What to buy and not to buy a fitness fanatic for the holiday’s

30 11 2012

Have a hardcore fitness devotee in your life and aren’t sure what to buy them? Well here are some simple guidelines you can follow.

1. Never ever buy a fitness related gift …. gym membership, training sessions, dvd’s, or enroll someone in a weight loss program  who “YOU” think needs to lose weight.  Bad idea. It’s like giving your wife a vacuum cleaner.

2. Most fitness people  have specific things they use, wear, or want.  Try to find the EXACT item for them.

3. Always a safe bet is a gift certificate for a favorite website or store that you know they frequently shop at.  Trust me, they will like this better than another water bottle, yoga mat or towel!

4. Don’t buy vitamins, supplements, protein powders, or goo. Once again gift card to their favorite store for this  type of thing.
5. Exercise equipment is great but goes back to rule number 1. Tread lightly on this and be certain that the person wants this as a gift. Be specific, and find out a model number if needed, or you will be shlepping a 300lb treadmill back to Sears.

Some gift suggestions:
1. Renew a gym membership, or pay for a few months. Just make sure they plan on staying at that particular gym!

2.Gift certificates are not very personal, but having been a gym rat for a long time, I can assure that every year there are hardcore workout people laughing, and crying, about gifts they received from friends and family that meant well.  No hello kitty earbuds please!

3. Heart rate monitors  are a great way to say “I love this muscle, keep it pumping strong”. There are so many great APPS that can be used today with monitors.  This is a great gift.  Look  for one compatible with their particular phone.  Blue tooth capability, GPS ability, and Hart rate monitors can be combined with programs you can upload to record every aspect of a workout. This is on my list, hint hint! (Polar Wearlink Transmitter with blue tooth)

4. Custom Quilt with their race shirts that are an overabundance. Lot’s of sites do this. Just google race t-shirts quilts.

5. More of their favorite socks that they wear when exercising. Good socks can be pricey so if they have a favorite pair, chances are they would love another set.

6. Massage  – this one usually scores high on the great gift list for a workout fanatic.

7. Personal Training Sessions are a often asked for, but keep in mind that not everyone would be thrilled by this gift.  So you shouldn’t buy someone training sessions just because you want them to exercise or to be healthier. This can however, be a great gift if your loved one has expressed an interest in training but is reluctant to spend the money, or is too intimidated to try it on their own.

8. But the best gift you can give someone is the one that comes from the heart. So if your budget is tight this year make a coupon.   A walk, run, bike ride, and then coffee for a friend.  Supersets and sex for your lover. lol  Be creative!

Whats your favorite fitness gift you ever received? What is on your fitness wish list this year?  E-mail me at hope@Motivatehopestrength.com, post it on the MotivateHopeStrength Facebook page, or tweet me at @motivatehope and I will pick one lucky winner to win a gift from me.  You got it. It’s another gym t-shirt with a saying like “I TRAIN LIKE A GIRL try to keep up”, or “STRONG is the new SEXY”, or “STRONG WOMEN only intimidate weak men”,  or a MotivateHopeStrength.com tank.

Got a question? Got a personal training question? Interested in personal training? Got a great gift idea.  I would love to pass it on.  E-mail me at hope@motivatehopestrength.com

If you or someone special live in the Philadelphia/Montgomery County PA area and are interested in a Gift certificate for Personal Trainings please check out my Special that is going on now till December 31, 2012 3 Training Sessions for $150.00 Go to motivatehopestrength.com or  for more info or e-mail me at hope@motivatehopestrength.com




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Dieting During The Holidays

28 11 2012

You can survive the Holidays without gaining weight.  Difficult for most myself included but doable.  There are temptations everywhere you turn. Holiday parties, cookie trays at work and junk in your own home that you normally wouldn’t have a round. Like peppermint bark. Who invented this?

My best friend is a RD- registered dietitian.  Her motto is throw it out. Don’t temp yourself. In the trash NOW! Having a best friend who is an RD  around definitely kills the tis the season to eat and be merry but she moved to Atlanta so this Holiday season I need to follow some basic rules.  Don’t think of it as a diet during the Holidays but rather eating smarter.

1. First off, exercise more. Adding calories? Than burn more calories.  Wax on, wax off.

2. Eat something healthy before you head out. You will eat less.

3. Alternate alcohol with a glass of water. Remember liquid calories add up and don’t fill you up.

4. Eat slow

5. Pick your “sin” before you get to a party. Drink, dessert, some chips.  Only one. They the rest is good old veggies.

What to buy a Fitness Fanatic for the Holidays.

28 11 2012

Wear What?

Have a hardcore fitness devotee in your life and aren’t sure what to buy them? Well there are some simple guidelines one can follow.

1. RULE#1  Never ever buy a fitness related gift …. gym membership, training sessions, dvd’s or enroll someone in a weight loss program  “YOU” think should be working out. Bad idea. It’s like giving your wife a vacuum cleaner.

