“Strong Bodies, Beautiful Minds”

So this is where I get a little bit sappy and tell the world way too much personal information about myself…But that’s what blogs are for, right?

So here goes.

I have struggled with my weight and body image as far back as I can remember. I have vivid memories of being eight years old and thinking I was fat and trying to figure out how to lose weight. I’ve been through phases of my life where all day, every day was consumed with thoughts about my weight and negative feelings about how I looked. There were days where I didn’t want to leave the house because none of my clothes looked good and I felt too bad about myself to walk out the door. Then I went through phases where I obsessed over how many calories I had to eat in order to lose weight and didn’t enjoy food at all because I was so focused on being thinner. There were phases where I would give up and just eat whatever I wanted because I was always going to be this way and it wasn’t worth trying. I’d end up gaining a bunch of weight in a short period of time and feeling even worse.

I hate to admit these things because I know I should know better. I know we need to love ourselves (especially as women) and be happy with what we were born with. I know that too many women have body image issues and it makes me cringe when young girls say they look fat. I’ve always been confident in who I am as a person – in my strengths, in my relationships and in my jobs. I’ve been great at giving others advice about standing up for themselves and asking for what they deserve; for women’s rights and empowerment. I’ve always told friends they need to be strong, confident women because they deserve to be. But for some reason I am extremely hard on myself.

About a year ago I started Kaia FIT to lose a little weight before my best friend, Kira’s bachelorette party because I didn’t want to be the “fat girl at the pool.” I came to my first class at her recommendation because it had been so great for her and I instantly fell in love. The women were friendly, the coaches were inviting and encouraging, and the exercises were fun. I’ve never been an athlete, but I had just recently started to like running and accomplished my first half marathon (which was a HUGE feat for me) and thought Kaia was a good next step.

In a year at Kaia I have only lost about 5-7 pounds, but I’ve learned that the number on the scale doesn’t matter when you’re building muscle. I’ve said those words to so many of my friends before “Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t worry about the scale.” But it took me a while to really accept it as the truth. For months I was disappointed that the scale wasn’t dropping until I realized how much I’ve improved. My body has changed so much, I even stand differently than I used to. My posture is better and I never have back problems anymore. I’m the same weight I was a few years ago, but I wear two sizes smaller in pants because my body has changed so much.

I was feeling so great about myself, loving this program and believing in it so much that I decided I want to make it my life. I want to bring this feeling of accomplishment, of strength, of confidence, of encouragement and community to as many women as possible and I want to open my own Kaia location.

But then, when I signed up for certification I instantly started telling myself  that I might not pass. What? This person who finally felt so confident and ready for this was scared? I didn’t understand it either.

I got to certification and I instantly reverted back to this young, scared girl who didn’t feel good enough. I looked at all these strong, amazing women around me and felt like I didn’t belong in their group. Like I wasn’t fit enough, thin enough, strong enough, a good enough coach. I was constantly looking in the mirror saying to myself  “I look awful. I can’t believe I gained those few pounds back last month. I don’t look like I should be a trainer. I’ve never coached anything in my life, how am I going to do this?”

I tried to push those feelings aside, workout really hard and do my best. Overall I had a great time and learned SO much about Kaia, but I just wasn’t myself. I wasn’t fully engaged in everything like I should have been because I let my fear get the best of me. I let the insecure girl inside of me take over and then felt a little defeated on the way home. I got 100% on the practical exam and knew what I was doing (I do this stuff every day!), but I didn’t feel or show confidence while I was doing it. All of the women were so encouraging and extremely positive, but I was having trouble seeing that I was doing well.

I got home last night and one of my coaches and friends who knew how I was feeling texted me and gave me some much-needed support and comfort. She told me everyone has these moments and experiences the same feelings at some point. She said that confidence is key and I need to “just rock it.” She understood where I was coming from and encouraged me to work through it. I told myself that I AM making the right decision because I AM right for this and it will get better and then went to sleep.


I woke up this morning KNOWING that I belonged in that group. I got up at 5:00am for class and drove to the gym with a huge smile on my face ready to workout even though my entire body was sore and I only had 5 1/2 hours of sleep. I was ready because I finally took the time to appreciate myself for what I’ve done. Last week I did 322 burpees in 45 minutes for our Burpees for Boobs charity. This week I worked out basically for 3 days straight and ran a timed mile in the cold, windy, snowy altitude. This may not be a big deal for some, but those are huge accomplishments to me. I’ve trained for two half marathons, I’ve improved on countless exercises and made some pretty major changes from my life before. I finally took the time to get the negativity out of my head and realize that if someone else told me they did those things I’d be beyond impressed.

