Myomy Fitness

Healthy and Strong at Home with Kettlebells

Body Image | A Road Less Traveled

Today, I have the honor to introduce a very special lady.   Melly Testa, approached me last year about becoming her online trainer to help guide her to achieving her fitness goals.  While I have honored her request, she does not realise the impact she has had on me.  I am sure, as you read her guest blog, that you will understand why 🙂


Body Image

Over the last two years I have thought about and invested in, ideas related to a healthy sense of self and body image. I do my best to moderate and assess information before it settles into my ‘working knowledge base’. I do not want to plant ideas of disordered eating, I do not want to push my body to exhaustion or knock my body or body/mind connection off kilter. Although I am interested in reading fitness magazines, I choose not to, instead I seek the experience of a fit body, -my fit body-, and I do not want to compare my body to any other. I seek a simple approach to loving, admiring and embracing the body I have.

You see, on January 10, 2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

When faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, the first thing your doctors start talking about is reconstruction. It is almost an assumption that you will choose to recontruct your body. I opted out of reconstructing my breasts. I did so for many, many reasons. I didn’t want multiple surgeries, I do not want implants, I don’t have enough body fat, there is no sensation in reconstructed breasts, this is a partial list.

Beautiful Melly 🙂

Because of this, I find I walk a road less traveled.

Being told I had breast cancer was like receiving a sucker punch, I had always felt as though I were doing everything ‘right’. I now realize sometimes, things just happen and this doesn’t mean that I have done anything wrong.

Prior to being diagnosed, I had no real commitment to exercise or physical activity. I have never had an eating disorder, I eat mostly vegetarian, I might have weighed 10 pounds more than my target weight at my heaviest, and at the time, I was OK with this.

Prior to my surgery, I did some deep soul searching, I asked myself, what is necessary to have the greatest sense of confidence, commitment, intention and pride in yourself and your body? The answer for me: physical exercise. I imagined that exercise would help build confidence by connecting commitment to self with strength gains. I imagined that by changing the composition of my body, I might also change my thought process; the mind and the body are just one being after all.

And, I was right. I now walk the streets of my hometown with an awareness of my body that I have never experienced before. I –feel- my glutes working, I catch glimpses of myself in storefront windows and I see muscle striations in my shoulders, I know that I have the commitment and integrity to get all of my workouts in, and I love experiencing my strength gains. Both my body –and- my mind are stronger now.

Cancer has taught me this: My body is beautiful, no matter what.

I own my choice. I made a conscious decision to simply accept my body, as it is, without replacement of loss. I have proven to myself that I am a strong woman, much stronger than I knew. I choose to listen to my inner voice and to direct that compass to whatever strengthens my commitment to loving who and what I am. And what I am, is a beautiful woman.

As I ever was.

Cancer made me realize and remember that the only person I need to please is myself.

I know that many of us judge our weight, take stock of cellulite, perhaps we feel our breasts are too big or small, our nose too wide. I suggest we all suspend judgment and learn to love the body we have. If it feels like exercise might help you, do it. But not because you want to loose weight, do it because it improves your awesomeness (thanks Nia Shanks). Do it because it cleans the cobwebs in your mind. Exercise because you love it or you want to love it.

The human body is wondrous, be open to yourself and your body, be willing to see it through and feed it well. Experience what your body tells you about the food you eat, introduce new foods, walk, lift weights, do good things. Be the beautiful, well rounded  person that you are. And, please, suspend judgment, accept your body, just the way it is. This can be very liberating.

Melly’s smile says it all

Don’t take any wooden nickels, either. Not from yourself (by judging your perceived flaws), or by our society and culture, which dictates a standard of beauty that many of us cannot attain. Love your body, show it your gratitude, help it to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Do this because it is a privilege to have a body and an honor to be able to use it.

That is what cancer teaches me. I hope this helps you too.

Your body is beautiful, no matter what.


And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Marianne for giving me the opportunity to write a guest blog post on whatever topic I chose. Marianne has been creating my workout programs, guiding me in learning about proper form, consistent practice, and better options pertaining to the foods I eat. I appreciate the work she puts into myomytv, the professional connections she makes, and the multitude of training offerings she provides. Marianne is an awesomely passionate woman and I am quite thankful to call her my online trainer.