2. Most Fitness lunatics have specific things they want.  Try to find this EXACT thing out.
3. Your safest bet is a gift certificate for a website or store that you know they like to shop at. REI, Nike, Dicks, LuLuLemon, Sports Authority, a local running store. Trust me they will love this better than another water bottle or yoga mat.
4. Don’t buy any vitamins, supplements, protein powders etc. Once again gift card to their favorite store for this stuff.
5. Exercise equipment is great but goes back to rule number 1. Tread lightly on this and be certain the person wants this and exactly what model number or you will be shlepping a 300lb treadmill back to Sears.

Some gift suggestions:
1. Renew someones gym membership or pay for a few months. Make sure they plan on staying at that gym.
2.Gift certificates are not very personal, but having been a gym rat for a long time I can assure that every year there are hardcore workout people laughing and crying about gifts they received from friends and family that meant well but had no concept of what working out is about.
3. Heart rate monitors – Great way to say “I love this muscle” keep it pumping strong. So many great APS that can be used today with monitors.  This is a great gift.  Look  for one compatible with their phone.  Blue tooth capability. GPS ability. Heart rate monitors combined with programs you can upload record everything. This is on my list. hint hint (Polar Wearlink Transmitter with blue tooth)

4. Custom Quilt with their race shirts that are in overabundance. Lot’s of sites do this. Just google race t-shirts quilts.

5. More of their favorite socks that they wear when exercising. Good socks can be pricey so if they have a favorite pair chances are they would love another set.

6. Massage  – this one usually scores high on the great gift list for a workout fanatic.
7. Personal Training Sessions. Keep in mind that not everyone would be thrilled to get personal training sessions. So you shouldn’t get someone sessions just because you want them to exercise or be healthy. However, this can be a great gift if your loved one has expressed interest in training but is reluctant to spend the money or intimidated to try it.

8. But the best gift you can give someone is the one that comes from the heart. So if your budget is tight this year make a coupon.   A walk, run, bike ride and then coffee,  Be creative.

If you or someone special live in the Philadelphia/Montgomery County PA area and are interested in a Gift certificate for Personal Trainings please check out my Special that is going on now till December 31, 2012 3 Training Sessions for $150.00 Go to motivatehopestrength.com or  for more info or e-mail me at hope@motivatehopestrength.com

I’VE GOT 99 EXCUSES BUT SNEAKERS ISN’T ONE – PART 2 Broad Street “You didn’t bully me.”

8 05 2012

I did it. I finished the Broad Street Run. Somebody pass me a plate of crow, cause I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!  Now I get why people love this race, and let me tell you why I loved this race…. because to me there’s no place like home and Philadelphia is my home.

The morning of the run I was my normal nervous self. I get this way whenever I’m about to step out of my comfort zone. I’m the best at encouraging others to push themselves, but sometimes inside my tough exterior lies a girl with the same doubts and fears as everybody else.  With 46,000 people at the start, I was sure I would have plenty of time standing in the coral I was assigned to while waiting for the start to make myself crazy with fear, but things didn’t turn out that way. Thanks to a pre-race bathroom run in a beautiful old church on Broad Street, I didn’t even have time to think about getting scared. You see, my friend clogged up the toilet, which left us running to the start as they were counting backwards from 10, there wasn’t even a chance to get myself upset. I was too busy  laughing. It was like a sin was committed, and we were escaping the scene of the crime. No time to get to my coral, I just hopped the metal barriers and started running.  I went thru the starting gate, gave a high-five to Mayor Nutter and was off with a big smile on my face. I could see Philadelphia’s City Hall off in the distance, knowing that was my halfway point.

Imagine being in a parade. That’s what it felt like. City streets, lined with tons of people ringing cow bells, yelling, waving. Perfect setting for me cause ……… I LOVE A PARADE.  I knew instantly I was going to be fine. Kids holding signs that said “Let’s go Mom!” I imagined they were there for me even though my own teenage daughters were home asleep. But who cares, I had new kids all along the 10 mile route cheering, waving, and calling my name, mommy.

                  “I’d rather be in Philadelphia

W.C Fields was known for his standing jokes about our city and made this quote famous in a 1925 article in Vanity Fair magazine. When referring to one day being in a grave, he made the statement above, his last dig at the city he was born in… Philadelphia.  I differ from his opinion when I say I’d rather be in Philadelphia.  Running down Broad Street thru different sections of Philly you got that feeling of brotherly love.  I can’t explain how cool it was to run around city hall at mile 5.  I loved the whole feel of the run, the history of this great city is everywhere in it’s buildings, murals, the city streets with open fire hydrants, spraying the hot runners, but mostly the people..the Philadelphians. The fans that have always gotten a bad rap. These people were awesome. The runners were awesome.  The run was awesome.  There was no Ipod blasting the Rocky theme as my two ton legs went thru the finish gate. My iPod died with a 1/2 mile to go.  And while most people will have pictures to purchase  with hands up in the air crossing the finish line, my picture will show me playing with my iPod. But who cares? Bib 9607 finished!

In order to grow, you must step out of your comfort zone. I finished with a time of 134.37. Could I have run faster? I don’t know. Should I have trained? Probably. Am I sore today? Hell yeah! Did I wear my race t-shirt today? Of course! Will I do it again next year?  You bet!  So, take a chance on yourself and you might be surprised how strong you really are. To my friends and clients who all did amazing, thanks for the laughs and for motivating me to give this great event a try. To Diane, someone up above is waiting for you with a golden plunger.

