Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers, KNOW YOUR WORTH!

It was in December 2014 /January 2015 that I finally realized that I was worth the cost...

I was at a point in my life where I had accepted, what I thought was, God's will. Someone else would raise my children. Someone else would buy their clothes, make their meals...

My heart ached at the thought of someone else raising my children, as I felt life slipping away. Eventually the ache would be filled with peace. God would continue providing for their needs - even once I was gone. They were His children first. 

Selling items I had used in my attempts at healing (my family would no longer need once I was gone) I was able to accept an invitation to go to Israel to serve and to teach. 

I wondered if the miraculous invitation to Israel was my opportunity to draw close to the Savior before I would actually see Him in person. Every minute was a struggle to keep my mind and body moving forward as I tried my best to serve without anyone knowing of my pain.

The time came when I realized the trip to Israel was coming to an end and I still had not found that perfect gift for my children. I truly believed that it would be the last gift I would ever give to them. I wanted it to leave a powerful message and visual that would help them in their lives.

We entered a wood carving shop. I immediately was drawn to a carving of the Savior washing one of the disciples feet. The price...I couldn't pay it. I looked on but kept feeling drawn to that carving of the Savior. It was perfect. Life... it is all about following in the footsteps of the Savior. The store manager approached me about the piece. I told him that I loved it but said I didn't have the money to pay for it. The man said "I can tell by looking into your eyes, I can trust you". He continued, "I will mail it to you and when you earn enough money, you can pay me then." I hated the thought of accepting something I could not immediately pay for, but I knew that the price of selling my piano could pay for the beautiful carving. Once I returned home, the package arrived shortly thereafter - just in time for Christmas.



The Handmade Woodcarving of the Savior and the Disciple 

Deteriorating quicker than expected...I panicked that I would die before the man would be repaid. I made my husband promise to fulfill the commitment I made if I died before the payment could be sent. 



My beautiful children. 

Drifting in and out of consciousness, I knew that I had done everything many allopathic and alternative Dr's had suggested. For four years I had been pleading to go to Mexico for treatment. For some reason I believed answers could be found there. I was never given permission to go when I asked.

I thought of the prayer I had said while in Israel. "Arise". God had told me to arise. I thought of my CHILDREN. With one final battle cry, my soul reached out in a final attempt to live. 

I was worth the cost, and I was worth the cost NOW! 

I no longer believed the lies I heard about myself from the unseen enemy. 

No. Nobody could love my children as much as I do.

No. Nobody would assure they were fed the healing foods I buy and prepare...

No. My children needed me to give this fight every last ounce of my strength in an attempt to win!

Nobody could mother my children better than me! 

I was no longer asking for permission, I was telling my husband what I needed to do. FINALLY I SAW MY WORTH AS MY CHILDREN'S MOTHER! I told my husband "I need to leave for Mexico TODAY!" 

Miraculously answers were found and my life was saved. The thing that made the difference? Thinking of my CHILDREN gave me the strength I didn't know was possible. Like a woman who, in a desperate attempt to save a child life, finds the strength to lift a vehicle with her own two hands, I made it to Mexico that second time. Alone. Unable to speak english, unable to write, unable to drive, barely able to walk, going blind and experiencing face palsy... With only the clothes I had on my back, my ID and my life 'supporting' essential oils I used to keep airways open... I made it. 

21 days later I would return home knowing it was only to get better from there.

I thank God, and my children for giving me the faith to make that final attempt. 

"Mother love is the FUEL that enables a normal human being to do the impossible." - Marion C. Garetty

"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

Thank you, beautiful children, for giving me the strength to fight one last time. With Gods help, we won. 

Note: It was humiliating having to ask for help to get to Mexico. After a period of three months of treatments and Dr appointments I did a quick tally and realized the expenses totaled $25,000. It made me sick thinking about how I could have been saving up money for Mexico vs. investing it back into the business or paying for alternative or allopathic treatments that hadn't worked. I had even paid $600 at one time to attend a class where I prayed to find answers. Then the trip to Israel... "what would people think!?!" I had sold my Infrared Sauna and other items that I had used to try and heal myself to pay for the cost of that trip to Israel. Savings. I had always put away an enormous amount of money in our personal account and business account each month since the time we were married... unforeseen circumstances with the sale of a prior business had wiped out everything almost overnight! Then that carving of the Savior...I needed to sell my piano to pay for it, but then I had to ask for help to get to Mexico? 

Looking back I can see how I exhausted all of my efforts and funds at trying to heal myself in a way the world and my family expected me too vs. saving up to receive treatment I felt God needed me to have, in a place he was directing me to. Despite all of my best efforts, when the time came that I had to choose between life and death, I needed help from others to get where I knew God was directing me to go.  It was humiliating but in my attempt at saving my life I had to ask for help from others. Immediately those blessings came. If I had let pride in the way, and had not asked for help, I would be dead.

