Corona Virus



We can all start by panicking.  That seems to work well for most.  NOT.

The first week is like summer break.  Everyone is happy to be out.  Family time is full of monopoly, uno, hide and seek, fun in the kitchen, movies and popcorn, homework, and the list goes on.  Real life has not yet hit. 

But what happens when… 

The kids are arguing.   

You are tired of entertaining your 4-year-old.

No one wants to eat the same thing.

Everyone is bored.

Parents are exhausted from truly parenting. 

“Mama watch!” are the worst 2 words ever at this point.


The next thing you know, you have lost all control over your “healthy habits”. 

As I have been in and out of the grocery stores (carefully), I noticed the number of cookies, chips, bread, Little Debbie cakes etc. are cleaned out.   This vacation gets old quick. 

Think about your everyday habits with food.  If you are conscience about that menu you are looking at or if you bring your lunch to work or if you do not snack between meals… KEEP DOING IT.  Please continue to be mindful of what is going in your mouth, otherwise, your reality is going to be harsh when you try to slip on those jeans to go back to work.

You have more opportunity to get outside with your family OR alone.  Go for a walk, a bike ride, hit the trail head near your home, a track, and there are so many online workouts right now, utilize it.  I even have them going on STRONG.  Your local gyms are doing everything they can to keep you active.  It is your own fault if you are making excuses.  Sorry, not sorry.

Men and women, we are back in the kitchen more than usual for sure.  Use this opportunity to change up ingredients, flip recipes, explore new things, expand your food consumption of veggies and fruit, it’s a little work, but what else are you doing? 

Your mental and physical self will suffer if you don’t choose to take care of yourself during this time.  I understand that this is scary, out of control, and beyond our thought process but you don’t have to be a product of it.   Weight gain, alcohol consumption, laziness, drop in self-worth and more, are all factors of what could happen when we wake up from this. 

I choose to laugh, and I choose to be pro-active and I choose to continue to help people.  These things are how I handle this.  If not, I would falter, and I would fail you.  That’s not what I stand for. 

It is so easy to leave your kids in their rooms with gaming devices and Netflix.  Do them a favor and get them outside, learning how to play again.  TikTok is not exercise.  The opportunity to be better today than yesterday at your sport, is here.  Use it.

And just like that, GAME CHANGER.  As I’m writing, the governor of Louisiana spoke.  Things are changing quickly.  Take care of your well-being in all aspects.  You can do so safely.

Support your local businesses that continue to open for your needs.

Stay Well and Stay Strong…


Bill Hathorn

When you least expect someone to change your life, it happens.

My client of 14 years, Greg O’Quin, called me and basically told me to call his best friend to see about training him.  GULP.  I have nothing but respect for Greg, so (ya’ll know how I feel about phone calls) I called him…

He told me the wonderful things Greg had told him about training with me.  He then went on to tell me about his medical history, his recovery, his concerns and what he could and could not accomplish in his physical capacity.  I sat quietly listening to a broken man.  There was no way I was not finding him a spot on my roster.  This was going to be a challenge, but I was ready and willing.

On our first impression date, Bill was timid, resistant, apprehensive and challenged.  My goal was to get him out of his comfort zone and earn his trust.  “I can help you but you have to allow the process to work.”  He began to relax and comfortably work in directions I pushed him. 

Not long after, I would see him getting a little “froggy” and balancing with no hands, almost skipping with leg cross overs, stepping with no assistance, pushups, squats, rowing, cycling and so much more.  You see, I wasn’t helping Bill, he was helping himself.  His confidence was exceeding my expectations.  His will to live big was coming to life.  His love of physical activity was more than it had been in years.

Bill taught karate for over 40 years.  He has all kinds of fancy names for moves and kicks and punches.  I’m lost most of the time but his story telling is captivating…

Karate was his life.  He was telling about these “kata” sequences he performed before he got sick.  His face just lit up when he spoke about it.  He said, “I’m going to do one for you one day.”   “With certainty Bill, I know you will”.  That day came sooner than later.  He said, “I think I’m ready”.  His stare confident, his form still sharp, his balance with pivot turns, his one-legged kicks, and the poise of any sensei, Bill completed it.  There are no words to describe my heart at that moment.  I had tears streaming down my face (as I do now).  I witnessed a broken man be brought back to life.  What an incredible moment it was.  Since then, I have been fortunate to see more kata movements (and cried every time).

This is was perseverance and determination look like.  Bill Hathorn is a gift.  His life is a testament of what can be achieved in the worst times.  It’s never too late to get your life back or to show off your kata moves.  Age is no factor.

He is something special and I look forward to seeing his chipper self 3x a week.  Be bold and be ready for anything when I get a hold of you.PS.  Bill fought Chuck Norris…  I KNOW RIGHT! 

Much love,

Stay Strong, Mitzi

My friend, Bill

I’d like to give a shout-out to Mitzi by telling you where I’ve been and how far I’ve come with her help. The last couple of years or so, have been, I dunno, not a lot of fun?  In December of 2017 I fell and broke my hip.  While in rehab, I rolled over in bed one night and it broke again.  Then I developed pneumonia and flat-lined.  That was kinda a bad start to a bumpy ride.   In early 2018 I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma—a form of bone cancer that causes the bones to be soft and brittle.  It’s in a dormant stage, but I travel to the University of Arkansas Medical Science Center in Little Rock every 3 months for tests and treatments and visit my oncologist here in  Alexandria once a month for tests and shots.   During one of these visits to Arkansas in the spring of 2018, during a routine MRI, I was found to have 6 compression fractures in my lower back.   It seems the cancer had weakened my bones without me knowing it and the pain had gotten pretty severe.  It was also around this time that I developed Peripheral Neuropathy in my lower legs.   In April of 2019, I had an amazing surgery—Kyphoplasty (or Vertebroplasty) to repair two of the vertebrae.
In June of 2019, Dr. Jeffrey Garrison discovered I had a torn meniscus in my left knee.  During the examination, he found that I have what he calls a non-functioning PCL—posterior crucial ligament.  You’ve heard of athletes tearing their ACL?  Well, the PCL is the ligament behind the knee that stabilizes it.  I didn’t even know I HAD a PCL, and then to discover I did—only it didn’t function got me sorta indignant on myself and Dr. Garrison.  Mine just doesn’t work.  You can hold my shin bone and actually just roll it around in the socket.   It’s not pretty to watch and likely not fun to read about either but that’s how to best describe it.  ( I spent 15 years as a catcher in baseball, over 40 years studying and teaching karate, and a helluva lot of time walking up and down mountains and maybe that combination has taken its toll.)  At any rate, at my age —68 and counting, an operation is not an option.   So, he went ahead and repaired the meniscus and that was no big deal—6 weeks of therapy to rehab it.  But something else happened.  For the year or so prior to this surgery I had been pretty much confined to a bed or a wheelchair—and I had to actually be lifted into the wheelchair.  I also required 24-hour care, 7 days a week.  After  6 weeks of rehab, I had graduated to a walker(Oh, happy day!) and so, on my follow up visit with Dr. Garrison, we decided to continue the therapy for six more weeks, and then 4 more weeks after that—all to strengthen my quads to improve stabilization in my left knee.

