Category: Movement

When you Lose 130 Pounds, More than Your Body Changes

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
I’ve been reading a bit about Jade Socoby over the past couple of days.  Muscle & Strength and Girls Gone Strong have both written about her and I think you’ll find her as inspiring as I do.  
Jade Socoby

Jade Socoby

Jade hails from Maine and this girl has lost 130 pounds over the last 2.5 years.  More than her body has changed though – and you know those are the things I focus on.
Here’s what I love about the interview with Girls Gone Strong.  
1.  What are you most grateful for?  
“I am grateful for the family I have in my life and the friends that stuck by me even when I stopped drinking every weekend.”
This is huge!  I can tell you, it is one reason many people don’t change their own lives.  I, personally, lost several friends when I started competing.  Several of my clients have struggled with a lack of support from family and friends.  
  • Friends (and sometimes family too) don’t understand why you want to stop partying and start taking care of course.  “If you’re not going to be fun any more, I don’t know if we can hang out.”  


  • Friends (and sometimes family too) seem to be the ones encouraging us to give up on such goals, in fact!  


Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 7.09.59 PMI think there are a couple of reasons for this.  First, it can make people uncomfortable.  If we’re doing what they “want” or “know” they should also be doing, it can be hard not to feel guilty.

Second, though, many times when we’re making these changes to work on ourselves, we complain. “Ugh. I have to go to the gym again today.” “You’re so lucky. I can’t eat that pizza…or cake…or whatever” Our family and friends don’t want to see us miserable. If you’re so unhappy, they wonder, “why do it at all?”


No one is "making you" do this. You're making a choice. Stop complaining about it. Good for you!!!!!! You've made a great choice.

No one is “making you” do this. You’re making a choice. Stop complaining about it. Good for you!!!!!! You’ve made a great choice.

This is (another reason) why mindset is so critically important!
YOU have to be ready to make any change for YOU.
It won’t work, if you’re trying to do it for anybody else.
…and, if you’ve made a decision to do this for yourself, stop complaining.   
2.  What is the biggest thing you’ve noticed since you’ve changed your body?  
“My biggest accomplishment (as a side effect of lifting) was overcoming my social anxiety. When I was 320 pounds, I wouldn’t even leave my apartment unless I absolutely had to. Being seen in public mortified me because of how embarrassed I was about how i looked and who I was. Now I love meeting new people and staying busy.”
You have to like yourself right now, right where you are, exactly as you are – even if there are some things you want to change.
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Caring about yourself though, making changes, and becoming more of you (more confident, more healthy, more fit) makes a huge difference in how you feel in the world.
And what I adore about the Muscle & Strength interview.
3.  What advice would you give someone looking to make their own transformation?  

Mindset Matters

“Get in the right mentality. If you’re not mentally ready, you may not make it. I’ve quit more times than I could count because I wasn’t mentally ready for the change.  You’re going to have bad days and you’re going to get off track. Don’t get discouraged and just keep pushing. We all have bad days, we’ve all gone off our nutrition plan. It’s not the end of the world, just pick right back up.”  


Mindset Matters Most.

You have to want to do this for you.

Until you determine what is holding you back and how to deal with that, you are not going to make sustainable change.  Until your reason for wanting to do something is bigger than your reason for not wanting to, you are not going to make sustainable change.

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“Stop weighing yourself every day. The scale can in fact be your enemy. My weight goes up and I have to take my lifting belt in a notch. Go by how you look, feel and how things fit!”

“Don’t be intimidated being the only, or one of a few, females in the weight area.”  




 It can be scary walking into the gym for the first time and, definitely, walking into the weight room.  I know. Jade knows.  Any woman who’s ever entered that “hallowed, testosterone infused domain” knows.  
Here are a couple of things to remember as you get started.
Strength is not only for males.

Strength is not only for males.

A. Other people are not really looking at you. It might seem like it, but they are there to get their own workout done. Yes, they may glance in your general direction. Who cares.  PS You’re looking at them too – are you judging?  
B. You are there for YOU.  Do what you came to do and don’t let anyone else deter you from it.
C. Have a plan going in. Walking into the gym, standing there looking around and trying to figure out what to heck to do, is uncomfortable – for everybody!!!!! I don’t like it either, and I’ve been doing this for a while. Make/get/print a plan before you walk through the door and then follow your plan.
D. It does get easier. Keep going.

Never Mind Your Jeans: Work Out for your Genes!