Several weeks ago I was telling my teenage son that looking back on my life, I was so incredibly grateful that I was able to make course corrections, and repent when I found myself going down the wrong path. I talked about how painful and embarrassing it was at times, but how grateful I was for every single course correction. We talked about the children of Israel and how when the serpents came and individuals were bitten that Moses held up his staff (symbolic of Christ) and told the individuals to "look and live." Many Israelites died because of disbelief. Only those who were obedient and "looked" were the ones who lived.

For so long I was listening to the voice of others, to their limits and approvals of what I could or could not receive. I could feel God speaking to my heart and mind, directing me, but it wasn't until I saw my worth that I "looked (I took action) and lived." 

I was dead in so many ways. God said "arise". I obeyed and this story has a happy ending.

Now to experience the blessings that come following the storm. 🙏🏻

To ALL the Mom's out there who struggle... YOUR kids need YOU! Never ever give up. Give everything you have...and then some.

Please call on the Lord for an atonement to be made. Accept His sacrifice and trust Him to guide you. In the Garden of Gethsemane he experienced your life and He did not give up on you even when the pain was so great He bled from every pore.

God knows you perfectly. Let Him wrap you in your arms and let Him feel your heart, mind and soul with peace. Together, you can overcome anything.

With much love, 


Steffi

Monday, May 2, 2016

You Are Only Defeated...

As I was working out with Ron, I started trying mental games to be able to lift the heavier weight. At one point, I shared my tactic by saying out loud "this is easy, I haven't lifted any weight at all - I can do this!" I tried to wipe my mind of any past reps and tried to visualize lifting the 5th set as if I hadn't lifted any before. 

After feeling super proud of my accomplishment, coach Ron, shook his head. I was surprised and listened intently as he corrected me. 

"You have to relate exercise to REAL LIFE! It IS hard. You have already lifted 4 sets to your max, but you know what? You still have more in you! Tell yourself it IS HARD! It IS PAINFUL, but YOU still have more to give." I watched him take the weight to the max on the machine. He said "I should not be able to lift this weight. I have already maxed out. When you get to this point there are three sources of power. Yourself, your rechargeable self, or God as the ultimate source of power." 

I watched him as he said "I can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who STRENGTHENS ME." He lifted the tremendous weight 12 times. The intensity was incredible. I teared up. That is a true champion - one who relies on the true source of power. One who does not lie to themselves about how hard life can be at times, but who faces it head on, is truthful about how painful it is, and taps into the ultimate source of power to accomplish the task at hand. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." heart emoti





Note: On another exercise, shown above, I tried to push myself with heavier weight.  Ron taught me that in the case of exercises that require a tremendous amount of balance (without the machine to balance things out) more weight does not equal greater strength. In some cases, less weight coupled with maintaining balance at the core, creates greater strength. 

The first time Ron taught me about the 3 sources of power, was after a major fall I had regarding my diet plan. 

I sat down with Ron and asked him what it would take to lose the maximum amount of weight the last month of the competition. I wanted to give the last 30 days everything I had and more! I was told exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and for two meals in-between.  For 21 days I did not cheat once!  I resisted marshmallows when we went camping, I resisted the hobo dinners, the cakes at birthday parties, the goodies, any ice cream or slushies....day by day I triumphed!  It felt so good!

I was so incredibly motivated and had my eyes set on my goal!!!

I was so confident in my weight release goals that I sold most of my clothes because they were fitting too loosely on me.  I had released weight and gained a ton of muscle and so my shirts were hanging off of me.  I sold all of my 'fat' clothes...

and then BAM!

I lost it!

I spiraled out of control and ate unhealthy over and over and over. 

The monday following my epic fail, instead of working out that day, we spent two hours talking.  Here are some things I learned from our conversation...

I told Ron that I felt so much shame surrounding what had happened.  I wanted to hide in a hole. 

Ron asked me to lookup and read Hebrews 12:1-2 

12 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Despising the shame. Christ atoned for the shame that keeps us feeling like we have 'failure' set on repeat. 

"Fear comes when you feel alone.  You have a team.  Have a Plan."

He shared the Batterie metaphor...

3 sources of power...

1) Batterie: Once a batterie runs out of power it is thrown away. (Represents a person that doesn't have much will power - looses charge.  "Salt loses its savor")

2) Rechargeable Batterie:  Batterie that can be recharged but over time it loses ability to take a charge.  (Someone with great deal of will power, gets oppressed but has ability to bounce back.  Over time, will power, running out of energy, they begin to say "I'm not the same person I use to be". they keep charging but over time they become less and less able to 'hold the charge' and they loose their charge. 

