happy or that you enjoy?

Blogging (& life) Updates

Hi there! What day is it? What week is it? When’s the last time I wrote a blog post that wasn’t a workout or a “Five on Friday” post? Haha. Oops! The truth is, I WANT to blog, but it just hasn’t been coming naturally to me as of late. I think part of it is that I’ve been logging in long hours at the office, teaching normal classes, creating and promoting events and generally just having a lot of things on my plate. So, when all is said and done, the last thing I want to do is open up my laptop and try to force a thoughtful blog post. I owe you guys more than that!

I’ve also been feeling a little “blah” about blogging in general and wondering if it’s even worth it, which is really sad because this has always been such a positive hobby for me. When I think about why I feel this way, I think it boils down to the fact that my blogging stats have gone down (likely a result of the fact I don’t blog regularly anymore) so when I take the time to write a thoughtful, detailed post and then don’t see high stats I just wonder, “is it worth it? Do people even read this thing?”.

But, with that said, at the end of the day I’m not only blogging for my readers- I’m also blogging for ME, because it’s something I really do enjoy. I think I’ve just gotten out of the habit of making blogging a priority; I’m always putting something else in front of blogging so by the time I finish everything, I’ve got nothing left in me to give to blogging. And while I understand that blogging won’t always be on my “highest priority” list based on what’s going on in my life at any given moment, if I don’t ever take time to make it a priority then I won’t ever create blog posts with substance, right?! Funny how that works!

So, my goal over the next few months is to get a bit more regular with my posting. I have some blog post topics that I want to write about and I hope to be able to get my writing mojo back to be able to formulate a thoughtful discussion on them! And, since I have lots and lots of workouts to share, I’ll definitely be sharing those regularly, too. Another long-term goal I have is to have pictures to go along with the moves, but I’m not making any promises as to when I’ll get that going 😉

Also, don’t forget- I am much more active on Instagram and try to share thoughtful insights when applicable, news regarding classes & events, meals, restaurants, etc. so be sure to follow me there if you want to stay in the loop!

For those of you who still stick around- THANK YOU! Your support means so much to me- seriously. If you have any suggestions for blog post topics or anything else, I’d love for you to let me know so that I can expand upon them!


Wednesday Workout: {or lack thereof}

If you’ve been following B2B for a while, you’re probably pretttttty familiar with my “Wednesday Workout” posts, huh? Nearly every week for the past 3+ years I’ve brought a new workout to you on Wednesdays; sometimes they’re long, sometimes they’re quickies, sometimes they’re bodyweight, sometimes they require a gym, but regardless, I do my very best to share workouts I’ve done and enjoyed with the hopes that you’ll give them a try.

However, it’s been at least a few weeks since I’ve shared any sort of workouts with you, and I’ll be honest with you: it’s felt kinda nice to not have the pressure of creating workouts, doing the workouts, creating a picmonkey graphic and explaining various moves. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing that, but I just feel like I’ve needed a break from that pressure. As I mentioned on Instagram over the weekend, I’ve been feeling really “blah” about my workouts. I recently started teaching a new-to-me class at GymIt (Bags & Beats) so when I’m not teaching other classes, I’ve been practicing the workouts/combos/using the app/etc. so that I feel comfortable when I’m actually teaching the class.


And, with the nice weather we’ve been having, I’ve been doing a lot more running and things outside of the gym, meaning I’m not really creating workouts that I could potentially share. Work has been so busy, also meaning I can’t sneak away for a lunch break lifting session… another reason why I haven’t got anything to share with you.

Long story short: my workouts have been kind of boring, inconsistent in terms of having a plan and sometimes non-existent. But you know what? It’s totally ok. Sure, I could come up with some type of workout to share with you, but if I have no passion behind it, I’d just be creating a workout only to have content, not because I wanted to try new things or a new format or anything like that and if that’s the case, I’d rather not share anything with you. Remember my resolution from a few weeks ago? Quality over quantity? I’d rather come to you with a brand spankin new workout that I was really excited about because in turn that would get YOU excited, too, and hopefully enough for you to try it out 😉

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is bear with me. If you come here solely for the workouts, I encourage you to go back to my workouts page page and maybe try some that you haven’t tried before. Or, go back and do one of your favorites from the archives. I promise I’ll get my workout-sharing mojo back, but right now I’ve just got a lot of other things consuming brain space, time and energy so the Wednesday Workout posts might be sparse over the next month or so.

