Your Limiting Factors

You want to succeed, right? You have the desire to exercise and eat in a way that will cause you to lose weight and/or get fit, don’t you? I know I do!

So why is it SO HARD to actually make it happen?

When someone starts out gung-ho about a program or idea about changing their body, they’re often so excited that they overlook how truly challenging it will be. When someone embarks on a fitness program, they always need to write down tangible goals and then send them out into the universe for accountability.

What I believe is almost as important as setting the goals themselves is making a list of limiting factors – those things that will potentially hold you back and make achieving goals more difficult. The ones I most often see are family, finances, and work. By identifying these limiting factors to begin with, you can come up with a plan for how to get around them so they do not hold you back. This preemptive work can truly make all the difference.

Once you’ve identified limiting factors and have set a plan for how to counter them, you should be set for success, right? Well, again, it’s not that simple because you have to TAKE ACTION.

I can give you EVERY SINGLE TOOL you need to be successful, but it is up to you to implement them.

If you lose focus or the scale is moving too slowly for your liking, I want you to know that I am here for you to support you 100%. I want you to remember the big picture – what it will mean for you to look and feel better, live longer, and to have more energy for the things that are truly important in your life?

I am here to recognize and support your efforts and to celebrate your success. If you want to really succeed, you can’t go it alone. So share it all with me – your successes AND your challenges. Hit reply and let me know!

Or, schedule your free strategy session with me. I’ll help you get clear on your goals, your why, and your limiting factors so you have the greatest chance of success. Call 309-343-2900 to schedule!

Make it a great week!

How to get everything you want in fitness and in life

There was a time years ago I fell into this trap.  

I saw someone on social media or in a fitness magazine who looked how I wanted to look. I wanted to know EXACTLY what she did- workouts, meal plan, supplements, etc so I could do it too.

And I did. But the results weren’t the same. Because I live in a different body than she does. I have different genetics than she does.   

I learned quickly through my own experiments and through coaching that results are individual and that one person’s approach that gets them phenomenal results won’t work for the next person, particularly in regards to nutrition.

But the reality is also that we are all built differently. Our muscle fibers are different. Our caloric needs are different. So, recommending and subscribing to a “diet” plan is setting you up for failure. Stop thinking keto or paleo or low carb. Think long term- what can I do forever?

And worse now is that there are SO MANY PEOPLE online selling nutrition and fitness programs with absolutely no qualifications to do so. 

I must have seen a thousands times over the past few years a person post a photo of themselves with some type of caption that says “Want to know what I’ve been doing? Comment below, and I’ll show you my plan!” And the comments flow in.

But here’s the truth. You don’t need:  
*Their meal plan
*Their workout routine
*Their supplements 

As I refine my coaching skills more and more, I know that those become temporary Band-Aids for bigger problems (hence the 95% failure rate when it comes to SUSTAINED weight loss).   

Here is what you need in 5 steps:  
1. A crystal clear goal- what EXACTLY do you want. Be super specific. 
2. Reasons WHY-  you’re not buying into a meal plan for the sake of a meal plan. What’s your BIG motivator?
3. You must take MASSIVE ACTION- that’s right- dabblers need not apply. If you give your fat loss/nutrition/fitness efforts “dabbler” efforts,  you’ll only ever get mediocre results.
4. You must assess your results- how are you measuring progress? Through weight and inches? Strength and endurance tests? Blood tests?
5. Change your approach- if what you’re doing isn’t giving you the results you want. And change it again and again until you find what works.  
All of the above only happens with serious commitment. When you’ve made your mind up that you are changing.

We change when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the discomfort of change and ONLY then. So, let me ask you…  
What can you use in your life as LEVERAGE to facilitate change? 
*Are you suddenly in physical pain due to your weight, nutrition, or lack of strength?      
*Have you gotten a warning from your doctor about your health?    
*Do you have a new grandchild that you’ve decided you want to be around longer for?    


The reality is that you are smart enough to know if carrots or potato chips are a better choice. You know that stopping eating at 80% full is better than stuffing yourself. You know that drinking water is better than soda.
So, my suggestion to you is to STOP searching for motivation and make the decision that you are ready, willing, and able to change. Because everything  is a decision. And we can decide to change or not. Either is okay but  understand the outcome that follows your choice.
Is there value in working with a coach, using meal plans, and taking supplements? ABSOLUTELY!  I do a lot of this personally, and I’ve helped dozens of people change their lives doing this. BUT – if it’s a short term Band-Aid solution, you need to refocus on the 5 steps I outlined above. Because until you connect your changes in nutrition and fitness to a bigger goal with a powerful why, those changes will always be fleeting at best.
But work with a coach to find out what’s best for you. Stop idolizing images you see online and trying to do exactly what they do. Don’t ask for their meal plans. Get clear on what you want, find the leverage to change, and take massive action until you’re where you want to be while continuously assessing and tweaking along the way.

