What does fitness really look like?

A colleague of mine recently shared an article she wrote entitled, Fitness isn’t Image. It really got me thinking about the daily struggle of convincing women that strength is not about “bulky muscles” and “slim waistlines.” Inevitably when speaking with women I have heard phrases such as: “I don’t like to lift heavy weights because I don’t want big muscles.” Or: “Lifting weights isn’t my goal, I need to lose weight, so I need to do more cardio.”

Y’all, seriously…

Let’s back up a minute and redefine some of this nonsense. First, diet plays an IMPORTANT role in your body composition, which typically is what yields an effect on appearance. Second, building muscle facilitates weight loss more efficiently. Because no one wants to rapidly lose weight and end up with the jiggles, right? Although, a little wiggle in your juggle is COMPLETELY NORMAL.

Yup, I went there. Fat is normal. You need it for that beautiful brain of yours to function. You need it to maintain a normal hormonal cycle. Fat is good. However, ‘everything in moderation’ is a great motto to hold to for literally everything in life.


Fitness is NOT about image. It is about capability. To be fit, you must embrace being strong and stable and mobile. That will come in many different sizes and shapes. There is no one size fits all. We are humans and we are meant to move. If you cannot move effectively and efficiently in your day to day life…that is the problem. Love your body, ladies, help it become as capable as it can be.


Jessica Groves-Chapman

~ Superwoman-in-training


Test YOUR Strength

I am not one, usually, for acknowledging my own accomplishments, but that is one beautiful back bend. From this shot you would think it was easy, effortless even.

You couldn’t be more wrong.

This pose is just a snapshot of a journey in mobility, flexibility, stability, and strength. More importantly, it is about learning to believe in myself again.


When I was young I was in gymnastics. I progressed quickly because I was strong and young and excited to learn. Back walkovers, a back bend that you kick over into standing position, became one of my favorite movements. It made me feel strong, and who doesn’t enjoy flipping over? I loved the butterflies I would get as I arched backwards from a standing position, as your brain tries to prevent you from falling by telling you it’s a bad idea to do this. You shush your silly head and do it anyway, and voila, there you stand. Next to cartwheels and monkey bars, it was a favorite childhood past time.

As I aged it became a little more about seeing if I still had it.

Then I became pregnant. After my first munchkin, I was terrified to try again. Would my body even allow it? It took months and months to get past my fear and discomfort, but I made it. Then kiddo number 2 came along. I gained much more weight with my second child. I also endured some rough pubic symphysis and hip discomfort that had me in PT weekly towards the end of that pregnancy, and even some postpartum. I didn’t even think about a back bend, or anything really. I was frustrated with my body and these new aches and pains. These weaknesses.

Yet while they were indications of weakness, they were not issues that could not be addressed. I needed to build strength in my inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings again… basically my entire leg complex. I needed to regain flexibility in my spine and hips. I needed to believe in my body. I had just grown a human being and brought her into the world in all her perfection, and all I saw was my body’s weakness. What it lacked. How it was failing me. I see this quite often in mothers. How quickly we forget all that our body can and DID do when growing a human! Of course, healing and regaining strength takes time. It should. It should take a lot of time. I do not know where it is that we lose the ability to appreciate the strengths we already have, or why we quickly forget the amazing feats we have already accomplished. All I know is that it is time to change that. It is time to stop believing that we are not as capable as that little girl and her back walkovers. You are only as strong as you allow yourself to believe.

Strength is not solely based upon force production by muscles. To be truly strong you must be mobile, flexible, and stable both physically and mentally.

Are you ready to test YOUR strength?

Jessica Groves-Chapman

~ Superwoman-in-training

You are just a step away from the best of your life!

