Where Have We Been?

Hello friends! It seems like it's been a long time since I was last on this space, sharing our go-to stores for cute workout wear. How have you been? I hope June is treating you well. This post is going to be kind of a mish-mash of things. Part studio update, part life update, part cool things we think you should know about. So, here goes...


Come walk with us! We're starting a weekly walking group and our first walk will be this Tuesday, June 26th at 9:15am at Wright Park, at the corner of 6th Ave and South G Street in Tacoma. If you're in the area, come join us! And bring your health and fitness-related questions. A personal trainer (or two) will be leading the walk and it's a great opportunity to get your burning exercise questions answered. It's completely FREE and You can find details on our Facebook page here

We're jumping in to YouTube! Nikki and I are a good working team in that very often the things I'm not good at, she is. And the tasks that she hates doing, I actually enjoy. But one way in which we are the same is that we both struggle with being on camera. Unfortunately, exercise kind of requires a visual. It's much more difficult to write out how to do a plank than it is to show someone how to do a plank, for example. So, we're ordering vlogging equipment and will be wading into the wild world of YouTube very soon. Wish us luck on that!


Speaking of YouTube, I saw this video recently and loved it. There are so many great things about summer, aren't there? But it also brings with it renewed opportunities to be critical about our bodies and to compare ourselves to the curated images we see on social media. But let's not. Let's be kind to ourselves. Let's dress the way we want. Let's show ourselves the same grace we show others. Let's take full advantage of everything we love about this season. Let's be creative with solutions to the things that make us uncomfortable in summer, physically or emotionally. That's what this video is all about.


Badminton is making a comeback at the studio. Nikki is always trying to think of ways to make workouts a little bit less like work and more like play, and badminton is just one of the new things we've got going on. I remember playing this game for hours in the backyard with my brother. It was so much fun! And I'm telling you, people play this game in the studio and they look like kids again. It's so much fun to watch. I'm tempted to buy a new set for myself...

Dry lips? You might need a lip sleeping mask, like this one from Laneige. It might sound ridiculous to buy a mask for your lips, but I struggle all year round with my lips drying out at night. It's especially bad when the weather is cold and dry outside. But it's also a problem when it's hot outside and I've got the air conditioning going inside, drying out the air. This stuff smells like bubble gum and a little goes a long way. So even though it's kind of pricey, it will last you a while. 


Any of you as clueless as I am about applying eye makeup? No one ever really showed me how to do it, so I mostly just avoided it most of my life. But, I discovered Kate at The Small Things blog earlier this year and have been devouring her tutorials on everything makeup and hair. One of my faves is this one on the basics of applying eyeliner. But they're all great! She's got loads of videos on YouTube as well, so check her out for all the things you wish you'd had a big sister to teach you about being beautiful.

Game-changing sauces. I've been throwing this delicious sweet chili and garlic sauce on almost everything lately. I started with edamame, as the recipe suggests. But, really, it's good on vegetables, rice, you name it.  It would probably be good on meat too, if I ate meat. As simple as the recipe is, I've made it even simpler. I literally only use garlic and the sweet chili sauce. And I buy the already minced garlic, so it's just a matter of sautéing that for a minute, adding in a couple of tablespoons of the chili sauce and heating it up for a minute. Done.

As always, thanks for reading the blog even when we go AWOL for a month. Always feel free to post in the Comments below if there are topics you'd like us to tackle, exercise or otherwise. Take care and we'll see you again here soon!

2018 Changes


Just a quick post today about some of the changes we're making in 2018. We've added online training--that's the most exciting one for us! (If you missed that post you can check it out here.) We've completely redone the interior design of the studio. We're offering more classes and events (online too!). Stay tuned for more info on that in 2018. And we're making some changes to the blog as well. That's what I want to share with you today. The blog has been, and will continue to be, a reflection of what we're doing at our studio. But, like most of you, exercise isn't the be all end all of who we are. We do all sorts of other things in a day. Although since running a personal training studio is our job, exercise probably consumes a larger percentage of our day than it does for the average person :-)

Anyway, the point is that while fitness will continue to be at the center of what we write about here, you're going to start to see other kinds of posts too. Posts about the other things we love and posts about the things that get our attention outside of the studio. We think--we hope--that you'll relate to those things too. Please always feel free to share things you'd like us to post about--questions you have, myths you've heard about exercise that you want us to de-bunk or bunk (lol--is that even a word?). We want this space to be a resource of information and to address the things that are important to you.

