Dec 16

This Is Living – The Single Best Gift to Give

“I’m DYING!” was the phrase I heard most often when I had my personal training studio. Inevitably, when the class or a workout became really hard, the client would yell out these two words. Repeatedly.

My response?

“This is what living feels like!”

Just before my grand opening (with my husband) in 2006!

Just before my grand opening (with my husband) in 2006! Little did I know that web site would become this blog!

Most of them were either unconditioned, overweight or a joyful combination of both, which is why they were in my studio. Sometimes, during Boot Camp, they would literally crawl from one station to the next. The sweat would pour, the cheeks would flush and the air would seem to thin out.

What they had been doing up to this point was dying.

Taking classes, pushing though hard workouts and each day becoming a healthier person then the last? That was living. That was adding years to their life. And I was so happy to be a part of it.

Some of my favorite clients after a race they trained for months to finish. Nothing but smiles. This is LIVING!

Some of my favorite clients after a race they trained for months to finish. Nothing but smiles. This is LIVING!

It’s all in the name VITA – Train for LIFE. No need to train for a lofty goal, a huge weight loss, or an epic race. Isn’t training for daily life enough?

It should be.

What prompted this post is an article I read from Paria aka momontherunsanity. She recently volunteered for the Malibu Half Marathon, at the finish line, placing medals around the necks of finishers. She describes the experience so beautifully, talking more about those who finished over the two (or three) hour mark, then the elites or top 10 men and women. One group in particular stood out to me:

“I saw the dozen women who traveled from Texas and ran in matching “Jo Jo’s Brave Girls” shirts in honor of their late friend Jo Anne Franzenburg.  Jo ran the Malibu half in 2012 and 2013, and passed from cancer this past July.  They were simultaneously happy and sad as they ran their collective miles for her, celebrating her life.”

Celebrating her life.

This is how we celebrate life. This is living.

Do not take for granted that you are living here and now.

Forget that it’s going to be a new year.

Forget that exercise is hard.

Forget that you have too much to do.

Remember you are here.

Remember this is your one life.

Remember there is no better way to honor yourself, and those around you, then by being healthy.

The other prompt for this post, as with most of my writing here, is my mom. The holidays are always a really bright and shining reminder of who is not here. Because my mother died struggling with her weight, and from ovarian cancer at the age of 43, the holidays also remind me that my health, and that of my family, is the most important thing.

Do not take it for granted.

In our holiday best (me, Mom and my brother) visiting my dad's family in Florida.

In our holiday best (me, my Mom and my brother) visiting my dad’s family in Florida around 1986. #WeLoveBigHair

Do you want to know the single best gift you can give to people you love? Yourself. Many years of being on this earth to love, laugh and simply just be with them.

These are my ideas for THE BEST gifts to “give:”

  1. A gym membership for yourself. Give it to your husband, daughter, son, partner, brother – whoever – but it’s for you. Just think of how insulted they will be until they realize it’s really for you. #HolidayBonus
  2. Register for a class you can attend religiously and then sign up … name of person who needs to add years to their life here… then go and do it!
  3. Make a promise to yourself to change one small thing, one step at a time, to be healthier.

This is your life. Are you training for it?

How are you living?

How do you train for life?



3 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. I am crying as I am reading your post. My mother two die young from ovarian cancer, she was 49. I am guess from your clothes it was probably around the same time.
    nicole @life after heels recently posted…Weekly Recap- December 7-13My Profile

    1. I’m so sorry we share this awfulness. But, you have obviously chosen to LIVE which I think is the best way to honor your mom’s memory.
      Thank you for sharing this Nicole!

  2. I so often say to people LIFE IS MY SPORT.
    I think they sometimes believe Im being flippant? Im not.
    Im just wanna be here a while.
    See my child grow up.
    Watched her live and experience.
    I really do train just for life.
    CARLA recently posted…4 reasons Im jealous of my dog’s Cone of Shame.My Profile

    1. YES!!! Here’s to being here a LONG time!

  3. Yup. Crying here. It’s so true. I often tell people that I love the moment in running or exercise when your lungs are and muscles are burning. Why? It’s one of those times when feel the most alive! Beautiful post Allie and very well said.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Set Goals, Not Resolutions.My Profile

    1. Exactly! I know you live out loud every single day, no matter what! Angela, today – YOU raise me up! Love you 🙂

  4. This is beautiful.

    1. Thanks so much Hollie. xo

  5. Ah. Perfect message Allie, I love it so much. Living is something I want to do! This may sound weird but man do I look forward to being a grandmother and a great grandmother! I feel like I was born for the role! But I know I need to be around to make that happen. I might “gift” some of these things to myself for Christmas!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…The 12 Days Of Fitness Challenge!My Profile

    1. Not weird at all, in fact, it’s one of my life goals! It’s so horrible that my mother is not here to be a part of the boy’s lives. I’m very lucky that I have a wonderful stepmother and aunts who adore them but, it’s not the same. I am bound and determined to see my grandkids! Something tells me we will both live to see that…so we can spoil them rotten and then send them home!