3) Power Plant:  A person plugs into God who is the unlimited source of power.  I live by the faith of the Son of God.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." No recharge.  I am always charged because I am plugged into His power.  I am not wondering or wandering.  I am settled because i'm plugged into the source and His endless resources.

Ron looked me in the eyes and said "You're only a FAILURE and you are only DEFEATED, THE LAST TIME YOU TRY!"

I was told to create my cocoon of safety while I transform and to not let anything bust through that.

Ron stood behind a wall that was in front of me.  When he stepped away from the wall I could see him.  When he stepped behind the wall I could not see him.  He told me that I needed to stand behind Christ.  Anything that would come at me would need to go through Christ first.  

We also spoke of Eagles.

Eagles fly straight into the eye of the storm and then fly above it. 

My protective layer of fat is not protecting me.  Only God is the true source of power and protection.

You are only defeated, the last time you try!

Here's to making another attempt at releasing the 'weight'.  

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

With much love, 



Steffi 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"Forcing MIND into the MUSCLE"

"Put it on 130"

I did what I was asked to do and then watched in amazement as my coach did several reps lifting 130 lbs with each arm in a bicep curl.

"Put it on 150"

I obeyed, and then witnessed my coach demonstrating what it took to lift 150 lbs with each arm at the same time in a bicep curl.

Wow.  I knew my coach had been a professional boxer, in addition to playing international football, swimming and diving... I thought about how sorry his opponents must have felt when in the boxing ring with Ron Williams.

"Take it to 190 or whatever the maximum weight is"

I obeyed.

I watched in absolute awe as this incredible human lifted 190 lbs. with each bicep.  The intensity of his eyes, the energy about him, whatever thoughts he had were palpable.  In that moment I knew that I had been changed.

He told me THIS is what it means to "Force your MIND into your MUSCLE".

Earlier in our workout, he had taught me a concept using boxing as an example.  When training, instead of hitting the heavy bag's surface, you need to visualize hitting through to the other side of it.  Doing so requires putting your "mind into the muscle." He told me that everything I was going to do would require my putting my mind into my muscle - the correct ones.

For the past two weeks when I have gone to "workout" with him, the weight lifting has been minimal.  Most of the focus has been on proper technique.  For 2-3 hrs., we spend 20-30 minutes talking about each exercise and make sure that when I am executing it, I am using every single correct muscle and not engaging any muscle that shouldn't be.  It has been an incredible experience.  Already I cannot walk into the gym without noticing a couple of people who are doing a particular movement wrong.

It feels amazing to be trained by a true champion. I thank God for this incredible opportunity.  Ron hasn't trained a female athlete in over 8 years.  Why did he pick me?  He saw a potential in me that I could not see myself.

When I was working out with all the other guys in Ron's 6 week course for business owners, I was obviously the weakest of the group.  When I started, I couldn't do a single push-up.  Not because I lacked the strength, but because my mind would not send the signal to whatever muscle it was that needed to work to initiate that push-up.  Over the course of the 6 weeks and on to another 6 week round, Ron saw the determination that I had to overcome.  Once he tried to help me put back my equipment and I blurted out "no".  I had told myself I would not give up until my hands would respond to what my mind was telling it to do.  I struggled to get an attachment off that would have been very simple for Ron to remove himself.  If I hadn't told myself "no matter how long this takes, I am going to get this off myself", then I would have not been so blunt and rude to Ron.  Because I had my eyes focused on the task and did not want to be disturbed or distracted, I simply had enough brain power to say "no".  Ron backed away and observed.  I felt like sobbing as my fingers struggled to get the right signal from my brain.  Finally, I was able to remove the item, fell back in a sigh of relief and then explained why I didn't want help.

For this and other reasons, Ron and his wife Tonya, decided to invest in my victory.  They have seen me at my absolute low in many areas of my life, and they want to be a part of my rise to fame.  Already Ron is scheduling me for speaking engagements yet I haven't hit the goal yet.  Fortunately for me, Ron can already see my potential and knows that I will get there.  His only advise to me is "do not quit".  He said if I quit, it will feel like an abortion to him.  He is putting everything into making me the champion that he knows I am capable of.

After demonstrating lifting 190 lbs with each bicep curl, he told me to trade him places.

Moments earlier, I had attempted the bicep curls.  10 lbs.  I could barely lift it.  30 lbs.  I could barely lift the weight with one arm.  After observing what he had done, he set the weights to 30 lbs.  He told me to "force your MIND into your MUSCLE".  Visualizing I could do it, and breathing out slowly, I was shocked to raise the 30 lbs easily.  It felt like 5 lbs.  I lifted 30 lbs over and over and over.  He placed the weight at the 50 lbs mark.  "Try it again", he told me.  I focused on the thought that I could do it and I lifted that heavy weight several times.  Oh dear God, I lifted 50 lbs on each arm.

Forever changed.

"That", he told me "is what you do with EVERY aspect of your life!"