I DO belong in this group with these women. They’re MY group of women.574919_267506386714671_1786966701_n

I can’t even tell you everything this program has done for me. Not to mention what it has done for some of the other women in my life. My mom who is turning 65 next month used to go to the gym and only walk on the treadmill because she thought running would be bad for her joints. Now she’s doing burpees, lifting weights, running sprints and lifting 20 pound bags of dog food at the grocery store like it’s nothing. I am so impressed with her determination and hard work.


I have never felt more supported or encouraged in my entire life than I have since workout out with these women. This is the greatest group I have ever been a part of and I am so thankful for everything they’ve given me. I cannot WAIT to open my own Kaia and bring the same love and support to other women. I will not let my insecurities get in the way of what I want to do. It may take me a while to be comfortable coaching, but that’s ok. I know I don’t have to be an expert right away, but I also know I’ll get there. And I know it will be great.

cf356603b1710f26f9759dfbbc1ba4ca“Kaia F.I.T.’s mission is to create strong bodies and powerful minds. Working together to get fit, feel great and know that we Kan accomplish anything.”

Check out this video of Kaia F.I.T. Owner Nikki Warren!

And check out our Burpees for Boobs fundraiser!


Staying F.I.T. on Vacation

Get it? F.I.T….cause I do Kaia F.I.T…. :)

So for Christmas this year we visited my husband’s family in Oahu for 10 days. It was so nice to leave the cold weather and head to warmer climates for the holidays, but I was concerned I would “fall off the wagon” when it came to my fitness. Kaia was on a winter break for a few weeks, so my timing worked out pretty well, but I didn’t want to come back to class and feel like I was starting all over again. So, I decided to try my best to keep working out and stay active while we were there.


My father-in-law lives at the top of some seriously steep hills. Each day we’d go for a jog or a walk down to the bottom and back up. Some days we ran 2-3 miles and some days we just did hill repeats on the super steep hills right by the house.


Some days we would drive down by Waikiki, park the car and run up Diamond Head Road for a beautiful 3 or 3 1/2 mile run with a view along the water. Then we’d run back to the car, go change into our suits, and head to the beach. That, right there is THE perfect day in my mind. I hope to have lots more of those when I move there.


While Kaia was on their winter break, the coaches sent us a new at-home workout for each day. On days I was feeling extra motivated I pulled out a yoga mat and tried some of them after my run. They weren’t easy..that’s for sure. I can definitely say that having the coaches and a big group of girls by your side makes you feel like you can keep going, even when you feel exhausted. Completing these tough workouts alone is definitely harder, but I tried to do my best and I was so glad the coaches kept us in mind while we were away!


Now, if we’re being honest here.. I was on VACATION…so there was a little bit of beer drinking and relaxing going on as well. Probably a little more than there should have been..but it was vacation, right? I tried to stay away from the super sweet drinks like mai tais and pina coladas that are loaded with sugar and calories (I only had one in the 10 days I was there) and tried to stick with wine and the occasional cold beer on the lanai. We ate a ton of fish and healthy home-cooked meals, but I also splurged a little and had chocolate for dessert when I wanted something sweet (or the occasional shave ice).


We also drank coconut water straight from the source. YUM


We did one of my favorite hikes on Oahu on Koko Head (favorite because of the gorgeous view at the top) and of course I had to take a Kaia planking picture at the top.



We spent one day out on the boat wakeboarding in the marina, which was SUPER fun, although much harder than I’m used to on the warm, smooth waters of Clear Lake.


I have to say, what a difference a year can make. The last time we went to Hawaii for vacation, back in July of 2011, there was no running. There was very little hiking (and it was WAY harder than it was this time). There were definitely no Kaia-type workouts done solo on a yoga mat. And there was LOTS AND LOTS of eating bad food and drinking too many pina coladas. Yes, I am a firm believer in working hard and playing hard. When you’re on vacation, you should feel like you’re on vacation. But that doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it did a year ago before I started Kaia.

Now, a vacation isn’t complete to me without getting out and being active. I’m still going to enjoy good food and a little relaxation, but in a different way. I’ve always loved the outdoors, but now I get so much enjoyment out of exercising and pushing my limits that my outlook on physical activity is completely different. We’ve always hiked when we went to Hawaii, but I was queen of requesting the “easy hikes,” because that way I wouldn’t feel miserable the entire time. Now, I want each hike to be more challenging than the last. I am so looking forward to moving to the island and finding new trails and hikes that will challenge me even more.

