7 Health and Fitness Mistakes and Iron Gypsy’s Secrets to Success

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MISTAKE #1: All or nothing.

This is the number one challenge that so many of us deal with. We start with great intentions. We start ‘ON FIRE’ ready to make a change once and for all. The minute we “fall off,” we immediately throw in the towel. Or we don’t start at all because we are waiting for the perfect time.

IRON GYPSY’S KEY TO SUCCESS:  Progress, not perfection. 

Three of my favorite phrases when it comes to health and fitness — or life — are:

  • “Enjoy the journey.”
  • “Progress, not perfection.
  • Choices babe.”

Whatever you do, it’s not worth it if you’re miserable every second of the process. So, we in the “Iron Gypsy Tribe” like to think of it as  the 1 percent rule or 90/10! We strive for 1 percent improvement each day. 90 percent of the time, we are “on point” with our health. 10 percent of the time we choose to indulge just a little. It all comes down to conscious choices, not perfection — choosing what is best for us in each moment.

MISTAKE #2 – Less is best.

One of the biggest mistakes I see with nutrition is believing that eating less is the key to weight loss. We don’t have to starve to see results. Sipping shakes, eating diet food or counting macros is not the way to long-lasting health and happiness.

IRON GYPSY’S KEY TO SUCCESS:  Choosing healthy, natural, nutrient dense, real food. 

Fuel your body with adequate amounts of the RIGHT foods and improve metabolism by making health a priority!  In the Iron Gypsy programs, you’ll learn how to choose the right foods and portion sizes to fuel your body improving metabolism, digestion, gym performance, concentration, energy and your overall outlook on life! No weighing foods, tracking or macro counting!

MISTAKE #3: More is better.

One of the biggest mistakes I see – and I made this one forever – is that more cardio, more reps, more weight, more training sessions is better. The answer is NOT ALWAYS! If you cannot do the movements properly – with intention – you will not see results and you will expose yourself to injury. Overdoing the cardio is also a mistake I made for so long. It just doesn’t work!

IRON GYPSY’S KEY TO SUCCESS:  Train with intention. 

You’ll learn how to perform movements in a way that will get you results without injury and spending your life at the gym. Clients LOVE this style of training for the way it makes them feel – and look! The best part is, it doesn’t require heavy weights or fancy workouts. To start, you can train at home with a set of dumbbells! You’ll learn to strength train in a way that is fun and effective and add cardio, yoga and mobility work WITH INTENTION!

MISTAKE #4: Short-term syndrome.

Just about every health and fitness program can work – for a while! But does it really make you healthier and happier long-term?

IRON GYPSY’S KEY TO SUCCESS:  Put your health and happiness first. 

Make your goal about your health and how you feel on the inside. With the Iron Gypsy program, our goal is longevity – health and happiness long-term! We build a LIFESTYLE that make you LOOK AND FEEL GOOD and that you’ll want to maintain over time.

MISTAKE #5: One size fits all. 

The same nutrition and the same training strategy is not going to work for everyone. Not only because of various body types but because of different phases of life, different lifestyles and more. Also, many clients of “non-negotiables.” For example…When I first started my health and fitness journey, I didn’t want to give up my red wine and sushi nights! And I was traveling for work several nights each month.

IRON GYPSY’S KEY TO SUCCESS:  Learn to listen to your body and your own intuition. 

I’ll guide you on how to listen to your body and will provide the education and building blocks to  help you make the right decisions for you. This is not a cookie-cutter, drill sergeant approach. We work as a team to build a lifestyle you enjoy.

MISTAKE #5: Going at it alone.

For so many years, I struggled. I tried everything I could find in magazines, went to group exercise classes and bought at-home workout DVDs. But I never once went to a personal trainer. I thought that was for the rich people.

For one, that’s a very limiting mindset! Number two, there is so much misleading information out there it’s impossible to make sense or stay on top of all of it.

IRON GYPSY’S KEY TO SUCCESS:  Find a coach and a “tribe!”

