Inspiring Others

The whole reason I started writing this blog in the first place?

To inspire other “wannabe athletes” to accomplish things they had only dreamed of doing.

It has been awesome to get to know readers over the years and to hear about all of your accomplishments. But over time, I got distracted from that goal…and only recently do I feel like I have put the “wannabe athlete” title back in this life of mine.


You might remember that I moved back to my hometown about two and a half years ago. I was pregnant with Little Miss and stepped into a job that consumed much of my time and attention. The whole “athlete” thing definitely fell by the wayside.

Lately ? I’ve gotten it back. I’m doing PiYo 6 days a week. I’m leading Challenge Groups and helping to motivate other people to get in shape (or get in better shape). And I took the plunge this week and did something I have wanted to do for a while – I took the steps to create a “Moms RUN This Town” running group here in my hometown. Our first run will be this Saturday and I’m excited (although admittedly a little nervous) about how it will turn out.


But it’s so funny when local people say things to me like, “You’re really into this fitness thing now, huh?”. They think it’s something totally new.

What they don’t realize is that this is the OLD me – before life got busy with my job and my family. This is the real me. Not someone who is a natural athlete…but someone who is a dedicated “wannabe” who wants to inspire other people right along with her.

It feels good to be back. :)


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Orangetheory with The JoyFM!

Have you heard of Orangetheory Fitness?


They opened their first location three years ago and it’s been booming across the country ever since. I have a lot of friends who have done Orangetheory, but I’ve never tried it.

Thanks to our local Christian radio station (The JoyFM – you can hear them throughout Florida, Georgia and online!) and my friend Carmen (a DJ on the Morning Cruise), I had a chance to try it today. And whew, I had a blast!

Where’s Waldo? I mean…where’s Callie? :)


Carmen has been talking about Orangetheory forever so I jumped at the chance to do it with her. This girl makes me LAUGH!



If you’ve never been to Orangetheory, here’s basically how it works. Everything is focused around your heart rate. You wear a heart monitor the whole time and track your heart rate level on a giant screen in the room. There are three zones: green, orange and red.

We started on the treadmills and Abdul (one of our coaches) told us to get to our “Base” – which is in the green zone. After a while, he told us to increase the speed (or incline) into the orange zone, and then we would sprint to get our heart rate into the red zone. We were on the treadmills for 26 minutes and I felt GREAT. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt strong. The music was pumping. The energy was electric.

After our time on the treadmill, we switched over to the rowing machine and alternated between that and the weight room. We did things like sumo squats with dumbells, dead lifts, jumping jacks, upright rows, etc.

I am happy to report that I felt FANTASTIC the entire time. I really think PiYo might have me in the best shape of my life! I felt unstoppable and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. These two coaches made the class FLY by – they were so encouraging and fun! Oh and by the way – they both used to be professional athletes They know something about working out!



When the class finished, my report showed that I had burned 580 calories in less than an hour. Talk about an effective workout! (I’m in the middle on the top in case you’re curious.)


I can totally see how people get hooked on Orangetheory. We don’t have one locally (I drove up to the one in New Tampa for the workout) but I sure had fun visiting! I also loved feeling the confirmation that doing PiYo is reaping huge rewards. There’s nothing like feeling strong and fit throughout a tough workout.

Many thanks to the JoyFM and Orangetheory New Tampa for such a fun opportunity!

Any JoyFM listeners out there? Have you tried Orangetheory? 



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Transformation Tuesday: PiYo Challenge Results

Can you believe a month has passed since I started the “Back to School PiYo Challenge”? I can’t! The time totally flew by.

Every day during the month, a group of us women who are doing the Challenge have been checking in with each other in a private Facebook group, encouraging each other to complete the PiYo workout of the day and to eat a little healthier than we did the day before.

How do I feel at the end of the Challenge? Stronger. Leaner. And yes, thinner.

Overall? I’m down about 3 pounds, down 1 inch in each thigh, down 1 inch across my hips, and almost an inch in my waist. It is WAY outside my comfort zone to show my belly on my blog, but I’m seeing big changes there. I have obliques! Never thought I would be able to say that. :)

I also took an updated photo of my backside since I started doing PiYo about a month and a half ago – BIG changes there!


I wish I could quantify the difference I’m feeling though. I feel like I have core strength for the first time since having my second child. I have better posture. My clothes fit better. I just feel…healthier. Shakeology has become part of my daily routine, and the PiYo workouts are such a good fit for me, my schedule, and what my body needs to change shape.