Since 1980 people have been lining up Broad Street in Philadelphia for the Broad Street run. This run benefits the American Cancer Society. 


Personal Trainer


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5 05 2012

I must have fallen and hit my head. What was I thinking when I took a bib from an injured client to run the Broad Street Run? Me, run Broad Street? The largest 10 miler run in the country. 40,000 participants, down one street, in good old Philadelphia! I know this street well. I grew up in Philadelphia but never, ever did I run on it, or imagine I would ever actually do the Broad Street Run. It never appealed to me in the past and honestly still doesn’t cause I am not a runner.  I make fun of the Broad Street runners who wear their T-shirts the day after the race. I have many clients who run this race, and many first timers this year who will be lacing up. I tell them “you’ll be fine, its’ all downhill”  But now as the run is approaching this Sunday, I’m beginning to have a panic attack.  I have never run 10 miles straight, and to be honest, I’m nervous as hell. I read somewhere to bring toilet paper, and this upsets me even more!  Maybe if I have to go potty before the race I can go into Einstein Hospital, where the run starts. I was born there 48 years ago, they have to let me in, right?

People train for this run. You see them, upping their miles each week, talking about it. “I ran 6 this week, upping to 6.25 next week.” And “I ‘m running a 7 1/2 min mile, whats your pace?”  Runner’s love to tell people what they ran. Posting it on Facebook, telling you when you see them out “Doing a 10K this weekend, training for a half marathon, just got done a 100 mile run, barefoot, all uphill, in 100 degrees.  News alert….nobody cares. I don’t walk around saying ” I just did 12 shoulder presses.”

Why is it that if I mention to anyone who knows me well that I am running Broad Street this year, the response is….. “YOU’RE running Broad Street?”Repeat that same line but this time say it in your head like  you would say….”ewww this smells.” That’s what it sounds like when people respond to my statement about running Broad Street.

This is part of the reason I wasn’t telling anyone.  Because what if I back out, quit or totally suck?  Well, it’s now Saturday and the run is on tomorrow, Sunday.  I will tell you I am not backing out, I am not a quitter and yes, I WILL SUCK. But please god, let me suck it up and get through 10 miles of what surely will be hell for me, the gal who hates to run.

When I run, I never enter this “Zone” thing runners talk about. I spend every second thinking about when will this be over?  How many more miles? This is horrible, boring, I feel like I’m not moving, is this ever going to end?  Thank you Steve Jobs for the iPod, and thank you to all the DJ’s out there who can make a great mix for every song. I have  a playlist for the run. It’s full  of songs that allow my lead based legs to pound the cement for 10 miles. I have 2 hours of music ready, so I better tie this thing up in less than 2. I will place Welcome to the Jungle followed by the Rocky theme near my approximate end time. I will run, and someone will toss me an apple and say “good job champ!”  Ok, nobody is tossing an apple to me, maybe at me, lol, but let me dream.

Here it is. My bib number 9607 for Sunday. How weird is it that my phone number growing up in NE Philly was (215)677-9607.  Runner 9607 will run, walk, or crawl over that finish line on Sunday. It will be horrible, it will be ugly but I am determined to finish.  Wish me luck as I wish all the runners good luck, and mainly to have fun.

To my client Katie who injured herself at CrossFit and can’t run, and gave me her bib, I say: “I told you so.” To my other clients who trained their ass’s off for the Broad Street Run  I say to you again “you’ll be fine, it’s all downhill”  Now, someone quick tell me that!

Color Running with my Daughter

8 04 2012

Being marketed as the happiest 5K on the planet, it is called the Color Run. I saw pictures, it looked like fun, and boom came the idea: I’m going to do this with my daughter Morgan. Turning 16 and knowing absolutely everything about life I thought, I bet she will be tickled with joy when I tell her we are going to do a run together. Instead, I heard ‘sounds stupid’ and, ’what time to we have to get up?’  Having a very turbulent relationship with my daughter, doing even the smallest thing can at times be un-enjoyable. I am old and in my 40’s, a mom, what do I know? I knew she would greet me with resistance but in the end would love it. After all I am her mom, and yes I do know something.

Seeing that a Color Run was being held in Atlanta, where both of our best friend’s moved several years ago from Philly, we packed our bags and flew to Atlanta to visit Betsy and Alec with plans to attend the event.

I knew Morgan would be fine with the running as she plays lacrosse and field hockey in High School.  I just didn’t know if would we’d get through the 3 miles without an argument!  We do that a lot.  Previous to this we had never done a run or race together.  The closest thing to running that I’ve done with my teenage daughter has been running her to the mall!

First, let me explain exactly what the Color Run is and I’ll start by saying it should have been called the “Color Fun”! It’s not about speed, there is no time clock.  You start out wearing mostly white. They give you a white Color Run t-shirt you can wear, which my daughter cut up the minute she got her pre-race packet. There are also Color Run headbands, white of course, in your bag along with a small bag of color you can throw in the air at the end of the run. We decorated out faces with colorful face paint to look like rainbow warriors, only to get to the starting area and see thousands of people who thought way beyond face paint. There were tutu’s, crazy wigs, wild hats, superman caps, tons of mis-matched colorful knee socks, but my favorite was a guy that wore a full white spandex suit. Running behind him was a funny sight. Next time I am definitely sporting a tutu!

