Tag Archives: early morning bootcamp

Will you help me change the World?

By: Jenn Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

Several months ago we were in mass listening to a woman talk about going down to Central America and helping families build huts.  These missionaries showed the people how to form bricks out of clay, bake them in the sun, and then use them to build their own hut.  She talked about a conversation that she had with her daughter that accompanied her on the trip.  Her daughter said, “Mom these people have nothing, and yet they complaintfreeare the happiest most grateful people I have ever met.”  The mom said, “That’s right.  When you HAVE nothing and EXPECT nothing, you APPRECIATE everything.”  That resonated so deeply with me.  I walked out of church feeling guilty.

We have so much, but always strive to attain more.  Now if you really know me, you know I’m not a stuff person.  I drive around in a 2007 dented up (but paid for) mini van, and I shop at discount stores for my clothes (because my mother taught me to never buy anything full price).  I felt guilty because I’m always looking ahead to the next thing that I need to do to hit a goal that I have set for myself, my business, and sometimes my family.  I felt guilty because at that moment I knew that I didn’t fully appreciate all that I had and all that I have done, because well…that is how my life was supposed to go.  Does this ever happen to you too?

This time of year the word gratitude gets thrown around a lot.  So much so, that I think we have become a bit de-sensitized to the true meaning of it.  The definition of Gratitude is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. Sometimes we read that and think yep okay I’m grateful for what I have, I donate some non-perishable food to the food bank, and I give some money to local charities.  I don’t want to minimize these awesome acts of kindness because they are GREAT! But what I’m talking about goes much deeper than that.   Being thankful means ceasing to complain.  This is a challenge for many others and me.  We can sometimes get caught up in our own problems and forget that most of the problems we face are relatively small compared to what other people may be going through. So, I’m asking you to join me in a Complaint Free campaign this holiday season. I have laid out the steps to this campaign below:

Step #1 Recognize how often you do complain.  Here are a couple of mine from the past day. I’m so cold…I’m so tired….this feels so hard…I can’t do that…..this light is too long… this person is taking too long to make this U-turn….. hurry up boys we have to go!..And my list could go on and on, but I won’t bore you with all of my nagging.

Step #2 When you hear yourself complain, turn it into a statement of Gratitude.  Here is an example: “I’m so tired, but… I’m grateful that I know I have a warm bed to go home and fall asleep in.”  This is called reframing and it is very powerful.  We are all human, and yes that means that we are going to complain, but catching ourselves and turning that negative into a positive is a Game Changer!   We can create a new neural pathway in the brain and actually begin to change how we think about things. The only thing I will warn you of here, is that whatever gratitude statement you choose YOU MUST BELIEVE IT 100%.  We cannot lie to ourselves- so if your bed isn’t warm and cozy at home you will have to make a statement that is true and that you believe.  It could just be ‘I’m grateful that I’m not sleeping outside like the homeless people.’

Step #3 Share this idea with your Family and Friends.  I titled this article help me change the world, because I think small things like this create a ripple effect.  I love random acts of kindness. I love paying it forward.  But I have to say if we want to change the world, we have to create different mindsets.  When you turn on the TV, you hear about all of the scary and horrible things that are happening in the world.  I know for me, it makes me feel very small and helpless at times.  But I also know that my whole perspective can change in an instant (more to come on this thought next week).

I believe that this small but not so simple task can begin to change our lives and those around us.  I want to know if you will join me in this challenge.  Please go over to our FB page and tell us you will join our #Complainfreecampaign.  Please update us on any changes you notice within yourself and your family.  I’m hoping that this will CREATE the best Holiday season for you and yours!  I know it will be for me and my family.


About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.


By: Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer

What does “Finding Your Center” mean to you?  For most people, the thoughts of six pack abs comes to mind.  What most people don’t realize is their “Center” is really the entire region between their armpits to just below their buttocks.  In more common lingo, this area is considered your “Core”.

For most people, finding their center is incomprehensible.  Your center is one of the most important parts of your being.  Without your center (core), you wouldn’t be able to stand because the core muscles are the muscles that hold your body upright; and your inner core (what we call your deep core) plays a key role in the stability of your trunk (or torso) and pelvis.