Cold chills, and tears almost surfaced.  I knew I WAS forever changed. I would never forget that experience.

"You think that it is hard", he penetrated my eyes with his when he said it, "but it isn't hard! Change your perspective and life becomes easy!"

He ended with saying "Training CORRECTLY is exhausting - mentally and physically."

Mind over matter.

This past weekend I was struggling.  In an attempt to not spiral downward completely, I tried to change my thoughts to more positive ones.  I reached for Facebook and clicked on one of the groups I am a part of called "The Wasatch Mountain Wranglers". The posts there are always incredibly inspiring. I scrolled through the posts and cried as we all cheered on the members who were participating in the 2016 Barkley Marathon.  Only 14 people have ever finished the grueling 100 miles of tough terrain in Tennessee.  One of the Wasatch Rangler's, a woman, Jennilyn Eaton, from Utah, would be the first woman to finish it if she did.

I was glued to my phone off and on for hours as I nervously awaited updates...

"Erik had to drop on loop two due to a knee injury.  Jared and Gary are looking strong and are on loop 3.  No word in Jennilyn yet but Chelsea ______ said "In 22 hours only 3 runners have finished lap 2.  This is an all time low! The conditions are perfect.  This goes to show the difficulty of this years course".

Later we would learn that Jennilyn had made the cutoff barely.  She had 10 minutes to completely change and get 1500 calories down her before she started loop 3.

At about 7:19pm on Sunday we would find out that Jennilyn had tapped out.  Out of 800 people who have competed at the Barkley and only 14 finishers over the past 30 years, she did amazing!

Another update.  "Gary Robbins and Jared Campbell finished Loop 4.  Jared will go CW.  Gary will go CCW. 13:25 to go.

At 8:21pm The Barkley Marathon's Facebook Page announced "Jared Campbell just finished the Barkley.  He is the first 3-time finisher, one of only two to finish more than once, and one of 14 ever to finish."

Here is an article from The Runner's World about the experience...

http://www.runnersworld.com/races/the-2016-barkley-marathons-one-person-finishes

Here is a video that explains the Barkley in Tennessee...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-V8x0hQXA4

Congratulations Jennilyn, congratulations, Jared Campbell and to all of the amazing racers who were selected!  You both are an incredible inspiration!!!

Here's to going through life and instead of saying "this is so hard", make the mental shift and say "this is easy, I've got this!"

We may not all run the Barkley, but we all have our own "terrain", "mental and physical challenges" and "unexpected turns and weather conditions", per se; in our lives.

Tell yourself "YOU. CAN. DO THIS!" I will do the same.

With much love,


Steffi




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mr. Universe - Perfect Practice

This morning I was able to exercise with my coach, Ron Williams.  His advise was so amazing!  I didn't want to forget any of the little details and so I got out my iPhone and started taking notes on 'proper technique'.

Here is what I wrote...

Ron Williams Technique

Lower Body Exercises

Squats: Smith Machine - lean back, bar on back (not on neck), elbows forward so bar is rotated back. Squat. Engage glutes, butt back, squeeze glutes, don't lock knees ever, like a piston, go down and up, do not lock knees ever or ever squeeze glutes while pushing forward with knees locked.

(I had a hard time grasping the concept of "butt back".  I thought I was doing it right as I thought of all of my TRX training, but each time I was corrected, I realized I was trying to bend (plie') like I do in ballet with core engaged and bending without knee over the toes.  Finally I was able to 'get it' and wow - what a difference that tiny adjustment made to the burn I felt! Butt BACK!)

Squats: Leg Press Machine - Feet high and wide. Breathe out like pushing baby out.  Engage glutes and hamstrings to create balance.

(Ron had me feel what it felt like when he was engaging his hamstrings. I hadn't understood when he was telling me what to do, but once I felt what he was talking about, I was able to really engage my glutes and hamstring to lift.  Prior to the adjustments, I struggled to lift the weight Ron was having me lift.  After the few adjustments, it was amazing to me how much easier the lifting was.  Ron had me turn to look at how much weight I was lifting.  Without my realizing it, he had increased the amount of weight I was lifting.  He knew if I was lifting correctly, I would be able to handle heavier weight. With the prior weight I had struggled for several seconds to even move at all - with the incorrect technique.  With correct technique, and letting breath out (vs. holding breath and possibly causing swelling to my brain - which Ron explained would possibly happen if I didn't breathe properly),  I could lift more.)

Leg Curl: Isolate hamstrings, knees off (the edge of the) machine. (I was face down) Squeeze glutes and squeeze knees together (pressure without moving).