Invest in a coach who inspires and educates you — someone who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk! Someone who knows their stuff and can help you get results much more quickly than going at it alone. Find a group – a tribe of people you enjoy – who lift you up! Whether it’s Iron Gypsy or another group or coach, I believe this is CRITICAL to success.

MISTAKE #7: A one-dimensional approach.

Tackling ONLY fitness, ONLY nutrition or ONLY mindset or spirituality won’t work long-term and will lead to a life and a body that is out of balance. We can create an amazing body, but if we’re not right on the inside, the results won’t stick or may not come at all. For me, I managed to get the results but I still wasn’t whole on the inside resulting in an unfillable void in my soul.

IRON GYPSY’S KEY TO SUCCESS: A true mind, body and spirit approach.

I believe this is the biggest differentiating factor for Iron Gypsy. This program is not only about looking good (you will get amazing results) — but feeling healthy and happy. IT’S ABOUT LEARNING WHO YOU ARE AT YOUR CORE AND LIVING FROM THE SOUL.

I’ve built Iron Gypsy on hours of research, dozens of classes and travels around the world! It combines what I’ve learned through yoga, meditation,  self-development courses, Precision Nutrition, Poliquin certification, training with top body builders and so much more. My content is always expanding as I continue to work on my personal growth. This is not only my work – but the sharing of my personal journey and what I believe is my current mission in this lifetime.

Whether you decide to make your health and fitness journey with Iron Gypsy or another way, I urge you to make now the time that you stop settling for less than what you deserve – for less than who you truly are. If I can help, please contact me at kesleytweed@gmail.com.

My next Iron Gypsy Journey pre-program activities kick off this weekend! Executive coaching is now available for professionals, entrepreneurs and other BUSY PEOPLE who want accountability and personalized coaching. Spaces will be limited. Contact me for details!

Forgiveness and Unconditional Love

Today marks the beginning of a new era for the Iron Gypsy blog. 

As you know, it’s been quite some time since my last post. I have been focusing on giving my all to my Iron Gypsy Coaching clients, attending additional courses (including Tony Robbins Business Mastery, Tony Robbins Leadership Academy and Reiki Level I and II certification), continuing with my own spiritual and health journey and growing other social media platforms including the Iron Gypsy YouTube channel.

All the while, I’ve been beating myself up for neglecting my passion project — the Iron Gypsy blog. 

So today, I made a decision. No longer will the fear of imperfection get in the way of progress. No longer will the fear of not being perfect get in the way of sharing the Iron Gypsy mission. No longer will I continue to beat myself up for what I’m NOT doing with the Iron Gypsy blog.

I will focus on WHAT I CAN DO! 

So, from here on out, you will see more stories! Some of the stories will be content that was shared through other social media platforms. Some will be snippets of content that I’m sharing with the Iron Gypsy Tribe (aka my coaching clients). Some will be raw, nearly unedited original content or a melding of content from various sources.

It will be imperfect. But it will be content that I feel passionate about sharing. This will also allow me to continue to reach those not on other social media platforms, while at the same time continue to place emphasis on my current projects and my future (other) passion project — a book! 

To kick things off, I want to share some content originally developed for Instagram that really captures the moment and essence of this decision. 

Next week, I leave for Costa Rica, so stay tuned for that. Additionally, I will be sharing random thoughts that have come up over the last couple of months since my last post. One thing is for certain when it comes to the future of Iron Gypsy — it will be a real, beautifully raw and wild ride!

Stay with me, friends! Love and light to you all! 

xoxo,

Kesley (aka Iron Gypsy) 

“Forgive yourself.”

This was what came to me in meditation this morning when I completed the assignment given to me by my reiki and spiritual teacher.

“Forgive myself for what?”

All the places I should be, other than where I am. All the things I should be doing, other than what I am doing. All the things I didn’t do. All the people I didn’t help. All the things I am not.

I find myself focusing on and beating myself up for all I am “NOT” instead of finding peace in the present and WHAT IS.