We're really excited about all of these changes and are so grateful to all of you who read these posts and connect with us on social media. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and we'll see you back here in 2018!

We Paint, We Eat Pizza & We Dream


The painting and dreaming parts of that statement are probably no surprise. We are a small business and sometimes you gotta grab a roller and slap some paint on the walls. It's an oddly fun task really. And I think it's partly because we live in a world where we work so hard toward results that are often weeks, months or years away. So, to get to do something where we get an instantaneous payoff...Well, it's kind of a nice change of pace. Last month, Nikki and I met at the studio on a sunny Saturday morning to paint. And to eat pizza and tots. And to dream.

The studio's name changed earlier in the summer and with it came a new logo with light and bright branded colors. We put new signs up, displayed our new business cards and brochures, and launched our new website. We love the new. But...

Then everything that was left over from the Lean Body Lifestyles days--the red and black draperies, the throw pillows, wall decor and, yes, the paint on the walls--felt so dark and heavy by contrast.

So, we got rid of it all. We took down the drapes and the wall decor and gave away the throw pillows. Nikki bought new stuff. A new shower curtain, kleenex holder, throw pillows and garbage cans.

But that left the walls. Hence our Saturday morning call time a few weeks back.

Here are a few before pictures (excuse the Christmas tree, but I wanted to get a picture with the drapes in it)...

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We decided to lighten things up. It's amazing what a few gallons of white paint will do...


Nothing can make a color look dingier than looking at it right next to fresh white paint...


This is Nikki handling the detail work, because I frankly don't have the patience for it...


I just want to point out that she doesn't tape off any of the trim and she still does a perfect job! I have no idea how she does it...

Because I look like I swam in a can of paint before the day is done...


I don't want to brag or anything, but Nikki had to try to get paint on herself. I just come by it naturally. I'm just super-talented that way.

This is literally everything pushed into the center of the room, so we wouldn't get paint on it.


And this was lunch. Or what was left of it halfway through. And yes, that is a gigantic pizza and an order of Cajun tots.


We may be personal trainers, but we can also pack away some serious bar food. What can I say, we needed to keep our strength up...

Because we painted that whole studio, with it's high ceilings and massive blank walls in one day. And now, it looks like this...

Studio After

The picture doesn't really do it justice. It looks so good, you guys!

A funny thing about making big changes to the name of the studio, or to our logo, or color scheme or the paint on the walls--is that the changes don't stop there. These symbols of newness have, I think, generated this wave of ideas for what the business can be. Both Nikki and I have been dreaming big lately. There are so many amazing things we want to do, none of which are going to be achievable over one Saturday with a little elbow grease.

But, starting over with the look of the studio has made us think about what else is possible. And that dreaming motivates us to put in a lot of hard work now. We have so much we want to be able to offer to our clients and to all of you reading this blog. What we've been doing over the summer with this re-brand is giving us the space and the business to support launching some of those big dreams.

So, this post was about painting the studio. But painting the studio was really about so much more than that. I hope you'll stay with us and that realizing some of our big dreams for Fitness for Life will result in blessings for all of you. Stay tuned.



We're Hiring!


Hi all, We're excited to announce that we are hiring a part-time personal trainer for our Tacoma studio! If you or anyone you know is a certified personal trainer, please check out the job description here.

If Fitness for Life sounds like the kind of place you'd like to grow your career, please apply!

We're Going to be Live on Facebook!


Hi all! I've talked before on the blog about our monthly open house events, where you can stop by the studio and we'll answer your fitness-related questions, demonstrate exercises and stretches and just generally try to help you make your exercise experience safer, more effective and more fun.

This month we're doing something a little different. We're going to Facebook Live our open house! So if you don't live anywhere near us, you can still participate. Submit your questions to us on Facebook, or by leaving them in the Comments section below and we'll answer as many as we can.

The event is from 5pm-7pm, tomorrow, May 16th.  We'll check-in on Facebook Live periodically during those hours--whenever we have a handful of questions to answer and we can step away from the open house for a few minutes. You can find us on Facebook by clicking here.

We hope to see lots of you on Tuesday night!

Boxing 101 & A Team for Hunger Walk!


Hi all! A quick post to tell you that we've got two new things happening at the studio at the moment. In addition to our body image class and our stretching class, we've added a boxing class designed for beginners and we're putting together a team for Tacoma's Hunger Walk 2017.

Boxing 101 will meet on Thursday evenings, from 7pm-7:45pm at the studio. This class is a great introduction to the fundamentals of boxing workouts. You'll  improve your physical fitness, clear your mind and relieve stress.  And if you're not a beginner? We encourage you to join us too! We can modify movements to keep you challenged. The class will be fun for everyone!

We will provide boxing gloves and the other equipment you'll need. Wear comfortable workout clothing and athletic shoes. You can purchase a monthly pass, which gives you access to all of the classes for that month for $60. If you don't want to sign-up for the monthly pass, you can drop-in for $20 per class. Click here to purchase your pass.


Hunger Walk 2017 Facebook Event Cover

We are putting together a team for the Hunger Walk 2017. This event is a fundraiser for Tacoma's Emergency Food Network, which provides food to our neighbors in need. It will be a fun morning walking around beautiful Fort Steilacoom Park for a great cause.

There are two options--a walking event and a 5K timed run event. We're open to putting together teams for both, depending upon interest.  Friends and family are welcome to join the Lean Body Lifestyles team. But, we need at least 5 people in order to form an official team and receive the discounted group rate.

So, if you'd like to join us, comment on this post OR send me an email no later than 5pm on Friday, May 5th. You can find our contact information here.


Body Image Class is Open for Registration!


Hello all! At long last we are accepting registrations for our first positive body image class and we are thrilled! Click here to register.

You may remember my interview with Nikki from earlier this year where she talked about why this class is so important to her. If you missed it click here to read it.

The class is called, Boost Your Body Image: Confidence at Any Size. Nikki is leading this 6-week course, held at our studio in Tacoma. The class will meet on Wednesday evenings, from 7:15pm-8pm, and will run from April 26th through May 31st.

During the course of the six-weeks of class, Nikki will walk you through proven strategies for re-booting and repairing your relationship with your body and cultivating a soul-deep appreciation for it.

It is possible to love your body, independent of how much you weigh, or what number appears on the labels of your clothing. You can look at your body, with all its curves, and its sharp angles, and its dimples, and its bits that jiggle, and appreciate it rather than catalog its imperfections. And you can have a relationship with food and movement that isn't about punishing your body for being too big, or too small.

Nikki's done it and she can show you how.

The cost for the class is $295. We expect the course to fill up quickly, and are limiting it to 10 students. So, you'll want to sign-up soon, if you think this class is for you.

Registration includes all six course sessions, a binder with printouts of all class materials and worksheets, and access to a private Facebook group for support and the exchange of ideas.

It's going to be challenging, and fun, and intense. So, come prepared to work hard and experience an amazing transformation in your relationship with your body.

Sign-up here!


My Pre-Trainer Life


Last week Nikki and I returned from our first annual management retreat. We went down to Cannon Beach and spent three days making a plan for the next year of the studio's life. Haystack Rock

In July of 2015, I sat on a similar stretch of sand to the one where we stayed at Cannon Beach, just a little bit further south. At the time I was about ten years into a career in nonprofit fundraising. It was a good career, but one I kind of fell into because I didn't really know what I truly wanted to be doing. I'm guessing some of you can relate.

Passion Led Us Here Banner

Bonus fact about me: I hate the word passion. I think it's overused. The prospect of finding my passion and translating it into a paying gig was overwhelming. It paralyzed me for a long time, actually.

So, I prefer the word engaging.

I digress.


Anyway, by the time I was sitting on that beach in 2015, I knew I wanted to be a personal trainer. The why is a long story. Maybe for another day. But here's the story about how.

On that trip I spent a lot of time meditating/thinking/praying (insert your verb of choice here) about what was next for me. I knew where I wanted to be, but not how to get there.

One Way

When I got home I found a course at the local community college, designed to help people study for, and pass, the personal trainer certification exam. I signed-up, ordered my (enormous) study manual and waited. Seriously you guys, that manual is a monster. I truly believe it could be certified as a weapon. I wouldn't want to be hit over the head with it.

The class was to start in September and I thought it would be a good idea to hire a trainer for myself, to help me get as fit as I could before the class began. I called several trainers and made appointments with a few of them.

One was Nikki.