(When I made that SLIGHT adjustment to squeeze knees together and to squeeze glutes, it was crazy how much the back of my legs BURNED. When my calves reached the top, my hips actually raised off of the bench due to how much I was squeezing my glutes and hamstrings.  I had to vocalize my pain as I breathed out heavily trying to do what moments earlier seemed super easy to do.  It was amazing to again see how little, insignificant changes turned out to be really significant.

Ron talked about how hard it is for him to come to the gym and watch people coaching others.  The little changes above are going to protect me from knee and back injury.  Every time he demonstrated a move and then I would do it, he repeatedly showed me how incorrect my former way of doing things was and how with each, very minute detail performed incorrectly, I was adding weight and strain to my knees and lower back.  I told him how those are the areas that I feel the most pain when I am working out.  Now I know why.)

He continued with the teaching...

Stiff Leg Dead Lifts: (Purpose is to sculpt butt so it sits higher and is rounder) I shouldn't sit back like squats but stretch up to ceiling, squeeze and contract gluts and hamstrings. The key is squeezing pulling legs together without moving.  Back is slightly arched (so rectors contract) and shoulders are lifted and back.  Soft knees.  Legs straight but never locks out.

(Ron showed me the video of him doing his Mr. Universe routine.  You can watch it here.  (Note: Video is of Ron in his competition 'uniform'.  Viewer discretion is advised for young viewers) Mr. Universe Routine Wow.  It was incredible seeing how much control Ron had over every single muscle in his body.  I could easily see why he was chosen as Mr. Universe 7 times (along with his other 250 titles)!  I am not going to be sculpted to be a body builder, but we have something else in mind.  Ron says that I remind him of an Olympic Athlete he trained.  I am not preparing for the Olympics, but maybe when I get a little more confidence in myself I will tell you what we are working towards.  The cool thing is that he said I was going to be able to know how to sculpt every single muscle in my body like he knows how to do, and then I will be able to teach that to others also.)

Exciting!!!!

The demo/workout continued...

Leg Extensions: Pull from hip flexor rotation. Glutes back. Chest goes up. Slight arch.  (Ron put his hand over my knee and I lifted up my knees into his hand.  I was told to keep that same feel throughout movement.) Don't flex feet to lift knees but keep knee lifted and hip flexor engaged the whole time to elongate quad not just by the knee but entire front thigh.

(When I first moved my ankles and calves forward and up, the burn was only felt in my quads by my knees.  When I made the simple adjustment to pull from my hip flexor rotation and glutes, it made an enormous difference!  I felt the burn all the way up my quads!)

Abdominal work with Ron resistance: Knees up. Resist. Crunch. Engage butt and LAY BACK without touching the floor.  Elongate and then go up from elongated spine.  (I could hardly move but laughed and said "I am thinking about it, but my body is not responding".)

(Ron went on to explain that when people do crunches they have to contract in order to still see their abs - even when they are standing.  By my doing the curls with a straight back and lifting heavenward, I was going to sculp abs that people would be able to see with me just standing tall. Oh the wisdom of this man!  I am so grateful/humbled/excited to be working with such a master trainer!)
______

End of training notes.  Fast forward to later that day...

While I was making dinner for my family, I thought of the tiny little adjustments that Ron taught me. I was eating some fermented saurkraut that I  had made days prior.  My thoughts drifted back to when I realized eating unprocessed food wasn't enough to have superior health. I thought about the tiny little changes I have made to my diet that have made an enormous difference.

1- I started soaking my seeds and nuts and sprouting them.
2- I increased fermented vegetables and probiotic drinks into my diet.
3- I began to understand the importance of buying locally and eating seasonally.
4- I learned how primitive cultures prized the organ meats over the muscle meats - we began buying organ meats more regularly.
5- I really began to understand how important FATS (healthy fats) are for our overall health.

When I first read the book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Dr. Weston A. Price (that I mention frequently in this blog), I immediately got to work implementing the "no processed food concept", however, I didn't pay attention to the other things he talked about that native cultures did to stay healthy. Organ meats were very important.  Fermented foods were crucial. Soaking and sprouting grains was crucial!  Cultured and aged dairy products...  I could go on and on.  The difference is in the little tiny details.

I'm so grateful to the amazing men and women who have come into my life to teach me truths about health and wellness and for those whose lives have passed on but whose books I treasure!

Here is a picture of one of my girls cutting up some beef heart (pictured below). My kids kept saying how much it tasted like steak.



Below is a picture of some homemade sauerkraut that I made.  The original batch of sauerkraut had a little bit of shredded carrots, a sprinkle of coriander seed (I LOVE the taste of it) and some juniper berries thrown in the mix.  

When I was eating the sauerkraut and the meat, I thought of Ron's advise to always eat carbohydrates last and eat the fats and proteins first.  I added some olive oil to the sauerkraut as well as a dash of cayenne pepper.  It was delicious!  Then I got the idea to add some pecans and a little dab of raw honey.  Three servings later and I realized that I had created something special.  I'm not sure how many people think to add raw honey, pecans, cayenne pepper and olive oil to their sauerkraut, but this was incredibly delicious.  I wouldn't recommend anyone try this using store bought sauerkraut.  Homemade kraut tastes a LOT different.  