In the span of 6 months, I had had back surgery, knee surgery, and 4 months of therapy.   The therapy was positive for me –except for two things:  1) We worked only my lower body the entire time and, 2) It was mind-numbingly repetitive.  For four months I did the same 20 or so exercises 45X/day, an hour/day, 3 days a week with almost zero variation.

OK, so now I’m done with the rehab/therapy, am definitely feeling progress, am getting around (barely) with a walker, and figuring this is about the best it’s going to get for me.   But I didn’t want to resign myself to that, didn’t want to back-slide, and decided to look into some other options—one of which was a gym not far from my house..  I figured I’d need a personal trainer to show me around and get me started but maybe for no longer than a month.  I had no idea what I was getting into.     Greg O’Quin is a life-long friend of mine who, through all of this, had been supporting and encouraging me every step of the way. He knew that the two things I missed most in life were fly fishing and travelling.  Our idea was that, if I could continue to show improvement in my mobility, I could travel to Colorado and fish with him on some of the many rivers I’d come to love there.   We went over my idea of the gym, the fact that I didn’t want to backslide from what I’d accomplished, and he said he had a trainer he’d been seeing for about 14 years (who was, truth be told, as much of a mental therapist as a personal trainer).  He said her name was Mitzi Fairbanks, she kept it interesting, and he’d give her a call.

After a few days of phone tag, I actually got to speak with her, and we scheduled a meet-up for the following Monday. I CAN SAY, WITH NO RESERVATION WHATSOEVER, THAT THAT PHONE CALL CHANGED MY LIFE AND MY OUTLOOK ON WHAT MY LIFE COULD BE.   At that first meet-and-greet, I gotta say I was pretty skeptical.  I went over with her all the same stuff I just wrote about here—maybe in the back of my mind kinda half-way thinking (hoping?) I would scare her off.  She just looked at me and, I swear, the girl never batted an eye.  [In truth (and in hindsight) I think she was sorta eyeing me like some rough piece of stone (or more likely balsa wood) that would give her plenty of opportunities to test her mettle—both as a personal trainer and as a person.]  She had a confidence about her that was bordering on, but not quite, smugness— like she was already saying to herself—Yeah, I got this!  Now don’t get me wrong—I liked this but, if I’m being honest, she was a tad on the scary side—kinda like a mad scientist wringing her hands at the opportunity to see just what she could do with such a sad, pitiable specimen, all the time her mind racing ahead of itself.   If you know Mitzi, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.   But I did have a couple of concerns.  One that we would train only 2X/week.  The other was that we’d only go for 30 minutes a pop.   This didn’t seem quite enough.  She soothed my doubts on the first one by agreeing to work me into her schedule for a 3X/week routine. And after the first 30 minutes of the first session, I was easily convinced that 30 minutes would be just fine, a gracious plenty, thank you very much!  Within 10 minutes of the first workout I knew I had found the perfect person for what I needed.  We’ve been on a happy roll ever since—well, happy for me at least.  Well, MOSTLY happy for the two of us at least.  There was, in fact, the one time she damn near ended what had been, by all accounts, a pretty good relationship.    We approached a station where she rigged up two straps with handles on them.  That would have been fine but she took it a step further.  Instead of having me hold onto both handles and pull myself up from about a 45 degree angle, she looped one handle into the other and had me try it with one arm.  I was feeling all cocky about myself, thinking she had the confidence in me that I could even attempt this when one handle slipped out of the other and sent me sprawling half-way across the gym!  I lived to tell the tale but, I have to say, it’s taken a while for her to regain all that confidence we’d worked so hard for.  In truth, I was barely rattled.  She, on the other hand, decided I needed a break while she composed herself and vowed never to go back to that machine again.  Not ever! (Hell, now that I think about it, I can’t say if we’ve even stepped foot in that PART of the gym since then though I could be wrong about that.)   There are many, many great things about training with her—her confidence, her encouragement, her patience(!), her enthusiasm, passion, knowledge, communication skills, support, cheerfulness, and her honesty.  But one of the biggest things is her crazy creativity.  Every time we approach a machine, I chuckle to myself wondering what in the world she’s going to use if for.   I mean most times a particular piece of equipment has an obvious purpose.   I mean you jump with a rope, throw a ball, lift a weight, push on this, pull on that, right?  But it’s a rare day when she uses ANYTHING for its intended and clear purpose.  And rarely, if ever, do we do the same thing twice from one session to the other.    She absolutely delights herself in finding inventive ways to get more uses out of the most ordinary looking tool in the gym.   I’ll look at her and say, “This really wasn’t intended for this exercise was it?”  She’ll get this grin on her face and say,” Probably not.  So?”  And off we go as I dutifully agree to pretty much whatever she tells me.