What do you do to stay F.I.T. on vacation?

Oh…and I thought this little guy was too cute to leave out… IMG_5889

Spicy Thai Basil Stirfry

So like I said in my last blog post, this week is detox week at Kaia and I am trying my best to stick to the plan and eat lean and green. I already had organic ground turkey in the refrigerator so I started looking for healthy meals to make. Usually I would make turkey tacos, spaghetti with meat sauce or meatballs, but since carbohydrates are on the don’t-even-think-about-it-list during detox I knew I needed to try something different that didn’t include tortillas or pasta.I started to search for Thai recipes and every one included a good amount of brown sugar, which is also not allowed on detox. So, I followed their lead to get an idea and then came up with something on my own. The result… a delicious, spicy, tangy, rich Thai basil stir-fry  that I wanted to eat all in one sitting. I will definitely be making this again (and again and again and again…).

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. lean (organic) ground turkey
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2-8 Thai chili peppers, sliced (depending on spicy preference)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Large handful fresh basil leaves

Sauce: (measurements are approximate. I added little amounts until I found the taste/spicy-ness I liked)

  • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp-1tbsp. chili paste (depending on preferred spice-level)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

What you’ll do:

Cut eggplant in half and weep for about 15 minutes (cover in sea salt to remove excess moisture). Start the ground turkey and cook on low-medium until done. While the turkey is cooking saute red onions, Thai chili peppers and eggplant in olive oil until eggplant gets soft. Add broth for moisture if needed. Add in bell peppers and cook until soft (3-5 minutes). Mix soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until blended. Mix in the remainder of the sauce ingredients and pour over vegetable mixture. Add green onions and basil. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Combine the veggie mixture with the ground turkey. Serve with green onions and basil to garnish. Enjoy!

This is now my favorite ground turkey recipe. What are your favorite ways to cook ground turkey besides tacos?

Ready for Kombat

In May I started my new health and fitness routine with Kaia F.I.T.  and I am constantly reminded of what a great choice it was. Not only have I lost weight/inches and gained muscle, I’ve gained confidence, energy, and some great friends to keep me accountable. Kaia has been the best stress reliever and really has made my every day life better for so many reasons. I am happier, I have better posture, my back hurts less often, I have more energy at work and when I get home, and the list goes on and on.

I started during BRIK, which is Kaia’s 6-week intensive bootcamp that consists of 3 days in the gym doing strength training and cardio, one day of flow (yoga), and one day of running. After the first six weeks I already felt great and had some pretty awesome results. Keep in mind that I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose when I started, I just wanted to get toned and fit.


Weight: -4.2lbs

Booty/hips: -1  inch

Thighs: no change

Chest: -1 1/4 inches

Waist: – 2 inches

Body fat: – 3.4%

After the 6 week bootcamp we went to two 5-week sessions that consisted of 3 days a week in the gym, an optional yoga class on Friday, and another optional workout on Saturday. I am out of town often on the weekends so I was only able to make it to a few of the Saturday workouts over the 10 weeks, but I went to about 90% of the yoga classes. We just did our measurements on Saturday and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.


Weight: -2.6lbs

Booty/hips: -1/2 inch

Thighs: -.5 inches

Chest: -1/4 inch

Waist: – 1 3/4 inches

Body fat: – 1/10%


Weight: -6.8 lbs

Booty/hips: -1 1/2 inches

Thighs: -.5 inches

Chest: -1 1/2 inches

Waist: – 3 3/4 inches!

Body fat: – 3.5%

Today we started our Kombat BRIK session and I could not be more motivated. During the first week we do a detox, which means no dairy, no sugar, no carbs, no alcohol, and nothing processed. After the first week they encourage us to eat clean (mostly fruit and vegetables, low carbs, no sugar, etc) and then we detox again during the last week. I am looking forward to hard work, lots of early mornings, LOTS of sweat, and a group of amazing girls by my side. If I get results like I have these last few months, it will be an added bonus. In the beginning, I joined as a way to lose a few pounds and tone up a bit and now I couldn’t imagine leaving. I wake up in the mornings to get to the gym because I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Of course I love seeing results and feeling better in my clothes, but the way I feel in this short period of time has really shown me how important a consistent workout plan can be.