Looking the Part

Toned muscle, low body fat, and bad-ass abs! 2013 I walked across the stage to complete my first and last competition. I had a snobby ass attitude to go with my purple crushed velvet competition suit. My friends and family cheered as I walked across the stage and completed my well rehearsed routine. It was my time to shine. It was my time to sell it. I was in fact a mom of 2 who lost 80 lbs and defeated the “mom bod”. Yes, I was a bad mamma jamma!


In fact the words bad mamma couldn’t begin to describe my downward spiral and loss of self identity. My kids 5 and 3, my husband serving our country in Afghanistan, and me drowning my self in workouts and secret binge eating. The words “You need to look the part” pumped like a heartbeat in my head. I was not worthy yet to be a tier two personal trainer, because my body fat still sat at 20%, you couldn’t see muscle striations, and I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to push more and I needed to eat less. I needed to be more than myself, because my self wasn’t good enough. I needed to look like the women in “Muscle and Fitness Her’s” Magazine. I needed to be able to say I was a fitness model. But really I was just a momma looking for a sense of accomplishment. I needed to prove doctors wrong about my strength. Doctors whose opinion should not have really mattered to me. Doctors who were long since out of my life. “LEG DAY NOV 21, 2012-100LB sumo dead lift! Get it! They told me nine years ago I wouldn’t! ha” I posted and bragged on instgram. What the hell did it matter what was said 9 years ago? I proved them wrong the first time I ever road a BMX bike again and that was in 2004, less than a year after my car accident.

20170801_225101Why was I steady trying to prove greatness. As if I needed anyone’s approval besides my family, who I abandoned so I could workout and binge eat in secret. I pushed everyone aside and thought of no one, but my self. I was a selfish nightmare who was constantly seeking approval of people who didn’t matter. Everyone loved me, but me? No, I hated myself. I hated that I wasn’t small enough, I couldn’t lift enough, and I still had stretch marks. I was never good enough.
I wasn’t a good mom and I failed at being a good wife. I failed at every aspect of life, but I sure did “Look the part.” That’s what mattered to me? Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to impress?

My kids didn’t want someone else to put them in bed at night because mommy was completing her 90 minutes of cardio and her 60 minute weight lifting session. No they wanted their mom to read them a story and sing them a song, but mommy was too busy posting “flexy” pictures on instagram and striving to look the part.

20170801_225123 They wanted mommy to take them to the park to play, but mommy was too impatient and had too many workouts to write. That’s right I was a bad mamma jamma. In fact a horrible one, I greeted my husband with anger over skype, meanwhile he was serving in Afghanistan not guaranteed tomorrow. Yeah, I was bad mamma jamma. He built me up and I tore him down.


2014 I lost twins to a miscarriage and it didn’t matter if I looked the part. No it didn’t matter if I looked healthy, because I really wasn’t. Improper nutrition and secret amenorrhea took its toll on me. Who cares that I was really healthy as long as I could lift and compete? All of that training and carb cycling for what? I wasn’t fooling myself anymore. I was not healthy at all. In fact I killed my self in the gym and hurt those close to me for nothing. I trained to look like something I wasn’t. I couldn’t fool my body by the way I looked. Now, it was not a fact that my “fitness” habits had any bearing on my miscarriage, but I am sure they didn’t help.

Photo credit Krystal C. Photography

Since 2014 I haven’t trained to look the part. No I have trained to be healthy. I have trained so I can keep up with my four kids. I have trained to hike up a couple thousand feet and recover without regret. I eat to fuel my body and not shape it. Yeah, I don’t “look” the part anymore. I look like a mom who loves to be with her kids, a wife who adores her husband, and a woman who loves her self with all her flaws. No, I don’t have that bad-ass six pack anymore or that 12% body fat, but I do have endurance and strength to carry 2 kids plus essentials up the side of the mountain. I don’t have 25k of personal training revenue a month any more, but I do have the time to spend raising my family. No I don’t look the part anymore, I am the part. I am the trainer who loves training clients to feel and move better. To teach them that the real value comes from feeling and moving better, the looks are a bonus. When someone tells me they want to look like some one else, I discourage it with every fiber of my being. You don’t need to look like someone else, because you were never meant to be someone else. When someone tells me you don’t look like a mom, I tell them looks are deceiving.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Bindi Irwin



Bow Hunting and Your Shoulders

imageWhen it comes to archery, the maintenance of your shoulders and rotator cuffs is extremely important to prevent any type of injury, especially overuse. As for every physical activity, there is a proper way to recover and prevent future overuse injuries.

Shoulder impairments, caused by over use are very common injuries and are often avoidable. In fact, rotator cuff injuries (such as strains, tendinopathy, or ruptures) account for nearly 75-80% of shoulder injuries in the US.

Shoulder instability and shoulder impingement takes place in the capsuloligamentous structures (demonstrated in the image below). These shoulder impingements are typically recognized by a pinching sensation that occurs when the arm is raised and by accompanying pain while moving through the rotator cuff. This injury usually arises from overuse of overhead movement of the shoulders ie: swimming, pitching in baseball, or tennis. Shoulder instability develops when the muscles outside Glenohumeral joint don’t work effectively to stabilize the humerus.

