Posts Tagged ‘family’

I am a Body of Work in Progress

My life is a happy balance ~ Stephanie Joanne

My life is a happy balance ~ Stephanie Joanne

Describing myself and what I do is always the most challenging task. To be very honest, the simple truth is I am a personal trainer. I have been blessed with some great exposure and tv/media opportunities which have opened up some doors for me. The one thing I’m not afraid of is walking towards those doors and making things happen. I really believe that there are no chance meetings. Keeping this in mind, I am always thinking of ways to collaborate with those around me. Currently I am working with a few companies in marketing and the exposure side of their business. Aligning myself with key organizations such as The Treadmill Factory has my time tied up these days.

I was brought up in Europe. Sports and play were daily activities. I did it all. My parents pretty much encouraged me to play and do as much as my spare time could allow. Following a full extracurricular program my memories are of my father playing games outside with me that he played during his childhood. My big brother Jonathan always included me in games that he played with his friends and I played OBA (Ontario Basketball) until I was seventeen. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure that it’s because of this early interaction that I turned into quite the tomboy and sport fanatic. I also joined a gym with my Mom at thirteen years of age and I’ve been in love with fitness ever since. It’s like brushing my teeth. Something feels terribly wrong if I don’t move.

The hardest obstacle for me thus far has been trying to figure out who I am in this role as a “fitness expert”. I spend most of my time with media related obligations and in meetings. Yet somehow all I want to do is wear my tights and workout. Finding balance and making sure I enjoy the process of creating my brand has been my primary focus. My boyfriend frequently reminds me to stop and be grateful for all that I have already accomplished before looking at what is next. I need to be constantly reminded of this.

I keep my workout routine and supplements simple. I box twice a week, hot yoga twice a week and train at the gym three times. I take Cygen Powergreens21 and Cygen Fish Oil. I am obsessed with the new victory bars, my OhYeah and Quest bars have always been a staple. I am in love with this new Yoga place I found. The girl teaching is the best I have come across in YEARS!! Her name is Karin (from YogaTree) and she has me determined to get into all these poses I would have never thought possible. Bending legs behind my head, balance and hand/head stands…all that good stuff!

I have a great team of individuals cheering me on! My Dad offers a welcomed thumbs up and tells his little girl he is proud at times when I feel like I am still that 7 year old girl who does not have a clue what she is doing or where she is going. In reality this is the truth. The older I get the more I realize that “adults” as we knew it when we were kids, don’t quite have it all together like we thought they did. My brother is that guy who will always take care of his little sis; pick me up when and if I fall kind of brother. It sure makes life a lot easier knowing that even when the rest of the world thinks “you’ve made it” on the inside you still need to know that if time ever came and you’re about to fall, that someone’s going to catch you. That person would be my brother, hands down. My best friend Sabrina is the one I literally speak to for at least an hour a day. She is the one who knows all the details. It’s like a very attractive human diary. Then the man behind the woman is Sheldan. Most days after I’m finished running my business and taking on the world, he gets the cranky version of me. The version most would not believe existed. The big joke is that the Stephanie Joanne turns back into the Stephanie Beekhuysen (which is my real name) and all I want to do is sulk and get back rubs. He deals with me and he supports me, which gets him major points all day long. Life really is all about relationships. As long as I value my relationships and the time I spend with the people I love, everything else will fall into place…. I hope!

I'm always going to be Daddy's little girl ~ Stephanie Joanne

I’m always going to be Daddy’s little girl ~ Stephanie Joanne

If remaining committed to fitness is a challenge for you and you’re trying to figure out what’s the best path to success I really think it’s time to start looking inward for the solution. Too often people trust what “experts” have to say and they get caught up in a war of conflicting information. When I get stuck I turn off my cell phone; I turn away from the computer and I sit with a pen and paper. It may take me 5 minutes or it may (and often does) take me all day and night; but I take that much needed time to re-group and journal what it is that I want and more so why I want it. I take the time to answer the important questions, “What does it mean to me? What do I have to do to make my goals happen?” Then I act on it. I strongly suggest that you do the same.