Why do I deserve this forgiveness?

We all do. We are all human. We were born to be perfectly imperfect.

If we cannot love and forgive ourselves, how can we find that same forgiveness for others? At our core, we are all the same — HUMAN.

So as I continue to reflect on the topic of unconditional love…this is where I am today.

To love we must forgive. And forgiveness and love starts in YOU.

 

The journey to “I AM”: What I learned on my “Date with Destiny”

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When I signed up for Tony Robbins’ ” Date with Destiny,” I was not looking for a guru and didn’t feel like I needed saving. That’s a bold statement, I know. Stick with me. 

Like most others who attended “Date with Destiny,” I signed up because no matter how amazing life is, I believe we should always look for opportunities to level up and become the best version of ourselves. Tony Robbins is one of those people who has the unique ability to pull that out of all he interacts with. I attended Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within” (UPW) one year prior and left the event having walked on fire and having made the decision to take a bold step to pursue my true passion for health and fitness.

What I didn’t anticipate with the “Date with Destiny” experience was that I would leave feeling LESS like a new person and feeling MORE like I’m finally living the “ME” I was born to be. “Date with Destiny” is much more about uncovering who we are at our core and developing strategies to live true to that core than it is about about rewiring who we are. I left feeling like a more authentic, alive version of myself. I now have the courage to step into and live from this place. The event was six days of non-stop jumping, dancing, networking, connecting and putting in hard work to uncover parts of myself that I felt I had lost somewhere along the way.

Through sharing my experience, I hope it will help you remember something you’ve forgotten about yourself or overcome deeply rooted fears or limiting beliefs.

Secondly, I hope that you will consider your own journey to uncovering who you truly are – whether it’s attending a program like “Unleash the Power Within,” “Date with Destiny” or another method of self-reflection. Make time for you. 

Nearly every single person in the room had at least one breakthrough during the six-day event. (I know because Tony asked us to raise our hands.) Even if you think you have no work to do, life is all about expansion. Although perfection is not the goal, continued progress is.  Progress, not perfection, is the key to happiness and fulfillment! 

Here are a few of my top reflections and learnings from my Date with Destiny experience.  

My values and priorities did not align with what I wanted out of life: We completed an activity in which we looked at the filters of “self,” “relationships,” and “work” and how we prioritize each. We also looked at the needs we are trying to fill under each of these areas. (Learn more about the six human needs here.) This was a breakthrough moment for me! So much in fact that when Tony asked us to raise our hands to share, my hand went up so fast I didn’t have time to talk myself out of it. Next thing I knew, I was on the big screen explaining my realization in front of 1,700 people. I was prioritizing everything above love and relationships, hoping that I could “achieve” my way to earning love from others. Despite having success in many areas of my life, relationships (in particular romantic relationships) were a struggle! The reason suddenly became apparent. I was putting relationships last. 

I was clinging to certainty: When I attended “Unleash the Power Within,” I took a close look at the six human needs and determined my top two. Robbins says it’s the top two that shape our lives. If significance or certainty are on the top, we’re in for a tough road ahead. “Certainty” was not one of my top two – or at least not that I could recognize at the time. It was not until “Date with Destiny” that I realized that all of my “achieving” was not only an attempt to earn love but also an attempt at control and create certainty in my life. One of my favorite quotes from Tony is, “The quality of our life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” To live a life that we are passionate about, we must take risks! Mediocrity does not create a life that makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning. I was clinging to certainty and safety instead of going for what I REALLY wanted to avoid my fear of not being enough.

I had limiting beliefs about masculine and feminine energy: Among the participants I’ve talked to, our learnings about masculine and feminine energy seemed to be most impactful. Going into this event, I believed feminine energy was weak, needy and dependent. I told myself that masculine energy is controlling and egotistical – but also the way to get ahead in life.  (Sorry guys. I know better now. ) I had programmed myself to operate from a masculine energy the majority of the time because this was the path to success and the way to earn love, I thought. I learned about masculine and feminine energy and saw the beautiful dynamic that exists when we operate from our core. More importantly, I felt it — the polarity of masculine and feminine energy. BEAUTIFUL!