  6. You captured EXACTLY why I run and train. For life. At age 53, I feel like I’ve found the fountain of youth. I want to keep on moving.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…‘Tis the season to be stressed out…My Profile

    1. Damn right! You inspire me and I want to be doing and running and training like you when I’m 53!

  7. Where do I start commenting here without turning this comment into an entire long blog post on your blog post. I am so humbled and flattered that my words inspired this amazing post by the amazing kickass woman that you are. Thank you for this! I knew your mom died young, but didn’t know it was from ovarian cancer. Our hospital does a 5K In November every year called Run For Her that is for ovarian cancer. It can be done virtually as well. I did it two years ago and helped raise money for it…when I do it next November, I will think of your mom. The PICTURE!!! Love, love, love….big hair and all.
    And yes, this is LIVING. Despite everything seeming great on the outside, I didn’t really start living until the last 3.5 years when I started running.
    And as I am now headed to try a new 6 am bootcamp class from hell before in LA before I rush back to get ready for work, I will remember while there and doing death by burpees that actually, I am one lucky gal…because this is LIVING! Thank you!!!! recently posted…ToddlerMy Profile

    1. YES!! Thank you so much Paria. We will have to talk about that race because I need to be involved for sure. Your post was so inspiring to me and you know I will now be volunteering this year so I can experience LIFE from the other side. Thank you!!

    • Chris on December 16, 2015 at 9:18 AM
    • Reply

    Aside from your Deer crossing lake W post over the summer. This is my new favorite blog from you. As you know I have lots of physical issues, my motto Is pretty much the same…live! I refuse to sit in a rocker and give up. I hope you don’t mind I share about an elderly man I met yesterday who is trying to do the same, live!! I received calls from a man who wants to put hiking/walking trails on my dad’s land. I finally met this man yesterday to ‘walk the land,’ mind you this is raw land with branches, woods, ect. I knew he sounded like an older gentleman, but I assumed he was physically fit to want hiking trails. I wasn’t expecting this…he was about 90 with WALKER. This guy is LIVING. He is bound and determined to pave the way for hiking trails, handicap accessible of course. I hope we can make it happen for this man. My dad also died of cancer, he was given 1 to 3 to live. He lived 15 years, out of sheer willpower. he too just wanted to Live. He asked me to share his story, which was never to give up and keep living. Allie you have just inspired me to do donate a portion of my dads land for trails.

    1. I’m sitting at the Toyota dealership crying into my keyboard with chills running up and down my body. You have no idea how much this means to me Chris! THANK YOU!!! What a gift. That man is incredible and we should all live with such passion. The same goes for your dad. I love that HE determined how long he would live. I think I now know where you get your conviction. You are the embodiment of “never give up” and certainly of “train for life!” THANK YOU!

  8. This is such a great message, love it! I think celebrating our loved ones that have passed by actively participating in life is the best gift.
    I celebrate life every morning with my gratitude list. It reminds me that I have so much to live for and be grateful for each day.
    Danielle recently posted…Week in Review: Wino Santa’sMy Profile

    1. Absolutely. Living with gratitude changes everything. Thank you Danielle.

  9. I’m tearing up reading this – beautiful, inspiring post, Allie! The holidays are hard for me – my grandpa died the day after Christmas many years ago – but the anniversary of his passing always reminds me how much he lived, how much he meant to his family, and how he took care of himself. The man was swimming every day and traveling with his wife until he got colon cancer! That’s living – moving, exploring, loving – and we never know what obstacles and illnesses life will throw at us, so we best start living today.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…My Running Goals for 2016My Profile

    1. Oh I love that!! He truly lived every single day and what great memories you have because of it. Thank you so much Laura and cheers to your grandpa for “training for life!”