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
This is the second blog I’ve written about the Unleash Your Greatness Summit I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of weeks ago.  The first covered Bill Phillip’s talk which was focused on how to simplify taking care of our bodies.  This one discusses Michele Promaulavko’s presentation entitled “You Have Control Over your Genetic Destiny”.  
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Michele Promaulavko

Michele is an author, Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Health and has appeared on the Today show, CNN, Fox News, and The Tyra Banks Show.  She is a charismatic speaker and I love the topic of epigenetics so I found the presentation to be phenomenal.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this topic from Dr. Mike T. Nelson too, in my Mindset Performance Institute curriculum.  I can’t wait to share all of that with you!  When I attend training, it’s a win-win for both of us!  Sincerely.
Without getting too scientific, genetics is the study of hereditary traits:  it’s those things passed in DNA from parent to offspring.  Epigenetics is the study of how those genes respond to external input (for example, our diet, environment, physical exercise, etc).
 Epigenetics tells us that through lifestyle choices, we actually have a lot of control over our genetic destiny.  We do not have to be bystanders in our lives, or slaves to our DNA.  We can be active participants.
The really amazing fact is that by making changes in your life, not only do you have an impact on how your genes express themselves, but you influence which genes are passed to your future family members.
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I’m not making this up!  Changing your habits can, in fact, impact your children and their children!


This recent study shows that 3 months of exercise causes significant changes in the DNA found in sperm.  The DNA itself did not change but what was passed on to the offspring did!!  I just finished a class about understanding obesity, through the University of Edinburgh.  One lesson reported on several studies showing maternal nutrition has long lasting effects on offspring as well (for multiple generations)!


I don’t know about you, but I think if there was ever a reason to exercise,  the fact that we can impact future generations, should rank pretty close to the top of that list.


A fellow believer in holistic health (meaning that we are not a grouping of isolated body parts but; rather, that the body is a “system” with each piece affecting others), Michele talked about three specific areas we should focus on.


Weight Training


Strength training is one of the most overlooked aspects of health.  This is incredibly sad because it can provide so many benefits – to your body and brain.  Lean muscle burns more calories – even when you’re doing nothing.  Weight training impacts joint mobility, bone density, and body composition.  I am big believer that physical strength begets mental strength as well – it gives us confidence and makes us feel powerful.
Proper Nutrition

Food is all around us and we make choices every day.  We need to get a large number of those decisions correct, if we hope to have an impact.  The problem is, there is soooooooo much information, it’s like a fire hose coming at you and it is easy to become overwhelmed.  There seems to be an argument for every new diet going.


Here are two simple facts to keep in mind:


  1.  Lowering refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods:  increasing protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, is best.  (In today’s environment I always feel like I need to add a disclaimer – I’m not saying to ban that first group of items.  I’m saying to lower your consumption of them).
  2. Small changes  add up to big cummulative benefits!   Don’t worry about the next 3 months.  Make a healthier choice for this one meal.  Then work on the next, and then the next.


Stress Reduction


Mitigating stress is one of the most profound things you can do for your total body.  It enhances physical, emotional, and mental health.


There is little question that we’re over-stimulated these days.  More work, more school, more meetings, more activities, more electronic gadgets, more commitments…


As part of any wellness practice, you need to find a way to decompress.  Some examples include meditating, taking a bath, yoga, sharing a meal with friends, working out, getting a massage, taking a 5 minute break to walk outside.  Do some CNS breathing:  breathe in slowly for a count of four through your nose.  Hold for a count of 5-7 and let it out through your mouth for a longer count.  Do this 4-5 times.  Get off your electronics 30-60 minutes before bed.  Go to bed earlier – even if it’s just 10 minutes right now.  Add another 10 minutes later.


Find what works for you and then take the time to do “that”.  It’s not self-indulgent.  It’s self-care.


Check in with me once in a while and let me know what’s working for you so that I might share your tips with others.


I Hate Diets because They Begin and End

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
I love learning even more than I love teaching.  As such, I’m constantly reading, studying, and going to any variety of seminars/classes.  Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Unleash Your Greatness Summit.  It was awesome!  
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Bill Phillips, the Editor of Men’s Health Magazine (the largest men’s magazine in the world) did a presentation entitled, “The Power of Just Doing ‘Something’ Every Day.”  His talk was focused on how to simplify taking care of our bodies.  
I adore two specific things he said.
1. “I would love to be able to tell all of you that I go to the gym every day and that I am the fittest person you’ll ever meet. The reality, though, is that I have two kids in travel soccer, an 80 hour a week job, and it’s just not realistic.  I do what I can. The best workout is the one you enjoy doing and the one you’re actually going to do.”
That means:
If you like working out in the gym with a trainer – do that.
If you like walking, or jogging, or running – do that.
If you like to dance – do that.
If you like playing basketball – do that.
If you like follow along videos on your TV – do that.
If you like biking – do that.
When we talk about health….h.e.a.l.t.h.  It’s for life.  We make it so much more complicated than it has to be.  Do something every day.
Personal example:  My niece called me crying the first day she went to the gym and got on an elliptical. She was completely frustrated because she could only do it for two minutes. I talked to her and got her to stop crying. “It’s not that you can only do two minutes. It’s that you CAN do two minutes. Do two minutes today, two more minutes tomorrow, and maybe three the next day.”
She now does cardio 20 minutes three times a week and has lost over 80 pounds.  One step at a time. One minute at a time.
Start where you are right now and build from there.
2. “I hate diets because they begin and end. You can’t be on a diet for your entire life. You need to find a way to apply moderation to your nutrition. You have to have a mindset change in order to change your life, and you have to realize this is FOR life!!!
The only thing he didn’t say was, “I got this quote from Debbie Hatch” because he certainly could have!!!  So much…..YES!!