Now that you understand the importance of a strong center, the reasons for training your core muscles may seem obvious:

Gaining core/muscle stabilization helps with everyday normal activities and promotes good posture.  Posture does more than simply make you look good by improving your silhouette and project confidence; Good posture lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply.  Improving breathing in turn helps you gain the full benefits from your exercise regimen.

A strong core ensures a good solid foundation to build the rest of the body around and keeps the body’s muscles functioning in the way they were designed.  The proper functioning of the body reduces imbalances, improves posture, and increases comfort while training; which in turn reduces the risk of injury because your body is properly aligned and balanced.

Core strength, as previously mentioned, improves your body alignment and balance which increases your athletic performance and improves the results of your training.  Core strength is essential to becoming a better, more focused, stronger and faster athlete.

For all of the reasons provided above, a strong core is the foundation necessary to restore normal muscle function lost due to injury.  Balance, alignment, breathing…the foundation of our body and being are critical in this aspect of muscle function.

Through my experience, when someone new decides to take a Pilates class, it’s to strengthen their core because they’ve experienced some type of lower back pain or were referred by an orthopedist or physical therapist.  My hope is that by understanding better what the core, or your center, means to your daily life that you don’t wait for the back pain; and that you add deep core training to your workout regimen before problems arise.

Our Gravity Pilates class is designed to help you do just that – either as a stand-alone program or as part of a larger exercise program – it is designed to enable you to find your center, as well as challenge and strengthen your deep inner core muscles.  So as we say in the Pilates world, “abs to the spine” or “keep your mouse house closed.”  When you’re able to do that, you will have found your center and found your healthy body.

About the Author – Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer

Born and raised in Metairie, Kristi has always been an active person incorporating fitness and exercise into her life. After being a Pilates client for several years, she decided that she would love to share her passion for Pilates with others. Through Balanced Body, she earned certifications in both Mat and Reformer Pilates. Kristi also holds a certification in the Xtend Barre Method.


By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

When shopping for athletic shoes, most people are more concerned with the color, the brand, or whatever the latest trendy shoe is at time.  Albeit, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good at the gym, or on the track or field, as long as it’s the right shoe for what you are doing!

Ill fitting or improper shoes can cause numerous issues with your feet, knees, hips, and even posture.  The physical fitness world offers a multitude of activities so there is a need for a multitude of proper shoes to go with those activities.  As the saying goes “You wouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight, would you?”

Here are a few tips to get you into the right pair of shoes:

  • Do Your Research. With today’s technology, information on shoes is just a hop, skip, and Google search away! Research your activity and the apparatus needed.  With a little web surfing, you can find articles, blogs, and reviews on any and all shoes.  Be selective and objective when surfing the net, as you want to get the most helpful and credible information you can.  Once you have an idea of what to look for….
  • What’s your specialty? Seek out stores that specialize in your activity of interest.  Their staff is usually comprised of people who partake in the same activity and are very knowledgeable.  They can fit you properly and suggest the correct type and brand of shoe that would fit your needs.
  • What’s your history? If you have or had prior foot, ankle, or knee issues, take your search one step (no pun intended) further.  Make an appointment with a podiatrist or an orthopedic specialist.  Depending on the level of your injury/issue, they may run diagnostic test, x-rays, etc.  And from the information they gather, can determine the correct type of shoe and, if needed, any orthotics or other apparatus needed.

For more in depth information, The AOFAS (American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society) printed an article “How to Select the Right Athletic Shoes” http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/how-to/footwear/pages/selecting-athletic-shoes.aspx

Following these helpful hints will increase your enjoyment of whatever activity you choose, and offer injury prevention and safety!

About the Author – Ann Corwin Marix

annAnn’s start in health and wellness was (and still is) as a masseuse after, believe or not, hiring a personal trainer.  See athletics, exercise and activity have always been a major part of my life; but over time life seemed to take over – work; raising a child; keeping a household took its toll and my “Me-time” seemed to disappear.  Long story short, what was going to be a time to make myself feel better (by getting a massage after some a personal training session) became an eye opening experience and drove me to obtain my massage license and help others in relieving pain from injuries, trauma, or simply everyday life. Wanting to get back into exercise, I became a Jazzercise instructor and then wanting a closer relationship with clients, followed that experience by becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified TRX Instructor.  I love providing my clients with a unique and fun approach to help motivate and drive to obtain the results they want.