The idea is to walk or run, and at each mile there are color stations that you go through. This is where you get blasted with color.  Each station appears as you are running about a mile apart and you can see a cloud of color approaching quickly.  Volunteers line the area and douse you like an Easter Egg.  Knowing that my daughter is a better runner than me, and knowing that she told me prior to the race she was going to kick my butt and see me at the finish line, each of these stations would be my chance to wiz by her. Morgan would definitely spend more time in the color areas than I would.  I tried to run through fast without getting bombarded and blinded with color and then possibly falling.  Not happening. First it was impossible to run through the stations and to stay color free!  As I would glance to my right and see my long-legged daughter laughing and loving getting the paint powder thrown on her, I would use this as my strategy to  advance in front of her.  However, a  minute later I would feel a smack on my back and see a long ponytail go leaping past me with hand swimming motions, laughing and saying,  “see ya sucker!”  Kind of like the hare passing the tortoise. I am the tortoise when it comes to running.  I wonder where she gets her competitive attitude?

As I waited at the finish line for Morgan.  Yes, I said “I” waited, seeing my colorful speckled teenage princess float through the balloon archway……wait back up. Did I actually say princess?  I call her a lot of names, this teenage daughter of mine who I bang heads with, but princess lately isn’t one of them.  Let me say that seeing my daughter finish the Color Run I saw something I love on her, and don’t see often enough…..a giant smile.  Yes the colors were great, but the smile was the best thing a mom could ever ask for.  She didn’t roll her eyes at me, or tell me this is stupid.  Instead we laughed at each other, threw more color on each other, took amazing pictures, and I think I even got a kiss from her.  She even said, “can we do another one?”

This Color Run was definitely something we will both always remember. I hope this is the beginning of more events with my daughter. I also hope to never grow too old to run with my kids. I can’t stress enough how important fitness is and showing your children the importance of this at a young age.  So, if you’re looking for a fun time, a no stress event to do with a child, a friend, or yourself, do the Color Run! There are no official winners in the Color Run because everyone wins and the prize is having fun. We did!

To find out when the COLOR RUN is coming to your city and more colorful information go to:

http://thecolorrun.com/ and find them on Facebook at COLOR RUN.

and “LIKE” MotivateHopeStrength on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/MotivateHopeStrength/121933104538103

For more information about Personal Training with Hope go to:



When I grow up…I want to be a Fitness Competitor.

20 02 2012

For many  of us fitness enthusiasts there have been many  moments where we think, I would have loved to have been that, done that, or tried that. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I say that often. I could have played sports but my parents worked full-time so I wasn’t allowed. I could have been a singer but I ruined my voice yelling in spin class. I could have been a professional biker had I started riding younger. I coulda, woulda, shoulda ….the list goes on and on.  At one point in our lives we put our dreams, wishes and desires aside because we either doubted ourselves, didn’t have the passion, the drive or the dedication to go for it, or thought we are to old, or some have even given up on a dream because of someone else’s. I do believe that each person has something they excel at and most go through their entire lives never finding that special gift that they have. Lance Armstrong talks about that in his first book, about how lucky he was to find biking. I may never find my “thing” so I’ll keep looking, dreaming and hoping for more chances. In the meantime I want to talk to the people who have succeeded in finding their “thing”.

Today I start my first of a series of  blogs called: When I grow up.

 When I grow up I would like to be a Fitness Competitor.

Meet Carrie Simmons, I.F.B.B. Pro Fitness competitor, aerialist, personal trainer and coach. When I have a question about training I usually e-mail Carrie. Since she is surrounded by serious fitness folks I know if she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it for me.  Carrie moved from Conshohocken, PA to LA to pursue her dream of becoming a fitness professional.  I spoke to Carrie recently…….

Q- When did you start working out?

A- I started training when I was 23. I was dating a National level BBer who dragged me kicking and screaming to the gym.

Q- How old were you and what was the first competition you entered?

A – I was 26 I think. It was a regional Ms. Fitness USA competition.

Q- How did you do? What one thing did you learn from this first competition that stayed  with you and made you prepare better for the next show? 

A- I think I was like second to last… LMAO! I learned to diet more than 4 weeks for a show and don’t carb up on Frosted Flakes!!!!!

Q- You turned pro in what year and how many years after your first competition?

A- Turned pro in 2009, 12 years after starting.

Q-That’s a long time. Did you ever want to quit?

Hell YEAH. They weren’t 12 continuous years, I’d get fed up and take some time off, then the itch would come back

Q- What was the name of the competition and how did it feel to get your pro card? 

A- It was the NPC Team Universe in NYC. It was AWESOME!

Q- What is your biggest struggle to stay  in top shape?  

A-  DIETING!!!!!!

Q- When you are not competing are you still strict with your diet and exercise?

A- I’m still strict, but more reasonable. I’ll eat a wider variety of foods.

Q- What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat? 

A- BCAAs and glutamine afterwards for recover and I like a pre workout supplement  that has no caffeine and sometimes caffeine for a kick.

