Pages of Purpose (excerpt)

Women empowering women. That’s the premise of the new e-book Pages of Purpose, which features more than 20 strong women doling out advice aimed at bringing you greater health, wellness and greatness in the new year.

Compiled by Krissy Mae Cagney , all proceeds from the book go to the MoveMEANT Foundation, a non-profit that aims to empower and educate young women through movement to help them find self-confidence, self-esteem and positive body image.

The following excerpted text is from various chapters from the 80-page book (reprinted with permission) which can be purchased here


“One day I realized that if I was constantly living for the future, for that day when I achieved my goal body or goal weight, I would never be happy. I slowly unlearned those mental processes, and found things to love about my body even while I was in the middle of a cut or a bulk. The key is to recognize that you have one body, and it does your body nor your mind no good to spend your time hating it or nitpicking what you wish was different. So rock what ya got.” -Sarah Al-Khayyal, powerlifter and Strongman

“When you stop basing your worth on what you look like, you start to realize how many other things you have to offer the world. When you realize that your body is capable of amazing things, you stop caring so much about what it looks like. When you realize that you can be more than just pretty, that you can be strong and powerful, your life changes.” -Arianna Dantone (below),

“With much of our time spent on social media, it’s easy to get sucked into idolizing and comparing ourselves to who we see online. If someone doesn’t add value to your life or truly inspire you, drop them from your social media feed – immediately.” -Karina Baymiller, powerlifter and strength coach

“I encourage you to stop staring at yourself in the mirror and picking apart your flaws. I challenge you to get out there and be active. Get into the gym and own that motherfucker. You have no idea how much it can do for you. You have no idea what you can do for you. You are powerful. You are strong. You are a woman and you should be proud of that.” -Dantone


“Don’t just listen to someone because they’re a certified personal trainer or because they squat 600 pounds. And please, don’t pick your training routine or diet advice out of a Cosmopolitan magazine. Don’t just hop on the latest fitness or nutrition trend, and don’t follow blindly. Do research. Do be critical and question everything.

Do formulate your own personal wellness philosophy. If a coach tells you to do a certain training program, ask them to explain why. Check in with yourself and make sure that everything you’re doing is in line with your personal wellness philosophy, not your best friend’s or one of the chick’s who you follow on Instagram.” -Al-Khayyal (below)

Arianna Danton- Athlete Daily Pages of purpose

“Every Monday through Friday whether I like it or not my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. and I’m out of the door to start my day at 6:30 a.m. Chances are I won’t finish my day until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. Within the course of a day, I work, train and try my best to keep my sanity.

The question I’m asked the most from my patients, co-workers and friends is how do I do it? I could tell you that it’s a secret. I could tell you that there’s a magic pill. I could tell you that it’s because of Starbucks. I could tell you that it’s super complicated but that would be a lie. The answer is a very simple four-letter word…plan.” -Monet Bland, powerlifter

“The gym is my sanctuary. It is my safe-haven and where I find solace. Training is a form of therapy for me. I am good at lifting, and I enjoy it. It makes me feel powerful. It teaches me to love my body and the strength it is capable of.

That’s why my mental wellness is shaped, in large part, by my ability to train. Even though powerlifting has been stressful at times, especially during a meet, or an exhausting prep, it has moreso taught me how to overcome that anxiety.” Ewa Januszkiewicz, powerlifter

“I like to do some stretching first thing in the morning before I start thinking about work or what all I need to do; that ‘me time’ is very important every day before I try to pretend I am superwoman the rest of the day. I also have found it very important to turn my cell phone off during my training sessions, so I can focus on the tasks at hand.

My coach has been having me write down things that I do well each training session- which was been a huge factor in improved performance at my last competition, walking on the platform with more confidence – I believe we all could benefit from a few more self pats on the back.” -Kristin Pope, weightlifter

“As much as I enjoy training, and despite the sacrifices I very willingly make to stay committed to my sport, the gym isn’t necessarily my haven. I’m a mountain girl at heart and when I need to get away and reset, it’s usually by going for a hike or a weekend backpacking trip.

