Monthly Archives: May 2014

Confidence is Key

By: Jamie McIntyre, BS Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

“So much of this game is about believing in yourself and believing that you will succeed.” Those were the words I left my softball team with after another tough loss. During the game I watched each player timidly approach the plate and walk away with their head down after they were called out. After only a couple of weeks of coaching, it was clear to me that we needed to focus on building confidence. I believe that confidence is a key success indicator in every sport. When you watch the best players in the NFL (or any other major sport) you can see that they are confident, they hold their head up high, they are aggressive, and everything about their body language exudes confidence. So, I built a practice that would not only enhance my players’ physical ability but also increase their self-confidence. I provided critical feedback along with praise. I made sure they knew I was giving that feedback because I had confidence in their abilities to make the proper adjustments. This is also something I needed as a softball player. When I knew that my coach believed in me, I believed in myself. As a collegiate athlete I struggled with confidence at the plate. I felt that my coach and my teammates didn’t have the confidence in me to hit the ball and they were right. But it wasn’t because I didn’t have the skills or ability to hit the ball, it was because I didn’t believe I could hit the ball. However, when I was playing defense I was the complete opposite. I owned the field, I knew that every ball that was hit to me would be an out and it usually was. It is funny to think back on that now. To see how in one game I could have two completely opposite views of my skills and abilities.

This experience is what I bring to my coaching, my training, and my life. I know that if I want to accomplish something or I want someone to accomplish something I need to believe in myself/them. There are three things that I do to work on improving my self-confidence everyday:

  1. Practice – “Practice makes perfect.” Not a single person in the world can truly succeed without practice. Practicing and honing your skills whether it is for sports, work, or everyday life, is crucial to improving self-confidence. Knowing that you can do something outside of the game or presentation will help you succeed.
  2. Visualize – Visualizing a time when you made the big play or you gave a great presentation will help boost your confidence to go out there and do it again.
  3. Positive Self-Talk – You can have everyone in the world believing in you but at the end of the day you need to believe in yourself. Always speak to yourself in a positive way. Even if you fail, know that you can learn from that experience and you will use it in a positive way to succeed the next time.

Confidence is the key to success in everything you do. But it doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come without putting in the work and a strong support network. I know that a consistent, daily approach is worth the time and effort and will in having a lasting positive effect.

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.

Fitness Calendar – September 2014

EXECUTIVE BOOTCAMP:    Aug 27th – Sept 24th, 5:30 – 6:20AM M/W/F - (3 SPOTS LEFT) Reserve Your Spot

TRX CHALLENGE MORNING:  Aug 27th – Sept 24th, 9:10 – 10:00AM M/W/F (limited space available)Reserve Your Spot.

TRX CHALLENGE EVENING:   Aug 27th – Sept 24th, 6:00 – 7:00PM M/W (7 SPOTS LEFT) Reserve Your Spot.

MOMMYMOVEMENT. NEW BABY. NEW BODY. NEW LIFE: Sept 9th – Nov 1st, 6:00-7:00AM T/Th & 7:00-8:00AM Saturday (5 Spots Available) Reserve Your Spot.




The Paths We Travel

By: Erica Dammon, NASM- CPT

The paths we go down in life are only worth what we learn along the way.  Good and bad they make up our life experience and the experience is fueled and directed by what we pick up along the way.  My journey has had its fair share of dark roads, but none as encompassing and influential as the battle I have had with my eating disorder.  The toll it takes on your body can be brutal but it is nothing compared to the scars it can leave on your self-worth.  Crawling out of that hole was ugly and hurtful to so many.  Coming through it though and finding out how strong of a person I truly can be has made it seem all the more worthwhile.

I can tell you first hand that this very rapidly growing problem can tear apart a life very easily.  Eating disorders carry the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.  Statistical briefs carried out between the years 1999 and 2000 compared to briefs done between the years 2008-2009 show a 24% rise in hospital diagnosis for eating disorders, 72% rise in the under 12 year olds, 30% rise for ages between 19-30, and a 88% rise in those ages 45-65.  According to the National Institute of Health, Anorexia Nervosa carries a higher mortality rate than any other cause of death among females ages 15-24.  This is a serious issue and the epidemic is growing. 

Psychiatrist’s separate eating disorders into two main diagnoses. My diagnosis was Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa is the other.   While both disorders revolve around an unhealthy obsession with food and unrealistic worries about body image and weight, they manifest in different ways.  Anorexia is characterized as someone who is 15% underweight; refuses to gain weight, instead seek to lose weight by starvation, excessive exercise, vomiting or laxative abuse. This can weaken the heart muscles and cause cardiac arrhythmias. Patients diagnosed as Bulimia Nervosa are not necessarily underweight and have bouts of binge eating followed by vomiting or abuse of laxatives.  These habits will lead to severe dehydration and severe digestive complications.  Both diagnoses are devastating to the physical body, but even more crippling to a person’s basic value in themselves.

My crossover into the disorder started off very simply, a typical teenage girl drama.  I fell for a boy and got involved in a scene that was quite different than the world I was from.  As the situation grew I found myself playing out dual roles, the one I maintained with my new friends, and the one I upheld for my happy caring family.  Conflict began to brew inside me.  Torn between the very real things happening to my teenage self and the need to not spill the beans and pretend to my family that things were okay.  Most eating disorder victims actually suffer from a feeling of lost control in varying degrees.  Loss of control due to a horrible situation or action taken upon themselves or just being overwhelmed by difficult moments in life, for me, I was just in way over my head and was unable to ask for help.

