Free Will


This is an awesome month for me. I am leaving the Country for a vacation. I have had lots of changes in my life and before the holidays start pouring in, I will take advantage of this time to get away and recharge my batteries. But while my batteries are recharging, I have a slew of clients who will be without my guidance for one month. That bothers me because I hold myself somewhat accountable for their fitness success. It also bothers me because I have heard , “what will I do without you?” several times from several people. I hope and pray they do well,” it’s only four weeks”, I say. I want to come back to a bunch of in shape clients, but somehow there is a little voice inside my head telling me if I vacation- so will my clients. I don’t want that to happen.

This brings me to the blog title-“Free will”…  We all have free will, and no matter who thinks they hold you accountable- ultimately it is you who makes the decisions for yourself. Yes you can have a trainer you love and respect, but ultimately you will only tell them the answers you think they want to hear. Otherwise if you let them down too many times, you may feel like a failure, leading you to basically do what you can to avoid contact with that trainer again. No matter how much you  loved them and what they did for you.

I understand this because over the years I have lost clients, not because I didn’t do a good job training them, but because they made choices that were opposite of working out and getting in shape and they hated the feelings they got facing me. It’s easier to avoid me. “Free Will”.  I am not the work- out or nutrition police, though some consider that my title. I guess it makes them feel good. I don’t know why, but it’s like they want someone to judge them when they make poor choices regarding nutrition and fitness. I don’t like that title, but it is a part that I usually succumb to because it is in demand from some ( not all) clients.

So I am saying to you, especially while I am gone, If you must think of me every time you are faced with a tempting  food product or the right to stay home instead of go to the gym, if that is what gets you going and making good decisions, then do it, I will understand, but really ultimately I want to help you and guide you to understand this exercise thing- although it sucks to have to do it when you really want to do other things , is good for you . Better  you know now. I have had clients get frustrated when they hit a plateau, and for one reason or another they stop training with me, thinking it is doing no good, but what they don’t know is in a year of not doing anything they will look and feel terrible and  regret that they ever stopped.

”Free will”

It’s all about your will. This month you are on your own.  I know you can do it, heck you have been seeing me long enough to have some good habits in place. I know a month seems like an eternity but I will return. I look forward to seeing you again, but I really need this time away. I know it will be good for me. Let’s make it good for you also. Make good choices and let’s see if anything I taught you has stuck with you, if not, I will still enjoy seeing you when I return.  And I will kick you butt!

Coach Wendy

For Females only…

This is a personal blog, although most on my blogs are somewhat personal, this one is about my health. Specifically, female health. So guys, this will not interest you, but LADIES read carefully.  This is about the health that we all sign waivers for while at our doctor’s office.

I have always lived a “healthy” lifestyle. I have been aware of what goes in my body for years and prior to my awareness, lived healthy because my family taught me to do so. This experience was a big shocker to me. I am currently being treated with a medication that I don’t want to take, for something I never thought I would have. Without exact details, I had a few tests that my Doctor thought suspect which led her to do an exploratory surgery. After the surgery, I knew she had been successful, but after the biopsies were sent out to the lab, I waited in fear of what I thought may be the worst. I am a Christian and I prayed and believed God would heal me, but I still felt unsettled in my mind when I would wonder about the results. Then the day happened when the Dr. Office called. They said they couldn’t give me the results over the phone; I would have to come in.

Of course it was a Thursday and the Dr. was out until the following week. So guess who had a pretty agonizing weekend? By the time I got to her office expecting the worst, I got ok news, but not total clearance (which I had expected prior to the call). Of all the things she removed, one had unusual cells.

I am praying and believing it will be much better next time, but let me tell you, although she didn’t say the “C” word, I know what crazy unusual overgrowing cells were indicative of.   Some of my closest friends have suggested I go ahead and have a hysterectomy. Unfortunately, I want all my parts and thanked God the Dr. did not want to do that yet. She put me on a medication that I must take every day for 3 months.  After that routine, assuming there are no complications, I will go through another minor surgery for biopsies and a clean bill of health.