We sat down for a consultation and she asked me why I was there. And I don't really know why I said this, because I didn't share it with the other trainers I met, but I told her about my goal of becoming a personal trainer and wanting to get physically ready for my certification class.

We spent at least an hour talking. Talking about why I wanted to be a trainer. Talking about Nikki's philosophy about health and fitness. Telling our respective stories.

And then Nikki made me an offer. She and I could work together as trainer and client for the next six weeks and get to know each other. During that time I would start working though the study manual and evaluating whether or not I thought I could study for my exam independently.

If I thought I could, we would transition to a mentoring relationship and I could save myself the cost of tuition for the course. I'd study for the exam on my own, supplementing with formal in-person classes with Nikki. She'd share what she'd learned over twelve years as a trainer and she'd provide some practical training skills in addition to the theory I was learning through studying for the exam.

Then, assuming all that went well, she would hire me as a trainer at her studio.

Sweet deal, right? I thought so too, so I jumped in.

Work Harder

The 12 weeks between when we started what we came to refer to as, "Trainer Training," and when I passed my certification exam were intense. I worked 40 hours per week at my day job. Twice a week I would get up and make the 60 minute drive from my house to the studio for 6am. Nikki and I would then do two hours of trainer training and then I'd head for my office. I'd get off work, make the hour-long drive home, eat something and then study until my eyes wouldn't stay open anymore. Weekends were more studying.

But it worked. I  passed the test on a Friday afternoon and the following Monday I gave notice at my day job.

It is Well

And then, a little over a year later, there I was. On the Oregon coast again, with a life that looked totally different than the one I had during that trip in 2015. Sometimes I really do pinch myself about it all. That I wake up every day excited about work. That I get to live and breathe health and fitness. That I have a job that offers me a way to balance work and life. That engaging in healthy behaviors is not something I do if I have time outside of work, but rather, something I do so that I can do my work and do it well.

It's awesome and I am so thankful for it. I wish that kind of joy for everyone, whether it comes from your work or from something in your personal life.

Okay, that's my "how" story. It was fun to think about it again.

'Til next time...

Studio News Alert!!


We have been really busy over the last several months (the last year, really) planning for the next phase of Lean Body Lifestyles' life as a business. It's been really difficult to keep some of this stuff under wraps! So, I am thrilled to be able roll out the first of several of those new projects on the blog today.

Drum-roll please........


We are launching our Love Your Body course at the studio this spring! This is a class Nikki has wanted to offer for a long, long time. Those of you who know her, know that body image is an issue she is passionate about. I sat down with her a couple of weeks ago to learn more about what inspired her to create this class and her vision for how it will work.


Erin (EP): Why did you decide we needed to offer a class about body image?

Nikki (NS): The short answer is because everyone has body image issues. The statistics on the percentage of people, women in particular, who hate their bodies are frightening. I've worked with clients who weigh under 100 pounds and I've worked with clients who weigh 400 pounds. They all have had body image issues, which tells me that the issue isn't really about the number on the scale; it's psychological and emotional. So the bad news is that if you hate your body, you're doing that to yourself. And that's sad. But the good news is that you have the power to change it. And you can.

EP: A myth about personal trainers is that, it's because we've always had positive body image and always been physically fit that we got into training in the first place. That's not true for me and I know it wasn't for you, right?

NS: Absolutely. I spent part of my adult life doing all kinds of physically unhealthy and damaging things to my body. I was diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and Food Addiction at one point, so when clients come to me struggling with those things or with weight or whatever, I totally get it. I am at a place now where I am completely confident in my body. I love my body. But it took work. I tell clients, and I'll tell you: I weigh 50 pounds more now than I did at my lightest, but I feel better than I ever did then. I'm happier. I'm stronger. It's important to me to get the message out that you can be 100% comfortable in your own skin, even if your weight never changes.

EP: So, how would you describe a healthy body image?

NS: Okay, one litmus test for a healthy body image is being comfortable looking at your body in a full-length mirror. When I look at myself, I notice the parts that are larger or rounder. But there's no judgement behind it. I don't think it's bad or wrong. It's just information. I'm just seeing me--not cataloging things I need to change. That's what I want every woman to experience. So one of the things we'll be doing in class is following a proven method for getting comfortable in front of the mirror. The class is going to be full of tangible, practical steps people can take to address the emotional reaction they have to their bodies. There are truly things we can do to get happy in our own skin.