I swear there are least a dozen pieces of equipment that we’ve visited at least a half-dozen times each, that we still haven’t used for their original purpose—for what the designers actually intended them for.   (But, if I’m being honest, I’ve come to the conclusion she really has no clue as to what at least half the machines were intended for in the first place and is just making  things up as we go along.)   There are a couple of downsides to training with her though:  She has a nasty habit of saying “OK.  You’re done”, when I know damn well we’ve only been at it 10-maybe 12 minutes tops, and she’s sure enough cheated me out of a good part of my allotted (and paid good money for) time. And I realize it’s a pretty safe bet that I’m not going to make the cover of GQ this spring as she’s promised (more than once!).  That’s just some sort of cruel little joke she likes to play but I go along with it.  It seems to make her happy and that’s OK too even if it comes at my expense.     And while I might not make the cover of GQ this spring (or next, or ever), I AM going fly fishing in Arkansas in a few weeks and I AM travelling to Colorado to fish with Greg this summer!  And I AM cooking for friends, showering without help, grocery shopping, walking my dog, driving myself to appointments, and doing so many of the little things that we all take for granted until we can’t do them.  And I owe all of this to Mitzi.  

One last thing:  In karate there are these things called kata.  They are increasingly difficult sequences of pre-arranged moves addressing different responses to actual fighting scenarios.  They take varying degrees of balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination –each of which I’ve been totally devoid of these past years.   Early on I had told Mitzi about  katas and told her that if I could only get to the point where I could do just one of the most basic, beginner kata all the way through, I would feel like myself again.  Well, one day, after doing some balance drills that reminded me of one, I showed her Naihanchi Shodan.  I looked over at her and I’ll be damned if the girl wasn’t crying.  A few days later I showed her another, slightly more advanced one.  She cried again.  Now if that doesn’t make her something very, very special, you’d be hard-pressed to tell me what does.   While I might never make the cover of Gentleman’s Quarterly, what Mitzi has given me is more than enough.  Way, way more.  And it’s more than I could have hoped for.  
And, to be sure, one day I’ll perform an advanced black belt kata for her.  That should REALLY set her off!  And I might just bring her a trout from the Eagle River in Colorado!


Courageous, timid, inspirational, heart of gold, woman of God, and driven are words that come to mind when I think of Audrey Poisso, unstoppable would be another one.  Audrey and I grew up together in the same area of Grant Parish.  Little did I know that our paths would cross again , in a much different way, as adults. 


Audrey reached out to me for guidance with some health issues.  As many of you know, I was quick to ask what can I do to help.  I led her to a community of people I had just met at B22 Health club in Dry Prong, La.  She quickly found a family there. 

Audrey’s story is a lot like many of you.  It is full of challenges and heartache and the will to stay alive and be a better mom, wife and person.  She was spiraling with obesity, health issues, family illness, and the insecurities of where to begin change.

I have really gotten to know Audrey in the last year and gosh, I just adore her.  From B22 challenge, to Whole 30, to Paleo, to Strong with Mitzi Retreat (yoga was not her thing), dinners, and just some great interaction, she is one a kind. 

Enjoy this read and may you all find a little bit of Audrey in you.  

Audrey, thank you for sharing your story, as hard as it may have been.  You are enough my friend.

Love and Hugs, Mitzi

Audrey’s Story

When Mitzi asked me to share my story, I thought several things. My thoughts ran from… I wasn’t ready yet, to… I wasn’t sure what my story might even be.  Then I thought if it helps one person struggling, it was worth it. I started praying and thinking about what I would share. The truth is life is hard, it just is.  It is hard for everyone at times. My life is no different. I’m not really an athlete in my mind but other times, I feel like I’m an athlete trapped in a fat girl body.  I do like sports and being active, but never felt like I was fit. I don’t remember a time that I’ve not struggled with weight. My biggest challenge is comparing myself to others.  What I’ve learned the most from Mitzi is TO DO YOU!  Don’t worry about why someone else is on a journey, worry about your own journey. I’ve always been on some sort of plan.  I was never really satisfied with myself.  12 years ago, I was briefly married. It was not the best marriage and definitely not healthy for me mentally, physically, or emotionally. I rushed into it because I wanted to be married and be like others. I was living in my timeline and not Gods.  One of the many things I remembered my ex-husband telling me was that if I ever hit 300 pounds, he would divorce me. I think I was trying to get there just to get out but eventually, I realized, it was just not a healthy situation. I remarried my wonderful husband Joe who supports me in every way possible.

Currently, I’m a wife, teacher and mom of three boys.  I love snacks, treats, vending machines and canteen as much as the next person but had to realize those treats were not always good for me.  I had to learn to care more for myself than for food. Mindless eating was getting me in trouble and not allowing me to be the mom, wife, or teacher I needed to be. My heaviest weight was 318. I remember thinking I was over 300.  I was blessed with my wonderful husband who loved me no matter what.  We were also foster parents at the time, not knowing when our family dynamic would change. Eventually through foster care, we adopted 3 boys. We were truly blessed by the experience. Prayer, petition, and perseverance God saw us through.

Fast forward some, our first Christmas all 3 boys were legally adopted, and Joe was in the hospital.  We ended up having a major scare with Joe health wise on Christmas Day. I remember thinking I had to get stronger to be the best Mom I could be.  Life is short, we are not promised tomorrow. It was time for me to get healthy! I spent a lot of time doing lots of programs and exercises with my Beachbody coach and extremely close friend.  I would lose some weight but would never get below 260. I would usually stay the 280 mark never letting myself get over 300 again. My goal was under 250 but I just couldn’t do it until I made up my mind not to quit and that I was ready.  

 In 2018 I went to a breast cancer walk at B22 gym in Dry Prong.  I loved the atmosphere and the people at the walk. I knew the gym was a “one of kind” place.  In November, I saw where Mitzi was doing a step challenge in December.  She asked everyone to do 12000 steps a day for 21 days. I went through with a great friend and completed the challenge.  It was just what I needed. I asked Mitzi about any help she could give me, and it led me back to B22. This was the conversation:

ME:      Do you do any whole 30 or paleo challenges after the first of the year?  I am considering it and really need to make some changes. It’s past time.

HER:   I love this here.  Yes, when you know you know. There is a gym in Dry Prong that I am working with on a challenge.  If you are interested, I can make it happen. It’s paleo, not W30. That takes a mental capacity that I’m not in right now but if you wanted to do it, I would help you. 

ME:      Ok I would love too. Dry Prong would be perfect but is it ok to do after Christmas. I do not want to set myself for failure I really need to succeed.

