Turino Fitness

Because it's all connected.


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Dancing with the Devil

There’s this amazing woman and great writer – her name is Wendy and her blog is called Athletic Monkey.  Check her out. She wrote this incredible post that just made me well up.  It’s called The Bucket List. Thanks Wendy for sharing your story, inspiring others, and giving me the courage to write my story. Lately, I’ve had the devil scratching at the door a little more loudly because…you know…I’m older, do NOT have a perfect body, and am teaching fitness classes to people who may (or may not) look at me closely and may (or may not) judge what they see. It’s hard to keep the voices from screaming and taking over…so…here we go.  My dance with the devil:

My whole life I didn’t have to think about weight – I was tall and naturally thin.  And yet it was always swirling around me.  “You’re so thin!”  My tongue-in-cheek mom, “Skinny bitch.”  So, though I didn’t have to ‘think’ about it, I was always dealing with people’s perceptions of my weight.  My mom, like so many women, struggled with her weight, self-image, and would try various diets and exercise.  But our family life was (understatement here) challenging and she and I would self soothe over some potato chips – sour cream and onion for her….barbecue for me.  (More on that later…)

Around the time I was 40, I put on some weight…what?  Now, all of the messages that I’d received clearly about how important it was to be thin started banging loudly like a gong.  Must.lose.weight.  Now you add to that that I had just had kids and felt all the weird pressure that new moms feel to ‘get back into your pre-baby pants’ and you have a person whooooooo signs up for a marathon while pregnant with her youngest daughter for 18 months later. (insert headshake here…)

But the bite wasn’t venomous yet.

The poison came when I got my fitness certification.  “Well, I have to be super fit and lean or people won’t take me seriously or want to work with me.”  Combine training for a half Ironman with some very.clean.eating and you have a very thin Sarah.  I wasn’t ‘trying’ per se.  But the day I went to get some new jeans and was a size 4 or size 6 … and I’m 5’ 9 ½”  mmmm perhaps I’d lost some weight.

I WAS DELIGHTED.  Look at me.  Look how fit I am.  Look how thin I am.  Yessssss.  Everyone, “You look GREAT!”  “You are SO thin!”  “You look AH-MAZING!”

But it was at the expense of something really important…balance and my mental health.  I wouldn’t let anything pass my lips that was contraindicated.  I wouldn’t drink any alcohol during the week.  I exercised all the time.  I’d slipped off the edge of wellness.

Fall came.  My events were done.  I fell into a funk…nee depression.  I started comfort eating.  I started self-loathing.  I started feeling like a loser because I couldn’t control myself or my urges.  I drank wine and ate bag after bag of barbecue potato chips in front of the television set.

I was a TRAINER what was WRONG WITH ME?  What a LOOOOOSER.

I gained back the weight.  All of it.  And maybe then some.

I looked up in the spring and was freaked out.  It was shorts weather!  I was going to be teaching people soon.  I HAD TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!!

It was around this time that I realized that I was dipping my toe into something dangerous…something powerfully addictive…something that felt sticky and gross.

I read a book that changed my whole self – inside and out.  It was called “Women, Food & God” by Geneen Roth.  From that moment forward, I tried really hard to slay my dragons.  I try every day, to be in touch with myself and eat accordingly and give myself what I need.  I also try to model listening to my body for my girls.  Because if you tune in, it tells you when you’re hungry and when you’re full.  If you listen, you can tell when you are calling out for comfort…instead of potato chips.

But it’s hard work.  And as a 46 year old mom of two young girls, it is a worthy battle for me and for them.  And I will stand up for my beautiful self in the face of all of the bullshit society and marketers shovel every.damn.day.  Because I’m worthy.  My health (mental and physical) and wellness are worth it.  And that wellness is about being ABLE TO MOVE.  It’s about BEING DURABLE.  It’s about feeling STRONG AND ABLE.  It’s not about the size of my damn pants.

Peace.  Sarah


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Relaxing – A Tool for Wellness

I’ve been observing my kids as they have been at home on summer break.  They are either lounging and reading…or swimming and playing.  There’s not a lot of in between.  But when I look at them in play, even then they are relaxed.  They’re kind of relaxed all of the time.

And it got me thinking…why don’t we look at relaxation as an important, necessary part of the wellness pie?

Cuz it is.