Q- How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I crave chocolate all the time. I have no willpower for this. It literally cannot be in my house in any form. 

A-  I do the same thing… I don’t keep it in the house!

Q- When I first saw you at Superfit gym when you still lived in Philadelphia I was so intimidated by you.  I am sure that most women are, but how do the men in the gym react to you? Intimidated? Jealous?  Impressed?  

A- LMAO!!!! YOU intimidated me! I remember saying to Greg, (owner of SuperFit Gym) “Wow does she always stay in that kind of shape??” I get a mix of reactions, mostly positive.

Q – What is the best compliment you have ever received? 

A- Probably when a woman tells me she wants  to look like me.

Q – I was in a club at the Jersey Shore (Yo)  and some little guy told me I was too big  and that it wasn’t feminine or sexy.  I’m not even that big.  Do people say stuff like that to you? 

A- I’ve gotten it before. My response is usually “f**k off” I look this way for me. I like it and that’s all that really matters.  I lucked out and found a great guy who likes it too.

Q- How do you deal with all the beautiful people in California (LA) who buy their appearance?

A- That great guy I found lives in LA. Yes, there are plenty of folks who have been surgically altered here, but there are a lot  more who spend hours in the gym just like us.

Q- Tell me the difference between people in an East Coast Gym and a West Coast Gym. 

A – I think the East coast guys are more “meat head”… more concerned with strength and muscle size not necessarily leanness. The west coast boys are all about being lean and pretty.  As for the girls, there are more ladies in the gyms on the west coast for certain.

Q- Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat on  a typical day to stay in shape. 

A- That’s easy it’s pretty much the same all year! Differences between off-season and contest prep are the types of proteins and the amount of carbs I eat.

Meal 1 – shake and oatmeal

Meal 2 – oatmeal and egg whites

Meal 3 – protein, carb, veggies

Meal 4 – protein, carb, veggies

Meal 5  – Post workout shake

Meal 6 – protein, carb

Meal 7 – protein

Q – “Carbs”, I can’t stand when my clients don’t eat any carbs and don’t understand the  good carb/ bad carb rule. Do you eat carbs? 

A – YUP!

Q – What guidelines do you recommend for daily protein intake? 

A- I’m of the 1.5-2g per lb. of body weight. The higher end of that being for quality muscle gaining.

Q – When you are not competing are you still strict with your diet and exercise? Because sometimes I see a post and your eating at a burger place or some other joint and I am saying no way is Carrie eating that crap. 

A – LMAO!!! Are you referring to my trips to the cheesecake factory and the Counter (awesome burger shop in LA)???? Hey, I love food. But even when I diet for a show, I get one cheat meal a week. I take it on a Saturday or Sunday so Michael and I can have somewhat of a “normal” time out. But even if it’s not a cheat meal,  the places we eat out at in LA don’t look at you like you’ve got 2 heads when you ask for something grilled, or without butter or dressing on the side. That’s another thing I like about the West coast, it’s way more health conscious than the East coast. I ask for my food prepared a special way and stuff on the side.  Back home  in Philly it would come with a heaping serving of spit.

When I order my boyfriend cringes, especially when I say “write this down” . He says, you forget to tell them no tomatoes and extra spit please. lol 

Q- What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.) Currently  I’m hitting everything 2x a week


Mon – legs (quad specific, some ham)

Tue – back and biceps (heavy movements)

Wed – chest, shoulder triceps (chest and triceps specific)

Thu – legs (ham specific, some quad)

Fri – back and biceps (light and detailing)

Sat – chest, shoulder triceps (shoulder specific – military presses etc)

Cardio right now is treadmill mostly. Early AM empty stomach before work (lifting is at night after work)

Q – Six pack abs. Made in the kitchen or in the gym?  

A – Some gym, mostly kitchen!

Q – Do you train everyday? 

A- Sunday right now is off, but I wind up going to dance class.

Q – What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change:

  1. Set goals. Whether it’s a competition, some party you want to look good for, your birthday…
  2. Track what you eat… FOR REAL. Every bite. Most folks don’t realize how much they really consume.
  3. Find a work out that’s fun. You hate weights? Try rock climbing. Hate the treadmill? Take a Zumba class
  4. If you fall off the wagon, jump right back on. Don’t give in to the “screw it, I already messed up, may as well keep going” pitfall.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people who will support your efforts

Q -What do you consider to be your strong points as a competitor?

A -With fitness, we have 2 rounds – physique and routine. Physique is definitely my stronger.

Q – What body part is the hardest for you to train? 

A – Legs are hard, but I love training them.

Q – Do you measure your body fat on a regular basis? Weigh your self everyday?

A – I don’t get my BF tested. Those handheld gadgets and home scales are always off. I had it done a few years back at a training facility. I measure my bf by how many striations, muscle fibers and veins I see. Weight I do once a week but only when I’m in contest mode.

Q – Who do you look to in the fitness industry for inspiration? 

A- One of my really good friends, IFBB Pro Fitness competitor Tracey Greenwood. She’s a PhD and a college professor. She retired from competition as one of the top girls of all time. She has a great work ethic and balance of fitness and work. She also helps to rescue dogs. (She also from the East coast! DE)

Q -What is the #1 thing you like about being into fitness?