But I’m not done yet. :)

Real talk? I noticed I’ve been slacking a little bit here at the end of the 30 Day Challenge. I traveled to a conference and while I “did” my workouts in my hotel room, the intensity just wasn’t there. I was going through the motions – and tapping out early if the moves were too tough.

I’m taking this week off and then I’ll be jumping back in full force with a September PiYo Challenge that is starting on Monday. My goals for this next month are to be able to do a full tricep pushup – yes, I can do regular full ones now!

FullPushupI’d also like to continue to tone my body, and would really love to lose about another inch across my hips. I haven’t pulled out my winter pants in a while and I really want them to fit (or be too big) when the time comes. :)

What about you? Where do you want to be a month from now? If you’re interested in joining this PiYo Challenge, email me ASAP at calliecowan (at) so we can get you all set up in time to start with us on Monday. There are 14 new people joining this Challenge and I’d love for you to be part of the group!

But maybe you already have goals for this month. Maybe you’re training for a race. Maybe you are starting CrossFit. Maybe you are getting into a routine of going for a walk every evening. Tell me what your plan is for the next month – I’d love to hear about it!

Where will you be one month from now? How are you going to get there? 



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A Runner Again? Training for the Sarasota Music Half Marathon

Yep, I did it. I took the plunge.

I’m officially registered for another half marathon. Eek!

I haven’t run a half marathon since right before I got pregnant with Little Miss. She is going to be two in November. No, I can’t believe it either. Time is flying by!

The only other distance race I’ve done since then is the disastrous Gasparilla 15k I did this spring. I learned there that you cannot undertrain for a long distance race. You will be miserable. So that isn’t an option for this half marathon. Time for dedication.

I’m loving doing PiYo and I have no plans to stop that. Our 30 Day Challenge officially ended yesterday, and a new one is starting next Monday. I plan to do that exclusively for another month, then start easing into training for the half marathon in October, still complementing my training with PiYo. I think the strength and flexibility parts of it will be really good for me when I’m out there pounding the pavement on a regular basis.

So which half marathon am I doing?

You might be able to see it on my training shirt – the Sarasota Music Half Marathon!



Never heard of it? Neither had I. :)

It’s actually an inaugural race and will be in Sarasota, FL on February 8. I’m excited about the timing. There is a pretty small window here in Florida where any kind of distance training is somewhat pleasant. I think that date sets it up about as good as it gets.

I really need to find some local running buddies since I know that accountability is key in running and in so many other things in life. When the time gets closer, I’m going to be creating a Running/PiYo Training Plan and I’m excited about that.

I’m thinking I’ll have to do some of my training runs up in Sarasota, especially to get used to the bridge we’ll be running over. I know some of you run hills all the time, but bridges are about as hilly as we get!



For now, I’ll be keeping to our weekly 5k run as a family – actually heading out to do that soon. I’m excited to start building a base of running over the next few months and am looking forward to crossing that finish line in February!

Are you training for a race right now? If so, which one?

I am excited to be a blogger for this event, chronicling my training and my experience at the race itself. I’m also really excited that the race organizers agreed to comp my entry in exchange for blogging – but I promise I’ll be keeping it real! :)



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New Challenges

Happy Labor Day!

After birthing two children, this day always reminds me of a different type of labor. :) It might be Labor Day, but it’s also the start of a new month and the end of summer. Well, for some of you – summer hangs around here in Florida much, MUCH longer.

September is going to be a busy month for me, but I can already tell it’s going to be a good one. I cannot BELIEVE that I only have one week left of the Back to School PiYo Challenge – time is flying by! I’ve been amazed at the results I’ve seen. I can’t wait to do a full “before/after” post, but my body feels completely different than when I started this Challenge. And you’ve already seen these results – I think things might have gotten even better since I took these photos. :)


One spot that is still often a struggle for me and for some in my Challenge Group is healthy eating habits. Some of you who read this blog are AMAZING on this whole nutrition thing. Me? Not so much. I’m often falling into bad habits, especially when life gets busy.

Starting September 8, I’m going to be leading a FREE 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge.


It is my hope that these 5 days will help us hit the “reset” button and focus on eating healthy. Everyone who signs up will be added to a private Facebook group where we will be checking in w/ what we eat and encouraging each other by sharing ideas about clean foods we have found and what is working for each of us. I think we often get stuck in bad habits because it feels too complicated to change. Hopefully this will help all of us start finding a “new normal.” 

What we focus on might be kinda basic for some of you, but sometimes it’s important to get back to the basics. And to hold each other accountable. And for some in the group? This whole “clean eating” thing is entirely NEW. I’m excited to see some people I really care about start making some positive changes in their lives.

Want in or know someone who might be interested? Email me at with the subject line: CLEAN EATING.

