Journey continues…

beforecomp goldsHappy 4th everyone!! I’m thankful for each and every day I’m able to make the decisions and choices to fulfill and get closer to living my dreams.

Yesterday marked the first step in yet another journey and experience in my life! I made the decision to join a friend on stage at a figure competition to be held in September in the Bay Area.  I start training with Nick Colvill of Better Aesthetics Body Building (FB page) tomorrow.

I will be doing workouts specific to where I’m at today to where I need to be (targeting areas that need strengthening), monitoring my diet and learning how to pose and walk to feature my strengths and distinguish me from others while on stage.

It’s not something I’d ever imagine doing but after attending the 2013 NPC San Jose show this past weekend in support of a few friends, I was exposed to the world and appreciated and admired what I saw on stage: determination, dedication and passion for their sport and body as art in all forms.  I am excited but I’m also a bit overwhelmed by the whole process and idea but as I’m learning in life, dreams become reality when we decide to “just do it”!!

I consider this competition not only an experience but another step in my journey to getting closer to living my purpose and dream to inspire by hoping to meet and interview individuals of interest, celebrities and peers about their journeys and sharing them.  BELIEVE!!

About me…

gabbyAbout Me

Date Posted: April 2013

About me: I am a Mother of two (8 and 12 years) in my 40’s recently divorced after 18 years of marriage and 24 years of friendship.  My fitness journey began about 6 years ago when I walked into a facility at the urging of my family.  What transpired is where I’m today empowered by fitness: what it means to me and is now my purpose and passion.  I share my journey with the hope of helping other Mommies and women who may be at a crossroads in life find the strength to create the opportunities and make the decisions to live a life of passion and truth.  Change isn’t easy but once it’s made, it becames a necessity.

As I navigate my way through this process of sharing through social media, wanted to quickly share a few facts about me here:

1. Born in Malaysia and raised in South East Asia primarily in the city I call my hometown, Hong Kong, even though I have resided in the States the longest both on the East coat (NYC) and currently West coast (San Francisco area).

2. Attended a liberal arts college in Vermont (Middlebury College, US News ranks it at #4 on their top ten liberal arts colleges in the US, where I majored in Political Science). I am compelled to note this as my whole family attended Ivy League Schools both under and post grad and so I am often asked why Middlebury and my response with a smile is, “it’s the best school where I was accepted” so I often like to point-out it is on ‘a list’ :) .

3. Joined Bloomingdale’s Management Training Program upon graduation and spent my career in retail management and buying with various companies ranging from The Gap to Ferragamo and a Hong Kong based Department Store with international travel.

4. Met and married the father of my two children ages 8 and almost 12 years soon after graduation.

5. Took 9 months to get pregnant with first child and was diagnosed with postpartum depression when she was 1 1/2 years old.

6. After settling into motherhood and overcoming PPD (postpartum depression), my 2nd child was born when 1st was 3 1/2 years old.

7. Enrolled children in every imaginable activity, joined playgroups and volunteered at their respective schools.

8. Upon our arrival to our current hometown of Los Altos, CA (Bay Area), my family urged me to take a break in the day to do something for myself. I had a 2 hour break.

9. In December 2007, I stepped into a fitness facility which upon reflection was a defining moment in my life (I had no idea at the time but it’s pivotal to where I am today).

10. Flash forward to today, I can not imagine a life without exercise. When I stepped into the fitness facility, being known simply as Debbie and not Mom of or wife to, is where and when I realized the power of regaining one’s identity as a Mom. Fitness became something that others looked to me for advice and where I found another purpose.

11. As I tried-out classes, what I had learned from personal training sessions became apparent as other instructors started asking where I taught when I was just a student and participant in their class.

12. I contemplated teaching and then it became a dream 2 years ago as I couldn’t imagine standing in front and leading a 45-60 minute continuous class counting, cueing, showing and motivating!! I have yet to teach a perfect class as all instructors know, a perfect class doesn’t exist :) .

13. How I got from dream to reality was learning how to teach from my favorite instructor at the kickboxing facility where I had been a member and where my passion for fitness developed from struggling with attending two personal training session per week to religiously attending at least 4-5 classes per week.

14. I subbed and demo’d and persisted with any and every contact at every facility I could think of in the area until I was offered an opportunity to volunteer at a Y and soon after was hired at a private facility then hired by three.

15. After a few years at the cardio kickboxing facility and two years teaching, I found my way to another facility (fate in my favor) where I had no intention of joining but where I am today.

16. The facility is another home to me…and truly is a community of like-minded individuals who live the lifestyle of health and fitness. I am so grateful for the timing and fortune to have found my way to

Today, I live my passion for fitness where I have found purpose and  strength to help inspire women to lead a life of passion and purpose.  Yes, as a Mom, I have had to make compromises and am no longer as active in my children’s schools where I once served on the PTA board but with a very involved and supportive father of my children, I have been able to nourish this part of me that I hadn’t realized needed attention.