One Small Change Can Change Your Life!

By: Jenn Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

I know what you are thinking, “Jenn don’t be so dramatic!”  Well I’m really not.  One small change compounded over time can absolutely change your life!  We all know this concept but aren’t always aware of all of the small and seemingly insignificant choices we make throughout the day.   These choices can help us or hurt us.

Let me explain.  Take our 90/10 Nutritional principle that we use for example.  We know through scientific research that if you blow out 10% of your weekly meals (that’s 2 meals) that you can still not only maintain your weight but lose weight.  This is because the other 19 meals you are eating clean and healthfully staying in the calorie range that’s right for you. This consistent effort allows you to continue to lose weight.  On the flipside of that, if you consumed 150 calories more than normal every day, over the next 6 months you would gain about 8 lbs assuming that you didn’t increase your activity level any.  This is just one example of how we can use this principle to work for us or against us; hence the title of this article- One small change can change your life!

So what small change are you going to make that can change your life for the better? Is it committing to save $1.00/day? Is it tracking each penny you spend to help bring awareness to where you can save money? Is it committing to change your mind set by focusing on what you are grateful for each day and writing it down?  Is it keeping a food journal to help you lose weight or gain weight?  Is it keeping an exercise log to help you see how many minutes you are really working out?

Whatever it is I want you to commit, with me, to track one thing that can help you change your life.  When you do this every day NO MATTER WHAT- you will get the results you want …AND THEN SOME.  This is “The Secret” to success.  No…this isn’t going to be immediate gratification, it will be even BETTER.  It will be moving towards feeling AMAZING over the long-term.  It will help you realize that the true secret to success is doing the simple things consistently!

So if you are still reading this article, I am asking you to not just read this, but take action on it.  Write down these questions.

What area of your life do you want to improve? 

What is one small change that you can make that will help you get there?

Write it down and do a gut check.  If you look at your answer and think, “I’m not sure I can do that.” then go smaller.

What is one baby step that you can take towards that goal? 

You will know that you have chosen something that you can repeat consistently when you think to yourself “Is this really the little thing that I’m going to do? This feels too simple!”  If that’s what you are thinking, then you are on the right track.  Start doing that one thing every day and then as you begin to not have to think about doing it every day, and you do it automatically guess what happens?? You have created a new GOOD HABIT!

At that point repeat this process with a different action step until you have created a LIFESTYLE that supports the person you want to be!!  That’s how simple creating the life that you want can be….one small change at a time, and that is what we at Ascension Fitness are about ONE BODY. ONE LIFE. COMMIT to one small change today and MAKE IT GREAT!

About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.


August Client of the Month – Ashley Brewer

Congratulations to Ashley Brewer on becoming our August client of the month. Ashley is a part of the Executive Bootcamp crew and has seen a lot of success transforming her life!  Below is an interview with Ashley where she shares how training with Ascension Fitness has helped her succeed:

1. What brought you to Ascension Fitness?
I first met Jenn when I did Mommy Movement at Elmwood Fitness Center.  Following the completion of Mommy Movement, I continued to train with Jenn.  So when she left Elmwood to start her own gym, I followed her.  I’ve been with Jenn since before Ascension Fitness existed!
2. What results have you seen?
After the first Mommy Movement I did, I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but because I continued with bootcamp, I was much stronger than I had ever been.  After my second child, I did Mommy Movement again, and so far I’ve lost all the weight I gained during pregnancy plus more!
3. What is the biggest change have you made to get these results?
The biggest change I’ve made to get these results is eating correctly.  Recently, I have tried to not eat processed food, but to instead eat whole, all natural food and I feel so much better.  I still indulge, just in moderation.
4. Who inspires you?
My children inspire me to be the best person I can be for them.  I want to set a good example of how to be a healthy, active and fun mom which, in turn, will hopefully allow them to lead the same lifestyle as they grow!
5. What is your guilty pleasure?
OOHH, my guilty pleasure has always been chocolate chip cookies!  Especially when they are hot!!
Congratulations again Ashley and thank you for being a special part of Ascension Fitness!