A- How working out makes me look. I’ll admit it, I’m vain.

Q -Don’t you think you either have to be vain or insecure to be this dedicated?  I hate to admit this but I think personally my insecurities push me.

A- I think everyone is a little of both, its just how you let those 2 shape you and control you. We use ours to shape these physiques; someone else may allow the insecurities to drive tem to overeat…

Q – Coolest person you ever met? –

A – Randy Couture

Q – Person you’d love to meet? 

A – George St. Pierre

Q – If you could work out with one famous person who would that be.

A –  George St. Pierre

Q -You and your boyfriend are both in amazing shape. Could you ever date a regular guy.  You know what I mean. Mike is huge.

A – I couldn’t date anyone that doesn’t work out. They don’t have to be a BBer, but they need to train. I spend most of my free time in some sort of workout facility – be it lifting, gymnastics, dance, aerial. If that person didn’t work out, I’d never see them!

Q – Your also an aerialist. Explain to me what that is?

A – Think Cirque du Soleil. I perform on rope, trapeze, silks and hoop.

Q – I hate the age thing. I find myself at the gym busting my ass more. Wish I could turn back the years with each rep. How do you deal with the age thing.  Do you find that the older you get the harder it is to stay in shape, keep your muscle definition, stay lean? 

A – Honestly, not yet. I’ll be 40 in April and I’ve never looked better. I know it’s gonna catch me one day, but today ain’t that day!

Q – Recently someone I know posted on her Facebook that women over the age of 30 shouldn’t wear just jog bras when working out.  I of course had to comment why not? I am one of those gals that does wear a just a sports bra.  I was bombarded by a slew of women  who agreed with the poster.  Should a woman over a certain age not wear a bikini, a sports bra, etc.  Your thoughts? 

A –  If you look good, rock it. She was probably mad because SHE can’t wear one.

Q – Most girls look in the mirror and say “I hate my …..”  or “I wish I was…..” What does Carrie say? 

A – I don’t like my calves. Unfortunately, they’re genetic so I am stuck with them. But I’m ok with everything else right now. Butt could be tighter…

Complete these sentences: 

 When I grow up I want to be ……. I refuse to grow up!

If I could switch bodies with one person it would be…… No one. 

If chocolate chip cookies were fat-free and calorie free I would eat it all the time. 

I am scared of  failure.

Q – What’s one sport or event you wish you could do? (like  a triathlon, tennis, golf, etc.) 

A – Gymnastics.

Q – Favorite body part  on a guy (keep it clean) lol. 

A – LMAO!!!!! It depends, I love nice thick pecs and cannonball shoulders, but they gotta have legs too.

Q – There is a saying that I love it’s  “STRONG WOMEN ONLY INTIMIDATE WEAK MEN.”  True?

A – Weak mentally!

Carrie lives in Marina Del Rey, California and works as a Creative Director for a Personal Care Manufacturer.  If you are interested in training with Carrie or taking an Aerial class, or have a question for her  you can contact her at www.carrie-simmons.com or carrie@carrie-simmons.com. You can also find Carrie on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carrie-Simmons-IFBB-ProAerialist/159354270759333  and on twitter http://twitter.com/IFBBProCarrie.


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Here’s to YOU!

1 01 2012

This has been a great year for me as a personal trainer. Not because I saw significant gains in my income but because I saw big changes in everyone’s dedication to their own fitness goals.  Take this December that just ended.  Past years were full of less committed clients and cancellations for various reasons, such as  shopping and parties.  But this past December was different in a good way.  There weren’t any poor excuses.   If anything I had the opposite. Clients were asking “Hey Hope do you have another day  for me this week I need to squeeze in an extra  workout.” People were more aware of the holiday pounds that usually creep on, and knowing this fact chose to make their exercise a priority over eating, drinking and shopping.

This past year I met  many new clients, each with their own individual goals. Many wanted to lose weight, build muscle and some just needed a new routine. Usually when  someone comes to me with their wish list, I explain that THEY will have to work on their own as well. I’m going to give you homework, and a plan that you must follow in order for your goals to be achieved. My  brides to be this year were the best. Ladies you put the “buff” in bride. Nothing makes me smile more than the pictures you send to me in your wedding gowns flexing!  It truly was a “WOW” year.  I loved, loved, loved seeing someone walking around the gym closely following the workout that I had  emailed to them. I always look forward to the e-mails and texts that say I ran this, I took this class, I went to the gym and I did this, I ate this, I didn’t eat that and by far my most favorite was “I finished my first race”.  An amazing year of clients who took their first spin class or did their first 5/10K’s, group bike rides and races.  Never when someone told me they were doing a race or a ride did I ever doubt that they would finish. In my mind when they signed up they were already winners because aside from becoming stronger physically, they became more confident with themselves overall. I waited for the text and email messages that told me you finished, and felt the joyful emotion in your words.  Smiley face was really you smiling!  I felt like a proud momma!