I hope this gave you some powerful things to think about. Have you fallen into the trap as I have? What are you committed to for the rest of 2019?  

4 Ways to Manage Sugar Cravings (Without a Sugar Detox)

I used to think I was addicted to sugar. I would do so well with my diet throughout the week, or leading up to a fight, and then I would binge eat like crazy, mainly on sweet foods like ice cream. Then I would feel horrible about myself. I thought I was weak and undisciplined. I felt broken. 

At one point I tried a 21 Day Sugar Detox. I white-knuckled my way through the whole thing, and I was so proud I made it! But the whole time I was just daydreaming about all the sugary foods I wanted to eat when it was done, and I went right back to my old habits as soon as day 22 came around. Ugh.

Do either of these situations sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Thankfully I learned how to manage my sugar cravings WITHOUT going on a low carb diet or cutting out sugar completely. Sugar can be healthy in moderate amounts, and treating yourself strategically can help you avoid binge eating. I’ve got 4 strategies for you to practice to improve your relationship with sugar:

1) Start your day with a high protein, high fiber, moderate fat breakfast.

For example, eggs, bacon, and blueberries will keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than a donut will. Avoiding highly processed, sugar filled foods first thing in the morning will help decrease sugar cravings throughout the day. Starting your day off with a donut, or cereal, or Pop Tarts is going to start you off with a blood sugar spike that will start a vicious cycle of crashing and “needing” sugar every few hours. 

    If you’re in the habit of starting your day off with something sugary, and the thought of completely changing your routine feels overwhelming, you can decrease the effects of that sugar by pairing it with protein. So if you MUST have that donut, try pairing it with some eggs or a protein shake. 

2) Don’t allow yourself to get too hungry.

If you wait to eat until you’re starving, you’ll be more likely to reach for something easy and sugar filled for quick energy, but this will lead to a crash, just like the donut at breakfast. Continue eating plenty of protein and fiber throughout the day, and drink plenty of water. And make sure your meals are satisfying, both physically and emotionally! Eating boring meals day after day, no matter how “perfectly balanced” or healthy they are, will lead to a binge at some point if you don’t truly enjoy them. 

3) Incorporate small treats into your diet every day.

Allow yourself to eat sugary foods without calling it a “cheat” or feeling bad about it. You can enjoy any food you want in moderation and still have a healthy diet overall. There’s no such thing as a perfect diet, so stop trying. You’ll be better off eating a serving or two of your favorite foods every day instead of trying to resist them and then eating everything in sight once the weekend hits. 

    I know a lot of people feel like they can’t have certain foods in the house or they’ll overeat them, and I understand. But I want you to practice having small amounts of certain treats in your house, and practice eating one serving per day. Start with a food you enjoy, but don’t go straight for your ultimate trigger food. Single serving packages may be helpful. And this isn’t me encouraging to fill your house with junk food and use all the willpower you can muster. Still buy primarily healthy foods, but keep 1 or 2 treats around and have a little every day. When you start to build up reps of successfully stopping at 1 serving of a treat, you’ll start to feel more confident around other foods. 

4) Mindset is everything.

If you keep telling yourself you are a sugar addict, you’ll continue behaving like a sugar addict. Stop thinking of foods as either bad or good. No food is inherently bad all the time, and no food is inherently good for everyone. You CAN control yourself with sweet foods, you just have to PRACTICE and allow yourself to truly enjoy them. Stop beating yourself up for not having enough willpower. No one has that much willpower every single day of their lives. Changing the way you think about eating sugar will make it immensely easier to manage your cravings. 

These tips aren’t going to change everything overnight. You’ll have to practice them consistently to see an improvement, and you’re definitely going to mess up here and there and eat too much. That’s okay. You’re not a failure. You just need to look back and try to figure out where things went wrong, and try to do better next time. Keep practicing, and don’t give up. It will be worth it when you’ve broken the cycle of restricting and bingeing. 

If you found this tips helpful, make sure to join our email list below!