Melly Testa

21 Minutes to Go! Kettlebell Full Body Workout

Hey everyone,

Today’s workout felt great … afterwards of course. It’s only 21 minutes long and there was a lot of sweat!  Great for full body conditioning and a quick workout when your are short for time.

Other news: I have now launched the FULL array of my Online Coaching Services.  While I was away in the US, many of you will know I got to spend some invaluable time with Bret Contreras who taught me his Programming System. So I am very privileged to have this knowledge to apply to my programs. Anyway, feel free to check it out and ask any questions.

The Workout

Set your Gymboss miniMAX Interval Timer for 21 cycles of 15 seconds rest and 45 seconds effort and complete 3 rounds of the following 7 exercises. Remember there is no pressure to do the same as me. You can split the rounds up and have a longer break in between, or you can increase the rest interval to 20, or even 30 seconds if you need to. We are all different and we need to tailor our training to reflect that!

As usual my reps per exercise and weights used are noted inn brackets.

  1. Goblet Squat to Press (20kg) (11, 10, 11) – I did this variation to reduce stress on my low back and pelvis, as other variations would be more increase the need for stability.
  2. Renegade Row (2 x16kg) (18, 17, 18 )
  3. Roundabout Swing (changed to 2H Swing in 3rd round, due to blood blister on my hand) (20kg) (29, 29, 31)
  4. 2 Jump Squat Burpee (11, 10, 10)
  5. Stand-Kneel-Stand (right) (16kg) (13, 11, 10) – took my time with these, due to a little pain 🙁
  6. S-K-S (left) (16kg) (12, 10, 10)
  7. Vertical Pull Burpee (20kg) (11.5, 11, 10) – these felt good!

The I did 2 sets of RKC Planks – SET 1: x about 30 seconds, SET 2: 40 seconds (below is a tutorial from Bret).

The only slight difference that has evolved from this variation is that Bret taught me to bend my knees slightly, rather than squeeze the legs together, to allow for greater contraction of the glutes and creating more of a posterior pelvic tilt … which is what I need. Give it a try, and remember to stop once your form starts to suck. The handy thing about this exercise is that you get a really great assessment of just how active your glutes really are. They should be solid and switched on throughout. You might feel one or both glutes starting to twitch or tremble as you try to contract it or as they tire. This is a sign you need to do more glute activation/strengthening drills, Hip mobility drills and more importantly – THINK ABOUT CONTRACTING YOUR GLUTES. Get your mind linked to those muscles and really focus on that movement. Once you do that, your RKC Plank endurance and lumbopelvic stability will sky-rocket!

Hope you enjoy today’s workout and will leave your feedback below.

PS – If you buy a gymboss through text or banner links on my pages, I will earn a wee bit of money for that. I have been a gymboss affiliate since 2010 because I loved them then and I love them now. Especially because it one more thing I can operate that’s not on my phone.

Gymboss miniMAX

I’m Back! NEW Home Kettlebell Workout

Hey everyone!

I am finally back home and honestly a little depressed to be away from all the Girls Gone Strong. We had an amazing time and we have loads of really exciting things to share with you all in the near future – including our first product, which I know will be one of a kind!

When our training video is available to me, I will then post an complete summary of my time in Baltimore with photos and of course the video!

Even though I am literally just in the door from my long journey I actually feel like a workout.

After travelling for almost 20 hours (mostly sitting) I feel that a short workout will help loosen up my muscles and help me feel more revived as it has been a few days since I trained at all and, there had been a lot of eating out – as you can imagine 😉

The Workout

Some of the exercises today are more technically demanding so I have increased the rest interval and decreased the effort interval.  BTW apologies if my writing isn’t as coherent today; I can honestly blame the jet-lag for that!

Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 18 cycles of 20 seconds recovery and 40 seconds effort and perform 3 rounds of the following 6 Kettlebell exercises. My reps per exercise and weights used are in brackets. Note: I am not going heavy today as I want to work on skill while taking care not to risk injuring my tired body; I just want to feel good from this workout, not exhausted. If YOU want more intensity then feel free to adapt times, weights and exercises for your own goals.