Personal example:  There have been numerous times when I’ve been physically (typically because of my crazy travel schedule) unable to work out.  Yet, being mindful of my nutrition has actually caused me to maintain, if not to lose fat.  Even though I wasn’t exercising.  More than a few of my clients have experienced the same results.

Exercise is important for a ton of reasons!

Reasons to lift

…but, increased physical activity alone has an incredibly small impact on obesity prevalence.

What is this World-Wide Movement Against Movement?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

Run!!!! Run!!! Run!!!

Run!!!! Run!!! Run!!!


It’s almost Halloween!  Ghost, goblins, and all manners of ghoulish aberrations abound.  One of the scariest things I’ve seen recently, though, is this apparent world-wide movement against movement.  It’s not new but it’s been “in my face” this morning.  I’ve been reading through my newsfeed for the last hour and I’ve come across the straw that broke this camel’s back!


My nice, supportive, coaching self wants to say (politely), “Yes.  These are problems. Please.  Please help yourself.  Please help your children.”  My directive, “I’m tired of seeing this”, frustrated self wants to scream, “Right?!  We need to get off our damn, collective, asses.  We NEED to move!  We NEED to get our children moving!  We need to do it NOW.”

Let me start back at the beginning and fill you in


Three articles.  Three points each.  Three strikes and I’m out!


As I said, there was this camel, and a straw, and, well….


The articles are well-written and I recommend you take the time to read them all, individually.  They are about the “family” in Family & F.I.T.  They run the gamut from daycare through gramma.


The first article is about Wodapalooza, a functional fitness competition (think Crossfit) where “world-class athletes are invited to compete on the basis of their abilities, or perhaps on the basis of their sponsor relationship.”   In my own words, the gist of the article is this:

  • After the invited athletes are on board, other participants can register and compete in a qualifying round.  These people compete in six workouts over a three week period. The top 25 males and top 25 females qualify to compete, right alongside the invited athletes.
  • Participants who are 50 and over, though, are treated differently than everyone else.  They, too, have to complete the qualifying round but the exercises are modified.  Can I remind you:  this is an elite competition which, in every other category, means it’s limited to only the best of the best.  No modification.  No adjustment. If you don’t make the cut, you don’t compete.
  • AND…and, here’s the kicker….even after the individuals who are over 50 complete the qualifier, they are then placed into a lottery and selected randomly for spots at Wodapalooza.  Coach McCarty explains it this way:  “Imagine a radio station contest where the person who is able to keep their hand physically touching a brand new Dodge Durango wins the car. One by one, people give up, let go and go home. If I keep my hand on the Durango for three days while all the other contestants drop out, and then I have to be caller nine to actually win the car, what was the point of the competition part to begin with? Why compete, when the actual results are left to a game of chance?”


My thoughts.

I am over 50. I am a grandmother (X3). I am not ready to talk about rocking chairs.

I am over 50. I am a grandmother (X3). I am not ready to talk about rocking chairs.



There may be 99 reasons why I can’t complete a certain physical task.  Age ain’t one of them.  If I’m

competing (and it is not, nor should it be, a goal for everyone) I do want to compete against people who are at the same stage of life.  I do not; however, want lowered standards.  Let me do what I can do.  If it’s enough, cool.  If it’s not, either I work harder to prepare for the next competition, or someone else gets “my” slot.

I’m “old”.  I’m not DOA.







The  second article comes with a slight disclaimer.  I do not agree that (all) boys are more drawn to “speed, balls, and combat” while it is (only, or even “mostly” –  my words, not the author’s) girls who are drawn to gymnastics.  This article reports one Toronto school’s trepidation in allowing children on the playground to (actually) play.  In my own words:

  • Several students, ages 10 – 12, at the Toronto school have recently taken to doing back bends, cartwheels, handstands, and bridges on a grassy patch of the playground.
  • Concerned that enthusiasm for these challenges has been on the rise, and the fact that, according to the principal, “the staff are not comfortable with the level of risk”, children at the school are no longer allowed to partake in these dangerous activities.
  • It’s not an outright ban.  “The policy, broadcast through the school during morning announcements, merely insists that a ‘trained spotter’ be present.”  Alas, with no such trained individuals on hand during recess, the activities are – without being “banned” – in fact, banned.


My thoughts.

This is my granddaughter. I hope she is flexible and strong al of her life. I support this dangerous activity.

This is my granddaughter. I hope she is flexible and strong all of her life. I support this dangerous activity.