At the end of the step challenge we were able to meet and have supper with Mitzi and other participants.  I wanted to change so I went. I remember halfway through the evening texting my 2 besties and saying here I am at this dinner and I am the fattest one I feel like a cow.  They text back about self-worth and how I needed a better image of myself. The thing is no one made me feel less or even thought less it was all in my head. God loves as I am, and I need to love myself.  I just kept showing up and not giving up and realizing it was just all in my head.

After talking to Mitzi about B22 and loving the atmosphere, I then asked my husband about joining the gym and the challenge for Christmas. Best present ever.  He agreed and our journey began.

We lost 50lbs combined in 6 weeks with the “Back to Square One” challenge!  We learned so much during the journey. We eat cleaner, cook healthier, and balance our lives better.  I went from 277 to 255. I then did a whole 30 with Mitzi and stayed working out with the gym. Yes, I finally got below 250, I finished weighing 246.  I loved the person I was becoming. Our family was just happier! The gym is like my 2nd home whether I just go to walk laps, cross fit or a dance class.  B22 has really changed our family! It is such a blessing to have in our community. When I talked to Mitzi and she mentioned it to me. It was definitely a God thing!  I was already interested but it gave me the extra push.

I just did another challenge with B22 gym and incorporated Whole 30 as my food plan.  I lost 17 lbs. with the gym program and 15 was on Whole 30.  I finished at 229.9. I’ve lost 48 since January. The best thing is knowing I can do it and feeling like I can succeed.  If I had to pick one thing, I like about myself it would be my desire to persevere.

My life verse is Jerimiah 29:11.

It has gotten me through some tough times knowing God has plans for me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


A scar, whether emotional or physical, is a sign of incomplete healing.

The emotional scars of relationships, childhood, friendships, envy, self-destruction, parents, anxiety, death, embarrassing moments or any other trauma internally left suppressed is critically related to your acceptance of love of others and yourself.  It also prohibits forgiveness of yourself.

The physical scars are most seen by others.  They hurt differently.  Some of these scars are caused by rape, abuse (as a child or/and adult), or more daunting physical trauma. 

Many people live in the moment of their scars instead of fighting through them.  Its power binds you until the burden is released.  Basically, you must learn from it and move forward.  I get it, some or worse than others.  Don’t start cursing me out over my words just yet.  We are all unique and our strengths vary in weak to powerful.  I believe that all experiences in life are meant to teach you something and you are meant to grow from them.  If not, it will deplete you of your self-worth and self-being. 

Those unseen scars affect everything in your life.  They are easy to hide from others, but most prominent to overcome.  

What are your scars? 

Are you dealing in an effective way?

I challenge you to write them down, both physical and mental.  Your job is to work through them.  Begin your road to letting go and never reopening your wound negatively. 

Build a platform and share your story with someone. 

Emotional scars run deep with me.

* I have always been a “grudge holder”.  True story, many of those in my family are.  It is so sad to me.  I have come to realize this in the recent years, about myself and others.  It is something that I am/was riding the struggle bus with.  It takes a lot for me to let things go and realize that the person that is winning (so to speak) is the other person.  You have no fight in some actions of others.  Learning to let it go is the biggest, most grown up feeling a person can have.  My boundaries run deep.  I set so many now and for me, it works.  I say no, a lot.  I don’t call or return text that get in my feels and I know will be negative on my soul.  Surrounding myself with positive, upbeat, loving, energized people is where my stance is.  I do not feel guilty about separation.  I told someone the other day that I have my “one on one friends” and then my “group friends”.  There is a big difference.  I love all but for my well-being, it’s just best this way. 

* Relationships have gone wrong.  As most, I’ve had bad break ups as a young adult.  You know the ones that you thought you could never live without that person and miraculously, you do.  I was divorced after 9 months of a failed marriage that should have never happened.  I’ve had heart wrenching deaths of friends, and close family.  I’ve lost the best of friends over stupid misunderstandings.  My relationship with my father was on the rocks for a very long time but repaired with much communication and forgiveness.   Embarrassing situations haunt me.  It is awful being the person being judged, talked about, slandered, and characterized by false truths.  The lessons were hard, but I wouldn’t change them for the person I have become.

*Struggles with bulimia has left a deep pit of my physical appearance and how I deal with it daily.  What I see is not what others do and as many know, you just smile and say thank you.  Shoulders back, head held high is my motto.  Some days, I’d really like to shove cupcakes down my throat and then throw them up.  I deal accordingly and I do not.  The person in my mirror is distorted for sure. 

Physical scars run just as deep on my body.

*I have one on my right arm from a tumor removed in the 9th grade.

*I have one near my rib cage from a hernia.

*I have 3 on my shins from box jumps.

*My most embarrassing… the one that haunts me… the ugliest, most disgusting scar I have ever seen in my life has been a part of me for 44 years.  I am really good at hiding it.  It is about 6 inches long and runs down my lower abdominal up my belly button.  I HATE IT.  As hard as I work out, I can’t overcome it.  Writing about it, makes me cry.  

I was 24 months old and my appendix ruptured.  It apparently was not my parents’ time to lose a child, because somehow, I survived.   That scar had to have been the length of my little body back then.  Today, it is still huge.  Fast forward 35 years later, I had to have a c-section with my twins.  Dr. Moran tells me that he will be going through that same scar so that I wouldn’t have two.  Thank God for those words, I don’t think I could have handled another.  As a matter of fact, I know not.   As that same scar was beginning to heal, my peace of mind with my body was horrific.  The scar that has haunted me my whole life was now reopened and exposed again.  UGHHHHHH! 

Fast forward 10 years from then, I went to The Wall Center to have a breast lift and augmentation.  I also asked them what it would take to remove the scar.  What a crazy decision that was!  Holly Wall went over every case scenario of how she could make it better.  It was a lot to process.  I decided to leave it.  It was not an easy decision.  In the end, it has made me.  It shows me I was given another chance at life.  It was a scar from two beautiful children.  It is my scar.  The one that keeps me from being confident of that portion of who I am.  It draws character and it is me.

Sharing this, I felt maybe someone needs to hear it.  We are ashamed of so many things we are or have or been subject to instead of embracing it.  Overcoming scars, both mentally and physically, are great barriers to becoming a stronger more beautiful you. 