In certain seasons of my training, I allow myself the freedom to take longer adventures, which is always so refreshing and brings back life and purpose to everything that I do.” -Sarah Loogman (below), CrossFit athlete


“Weighing and measuring works for some, but for me I need to know that I can have ice cream if I want and have no guilt over it. If I want to eat cheeseburgers and tacos, I know that I can. I’m able to keep a sane mindset with food because I know that restrictions are a death wish and only make you crave those foods more. Keep it easy and keep it balanced.” -Leah Casciano, CrossFit athlete

“Once I finally decided to experiment with counting macros and timing my nutrients, I couldn’t believe I had ignored it all along! It truly terrifies me how little most people pay attention to the things that they put into their bodies. And now I do my best to share my knowledge with others to help transform not just their bodies, but, more importantly, their mental state, their well-being and their relationships with food.” -Loogman

“Too much of anything can be a bad thing. I’ve been on the other side – where all I did was train. I would skip social situations to avoid having a drink or a treat. There are times I have been so rigid that I actually saw my performance in the gym decline.

All of this has taught me that you can have your cake and eat it too. Train hard when you’re in the gym. Fuel your body right on a regular basis. But, make sure you let your hair down every once in a while…Too much deprivation of your favorite treats or even favorite activities, will do nothing but deflate your energy.” -Molly Vollmer, CrossFit athlete


“As women, we are constantly trying to shrink ourselves in the most literal and figurative senses. We are told to be smaller, to have smaller opinions, to have smaller goals, etc. We are taught that we are not enough and that we are also too much. We can be successful but not too successful. We can be strong but not too strong. We can be smart but not too smart.

We are told to eat less, to do endless hours of cardio, to have no cellulite, and to have no fat on our bodies. I say that’s crap. All of it is crap. The day I stopped trying to shrink myself is the day I grew.” -Dantone

“In my short 23 years of life, I’ve realized that what other people think matters ZERO. I spent too many years trying to conform to expectations that I assumed people had of me…I exercised and ate the way that I did so that other people would think about or look at me in a certain way. But once I started exercising and eating for my personal wellbeing, my happiness, self love, and body positivity all skyrocketed. Eventually, I became unfuckwithable.” -Al-Khayyal

“I challenge you to start seeing yourself as a winner. What are small things that you kicked ass in today? How are you achieving a healthier body or better nutrition? What are the small things you can do day by day that will help take you one step closer to your goals?” -Katie Anne (above), figure competitor/powerlifter

“Be fucking nice to people. All people. Being nice feels delightful. Being mean feels shitty. Talk less about others and more about ideas. Empower your peers, give compliments, be that person that everyone wants to be more like.” -Cagney, powerlifter and founder of Doughnuts & Deadlifts

“Positive self-talk is one of the most life-changing things I’ve incorporated into my life…No longer is food the enemy. Food is my fuel. No longer do I hate the person I see in the mirror. Instead, if I have an ‘off’ day, I forgive myself and move on, and know that I can be better the next day.” -Kelsey Kiel (below), CrossFit athlete


“Mental health should be one of the first considerations in any endeavor you wish to succeed in. Everything you do stems from where your mindset is at this very moment. When you think about the way you talk to yourself on a daily basis, is it mostly positive or negative? Do you constantly find yourself with negativity in your tone? Consider if you would talk to a best friend in the same way you talk to yourself.” -Anne

“Focus on the positive. Even when times are tough, there is always something to be thankful for. At the end of each day, I reflect and write at least one good thing that happened that day. Some days are harder than others, but I always force myself to write at least one. I find that this helps to keep me in a more positive mental state day in and day out.” -Baymiller

No more meal prep. Organic, macro-friendly food.

“I truly believe that personal development is the lead domino (the first step) to everything in life….[Headspace is] a simple and easy to use guided meditation app. I will do this first thing each morning so I avoid letting excuses build up as to why I can put it off. Find a quiet space, put some headphones in, and spend 10-20 minutes creating space in your mind.” -Adee Cazayoux, founder/CEO of Working Against Gravity and weightlifter

“Our society tells us to that to move forward, we must be working all the time. Constantly going, going, going, doing something, “grinding.” I feel that’s a lie. Just like you must rest a muscle in order to let it grow and get stronger, we have to rest our minds…Whether your retreat is a weekend away in a cabin, or simply a hot bath with your favorite candle. Allow yourself a moment to get away.” -Emily Duncan, bodybuilder and online nutrition coach 

“For any less than ideal situation in my life, I always give myself the rest of that day up to 2 days – depending on the situation- to be whatever emotion I’m feeling at that moment. Talk to whomever I want to vent my issues out to, then move on. Life can’t be steered in a positive direction if you’re still stuck on how last week your snatch sucked and your fitness blows.” -Quiana Welch, National Pro Grid League and CrossFit athlete



Reprinted with permission from the author. All rights to images and texts reserved.  Pages of Purpose may be purchased here.