It is easy to be intimidated by the responsibility of a better tomorrow. You haven’t been there yet, but you know that much more will be required of you. You haven’t seen it yet, but there’s a longing in your heart that seeks that promise, that hope that things will not always be the way they are now.
It is easy to find comfort in the ditch of today’s and yesterday’s, not because you are satisfied with where you are but because of the fear that growth will bring more pain, more labor and more than you can possibly give.
Now, let me stop right here, before I completely put you off from reaching higher.
Don’t worry about having the ability to “make it” when you embark on this vulnerable and often, lonely, journey. It is but a journey, consisting of many smaller journeys and destinations, and eventually it will bring you somewhere you always wanted to be.
There is a little secret, all journeys consist of steps. Small steps. A step at a time. With each step you will stretch enough, grow enough, to accommodate that step.  Don’t be overwhelmed by looking at an expansion of time that consists of one hundred steps, just look at one.
Simple. Easy. Just one.
What can you do today to bring you closer to your destination?
What can you do tomorrow?
Each day, focus on that one step at a time. Once you learn how to walk, perhaps then you can run!
We don’t expect babies to be talking and walking at the ability of an adult. You shouldn’t expect the same.
Now, when you start walking, you will be super tempted to start comparing yourself to others moving along a similar journey. Stop right there. If that type of comparison doesn’t inspire you or provides mentorship, don’t go down that draining route.
I want you to know that everyone you see has struggled to be consistent with that each one step. Everyone had to put in the work. Perhaps now they are running but you aren’t…yet. And that’s OK. Everyone has their own pace, too.
No one is more special than anyone else. We all start off the same. We have to make a choice to stay put or move forward. Everyone has that choice, no matter the background. Let’s not play the victim here, because you aren’t one. You are a victorious creation of God. Now play that part.
So today, write out your vision for your life. Don’t panic, it may change! You aren’t going to be married to that vision forever. Take that as your first step.
What is it that you want? Answer that question to clarify what you are aiming for.
Why do you want it? Answer this one and find your motivator. Whip it out whenever  you start feeling sluggish.
The rest of the questions and answers will follow soon enough, but figure these two out at the onset of your journey.
Throw a party if you want to, get a few people to join you in creating a vision board, plan, etc. The more the merrier. Create an accountability group where you can fuel each other’s passion. But you must recognize that ultimately, the future is in your hands only.
How you make that first move is up to you. How you respond to a countermove is up to you, too. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Do take that first step. You never know what will be behind that door. You may well be pleasantly surprised.
Take the words failure and quit out of your dictionary. Those words are useless. They truly bring no use to life. So if you aren’t using them, start losing them.
Once you take that first step, learn to enjoy the journey! Learn to thrive and grow and keep moving forward. You’ve got this. You’ve got what it takes.

Don’t regret not taking that step. That step may cost you not only the rest of your life, but also the best of your life.

Retreat is not an option.

Nor is defeat.

To Every Man; Be her HERO

I’ve thought a bit about the topic I am going to embark on writing, deliberating whether to write or not, will it be misconstrued as a rant or projected to a higher level and understood as the epistle from the heart that aspires to create change. 

I’ve looked around and found a gaping hole, a wound of silence, particularly as it reverberated through our households, destroyed communities and lacerated the most weak, our children. 

I cannot sit back and say nothing, otherwise I am right alongside the perpetrators, allowing them to have the freedom to proliferate their terrible deeds and twisted strategies. 

Ok, I started off strong and harsh. You must be thinking, get to the point. Well, the point was to get your attention, so I’ve got you there!

You will understand soon enough what I mean. 

It is a given that in most communities, cultures and countries, men are the head of the households. They are supposed to look after the well being of their families on every level, material, emotional and spiritual. They are supposed to be at the front lines heading off attacks and setting captives free. Warriors. Liberators. 

Looking around, and perhaps it is only my experience, but I would say that more women than men tend to care about the events transpiring around them and actually trying to do something. Women try so hard to uphold the role of men, the cultural leadership gap that they are leaving behind. 

And yet, as the weaker sex we try and try but it doesn’t seem to catch on so much with the men. 

For example, lets talk about sexual trafficking. I am so fed up with this topic. It pains me and makes me so mad. I want to save all those girls (and boys!) from lives they were never meant to have. I am not going to blame the men, all men for this woeful phenomena, this degrading exploitation. I won’t. But what I want to start talking about is this: Why is it that at every presentation we tend to only discuss getting ladies out of their predicament, which is almost impossible. We know the sad statistics that most don’t ever get out or if they do, they tend to go back to the life they know. Why are we not talking about the preventative measures? 

Before you start getting upset, I do know indeed that in a whole lot of places around the world, the women themselves groom the girls for this life. They may even sell their children and consider that normal and expected. 

But if the men are indeed the stronger sex, the ones that meant to be heads of something, why are they not heading this movement towards preventing these atrocities? Come on, Ashton Kutcher cannot do this alone. He needs, you, everyday Joe. 

Ok, you got me, princess. What am I meant to do? It is flipping simple, really. Raise good men. 
You are an example to the young men and children around you. They will imitate you because for the little ones you are their hero. So be the true hero, indeed. 