  10. This. So much this. It hurts me so much to see my friends and family who cannot participate in some of the fun activities the people around them are doing because they are too overweight, out of shape, sick, etc. Just this past weekend on my trip out to Arizona, a friend had to stop in the middle of our hike (on a completely flat trail) and sit and wait while the rest of us finished because he was so tired). I have had the same experience on other trips where people miss out on seeing and experiencing wonderful things because they are physically unable to do them, and that sucks! Life is for living, and while the 30-60 minutes we spend pushing ourselves in the gym might feel kind of sucky when we’re tired or run down, it is SO worth it when you’re running after your kids or hiking up a huge mountain or cycling down the streets of Buenos Aires without getting winded. I couldn’t have said it better myself and I can’t wait to share this post!
    Danielle @ T-Rex Runner recently posted…Running Changes Lives, and You Can TooMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much Danielle and, you’re absolutely right about being in shape, and how it opens up so many facets of your life! There’s a whole world waiting out there and not to be able to experience it to the fullest is a crime. I know you probably feel the same that, no matter how sucky the workout, I never come home wishing I had not done it.

    • Donna Capello on December 16, 2015 at 10:58 AM
    • Reply

    As I’m tearing up here at work, thats one of the best blogs i ever read. You are so right !

    1. Sorry to make you cry at work Donna but thank you for this!

  11. So well written Allie! Thanks for such an insightful and meaningful post. Well done!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Barre at the Beach: Standing Barre WorkMy Profile

    1. Thank you Brittany. As I said before, I know you and your family live this message and it will be so important to Cooper as he grows!

    • Jane on December 16, 2015 at 12:18 PM
    • Reply


    1. Every damn day.
      The boys keep all their ornaments in the box you sent me that my mom painted. It is truly a treasure box.
      Love you Jane xo

  12. I love this. So well said and I’m missing your mom for you!! Hugs, friend!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Favorite Posts from 2015My Profile

    1. Oh Laura. Thank you so much. That really means a lot!

  13. This might be one of my favorites from you and it’s not just because of the big hair picture 🙂
    Seriously, there’s so much here and really resonates. Yes, the holidays are hard and even harder as I approach the age when my Dad passed. But this is absolutely the reason why I stay active – because I want to live a long healthy and happy life alongside my kids.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…How to Use Yoga Block Exercises to Increase Your Workout IntensityMy Profile

    1. I know you can truly understand this Christine. I hate that you can, but I love how you chose to rally against it. xoxo

    • Marisa B. on December 16, 2015 at 5:49 PM
    • Reply

    ❤️this post! During Monday night TRX class… I initially started muttering (to myself Ofcourse) “I’m” … Then said “LIVING”! Because truly each day is an opportunity to live healthy and be happy. Thank you for instilling that during our classes or PT sessions #miyagistrong xoxo

    1. You, of all people, know how to live life to the fullest and not take it for granted. You knew that the first time you walked in the door with your excel spreadsheet 🙂 Love you Marisa! Keep doing what you’re doing!!!

  14. I am going to think of this post tomorrow morning when my quads are killing me. I worked them hard today because I want to stay healthy and vital for decades to come.

    Love the big hair, and seeing a photo of your mom. The three of you were fashion trendsetters 🙂
    Dana recently posted…A Jew in DecemberMy Profile

    1. Yes Dana! Quad pain is living out loud 🙂 Perhaps very loud but remember, you’re giving yourself life!
      Thanks for saying that about the picture. Not sure “trendsetter” is the right word – LOL 🙂

  15. The gifts I give people… Are generally healthy… Well, DUH! That’s my brand and that’s who I am. I CRINGE when I see people give one another cakes and donuts and cookies as gifts! I give fitbits, gym memberships, healthy meat packages, etc 😉

    Everyone WANTS to be my best friend, LMFAO!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Star Wars, The Cookie Force Is StrongMy Profile

    1. Don’t forget the bag of dicks!

  16. Allie, this is so beautiful. Thank you so much for writing this. I know I’m way behind on reading, but this was something I needed to read today. xo

    1. I’m so, so glad! Never apologize for reading or not reading. We’re friends and none of that matters. Glad you read this when it was needed most. xoxo

  1. […] This is Living – Allie had me in tears reading this. How do you celebrate life? By living of course. Not by […]

  2. […] who writes for multiple sites including Runner’s World, to write a fantastic post called This Is Living on her site.  That what I wrote could inspire her to write that post and decide to volunteer for a […]

  3. […] idea of feeling and not numbing also reminds me of Allie’s “This Is Living” post.… that to feel your heart in your throat in a workout is not dying but living.  It brings […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: