Top 5 Life-Changing Quotes From a Weekend Strength Seminar

Strong women inspire me! This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend The Big Seminar 2 at my extremely awesome gym, Total Performance Sports in Everett, Mass. Although I knew all of the presenters would be fantastic, I was especially looking forward to meeting and learning from two of my favorite strength and fitness coaches, Julia Ledewski and Molly Galbraith.


You may have heard of Julia and Molly from their work with Girls Gone Strong, a group dedicated to women’s fitness. If you aren’t a part of that group yet, click the link to join thousands of other women who care about developing external and internal strength, health, and confidence to go for their dreams!

What was really awesome about this seminar was the hands-on-component all day Sunday and the accessibility of all of the presenters to answer questions.

Everyone’s definition of strength is different, but I believe that strength comes in various forms and isn’t necessarily quantified by the number of pounds one lifts or a certain body composition. One woman could lift 45 lbs. while another deadlifts 300 lbs. and display an equal amount of strength because it’s an internal quality that works synergistically with our mind, body, and soul. In the same way, strength doesn’t necessitate a certain body type or composition but a quality that can be attained by any woman, anywhere.

It’s so empowering to see a woman expand her definition of possible in one area – lifting a heavy weight – that then translates to various other goals and dreams in her life. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching for me! I can think of more than one client who was resistant to lifting weights over 10 lb. dumbbells when we first began working together who then went on to squat their bodyweight and then begin taking those vacations they’d put off for years, taking risks they would have shied away from before, and feeling more confident to pursue a rich life!

Molly and Julia both exude a high degree of professionalism, realism, and thorough knowledge of women’s issues – physically, emotionally, and psychologically. I learned so much from them and will definitely be a better coach because of it.

I love quotes, so I thought I’d share some of the main takeaways for me this weekend from some of the quotes from the presenters. If you enjoy these, learn something, or are challenged by any of the following, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below. 


“What is tolerated is encouraged.” – Matt Rhodes, Div. 1 Strength Coach

Although Matt shared this quote in relation to dealing with athletes, clients, or folks in a gym, it really resonated with me in the way we lead our lives, our careers, and in our relationships.

We encourage what we tolerate in life! So if you tolerate your co-worker continually throwing excess work on you while she leaves early, you are encouraging her to keep doing it (and she will!). If you allow your friends to run all over you, they’ll keep doing it. If you tolerate your spouse not getting involved in your kids’ lives because they are “too tired” from work, he won’t. And if you keep allowing excuses to act as your crutch for not attaining your gals, well, I daresay you won’t ever attain them.

What are you tolerating in your life that doesn’t line up with your values, with what’s really important to you, and with your long-term goals? You may not know the answer and that’s okay. It’s really common for us to go through life each day without ever pausing to consider how our actions add up to a long-term direction of our lives. It’s time to pause and think, okay?


“I’m at the top because I do the little things, outside of the gym.” Vincent DiZenzo, Bench Press King

What are your goals? What are you willing to invest to get there? And how is that working out for you? I love, love, LOVED Vincent’s approach to lifting and life because he kept emphasizing that little changes over time create BIG results!

We’ve all had goals or things we wanted to change in life, but few of us put in the consistent investment of time, dedication, and commitment over the long-term to realize those goals. And I’m not talking about committing to a day or a week of exercising or eating well, but 30, 60, 90 days… for your life.

Vinny may be a world-class powerlifter – something you may have no interest in – but he hits on a key point about change because it is all about the little things outside of the goal. So you want fat loss, huh? How’s your sleep? How’s your eating? How’s your exercise? How’s your hormones? How’s your stress-reducing practices? How’s your breathing?

Get optimal in all of the little things surrounding your goal – fat loss – and you’ll get fat loss. Focus on fat loss alone while neglecting eating enough, exercising effectively or refusing to sleep enough, and I’ll show you a miserable lady.

Incremental little changes add up to big results over days, weeks, months and years. Some of my clients begin cleaning up their eating with one meal – breakfast. Then, over time, we tackle another meal, and another, until their entire life is nourished from the inside out.

This sounds basic, but NO ONE is doing this! Seriously! Focus on the little, simple stuff that you’re neglecting – like breathing – and watch your life transform!

What are the little things for you? Write down one thing you can improve this week that will pay dividends next month, next year, and next decade? Write it down and begin immediately! e.g., drinking a glass of water upon waking, taking 10 minute walk 3x per week, cooking with a healthier fat.


“Your definition of training hard and my definition of training hard are two different things.” -“Murph”, Owner of Total Performance Sports

When I don’t have a clear goal and I’m on my own, it’s easy for me to let thing slip – how frequently I exercise, how much I exercise, and how hard I train. To be honest, I’ve been a bit of a slacker the past few months and have barely maintained the strength I’ve worked so hard to consistently build over the past  year.

While I think there are seasons for pushing hard and seasons for recuperating, I’ve been frustrated with myself and my lack of progress, yet have made excuse after excuse as to why I cannot change my situation right now – I can’t afford it, it’s too much work, it’s true that I ‘can’ write my own program, etc.