“Adult-ing” caused me to forget who I was created to be: We did several activities to help us remember who we are, who we were created to be and what truly lights us up. Part of this was removing the “masks” we’ve learned to wear to make us less masculine or feminine than we are at our core. But I also remembered many of the things that I loved to do as a child and how these are the activities and emotions that get me excited to this day! I’ve always loved to move my body – specifically to dance. We did plenty of that, and it woke me up inside! I remembered how much I’ve always loved to create and write and how I treasure beauty. (One of my first words was ‘pretty’ after all.) It feels good to remember all the things that being an “adult” and having to “produce” helped me to forget. Now that I remember, I’ll be doing a whole lot more of them!

I wasn’t clear about what I really wanted out of life: Another of Tony’s famous quotes is “Where focus goes, energy flows.” Sure, I’ve thought about my values. I’ve set goals and have even put them in writing. But I can’t say I selected my path carefully and created a roadmap for getting there that flows from my core and values and aligns with my purpose. Heck, many of us go through life never really thinking about our purpose. Or we spend our whole life trying to identify a grandiose reason we are on this planet. I now have a written life purpose, and it’s SIMPLE. But I truly believe in it! Sure, it may change, but for today it feels right. I have a list of values that I’m going to live by. I’ve prioritized these values in a way that helps me to make better decisions in life. Sure, these values may change, but for today it feels 100 percent like the best way to live. I’m now living life true to who I am, 100 percent certainty I’m headed in the right direction and 100 percent certainty that there is NO SUCH THING as CERTAINTY. Life is a journey! My purpose here on this planet is to simply, “Enjoy the journey.”

If any of this struck a chord with you, I strongly encourage you to begin a journey of your own self-discovery. Leveling up and fulfilling your destiny simply begins with a commitment. Decide today that you want to live true to all that you are at your core.

Remember this…”I AM.” (Thank you to one of my group leaders for planting these two powerful words inside me.) Everything you want to be, and have, and do is already inside you. You already ARE all these things and emotions and attributes. You just need the clarity and courage to step into your true self. Make today the day you begin to live true to the “I AM” you were born to be and the powerful “I AM” you already are.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chin down, guard up, more hip, less fear: My experience as a Muay Thai rookie

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The ladies I trained with at K.Y.N. — strong, scrappy and beautiful inside and out.

Each phase of my journey comes with its own set of challenges. This leg of the journey, was no different.

As my plane landed in Phuket, Thailand, I started to think about the reality of the next 24 hours. I was signed up for three days of training at K.Y.N. Muay Thai. I didn’t even know how to spell the name of the island where I was headed. Koh Yao Noi is very remote and only accessible by boat. I had never done Muay Thai or any martial art or contact sport in my life. All the campers were to purchase pads. I could only imagine what those were for. Yes, I’d signed up for a three days, six training sessions, of getting punched in the face, grabbed around the neck and kicked in the shins on some remote island. What was I thinking?!

Fear. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Whatever you choose to call it, I had to fight hard to push it out of my mind.

From the moment I arrived at K.Y.N., it was as if I was always meant to be there. Lisa, who owns the gym with her husband, welcomed me and knew who I was without even asking my name. She fitted me for pads and showed me to my private room which was next to the pool and just steps away from the gym. I put my things away and headed to the restaurant, which is the hangout for all “campers.” (I call them campers because an experience at K.Y.N. is like summer camp for slightly crazy, active adults.) By early evening, and after conversations with a few of the others, I felt like I fit right in. One of them asked me what my goal was. I responded that by the end of the week I wanted to be able to throw a real punch and not “punch like a girl.” He laughed and said that was a lofty goal.