I am transparent so that I can help someone else.  These pictures were taken by Nikki Bardwell.  She captured everything I wanted in this.  The struggle, the embarrassment, the courage and the will to pull up my shirt.

To your scars, I pray for peace and the acceptance to conquer your fears.  It only builds a better base for your heart.


Stay Strong, Mitzi

What type of runner are you?

Are you the turtle?

  • Back of the pack person.  You may brag about being slow or comment you’re really not a runner.  You may even have more potential than you have ever tapped in to.  You are just fine doing what you do. 

Are you the competitor?

  • You’ve sized up everyone around you.  You have already told yourself that you will die before someone beats you.  You can hear footsteps in any direction.  You are ready to pick up speed at any moment to keep from getting passed by man, woman, child, or stroller.  You are not willing to be on the course one second longer than your legs will let you – Haul ass and finish first.  It’s a race, everyone is a threat… no room for second place.  The suicide pace as Steve Prefontaine would call it.

Are you the trail runner?

  • These are like the secret runners.  You never see them in town or on a treadmill.  You may never know they run.  They are exploring a whole different world than the other runners.  It’s a very different terrain and mind set to hit those trails. 

Are you the “I can’t” runner?

  • “I tried, but I can’t”
  • “I wish I could”
  • “I couldn’t do that”
  • “I want to be, but I’m just not”
  • The truth is no one NEEDS to be a runner, so it’s ok.  It doesn’t give you cool point.  It doesn’t make people think differently of you just because you ran.  Just don’t be in denial of what your body could possibly do if you truly wanted it to.

Are you the “I need my friends” runner?

  • You need that accountability.  That person that calls you when you skip.  You love the conversations and community of running.  The fact that you just belong to a group with the same interest, keeps you coming back.

Are you the “I run alone runner”?

  • No headphones, no one else, just the pavement and your thoughts.  You pick your pace, you pick your subject matter, you tackle those miles one by one solo.  This is what I call peace.  Being alone is a hard place to be for many people.  Believe me, emotions get crazy!


Every day is a race!

I’m not sure if it’s the love of running that fuels my soul or my soles, or if it’s the clarity of being alone, outdoors, and present in my thoughts.

I think of the days when my running was more competitive, when I was running sub 7’s or steady at an 8 minutes pace for mile after mile.

My thoughts run back to the days I had a run group.  We never missed a Saturday and enjoyed coffee afterwards.  4 miles to 20 miles, it just depended on the day and how we felt.   It didn’t matter if you were training for the race or not, you always said yes to a training run.  Then, lives changed, jobs changed, paces changed, injuries happened, or extracurricular children activities took precedence. 

Signing up for a 5k, 10k, 13.1, or 26.2 was never a missed opportunity.  Toeing the line brought excitement, sickness, stomach cramps, anxiety and a thrill of leg turnover that hurt so bad afterwards. 

Everyone was like a book cover.  You just didn’t know the athleticism of the next person.  A roller coaster of feels on a course that took you in circles or out and back.  The world you could explore on your feet.

My last marathon, I ran a 3:49.  Fast to some, slow to others, to me… I was closer to Boston than I had ever been.  To get me to the finish line, it took 3 cortisone shots in 9 months, dry needling, fire hydrant stretching, patience, and more determination (or stupidity) to get myself through it.  That was 6 years ago.  My last half marathon was 3 years ago at a 1:42. The pain for even that in my piriformis was too painful. 

Today, I am a 4 miler every day.  This is mileage I can sustain pain free, and just enough distance to clear my head.  My pace is sustainable around 8:15 – 9:15, depending on the day.

I struggle with the phrase, “I am a runner.”  I’m not sure what determines that.  I also struggle with the phrase, “I hate to run”.  I’m not sure what determines that you should love it.

Running is more than lacing up a pair of new kicks and walking out the door.  Dig deep, find the love of yourself, find a meaning for your soles to hit the pavement or trails, change your thinking, change your life.

Whatever you want to call yourself, a runner or not, just continue to put one foot in front of the other.

My running route for you is to find what moves you.

Please share… What type are you?

Stay Strong,


Botox, Lash Boost and BOOBS!!!

When exercise and nutrition doesn’t cover it all, you step outside the box. 

“Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside”


This sounds so vain.  By far do I see myself as vain, but maybe others do.  I have no clue, nor do I focus on that.

I read an article not too long ago on Melissa Hartwig’s Insta page.  It was chastising her for getting Botox.  She is the guru, the mind behind Whole 30, and a fitness fanatic.  She was having to defend herself for getting injections to remove the unwanted wrinkles that diet and exercise would not get rid of.  It’s part of the aging process.  Until reading this, I never really thought how others would view you if they knew the truth about what you also do to keep looking your best. 

Time to come clean…  “be honest, Brutally honest.”  Lauren Hill


Yes, I get Botox.  I started about 3 years ago.  It was probably “the talk” at the time.   A friend of mine got it regularly (every 3 months) and I was like… “dang that looks good”.  I already have the “resting bitch face” so I was like it can’t hurt.  I also have this one horrible line over my left eye.  It was so deep, and this is was the only way I could fix it.   It was.  Why not?  I did it without telling a soul.  Ten days later, people started noticing something was different.  The lines began to smooth out and the thick sink-hole above my left eye was so much less noticeable.   I haven’t stopped since.  It not only makes me feel better about myself (which we all strive to do) but I love it.  Thank you, Teri, at Glo Med Spa, for being my person in this area.  I’m not ashamed. 


Everybody wants great lashes, so why not pay for them as well?  Lash Boost from Rodan and Fields has been my saving grace.  My lashes fall out.  They are thin.  They are scattered.  They are horrible.  Not only my lashes, but also my eyebrows.  I guess I just wasn’t born with those beautiful long thick lashes.  I have to work for them, well, really, I have to pay for them.  $135 a tube that last about 3 months, but it works.  Am I a consultant for R+F?  Yes.  Do I want to sell you a tube?  Absolutely, what consultant wouldn’t.   Does it work?  Yes.  Here is a pic of my friend, Katty, and, a consultant and her amazing lashes.   I never have taken a before and after of me, but I will. 