So how do these injuries affect archers? Let us talk about shoulder anatomy, and just how it affects how well you are able to perform as an archer or bow hunter. Your rotator cuff is highly involved in every process of shooting a bow. Not only does it take great strength in the rotator cuff to pull your bow back, it also stabilizes the arm while you aim for that perfect shot.

shoulder impairment prevention-3
Moffat, Marilyn. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. New York: Owl Book/Henry Holt, 1999. Print.
shoulder impairment prevention-2
Moffat, Marilyn. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. New York: Owl Book/Henry Holt, 1999. Print.

Your rotator cuff is made of many different bones, muscles, joints and ligaments that all work together during this process. The four bones that make up your shoulder are the scapula, sternum, clavicle, and acromion. These four bones become the working joints of your shoulder. Acromioclavicular (AC joint), Glenohumeral (GH joint), Sternoclavicular (SC joint), and your Scapulathoracic (ST joint). These four joints — in particular the GH joint — are under a great deal of stress during archery. Most of the movement involved in your rotator cuff comes from the GH joint. This is a ball joint and is at the top of your humerus (arm bone) and top of your scapula. This joint is a ball and socket joint that moves in indefinite directions.

But it is not just the bones at work. There are approximately 56 muscles that are used when drawing your bow back; 26+ of them are in your shoulder. The muscles in your shoulder that are used to draw your bow back are your pectoralis major/minor, teres major/minor, subscapularis, Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, deltoid, levator scapularis, rhomboid major/minor and your serratus anterior.shoulder impairment prevention-1

Axford, R. (1995). Archery anatomy: An introduction to techniques for improved performance. London: Souvenir.

When drawing your bow back you require the use of not one, but both rotator cuffs; thus, form plays a huge role in injury prevention and muscle impairment. There are two different ways of shoulder loading during the draw back of your bow:


High Preparation

  1. High preparation- During high preparation drawback your strength and force is above your shoulder joints during prep and follow through of your shot.

“V” Draw (Low Draw)

  1. “V” Draw or low preparation- When using the “V” draw, everything is maintained below the shoulder joints during the prep, and follow through, of your shot.


Both of these methods allow for less stress upon the shoulder joints when drawing the bow.
Now that we have covered the anatomy of your shoulder and it’s action during use of your bow, let’s discuss flexibility and exercises that will help prevent over-use injury and increase strength and stability for the future.

The Warm Up: 

A warm up is essential to any workout program to prevent future injuries. As a form of flexibility training, I recommend the use of self-myofascial release (SMR). Self-myofascial release is the use of tools to help muscles lengthen and increase the blood flow with in the muscle. Your body will benefit from using SMR because it will help correct any muscle imbalances you may have, release knots in your muscles (trigger points), as well as shut down those over active muscles. Foam rollers are a great type of SMR. Foam rollers use applied pressure to locate tender spots and melt tension away. To achieve release, run the roller over your sore muscle and, when you feel an increase of tenderness, hold the position and apply local pressure for 30 seconds at minimum.

SMR/Foam Roller Exercises:

  • Wall Angels with tennis ball
  • Seated Shoulder Drops (Lengthwise on foam roller): Reach out your shoulder blades as far as you can spread them, then draw shoulder blades back and pinch your shoulder blades directly back (imagine pinching a penny)
  • Seated Open T (Lengthwise on the foam roller). Inhale opening your arms to a “T” position and Exhale when bringing them back to the front of your chest.
  • Forearms-
  • Lats (Latissimus Dorsi)-
  • Chest release-  Foam roller positioned vertically across chest extend arms out to side and keeping your abs tight slowly lift your arms off of the floor.
  • Bicep Release
  • Deltoid release
  • Low back release

After these SMR techniques, begin a dynamic warm up.

Dynamic warm ups use your body’s force to lubricate your joints for full range of movement. Think “aerobic” instead of “stationary”:

  • Shoulder rotations.
  • Lift and chop
  • Arm Circles
  • Lunge with twist
  • Windmills
  • Arm W for 30 second
  • Right/left for 30 seconds

The Workout!

The moment you’ve been waiting for. These are perfect exercises to increase strength and stability in your rotator cuff. You will want to choose a weight efficient enough you can complete 3 sets for 15- 20 reps :

  • Push up plus 3 x 15-20
  • Sword draw Cable 3 x 15-20
  • Facepulls- 3 x 15-20
  • Ball shoulder Combo I 3 x 15
  • Renegade rows 3x 15-20
  • Ropes Circles In/Out 3 x 30 seconds (Endurance)
  • Ropes quick waves 3 x 25 seconds (Endurance)

Now that you have completed your workout, be sure to cool down using static stretching as well as SMR techniques mentioned above. This workout will help you be a better bow hunter as well as prevent future injuries in your shoulders. I hope you enjoy this workout!

Works Cited
Clark, Michael, Scott Lucett, and Rodney J. Corn. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008. Print.Wilkins.
Moffat, Marilyn. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. New York: Owl Book/Henry Holt, 1999. Print.
Axford, R. (1995). Archery anatomy: An introduction to techniques for improved performance. London: Souvenir.
Knopf, Dr. Karl. Healthy Shoulder Handbook. N.p.: n.p., n.d.Print.
Clark, M., & Lucett, S. (2011). NASM’s essentials of corrective exercise training. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.