On the bright side, I have been on the medication for almost one month. Although my Dr. said I will gain weight, I have lost 2 lbs.(thanks to my new accountability partner called “My Fitness Pal”)

I feel fine, somewhat tired at times, but mostly like my mind is in a cobweb, another way of saying I cannot think clearly. I have read that those are all classic symptoms of what this pill is doing with my hormones. This is not an article for guys, but for women who read this, just be mindful and recognize when your body has symptoms that are not “normal” for you. I realized this after 4 months of abnormal signs to my routine monthly issues. Lucky for me, I have a diligent Dr. who wanted to look inside up close and personal, which is aggressive yet conservative. She has my interests at heart. Feel comfortable with your female Dr. and beware of what you will go thorough when you start reaching that wonderful thing called menopause. One thing I cannot stress enough- no matter what all your friends say about their weird menopause symptoms- Yours are unique to YOU and you must know yourself well enough to know when something is “just not right

Clearly, I am not out of the woods yet. Late November, I go back under the knife.  Until then, I believe I am healed, I feel healed, and mostly I know I am on top of things, with a great physician standing next to me. With my healthy lifestyle, my God with me and my Dr. on my side, I believe I will be writing blogs about good things for many, many years to come. This is a message to those of you who want to live a long healthy life alongside me. Take care of yourselves and be diligent!

Coach Wendy



Wendy RussoGluttony: glut·ton·y

/[gluht-n-ee] noun

Excessive eating and drinking.

Habitual eating to excess.

Synonyms: gormandizing, intemperance, voracious


 Eating to excess: personified as one of the deadly sins

Proverbs 23:21– For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty and drowsiness (laziness) shall clothe a man with rags….

Wow, even in biblical times, eating to excess was an issue to be heeded. Unfortunately, we didn’t take heed for long.

Am I wrong to say that this country is in a state of overweight?  Maybe to get a grip on changing it, we should come to terms with the word- GLUTTONY.

I was on the phone with a close friend the other day. The subject of our conversation always seems to lead to what we are doing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We both strive to live a healthy lifestyle. It is definitely a work in progress, all the time. We discussed a very sensitive subject and how it related to us personally.

That subject is: GLUTTONY.

I personally have been battling weight gain since Thanksgiving.  I went on a feast that apparently got out of control. This led me to gain extra body fat that I am not comfortable with. Each Holiday season I traditionally allow myself a few extra pounds but typically by February, it is gone and I am back to feeling great again. Not this time. I have been caught in what seems like an abyss of the downward spiral. Fully aware that if I continue, my little fat will become more, then before I know it; I could go over the edge. It is a serious and sensitive subject because after contemplation, discussion and study, I believe  that I must come to terms with gluttony.  As my friend put it, we are stuffing our faces with so much food until satisfaction and sometimes beyond, while there are others starving all over the world. Why??? Can every overweight person be accused of gluttony?  What is it that makes us so dependent on food, not for survival but for pleasure? Even while on a diet I must admit, I look so forward to each and every meal. I cannot imagine a life not eating. When I am tempted with sweet treats on a day I allow them, I become a glutton. I can’t stop.

I understand that gluttony has similarities to alcoholism (view the Bible verse above) Coming from a friend of mine who is sober now (once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic) every time he is faced with temptation to drink, he has to make a choice. When the choice is put in his face it’s usually tempting. Ultimately, he chooses no. With food, we allow ourselves to partake with little to no limits.  Why decline?  After all, it will not kill us, chances are we won’t overeat at a party and go out and cause an accident in our car because we ate too much junk food.  We allow gluttony. That is all it is, plain and simple, defined, eating to excess.