But! The good news is that today I’m starting day 1, week 1 of the “wedding workout plan” that my girl Athena created for me and I think it’s going to be juuuust what I need to get some excitement, consistency and structure back into my workouts. I’m so excited to let someone else be the teacher and me be the student- without having to think about and create my own workout, it makes the whole process so much less work!

Thank you for your patience over the next month leading up to the wedding- you guys are the absolute best and your support really does mean so much to me! Happy hump day, friends! xo


Photo Credit: Janelle Carmela

I Had One of “Those” Days…

I’ve got some real talk for you today…

Last week, I had one of THOSE days. You know the days where you just feel gross and blah. I’ll preface this post by saying that these days are few and far between for me at this point in my life- luckily. But I do remember a time in my life where even when I barely ate anything and worked out a ton, I felt gross. I would look in the mirror and point out all the things I didn’t like. But, after many years of work on this and following some super inspirational and motivating women like Neghar Fonooni and Jill Coleman, I can happily say that *most* of the time I feel pretty darn great about myself. I work hard, I eat well (most of the time), I drink wine and I indulge when and where I want to. I am proud of all my body can do for me and I’ve really learned to love my body.


With that said, it doesn’t mean that I don’t slip into the dark spot and have days where I can’t pull myself out of it. However, these days I am able to take a step back, acknowledge the fact that I am being irrational and try to put into perspective WHY I’m being that way:

  • Is it “that” time of the month?
  • How have my eats been? Have I been eating out more than usual? Going to more parties than usual? Eating too many sweets?
  • What have my workouts looked like?
  • Have I been drinking too much?
  • How have I been sleeping?
  • Do I have something else going on my life that’s causing me stress and therefore inhibiting my ability to practice a positive body image mindset?

When I do this, I can generally figure out why I feel less than great about myself. Last week, I was PMSing, I had had an overly indulgent weekend and I was tired. When I thought about those things, it made sense as to why I wasn’t feeling my best. By putting it into perspective, I was able to acknowledge my feelings and realize that I was having a “day” and that I hadn’t gained weight, I wasn’t flabby and I didn’t lose muscle or strength. Once I realized this, I was able to accept the day and feelings for what they were an move on. And, you know what? When I woke up the next day and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I actually laughed at how ridiculous my feelings the previous day were! How silly was I to feel so gross about myself!

But, these are always learning experiences for me because not every day can be sunshine and roses. And I firmly believe that even those who coach women on body image, women empowerment and to love ourselves no matter what, have “those” kinds of days, too. We are human. We have emotions. Emotions can overtake our sensible thinking. And sometimes you just have to succumb to the feelings- as good or bad as they are. Which is why I think- as crazy as I sound in this post- that it was important for me to share this with you. I want you to know that you aren’t alone when you have off days, but I also want to help you take a look at the bigger picture and try to put into perspective WHY you’re feeling a certain way. When we can track back and figure out WHY we are feeling a certain way, it helps us figure out how to move on and not let those feelings totally derail ourselves. It helps put us into action to make the changes necessary to feel better about ourselves- whether that’s a physical action or mental action or a combination of the two is up to you.

So, that day last week, rather than letting those feelings totally ruin my day, I took a shower, had a glass of wine and got in comfy clothes. And soon enough I was feeling much better…. or at least better than I would’ve felt had I just laid on the couch in a fit of self-pity 😉

Every day we have a chance to start over, which for me was starting with some self love and appreciation as soon as I woke up. We are all entitled to our feelings, but it’s how we react to them that’s what is important.

Questions for you: Do you ever have days like this where you’re feeling off? How do you get yourself out of your funk?

Sometimes Workouts Have To Take A Back Seat

As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to spend some time today sharing a little bit about what I’ve been dealing with over the past week or so. It’s certainly been a frustrating time for me, but it’s given me time to think about a lot of stuff!

So. Let’s talk about health… and how much I (and I’m sure some of you can agree) take it for granted on a day to day basis. It’s not uncommon for me to workout at least an hour or two a day for 6 days a week. It’s just become part of my normal daily activity. I love it, I love the endorphins I get during and after a good workout, I love the feeling of sweat dripping from my face (and arms… and legs… and knees… and hair…), I love the feeling of working out with others, I love the feeling of teaching a class full of hard working members… you get the idea. Working out has just become a huge part of my life, so when that is taken away from me- even if it’s only for a few days- it’s really hard on me.