My mother had her suspicions.  A mother’s bond to her children is absolute, so when one part is hurting the other feels it too.  When I blacked out in the shower getting ready for high school one morning, it was pretty much out of the bag.   There was the usual start, doctors then counselors and I can’t say that I was cooperative in the least.  She must have been so scared, 18 years old 5’4’ weighing in at 90lbs.   Eventually hospitalization at an in-patient facility, where I met so many others struggling with this disorder and heard their stories.  Stories of abuse, neglect, horrific experiences that manifested into this need for control of something.  They all shared this intense self-hatred that this disorder breeds, and it is that self-hatred that is truly the hardest obstacle to overcome.  Over the course of my “Girl Interrupted” moment I began to see that places like these were never going to instill the power these girls needed to make them believe in themselves again the way they so desperately needed to. 

Those girls and their stories did have a profound effect on me, seeing what others struggle through made my issues seem more mountable.  By following the rules I ended my in-patient stay, and life moved on.  My struggle with Anorexia continued, more subdued and hidden, but ever present.  A couple more ups and downs led me to Mike, my future husband.  Falling in love always helps lift you up!  Suddenly I had a family on the way; coming from such a wonderful family like mine created the need to start facing this demon paramount.  Having a baby changes your life, you have to get stronger.  My mom and dad’s endless support and love, along with that from my husband and a desire to be a healthy mom were a huge hand up.  However finding true comfort in my own skin was the actual cure.  My accidental stumbling into the fitness industry was the final piece of the puzzle I was missing to truly kick this disorder in the butt.

Working out and learning the science that goes with it, not only made me feel strong and confident but gave me a sense of control in a healthful way that I had never had before.  Learning what I was capable of doing changed the way I saw myself.  Watching the change in others self-belief inspired me more.  Positive thinking can be so contagious. Being part of such a rewarding experience can do wonders.  I believe that is what fitness is truly for, to make this mind body connection and to strengthen and care for both.  True fitness incorporates physical ability and mental wellness and builds them up.  Anorexia, like many disorders and addictions, is something I have to be vigilant about.  Old habits can return, and stress will always trigger them, but now I have weapons to fight Anorexia off.  Coming through the other side I feel stronger for going that way, which allows me to help others find their inner strength.  Sometimes in life we can walk down pathways that lead to a dark hole, my belief is that it matters less why you walked down the path and more how you climbed out of the hole.         

 ericaAbout the Author – Erica Dammon, NASM Certified Personal Trainer

I was born overseas but hail the great city of New Orleans as my home town. My husband Mike and I have been married for 12 years and we have three amazing boys, Nicholas, Cody, and Benjamin. They have been the biggest adventure yet!

Training is a huge passion for me and I embrace core fitness values in both my training programs and my lifestyle choices.  I believe that food should be chosen for what it can do for you, not just for the flavor you crave at the moment. I believe in pushing yourself in all aspects of life because how else will you know what you are capable of accomplishing?  Pushups should never be done on your knees and core is where it all begins!

I am a huge football fan and a big part of the Who Dat Nation!!  I look forward to meeting and helping you achieve any and all fitness goals you bring in to Ascension Fitness!


Sources:  Statistical Briefs based on Data collected by HCUP 1999, 2000, 2008 & 2009

            ANAD from their website

Exercise and Pregnancy

There has been a lot of controversy about women exercising while pregnant. One article in particular takes a look at a new book, “The Pregnant Athlete”, which depicts a woman with a serious baby bump flipping truck tires, swinging large hammers and leaping over barbells. While this book takes exercising while pregnant to the extreme and we would never recommend these exercises, exercise during pregnancy has many benefits. The American Council of Gynecology (ACOG) recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise on all or most days of the week. There are many benefits to exercising during pregnancy including reducing backaches, improved mood, improved posture, increased muscle tone, better sleep, and it can make it easier to get back into shape after the baby is born.

There are some guidelines for exercising while pregnant. Here are some things you should know:

  • Try to avoid activities that include jumping or quick changes in direction because they can put you at risk of injury and put extra strain on your joints
  • Drink plenty of water and stay cool to help keep you from overheating and getting dehydrated
  • After the first trimester, avoid any exercises laying on your back
  • Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes to help you remain cool
  • If you have not exercised prior to pregnancy, start slow
  • Avoid exercise in hot and humid weather
  • Make sure you consume the extra daily calories you need during pregnancy
  • Avoid sports that require balance or changes in direction such as gymnastics and racquet sports, as well as downhill skiing, contact sports, and scuba diving

While exercise is a great way to stay in shape during pregnancy there are some risks and you should immediately stop exercising and consult a physician if you experience any of the below:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Uterine Contractions
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Fluid leaking from the vagina

Before starting an exercise program you should always consult your physician. Follow these guidelines for safe and effective exercise during pregnancy. Click here to read how Brittany is staying in shape while pregnant.


The American College of Obstetritiand and Gynecologists. (2002). Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Washington, DC, USA.