Uncle Buck Can Help

Recently, I’ve been learning more and more about vegetarianism and vegan-ism. (Don’t close. I am not trying to convert you, I promise.)

In my first attempt to take advantage of the health benefits, I moved all of my family’s meals to meat/dairy-free items AND nutrient rich foods only. (Oreos and Coca-Cola are vegan, they did not make the cut.) The first week was a colossal fail – stressful, annoying and even I was left hungry and dissatisfied. The kids were crabby and my husband was not on board.

Then, I had a revelation, I had set myself up for failure.

Here’s how.

I had not:
• invested time in resources (great recipes and menus),
• discussed the pending change with my constituents (munchkins and finicky husband),
• allowed a proper time line for the transition (long term diet changes can not happen in one fell swoop)

Uncle Buck is a well-loved 1989 comedy starring John Candy. In it, he discussed his five year plan to quit smoking. Ridiculous and funny, I of course have spun it to serve me and hopefully you, my beautiful reader.

As I have repeatedly joked with clients, “I am now on the ‘Uncle Buck Plan’ to vegan-ism.” Every week and every month I am snagging new recipes, clever solutions and continually educating my family, paving the way for an easier, seamless transition – even if it takes five years!

My hope is that you learn from Uncle Buck, too. Whatever your goal for healthy living, maybe your timeline could be altered, resources bolstered and talks with those you love help with your success.

I’m rooting for you!

You’re Missing It


BlakelyFITClimberA client and I were catching up after a session. She is by all accounts exceedingly successful professionally, incredibly likable and a joy to have in Strength In Numbers. She repeated the advice she gives her mentees. “The key to success is to work really, really hard. And, then, keep working hard.”

I have two things to say about that.

1. She’s right.

2. “Really, really hard” does not necessarily mean being married to the same plan forever.

Let me explain.

In terms of healthy living, some grab onto one idea with a vengence (e.g. a non-runner training to run a marathon, an extreme diet plan for 30 days, or a 6 workout per week schedule after being sedentary) and not let go until something breaks (schedule, body, will power.) It is true that all of those things are hard. But, that is not the kind of really, really hard work that necessarily pays off when we are talking about healthy living success. The really, really hard work are things like adapting moderate daily habits, acknowledging where you might be kidding yourself and taking the time to define success for yourself.

That kind of work is tough, “really, really hard” even. But, in the game of healthy living success, totally worth it.

Want more inspiration on grit? Watch this…https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit

Dirty Little Secret

Shhh ImageThere is something my industry is generally ignoring. And it is unfortunately, to your detriment. First, let’s acknowledge what we aren’t missing?


You can throw a rock in any direction and hit a trainer, gym or studio, new workout idea, piece of equipment, app, or recipe, new suggestion for how to cut calories or how to burn them. Membership options, fitness cultures, gym reinventions, experts and how to live healthfully research abounds.

What is missing you ask? What is the secret that I have witnessed in ALL of my successful clients? Well, it’s not me, it’s not a gadget, it’s not a diet or workout trick (although the quality of your information matters), it’s something inside the client. It’s the most important thing they have in their possession.
You have it too.

It’s your attitude.

So, I am aware there are some colossal eye rolls happening by a significant portion of my beautiful readers right now. Don’t hurt yourself. Bear with me.

Let’s think it through. Do you really believe you can succeed in living healthfully? Do you really want to be healthy? Do you feel you deserve a healthy, happy body? Because here’s the thing, if you don’t feel it and believe it – that giant brain of yours will find a way to sabotage. Your attitude and belief are your greatest asset and your greatest adversary. I have seen it, year in and year out. It is painful to bear witness but I’d like to save you that struggle and suggest you take a minute to evaluate your own attitude.

Too few, in my opinion are discussing the secret to success I have had the honor of witnessing for 13 years. Your attitude is more important than any app, trend or trainer. So, grab that power and ride it to a successful journey that ends with you in a happier, healthier, fitter place.

You can do this. I’m rooting for you.

#attitude #secret #attitude is everything #strength #women #success

W.I.S.E. Success!

Michelle's 1st 39th - trimming hedges

I was a big fan of the show Dirty Jobs for a while. Have you seen it? Personally, I had a bit of a crush on the host, Mike Rowe. Anyway, one episode was all military. They illustrated how a few soldiers leveraged winches and pulleys to pull a multi-ton military vehicle out from being stuck in the sand. The winches and pulleys were their mechanical advantage. The winches and pulleys provided leverage in a seemingly impossible situation.  