Love your wife. Love your children. Teach your little sons to look after their little sisters and other little girls. Tell them to protect the ladies and always have their back. Show the boys that the ladies around you are not property or only seen as sexual objects but as wonderful, effervescent creations of God that must be treated kindly, with respect and humility. Adoration. Teach them the value of love and compassion. All the very strong values that will truly make a man a MAN. 

Don’t get it twisted that your sentimental outpouring will make you less manly. I’ve not found anything sexier than a kind man. Nothing manlier than a compassionate man. 

That’s the kind of man I always want to have around. 

Be the HERO to HER. That’s what it’s all about. Share this message! 

Where are you hiding brave men? Our little girls and women are crying out for change, for hope, for a savior. And yes, they do need Jesus, but why can’t you be His hands here on Earth? 

There needs to be a move of strong men, brave men, HEROES. This may not be you, but your sons could be! Teach them while they are young and they will not stray from that path. I am desperate to see a preventative strategy in this worldwide problem and not just a band aid, with our sorry boohoos. 

Maya playing with a little boy at the park. It was his car and he was kindly sharing! 

If you feel like you want to give back in some way, please visit https://maternalmovement.com/nonprofits-we-love/.

Have a look at the stories of Rebekah Griffin. She’s dedicated years of her life to fighting the good fight, saving the ladies from the lives and lies of sexual trafficking. 

Every little bit counts. Every little word counts. 
Keep spreading the word and you will be My HERO.

Just Listen to Your Body

I’ve known this before but I’ve really internalized this concept only in the last few days. My body talks.

It really does.

A couple of weeks ago, I’ve set out to do my usual HIIT exercises, which work tremendously, by the way. As I was about to whip them out, my body rebelled.

Something that I tend to enjoy so much became so very violently unpleasant to me.

All out of the blue, my body simply screamed, STOP!

I stood there, knowing I couldn’t start.

It was a sudden surprise to me.

After a few minutes, I decided to go along with this temperamental state and asked myself, what would I prefer to do instead? I could hear my inner self telling me that what I truly needed at that moment was a session on the elliptical with my most favorite music.

I haven’t been on the elliptical for many months.

That week, most of my sessions ended up being on the elliptical, my music full blast.

The next week, I started to get the sense that my body was trying to tell me something else.  So I quieted myself and listened.

It quietly told me that it would be very happy with a few yoga sessions.

So I did just that.

And then I started mixing them up.

And here I am. I still no longer have any desire to go back to HIIT, but I have a sense that soon I will be adding something else to my repertoire.

What have I learned? That my body needs a break and variety? Yes, that’s true.

But there’s a much bigger picture here that is hiding behind the veil.

There’s a much deeper mystery within this quite typical story.

I decided to examine my weeks and began to notice a very specific correlation between my mental state and the preferred method of exercise.

So what happened? What happened was this, the day when out of the blue, I could no longer bring myself to perform my favorite exercises, my mind and emotions were so exhausted and so spent that I had no energy left that I could pour out from within.  I no could no longer go all out, nor focus on the steps to be taken. I had a lack within my spirit, soul and body.

Why was I attracted to the elliptical? Because in doing a repetitive task, I didn’t have to think. I could just be. Why did I want my favorite music? Simply because it made me happy.My lack needed to be filled, in this case, exhaustion of the mind and emotion needed to be taken care of. My mind could relax and my emotions could become stimulated to ring out a higher frequency which would bring me out of the doldrums.

After a week or so of this particular treatment, I was finally able to do yoga.

I couldn’t do it before because I was so unprepared to be left with my thoughts, I didn’t want to face them.

During the turbulent, emotional time, the elliptical served its purpose, held me through as I rebuilt myself.

As I became stronger, and mentally fit, I began to crave yoga. I was no longer scared of my thoughts. I actually craved the slowing down and settling into a challenging pose.

I was able to work through my emotions.

Our bodies are so incredible!

They are a wonderful portrayal of what is happening on the inside. They channel the inner being.IMG_4355

I’ve written before how I’ve lost weight simply because I started seeing myself differently and going after my dreams. An inner weight was lifted, which resulted in a clear, physical manifestation.

Listen to your body. Go with it, not against it. It has a wisdom of the ages, an imprint of God.

I am so glad that I did what I did.

My physical expression and the proper response to my body’s needs accelerated the healing of my inner self.

If I rebelled, I don’t think I would be in this space of contentment.

Your body is your friend. It is not the enemy. It loves you. It wants to help you heal, to experience life on an optimum level.

Learn to get along. Treat yourself kindly.

IMG_4345Love your body.  And if you cannot do that just yet, learn to respect what it has done for you already.


~~~ By Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence, a visionary with a mission