December 22, 2017, I went under the knife.  One of the hardest decisions of my life.  It took me over a year and two consultations at The Wall Center to make up my mind.  Why?  Because of what people would think of me, that is my reason.  The worst reason ever and the one thing I preach, I was worried about.  I exercise.  I eat right.  I do everything I can to live the life that I believe in and have a body that I am proud of (except my stomach).  I work so hard to be a role model for healthy living and doing the right thing and here I was contemplating cheating and getting a breast augmentation… hell, a boob job.  WTH?  I had breast fed twins for eight months.  I had been a yo-yo dieter for years.  My boobs were pancakes, droopy, tired and wilted.  There was absolutely no number of pushups, chest exercises, pull ups, or anything that was going to fix them.

And then a friend and I were talking about it, they said… “why not?  It’s the only way to fix them.   If they were going to go back in their right spot, it would have already happened.”   Words to live by, right?  Vanity… All my hard work and dedication to weight training and running, I am going the easy route.  I was seriously struggling. 

I went for my last consult with Dr. Holly Wall.  She asked if I wanted to get the scar on my stomach fixed as well.  I had had that consult previously with her father in law.  That was tough.  You see, I have a large scar on my tummy that I HATE.  I hate it.  She was wanting to do a complete tummy tuck to help the look of it.  That decision was by far the hardest.  That scar was left there as a 2-year-old when my appendix ruptured.  That scar is there because I lived to tell about it. 

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The scar that was re-opened to take my twins on 1-15-08.  That scar has built a lot of character in me, so let it stay.  I still hate it, but I leave it.  I wish I had the nerve to share a pic, but I don’t.  Maybe one day…  I stayed with the augmentation and lift.  DONE!

Would I love some Juvéderm?  Hell yeah.  That’s not happening right now.  I’ll let you know if I decide. 

“Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”

That’s my truth.  I continuously work every day to be my best self.  I will continue to help you find your best self.  I will also defend your decision to be a better you if it will truly make you feel better about yourself.  I will not defend your efforts of any of the above if you are not truly a happier person afterwards. 

I love my Botox; Lash boost and Boobs and I would do it all over again.  If anyone wants to call me vain, so be it. 

Live your best life. 

Stay Strong –

Mitzi sted-With”]=


“Be Strong and Courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  – Joshua 1:9

How did our paths cross?  God had a plan is all I can say.  I call it a “God Wink”.  You see, I had no plans of being in Colfax, Louisiana on November 3, 2018.  This is the weekend of the Annual LA Pecan Festival in my home town.  My mother took my children to the parade that morning and unexpectedly asked me to come get them because she wanted to hang out with some of her childhood friends.  When I got there, I decided to make one stroll down front street to see if I saw any familiar faces.  Oddly, I did not.  I mean NOT ONE friend, not one family member, not an acquaintance… no one.  As I am headed to my car, I see Debbie Futrell and my mom talking.  Debbie begins telling me about this gym that has opened in the old Dry Prong Jr High gymnasium.  My ears perk and I am captivated by this story.  She told me of a local woman that had opened a gym in her garage free to others had now purchased this huge piece of history of the parish to open a facility for health and community awareness of fitness.  WHAT?  Debbie said, “Mitzi, I think you should call her.”

It wasn’t ten minutes later, on my way out of town, I had Bonita Preuett-Armour on the other end of the phone.  We clicked.  It was instant.  The next day, I was headed to DPJH to see what this lady had created.  OH MY GOSH!

That gym from 1986 (my junior high years) was transformed to say the least.  The equipment is incredible.  The social area is remarkably welcoming.  The children’s area is better than my kids’ rooms.  The bathrooms are completely remodeled yet with tons of character.   If you are an alumna of DPJH, you have got to stop in and check it out. 

Bonita asked if I would help her with a “Back to Square 1” challenge for the gym.  She wanted me to be the nutrition coach for her 6-week program to change these peoples lives.  I don’t think they really understood what was going to happen to them when they signed up. 

Before I go any further…

This chick, Bonita, that I met back in November is one gem herself.  This woman puts everyone before herself.  She puts her blood, sweat and tears in everything she touches.  She is 110% of pure go get ‘em.  She has a drive and passion for healthy living.  She has built a community of health, fitness, strength, love, friends and family, all while she has a full-time job as an attorney and a wife.  She gives all the glory to God above…  This gym is built on faith and certainty and worship.   I am blessed to have found a friend in you.  Mucho Love!

The challenge consisted of…

5 Points in each category

Exercise – prayer/meditation – sleep – diet – 10,000 steps a day – attitude – water

7 groups of 13 athletes – 2 groups (65+ age) of 10 athletes 1 team leader of each group

Extra points to be awarded for nutrition challenges and exercise challenges at any given time.

6 weeks of a Life-Changing challenge for so many of these people.


The do’s and don’ts of your next 6 weeks eating habits is earth shattering.  When I told these Grant Parish Athletes, they could no longer have gravy, fried anything, sodas, dairy, grains, sugar, imitation sugar, peanut butter…  and I just didn’t stop.  I saw them crumble in front of me and every positive thought of that challenge had come to a screeching halt with the nutrition plan. 

You mean I can’t have…?  Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.

I handed out my phone number to over a hundred people and said text me at any time with a picture, ingredients, menu, or whatever you need I will guide you through.

MY PHONE BLEW UP.  BLEW UP.  It was a beautiful sound.  It meant they wanted to learn, to be educated, to gain knowledge, to succeed, and to take their life back.  Incredible to say the least.

There were many people that became increasingly aggravated at me telling them no and no again and again and again…  Ya’ll there were times I just wanted to say YES, so I wouldn’t have to say NO again.

Let me say this… They never quit.  They kept going back to the grocery.   They began experimenting with flipping recipes.  They became comfortable eating clean.  Their bodies began to reflect and respond.  There was no turning back now.

I read every text in all group post.  It got difficult.  I heard, “I’m ready for this to be over” numerous times.  For every time I heard that, I also heard those same people say, “I AM WORTH IT”.

6 weeks – The last Sunday, it was time to scan those bodies again.  What did I actually do for this body for 6 weeks?  The results are going to amaze you.

Please take in to account that they walked/ran 10,000 steps a day, drank 64oz of water a day, exercised, and completely changed their dietary guidelines.