EP: Talk to me about the class a little bit. What are some of the big themes or topics you're going to hit?

NS: I'm really packing a lot of content into the class. We'll be spending a big chunk of time in the beginning working on connecting to our bodies. I think many of us separate our "selves" from our physical bodies, to the degree that we aren't noticing the things it's trying to tell us. That disconnection manifests itself oftentimes in a discomfort with normal physical contact. So we'll be working on ways to build those connections between our "selves" and our bodies. We'll be working on defining happiness, increasing confidence and looking at behaviors around food and exercise.

EP: How are you structuring the class--is it a lecture format?

NS: I will definitely be doing a lot of talking, but we'll also have some group activities and, I hope, some amazing conversations. I have a curriculum planned, but am open to the reality that the content and format will be driven by the students and their interests or areas of focus.

EP: Let's talk details. What's the 4-1-1 on the class?

NS: I'm still working out some of the details, but I can tell you that it will be a 6-week long course, held in the evenings at the studio. I'm going to cap enrollment at ten women, just because I think that's the maximum number I can have and still give the kind of individual attention to everyone that I want to.

EP: So, what next? Where should people go if they are interested in more information? 

NS: Anyone who thinks they're interested in attending should contact me by email or phone and let me know. (Visit our website here to find our phone number and email address.) I'll be starting a list of potential students and they will be the first to know when the class dates, times and price are set. They'll get priority registration before we open the class up to the general public.

EP: Any other classes or events on the horizon?

NS: I have always wanted to teach a relaxation or stretching class at the studio and there has been a lot of interest in that recently from clients. So, that will probably be next. The other thing I've been thinking about is having an event series, where we would do group hikes or a bunch of us would take a dance class or something. Things that people might be intimidated to do on their own, but would love to do if they had a fun group of women to go with them.

I would honestly love to hear what kinds of classes would be most valuable to the women in our community. So, maybe if our local readers have class ideas they could leave their ideas in the Comments section of the blog or shoot us an email.

If you are interested in the body image class or in providing feedback on other classes you'd like to see at the studio, please contact us by phone or email, or you can submit your comments by filling out the form below.

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Holiday Wishes


tree-with-lights-close-up Quick post from me today before I head off to visit family for some pre-Christmas festivities.


From all of us at Lean Body Lifestyles, we wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to seeing you either at the studio, or here on the blog in 2017!


We have so many exciting things on the horizon for next year, so be sure to watch this space.

All our best,

Erin, Nikki and Sarah


Photo Shoot Day!

Hello again! Hope you’re having a great week. It’s December already. How did that happen? There are some exciting things on the way for the studio! And in preparation for that, we did something I had certainly never done before…

We had a photo shoot! With a professional photographer and everything. She had fancy lenses. And one of those shiny silver foam boards that does something very important—filter the light maybe?

Anyway, Nikki, Sarah and I had a great time, despite our limited nonexistent experience being professionally photographed. I captured some behind-the-scenes images and thought you might want to see them.


food-table  open-house-food

Our craft services table (cue the fancy showbiz terminology!) and the spread from the event we hosted last month should explode the notion that personal trainers don’t eat. These personal trainers LOVE food.

We may have slightly overpacked. I think we each had like six changes of clothes. I didn’t change at all, save for having some photos with my jacket on and some with it off. Nikki changed once. But I guess it’s better to have too many outfits than too few.









See, fancy lenses!


And fancy, silvery board thingy!


Fun fact one: doing a squat is a far, far less awkward experience than having someone photograph you doing a squat. Nothing makes you more aware of every single thing your body is doing at a given moment than having a camera pointed at you while you do it. That's Nikki up there on squat number 212, demonstrating bad squat form and probably wishing she had drafted Sarah or me to model for that shot!


This is our awesome photographer, Willow, explaining to Sarah and Nikki how important it is that however awkward they feel they must try to look like they have never had more fun in their lives.

Fun fact two: no matter how long you’ve worked with someone, it is always weird to spend extended periods of time looking at each other and smiling. I don't have a photo to illustrate that. I just needed to say it. Awkward.

And finally, a few more of the photo shoot. Above you see Willow doing triple duty as photographer, choreographer and hair stylist.

The photos from this shoot will be appearing on the website soon. I'll try to give you a heads up when that happens. I've seen them and they turned out great!

As always, we welcome your comments or questions in the Comments section below.

Have a great weekend, friends!