In ending our workout, Ron said "Perfect Practice makes Perfect Performance".

The difference IS in the little details - with everything in life. 

Here's to health and happiness! 

With much love, 


Steffi 









Saturday, March 26, 2016

Choosing Your Master 'Coach'

When you read prior blog posts of mine, you will learn that my coach is the famous Ron Williams.  I remember the first time Ron sent me a text and ended it with the words, "your coach".  A great sense of pride filled my heart and mind when I read those words.  I hadn't chosen him, he had chosen me.  He picked me from the weakest of weakest and told me that he could see something that I couldn't see.  He helped take me from the darkest place I have ever been in my life, and through his love, commitment and faith, I began to see myself as he sees me and I began to actually believe that perhaps with his help I could reach the goals he desired that I accomplish.

When I started attending his coaching sessions on a weekly basis, we talked not only about physical fitness, but also fitness of the mind and spirit.  I learned very quickly that his accomplishments were not only because of the time he spent shaping his physical body.  Several years before he won he had already trained his mind and spirit to work as if he was already Mr. Universe before he had actually won the title.  

Here is a little bit about Ron from the Iron Chest Master Website...

"Ron Williams is one of the most decorated Natural Bodybuilders in the world. By applying his knowledge of nutrition, fat loss, exercise physiology, muscle development, and body sculpting, Ron achieved the highest honor ever given in Natural Bodybuilding by becoming the sole recipient of the “Natural Bodybuilder of the Decade” award. Ron has won over 250 titles in the Natural bodybuilding arena, including being a multiple time winner of each of these top bodybuilding titles— Mr. Natural Universe, Natural Olympia, and Mr. Natural World. Ron was inducted into the International Natural Bodybuilding Association’s Hall of Fame in 2008.

To be exact, Ron has won Mr. Natural Universe 7 times, Natural Olympia 7 times and Mr. Natural World 7 times! 

Do you think he knows what he is talking about when he tells someone how to eat and exercise? Absolutely!  I shook my head in disbelief when a man that was taking his group exercise class with me told me how he wasn't going to be following certain parts of the plan and justified his explanation - which sounded pretty good - but still, he should trust The Master Coach and do what he says 100% in order to get the results that Ron has obtained.

Why would anyone doubt the advise Ron gives? How many people in this world have won 250 titles in Natural Body Building? For this reason he is the sole recipient of the Natural Bodybuilder of the Decade award.  

When Ron trains me, he expects me to trust him, to do as he says and to do so with everything I've got.  It gave me a tremendous amount of self-control when Ron said, I don't cheat - ever!  When a friend begged him to try "just a taste" of a dessert he had made, over and over and over, Ron repeatedly answered "not even a taste".  What a difference this made for me!  Ron sets the standard high and I love reaching to eat and exercise and to think like he does.  I fall short all the time but I am so thankful for the ability to reach so high and for the expectation he has for me that I do so as well.

I think often of Jesus Christ and what Ron has taught me about Him through his example. 

Jesus Christ is THE Master 'Coach' when it comes to overcoming spiritual and physical death and experiencing true joy. He is the ONLY person who has overcome all.  He rose from the dead, he went into the depths of hell and took us out of the clasp and chains lucifer had us wrapped in.  We were purchased with a price. Christ truly knows what each of us need to do to be whole, to experience peace and joy in our lives. Many people believe IN Christ, but how many people BELIEVE Him when he teaches us what to do and how we should live our lives?

Just like it is painful, uncomfortable and frustrating to work weak muscles, it is also very uncomfortable to build strong mental and spiritual strength. As we work to follow the commandments, little by little we become more like Christ. As I trust in Ron's counsel, and do what he tells me to do, little by little I become more like the champion that he is.

To whoever may be reading this, I would ask you to accept Christ's invitation to be your Father, to be your Spouse, to be your Teacher, your Friend, and the lover of your soul.  Whatever area of your life that falls short, God will be there to atone.  Whatever your burden, Christ can lift it and make it light.  Whatever your pains, Christ can turn them into peace.  Men are that they might have joy.  In the bible dictionary it talks about how joy is experienced only in and through Jesus Christ.

It is not always easy to follow Christ.  It isn't always easy to do what he asks of us.  It isn't always easy to understand why He tells us to do the things He wants us to do, but I can testify that I know Christ lives.  I know that He died for each of us, He atoned for everything we lack, and He is the ultimate coach, our Master Coach, who will help us to overcome all - just as He did.  He can make a beautiful temple from the ashes - whether the burn was from choices we made or from the choices of others. 

