Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Journey To My Core

“The Perfect Push-up saved my life,” I told Alden. “How?” he said as he looked at me with his intense SEAL eyes.

Here’s my story. It started with a small pain in my neck which got progressively worse, to the point that in two weeks I was on pain pills and couldn’t sleep or think straight. It took all my energy to just get through a day -- and I’ve always been a fitness fanatic.

In a desperately weakened state after two months because of the pain, I went back to yoga where I kept hearing “core” this and “core” that. I finally asked my instructor, “What exactly is the core? " She said, “It’s your abs or something”. Angry and panicky, I went home and did hours of research about the core (basically the body minus arms and legs) and finally found an article written by a Navy Seal on how to develop core fitness with the pushup. I remembered that when a former Navy SEAL was my body building partner, I had never been stronger nor had I ever been able to do so many pushups. Even though Scotty, my SEAL partner, had been burned from head to toe from a propane truck explosion and worked out covered from head to toe in a “Job” suit, his motto was “Failure is not an option.”

When I remembered Scotty and his unwavering drive to be the best, I told my husband Barry that we were going to do pushups. He discovered the Perfect Pushup and we were on our way.

When I started my pushups in April of 2007, I could do three from my knees, crying and humiliated and feeling so weak. When I met Alden just 3 months later I was doing 20 push ups on my toes. I had my life back! My body started to get stronger through the arms and around the solar plexus (stomach) first. After that my torso started to support my body and my neck pain subsided considerably. In two months, my neck pain was gone. My natural, functional movements that had become hesitant became confident again. I was able to start doing things again without the constant worry of “Is this going to hurt?” mantra.

I progressed really quickly as my core got stronger. My entire torso and system seemed to re-center. My “I can’t” belief was challenged and put to the test. Even though my improvement was gradual, I pushed past what was possible for my intellect to believe that I could achieve. And yes, that involved tears, and anger, and fear. I am now up to a Max set of 40. They really are correct pushups too.

My clothes started looking good on me again as the muscles started filling in. I had become really thin from lack of exercise. The waking up of my muscles was amazing too: from sore and stiff from non-use to toned with beautiful, youthful definition. My posture was another complete transformation, from being hunched forward and closed off to being able to hold my head up. Without a strong core, your body feels very separate from your head.

How lucky I feel to be able to share this story with everyone. Thank you to two Navy SEALs, Scotty and Alden, and Barry, my workout buddy, husband, and the guy who found me the Perfect Pushup. What an incredible journey it’s been … and now I know what the core is!

Thanks and Charlie Mike……Laiya Moniak


Laiya Moniak, a 53 year old Utah native, began training at five years old, when Jack LaLanne became her first fitness instructor. By her 20s she was a body builder, and currently holds instructor certifications in aerobics, yoga, skiing, and most recently hula hooping.

She has devoted her adult life to learning, and then teaching, what’s it going to take to go from an “I can’t” to an “I can” mindset. Laiya uses somatics to assist people in unblocking lodged trauma in their physical, emotional, or mental bodies, and then creates and strengthens new somatic patterns to facilitate forward movement and growth.

Her new book, “7 Steps to Unlimited Energy”, is coming soon. If you’re challenged by past trauma, or having difficulty moving forward, contact Laiya at

Laiya and her husband are speakers and the founders of End In Mind Consulting. They work with professionals and small business owners who want to create change, increase effectiveness, and reduce fear based stress. You can visit them at End In Mind


Mary in Colorado said...

Thanks, Laiya, for the inspirational post. It was nice to read another woman's perspective. Unlike you, I've never been particularly fit or active. But as I've gotten older, I have realized the importance of taking better care of my body. I've tried various ways to accomplish that -- some more successful than others -- including working with Stew Smith, SEAL friend of Alden's and also a great inspiration. I got my PPU (mobile, because I travel so much) in the mail just before leaving for a European vacation. I tried using it and got pretty discouraged by how little I could do. But having read your post, I'm looking forward to getting home and trying again. Thanks again for posting. -- Mary

Laiya said...

Keep up the great energy.
Its all about not getting frustrated because we are not where we think or feel we should be.

I know how that feels.

Keep up the push ups and you will get stronger.


Joni said...

Great Job, I loved your post.

I hurt my wrist about 6 months ago and have been unable to do any pushups. Boy can I tell. I'm ready to get started again. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

Up My Mind said...

Reading your post was a great motivator! It moved me to include my travel PPU in my suitcase last night while I was preparing for a business trip. My goal is to use it each day while on the road! Thanks for sharing your story.