Here are some pics of our journey to a new, STRONGER B22 Community…

A huge thank you to each and every one of you for trusting me in this endeavor.  Your results speak for themselves.  Stay the course…  You are only beginning.

Stay Strong!


Lloyd Whitman lost 29#
Joe Poisso lost 28.4#

This dynamic duo
Audrey and Joe Poisso lost a total of 48.4# and over 30 combined inches

The winning team “Dry Prong Strong” list a combined total of 140#

The Winning Losers came in 1st Overall place with a total loss of 138.1# and winning overall points. 

The winner of the most pounds lost was Stacia Walker Carpenter with 30#.
These are some of the “Coffee Club” members.  There is no stopping them.  They had a combined step total of 3,148,631.  A combined weight loss of 60.4#.   



As I am running this hot, humid Sunday morning, I notice the holiday decorations going up.  Some homes already lit, others decorating the lawn early this morn, trimming the house with lights, hauling things from the attic, and doing their obligatory duties of spraying Christmas joy throughout their home.


Because you’re supposed to, right?

Well, I did too.  I came home and put up the tree, decorated the mantle, put the nativity scenes out, spruced up the foyer, hung the stockings and placed the wreath upon the door.


Because I’m supposed to, right?

Black Friday…  Cyber Monday…  BUY BUY BUY…


Because you’re supposed to, right?

Well, I didn’t do that.

Family calling, “when are you coming?”, “what are you bringing?”, “what do you want for Christmas?”

My brother bought a new house in Lake Charles a few months ago, he asked everyone to come there for Christmas.  I said, no.  I got a little flack from that.  He has no young children, I do.  I am not dragging my kids everywhere on Christmas day.  I’m just not doing it and I don’t feel obligated to do so.

Let’s be honest, some of these people you don’t want to see nor speak to.  Some of these people you don’t even acknowledge on a birthday and now you are expected to buy them a Christmas gift.  All in while you are thinking, I could spend that money on myself or my kids.

I’m there too.  I promise.  I feel like it’s all a big obligation sometimes.  It’s almost like, call me on a random week day to go to lunch or send a text out of the blue, that’s special.  Having anxiety about being everywhere in 2 days, is not worth it.

When does it stop?

As all this is running through my head, I’m thinking why don’t they put this much effort in their health?

They aren’t complaining of their back or knees or hips hurting climbing in and out of that attic or going up and down that ladder.

Let’s talk about obligations:

The obligation of your health.

We get so wrapped up in seasons.  Decorating, buying, cooking, and making everyone else happy…  Where are you in your obligations?

When do you get time to put yourself first?  When do your excuses end?

Each day is a day farther and farther away from the person you are longing to become.   Your quality of sleep, your diet, your physical activity all plays a huge role in your mental game.

“you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”  Mae West

Ask yourself:

what is my fear?

What is stopping me from my potential?

Why do I need to feel in control, when I’m really out of control?

Do I benefit from being the “yes” person?

Why do toxic people attract me?

How much time do I waste?

How can I change?

Be honest with your answers…

And now answer this,

Who could I become?

That, my friend, is your answer to your happy and your joy every season, 365 days a year.

At some point you will die, did you enrich your life and create a legacy?

Small steps can become really big steps.  Please, just take a step.

I am leading a 21 Day Challenge.  21 days of 12,000 steps each day.  That is about 6 miles a day.  It begins on Dec 1.  Join me If you’d like, it’s a great way to get through the holiday season and into the new year with a healthier lifestyle.  A challenge would not be a challenge if it were easy.

“Voice your ideas, don’t be afraid to fail, and certainly don’t be afraid to succeed.”  Zdravko





Running vs. Cross Training


A subject I have been weary to tackle. It’s so touchy to people. And fairly, no one really wants to hear what you have to say about doing more or working out on non-running days. The focus is 2-3 days short runs and one long run on the weekend. Right? Oh yeah – I know all too well.

On this amazing, sunny, beautiful, 57-degree day in Louisiana, I take off on my normal morning run. Legs, hips, ankles are a bit achy as usual until I get that first quarter mile under me and everything in this 45yo body starts to settle in. I start thinking, thank God I cross train. I am fortunate to be mostly a very healthy runner.

Think about your running form. Seriously… Review it now.

• Is your core engaged?
• Are your shoulders back? No slouching
• Are your feet coming off the ground? No shuffling
• Are your arms hanging low swinging out of control?
• Ladies, do you wear a good sports bra?
• Are your shoes the right shoes for you?

Core strength, yoga and weight training all help with these things (except shoes and bras).
Poor running form causes problems. If you’re going to do it, do it right or at least better.

Runners, especially beginners, are so afraid to pick up a weight or engage in some other activity other than stomping pavement. It’s all about mileage, or is it? Quality vs Quantity.

Running on tired legs… Do or Do not? Why not? It’s not race day. Get out there. When you are training, that’s what it’s about. I would rather run on tired legs any day and strengthen those bad boys up with a push. Training is the worst part. Race day… Is the easy day. You have one goal on that day… A finish line. You do not want to peak before the day of your race. Embrace every bad run you have.

Your legs are not the only part of your body that is doing the work. Think about your upper body and how much power it uses to move the lower half. Your shoulders, abs, obliques, lower back, chest, and even your arms. It’s an anatomy effort. Everything working together to move you forward. Strong core increases the stability of your hips, and pelvis.

Ladies, if you are chest heavy, I suggest you spend some extra money on a damn good sports bra.

If you are an overweight runner, your knees, hips, ankles, back and shoes should be priority. Running should NOT be your only preference of exercise.

I preach the words “full range of motion”. That means finish and end completely.

Squats – sit and stand. Extend your hips at the top. Just like you do when you are on the toilet.
Push-ups – lower your body in a plank position as low as you can get it to the ground and push yourself back up.
Sit ups – engage your core. Do not use your back to propel yourself up, use your core strength.
Lunges – do not fall forward into your lunge. Think about dropping that knee straight down, keeping that heel pressed into the ground and chest up.

Running is so much more than a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker for your car. It is respecting your body, the distance, and longevity of a healthy lifestyle.


Happy Trails,

w30 – DONE!!