Our bodies are made to move!!  That’s not just some trite saying.  Our bodies are, literally, made to move!  A babies skeleton has over 300 pieces!  An adult human has 206 bones and about 640 muscles all connected by tendons and ligaments.  Sadly, many adults grow into very sedentary lives and we see its toll.  Everywhere!  We sit in our cars to drive to work.  We sit at our desks for 8 – 12 hours each day.  We sit in our cars to drive home, and then sit for dinner, sit for television/computer time, and go to bed.  Repeat.  While this lifestyle is not good for us – – can anyone, anyone at all provide one shred of evidence to the contrary?  It’s not good for us…and we should save our children from this fate for as long as we possibly can!


Developing bodies need movement even more than adult bodies do.  There are thousands of studies showing this.





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Strike three which caused me to get “out” of FB and write this blog.  This post, by a pediatric occupational therapist, chronicles the decline of play at daycare.  In my own words,

  • We have an obsession these days with academic success and act as though that means children need to sit.  The need to read.  They need to be read to.  They need to go to school as soon as they possibly can and they need to focus (predominately if not entirely) on all manner of academics.
  • Of course we all want our children to be as smart as possible.  Of course I believe (very much!!) in reading to our children, and teaching them to read.  My son and I, my grandchildren and I, have had reading rituals for a very long time.  I buy “educational” toys and I AM a teacher.  Here’s the thing, though.  Children learn via play!  They learn about themselves, their bodies, movement patterns, and senses; about the world around them, about interacting with others  – – by playing.
  • Research continues to point out that young children learn best through meaningful play experiences, yet many preschools are transitioning from play-based learning to becoming more academic in nature.  As parents and teachers strive to provide increasingly organized learning experiences for children, the opportunities for free play – especially outdoors is becoming less of a priority. Ironically, it is through active free play outdoors where children start to build many of the foundational life skills they need in order to be successful for years to come.”


My thoughts.

This is my youngest (for the time being) grandson. He runs everywhere. He's always exploring and on this day we were learning about what happens when you throw rocks into the water. :-)

This is my youngest (for the time being) grandson. He runs everywhere. He’s always exploring!  On this day we were learning about what happens when you throw rocks into the water. 🙂


Young children are “scientists”.  They have a natural curiosity.  They want to know how things work.  If we ensure they are safe but leave them alone and let them figure things out, they WILL be smarter.  They will learn physical, emotional, and social skills:  ALL of which are required to succeed in our world.


Check out this video of my youngest boy.  Can you tell me he’s not learning something (multiple things, actually) in this day of play?











The bottom line?  Movement should be our goal for life. 


From pregnancy, through day care and elementary school.  From raising our children, through old age, and into the coffin (or whatever means of disposal you personally have planned for what is your human form).


Not just for 12 weeks, for the summer, only until you reach a certain age, or merely for a competition.

I’m a Little Twisted & It’s Been Medically Proven

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

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I received this question a few weeks ago, and, earlier in the week, I had the following post pop up in my TimeHop from September 2014.  The timing was perfect!


I understand, very personally, how difficult it is to be told you shouldn’t or can’t do what you planned to do:  in this case, competing.  I want to share my original post – and my diagnosis – first, then I’ll get back to my answer to this client.



This is what I wrote on my wall, September 2014:


“Some days you find out why you’ve never been able to hit your back pose perfectly or how to answer your posing coach when she asks, “have you been in some kind of accident? Something’s just ‘off’ with your lower back.” Some days you understand why you hitch to the left when doing heavy squats and have a hard time going atg; why your legs sometimes go numb when you run, and why you have to let the weight pull you down very slowly when you’re doing repetitive dead lifts. Some days you find out that what you had in mind for your future goals might have to be adjusted just a little bit.

That day was last Wednesday for me. I’ve debated since then whether to share the info here. Ultimately I have decided to because it might help somebody else.

I have a pretty high tolerance but our 30-day marathon road trip left me in so much pain that I finally went to the doctor’s.  I have two degenerated discs and severe osteoarthritis in my neck.

This is nothing new and it has little to do with age.

My neck is from childhood injuries and I’ve known about it for a long time. It’s the cause of many headaches.

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The low back pain is because I have scoliosis. I had been told that too, about 10 or 12 years ago but I filed away the annotation and never did anything with it.


No doctor since ever noticed or mentioned it and I rarely gave it a moment’s thought myself. According to this doctor I’ve “ignored quite a bit of pain” over the decade but it’s never really bothered me before. Yes, aches and pains but no big deal.






With a current nerve impingement of more than 35%, and a twisted lower spine (admit it, you knew I was twisted anyway, right?). it’s a little harder to ignore.


I want to stress that everything is absolutely okay!!

The neck issue has been there since single digits and they think the scoliosis since my early teens. It hasn’t limitedScreen Shot 2015-10-12 at 11.26.37 PM me. I did a 26 mile ruck carrying 52 pounds on my back in March, got 3 trophies in a natural bodybuilding show in June, and have several other activities planned over the next few months.