I woke up bright and early and did something I know how to do — went for a run. The path led me along the water, the sun rising and dozens of boats already on the water. The locals waved as I jogged past. As I entered the gym for training, I had another moment of doubt. “Maybe I should have done a little more research? I mean, I have these pads, and I really don’t even know what to do with them. Do I wear my shoes? Am I actually supposed to hit someone?” I recalled every time I had tried to throw a punch in the past, only to be laughed at.

We began the session with stretching and warm-ups followed by shadow boxing. I felt completely out of my element. It was worse than my first day of strength training, and that was pretty bad! I think the coaches assumed I had some idea of what I was doing because I have an athletic build. My lack of technique and the clueless look on my face gave away my rookie status very quickly.

I felt like my body and brain were completely disconnected. I was punching with the wrong arm and swinging it like a hammer. I nearly fell over every time I tried to kick. And my blocking was…well, basically non-existent — unless you count blocking with the elbow five seconds delayed when I was supposed to be blocking with my leg.

The Thai trainers were wonderful and very patient, but I was having a difficult time interpreting their enthusiastic and brief instructions. The other campers occasionally translated for me. I was paired up with a young boy, approximately 12 years of age, for sparring. He literally kicked my rear.

After the first session, I was mortified and frustrated. I thought I may drive the coaches crazy if they had to repeat “more hip,” “relax,” “no hurry,” or worst of all — “no good” which usually came along with a look of disappointment– one more time. Part of me wanted to quit. I could stay the three days, sip coconut protein shakes and sit by the pool. “Sign me up for that, and enough of this Muay Thai stuff,” I thought.

But as challenging as it was, I was having so much fun I couldn’t bare the thought of quitting. Something about the idea of starting from “nowhere to go but up” made me want to push harder. It’s like I was cheering for the underdog, and the underdog was me! I told myself to just keep showing up, do my best and have fun! And that’s exactly what I did. It’s amazing how much fun getting punched in the face and kicked in the shins can be. Eventually you learn the hard way after being clocked in the face enough times to keep your chin down and your guard up.

By the end of the second training session, I was smiling from ear to ear. I had already gotten the hang of kicking, and clinching had come pretty naturally. By the end of the third session, I had signed up for three extra days – as long as I could possibly stay before making my way to Sydney for my next course.

This was a long introduction for me to get to the moral of the story. Please excuse my language, but I cannot think of a better way to say this…Fear is bull $%&#!

Since my words are not so eloquent, I’ll rely on a quote from Tony Robbins to help me say it better: “The quality of our lives is directly correlated to the amount of uncertainty we can live with comfortably.”

Think of all the times you were fearful and you pushed through and experienced one of the most exciting times of your life. On the flip side, think of all the times you let fear overcome you and shrunk back, only to regret it later.

In this situation, if I had let my doubts control me – if I had let every question I had consume me – I would not have experienced one of the most exhilarating weeks of my life. If I had let the fear of being punched cause me to hole up in a corner, I would have gotten my behind kicked and my face punched in.

My six days of Muay Thai training brought me face-to-face with self doubt and fear and taught me a valuable lesson about doing it anyway. I’ve started to look at all the aspects of my life where I’ve previously let fear dominate. Fear can show up in a variety of different ways. I’ve seen it in my views on money and my resistance to leave a career I didn’t love. I’ve seen it in clinging to old habits, material things and relationships that no longer suited me.

I’ve also seen it in my interactions with others and the way I tend to hold back my real thoughts in order to protect myself from judgment or to protect others from things they may not want to hear. I experience it each time I click, “publish” on the “Iron Gypsy” blog and expose my deepest thoughts and editing errors to the world. I’ve also seen fear show up as attempts to control every detail of my life. I used to call this minimizing risk, but there is a point where minimizing risk becomes a detriment to living life.

I’m committed to observing the different ways fear shows up in my life. As I observe, I can work toward overcoming. Where there is resistance, that is fear. Where there is anxiety, that is fear. Where there is a voice that says, “I want to, but…” or “I should…” that is fear as well. Fear is stopping us from having the things, experiences and relationships we want in life. I’m learning to recognize it, acknowledge it and give it jab, a hook, a knee and a kick to the gut with all the “hip” I can muster.