Thank you! These 6 people listed under me are Rockstar’s. They said yes to a challenge I had no clue what was to bring. I just knew I wanted to do it. Proving a healthy lifestyle from different angles of people, lifestyles, physical levels, emotional needs, and mental toughness. People love groups and accountability. FIND A SUPPORTIVE FRIEND. These last 30 days have been a rollercoaster. There have been days I wanted to quit, days I felt like I could fly, days I wanted to go to bed at 5pm, days I had more energy than a 2 year old, days I wanted to cry, days I ran faster than I have in years and days I wanted to walk, days I slept like a baby and days I didn’t, days I wanted to hurt people and days I wanted to welcome everyone to my home… And then day 23 hit and it all leveled out. It was a magical moment. Cruise control is the best I can explain it. Your body finds it’s happy! All the toxins are gone. Your clarity has never been to vivid. There is then days 24-30, your cravings quit. The wine was like a thing of the past. I was ready to go to a restaurant without feeling like I wanted a fried green bean, or a French fry from my kids’ plate and water just seemed my norm. I liked it. It’s a place and feeling that gives you a sense of control of your body… Better yet… RESPECT!

6lbs. down 4 inches gone

We all weighed on the same scale before and after. Measurements were taken of chest, waist and hips.

For any of you out there wanting to do a W30, I will be glad to help. Do not hesitate to call me 318-792-9699. I will come speak to a group, inform, grocery shop, menu plan, or just simply support.

30 days is a long time! I was super glad that it was over today. Although I was not excited to have the final weigh in and measurements taken, I was glad that I had lost inches and weight. This journey was a winding one for me and I can’t say that I was %100 on my eating. A few times drinking when I shouldn’t have and a few slip ups later; I call them my whole 30 Weakends. I do feel good about where I’m at and have decided to continue on my journey to health and wellness. Can’t say I’m going to be sticking to the strict protocol that is the w30 but will definitely be paying more attention to the way food makes me feel and how my body reacts to different foods. Thanks to Mitzi and the rest of the crew for including me in this challenge.
9lbs down – 7.5 inches gone

So, we are officially done, now what? For me I’m going to try and continue eating clean. I like the results I’m seeing, and it just makes me feel so much better.
Shout out to Kate for the meals, I really liked the convenience, and to Mitzi for doing the study in the first place. And congrats to everyone for having a great 30 days!!

7lbs down – 5 inches gone

Best Whole 30 ever!!! It wasn’t easy but anything worth having doesn’t come easy! I feel cleaner, leaner, and healthier! I lost a total of 5.8 pounds and 3.5 inches! I have added back a bit of creamer to my morning coffee and an occasional glass of wine. I plan to continue eating as clean as possible. My sister, Linda and I will be meal prepping together on Sunday evenings to ensure that we are prepared for the week ahead!!! I know the foods that make me feel bad and plan to stay away from them. I would definitely recommend Whole 30 to anyone for a multitude of reasons! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. Go for it! You won’t regret it!!!

6 lbs down – 4 inches gone

Well this most recent 30-day journey is complete. It was challenging but also one of my favorite Whole30’s to date. I think my favorite thing was the small group setting and the accountability. I think anytime you want to do something great – it’s good to get people to stand with you. It’s the same way for me with my workouts – knowing I have my crew waiting on me every day – motivates me and helps me get up and going each morning!! For me the group was that.

It was also wonderful having meals prepared – but also interesting because I ate food I’ve never eaten before. You see, for me I thought kale was a garnish on a nice dinner plate or maybe threw in a very berry smoothie – not something you actually ate. Y’all we ate a lot of kale these past 30 days! And I went to the bathroom a lot also. But I also tried some stuff that I really really liked – so the meals were such a blessing!

Overall, I felt so good being on the plan. I didn’t have one bit of acid reflux and didn’t have to take any Tums the whole time. My energy was good overall especially after the first few days. One of my favorite things about this time – is on day 31 – I ate the exact same at the previous 30 days. It’s amazing when you feel so good and just want to continue. I lost weight which of course was wonderful. My clothes fit better which is always wonderful but just feeling healthy and knowing I disciplined myself and made a commitment to take care of my body. I want to continue on with that. God gave us these bodies, and this is the only body we get – I want to take care of what God has given me – and live a long and strong life!

Thank you, Mitzi, for leading the way for all of us and for your constant encouragement

14lbs down – 3.5 inches

WOW!! This W30 experience has been so different from the other 2 I have participated in. And these few days following the W30 have been quite interesting as well (I truly believe for me a huge part of the entire learning process). The last week of the challenge I was so VERY ready for the challenge to be done. Then those last few days brought a change I was not expecting…. I was actually wondering what I would do following the challenge. I was enjoying the energy, I was pleased with losing some weight and a few inches. And then there were the reasons I chose to participate in the challenge in the first place that were beginning to weigh in on my thoughts, my alcohol, my cholesterol, my overall health…. what was I going to do?? Well, we are 5 days post-challenge and I have maintained my good food choices and exercise. I had a couple cocktails but chose to simply sip & stop and that was good. Then came the big true & huge lesson. We had a family cookout at the house this weekend and decided I was going to drink as was everyone else. Then the morning came!!! I knew! I remembered! The main reason for the challenge was to feel better and quit the heavy alcohol. Lesson learned: I so remember how badly I felt regularly and know I am NOT going back there. I am NOT putting my weight back on. NOPE!!! It is odd how we do not realize how bad we feel until we push ourselves to change and feel good!! While I feel this W30 experience was a rough struggle, I am so very thankful to have had the struggle and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was worth it – every 30 days of it!!!

9lbs down – 5 inches gone

Wednesday night, yes, the very day after our challenge was over, I drank my J.D. and then went home and ate some banana pudding my good neighbor brought me and had a piece of pumpkin pie that had been brought to me a work that day. The challenge was over, and I was eating and drinking what I wanted! Yeah, well, Thursday morning I knew immediately that poor choices definitely bring poor results. I came in on Thursday evening just wanting to go to sleep so that day would be over. I know I want to continue eating more healthily and control my drink habit. I felt like a caged animal during the entire challenge, unable to socialize and participate in things I would have normally. But these few days since the challenge, (after suffering through Thursday) I am realizing that I can CHOOSE to eat healthy foods & control my drink and still socialize and participate in life. It is all about better choices.
16 lbs down