Throughout this entire journey I have found that there really is nothing more important than my time and energy. I have had the fancy job and the fancy title and I reached a place in life where I had to let it go. No regrets! Now, I have the energy to do everything that I am passionate about in my own time.

My message is simple, take control of your life.

Twitter @stefjoanne or


Todd surrounded by his son’s Ben, Luke and Max

Me, today …

I’m on a path that I’m sure is directing me to where I was intended to go with my life. I couldn’t always say that, but I know it’s true today. While I’m not sure where this wonderful journey leads, I trust that all will be well when I reach my final destination.

I consider myself to be a kind, caring and compassionate individual. However, I also am most definitely aware that I’m not perfect—not at all. I’m aware of my weaknesses and my many imperfections. This clarity reminds me to work each day to be better, to be stronger and to strive for progress as a human being. No, I will never be perfect, but I can do my best to do good, be good, and to ask for forgiveness when I fall short.

My interests today include health and fitness, my spirituality, and my family and friends. I enjoy working in my profession of marketing communications/public relations. However, my Big Three are taking care of my body, my soul, and my loves (family and friends). The bliss I feel every day comes from the Big Three.

I’m married and have three children. My sons are ages 16, 13 and 3. That’s quite a gap from the oldest to the youngest, but their varied ages add so much interest and excitement to my everyday life. The boys have always helped me to keep things in perspective and to never lose sight of love. As insane as my life has been at times, those three kids have helped to keep me sane in ways they could never understand. They have given me purpose and value. They are Love. And, Love is my God.

In my role at work I have the privilege of meeting and learning from many who help others. I also get to meet quite a few of the vulnerable people my company serves, and those encounters also help me realize that I’m right where I’m supposed to be with regard to my profession. I’m able to share my purpose and value, and that is hopefully leading to an improved quality of life for those I touch.

Childhood …

Discussing my childhood has never been easy. In fact, it was so hard at times that I ran from the subject. I ran and then even hid in places I should have never visited. I will explain more about that later.

I grew up with three brothers, my mother, and an alcoholic and very mean stepfather. One of my first recollections of childhood is fear. I was fearful from the start. I feared my stepfather and his mental and physical abuse. I feared for my well-being and safety. I was keenly aware of and fearful of the fact that I had a father who showed no love to me.

I’ve learned much about love, and everything I read points to the importance of love in a child’s life. My mother loved me, showed it, and still demonstrates that. But, my stepfather’s spite impacted me in devastating ways, both as a child and as I grew into an adult. I had no confidence, no self-esteem, and felt no sense of security because of him. I carried that with me for a long time. I ran from it as a kid, and as an adult I hid from it–behind many bottles of booze. Again, I’ll explain more about that in just a bit.

I did play sports as a child and excelled in baseball. I loved the game, and when I was on the field I felt happiness. I was away from life’s worries. I could be me, a kid. Those worry-free “me” times were rare, so I cherished baseball and the escape it provided. I was small in stature, but I knew how to play the game, I used my strengths and I did well.

Growing up …

As I grew into my teens and toward high school, our family basically fell apart. My mother divorced my stepfather, but the damage had been done. I stopped playing sports. In fact, I stopped going to high school. I quit. I dropped out of the life I had been living, and entered into a new one. It was the start of my run away. It was the beginning of me hiding.

I worked for two years after that. Those were two pretty uneventful years. As I turned 18, I recognized my mistake and returned to high school for my senior year. I then went on to college, where I graduated in four years with a bachelor of science degree in communications. Much later in life (May 2012), I earned a master’s degree in marketing communication. I had come full circle—a high school dropout turned master’s degree recipient.

It was in college that I began to lift weights and place an emphasis on working out. I noticed quickly that my muscles grew, and my self esteem grew. I worked out all four years of college and continued to do so after. I didn’t place much emphasis on cardio, but after gaining 35 pounds during my college years I realized that simply lifting weights wasn’t going to cut it for me. So, I began running.