My prayer is to you and your family.  If you are the husband, leading your family, I pray that you do so with love and tenderness and with patience and that you teach your children by your example.  If you are the mother, I pray that you talk highly of others, that you are respectful to your husband and children and that you teach your children to know, believe and trust in God and His son Jesus Christ.  If you do not have a relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, I would encourage you to get on your knees and pray.  I would encourage you and your spouse, or significant other, to read the scriptures together.  He is there at the door waiting for you to knock.  Ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened to you.


I know that because of Christ, we will see our loved ones again.  Until then, give God all of your anger, all of your fear, and all of pain. When my father died, it left an enormous hole in my heart.  With God's help, he atoned for all of my sadness, all of my worry and all of my fears.  I still miss my Dad, but my joy is found in knowing Christ lives.


He is risen! Because of this, I know someday my father will live as well.

Happy Easter!


With much love, 

Steffanie 


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Healthy Eating While Traveling



An entire week in Florida...

Wherever I stay, and however I travel, it takes a bit of planning to make sure that my meals are healthy.  Following the advice of my coach, I always try to eat meals that contain protein, carbohydrates and fats - preferably eating the fat and protein first. 

Here is my advise for you...

1.  Purchase distilled water for the ride or once you arrive.
2.  Add liquid mineral drops back into the water before you drink it. 


3. Travel with a glass or stainless steel water bottle so you can add essential oils to your water also.  My favorite flavors are lemon, lime, wild orange, tangerine or grapefruit.  I'll add a bit of peppermint oil to add a cooling, refreshing pick-me-up and mouth freshener to the water or a bit of cinnamon to help support healthy blood sugar levels. 


Whole Foods was about a mile away from where I was staying in FL.  The walk back to the hotel with two gallon jugs of distilled water in one bag and a bag full of groceries on the other side, made for a good workout. 



When shopping, I chose a couple types of protein to eat during the weak, several types of veggies, a fermented vegetable (kraut) and blueberries, grapefruit and strawberries as a snack. I brought a large back of almonds from home that had been soaked, sprouted and dehydrated for future use. 


Whole Foods gave me additional containers to use at no additional cost. The proteins I opted for were the gluten-free chicken, salmon and cod. If I was traveling with the family I could have bought larger un-cooked portions and saved money, but I was grateful the food was already prepared. 


I usually like to eat my sweet potatoes baked, without anything added, but this was the only option the store had that was cooked and I didn't have an oven in my hotel room.  The veggies were cooked in olive oil.  I prefer to steam my veggies and add the fat after it is cooked. 

When we travel as a family, we often stay in the Marriott Residence Inn to benefit from having a kitchenette and cooking our own food.  The other vegetables I chose (that were more likely gluten-free and free of contamination) were the green beens and the brussel sprouts.  I also purchased some red beets that I thought were plain but ended up being pickled - yuck.  I ended up throwing most of the beets away after trying unsuccessfully to eat them during the week.  


For my fat source, I had almonds to snack on but I decided to add a plain pre-made guacamole to the mix.  I was happy with this choice because it enhanced the flavor of the fish and made up for any dryness in the meats. 


Ferments! Oh how I love adding fermented vegetables to any meal that I can.  I love the taste of caraway seeds with cabbage.  This did not disappoint. I usually travel with Redmond Real Salt, but didn't have it with me (for the first few days).  A little dash of sea salt made this bland kraut pop with flavor. 



Strawberries, blueberries and grapefruit made a nice snack between meals.  I accompany the fruit with a bit of raw almonds. 


Here are the meals all ready to be put into the refrigerator.  I try to only prepare enough meals to last for my lunches.  The food amount turned out perfectly.  I was able to use some of the meals for dinner.  At the hotel, for breakfast, I enjoyed their eggs (I assured they were gluten-free and 100% real eggs - nothing added), a banana (for the carbohydrate portion) coupled with my almonds (for the fat portion). 




The fridge unfortunately froze the food.  Because I chose food that froze well, thawing it was not an issue and no matter if I attended a conference during the day or traveled to teach somewhere, I was able to bring a meal that was cool during the trip and thawed just in time for me to eat it. 


Even though I was in a car traveling and at an event where it wasn't convenient to use the bathroom every few hours, I chose to stay hydrated and make the trips as needed.  I think better and have better energy when I stay well hydrated.  I should have drank more water than I did but these two gallons of water lasted me for the 7 days.  I did fill my water bottle with reverse osmosis water from the hotel lobby a couple of times before buying the distilled water, and I did drink water at several places where I was teaching. 

Even if I was not in a hotel, it is still possible to travel with a cooler.  My personal trainer showed me these cool containers he purchased for him and his wife.  They look like square duffel bags, but they are little mini coolers with small containers stacked inside to contain each meal portion.