I had my share of “I don’t feel well” and I’‘m gonna vomit”, and I’ve driven clients home and I have held hair back away from the tears. Oh yes the tears! Usually I can see this coming. For some reason this is a common occurence for me. The internal pain that surfaces has become something that I am usually good at detecting within the first few training sessions.  I found the most common reason for the tears is the lack of one’s ability to believe in themselves, that they are worth this! That they are strong enough to do this! That it’s ok to be dedicated to YOU! That no, it’s not selfish to take 1 hour a day to workout and be healthy. You’ll still be a great wife, a great mom, a good employee and a good friend.  The battle inside has to be tackled before the battle outside can be won.

2011 was also the year I started a Facebook page called MotivateHopeStrength. This “page” was some little idea I had planned on using to motivate my own clients.  Less than a year in the works and this page now over 7000 fans and has become a source of inspiration and motivation to many. The daily posts, quotes, sayings, and pictures are all things that inspire me, so I pass them on. I love the comments and the  “likes”! I love knowing that someone is driven to go exercise or lose weight because of something that l posted.  What I love most about this page is that many people write to me, telling me the amazing things that they are doing and the battles that they are striving and dedicated to overcoming. Some have been inspired to lose weight, some to run races, marathons, triathlon. Some even battle a sickness such as cancer, and along with that fight continue to  do their best to say positive and be productive. I have even been fortunate to train clients  that have contacted me thru this Facebook page!

Looking back on 2011 I did see a common thread among all my clients. I saw weight go up and go down, but I rarely saw anyone fall down and not get back up. There were no quitters!  Don’t get me wrong. I may no longer be training someone but I am still their trainer. I still care. I’m still here for some motivation and at times, accountability.  But now they are doing it for themselves, by themselves.  Coming to the gym, coming to spin class, going for a daily run, and just plain working out and still letting me know with a smile, a text or email.

So hears to you 2011, time to say goodbye.  I look forward to a new year and the many new people who I will meet that will inspire me!

A happy and heathy new year to all!


Certified Personal Trainer

MotivateHopeStrength.com for information on personal training

E-mail Hope at hopenagy@hopenagy.com



Personal Training, inspiration and fitness.


for daily inspiration and motivation.




Friends from the Gym

6 11 2011

I always tell my daughters to get themselves a few, very good friends. The “good friends” will be there when you need them, in good times and in bad. We all have best friends, but some of us have other friends that we see several times a week. We don’t know where they live, don’t have their cell phone numbers, don’t work with them, and they don’t know what we look like without messy hair and without work out clothes on. They are called GYM FRIENDS. If you’ve been a member of a gym for several years and have stuck to the same schedule, chances are you have acquired some gym buddies. Go away for a week and when you come back they ask, “where have you been?”  Chances are you see these people more than you see your actual besties. They are the ones who notice that you’ve changed your hair color, got new sneakers, lost weight, give you a spot and notice you’ve gotten stronger …. and they are also the ones who sometimes notice when something is different about you… be it something good or something bad. I have worked long enough in a gym to spot someone who is newly pregnant, got fired, having an affair, had a boob job, is getting married or is getting a divorce.

Some  friends you meet in classes at the gym. They may save you a spot because they want to hear how your date went, if your kid got accepted to a college, how the new baby/puppy is, what chapter you’re up to in the book they recommended, etc. Sometimes it’s your gym friend who you share more intimate secrets with than your best friend. They know who you call “hot guy” “my gym boyfriend” or “skinny bitch” at the gym and who “sweaty man” is, etc.  They are less likely to judge you, criticize you, or lecture you. Sometimes if you’re lucky the  person moves up from being just a gym friend, and they become a real friend in your personal circle of friends. I have watched friendships form and been a part of the groups of gym friends who socialize outside of the smelly gym.  I have done races with gym friends, cookouts and holiday get togethers.  Some of the best times in my life were doing adventure races, runs and bike races with gym friends.  I have been fortunate to have met some terrific people at the gym who are are friends in my personal life as well.

A dear friend once told me that when a tragedy in your life hits you, you will find out who your “real” friends are.  Years ago when my wall came crumbling down I did everything in my life to hold it together while still going to work at the gym. But as much as I thought I was still projecting my tough girl facade, it was my gym friends and clients who saw otherwise. The weight-loss, and the always chatty Hope wasn’t blabbing away, and the banter I shared between members and gym friends, which usually included ribbing (sarcasm) just wasn’t happening. I wasn’t walking around saying things like “Hello Ladies”to a group of muscle heads standing around talking.  What amazed me is that these people, some whose names I didn’t even know, knew more about me from my appearance and demeanor than did my own parents. What amazed me even more was the kindness that came from clients, and my gym friends. I’m talking sincere kindness, from dropping off food, watching my kids, and even asking me if I needed any money. Crazy huh? Could it really be true that some of my gym friends were there for me more than my so-called “longest and dearest friends”? Sad to say the answer was yes.  I don’t discredit my “real friends” for not being there, I think that my gym friends see me more often and saw a Hope that my friends and sadly my own parents just weren’t seeing. I couldn’t hide behind a phone call and say “I’m fine.”  I wasn’t and it showed.