I could go all adrenal fatigue and scientific effects of stress on you…but nah.  Instead.  I’m going to invite you to explore relaxation and how it FEELS IN YOUR BODY.  And I don’t necessarily mean lolling in front of the television all of the time (though it is an utterly lovely thing to do from time to time) but instead feel how it feels to be in the state of feeling relaxed.  The state of being at ease.

When do you feel calm?  When do you feel centered?  When do you feel at ease?  What are you doing when you feel this way?

How does your body feel when you are in this space?  Calm, easy breathing.  Relaxed body and face.  Mind calm, not racing.  Stomach unclenched.

This feeling of ease can be, with practice, brought into other areas of your life.  Even in rush hour.  Even in a stressful meeting.  Even during conflict.

Really.  It’s true.

  • Notice the feeling.
  • Explore what can bring that feeling into other parts of your day. Is it simply noticing or do you need a few deep breaths?  Do you need to stretch and move?  Do you need to close your eyes and rest for a minute?
  • Approach stress and stressful situations with the position of observer. Treat them with your highest intention, but don’t get too caught up in the swirling emotions.  This is a practice.  Be gentle with yourself.  See if you can notice when you start getting amped up, and then after noticing – see if you can bring yourself to a calm center.  It’s an interesting exploration.

Invite relaxation into your play AND work.  Invite a life of ease.  Invite calm.  See how it goes.

So much peace, Sarah


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God is in the Body.

Last month, my priest LeeAnne asked me to preach at church.  This has, in the past, been a very stressful ask for me – standing in front of people and exposing your most vulnerable insides is really scary.  But this time, she asked me if I would preach about what I do.  What I care about.  What my work is all about.  When do we ever get an opportunity to preach our passion?  To share what we believe to be true with people you care about?  So…here you go.  If you’d rather listen to it, you can click here.  

God is in the BodySt. Mary’s Episcopal Church

The title of today’s sermon is from a bit of today’s Gospel from John – “Joy Made Complete in Themselves”

It’s Easter season still and it’s a wonderful time –SPRING- to take look at Easter in a new way.  How can we bring this story into our own lives?  Instead of looking at the death and resurrection of Jesus…let’s look at our own beautiful selves, our own beautiful bodies…LIVING in our own beautiful bodies.  Resurrecting our connection with this magnificent gift that we have been given.

I start today with a quote from Barbara Brown Taylor – An Altar in the World: ‘The Practice of Wearing Skin, “I’m not sure when Christian tradition lost confidence in the body, but I have some guesses.  Although Jesus was a Jew, many of his earliest interpreters were Greeks, who divided body and soul in ways that he did not.  Descartes did not help matters by opposing nature and reason in his philosophy.  Then along came the Protestant Reformation, with its deep suspicion of physical pleasure, followed by Freud’s dark insights into human sexuality.  Add to that the modern scientific reduction of the body to biological matter, overlaid by Victoria’s Secret ads, and it is small wonder that so many of us are uncomfortable in our flesh.  Yet here we sit, with our souls tucked away in this marvelous luggage, mostly insensible to the ways in which every spiritual practice begins with the body.  Where Christians are concerned, this leaves us in the peculiar position of being followers of the Word Made Flesh who neglect our own flesh or – worse – who treat our bodies with shame and scorn.”

I also read something from yogi Donna Farhi’s book, “The Breathing Book” and she said, “Many of us feel ourselves disconnected from our bodies, often having no more familiarity with the physical frame that carries us than with a remote distant cousin.”

How do you feel about your body?

How do you feel in your body?

Do you wish it were different?

Do you pay any attention to it?

Or do you feel like it is a remote distant cousin?

The body – your body – is always speaking to you.  It tells you the obvious things like, “I have to pee” to “My neck is sore from sleeping funny.”  It tells you when you’re hungry and when you have an itch.

But it also, if you pay closer attention, speaks your feelings to you physically.  Tension from stress.  Hot and sweaty from anger – or passion.  Exhausted from sadness or depression.  Shining from joy and laughter.

The body is a miracle.  It is your miracle.  Every day your body steadfastly does a zillion functions without you having to think about it.  Breathing.  Digesting.  Hormone balancing.  Moving.  Seeing.  Thinking.  Sensing.

It’s a miraculous thing this body.  Tell me, why do you think it is that we ignore this gift?  Why do we not inhabit our bodies?  Why do we disconnect from this miracle, feeling thing? Continue reading