This does not impact my traveling, teaching, nor coaching.

It’s not going to change my life.

It’s nothing new. It’s been there.

The only thing that has changed is that I now know why I feel the way I do sometimes and why my body does certain things.

It might impact my competing, although I haven’t made that decision just yet. I’m probably not going to have “world crossfit games” or “dead lift 300 pounds” on my new goal sheet and my pro boxing career is likely not going to happen ;-). Damn!!


The point is merely this: We all have issues. We all have things going on, physically, emotionally, in our lives….. We all have limitations and we all have to find ways to live within those. We might have to set new goals. We might have to find new ways to accomplish our goals. We do not; however (and I refuse) have to just give up.


This is my response to the question I was asked September 2015:

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What am I trying to say?

  1. Listen to your body.  What works for me (or anyone else) may not work for you.
  2. If you have suspected issues, talk to a qualified medical professional.
  3. If you’ve set a specifically goal, what are your options?  Are there safe alternatives for achieving your goal or is it out of the question?
  4. Your longevity, health and wellness have to come first.  Stay safe.





Earning that Pink Tutu

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

It started simply enough.  In February, my daughter-in-law sent me a link to the Diva 5K and said, “we should do this”.  Within a few minutes, I wrote back, “we are signed up”.

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Turns out she was only joking.

I wasn’t.  After 5 years, she should have known better 🙂



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Two weeks later, I asked her mother to join us.

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Ashleigh started training.  In July we found out she was pregnant so she ended up racing for two.  Seeing mother/daughter teams out there, in matching outfits, supporting and encouraging each other, was especially touching for her.  We heard moms say, “we can walk any time you want to, honey, but I think we should stick to our plan of intervals” and heard daughters say, “Ok.  I can do this!”  We saw one woman receive a video from her two-year old son.  He said, “run fast, mommy, you can do this”.  We watched that video propel her from walking to jogging.  It was awesome!

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Speaking of mothers and their children, it was that relationship that ultimately caused Jackie to agree to run, too.




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Every Sunday she would call me, and text her walk/run time for the week.  She learned about wicking clothing, and bought her first pair of running shoes!!  She downloaded Endomondo (awesome app if you’re interested in tracking your progress/time) and started doing virtual 5Ks.  I frequently posted this stuff on Family & F.I.T. because I was so proud of her, but “Jackie” became “Diane”.

It was fun to see Ashleigh like those posts without knowing that it was her mom.





On Thursday afternoon, I picked up Ash from one airport while my husband picked up her mom and step-dad from another.  She knew absolutely nothing about it and the surprise on her face when she turned to go to the bathroom; running smack dab into them, was awesome!







The 5K was Friday evening.  Decked out in the tiara rings, charm bracelets, and headbands that Jackie bought each of us, we picked up our numbers and headed to the coral.

Start race

There were women, everywhere, dressed in pink tee shirts and tutus.  It was something to see!!

…it was also something to experience.  Life may be like a box of chocolates, but your first 5K is like life.

Lessons learned:

  • Agreeing to do something outside of your comfort zone is scary…
    • But if you push yourself, when accomplish your goal, it feels pretty amazing!
  • Talking about it.  Planning for it.  Dreaming about it are all nice…
    • But when the starting gun goes off, that’s when the real shit happens.  You have to start if you want to finish.
  • There may be hills that you don’t expect.  Some of them come at the worst possible time, and can seem insurmountable…
    • But if you just look down, focus on the small distance directly in front of you, and keep going, you WILL get to to the top of that hill!
  • Looking too far ahead can be over-whelming…   FullSizeRender
    • But if you put one foot in front of the other, you will get there.  Just take the next step, and then the next, and the next.
  • The road can be crowded.  People might try to push you, bump you, or get in your way.
    • Pick your own path and commit to it, Be aware that it might not be a straight line:  sometimes to have to go around in order to find your opening.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Your challenge is yours.  It’s an individual and personal thing.
    • Other people have different challenges.  That doesn’t mean they have it, nor that they are, better or worse than you.
  • The biggest battle is in your head.  There will be times when you feel like you want to give up and quit.
    • Keep your own cadence.  Focus on whatever keeps you going.  When you need it most, though, family, friends (and sometimes total strangers) are there to push, pull, or do whatever they can to help you. It’s okay to let them help you.
  • You might be a little messy at the end.  It doesn’t matter.
    • Straighten your crown, unbunch your tutu and be proud of the fact that you accomplished the goal you set for yourself.  You did it!!!


Judge Much? Maybe We “Shouldn’t” but We Sure Do!!

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

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Photo by Michael Stravato for The New York Times


I read this article a few minutes ago. It is about two amazing girls who run endurance events at ages 10 and 12.


In a society that talks A LOT about not judging…

we “shouldn’t” and we frequently tell ourselves that we don’t…

Oh my gosh, is there ever a ton of judging!!!!