So if you belong to a gym you probably understand where I’m coming from. It doesn’t mean that I think you should go to the gym and chat away. You’re there to get a job done. But sometimes a gym friend provides  motivation to get you to the gym, keep you at the gym or work harder at the gym.  Could be a FB message about seeing you later at the club,  the girl you see everyday  working out harder than you, or the “hey dude can you give me spot?” When I’m working out I wear an invisible  sign that says “don’t talk to me!”, but a smile or a nod is sometimes all that is needed to just say hi. Compliments are thrown more at the gym by total strangers than sometimes are own families. The occasional you’ve lost weight, you’re looking ripped, your running has really improved are things I hear  members saying all the time.  I love to throw  compliments to people when I notice someone who is working their ass off,  especially if they are losing weight. I usually get back a thank you that silently says thanks for noticing. How can I not notice my friend, I see you everyday at 5:30am.

In the first  chapter of my life I often said I don’t need more friends I have enough, however my motto for chapter two is that you can never have enough friends, as they all have different roles in your life. Over 5 years ago when I thought I had a few good friends I soon realized that I have more than a few, and in a few different places. I might never know what they truly look like showered and dressed, but it doesn’t matter. To me I have been shown their most important muscle that is hidden ….their heart.

Now get to the gym and make a new friend.

I write this blog today to say thank you to many but especially to Trish Murnane who 7 years ago when she was in school to become a teacher and was working the front desk at the gym,  saw some lady who worked at the gym who she barely knew, with 2 small kids and said, “Hey, do you need any help with your kids?”  Going over and above in the helping with the kids and dog department, I shared with her my tears and yes, some of my biggest secrets than my besties will never know.  Once some chick who worked the front desk…now one of my dearest friends.  

P.S. I also met my BF (boyfriend/best friend at the gym). Never ever talked to me……cute story for another time.


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Hope Nagy Certified Personal Trainer

Hope Nagy Certified Personal Trainer

For Personal Training in the Philadelphia area

Visit motivatehopestrength.com

or e-mail Hope @motivatehopestrength.com


You’ve made a kid….not an excuse!

4 10 2011

Me 9 months pregnant at my baby shower_MG_2247_WHITE copy

Often as a personal trainer I get the all too familiar phone call in which the woman on the line starts by saying “I just had a baby and Iʼm looking to get in shape and lose weight.” Oh really? “How many months ago did you give birth?” The response is usually somewhere between 13-18 months. “So did I, 228 months ago.” I reply. Thatʼs 19 years ago if you do the math folks. Yep 19 years ago, I gained 59lbs of pregnancy weight, topping out at 184lbs, had a 9lb baby, and left the hospital in my stained maternity clothes weighing 1lb more than when I wobbled in. No, I wasnʼt holding the baby when I when I stepped onto the hospital scale, it wasn’t broken, and no one was being funny and stepping on the back.  Needless to say, I didnʼt leave the hospital in my loose-fit GAP jeans and cute t-shirt I had pre-packed months prior in my “ready for the hospital bag” that sat at the door.

Is there a cut off to the amount of months one can use as an excuse as to why they haven’t lost their baby weight? Is breast-feeding a reason, or an excuse for not exercising.  Plenty of information on this suggests that exercise isnʼt thought to have any adverse effects on breast milk.  But yet it will keep a woman from even moderately exercising until she stops breast-feeding.  There really are very few acceptable reasons for keeping a new mom, or any mom, from exercising.

Excuses usually range from people being too busy with their kids, work, lack of a babysitter, and lack of time. What if I told you that taking 1 hour a day for yourself is only 4% of the entire day? There are too many good benefits to be had by exercising, such as improving your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, strengthening abdominal muscles, increasing your energy level, relieving stress, and building stronger bones, not to mention preventing sickness and diseases.  When you became a mom you promised to take care of your child, but the other promise should have been to take care of yourself for that child.  Too many times we moms forget that the greatest gift you can give your child is a healthy you.  So the time to start if you haven’t already is today.  Not tomorrow because tomorrow is not a day of the week.

Getting Started

Set a goal.  Not a giant one.  One that is achievable.  Like this week “I will exercise two times.” Each week set a new goal.  Often goals are a set up for failure because they are too big and unattainable at the beginning.  Baby steps see bigger leaps.  Choose an exercise you will enjoy. Walking, jogging, dancing, or join a gym where you can either use the machines, take a class or hire a personal trainer.  Find a friend and swap baby watching while you each exercise or a gym that has childcare.

Motivation is the key so find something that motivates you.  Write it down. Make an appointment with yourself.  Canʼt leave the house?  Get some light weights and an exercise DVD.  The babies nap and the dishes and laundry can wait.  Got to go to work? Get up an hour earlier. No one ever says that they regretted exercising when itʼs over. Just ask all the crazy people at the gym at 5am I see each morning.

Whether your child is 1 month old, or 228 months old, it is never too late to start an exercise program, and itʼs never too late to change your diet.  By the way, my mother told me I would never lose that baby weight 19 years ago.  So I proved her wrong.  Go ahead be selfish take that 4%.  You deserve it, and get started today.  Youʼll feel great, look great, and be a great mom too.  You Made a Kid….Not an Excuse!

This WAS me while I was pregnant!

This is me and my 228 month old daughter now.

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Contact Hope at: hopenagy@hopenagy.com



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