Xena Can Eat Cake

Xena Can Eat Cake. How Strength Training Changed My Body AND My Mindset.

I started out in the fitness industry as a part-time spin instructor in 2003. So when I transitioned full-time into the fitness industry in 2008 I worked as both a group fitness instructor & a personal trainer, hustling to build my business. With this, I was regularly teaching 5 PLUS spin classes/wk, training for my black belt in kung fu, the occasional run or treadmill sprints (because clearly I needed to do more cardio), & strength training ~3x/wk.

After I completed my black belt in 2009, I put kung fu aside to focus on building my fitness biz, but I still kept up with spinning & running which made up ~80-85% of my training, while strength training made up ~15-20% of my training.

BUT THEN in 2011, 2 things happened, I learned about the Iron Maiden Challenge & I left the commercial gym to start my own training gym & with that left all the spin classes behind.

With this transition, came a SHIFT in my training in that my training became more strength training focus ~85% & less traditional cardio focused ~15%.

With this shift, I learned that I didn’t need to be killing it with the cardio & actually saw better results, both aesthetically & with strength gains, by cutting back on all of that & instead by primarily focusing on strength training.

Often I talk about how in the book Intervention, Dan John writes about the woman who challenges herself in the weight room versus Edna. He didn’t give the woman who challenges herself in the weight room a name, so I decided to call her Xena.

He writes about how “Xena”, who can do 10 pull-ups & military press half her bodyweight overhead, has a very big “strength glass” & therefore can treat herself once in a while to dessert & cocktails without worrying about it reversing her hard work from training… “her entire system has to gather up resources & then adapt & recover from the effort.”  While Edna who thinks a 5lb dumbbell is heavy isn’t going to tax her body very hard. Let’s face it, Edna thinks her purse is heavy.

Edna can’t eat cake.

Xena, she can eat cake, & then some.

Be Xena, not Edna.

How has strength training changed your body & your mindset? Please share!


Yours In Strength,



Artemis Scantalides

Iron Body Training Systems &
I Am Not Afraid To Lift® Workshops

2 Comments on “Xena Can Eat Cake

  1. I think of that Dan John example quite often around the holidays when treats and booze are aplenty. Strength training has allowed me to expand my “strength glass”—emotionally, mentally and spiritually beyond physically—in ways no other form of dedicated practice has in the past. I am proud of the number of pull ups I can accomplish (20 is my max!) and the dedication strength training has engrained in me. Having started my young adulthood as a theatre artist, I’m glad to have made the shift to the training industry full-time as I believe it is one of my callings in life. Can’t fight that!


    Nikki R. Veit ACE Certified Personal Trainer StrongFirst Level 1 Hardstyle Kettlebell Certified 914.329.9543

    Please note: I require 24 hours advance notice to cancel your personal training appointment without a fee.


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