Think about it. When was the last time you ate to excess?  I have been using an app on my cell phone called “my Fitness pal”…. It is not yet my pal…. It is a tool to track every little thing I put in my mouth. The first few days I was involved in scanning and tracking. The next few days I spent noticing I have a problem with food. Unless I am on a specific “diet”, and sticking to it, I have a problem.

I like to graze or eat until I am full. Innocent enough, until I realized a little here, a little there, adds up. Thanks to my fitness pal , attempting to become my friend.

After 4 weeks of tracking I have not lost a pound of fat- or a pound of weight for that matter. What does that tell you? That I have gone over my allotment more times than I have gone under. Just hitting the number is a big celebration for me. Why is that? Sure I can lose water from one day to the next, but I know what fat is and I know what I need to lose. At the end of the day if I attained my goals, I am thrilled, but as I sit here this evening, with about two hours to go till bedtime, I am hungry. Guess what? My new fitness pal says I already made my goals today.  I refuse to go over. I think about my conversation the other day and about the starving people in this world who would be overjoyed to have one meal like I ate today. And I can’t imagine a life like that.

It is real easy to get caught up in gluttony.  Eating to excess. Why do we do it?

I am here to tell you that I am a happy, healthy person. I stay busy, I have all I need, my life is fulfilled, and yet I love to eat. Despite what you may think, I enjoy eating.

Have you noticed that there are more overweight people than underweight? (not including folks under 25 years old) How does one get overweight? Eating to excess.  Plain and simple. You cannot out exercise a bad diet, ever. So why do we do this? My peers and I could talk for days upon days and probably never come up with all the reasons, excuses or issues that we have heard.

Allow me, plain and simple: Gluttony- Eating to excess.

             I suck at math but this equation is simple:

                           Excess food = Excess weight

You cannot get around it. Neither can I. Yet I wonder and I think, but no matter the outcome of my pondering, studying, and long intellectual conversations, I realize I eat to excess. YOU think about that today. Reflect on that simple fact. Don’t think about the reasons.  And look where you are today with your self-regarding gluttony.

I know where I am, I know where I have to be. I must make a conscious decision each and every day of my life to keep my mouth shut when I have the chance to eat more than I should. I have to do what I know to do to make it work. I will not allow this to get me. Once my “Fitness pal” really becomes my friend, I am sure I will have succeeded.  How about you?


Starting Over 2014

We all go through trials in life. Just when we think everything is great, boom! It hits you out of nowhere. But it’s those who rebound quickly who can look at it knowing that this too will pass and mostly, we will come out stronger on the other side. That’s what keeps me going. One of my favorite Bible verses is James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy my brother’s when you face trails of every kind, for the testing of your faith produces patience and perseverance” ….

The year 2013 closed out well for me. But I had some issues going on for the last few years that were only getting worse. Topping it all off my cat of 12 years died after a long battle with cancer. That hit me very hard. But then I had some other issues to face. Possibly going through menopause (at 51 it seems inevitable), may have played a role in this. Men would equate it to the mid-life crisis. I didn’t have the desire to get a young guy and spend money on a convertible (although I love cars and would like to have a second car convertible) but I was in a marriage that was not going well. Without getting personal, maintaining privacy,  it was decision time. I had been mulling over this the past few years. Working on making it better, working on making me better, working on making us better. I was unsuccessful. In January I decided to make a change. I had to “do it now” or continue on another year or so, then do it later- which made no sense.  I made the decision to file for divorce. It was easy at first; I left home and began my mission to start all over again.

Four months later, the divorce was final on May 12th, 2014. The day was a whirlwind, but I pretty much fell apart through the emotions of at all, in private of course.

This blog is not about divorce. This blog is about starting over. I am starting a new year and a new life at 51 years old and counting….

