Caution….. baby in progress….

One of the first things that i thought upon finding out i was pregnant was ‘wheres the bubble wrap!’  Why?

Because after two losses in the last year I am so anxious and excited about making this work.  I know that 9 months of bed rest is unrealistic and incredibly unhealthy.  I also know that continuing to workout and lift the way I have been is also unrealistic.

Stress is directly linked to miscarriages and with the amount of stress I have on a day to day basis being a wife, step mom in a crazy arrangement, business owner, non-profit owner already…… working out is one more stressor that gets layered in. Our bodies don’t know the difference between good stress (working out) and bad stress (paying bills) so it reacts the same way.

So I have actively made the choice to back off in the gym because having a child in 9 months is more important than risking another miscarriage for a max deadlift today.  It is not the choice for everyone, but for me, and knowing my history, its the best choice for me.  Sacrifice today to benefit later.


Why we didn’t wait to tell

My husband and I found out a week ago that we were expecting……. and with that came a HUGE bag of emotions, the biggest one being excitement.

Over the last year my husband and I have lost two pregnancies, one at 22 weeks and one at 7 weeks.  With both we waited until it was socially safe to talk about it.  Both ended in the same way…….. without a baby. With both the only thing that got me through was with the support of our loved ones keeping our pieces together.  

It’s an insanely crazy situation that pregnant women and couples get put into.  Be super excited your expecting…..but be afraid somethings going to go wrong….. keep it secret so others don’t have to feel your pain or loss.

The craziest part…… 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage for a wide variety of reasons.  Can you imagine how many women that leaves carrying this burden of disappointment alone or with a small few?  All because society said ‘wait until its safe to talk’

I say FUCK THAT!  I want to talk openly about pregnancy and with that all the risks, excitements, joys, fears and anxieties that come with it.  And you know what could happen…… we could lose this pregnancy….. and I’ll talk about that too!


There is NOTHING to prove and NOTHING to protect

After sharing my ‘messy marriage’ blog I had a very eye opening conversation with someone that is very familiar with the situation I am in.  Both from being a lawyer that advocates for children, but also knows both biological parents from way back when.

They gave me a new perspective on my need to seek out validation for all that I do for my daughter (technically step-daughter but we’ll NEVER use that term).  It is often difficult being a step parent in that you do ALL the things that a parent would do and get none of the credit……. you often seek out validation….. you’re often left standing without it.

Their biggest piece of advice was really looking inward and being able to self validate that you ARE her mother because you Love her unconditionally and you do that by choice.  A mothers love isnt in the DNA…..it’s in the day to day…..it’s in the raising a strong, thoughtful, helpful, respectful woman that feels good in her own skin exactly as she is.

I can’t control what she learns in her other home/from the world around her about insecurity, lacking self confidence or worrying what other people think of her.  What I can do is try to love her and show her all the power and strength she posses within.  And that no matter what she wears, what her body looks like, how messy her hair is she Lena and if anyone has anything to say about that they can go pound salt!

By being brought back down to earth about looking inward I was quickly reminded that I was looking outward for that validation……. and the ONLY really validation we need in this world is contained within.  Now to remember that always, and teach my daughter to do the same!


Messy marriage moments…..

One of the hardest things I have had to learn to do is say the hard things out loud.  The things you know may hurt someone you love or complicate everything.  For those that don’t know I married a man with a 2 1/2 year old now 3 1/2 year old a year ago.  Blending families is a difficult thing when things are good between biological parents.  And to say ‘things are good’ between my daughters parents would be a gross over statement.  Layer in my husband and I losing our daughter at 22 weeks a year ago and stir it up and it gets real emotional and messy FAST!

We are approaching the one year of losing our daughter and it is bringing all sorts of emotions to the surface I hadn’t planned on surfacing like……

  • when do we get to raise our own children?
  • why are we struggling to get pregnant again?
  • will i have to forever just raise someone elses kid?
  • how do I control looking at his daughter and just wanting to cry because we should have our own daughter?
  • how do I mange my pain without it taking down every part of my life?
  • how can i shield my husband and her from my pain with out making them feel rejected?
  • how do I take care of ME without abandoning my family?

It was a talk my husband and I has yesterday and its just so messy.  I had a fear of saying any of those things out load because what does that say about me that Im struggling to have this child around me right now? Not because I don’t love her or him, but because where I’m at thinking about Hope its just painful to see a daughter and know we should have our own and don’t.

What must that make my husband feel to hear?

The beautiful part is that he is so understanding and patient and willing to go to counseling WITH me so that we can be better for ourselves and our marriage.  Neither of us have had to deal with the death of a child before so we don’t poses the skills to get through this on our own.