Some folks have also asked me about whether or not I’m doing another PiYo Challenge. The answer is YES!


The next PiYo Challenge will start September 15. If you’re ready to make a change to your workout routine (or maybe start one), and jump start your nutrition at the same time – all in the context of the support of a community of people doing the same thing you are – then I would love for you to be part of it. If you want info about the PiYo Challenge, email me at and put PIYO CHALLENGE in the subject line.

Oh and guess what – if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can do both. :)

What does the term “Clean Eating” mean to you?


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The Importance of Having a Hobby

I recently took two solid weeks off from work and it was one of the best things I could have done. I hadn’t taken more than one or two days off at a time since Little Miss was born almost two years ago. I love my job and I didn’t think I “needed” a vacation. I was wrong. My Board of Directors knew it too (I’m the executive director of a non-profit so they are basically my “bosses”). They gave me no choice and told me I needed time away.

Okay, twist my arm.

Still, it was hard for me to schedule it in. No time seemed convenient. Thankfully, early August seemed like a slow time so I checked out for two weeks. I mean, I checked out. And somehow during that time, I found myself again.

You see, I have a job that I love and that I’m very passionate about – but it also has the tendency to consume me. Maybe that’s more my personality than the job, and maybe some of you can relate. I remember crying to my husband this summer, feeling like I had lost all sense of “me”. I felt very two-dimensional. The only things I ever talked about were my family and my job. That’s it. I didn’t feel like I had anything that was about “me”.

During the two weeks I had for vacation, I started throwing myself back into fitness and healthy living type activities. I did PiYo every day. I cooked healthy meals. I ate well. I worked out with friends.

Most of you know me for some type of fitness-related thing, but the people in my “real” life? Not really. Especially not since we moved to our new town about two years ago. I felt like it was part of me that had been lost. I’m so glad it’s back.

I came back to work and a co-worker said, “It’s like you’re a whole different person!” I said, “No, I just feel like ME again.” Her response, “It’s nice to meet YOU.” :)


I have to say, it’s nice to see ME again too. We can be involved in a lot of things, a lot of really GOOD things, but we all need a hobby. We all need something that is “ours”. As a working mom, I need more than just my family and my job to talk about – stay at home moms can probably relate too!

We all need some “fluff” in our lives. That’s what I keep calling it. Yes, fitness/healthy living is VERY important. But compared to some of the serious things I deal with at work, it is “fluff”. It’s the fun stuff I enjoy doing – not an obligation. That includes blogging. That includes the Beachbody coaching I’ve started doing. It’s my fun “fluff” – a welcome balance in my life.

I have a friend who is also the Executive Director of a non-profit – she runs a maternity home that is open 24/7. She has a hard time with this balance too, as you can imagine. She recently started taking ballet classes as her “fluff”. She is loving it – when she is there, she is focused on the movements, not on the stresses of her job.

Other hobbies might be crafting, writing, traveling – something outside of the rigors and pressures of your daily life. Something that is fun. Something that is a release. Because you know what? Once you find that, you’ll also find that you’re more productive at work. You’re more present with your family. You’re more fulfilled – and that not only benefits YOU, it benefits those around you.

SO…what is your hobby? If you don’t already have one, start brainstorming – and let me know what you decide to do! 


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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (With a Kick)

Confession: I’ve never made homemade soup before this weekend.

We were never really soup people growing up. My grandma made an awesome hamburger soup that my mom used to make too, but other than that? Not much soup. Unless we were sick – and then it usually came out of a can with a Campbell’s label.

I have been feeling a little under the weather and chicken noodle soup just sounded good. I realized that I had just about everything on hand to make it from scratch so I figured, why not?

Here’s what I used:

2 boneless chicken breast
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart water
Half box of pasta (I used the Trio Italiano by Ronzoni Garden Delight – good choice for this recipe!)
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
black pepper (1/4 tsp)
kosher salt (1/2 tsp)
And here’s what gives it the kick – cumin (1/2 tsp)!

Pour the chicken stock and water into a big pot and add the uncooked chicken breast. Bring it to a boil until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken – it will be added back in later.

Use this time to chop up your veggies for your soup.


Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, pasta, black pepper, kosher salt and cumin to the chicken stock. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.

While that is cooking, cut the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add it back into your soup.


Voila! Dinner!


The cumin adds a bit of a kick to it that REALLY helps clear the sinuses. Exactly what I needed on this sick day! Add a little more or a little less water depending on your preference. Some people like their soup more like a stew while some people like a lot of liquid. I’m somewhere in between.