That’s how I see exercise. I firmly believe, exercise can be your mechanical advantage. With all that you have to accomplish, exercise will give you leverage…

It was an honor to be a part of the Industrial Supply Association’s, Women Industrial Supply Executive’s Summit this week in Tempe, Arizona. An incredible group of women and outstanding fellow panelists / committee members made it an exceptional event. One of my favorite exerts from the talk above…  detailed follow up coming soon.

Hold Your Horses


Books, experts, programs… who hasn’t looked into one of these to live more healthfully? It is an investment of our precious time and energy. And often, the search leaves us unfulfilled:

  • an expert that didn’t deliver,
  • a diet that wasn’t practical or
  • a book touting complicated solutions.

Before you get too frustrated: hold your horses.

I’d argue that every effort in the right direction is a step in the right direction. Take a moment and re-examine what you did learn from those “failures.” Maybe there was a great snack idea, maybe you learned how to gauge your cardio exertion, maybe there was an insight that changed your perspective, maybe you acquired a contact that can get you to the right contact. Many of us are skilled at applying “learning process” model to our careers but often we neglect to give that same understanding to healthful living.

So, the next time you are tempted to “chalk that one up to a failure,” hold your horses and appreciate the very positive nature of your efforts. Every step counts.

Email to learn more about training with Blakely FIT.

Strength Training Exclusively for Women
Chicago, IL

Who’s in Charge, Here?

WARNING: This one might sting a bit.

In your aspirations to live healthfully, painlessly or attractively, who’s in charge? Do you behave as though something else dictates your success? The tough truth is: you are responsible for the trajectory of your health/fitness/weight/etc. I am aware that may be an unwelcome reminder and I am also aware that I have probably lost some of you at this point.


The habit of blaming things beyond ourselves for our current position: why we have gained weight, don’t exercise or hate to look at our closet because nothing fits well, is understandable. There are always variables moving in and out of our lives, sometimes harsh and sometimes overwhelming. We can not chose the hand life deals us. But, until we accept that at every turn we are always responsible for how we proceed, success will be elusive.

I share this with you because, as usual, my clients have inspired me. They always do. In some ways it’s hard to be fit and healthy. However, the clients succeeding the fastest are those that quickly move beyond the blame game. Blame is irrelevant. Blame doesn’t fix. Blame offers a fake explanation but never a solution. And, that is the lesson. Healthy living is impossible with out a sense of volition. So, let blame go. Choose to put your energy into problem solving, implementing new habits and enlisting help to find solutions.

Wasting days or months or years ignoring the power you have to improve your life is discouraging. Next time your are tempted to blame, pose the question “Who’s in charge, here?” The truthful (and ultimately, delightful) answer is: you are. Hurdles appear in all of our paths: “The meeting time changed conflicting with my workout.” “The gym was too crowded.” “I’m not a morning person.” “I have bad genes.” “My husband didn’t pay the Comcast bill on principle so our internet is out and I can’t watch House of Cards during cardio like I wanted!” (OK, so maybe all my inspiration isn’t from clients.)

In the end, isn’t the goal to be successful? fit? healthy and happy with the skin we’re in?

Embrace that you are in charge of making your life healthier. Kick blame to the curb.

Email today to get started: train@blakelyfit.com

Strength Training Exclusively for Women, Chicago, IL

You Might Have It All Wrong…

TortoiseI’d like you to question if you have a fear of success. I’d like you to consider if you are afraid of achieving and arriving at a healthier state. Maybe your fear involves maintaining that lifestyle once you’ve arrived? I wonder if you mistakenly believe that said journey is a lot of work.

Because the truth is, it’s not.

The actual work of living healthfully is not hard. If you believe differently, maybe the problem is not your work ethic but your understanding of the path to success. I am rightly concerned that too many people out there believe that they have to turn their whole lives upside down to improve their health. For most of us, that is untrue. Because here is the secret so many of us keep missing: it is simple, habitual behavior that delivers, selected carefully and implemented consistently. It is not sexy. It does not grab headlines. And it is not great cocktail party chatter. (I should know.) But it works. It delivers. And it pays dividends.

So as New Year’s resolutions begin to enter your mind, I most sincerely ask you to consider the small, daily, habitual habits as your secret to success. Because after ten years of Blakely Fit, witnessing success and failure time and again. My money will always be with the slow and steady, unsexy, hard-shelled tortoise at the finish line, not the hare.