This article is a perfect example.


  • The author wrote, “among some of America’s best endurance runners, were two scrawny girls…” He goes on to describe their thigh and hip size. Why? Because, clearly these bodies aren’t “acceptable” for this line up.
  • Another runner at the start line told the girls to cover their ears when the cannon went off. Clearly this is not the first time they’ve run. That was condescending and I love Kaytlynn’s reaction of simply staring straight ahead and focusing on her race.
  • Another runner – who is NOT a medical professional, by the way – stated, “they are smaller than my son and I wouldn’t think to enter him in the race. It could harm their growth.”   She further gives her opinion of the girls’ dad as “pushy” and goes for the popular sway by villanizing him and making it seem like he’s putting too much pressure on the girls. Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. The woman giving her opinion has positively NO way of knowing that. As the girls’ mom states, “I wonder why some folks are so sure of the best way to raise other people’s children. I thought about answering them, but I decided: these people don’t know us. They’re on the outside and can’t see the inside.”
  • Television has been banned from the home. Oh, the horror!!
  • “Dr. Mininder S. Kocher, an expert on sports medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, said there was not enough solid research to make across-the-board judgments about children and endurance events.”  Even so, the author cherry picks a couple of things that “could” happen if young children run.
  • W. Douglas B. Hiller, an orthopedic surgeon at North Hawaii Community Hospital, said. “Bottom line: I wouldn’t recommend it, but I wouldn’t forbid it, either.”


Yes, deeply immersed in this social-media inspired world, everyone thinks they are qualified to give their opinion. People judge everyone and everything. To be honest, I find it rather annoying.  No. That’s not the right word. It’s maddening!!!  That’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it.


People think there’s a “cut off age”.

“You shouldn’t do ‘this or that’, at 50″

“You shouldn’t wear this or that at 60”

…although this seems to be turning a little bit and popular societal thought now supports older people doing whatever they want.


“Kids shouldn’t exercise to the ‘extreme.  They should do ‘kid distances’.'”

“You shouldn’t allow your kids to do ‘this or that’”

The list goes on and on and on….


Well, I think these girls are amazing!! Not that “they will be amazing” but that “they are”!  There was a time, in the not too distant past, when popular sentiment realized that champions had to start early.

Just three examples:

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Photo credit: Flavia Mandréa



By the age of 6, Nadia Comaneci was hooked on gymnastics. She trained 6 days a week and 4 hours each day. I have a very hard time believing the masses would find this “acceptable” today. Well, Nadia became the first gymnast in Olympic history to be awarded a perfect 10 (for her performance on the Uneven bars in 1976). She was 14.





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Photo credit: Fightland Blog

– Everybody loves Ronda Rousey right now. BUT because she defended her body and said she’s not built to F** millionaires…NOT because she breaks other girl’s arms in the ring, nor because she won an Olympic medal in Judo at the Summer Olympics in 2008. Her mother made her fight several times even though she had severe injuries; and sent her to a match once as a form of punishment. What? That’s clearly child abuse!  Popular opinion doesn’t seem to matter. Ronda adores her mother: and the feeling is mutual. By the way, AnnMaria De Mars is pretty friggin amazing, in her own rite, if you don’t know. In 1984, she became the first American to win at the World Judo Championships.

Ronda started training at 11. By 17 she had qualified for the Olympics.


Photo by Edwin Martinez

Photo by Edwin Martinez


Venus Williams has redefined women’s tennis with her strength and athleticism. Her father moved the family to Compton, California because of its high rate of gang activity. He “wanted to expose his daughter to the ugly possibilities of life.” Clearly….that can’t be okay!! What kind of parenting is that? I could start a Facebook group to “Save the Williams Children” and I can guarantee you, it would get some traction. By the age of 10, Venus’s serve topped 100 miles an hour. She turned pro at 14.



I sincerely don’t understand. I just don’t.

People find these stories “inspiring”. Yet, in the midst of the person learning their craft, working hard every minute of every day, the popular belief is that “it’s sad”, and “these people are going to have life-long scars”.  It takes time to hone your craft and become the best of the best. It’s years and years of work. It’s takes focus – which means it takes focus away from other things. Many times, THE best start at a very young age.


We judge their parents and parenting style.  We judge whether or not it’s “okay” for them to do these things.  We judge whether they are too extreme.  WE judge everything about the process until we rally behind an Olympic champion who is out there representing our country.  Then we’ll cheer.  We’ll forget about how much they had to do to get there.


I have to ask.

Given the fact that social media is FULL of Rousey meme’s and posts which have nothing to do with her amazing athletic accomplishments but rather one statement she made;

Considering the fact that popular opinion is “we should all be treated the same” and “everyone gets a trophy these days”,

is there even a place in our kindler, gentler future for competitive sports?

Dude! You’re in my Space.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.