As an adult …

Through all the years and with marriage, jobs, children, etc., I continued to work out and run. It indeed made me feel great, but something was still obviously missing. I thought a lot about my past, and I continued to run from it. I often told myself, “You’re fine, look at all you’ve accomplished.” But, I wasn’t fine. I had always drank alcohol, and it slowly evolved into a daily habit. Obviously, it was a very poor daily habit that had serious health consequences, both mentally and physically.

This is where the cat gets out of the bag. I’ve never gone fully public with my alcoholism, and it touches me at the core of my being to do so here. Several friends (and all of my family) are aware of my situation. I’ve always been hesitant to tell this part of my story because of the stigma associated with alcoholism.

People typically don’t understand it, and I don’t expect them to. But, I also don’t want that lack of understanding to turn into negative assumptions. Sure, life sucked during the last couple of years of my drinking because I was so addicted. And the early recovery was harder on me than anything I’ve ever experienced. But, that desperate drinking and subsequent painful recovery experience helped me realize who I really am. You don’t need to understand my alcoholism, but understand that while it crushed me initially, it was a foundation for growth. And I have grown so much.

As I said earlier, I know I’m on a path intended to help me get where I’m supposed to. If I didn’t have difficulties as a child, and if I didn’t suffer through alcoholism, and if I didn’t go through the often painful recovery, I wouldn’t have the peace I have today. It was intended to be this way to help me grow to be me, so I can help lift others.

Life really is so good …

I haven’t had a drink for just over five years, with my sobriety date being October 8, 2007. As I told you, I suffered mightily for about a year after that day. I had also suffered leading up to my breaking point. I lost my soul. But the suffering taught me to let go, to trust something bigger than all of us, to trust others who were willing to help me, and to believe that all will be well.

During my recovery I had a lot of time to consider my past, all the way back to my youth, and I came to grips with it. I accepted it. I learned from it. And finally I grew from it! After all those years I stopped running. I never want to feel that pain again, but I am grateful for it because it was my pathway to peace. No substance could ever make me feel the peace I have today.

Since I stopped drinking I’ve also placed an even greater emphasis on health and fitness. Wow, the bliss I feel after stirring up the naturally produced endorphins the body is willing to produce for anyone willing to sweat!

Physically fit …

I currently work out six or seven days each week. During the week I wake up by 5 a.m. to get my fitness fix. I’ll work two muscle groups one day, two the next day, and one more on the third day. I’ll repeat that routine the next three days, and mostly stick to cardio on the seventh day.

My cardio, in the winter, comprises a 20 to 30 minute walk uphill on the treadmill after my lift. In the summer, I head outside to run after my lift. I’ll run 10 minutes, then sprint my favorite hill five times, and run home 10 minutes. I also mix in a lot of core work (dips, planks, ab wheel/rolls, etc.). I know I need increased flexibility, so my goal is to continue to work toward perhaps a modified Yoga routine.

My diet isn’t as strict as it could be. But, about two years ago I was turned on to the benefits of a protein-filled lean muscle diet. Upon waking I drink a whey protein shake and eat a banana. A couple hours later I’ll eat breakfast, which can comprise plain Greek yogurt, a cheese stick, almonds, oatmeal or egg whites, wheat toast or wheat crackers. Lunch is light, with the same types of food. I’ll snack throughout the afternoon on nuts, almonds mostly. Dinner is typically not the friendliest of my meals, but I do have a family and it’s difficult to try to convince them (especially the kids) that we should eat lean turkey, avocado, and Greek yogurt every day. So, I’m more flexible with that meal, but I always include a whey powder protein shake afterward.

I’ll eat a snack right about 7 or 8 p.m., trying my best to stick to a pear and some almonds. Before bed I’ll drink a whey protein shake and eat a scoop of almond or peanut butter. I take no supplements other than whey protein powder shakes, of which I’ll drink about three per day.