Physically, I had maintained my fitness level but I felt tired way too much and had gained 5 lbs of pure fat right around my once beautiful abs. So I went to the Dr. for testing and found my cortisol levels were tanked through the floor, again after 5 years of being perfect. That made me feel better because I know exactly what to do to fix that. Immediately, I decided to take a “before “photo and start a 12 week transformation. I settled on a good meal plan- tighter and cleaner than it has been in months, and made a workout schedule I could stick to. I know it has only been a few days but I feel better already. Once this week is over, I will know I succeeded and it went well. I can say it took me about 6 months of being undisciplined to get to this point.  I am there and it feels like normal again.

I just want what all of you want- I want the results right here and now.  BUT, I know that won’t work, so I look forward to the 12th week when I can take some new photos and post them proudly.

Yes, I am proclaiming it right here and now. My health matters first because as I always say, “without my health, I am no good to anyone- especially myself” Good bye junk food, comfort foods and haphazard workouts. I am writing everything down and journaling my success. No matter how experienced we are at this- keeping a journal and staying accountable are always the 2 major things involved in a successful transformation. After all, without planning, we plan to fail. I will not fail. I have a new life to start, it will be hard but I know I have to look forward to the daily task of eating and working out and the transformation I will go though.  I have great friendships, relationships with friends and family and I love life. I love God and His grace, mercy and kindness. I love my ex-husband, and I will always love him.  I will continue to live, love and be loved every day I am breathing. I thank you all for listening and supporting me. After all- I must continue to be a light that shines in the world of darkness for anyone who wants to look to me as an example. I am doing it, so join me in this next 12 weeks in making positive and healthy changes in your life. We will do this!

Coach Wendy

A Safe Place

Coach Wendy,  Personal trainer and nutrition coach

We all know what a “safe place” means. Most people are pretty aware of some places that are not safe to go to. When we think of a safe place we usually think of some place that we are not in danger of being hurt. Rarely do we use “safe place” to describe a person. Recently I spent some time studying the importance for us to make ourselves a “safe place”.  When we are getting through hurts and issues in our own lives, sometimes we take things out on others. To those we lash out on or judge, we are not being a safe place. Through studying the Word of God and my own transformation, I recently had a clear revelation about people who are not a “safe place”. I already knew that I should stay away from people who are not a safe place, but there had to be more, right? I was able to come up with lots of things that define what makes a person unsafe, and then I thought, “ok, so what good is knowing without application?” I began to think of ways I can actually be a safe place. My intention is not to attack anyone for being unsafe. Doing so would make me unsafe. My intention is to encourage myself and even you, to ask the question, “Am I a safe place?” It is important to me that I have a desire for my face book page and website to be a safe place. Many people pour their hearts out to me, some for the first time in their lives. We are all in search of something better for our future, and when we approach someone we come fully clothed and protected from all the world’s hurts. As we feel comfortable, we slowly take off our layers of self-protection until we stand vulnerable sometimes on social media in front of people we do not even know. And that is where the healing can begin, or could end if someone brutally attacks us while we are standing in our vulnerability. When we pass judgment on someone out of the hurt and warped world we are coming from, we are not considered a “safe place”. It takes a clear consciousness to communicate with others when you are going through your own wounds. You must stop and think before you speak,” How can I be a safe place?” At some points in our life we will encounter a person who is not a safe place and before we realize what and how, they have said something to attack our character that could devastate us. This happened to me recently. Because (thank God) I am healed in many ways- I was able to stand back and realize this person is not a safe place. My knee jerk reaction was to attack back- that is when I realized I MUST be a safe place. I must love, forgive and pray for. After all, my full time job is to control my actions and reactions. I have no control over others actions. So by saying all this, I want to proclaim that I will pay attention to my motives and actions doing everything I can do to make me a “safe place”. Then I can provide a safe environment for others that are healing. If you know someone who is not a “safe place” it may be a good idea to let them know they are not being a safe place and then pray for them as they get through their healing. People act differently as they get through their hurts. You can be a safe place while you are healing your own. You just need awareness. Attacking others is not an acceptable way to get through your issues. My question for everyone to ask themselves today is, “Am I a safe place?” Focus on YOU!