Olivia Graves- July Member of the Month at The Strength Collective

July’s featured member is Olivia Graves, a 24 year old retail worker who has made amazing progress in her fitness journey- not just with her body, but with her mindset as well. Read on to learn more about Olivia and prepare to be inspired to start (or stick to) your fitness journey too!

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I was tired of feeling weak doing just the simplest of tasks. I had no energy and I felt like I hadn’t pushed myself to do better, so I decided to drop the ball, join a new gym, and told myself this is the last time i’m giving up. Been back since December and been there almost everyday since. I’m back to loving the gym.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out?
A: 5-6

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: HIIT training

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Bad answer. Terrible answer…… but….. Starbucks… Iced Caramel Machiatto lol

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Getting there. There’s days where I don’t want to go, but I do anyway because that’s not how progress is made. Also, stepping out of my comfort zone and doing the exercises I hate the most.

Q: How do you stay motivated to work out consistently?
A: I used to have a really bad habit of quitting after not seeing progress, which makes no sense. I’ve just completely changed my mindset. I go because it makes me feel better and the results just follow. I also tend to tell myself there’s no point in quitting — this is where I am, this is where my body is right now — people can see where I am, regardless if i’m in the gym or not, so I would rather them see me in the gym trying to better myself than being upset about my progress.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about starting or just getting started in the gym?
A: Stay away from the scale. Take photos instead. Don’t have “weight-loss” as your main source of going. Quit setting unrealistic goals. Find workouts that you enjoy doing that keep you coming back. Make the gym your alone time — you get an entire headspace to yourself, with your favorite music, endorphins, and at the end of it all, you always feel better.

Q: What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I just squatted 185 the other day. 3 sets of 2. I wouldn’t even touch the rack when I started. Now i’m learning to love it.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: Still terrified of the dark….. yes, i’m an adult.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: Everyone is nice. It’s a nice little community we’ve all built and I’ve never met anyone in there not willing to help someone else.

Olivia, we are so proud of you for all the progress you’ve made so far, and can’t wait to see how much you’re going to continue to make! Thanks for letting us be a part of your journey!

Make Gym-timidation Your Friend

Gym-timidation is a term certain fitness centers use to describe the feeling many people have when they enter most gyms-fear. Fear of looking stupid when you don’t know how to use a machine. Fear of getting in the way of that guy who looks like he could punt you into next week. Fear of not fitting in. Fear of failure.

I get it. There was once a time when I only entered the weight room when it was empty. When I did start using the weight room with other people in it, I only tried exercises I hadn’t done before when they were gone. I spent way more time on cardio machines and running outdoors, because I knew I could do that without screwing it up (minus the times I tripped and fell, but that’s a story for another time).

I used to feel all those fears too, so I get it. I get how appealing an advertisement can be for gyms that claim “No Gym-timidation Allowed” and “Judgement Free Zone” because it feels safe. A gym filled with 90% treadmills is within your comfort zone-you know how to work those. A gym full of equipment you’ve never used before is anxiety inducing. There’s so many ways to make a fool of yourself!

Here’s the problem with staying inside your comfort zone- that’s not where the results are.

You belong in the gym, in the weight room, just as much as anyone else. You deserve to be there, to get the results you’ve always wanted, just as much as anyone else. I promise you, if you’re just brave enough to step outside your comfort zone and try something new, you can accomplish amazing things.

If you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and into the weight room, we’re here for you. We’ll show you around and answer all your questions. We’ll introduce you to some new gym friends. We even have personal training and group training to help you get those results you’re after even faster. Give us a call to get started!

We can’t wait to help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

22 WOD to End Veteran Suicide at The Strength Collective

Don’t Fall For This! The Best Time is NOW

We all know there are times of the year that people are overall more committed to their fitness goals.

January goes without saying with New Year’s resolutions.

March-April is also an interesting time from my perspective as a fitness professional.

It’s the time when those who fell off the resolution wagon begin thinking about getting summer-ready. And it’s still cold in many places, so it starts to feel like you’ve got forever to make it happen.

But as it always does, summer creeps up FAST.

Then this crazy thing starts to happen in people’s minds…

Once May/June hits and the kids are out of school, I’ve seen WAY too many people convince themselves that it’s just not going to happen this year.

They literally give up on their fitness and improving their nutrition because they didn’t achieve their perception of “summer ready” before summer hit.

Maybe it sounds kinda crazy when you read it here, but I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

That’s why, if you’re in this spot right now or this thought has crossed your mind, I want you to take action right away – like NOW – so you don’t fall for this false belief.

You can absolutely do this. You have the time and space. The timing is PERFECT.