Compromises will be made along the way but I believe that one must be happy with who they are and what they are doing to be able to then share their love and care for their children.  My dream is to share and inspire on a broader platform.  I recently received my press pass and my dream is to interview celebrity Moms’/women, persons of interest and my peers.  I’m not sure what, how and where yet but I have positioned myself to take action should the opportunity present itself while I continue to network and connect.

I find strength in other women who are able to make the decisions they need to and where I will leave my journey here and continue on…thank you and believe!!

Gift of choice…

jav-climbI created an ad this past weekend to help promote my bicepmom FB page but had no idea what would be the response (generated 74 new followers). I am at a loss with words because, on the one hand, my purpose is fueled by all of you and my hope is that by sharing my story that some part of it will resonate with those who have liked my page but, another part of me, is scared and asking how do I qualify and merit people’s support.
I am a mother of two (8 and 12 years) living a transition in the final stages of a divorce from someone I have known for 24 years and married to for 18 years. He is a wonderful father to our children and we are on amicable terms.  Fitness became my opiate for what I later realized was something missing in my life. That something was me as an individual and not only a mother and wife. I think as Moms, we naturally become so immersed in the role that logistically, it replaces whatever time and energy we have to nurture ourselves and our relationships…
This is what happened to me and I’m here to share, here to inspire and here to say that wherever you may be, allow yourself the gift of choice to live a life that makes you happy. Take it step by step and position yourself to where you want to go and what you’d like your life to be.  I never really understood the power of writing down but I have always had an active mind and easy visualization. What I’m trying to do now, is to note my visuals. I have a lot of dreams and I wake-up with excitement about my day just as I did as a child. Yes, I’m sad that the family unit has disbanded but I know that I will be much better as a person and MOM. Stay strong, believe and write down what you’d like your life to be 1, 3 and/or 5 years out. Start planning backwards and taking action. BELIEVE!!

Our state of being and mind is a choice, OUR VERY OWN…

flyflowersThis morning I awoke early to attend a 6am exercise class. With summer upon us and my children’s camp schedule, I have had to make accommodations to my own. I actually love waking-up with a workout. I found myself smiling broadly this morning on the way to my fitness facility and recall that’s how I awoke everyday as a child. It made me realize that as adults, we often, or at least I do, wake-up immediately thinking about our to do list instead of just being happy about the day.

Once the decision was made to part ways with the father of my children after 24 years of friendship and 18 years of marriage, I promised myself that I would make every day count and live it with passion and purpose. Of course, there are days when I don’t feel all too productive but I will try my best to live in alignment with my words, thoughts and actions. Happiness is a choice and decision!! Let it be yours and yours alone :)!!

Gift of friendship…

frienshipflowersHad a wonderful weekend with a dear friend I met last year in line for the bus to the start of the 2nd half of the San Francisco Marathon. During the period between waiting in line for the bus to the start of the 2nd half (approximately 2 hours), we managed to share enough of our life stories to realize we had enough in common to stay in touch as she lives in So Cal and I in No Cal.

After a year, we reunited this past weekend to run the SF Full. We picked-up from where we left-off and with neither of us training for distance as running has not been part of my regular exercise routine and she was in recovery mode, we finished together with a smile and injury-free having jogged and walked it in 6 hours (or as I have termed it, jalk).

I had hesitations and doubts about 26.2 miles without ever having run more than 13.1 but she is a regular runner and paced us. I also knew that this was to be an experience about friendship and inspiration and not time and a race and, consequently, it was the most enjoyable race I have participated in. The weekend made me realize even more how important dear and true friends are to our well-being. Take the time and make the effort to nurture true and dear friends as they are the ones who fill-in the gaps in our lives.

In the photo, we are wearing our friendship flowers she gifted me.  The story behind the company and women who created the flower is an inspiring one found at

The Gift of Giving…


Each month at the facility where I train, a member is recognized for their contributions, achievements and otherwise to the community and June was my month.  I was honored by the recognition but because of its culture, I wanted to re-dedicate the ceremonial sledgehammer back to the community and head coach and owner, Brian Nunez, for all its been to me this past year. The facility is more than just fitness, it’s a supportive, motivating and inspiring community with a leader like none other.

I shared a few words that day…What I learned most from FNS and Brian is the gift of giving, that is, giving with no expectation and with genuine intention.  If you are able to do this, you will never be disappointed (as with all in life when you release expectations) and be in total control of your feelings because your intention has been set.

In life, at the very core and, at the end of the day, we need to do what is right for ourselves because we are the ones living our life and walking our footsteps.  We need to assume full responsibility for the quality of our life by the decisions and choices we make from small to big, daily to long-term.  When I say our life, as a Mom, I realize my children are at the heart of my life so I consider them (of course) but I am an individual who needs to be at peace and happy with myself so I am that with them.

Love, Passion, Truth and BELIEVE!!

Love and self-acceptance…


I think this is very true…when we are full of love and self-acceptance, we emanate positivity and endear those around us. Tyra Banks coined the term “smize” (smile with your eyes) and it made me think of another “smeart” (smile with your heart). Identify and pursue your passion to live your truth and you will be smizing and smearting :)!!