Cleaning closets

Usually we wait for the Spring to clean out closets. Because I live in Florida we are over the little bit of cold weather.  I will start cleaning my closet this month. I believe it is like a New Years resolution. Start fresh at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately most of you have to wait till Spring because of the freezing cold weather and needing those heavy winter clothes.

 I use the one year rule- if I haven’t worn it in one year- it gets removed.

You now can ask, “How does this pertain to living a healthy lifestyle and working out coach?”

I have always strived to be a modest and humble person. Yet, I have had a great life. I have been on top of the world. I have gathered lots of material things in my life. I have had great jobs, great friends and great teachers. I lived in great houses, great neighborhoods, driven great cars and had great clothes. Although I got caught up in material things sometimes- ultimately, I never allowed these things to define my life.  I never want people to look at my stuff wishing they had what I had- ever.  And this is the reason- because real life is not the one going on around you, the one others see, or the one you think you have

*Real life is what’s going on inside you.*

Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is within you”, righteousness, peace and joy. The life that matters and defines us is the life inside us. What we need to go after is a relationship with God and a relationship with ourselves which leads to relationship with others. After all- how many people can you look at and think by seeing their money and success that they “have it all , but you have no idea what’s going on inside them. Sadly it can be really bad. (Michael Jackson is one example of that.)  No matter how great it looks on the outside.   Changing our minds(cleaning our closets) is so utterly important. People can say to me, “ I wish I had your body” but they don’t realize it’s what’s inside me that kept me going all these years to stay in shape. occasionally, someone will say to me, ” it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to look like that”. They get it.

If someone is not willing to change the inside, yes, the outside can still change, but only for a short time because soon the bad seed inside will grow again and destroy the outside.  I would like people to notice the inside- as well as the outside. And not so much to notice as to REALIZE and then want to do what it takes. I understand the importance of change and I am passionate about doing what I can to help change the world. I feel that passion inside me as I continue to work on what matters most- the inside.  Back to cleaning my closet. Do you see the correlation here?

You can start today by changing your mind, one thought at a time, to make healthy changes in your life. Clean your closet, you pantry the things that will help you feel better about yourself. then take a look at the inside. your personal “closet” so to speak. Then by this, you will start to see some healthy changes going on inside of you which will lead to good things all around you.

Enjoy your cleaning! Coach Wendy

5 Things to do for 7 days to help get the holiday fat off


1. THROW out ALL of the junk food from your house. I know its hard but if it’s out of sight it will be out of mind, too. (Calories saved = 1500 per day… maybe more.)

2. Increase fiber intake to 40 grams per day. (Most Americans only get 15.) This will help clean out “toxic junk” from your digestive system  AND help you feel full longer. High-fiber foods include: barley, beans, bran, sprouted grain cereal, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, sweet potatoes, broccoli and Oats.

3. Drop total sugar intake to 30 grams or less per day.  Only getting your sugar from fruits and unprocessed carbohydrates. Sugar causes belly fat and bloating, it lowers your immune system, and it is highly addictive. Lose it and you’ll lose those pesky cravings, too.

4. Drink a gallon of water a day to help flush your system and to improve your natural calorie-burning metabolism. If you aren’t properly hydrated you won’t burn the fat as fast as you could. And the hangover headaches will pound!

5. Exercise twice a day for 30 to 45 minutes a session. Remember… body fat is just stored fuel. To burn it, you gotta move!

So there are 5 easy tips that can help you keep over 1000 excess calories off your body this week. after 7 days- you should be primed and ready to keep it lean this year.

Coach Wendy

Merry Christmas!!

The next two days I will celebrate Christmas with my family. I am hoping that most of you will be celebrating Christ’s birthday somewhere with someone you know .  One thing stands out in my mind this time of year. That is this- whether you have a good Christmas or a bad Christmas- remember- it is only one day out of 365. But good bad or indifferent, it isn’t about you , me or the kids with presents. Its about celebrating Christ and His birth.