I read a great article yesterday about the issues ladies run into when lifting iron.  While more women are lifting, there are still very few in the weight room.  It’s not uncommon for me to be the only, or one of two, woman.  Most ladies are, stereotypically, sticking to cardio machines.  There could be several reasons why.

Many times, though, it’s because they are intimidated.  Men can certainly add to this factor.

Been there. Done that. If I had a dollar……

Here are just a couple of my personal examples.

One day in Vegas…. I was in the weight room doing DB side raises. I was actually in the middle of a set, put my arms down, and this dude got soooo in my space that I couldn’t lift my arms. I scowled at him and moved over. Then his buddy came and did the very same thing – still the same set!!!!! WTH? He got a little more than a scowl. I had a few words to say!!!! Here’s the thing though – they acted like I was the one with the problem…..

I’ve had guys take (correction….try to take) collars off my bar when I was squatting. I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve had guys reach over MY shoulder and turn the fan on on my machine because I was sweating. Ummm. I’ve had guys come into my space to do pull-ups – when there were two other areas where they could do pull-ups…those were being used by other men, though. Two days ago, in Virginia, I was in between sets of seated rows. A guy sat down on my bench and was surprised when I ripped my workout log from under his leg.

In Mississippi, I had one guy tell his buddy (he was frustrated that I wouldn’t just give up my bench when they wanted it because I was doing overhead presses), “don’t worry about her, she’s not really a woman anyway. That’s a man in women’s clothing.” Again, I was the one with the problem…

YES. This stuff does happen.


Now, I want to temper this though. It doesn’t happen all the time. and




I have had the pleasure of meeting some very respectful guys in the gym.

Two examples (of many) come to mind. Once in Las Vegas, I was doing DB pullovers with a 75 pound dumbbell. A IMG_0570tall guy came over and stood by my bench while I was working. I finished and came up with an attitude, assuming he was “one of them”.

In not my nicest voice, I asked, “Can I help you with something?” He said, “No. I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re amazing. I’ve never seen a woman work out like that. Wow! Keep it up.” He shook my hand. I thanked him and he walked off. HE impressed me!!

In St Louis, I was bench pressing more than I should have, or I was tired….In either case, I brought the bar down to my chest and I couldn’t get it off. It just sat there. I wasn’t in any pain but it was a predicament. A man came over to the back of the bench (by my head), looked down on me and just asked, “do you need some help or have you got this?” “I’d love some help – and thanks for asking before you reached for the bar.”

You’ll notice that I remember the location of each of these incidents. I know what exercise I was doing. I know how much weight I had. Each made an impression on me. Good and bad.

3 Ways to Help Yourself Survive your Desk Job

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

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I love this infographic published in the Washington Post.

…and here’s why.  It applies to SO many people.  This is a reality!!


My job requires me to either be on my feet all day long (when I’m teaching), or has a lot of sitting (non-teaching days when I’m writing contracts/curriculum or when flying long distance).  A lot of people think the part that’s hard on my body is standing all day.  In reality, neither of these extremes is great.


Many of my friends, family, and clients have desk jobs that require hours of sitting each day. My son had surgery recently for a herniated lumbar disk so we know, first hand, that these hazards are real.

Short of getting a new job, what can you do about the occupational risk of sitting too much?



If possible, go for a 5-10 minute walk each hour.

At the very least, employment laws (remember, Human Resources is my “regular” job) require you be provided two 10 minute breaks each day – walk during those breaks, and at lunch. Not only is this good for your body, but also for your mind. You’ll be more productive when you return to your desk.  I had lunch with an executive yesterday, who has “walking staff meetings”.  When her staff meet for their weekly meeting, they bring sneakers and instead of sitting in the office, they all go for a walk.  I LOVE that idea!!!

If you’re not in such a progressive environment, and can’t go for a walk, at least stand up and stretch at your desk for a few minutes. Stretch when you go to the restroom if that’s all you can do!  (Do what you can, when you can….)

If you’re interested in some “at your desk” exercises, let me know.  I’d be happy to send you some.



Giving up on exercise because we’re burnt out from work is common!  But that’s the worst thing we can do.  That means, we sit in our car and drive to work, sit all day at work, sit in our car to drive home and THEN sit on the couch all evening until we eventually lay down.  You can see how all manners of problems can be created in this environment.

Make time to exercise, at a minimum, 20 minutes every day.

Do what you like.  That’s the only way you’ll keep doing it!!  Do what you can.

Remember, though, that there are tremendous benefits to weight training. I’m not talking about becoming a body builder. I’m talking about maintaining muscle (which burns more calories than fat) which helps to stabilize (and move) your body throughout your entire life.



When I work with clients who spend a lot of time sitting, the very last thing I want them to do in the gym is sit down.

Get off the equipment!!

You’ve spent all day sitting down, now is the time to stand. Get on your feet.  Every exercise that a machine allows you to do can be done with free weights, or universal machines.

I have clients do more pulling that pushing when we exercise together.  Why? To strengthen those upper back muscles that have been slumped over all day while you’ve been on the computer.