Support through Success and Struggles

I just finished Sheryl Sanberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. It exposed me to my new favorite quote by Madeleine Albright: 
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

I hope you receive the help you deserve this week and help others that need your assistance. Healthy living is work. We must support ourselves and each other through both our successes and failures. We can absolutely create a healthier life for ourselves and our communities, supporting each other is an essential part of the process. Reach out anytime if there is a way Blakely Fit can help you. train@blakelyfit.com

Secret to Success

Being healthier will present challenges. It may force you to think about and analyze experiences and decisions easier ignored. You must tackle the tough stuff in order to be successful. It is simple, but not easy:

“Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.”

360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell

The Truth Will Set You Free…

Michelle Blakely Headshot

How do you mislead yourself?  How do you think, talk or behave in untruthful ways regarding your health habits?

Maybe you don’t complete cardio for the full 30 minutes, maybe you don’t eat the same way in front of others as you do alone, maybe you ignore what your body is telling you when an injury recurs because it’s better to be tough than care for the problem, maybe you have a gym membership with automated withdrawals that you haven’t used in over 6 months, maybe you are a size 14 but hold onto your size 8 clothing, maybe you say negative things to yourself about your body when the truth is your body does an incredibly effective job and generally looks quite nice.

Did something immediately pop into your head? When we strive to be healthier, slimmer, or more athletic we only stand in our way when we avoid the present truth. The fact is – if you don’t REALLY know where you are you can’t get where want to be.

This is not a guilt ridden suggestion. Having been privy to hundreds of individuals’ stories and struggles with weight loss, food and fitness programs, I want to help you see your habits clearly. When you truly see where you are you will know HOW to get where you’d like to be. Clearly seeing where we omit, exaggerate or (most popular) ignore healthy or unhealthy habits is an incredibly liberating experience. You will find room to celebrate how well you are doing in some areas and a clear perspective on the habits that are standing directly in your way.

How does one get honest about the big healthy habits?

Hire an expert or write it down. I inadvertently did both – and even as a fitness professional for almost ten years with plenty of great healthy habits – I had a moment that wasn’t pretty. About a year ago, while seeing a chiropractor, I was asked to keep a food log. No problem I thought, I have clients do this all the time – had the form already in my files and was almost proud to share my diet. In the prior two years, although good to begin with, I had revamped our household’s cooking and eating patterns. We had fruits and veggies coming out our ears, variety on the plate, seasonal foods incorporated, lean meats and fiber gracing every dinner and occasional indulgences to keep the balance. So, I was shocked and a bit more than embarrassed to see that in one day I had consumed four cans of Orange Fanta. Yes, FOUR. I might as well have been injecting high fructose corn syrup and Yellow Number Three. I’m not oblivious. I know the importance of diet much more than most but, even an as an expert in the field, I had slowly developed a bad habit.

How do you develop a bad habit?

Take a look at the first habit that popped into your head. Usually, rationalizing and no self monitor facilitate untruthfulness. In terms of my experience, when I quietly noticed that the pop seemed to be


gone rather quickly, I thought: “someone else must be drinking it too” (nope – hubby, babysitter and toddler are not to blame) or “it was OK because I had such an active job” (ignores the detrimental effect on my teeth, bones or organs), or “it wasn’t really that much because I have no other vices or indulgences” (that’s akin to: “I don’t have to change the oil in the car because I always rotate the tires.”) I share this with you to remind you that it happens to all of us and to offer my support and encouragement.

What you can do

I invite you to take a look at your habits – see where you really are and you will absolutely be better suited to get where you want to be. Do you remember the thought that popped into your head at the start of the article? I suggest this is your starting point. Keep a log for one week; whether it’s exercise, taking your medicine, negative chatter about your body or what you are eating. Follow the steps below:

  • Focus on your immediate thought to “How do you mislead yourself?”
  • Write down that habit/thought pattern honestly for one week
  • Take look once the week is up
  • Decide how you could best help yourself (remove the candy jar from your desk and buy yourself fruit for break time, complete your cardio during your favorite show, see a physician regarding that injury and really follow their advice, donate the “skinny clothes” to a charity, replace the urge for negative chatter with thoughts about the assets your body has)
  • Implement and record the new healthier habit and/or enlist the help of a professional
  • Celebrate your new, heathier habits

Give yourself that sense of perspective and accountability. My sincere hope is that you find success by being willing to take an honest look because even in healthy habits, the truth will set you free.

Strength Training Exclusively for Women, Chicago, IL