Accomplishments, and what drives me …

My greatest accomplishment in life is my responsibility to my children. I will never let them down. I know all too well how that feels. No child should suffer like that. Another accomplishment is the battle with alcoholism. I struggled so much mentally and physically for almost a year once I stopped. I’ll never forget that pain because it keeps me motivated and inspired to live a life that gives me natural highs. A life full of fitness and love, both which produce an endorphin no beer company could produce in a bottle.

The battles I fight today are personal. It’s Me versus Me. Be humble. Help others. Be grateful in all circumstances. Be fit. Be happy. What drives me toward these things daily are the feelings and endorphins and the high I get afterward. My body and brain benefit from fitness. My soul and spirit benefit from giving and sharing love. I give what I seek. I also write about it all, and that helps my spirit, as well. My blog site is listed below. Wow, I love the writer’s high I get from that blog. Sharing and hopefully helping.

These things fill my voids that are instinctive or otherwise. I want to be the best I can be for me AND for you. I want to inspire. I want others to know they can overcome. I want others to know that if they have no one else to count on, they can count on me. I will be that person. I care. I understand. I support.

We all have our own problems, and some of them even reach demon status. If you lack motivation, or if you hurt, or if you have doubts, or if you think you can’t overcome life’s problems and demons, think about what I just said about pain and a pathway to peace.

You want encouragement? Contact me. I’ll call you. I’ll Email you. You will hear it in my voice. You will feel it in my passion. I want you to have what I have. Because I know how good it is. It can save you the way it saves me. It’s physical. It’s spiritual. It’s Love. And it all starts down in the soul. Join me there. Peacelove!

Twitter: @ToddPMc


Keep Things In Perspective


Adjust fitness goals
Tis the season to be jolly fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!! For many people, keeping to your current fitness routine can be very difficult. Simply adjusting goals such as changing the number of workouts per week or adding to the miles you walk or run on the treadmill during the holidays can help you stay on track and go into the new year with a positive attitude.

Develop a holiday fitness plan
Take the time to plan out the next few weeks to be sure you’ve got workout time scheduled, among the other activities. Mark your workouts on the calendar and consider it as important as any other appointment. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity daily, and more if possible. By physically seeing the complete holiday “picture” you can effectively schedule your personal time and the calendar makes you more accountable to your responsibilities (to others and yourself).

Identify obstacles
Although you have a plan, obstacles and challenges are inevitable. Take the time to think about the types of obstacles that will get in the way of your scheduled workouts. Once you’ve identified the obstacles, work on the solutions to overcome them. For example, try scheduling your workouts first thing in the morning before any other scheduling changes can occur. Or, add a 10-minute exercise break into your road trip.


Stick to your meal plan. It’s ok to indulge in veggies!

One day at a time
Know that Newton’s Law is in full effect. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Things will inevitably need to change to accommodate unpredictable situations. Just take it one day at a time. If you miss a workout, figure out another time where you can realistically fit it in. If you can’t fit in a whole workout, do as much as you can in the time that you have available. Try breaking your workout into four 15-minute exercise blocks.

Recognize victories
Reward yourself for your dedication to your fitness goals. Don’t get so caught up in the hectic nature of the season to lose sight of the small victories, like squeezing in a 10-minute walk between work and the office holiday party.

Enjoy the time with your family and friends
Involve your family in your workouts. Turn off the television and take a walk or bike ride with the kids to look at Christmas lights and holiday decorations in your neighborhood. Or, if the weather is nice, take a trip to a nearby park.
Go ice-skating, or skiing. Dance or exercise to your favorite holiday music. Make a New Year’s resolution with friends to start a daily walking or running group. Most of all enjoy the NOW! Be present in the moment, and if you indulge so be it. You’ve earned it. Happy Holidays!!

Your friends at Socially Fit

An Intro to

I have two sons. A five-year old and a one-year old. I’m fiercely protective of them so I never use their names. I’m their Poppa first, and their protector second. They are a big part of why I decided to start They motivate me to show them the importance of health, and the value of a physically strong body. I’ve always had an interest in nutrition and what our body can do, but five years ago when my first son was born it became a full-time thing. The site is a reflection of that.