Barefoot Running – Running Like Our Ancestors

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

As we all know from the heat and humidity, summer is upon New Orleans.  And, summertime means OUTDOOR RUNNING.  Since 2009, a new training dimension for runners has soared—the phenomenon of barefoot running.  Now let’s be clear—barefoot running in the city is dangerous due to potential debris on the ground.  So for the sake of this article, we are going to discuss minimalist running wear, which are those shoes that simulate barefoot running.   Does this type of running help improve foot strength and running mechanics, thereby making one a more competitive runner?    How does one go about implementing minimalist shoes into their training?  And, what are the drawbacks to running in these shoes?

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, 32.2 million people participated in running and jogging in 2013, with a great number of these people competing in races of all distances.  So, as participation increases, so does competitiveness.  A study by Divert and colleagues (2008) has shown that there are benefits to barefoot and minimalist running, such as an increase in running economy.  Wearing a minimalist shoe causes certain modifications of the body that allow the exerciser to do more work with less demand on the body, such as more efficient stride lengths and frequency.    And, it’s less fatiguing than running in traditional shoes because it leads to lower energy consumption, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue.  Another benefit is that is helps to improve proprioception (the body’s ability to sense stimuli).  When a runner isn’t encased in all that running shoe technology, the little sensors in his/her feet can actually feel the surface beneath and then allow the foot to react appropriately—thereby reducing injury and improving balance.  And, it helps strengthen all those muscles in the feet and ankles because they are recruited more for support.  Finally, most traditional running shoes have a heel lift.  By removing this, it helps the Achilles tendon and calves stretch and lengthen, thereby reducing injuries such as calf pulls caused by short, tight tissues.

Now that you have decided to make the switch, transition slowly to running in this footwear because so much more ankle and footwork is required, and those muscles and tendons are not accustomed to the stress.  Begin by doing various activities of daily life in these shoes, such as gardening or cleaning the house.  Then, begin to adopt a progressive overload approach.  For example, wear them for 10 minutes at the beginning of exercise and another 10 minutes at the end.  Slowly, add in another 10-minute bout.    For the first 2 weeks, keep the total training time to no more than 30 minutes per session.  Be mindful of how your feet and ankles feel after wearing the shoes, and slowly progress the amount of time exercising in them as long as you are pain-free.

Beware, however, that there are cons associated with this type of running.  As I stated earlier, minimalist shoes don’t offer a lot of sole-support, so one has to be very mindful of the surface upon which they run and be on the lookout for glass, rocks and other sharp objects.   And, because one’s calves and Achilles tendons are accustomed to a more supportive shoe, minimalist running may over-stress them in the beginning.  So, follow the progressive overload protocol I outlined above.  Finally, this type of running may be contraindicated for those with diabetes because peripheral neuropathy (a common complication of diabetes) can lead to a loss of protective sensations in the feet.

Armed with the pros and cons of minimalist shoes and how to incorporate them into your training, you can make an educated decision about joining this running trend.  I recommend you go to a running store, like Southern Runner, where a professional can assist you in making the right decision for your foot.  Now get out there on that levee and enjoy your run!


larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!


Does your workplace sabotage your weight loss goals?

When trying to lose weight, the workplace can sometimes be your worst enemy. Maybe it’s a vending machine, a colleague’s candy dish, or baked goods for special holidays and celebrations, that test your willpower. Every office has these obstacles and the only way to fight them is with a plan. Below are a few common workplace saboteurs and strategies to fight them:

Saboteur #1: Candy Jar/Baked Goods Station - There is always that colleague who keeps a jar of candy on their desk or that brings in donuts or baked goods for the office. How do you resist the temptation of digging in for a bite or two (that we all know start to add up quickly)? Keep a stash of healthy snacks at your desk such as: nuts, fruit, or protein bars. This will make it easy for you to have healthy options and resist the temptations. Allow yourself one day a week to indulge in a couple of treats. This prevents binging and actually helps willpower.