There are 100 Reasons you Shouldn’t Work Out Today.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.



You may have 100 problems.

Coming up with excuses as to why you shouldn’t exercise or eat properly, ain’t one of ‘um.

No.  There are plenty of things you might have a shortage of today!  A lack of money, patience, motivation, willpower, or time to name a few.

Few of us are ever short on excuses, though. There are 100 reasons (or more) why you shouldn’t work out today. As the day goes on, the list gets longer.


Take me for example. I had 9 (seemingly) valid excuses before 730 this morning! I got up at 5 intending to go to the gym. At 7 I was still standing in the kitchen because


EXCUSE 1: My stomach didn’t feel “quite right”

EXCUSE 2. My kids were up and I don’t normally get to stand around and chat

EXCUSE 3: I wanted a coffee before heading to the gym

EXCUSE 4: I didn’t have a copy of my programed workout printed, and

EXCUSE 5: I’m not going to have the opportunity to workout much in the next few days so, really, what’s the point? I can just start fresh next week.


A little after 7, I gave myself a convincing pep talk and headed to the gym. I walked through the door at 720. Then


EXCUSE 6: I realized how badly I really needed to shave my armpits (Gasp. Yes, I just said that on the Internet, because it’s true).

EXCUSE 7: I forgot my gloves and my log

EXCUSE 8: My music wasn’t working

EXCUSE 9: I just didn’t feel like it.


A little after 815, I walked out of the gym having just completed one of my best workouts in a while.  I felt great!


How did that happen?


Am I super-human? Not in this arena.  🙂

Am I just so focused on the workout that I will do it no matter what? Absolutely not.

Am I immune to excuses? Ummm…… Not really.


What I am is a great mediator. What I do is provide rational arguments as to why the excuses don’t really matter.  Here are the excuses again. For each one, I developed a counter-argument.


EXCUSE 1: My stomach didn’t feel “quite right”.

COUNTER: My stomach was fine. It’s just that I had taken my vitamins on an empty stomach with nothing but coffee. One rice cake with some almond butter and, presto, I felt fine.


EXCUSE 2. My kids were up and I don’t normally get to stand around and chat.

COUNTER: The kids would still be up once I got back from the gym and we could talk then.


EXCUSE 3: I wanted a coffee before heading to the gym.

COUNTER: Coffee had been made. There are several travel mugs in the house so I could bring it with me.


EXCUSE 4: I didn’t have a copy of my programed workout printed.

COUNTER: I am not prepping for a competition, I could do whatever workout I felt like doing. Oh, and by the way, there’s a soft copy of the workout in e-mail on my phone.


EXCUSE 5: I’m not going to have the opportunity to workout much in the next few days so, really, what’s the point? I can just start fresh next week.

COUNTER: This is an all-or-nothing attitude! One that requires nothing less of perfection, and one which serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Instead, why not think, “If I exercise only one day, that is one day that I exercised!”


EXCUSE 6: I realized how badly I really needed to shave my armpits (yup, I just said that on the internet, because it’s true).

COUNTER: This excuse was ridiculous! Yes, I need to shave but (a) there were precisely two other people in the gym (b) they were in the cardio room and I was in the weight room – by myself with just the mirrors (eek), and (c) what IF someone saw me? What business is it of theirs whether I shave or not? In reality, they are in the gym to do their own workouts, not pay attention to me.


EXCUSE 7: I forgot my gloves and my log.

COUNTER: These excuses are getting weaker and weaker. Neither of these things is required to workout.


EXCUSE 8: My music wasn’t working.

COUNTER: There is music in the gym. Maybe not my playlist, but music none-the-less.


EXCUSE 9: I just didn’t feel like it.

COUNTER: If I was going to use this excuse, I should have just stayed at home. If I don’t work out now, I’ve wasted my time and gas driving over here.



I’m not exaggerating when I say there are hundreds of (seemingly) valid excuses. Here are a few of my favorites:

– – This really isn’t a good time for me. I’m super busy.

– – I have family visiting this summer. There’s no way I can stick to this with them here.

– – The kids are out of school. Again, I’m super busy.

– – I have that [insert function] party, wedding, reunion, etc. coming up in two weeks. I can’t really watch what I’m eating until after that.

– – I have finals coming, or that big project at work. I’m super busy.  Are you seeing a trend?

– – I’m going on vacation next month. I can’t start anything until after that.

– – But this is [insert place] and they’re famous for [insert food/drink you just HAVE to have].


Folks, this is life. Life happens. There is never a quiet time. There is never a perfect time. There is never a time when you aren’t super busy. There are always events, functions, and family visits. This town is known for this thing and that city for something else.  I realize that I travel a little more than the recreational vacation, but….

This is exactly why I do not advocate diets. You need to learn how to eat healthier, how to exercise more, how to take care of yourself IN this life. Your life. In all of it’s craziness and busyness.