Hello there! Permission to speak freely?

Okay, if you're still here, that means you gave me permission.

I'm on Week 2, Day 2 of the Shaun T. Focus T25 workouts. I have a few things to say about it. First, just to reiterate, I am NOT a part of Beachbody or it's entities, other than having just purchased my own T25 workout set. I don't get anything out of recommending it, I get no perks for praising it. So that's out there - I'm not looking to make any money off anyone, or anything like that. I just want to talk to you about stuff that works.

A refresher on MY personal background. I've had seven surgeries since my five year old was born (c-section, hysterectomy/oopherectomy/double mastectomy/DIEP reconstruction (that uses tummy fat), Hip reconstruction after the DIEP failed, Implant & fat injection reconstruction after the Hip flap resulted in blood clots in my leg and subsequent pulmonary emboli in both lungs, a bowel resection losing a bit more than a foot of intestine) - mind you, I've had more surgeries than that, that's just the past five years. I've also had many hospitalizations over those five years from complications of surgeries, complications of chronic pain from fibromyalgia and complications of Crohn's disease. I've lived with chronic pain and a lot of health issues over the years. I had a few years of being barely able to move, from the pain, and the muscles that had just deteriorated from lack of use. I recently broke my darn foot from osteopenia that came from surgical menopause. I tell you all this not so you'll feel sorry for me, but so that you can see where I'm starting my health and fitness journey from. My life has been far from easy! But guess what? I'm alive! I'm kicking! And I want to motivate people and inspire people to be the best version of themselves that they can be.

I figure that's why you have read this far.

So I'm going to speak freely (remember, you implied permission by getting this far in the text!) and I'm going to give a little tough love.

So back to Focus T25. A few points I owe it to all of you to share:

1. I just finished today's T25 workout. The Total Body Circuit workout. It was HARD. Yes, very hard, and I could not go as fast as the people on the TV screen, but I did the best I could do. I surprised myself several times when I COULD keep up. I screamed through it, I sweat through it, I moaned and groaned! But gosh darnit, I freaking did it!!! The sense of pride I have in myself right now is IMMENSE!

2. I paid $120 for the Focus T25 DVD set/system. Included in that price is an entire system that I can do in my own home.

3. These are 25 minute workouts, plus a five minute or less cool down at the end. Everyone, EVERYONE has 25 minutes in their day to pop in a DVD in their own home and do this. If you say you don't have time, I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be mean, but you are lying to yourself. You need to ask yourself if you truly want to better yourself. I'm telling you, there is no magic pill to pop to see that fit and healthy version of yourself. There is no fad diet that will give you lasting results. It may help you lose weight initially, but what is needed is not a fad diet, or a diet pill. What is needed is plain and simple. There is hard work. Dedication and hard work. There is doing these workouts, 25 minutes a day, even when the motivation you had when you committed to it has left you. You and only you can do what needs to be done.

4. Excuses: "I can't afford it." Yes, actually, yes you probably can. People can afford what they want to afford. It's true. You see it all the time - people who complain about having no money, but have big ole expensive tattoos, or the latest iphone, or new cars, or an internet connection, or cable TV with Showtime and HBO. It's all about priorities, and what's important to each of us, as individuals. Even if you are paying the cheapest gym rate out there at $20 a month, that's $240 a year, plus you'll likely have a yearly maintenance fee in addition to your monthly dues. You will get more of a workout doing T25 for 25 minutes a day than you will spending an hour at the gym. Plus you don't have to spend the drive time getting there and back. You actually save time and you save money doing T25.

5. You get results, and you get them quick. T25 is a two month program. Google it, you'll see before and after pictures GALORE of people who have done it, and it works. Now you if you are wheelchair bound you likely won't be able to do T25, and if that's the case, please, find something that works for you. Being fit, being healthy, it's one of those things that on a day to day basis may not SEEM to matter. But it does matter. Because you can spend your life, getting sicker, unhealthier, DAILY, in small ways that you don't notice until it becomes this huge HILL you have to tackle, or you can do it now, start where you are now, and do something daily - every day, do SOMETHING to better your health. You'll get that compound effect! You will - there is no way NOT to. If you're putting in the time and the work, and the focus, there is no way you can't succeed.

People are always saying they want their lives to change, but so few are willing to actually do anything to make it happen. They are afraid to get out of their comfort zone. Or, like I was, you flat out think you just can't do it. You think you are too sick, or you hurt too much, or you don't have the time, or the money, or this excuse or that excuse. Listen, I KNOW about pain, I know about being broken, I know about being in a pit of despair because I thought I'd rather be dead than live in constant pain. I also know that I never want to give away my power like that again - not to a person, not to an ailment in my own body. I am the boss of ME. And YOU are the boss of YOU. YOU are NOT what ails you! No matter what your fitness level, or health problems you can do SOMETHING. You can get on the floor and stretch, you can do some gentle yoga. You can eat better, you can think better. You can think I CAN, instead of I CAN'T.

Do yourselves and your loved ones a favor. A great big favor, starting TODAY. Be stronger than your excuses. Be around people that inspire you and lift you up. If you don't have people like that in your life, maybe re-evaluate that too. Go to youtube and look up motivational speakers (Tony Robbins is one of my favorites). Read a book (The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson is a remarkable book about a simple process for making your life better). Watching TV at night? Skip the bloody, murderous, depressing crime shows, or nightly news, and watch a documentary on being happy, or eating healthy, or something that makes your heart sing, whatever it is. Or advice straight from The Slight Edge - read ten pages of a good book every night, instead of watching TV.

We've got to change our inner selves in order to change our outer selves. (yes, that's a Teri-ism!)

And that's it. I hope you made it all the way through to the end, because I honestly care about you guys, and I WANT you to get better. And to be better. And to be successful! And to be the best version of YOU!