Since the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, I was called to action this weekend to not put off investing in my longterm goals and health a minute longer by immediately hiring an amazing Coach at TPS. I’m super excited to begin working with him, to STOP being the stopper in my progress, and leave all the work of programming to him. I’ve just got to show up and train hard with full confidence that the program will be effective if I put in the work.

What a relief!

In a similar way, it’s so common to see women running miles a day, spending hours on the treadmill, or taking a million classes, yet still be frustrated with their lack of progress (often in fat loss goals). This is because you’re not working hard enough in the right way or as efficiently as possible.

The treadmill may burn so many calories immediately, but does nothing to develop lean muscle (the “tone” women want), nothing to challenge balance and trunk strength, and nothing to continue elevating the metabolism for the rest of the day.

10 pound dumbbells aren’t enough resistance, in my opinion, for a 12 year old. Why do you think they are going to make your arms look different?

If you aren’t seeing the results you’d like, chances are you’re not training hard enough (which doesn’t necessarily mean a long duration). Take some words of wisdom from a fellow in the trenches with you, invest in yourself. Hire the person you need to get to where you want to go and TRAIN HARD! 🙂


“Train because you love your body, not because you hate your body.” -Molly Galbraith,

How many of you began exercising or eating differently because you hated your body? I know I did. Complete with fad diets, extreme exercise programs, and absolutely anything that promised to change the composition of my body, mainly letting go of fat in all the right places.

Now… after seven years of continually chipping away at hacking health, nutrition, and fitness, I’ve finally begun falling in love with my body, my looks, and my worth in the past year. The beginning point was when I committed to a 12-week lifting cycle and threw out the scale for good. Read about that journey here.

It’s evolved from that point to moving inward and outward through consistent self-love, self work, letting go of excuses, and affirming that I am a creation of God. Just in 2013, I’ve noticed myself not picking out my flaws when I look in the mirror, but accepting me for me and appreciating everything in my life that has brought me to this point.

Now I train because I love my body and I cannot tell you how much more confidence and boldness I have because of it! Why do you train or exercise? 


“Visualization & positive thoughts erased usual anxiety I feel before a (powerlifting) meet.” -Julia Ledewski,

We’ve all heard the power of visualization to bring our dreams into reality, but how many of us use visualization as a tool to thrive every day in life? The above quote references a recent powerlifting competition of Julia’s in which, instead of anxiety building in the week before her meet, she visualized every part of the competition, from putting on her suit, to lifting, to hi-fiving her husband afterwards.

It worked.

Visualization is one of those little things Vinny refers to above. Taking time to visualize how we’d like each week to go, each day to go, each meeting to go can have profound impacts on how these events in our live actually play out!

Take five minutes today to visualize what’s on your plate tomorrow and how you would like it to unfold. Really see, feel, and get into the moment. Then report back to share your experience. It’s shocking how quickly this works and how radically it changes your life.


In summary, you get out of life, eating, and training what you put in. Floating through life and these activities without a goal, plan, or love results in more frustration than results. When we stand up for ourselves with self-care, with training hard, and with taking the consistent small action that adds up to big results, we also stand up for women everywhere – for our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and even strangers. Engage in your life. You only get one! 🙂 

What is your favorite quote from the ones I shared above? Leave a thoughtful comment below sharing why it grabbed you and how you plan to implement it in your own life! We’re in this together. 


Gerilyn Burnett liberates women from the downward spiral of ever-increasing responsibility and stress without self-care to experience more ENERGY, more VITALITY, and a fitter body permanently! She trains women (& some awesome men) all over the world how to eat, move, and live for their best mind, body, and life! Her own journey from miserable, fat, stuck, and tired to fit, confident, vibrant, and delicious make her uniquely suited for this mission! She has a knack for creating contagious healthy experiences and providing the needed support and accountability that turn diets into lifestyles and dreams into realities. Get started on your journey to vibrant vitality for life here

1 Comment

  • Sara J

    Reply Reply March 11, 2013

    Really enjoyed this post! The points kind of resignated as I read them, especially because I decided to get up before dawn today and challenge myself to something that made me nervous just thinking about it. I wanted to see if I could go to crossfit BEFORE work today instead of after. It was a scary thing to think about attempting since it all comes down to how efficiently can I use that time so that I’m not late to work (long commute) and make sure I have something to refuel with (so that I’m not munching on donuts in the workroom), and can I tolerate looking raggedy for the rest of the day. It could become such a small change in time management if this can work out to make sure I’m not neglecting my after school duties or evening routine. Overall helping me accomplish personal goals without neglecting mandatory goals.

    Also on a whole other note reguarding your second quote, as we did push ups in our warm ups today I realized that my body was unconsciously doing FULL push ups for the first few reps! Not relying on beginning with a plank at the knee. And I thought, wow, that’s really cool. And I totally understand that I haven’t accomplished that through just practicing push-ups every hour of the day. It came from the small changes of how I focus on what the core feels like in the proper push-up, practicing just holding a plank when I have spare time, and then persevering through the different type of core exercises that the gym requires of me. I’m really one of the weakest ones at the gym right now, but realizing these small changes in my fitness makes me totally forget that and stop being embarrassed at what I can’t do. And that’s a really neat feeling to have.

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