I was active in sports as a kid, but I wasn’t a great athlete. I’d say a good one, but there were always kids that were bigger, stronger or faster than I was. I developed physically pretty late in that respect. I honestly don’t think I finished filling out until my mid 20’s. I was always pretty skinny. I lifted a little in high school, but not seriously. I was more of a party guy to be honest up until my first son was born!

I was always very interested in learning about fitness. Even when I hadn’t started training with weights at all I understood more than many do that have lifted for years. Nutrition and the body have always been something that I learn about every day of my life. Always have. I used to drive people crazy I bet. I’d know what was in what they were eating, and what their body was doing at a young age. It’s a weird obsession I guess.

I’ve lived a pretty colorful life. Extremely actually. I’m not going into detail, but you can read into that, and you’ll probably be close. Training has replaced the rush that living a certain lifestyle used to provide. The power you feel playing in a band on a stage is something you have to experience to believe. Especially the bigger venues. The monitoring that you get up there, the kick drum almost knocks you over. It’s unreal. Training has become that for me. Sharing what I know about it has become very fulfilling as well. I love the interaction with those that are also passionate.

I aim to live a very long time for my kids. I aim to be very ready for any situation that may arise where I need to be physically on my game on a seconds notice for my kids. I live for my kids. My partner Amy, and my kids are my whole world. They are the greatest motivation I could ever need. I think my fitness life is something they are used to. It’s all my kids have ever known. I’m sure I drive them nuts with it too! My kids don’t get spanked-they do push-ups. Really. 

Self doubt, and fear are the obstacles that we as human beings must all overcome. My fondest memories of fitness are just beginning! I am meeting incredible people throughout this journey so far-you know who you are! I aim to be around a long while. I have a very long plan already mapped and I’m staying the course. I’m up at five am, 7 days a week, to train. That may be outdoors, that may be in the gym. I train as hard as my body lets me. Sometimes I go ballistic, sometimes I coast.  I do a lot of circuit training, sprints, and core. I did a 10 minute plank today. That’s common. My meal plan changes quite often. I’m very big on whey concentrate, water, peanut butter, and molasses. That’s the ‘meal’ that I eat usually three times a day. The food part of my diet changes. Sometimes no carbs, sometimes a lot. I’m a feast or famine guy. Carbs are a supplement to me. Load up and grow, cut back and get lean. 

 My goals are to take as far as I can. I want to have it be sustainable in the near future. There’s a plan, and I follow it. Amy-@MrsToronto1 does everything to do with the site. She is constantly working on it. We’re getting ready to do something with it soon, so it’s a constant job for her. Carlos Flores has done an amazing job with researching various articles, and has really started to develop as a writer himself. Lately some of the posts have been entirely written by him. He has a bright future ahead of him. Andrew Young is someone who has been working with me since day one in a few different capacities. He really got my writing abilities up to speed very quickly. We’re working on a few other things now that will be surfacing sooner or later. Video is in development now also. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so until it’s where I know it can be, it will continue to be a work in progress.

My motto is ‘love the training, enjoy the results’. I think that says it all. You need to find a reason to love anything you’re going to make part of your life. If it’s a chore, you won’t last long.  There is no excuse not to take care of yourself-ever. We all are worth it, so get up, get going, and go get what’s yours!

Thanks for reading.

Matt,, @MattToronto1, these are the places I’m connected to 24/7/365.

There’s No Improvement Like Self-Improvement

Kaizen is a word I have adopted over the past two months and it has become one of my many mantras. It is Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better” refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, game development, and business management. It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, banking, and other industries*.

I apply it to my personal life, love, family, work place, and yes… fitness.

Wanting a better version of yourself is nothing to be ashamed of. It does not mean that you are unhappy with who you are, it implies that you know that you are capable of more than you already are. I firmly believe this and I set out every morning to prove it to myself and those around me. We should all look for self-improvement in one part of our life. Make today the day that you improve upon your run, the day that you go above and beyond at work, or the day you keep those promises that you have made to your loved ones.

Everyday we rise to shine.


*Source: Wikipedia