Total time to make? About 15 minutes. That’s my kind of meal! It’s cheap and healthy too. Give it a try next time you’re feeling under the weather and let me know how it turns out!

What’s your favorite comfort food when you’re not feeling so great?


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What You Don’t See

It’s easy to follow people on various social media channels and think that what you see fully represents the lives of the people who are posting.

If you are following me, this is the reality you wouldn’t have seen today:

A wife who has been cranky toward her husband all day.

A mom whose kids have pushed every last button.

A woman who needs grace more than you can possibly imagine.

I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. 

But I am thankful to know that I am loved despite my imperfections.

That tomorrow is a new day.

That His grace is enough.

And I am especially thankful that I had a bottle of wine stashed away from my last trip to Trader Joe’s for a day just like this one. :)



You’ve probably heard it before – don’t compare your reality to someone else’s highlight reel. Life is hard. We make mistakes. We have bad days.

Let it go. Tomorrow is a new day. One of my favorite verses says, “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23)

Aren’t you glad? I sure am. Especially after a day like today. :)


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Try Something New

It was one month ago today that I tried something new. I walked into my first PiYo class, figuring I would leave an hour later maybe a little sweaty but relatively unchanged. I was wrong.


Something clicked. I loved the sore feeling I felt as I walked to my car and then later that night. I loved the feel of the class. The flow of the class. The challenge of the class.

I couldn’t wait to go back.


I started eating healthier. Then I started drinking Shakeology. Then I became a Beachbody Coach, ordered the PiYo DVDs and started a Challenge Group of people who are doing PiYo too.

I fit into my size 6 shorts now. I have lost 3 inches. I am down 4 pounds.


But it’s even bigger than that. I’ve found motivation. I’ve found balance. I’ve found forward motion again in my healthy living journey. I feel happier. More “me” than I have in a long time. Yes, part of that is because I have been on a two week “staycation” from work – oh how I needed that! But my healthy journey? It has finally started moving again after MONTHS of stagnation. After months of frustration. After months of feeling anything BUT an athlete…even a wannabe one.

That’s different now. I’m at a good place. I’m excited about the changes I’m seeing, the changes I’m feeling, and the changes that are happening on the inside.

All because I was willing to try something new.

When is the last time you tried something new?

That’s my challenge for you today. It doesn’t have to be PiYo. But find something new and give it a try. Maybe it’s the Zumba class your friend keeps inviting you to go to. Or maybe it’s checking out your local CrossFit box. Or maybe it’s registering for your first 5k.

Maybe it’s signing up for a triathlon. Or joining a soccer rec league. Or taking a ballet class.

The possibilities are endless.

But try something NEW. Because remember this…


So…tell me. What is something new that YOU are going to try?

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What One Month of PiYo Can Do

It wasn’t even a month ago that I walked into my first live PiYo class.


I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had heard a lot of people talking about it. And as you know, I instantly fell in love.

I’ve been going to the live classes at my local YMCA twice a week, and for the past two weeks I’ve been doing the at home DVD program almost daily. I’ve cleaned up my diet, and started drinking Shakeology every day. I decided to take some progress photos today, and quite frankly – the results surprised me.


Does that booty look different to you? It sure looks different to me.

I know that I FEEL different, and I know my old clothes are fitting better, but I didn’t expect to SEE these kinds of results.

I did have a BIG non-scale victory last week. I posted this on Instagram…



Yes, those are size SIX shorts that I put on the shelf in my closet a few months ago because there was NO way they were fitting anymore. I was so happy to be able to pull them back on!

I neeeded this. I have been trying for so long to jumpstart my healthy living journey. Things had been…stagnant. I’m feeling more like ME than I have in a long time. 

We are a week and a half into the 30 Day PiYo Challenge so it’s a little late to join this one, but I”m thinking about doing another one in September when this one ends. I love the accountability and encouragement in the Facebook group – it has been motivating me to do the workouts even when I’m not so sure I want to. Are you interested?

If you’ve been thinking about getting a jump start or a reboot on your health/fitness journey, send me an email at calliecowan (at) and I’ll get you the info about the next challenge group. Don’t find yourself in a few months squeezing into your winter clothes, wishing you had made the change NOW. You can do this. We will do this together. 

I know that a lot of you might be gearing up you training for fall races. It’s my personal opinion that PiYo is a GREAT supplement to your training. The workout focuses on building strength and improving flexibility – two things runners often lack. Don’t let your training keep you from doing this – I think the two things will really complement each other. In fact, I’m toying with the idea of training for a half marathon in February, and working PiYo into my training. I’ll keep you posted on that idea too. :)

Thanks for being on this journey with me. Exciting things are happening. :)



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