I’m not worried that I will gain 5 pounds or lose all my muscle definition and cardio endurance I’ve gained over the past X number of years of working out. It’s more than that- it’s my source of stress relief, it’s my “me” time to think or not think, plan or not plan, it’s something I do for myself each day that helps me relax, get centered and appreciate my body and its abilities.

Last week, over a short amount of time, I came down with a weird skin condition (for the sake of privacy, I’m not sharing what I was diagnosed with) that literally made me the most uncomfortable I have ever been. My hands and feet were incredibly painful and so swollen I couldn’t bend my fingers and it hurt to put on sneakers or brush my teeth. My arms/legs were covered with spots as well, and although they weren’t painful, they were itchy as hell. Needless to say, my number one priority and concern during the first part of the week (ok, actually most of the week) was, “what the F*** (pardon me) is going on with my body right now? When will it stop? What is causing this? Who will be able to tell me what it is and how fast it can be healed”. Working out was such a distant thought in my brain, which never happens.

However, as the medication started to have positive effects on me and I started to feel a little better, I was getting antsy. Working from home all week with pretty much no social interaction is such a foreign thing for me, and is not something I enjoy, so when you pair that with having physical limitations inhibiting you from working out, it makes for a cranky Monique. Actually, more than cranky, I was frustrated. Why me? What have I done to make my skin react on me like this? Why do my hands and feet hurt so bad? {Cue the “woe is me” music…}


After I spent some time (ok, a lot of time) feeling bad for myself, stressing myself out and crying to my parents, I realized I had a choice: I could wallow in self pity and be miserable, OR, I could appreciate the fact that what I had was likely nothing TOO serious, and certainly nothing fatal. Yeah, it’s super uncomfortable and annoying, but it would be so much worse. So, I did my best to keep myself busy with work, blogging and talking on the phone to take up some of my abundance of “free” time (it’s so annoying that when I actually HAVE free time, I never remember all the things I want to do when I’m busy and don’t have time. Anyone else have this issue?).

And, you know what? It wasn’t the most miserable thing. Sure, I got bored and certainly got cabin fever, but I think the fact that I knew, physically, that I couldn’t be as active as I normally am and really couldn’t be in public helped me accept it more…. Until things started to feel a little better. At that point, I was getting restless from lack of movement. Even if I don’t work out on a particular day, I can usually bank on walking at least a few miles in my normal commute. That doesn’t happen when you don’t leave your house for 48 hours… just saying.

Thankfully, I was able to come up with a very modified, no-contact, no impact workout on Wednesday that I did (going to post for you this week!), and then on Thursday, after g-chatting with Athena and asking her for more suggestions for exercises that didn’t require any touching with my hands (planks, push-ups, tricep dips, anything with weights, etc.) or jumping, I got in a really good- and fun- workout on Thursday after work. An hour passed within a blink of an eye and I think I smiled the whole time (my 3 mile walk during the day in 50*, sunshine weather didn’t hurt my mood, either). Granted, it wasn’t high impact, but you know what? It left me sweaty and sore and gave me that boost of endorphins that I was really craving.

So, what’s the point of this long rant, you may ask? Well, I wanted to catch you up with what’s been going on and I wanted to show you that if you want to make something happen, you can. I knew I physically needed to let my body rest for a few days (Sunday- most of Wednesday), which I did, but I also knew that for me, I needed to figure out a way to get some endorphins flowing once things started to clear up. And, you know what? Having to step outside of the box and my “normal” workout regimen was actually kind of fun. I was able to do things I hadn’t done in a super long time and, because of that, I felt the effects of it the next day. Our bodies get used to doing the same things day after day, week after week, so when you throw in “new” moves or variations, it wakes up some muscles that may have been dormant for a bit (Athena wrote up a great Sunday Sweat Talk on this topic on Sunday- couldn’t agree with her more!). Next time you find yourself with injuries or something else that’s limiting you from doing your usual workouts, I challenge you to talk to friends and try to find “new” exercises that you can do- you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results AND probably won’t be bored because it will be new to you.

Your turn to talk! When’s the last time you changed up your workouts? How do you deal with being cooped up at home for an extended amount of time? Who do you go to when you need fitness advice, ideas or motivation?