Believe those things, take action, and create a “summer body” you’ll be so proud of year-round. J

If you’re ready, email us at We’ll get in touch with you ASAP to start the transformation.

Cannot wait!

Todd Good- June Member of the Month at The Strength Collective Galesburg

This month’s feature member is Todd Good! Todd is a 46 year old linehaul driver for UPS. He started Barbell Strong group training last October and has gained a ton of strength and mobility in the last nine months. Continue reading below to learn more about Todd and his fitness journey!

Q: What got you started working out?
A: I had an injured shoulder that needed some strength and for my overall well being.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: 2 days. Barbell strong. It’s a fun class and I enjoy the friends I have made.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: I enjoy all of it. Squats kill me.

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: Subway chicken breast sandwich. I love a good samwich.

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: Pushing through various injuries. Knee, foot and shoulder. Although since I have started I definitely have improved my overall strength and feel better. Also, I work 3rd shift so I get tired often.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I just enjoy it. Also, being in a class with scheduled times helps.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Sign up for a class with Jenna and Katrina. If you don’t know what to do you can learn. I have lifted in the past but I have learned a lot about form and technique.

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Overhead presses. My shoulders were terribly weak. I have suffered dislocations to both. Grrr.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I love Beastie Boys music. My wife will not let me hang my posters in our house. So my Beastie shrine is in my garage.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: My new friends and the atmosphere. I am a dog lover so I fit in well.

Thank you Todd for being an awesome member of our fit fam, and keep up the hard work!

Kristal Frisque- May Member of the Month at The Strength Collective Galesburg

Kristal in her natural habitat 🙂

This month’s Member of the Month is Kristal Frisque! Kristal is an artist and Owner of Art Defined Studios (check out the Facebook page here to learn more and get artsy!). She recently ran the St. Jude Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee. Read on to learn more about Kristal:

Q: What got you started working out?
A: My health. I knew that I needed to take better care of myself & have always liked strength training, so it was a good place to start. Plus, there’s lots of health problems that run in my family, so I wanted to be as proactive as I could be to fight off genetics.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: 5 days a week; I take the lunch class at SC & run with my running group, Sole Sisters.

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Riding my ElliptiGO! It’s super fun and great on your joints.

Kristal’s ElliptiGO! (It’s like a bike/elliptical hybrid!)

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: I’ve never really had a routine with this, but I have used Advocare Spark & protein shakes….beer is great too!

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: My workouts are mostly solitary, in that I go for long runs or bike rides in the country by myself. Being a long distance runner, I not only have to prepare my schedule for the time I dedicate to my workouts, but also the mental game. I know that I’m going to have my aches & pains, but I have to endure through them when I’m out in the middle of nowhere & accept that I have to run back using the muscles that hurt.

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: I love the pain! Seriously. The mental accomplishment keeps me going every time. The fact that I owned that workout is very gratifying.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Just do it! Don’t overthink it or you’ll never start. And your body, your level of fitness is enough. You do not have to fit a visual mold or wear the right gear. You are worth it & deserve to be healthy. We all come in different shapes and sizes, different areas of struggle. There’s no judgement at the gym. Everyone is super supportive and motivating.

After a hard Lean&Strong workout!

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: My core muscles are so much stronger! I still can’t do those blasted pushups, but that’s a long term goal to do them well & in good form.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I was born in Japan.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: Hands down the support and one on one help. Lord bless her, Jenna is SO patient with me! And both she & Kat will correct my form, so I can improve. The group is also amazingly supportive.

Thank you for being an awesome member, Kristal! We love having you as a part of our community!

Warrior Strong Women's Kickboxing

Gin Gartin- April Member of the Month at The Strength Collective

April’s Member of the Month is Gin Gartin- she’s a 30 year old Distribution Coordinator at Dyna-Gro Seed from Galva and she has been absolutely crushing her fitness and weight loss journey since last June.

Q: What got you started working out?
A: Wanting to be more comfortable with myself and become a stronger version of myself.

Q: How many days per week do you typically work out? What groups are you a part of?
A: I try for at least 4-5 days a week. 2 of those are of course the Warrior Strong kickboxing class which I love!

Left: Gin before starting her health and fitness journey.
Right: Gin at the end of February-so much amazing progress already!

Q: What’s your favorite exercise?
A: Um kickboxing of course!

Q: What’s your favorite post-workout meal/snack?
A: I am sure this sounds lame but it’s a protein shake. Right now I’m working through the ice cream sandwich flavor I have. If you haven’t tried it you need to!