A Journey Around the World Starts with…

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Those of you who saw my introductory post or read the “About Me” section heard a little about my plans to travel the world, pursuing my passion for fitness and creating a life aligned with my values.

How did I come to the decision to quit my corporate job, travel the world and start a new career? What led me to have these thoughts that are ultimately changing the path of my life?

I think this quote from Tony Robbins sums it up nicely. “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.”

My journey to this decision began about a year ago. I had just competed in my first fitness show and placed first in my category. I had an MBA and a great job in middle management for corporate public affairs and communications. I had a large circle of friends and was fortunate to have many opportunities to travel.  Money to have what I needed (and wanted) was not a concern. I was living in a beautiful loft apartment in downtown Houston, filled to the brim clothes, shoes and all kinds of material posessions.  I had exceeded every goal I had set for myself, growing up in a smalltown in North Dakota. I HAD the whole “achievement” thing DOWN!

However, what I didn’t have was inner peace…happiness…FULFILLMENT. It didn’t make any sense to me. I had success! Why wasn’t I happy?! Was I ungrateful for all the blessings I had been given?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the entire reason I could never feel fulfilled was that I was trying to create my dream life based on what everyone else (those closest to me, social media, society, etc.) thought it should be versus what I wanted it to be. I honestly had very little idea what truly made me happy or why I chose to focus on the things that I did.

For example, I wanted a great job because it would allow me to buy “things.” I wanted to climb the corporate ladder for titles and validation that I was a smart and savvy business woman. I wanted a great body because I wanted to be loved and believed that no man would love me unless I looked like a model. I went to church because I believed it was what good people did (and that I would probably go to hell if I didn’t!)  I got my MBA because I wanted to prove I was “smart.” I went out and drank most Friday and Saturday nights because that’s what young professionals living in the “inner loop” in Houston did and because I lacked then confidence to go out without being under the influence.

Thankfully, the universe intercepted and started to create change in me. I had some extremely positive influences  and began listening to as many personal development  podcasts and audiobooks as I could get my hands on. I attended Tony Robbins “Unleash the Power Within” and even walked across fire at the event in June 2016. I began meditating and picked up journaling after a long hiatus. Most importantly, I started to reflect on what I actually wanted in life. I thought day in and day out — not on what I wanted to “have” or “acquire” or even how I wanted to spend my time — but on what I wanted to “be.” Essentially, I put a focus on constructing my reality based on the “me” I knew was my highest self versus the “me” that I believed society wanted me to be.

It’s been quite a process, but what all this led to was a broader understanding of who I want to be as a person. The challenge is that, the clearer I get on who I want to “be” the further I get from how I actually want to accomplish those things. And, maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be? The more we learn, the more questions we have.

What I hope the next three months of travel lead to is increased clarity on some of the big questions I have about life, and specifically, my place in it. I believe we were all put here for a purpose. We all have a unique calling and multiple ways that we can contribute to the world. My prayer is that these next three months of learning, exploration and self-reflection will help bring out my true essence and how I want to show up in this life. In no way is it about “finding myself” as I’ve been asked many times. It’s more about remembering who I am at my core and creating the life that best aligns with that.

I hope that through sharing my journey, I can inspire you to ask some of these questions for yourself:

  • Is the path that you are on one you’ve chosen, or is life just sort of…happening?
  • If you could choose and create any path, what would you change?
  • What’s holding you back? How can you remove those barriers?

I believe that creating a life of fulfillment — and not just “success” — is not only possible but will simply “flow” once we’re clear on what we want. “If we’re facing the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” — Buddhist Proverb

If you so choose to embark on this challenging, exciting, emotional, amazing journey toward fulfillment, I’ll be there right with you sharing my learnings, experiences and good vibes with you along the way. I invite you to share your experiences, thoughts and questions through this blog. My journey can be your journey, too.

Love,
Kesley