Marriage can sometimes get super messy and I have a lot of guilt and shame that I carry from losing Hope and now for the way it’s effecting me a year later.  But if there’s one thing I have learned it’s saying it out loud forces me to deal with it.  If I say it out load and you know then I cant hide it like a dirty little secret.

My marriage is messy right now…….but it wont always be this way because we’re too committed to cleaning it up.


When I meet another stepmom

If there is one thing I never saw in my future and one thing I swore I’d never be……its was being a stepmom.  why?  Because you hear so many horror stories about it and having lived it now for a year I can say they’re not just stories.  (let me clarify it’s hard for ALL parties involved- all I can speak to is my experience)

Over that last year and a half I have had the sheer pleasure of being a ‘step’mom to an amazing little girl.  She is loving, kind, compassionate, a people pleaser (sometimes to a fault) and just all around a great distraction from lifes everyday stresses.  That being said…….. 

It doesn’t come without it challenges.  What is the biggest challenge?  Being a mom…. who isn’t a mom….. yes I could easily say that I’m not her mother, stay hands off and leave my husband to deal with her care.  But I’m not a complete asshole and that’s not what you do when you marry a man with a child, you marry his kids and they become yours.

The hard part…. doing all the things a mother does…. wipes tears and asses, feeds, educates, teaches life lessons, acts silly and on and on and on…… only to know that you’ll never actually be her mother.  Giving birth makes it easy to love unconditionally. When you’re a ‘step’ mom you have to choose to love unconditionally and it’s a willing choice that isn’t quite as easy to just do.

Those in my life around me constantly tell me how I’m such a good mom, and my instincts are spot on, and I do my best to smile and accept it and say thank you.  I also know that I am the mother to an angel baby and a mother to be as my husband and I are hell bent on having our own children, but not Lena’s true mother.  I just take on that role 3-4 days every week.

So until then I’ll be the best ‘kate’ she has and between her and I I know what that means and the relationship we have. And thankfully I have the best husband in the world by my side to remind me what a great job I’m doing and how lucky our daughter is to have me as a role model of strength inside and out, compassion, hard work and all the things that come with running two businesses while making time for family.


Why is personal training so expensive?

I am often asked why personal training is so expensive?  There are a few things that come to mind…..

1: What is your definition of expensive………..We all have our own definitions of what expensive is.  If you work part time making minimum wage your definition of expensive maybe very different than someone who was born with a trust fund and unlimited finances.  But let me ask you this…. how often do you get a starbucks cup of coffee, eat out or order drinks at $7.00/drink?

2: How much do you value your health………Lets stick with starbucks, eating out and ordering drinks analogy…..

  • One cup of starbucks a day at $3.25 x31 days = $100.75/month and that’s if you only go once a day
  • Eating out 3 lunches and 2 dinners a week….avg $15/meal x 5 meals a week x 4 weeks = $240.00/month
  • Drinking while out…… 3 drinks 2x per week….. $7.00/drink……$168/month
  • TOTAL: $508.75/month in coffee, eating out and drinks/month
  • PERSONAL TRAINING: $50.00/hour 2x a week = $400.00/month

3: You clearly have no clue how much work it takes for your trainer…….Often we see the cost of that per hour price…. what we don’t see is the HOURS of work that goes into the behind the scenes to create that ONE HOUR!  Hours specifically thinking about your needs and writing plans, reworking plans, researching plans….it’s so much more than just that hour sticker price.

The next time you wonder why something is expensive, step back and think about all the behind the scenes or ask yourself (or your trainer) WHY?


If only we talked to ourselves the way we talk to our children

In the last year my daughter has really become a little adult moving into her ‘three-nagers’ and having more understanding of the world.  She’s beginning to grasp her own emotions and comprehend her self-esteem.  Over the last two months I have really began to notice how I talk to her and holy shit!!!! I am WAY more positive and supportive of her than i am of myself.  WHY?

  • I’m constantly reminding her that failure is a part of learning and that’s why we have to continue to practice.  I convince her to avoid giving up and continue to work through the frustrations. (what if you mess up, everyone will judge you, maybe i just shouldnt try, its safer….. or I’ll never get this, I quit…. it’s too hard….etc)
  • I’m constantly reminder her of how beautiful and precious she is no matter what she’s wearing or how her hair looks. And make up…..NO way is she wearing makeup because she’s perfectly pretty just the way she is. (i look like a cow in this, my hair is a mess, i shouldn’t even leave the house etc)
  • I’m constantly helping her learn new things, like counting, letter recognition and honestly all basic life skills.  And when she stubbles and answers with the wrong answer I teach her that being corrected and criticized doesn’t mean I love her any less, it just means I’m trying to help her get better. (i’ve read 3 articles i should know it all, I’m too busy to sit and learn all this, I’ll never be smart enough to reach the next level)

And that’s just 3 quick examples of how positively I talk to her….. with the how i would talk to myself following it. I think I’m going to start talking to myself like my 3 year old self.  I was much nicer to her.