Saboteur #2: Sitting for long hours – A study done by the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences indicates that even as little as a few hours of continuous sitting causes metabolic changes that increase blood sugar levels and decrease the amount of fat used as fuel, therefore increasing the amount that goes back into storage as body fat. The good news is that short bouts of physical activity, spread throughout, can help reduce the negative effects of too much sitting. It doesn’t have to be high intensity activity, like formal exercise-simply getting up and walking around the office or the house for 5 minutes every hour can really help.

Saboteur #3: Busy Workload = Skipping meals – We have all been there, pressure is on to get something done and we don’t feel like we have time to go out and get food or even take a lunch break. Along with your healthy snacks, you should keep some meal replacement shakes in your desk (We like Advocare Meal Replacement Shakes, or Genesis Pure non GMO and organic Health Trim shakes). That way you can mix up your shake and drink it while you work.

There will always be things that tempt you when you are trying to change a behavior, like eating healthy and exercising. Planning is always going to be your best strategy to lose weight. Taking time on Sunday to map out your meals for the week, and packing your lunches with snacks the night before will help you succeed and overcome the workplace saboteurs.  Choose to change one small thing at a time and continue to build on your successes.

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one single step.” Chinese Proverb

Why I Don’t Set Goals Anymore…

By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT


Goal: object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

The definitions alone are pretty self explanatory as to why I have decided to nix the goal making and start on the habit forming. Do you see what I’m talking about?  Yeah, it’s that simple…I know, you are probably giving yourself the palm to head and saying “Geez that makes sense!”

If you don’t get it, that’s ok, it took me 50 years to figure it out, so I’ll cut you some slack.  Creating a goal (i.e. lose 10lbs for the beach trip, workout to fit into your new outfit for the company party, etc,) has its benefits. It provides a motivation to do better, look better, or feel better.  The challenge with goal making, however, is the end result is just that, the end.  Think back to how many times you “set goals” and once they were achieved, you quit doing what it was that helped you achieve that goal?  I can see you thinking and shaking your head because you know exactly what I mean!  No…that’s not you?  Really? Ok, then dig a little deeper and tell how many of your ‘goals’ are repetitive?  In other words, can you just go back every year to your Resolutions list and basically do a ‘cut and paste’?  I’ll pause here a moment as you have just been slapped by the reality glove.

Think about habits and we automatically add the word “Bad” to the front.  We generally think of habits as those acts that are bad for us.  Yes, there are some bad habits out there; smoking, excessive drinking, too much time playing video games, too many to mention. Once again, I ask you…think of your “bad’ habits?  Now, think about how often or long you have been doing them?  See where this is taking you?  Again, I’ll give you a break and say it plain and simple:  Start creating good habits that are in line with your ideas and dreams of a better life, better health, and better world and see what happens.   What are good habits?  Well, it can be anything that makes for a more positive, productive, and happier you.  Create the habit of drinking more water, walking 30 minutes 4 days a week, getting to work 15 minutes earlier, and so on.  Those three habits alone can result in meeting your desired goals.  How?  More water…flush the fat and lose weight, walking…lose inches and fit into the outfit for the party plus build endurance to dance the night away, arrive early at work…get a jumpstart on the job reduces stress and makes you feel better.  Good habits become second nature to what you do and who you are hence, your goals, dreams, and ideas are resolved by default…Ok, I think you getting the picture! I can see the light bulb shining brightly over your head…you’re welcome!

So the short of it…Goals are an idea, a way to define your dream…habits are something you do to put your idea into action, make your dream a reality forever, not just a day!

About the Author – Ann Corwin Marix

annAnn’s start in health and wellness was (and still is) as a masseuse after, believe or not, hiring a personal trainer.  See athletics, exercise and activity have always been a major part of my life; but over time life seemed to take over – work; raising a child; keeping a household took its toll and my “Me-time” seemed to disappear.  Long story short, what was going to be a time to make myself feel better (by getting a massage after some a personal training session) became an eye opening experience and drove me to obtain my massage license and help others in relieving pain from injuries, trauma, or simply everyday life. Wanting to get back into exercise, I became a Jazzercise instructor and then wanting a closer relationship with clients, followed that experience by becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified TRX Instructor.  I love providing my clients with a unique and fun approach to help motivate and drive to obtain the results they want.

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.

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 www.anad.org