Working with Neghar Fonooni (RKC 2, GGS, and much more), Karen McDowell Smith (RKC 2, RKC Team Leader) and Jen Sinkler, I learned a few pointers to help me improve my KB form, which I am so grateful for.  Hopefully the changes will show 🙂

  1. Kettlebell Goblet Squat (20kg) (16, 15, 13)
  2. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing (20kg) (29, 28, 29 )
  3. Kettlebell Renegade Rows (2x14kg) (16, 16, 15)
  4. Alternating Kettlebell Clean and Jerk (16kg, 20kg) (6, 6, 5)
  5. Kettlebell Snatch (left) (12kg, 14kg) (10, 11, 7)
  6. Kettlebell Snatch (right) (12kg, 14kg) (10, 12, 9)

After this workout I felt great! So glad I did it. Particularly I found it challenging to pack my neck during the KB swing, but Neghar gave me a great cue to remember: “your head follows the trajectory of the Bell”. I had gotten into a bad habit of hyper-extending my neck at the bottom of the swing, so this will help prevent injury in the future.

That’s really all for today everyone. I know I will be back soon with the full update, so please don’t forget to subscribe to Girls Gone Strong’s YouTube Channel and “Like” GGS’s Facebook Page. And, while you’re at it please “Like” myomytv’s NEW Facebook Page 🙂

There’s plenty to keep you occupied 😉

Talk to you all soon! *eek I am so excited to show you our video!*


A Guide to Pull Ups | Learning and Progressing

Hi everyone,

Sorry I have been absent for so long but I have had internet issues and some sort of stomach “bug”, so I have been silent on the web. A workout will follow soon, but in response to several questions about Pull Ups I thought it was high-time I made a tutorial.

Performing your first pull up is an amazing feeling and a major landmark in your strength-training journey – so I think that everyone should have the chance to experience that feeling of achievement. It is probably one of the most challenging exercises that a female can perform as it requires upper body strength and good grip endurance; never mind the mental strength and determination.

In order to allow you to master the exercise, I will take you through a tutorial on proper form, assistance techniques and some progressions.

The Tutorial

Learning proper form from the get-go will ensure you get the most out of this amazing exercise. Not only will you build your upper body strength, but you will improve your shape, posture and overall training potential. The carry over to and from other exercises is vast because having a strong back and grip will be a recurring theme through any training programme, whether it be with Kettlebells, the Barbell, the Sandbag or Dumbbells …

Let me recap on proper technique pointers from the video:

  • Regardless of whether you choose neutral, underhand or overhand grip, the following sequence remains the same.
  • Beginners are best to use neutral or underhand grip to allow them to more easily perform the full range of movement by utilising more of their biceps, rather than relying on their back, forearms and grip.

Shoulder Packing

  • To reap the benefits from the exercise, you must learn to tuck your shoulder blades flat against your back, pull them together and slide them down your back. Like you are trying to “tuck them in” a back pocket in your jeans. This helps you stabilise the shoulders by strengthen the upper back muscles around and under the shoulder blades. You need to be strong at this skill for many other types of training; such as Kettlebell training and barbell lifts (like deadlifts and back squats). Shoulder packing helps you keep your shoulders in their sockets even as resistance tries to pull them out; it also helps you to keep your “chest up” during other lifts. The pull up will help you master this skill and get those shoulder packing muscles stronger!

How to perform a Pull Up

  1. Choose your grip and hang from the bar; gripping with your fingers and thumb rather than your whole hand – this will help your grip endurance by relying more on the tendon strength over your forearm endurance.
  2. Hang relaxed with your arms straight
  3. Initiate the pull from the elbows and follow through using the upper back muscles (packing the shoulders), pulling the sternum towards the bar. Don’t shrug your shoulders. If this happens, your shoulders aren’t packed!
  4. The rest of the body remains neutral throughout the exercise.
  5. Reverse the movement under control and return to the starting position (hanging relaxed with arms straight).

Improving Grip Strength and Endurance

  • Static hangs: Hang fully relaxed with straight arms from the bar for a set time. For example: Beginners aim initially for 3 sets of 20 – 40 second holds and gradually progress the time. Either perform this drill on days you are not doing resistance training or after your resistance training so you do not pre-exhaust your grip.
  • Farmer Carries/Walks/Holds: Grip a Kettlebell or Dumbbell in each hand and either stand still to hold for time, or walk with the weights for distance/time. Progress the duration of the hold or the weight carried.
  • You can also perform static holds with the barbell while in the top position of a deadlift.

