Tosca Reno


Thursday, July 26, 2012

MENTAL Strength & Fitness

From Tosca:

I am training.  Yes, it is for a contest.  Yes, Coach Rita is busting my plateau and my butt.  Yes, I hurt a lot but mostly on Fridays after six days straight of gym pain.  Yes, my body is responding, revealing definition where there was none, curves where there were flats and increased muscularity where there was less.  Together we are trending towards success.  I already feel as if I have experienced that joy as the results appear.

Where the training has had a more subtle effect is in my heart and my head.  Given the monstrous challenges handed to me of late, including the death of not only my stepson last year but my beloved husband Robert this year, there were many days that I would rather have hidden myself away in the walk-in closet deep in the comfort of Robert's housecoat.  I took on the challenge of contest prep because I knew I needed some powerful structure in my life in order to get through to a brighter side.  This is exactly what has happened for me.  Several weeks into the training I am now feeling hope and possibilities once again.  I experience that familiar thrill as the workout approaches, preparing for the physical performance I am about to unleash.  As I rep out squats I have moments where I feel strongly the sisterhood and brotherhood of those who embrace the Iron Game.

I like feeling strong.  I like feeling powerful.  I like that when I feel this way my heart and my head soar.  With every rep and set completed I am strengthening not only my body but my mind.  As Rita sets newer and more difficult challenges for me, my personal fortitude blossoms.  I am ready and willing to grow.  I am powering through the dark days.  I still have moments when my heart skips a beat hearing Bob's name or thinking about who we were together, but the gym remains my constant.  Bob planted the seeds in me growing this love for caring for my body and my mind this way.  Rita is nurturing that love and bringing the flower to bloom.

My heart is going forward in health and strength and my head follows.

From Rita:
By now, most of us know the importance of proper nutrition and training.  How the two must go hand-in-hand to achieve fantastic results - you cannot outtrain a bad diet, nor can you sculpt your body with diet alone. But what about mental strength and fitness?  I don’t think I ever really focussed on it until I started working with Tosca. Don’t get me wrong, I know what sacrifices and will power are needed to achieve a specific goal, but Tosca has shown me what true strength of mind is.

You see, I am the tough-love coach.  I push my clients to their edge, all the while preaching the importance of proper nutrition, fueling for workouts, sleep requirements, rest, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I am the external motivator, but what pushes that client to not give up in the middle of the workout?   What makes that client set the alarm 1 hour early to get in some hill sprints? What about keeping the wine cork in and passing on the potatoes while Coach Rita isn’t looking??  It is their mental fitness and strength - aka Will and Determination - and Tosca possesses both to the nth degree.  She demonstrates workout after workout, meal after meal, question after question that this is her goal, and she will not only reach it, but surpass it.

So why don’t we all have this drive? And if we do, why does it come and go?  I believe that just like our physical one, our mental fitness needs to be reviewed, measured and practiced.  We can squat till we are blue in the face (or sore in the a$$), but if our head is not in the game, we will not reach our full potential, push ourselves beyond our preconceived limits, or follow through to the end without a clear pathway and strength of mind.  I often say to Tosca as we are training together - keep your goals in mind. When I see her wavering, or breathing deeply and grunting, wondering if she will give me one more rep, I ask her to remind herself of why she is doing this, I tell her to keep HIM present.  This is her mental strength & fitness.  She practices it daily - inside the office, in the gym, and by herself in solitude.

I invite all of you to ask yourself questions as you embark on a new fitness journey, or any other journey for that matter.  Ask yourself why and be HONEST with yourself.  Keep your answers present with you always - especially when you want to quit, throw in the towel or choose the “easier” road.  It is then that the answers to your questions will help push you one step closer to your goal - 1 more rep, 1 more time.

And as a side note, and in case you were wondering, nothing….I mean NOTHING is stopping Tosca from getting to her goal, no matter what roadblocks, barriers or challenges she/we will encounter and have already endured.  She inspires me.

As I told her last week, she is a woman with “dos cojones.”


  1. watching you. inspired. and pushing myself harder each and every day. clear on my why.

    sending you scads of love.


  2. Tosca,

    I think of you when I'm making food choices and cooking, and when I'm in the gym feeling like I just want to give up. In the kitchen with my fiance I'll say "Tosca would eat this" or "we're having Tosca's recipes tonight." If I want something I shouldn't have I'll say to myself "If Tosca won't eat this, then I won't." In the gym, I'll think "one more for Tosca." I try to model myself after the example you set, because you live that example everyday. Knowing you are pushing through the pain of it all keeps me strong. I am the only fit woman in my immediate family and am too busy to make many friends, so I believe that latching on to role models can be a great way to achieve success. Thank you so much for your fighter's spirit and positivity.

  3. I love reading these updates, not just Tosca's but Rita's too! It's great to hear both of your perspectives. And Tosca, you are looking AWESOME! Keep up the good work!

  4. Incredibly motivating... kudos to both.

  5. Beautiful post. I was thinking of this today as I struggle along my own fitness and weight loss journey. What is your purpose? What is the motivation behind wanting to be fit? What is keeping you from achieving your goals? All of it comes down to being an inspiration and being able to share my knowledge with others so that they can live their best healthy life. BUT I must first be that example. I must conquer my own weakness, climb my own walls and ultimately claim my victory. The challenges only make me stronger.

    Thank you for being my inspiration to push past the doubt, fears, insecurities and excuses. I know I have it in me to succeed at accomplishing my goals. All I need is discipline, obedience and to remember what my intentions are and keep them always present!

  6. I am in the midst of heartbreak, today was especially painful...This post reminds me that in the weight room I am strong and in control. I leave the pain with my street clothes in my locker...Some nights I stay there long after my workout is done, showering long, reading in the sauna, walking slow on the treadmill because this is one place I find comforting, with no reminders...
    Thank you for this reminder, sometimes my first impulse is to reach for the chocolate almonds to fill the emptiness...It doesn't. Getting stronger physically {and mentally ~ focus, motivation, purpose. grit} does fill the emptiness.

    I wish you peace and strength Tosca.

  7. Tosca, first your post made me cry for you..too often I have wanted to hide for comfort, too. Then, as I read Rita's post, I realized that there are a very few things I do have control over, and what I put into my body and how often I exercise are two of those things. No one is to blame, but me, if I fail to get off the couch or use desserts as way to make things "all better"
    Be well, stay strong, and always rock your awesomeness~*~

  8. What excellent thoughts you shared. I am feeling very inspired.


Tosca's Instragrams