Q: What do you find most challenging about working out?
A: I am still really heavy so any of the cardio stuff is still a struggle for me but I am working on that!

Q: What keeps you motivated to work out regularly?
A: Seeing my results on the scale and my clothing fitting better.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking about getting started in the gym?
A: Don’t think about it just go for it. Even if it is something small to start with just go for it! Everyone has to start somewhere. Find something you actually enjoy doing.

Left: Gin before starting Warrior Strong Kickboxing last October.
Right: Gin at the end of February

Q: What is something you couldn’t do when you started, that you can do now?
A: Walk my dog around the block around the block without being out of breath.

Q: Tell us a random fact about yourself that people might not know:
A: I probably have at least 20 pairs of Nike shoes if not more lol

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working out at The Strength Collective?
A: The support. From the ladies in my class to the coaches. Everyone is there for you to cheer you on and help you through it!

Gin, you are awesome and we are so proud of you! Thank you for being one of our amazing members, and keep up the hard work!

Barbell Strong

5 Ways Group Training Will Help You Reach Your Goals

Lean&Strong Lunch at The Strength Collective Galesburg

At The Strength Collective Galesburg we offer a variety of small group personal training classes to help you reach your fitness goals. Occasionally we have people ask why they should consider paying for group training when they could do group fitness classes for free at another gym? Well, there’s a ton of benefits to group training, but today we’ll share 5 reasons group training is awesome and will help you reach your goals.

Surrounding yourself with other people with similar goals will help motivate you to succeed.

You’ve probably heard the old saying “You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Research shows that the people you surround yourself with makes a significant impact on your habits-not just your five closest friends, but your entire social network. So if you have a goal you want to achieve, becoming a part of a group in which people are taking action to achieve similar goals to yours can increase your chances of success exponentially.

One of the greatest benefits of group training is that you’re surrounded by people who want to achieve the same things you do. You’ve all signed up and committed to being a part of the group. You get to know each other and become friends over the course of the session. Everyone cheers each other on when the workout gets hard, and if you’re a competitive spirit, working out with other people can encourage you to push a little harder than you would if you were alone. And when you miss a class, there’s a group of people asking where you are and when you’ll be back!

Effective workouts are created for you- no guesswork.

Have you ever walked into the gym to workout, having no idea what you wanted or needed to do? Maybe you threw together a few random exercises, or hopped on the treadmill for 30 minutes, but at the end of your workout you kind of felt like you wasted your time.

Our group training workouts are full body workouts created by a certified personal trainer, so you can rest assured you’re always going to get an effective, balanced workout when you walk in the gym. We know you’re busy and don’t want to waste time, so we make sure to focus on the exercises that are going to get you the best results in the least time. No more wasting hours on the internet trying to find workouts or programs not knowing if they’ll even be right for you. We’ve got you covered.

Supervision from a coach helps you push yourself and prevent you from getting injured.

Barbell Strong at The Strength Collective Galesburg

If you’ve ever been afraid to try new exercises because you’re afraid of getting hurt, or looking stupid, or pushing yourself too hard, group training has you covered there too. A certified coach will demonstrate how to do all the exercises correctly at the beginning of class, provide possible modifications if you need them, and instruct you on how to make any necessary tweaks to your form throughout the workout to keep you working safely and efficiently. And when it’s time for you to push harder, they’ll encourage you to try a harder version or a heavier weight.

Variety in the workouts keeps you from getting bored.

No two workouts are exactly alike in our group training sessions. You’ll do certain exercises often enough that you’ll improve and get stronger, but there will be enough variety that you never get bored with the workouts. If you’re someone who hates doing the same workout more than once, we’ll keep you on your toes with new workouts and exercises every week.

Putting skin in the game (money) keeps you accountable.

For some people, shelling out their hard earned cash will ensure that they actually go to the classes and get their money’s worth. Simple as that. Money can be a serious motivator. Your health and fitness is a great way to invest in yourself, and the positive results carry over into other areas in your life. If it increases the likelihood that you’ll reach your goals, isn’t the investment worth it? Try it and see for yourself.

The Strength Collective Galesburg 22 WOD Fundraiser Workout

Want to learn more about our group training offerings? Check out the options here. Not sure if group training is right for you? Schedule a free fitness consultation to talk with Co-Owner and Certified Personal Trainer Jenna Fox. She’ll help determine the group that’s best for you and your goals. Call us at 309-343-2900 to schedule your appointment.