Am I enough

One of the things that I am terrible at is being my own biggest critic.  Doesn’t matter what it is, I am always analyzing if I am good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough, working enough, loving enough, really insert any word and add enough.

It’s been a rough few months really trying to change that thought pattern and to say it frustrates my husband is an understatement.  He is accepting and loves me exactly as I am and constantly tells me what ever I do is enough.  But it is hard to hear that when I’m always criticizing myself.

It’s what has helped me achieve the highest level of multiple sports and helped me continue to run a successful business 6 years later.

It’s also what has added imense amounts of stress as I’m not sure there are many days that I feel enough.

I am constantly working on it, and there are good days and bad days.  And the practical logical side of me knows that feeling not good enough is a negative emotion, and the opposite of what I strive to teach others.  that being said, practice what you preach, and I am working on doing that everyday.

But it’s important I remain authentic and honest.  I struggle and its real!


Affiliate Owners: To Coach or Not to Coach

6 years ago I decided to spring board off my trip to the CrossFit Games and open my own affiliate.  Why did i decide to do that?

Because coaching was absolutely intoxicating……and guess what….. 6 years later I am more hungry than ever to learn and coach and share knowledge.

But there is the balance when you’re the ONLY owner to run the business and that’s where things can get slippery.  Why?  Because owning an affiliate isn’t just slapping some movements up on the board, sipping a cup of coffee and walking away.  gretchen-coaching


  • Managing the budget and reconciling accounts
  • Managing member relationships
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Programming
  • Websites and social media
  • Community Outreach
  • Writing Programming
  • Managing the programs you offer
  • Managing a staff and payroll…..and the taxes….oh don’t start me on the taxes
  • Cleaning the facility
  • Designing new gear……because lets face it YOU want new gear, but sure say it’s for members
  • Planning member socials……and attending them……
  • Hosting events, seminars, competitions

Should I go on or do you get the point?  Something tells me you see where I am going with this.  The question can often become, when do I stop coaching and focus on running the business?  My answer to you….. ONLY YOU KNOW…..for me I will never leave the coaching floor because that’s what i love!  Does it mean the business doesn’t run as smoothly as it could, certainly, but it runs a lot smoother than if I were miserable everyday.  So instead I juggle all the tasks of running a business while coaching 1/2 of the entire calendar.

I left corporate america not because I hated my job and office work, but because I LOVED coaching, being on the floor, developing relationships and being a part of someone else’s success. Seems silly to leave corporate america only to create a corporate job, at least for me………

So don’t force it, you want to coach – COACH!  You want to run the business – RUN THE BUSINESS!  That’s the beautiful part of being the owner of the affiliate, it’s yours to decide how you want to run it.


It’s hard to move forward……

This past weekend was my first powerlifting meet since losing my daughter Hope in June.  The entire week leading up to it I was a mess, mentally, emotionally and physically.  I wanted to abandon the idea of doing the meet because it was just too much…….

  • ‘I shouldn’t be doing this meet, I should have a 3 week old’
  • ‘I’m not as strong as I should be’
  • ‘I’m not in the weight class I should be in’

And when it all came down to it, it was a long list of bullshit excuses that I was trying to use to hide from reality.  The reality that life has HAD to move on.  The reality that a shitty fucking thing happened to me. The reality that no matter what I did the world was moving on.f5249aaf8827b92114a3dc9e7659eb6d

So I called my mom and explained that I needed her support incase I lost my balance and crumbled into a 1,000 pieces.  She of course agreed to come and support me.

I was good until my third lift……. it would be a PR lift…… and I felt so overwhelmed with guilt……guilt?  really?  But i squatted the 250lbs bar, PR, and immediately began crying.  I was so excited and yet couldnt shake a sense of guilt for being so happy, for having moved on, for having joy.

I know it sounds weird, but if you’ve lost a child you get it.  After that i was able to relax and ENJOY the rest of the day.  It was freeing to make myself face reality.  It’s not easy to do, and I’m still sad just about everyday, but I am not letting that define me or determine who I’ll be.

It’s so hard to move forward, but I will keep making myself do it.