So whatever you do, whoever you do it with, alone or with friends, family or otherwise, please take time to remember the reason for this holiday. If you don’t celebrate it, remember the people who do are celebrating the birth of Christ.

How each person celebrates is up to them, but I do pray that everyone who will be celebrating remembers Him, and  can find some time in their busy day to think about what He came here for and share the love, peace and joy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Coach Wendy

Holiday Cheer!!


Greetings from sunny Florida! It is that time of the year that most will celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and then the New Year! It is a celebratory time for some and the worst time of the year for others.

Most people will say at some point, “If I get through the Holidays I will see what happens” I am not a writer, otherwise I could write a great article on the holiday season. I am a personal trainer and a fitness buff. This is my area of expertise and this is why you come to my website. So instead of lamenting over all the holiday highs and lows, I will point out the most obvious in my world as a trainer what the Holiday season brings to me as a professional. It is a time for food, parties, food, parties and oh, did I say food and parties? Doesn’t take much to realize that no matter how hard we worked to stay in shape all year- food and parties will add weight on anyone. In a hurry. I am not immune to this. So for me, as one who sets an example to others, I have to sit back and think about it like this, “am I just going to eat whatever, party whenever and gain however many extra pounds of fat my body will gain, then pretend like I am supposed to be a shining example for all of you to stay healthy and not gain a pound?” Well believe me, the thought crosses my mind every year. I normally do allow myself some leeway and I let myself gain a few lbs. till New Year’s then I work like crazy to get it all off by spring. Typically I am in great shape right up until Christmas and then I break for a week. Well not this year.  I already put it on and it’s only the week after Thanksgiving. I have added 5 lbs. of what I see as pure fat. I cannot tout 18” biceps (nor would I want to) but I definitely am not a male person and putting on weight does not make me look better like some guys can get away with. Five lbs. on me is 5 lbs. of fat and it sits right around my normally chiseled mid-section and makes my jeans tighter and I do not feel good at all.   So besides this article being kind of a confession, and instead of me coming up with all the reasons I gained weight (ultimately it comes down to me- I put too much junk food in my mouth. No one did it for me. I did it all by myself.) And here I sit, belly to show for it.

Soooooo this brings up the million dollar question- what will my diet be during the holidays?

This is what I did 2 weeks ago.  Through Facebook a friend and I started a 30 day challenge group of about 30 people desiring to stay in shape though New Year’s.  We are all to hold eachother accountable for 30 days. I am not in it to win it (nor can I because it’s my challenge group) but I am in it to lead, and I lead by example. So when I go to parties and make poor choices, guess what? How can I lead a group of people trying their hardest to go to parties and make great choices? How can I sit here gaining weight and eating Christmas cookies and telling everyone else, “don’t touch those cookies?” I put myself through the test. And I must come out victorious because I am trying to set the precedent here. So without going into all the holiday hoopla- cheer or sadness, let’s all try to keep it under control this season. Ultimately it does nothing for you but make you feel bad and mostly unhealthier inside. It cannot be good for us. I would rather spend my holiday season being healthy, happy and joyful and bringing joy to others who may or may not have joy around them. I cannot do it if I am busy stuffing may face with anything that comes my way leaving your house so stuffed I can barely move. Yes I love your home baked cookies- you have no idea how much, but this season I need to stay away from them and admire them with my eyes and not my mouth. Make me smile with your words, friendship and love. Not your baked goods. I will have a free day on Christmas and New Year’s Day, but up until then it will be business as usual in my house. Eat right, plan my meals and workout. I will celebrate the joys of the season with love and many people, but please don’t ask me to eat the food. It’s a temptation I do not want to say no to, but this year I have decided I will. I am leading a group who needs this kind of rigidity in their life right now.  So let’s get rolling and have a healthy, happy holiday season!  Coach Wendy

Commitment to Health

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