It isn't a matter of whether or not you can eat healthy while traveling.  It matters more that you choose to do so - no matter what.  

When there is the will, you will find the way.

Lots of love and happy healthy eating while traveling.

- Steffi 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Learning to "Breathe Walk" - Qigong

Upon returning from Mexico, I met with a Dr. here in the USA.  He took 20+ blood samples and did all sorts of testing. One of the concerns the Dr. had was how slow the transfer of oxygen was between cells in my body.  He told me the normal oxygen exchange rate for cells takes 3/4 of a second but the oxygen exchange rate between the cells in my body took between 3 and 4 seconds.  He explained how this would make me feel like I had emphysema when merely walking because it was so difficult for oxygen to be absorbed.

Fast forward...

I am in Florida teaching a couple of weeks ago. Due to an unexpected change in my schedule I was able to meet an incredible Chinese Medicine Dr. who also operates a Martial Arts and Massage School. I had gone into my appointment to get a massage, but ended up leaving with a tremendous sense of gratitude for this man's knowledge as well as reverence for a loving God who knew that I needed to learn from this particular healer.

He kept stopping the massage to talk to me.  It was a tad bit annoying but I respected the individual and paid attention to what he was telling me.  I know with my knowledge of the body, I can tell by texture and color of the skin and face what organs are having particular issues.  I trusted that the advise he gave me was something I needed to really pay attention to.  He was able to identify in the first few minutes exactly what the stress was in my life. He would teach me many things, but the thing that I feel the most gratitude for is how he taught me to "breathe walk" which I now know is Qigong in Chinese Medicine.

After the massage ended (that hour always feels like 20 minutes), I got dressed and met the Chinese Dr. out in the parking lot.  It was comical, exhilarating and entertaining as this amazing man who learned Chinese Medicine in China, walked me around and around the parking lot while breathing in and out.

As we walked he would say breathe in and out through the nose only...

In 1, 2, 3
Out 1, 2, 3(each count matched one step forward with one foot)

We would repeat this sequence for several minutes and then move on to the next sequence...

In 1, 2, 3
Out 1, 2

Repeat, repeat, repeat.... and then...

And then...

In 1, 2, 3
Out 1  (Several times I felt like I was going to pass out, but kept on marching and breathing - hoping snot wouldn't come out on my shirt as I walked and struggled to breathe.)

Then we would try...

In 1, 2, 3, 4
Out 1

In 1, 2, 3, 4
Out 1.

He showed me how I could pick up the pace or slow it down.

The homework he wrote down was 20 minutes / 2 x's a day - at the very least.  He encouraged me to keep increasing the time each day until I was walking for 1 hour a day / 2 x's a day.

This incredible Chinese Medical Dr. told me about the amazing woman who invented this technique. The story goes that her condition was dire and incurable.  She prayed to God for an answer, and the breathing technique was an answer to her prayer that healed her and is now commonly used in Chinese Medicine.

This incredible Dr. taught me how the oxygen will cleanse out the mucus from the lungs.  He put out his hand in front of him and asked what would happen if there was water on his hand and he blew on it?  He blew out and explained how the water would leave his hand. This is what happens in our lungs when there is mucus present.  The oxygen blows the mucus out. He explained how after doing this technique, the influx of oxygen in my body would turn my skin from being dull color in the morning to a more pink color.  The oxygen would help support healing and vitality.

I committed to doing the exercises.

I was told that soldiers in the military, from China, would march all day and use these breathing techniques so that they would feel stronger when they finished the march than when they started.

For the past year, I have been unable to run at all.  The first time I attempted it (I think I had been home from Mexico only a few months), I literally collapsed to the ground and almost called 911.  It was insane to try gasping for air, to be able to breathe in but to feel like I was suffocating because the oxygen was not getting to my cells. (Imagine a fish out of water - that is what it felt like) It was taking too long and I literally looked at my phone and made the quick decision not to call 911 but to just keep trying to breathe.  Time passed and slowly my heart stopped pounding with such force and I was able to take somewhat normal breaths in as I walked slowly home, pausing every now and then to take some deep breaths in and to steady myself.

I have tried to run several times over the past year without success.  It has now been about a year since that time I almost called 911.  I have been faithfully doing the breathing exercises that I learned while in FL while driving, while walking, while going about the house doing chores etc. for the past few weeks.  This morning was super exciting.  Yesterday I was able to run/walk about 1 mile without too much issue.  Today I was able to sprint a minute and walk 2-3 minutes (while doing the breathing exercises) for about 45 minutes.  The last 10 minutes were at a slower cool down pace but I was SO excited.  My body is healing and I feel so much stronger!

For any of you wanting more information about this breathing technique, here is an article I found talking about Qigong and its history. I hope that this technique is beneficial to you also.

http://www.qigongchinesehealth.com/walking_qigong

With much love,

Steffi