Assisted Pull Ups

  • Assist your pull up using a chair or bench to push off with one foot.  This method will be most common for trainees at home. Remember to always make it challenging and don’t cheat too much by pushing more with the foot.
  • Band Assisted: Bands can be bought from Pullum Sports or EliteFTS. The thicker the band the easier the pull up. This is a great way to measure progress because the level of assistance require is predetermined. As you improve your form and strength with the thicker band you can progress to thinner bands.
  • If you are looking to improve your pull up numbers then you can use bands to assist your pull ups after your bodyweight max. This time you start with the thinner bands and work to the thicker ones. After you reach failure on one band, then you can continue your reps using more assistance etc.

Isometric Holds and Negatives

  • By holding the pull up at the top (iso hold) or lowing slowly (negative) you place the muscles under tension and stretch for longer allowing them to build strength.
  • Both methods allow you to build pull up strength from the top down.
  • Isometric Holds can be performed for 3 sets of 10 – 20 seconds (for example)
  • Negative: Lower from the top position over 5 – 10 seconds x 3 sets

Always keep the goal in mind and don’t forget to practice your pull ups from time to time – for example, you can test your pull ups every day, as long as you are not performing too many. So performing one pull up at a time several times per day (depending on your ability and your recovery rate).  If you are a beginner then you can still practice every day, but avoid training the assistance exercises everyday. You can do grip training, assisted pull ups, ios holds and negatives 2 or 3 times per week. Always remember that recovery is equally important to your progress.

Some Progressions

  • Overhand grip
  • Wide Grip
  • Using Fat Gripz
  • Weighted Pull Ups

This should be enough to get you started. While numbers and max strength are important, the main thing with pull ups is proper form, so pay attention to that and you will benefit from the exercise regardless of you numbers. Progress is not just about numbers.

That being said there is a number I would be thrilled to see: The First One!

Let me know your progress so we can congratulate you on your achievement 😀

Thanks for reading.

Additional reading from Tony Gentilcore:

Chin-Up Progressions Part 1

Chin-Up Progressions Part 2

Chin-Up Progressions Part 3


Cruel Kindness | Kettlebell Conditioning Workout

Hey all!

For those of you who missed my last update, there is a new girl group in town. Girls Gone Strong is the group formed by myself and the other lovely ladies I had the pleasure of getting to know back in August in the USA. We met up to train together and we instantly hit it off. Since then we have been planning a huge movement to help women (and men too) get strong! Our website will launch soon and we are planning another meet-up in just a few weeks time to plan our exciting future together; plus film loads of cool footage of training and more – so stay tuned. You can “Like” us on Facebook HERE, or follow us on Twitter HERE.

Today’s workout is one I did on Friday. It was late on in the day and I was feeling a little guilty for spending most of the day sat on the sofa watching the Mentalist and other things. In fairness to me, I has been working the night before and only managed to get a few useless hours sleep that afternoon – totally inadequate! So is it any wonder that I struggled to pull a strength training session out of the bag! I opted instead for a fun/hateful conditioning workout! Not that this was much easier, in fact it was really tough, but I managed to do an extra round than I planned and afterwards I felt great!

The Workout

The set up is very straight forward. Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 20 cycles of 15 seconds rest and 45 seconds effort. Then complete 4 rounds of the following 5 exercises:

My weights and reps per exercises are recorded in brackets.

  1. Alternating High Deficit Reverse Lunges (20kg) (14, 13, 11, 11)
  2. Elevated Super Plank Climbers (eek!) (8.5, 8, 8, 6)
  3. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing (20kg) (32, 31, 30, 31)
  4. Renegade Rows (20kg) (16, 15, 13, 12)
  5. KB Vertical “Swing”/Pull Burpee (20kg) (12, 11, 10, 11)

I then felt like collapsing into a puddle on the floor! What a challenge this was for me today. Those Elevated Super Plank Climber were TOUGH! Great workout though, just what I needed 😀

That’s all from me today everyone. I hope you all have a great weekend and I will keep you all posted on the happenings with Girls Gone Strong! Oh and don’t worry, I won’t be leaving myomytv – EVER!!!!!



PS – After watching the video back I was cringing at myself moaning AGAIN about being tired! Just for the record, there are plenty of days when I am not tired like this. These are the days that I use my energy and focus to go and lift some serious weight! As I said my barbell exercises are my focus right now and I use my KBs for conditioning. It’s a great way to train and it works well. And for those who are itching to see my barbell training, then I hope to have some proper footage soon of my typical gym training – as soon as I get filing permission somewhere 😀

PPS – Get excited, because you’re gonna see way more of THIS!

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