Monthly Archives: September 2014

How Fitness Can Make You More Resilient in Life Part 2


Last week I posted  how fitness can translate to resiliency in life, reenforcing  mental strength and help you overcome everyday challenges and struggles. I linked it below in case you missed it. 🙂

http://adele-jones.com/2014/09/how-fitness-makes-you-more-resilient-in-life-part-1/

As I re read my last blog and contemplated this one, I was drawn to connection of not just fitness to life, but life to fitness as well. That fitness can make you more resilient in life and life can make you more resilient in fitness. It works both ways. 🙂

I touched on two points in part 1.

1. Fitness helps you face discomfort straight in the face and in turn helps you get through uncomfortable times in life.  We can avoid them, cave in to them or face them straight on. Whether it’s a workout or life struggle, you got this!

2. It helps you develop good problem solving skills. Fitness is not black and white. It requires a little trial and error and a little problem solving. And isn’t that what life forces a us to do? To live and learn?

Today I want to share with you the remaining components on how fitness can strengthen, in more ways than just the physical. Individuals who are successful in the fitness realm, and more resilient in life,  are more likely to do the following.

1. Seek help.

Just like life we cant go at it alone. Having someone to guide you in your struggles can be essential to getting results, creating knowledge, motivation and accountability. This can come in forms of a trainer, a coach or a friend.

Ask yourself: Do you have a specific fitness plan?

Do you know how many days a week to work out and for how often?

Do you know what kind of nutritional guidelines work best for you or do you struggle with it?

Do you know what exercises to pair together to create the most efficient and effective plan?

Sometimes we need that guidance from, simply, someone who knows it better or someone who can help support us, when it may be hard to support ourselves.

2. Believe that they have the ability to make decisions that will help them cope with their everyday struggles, or when it comes to fitness, nutrition, workouts and/or time management.

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This is HUGE! If fat loss is your goal, BELIEVE that you have the power within in you to lose fat and become healthier. If you want to become stronger or run faster BELIEVE that even though it will be tough you have it within you to to do it! You are able to set goals and you are able to make decisions to help achieve those goals. YOU CAN DO THIS! Repeat that to yourself often. Have some hope and believe in your own abilities.

Ask yourself:

Do I believe I can achieve my goals?

What is stopping me from achieving my goals?

Repeat to yourself: I believe in me. I am worth it. While it may not be easy, it is possible.

3. Have social support and connect with others.

One of the biggest reasons I see online coaching, CrossFit boxes and small group trainings classes succeed is because of the resilient community spirit built within all these realms. I have participated in all three at various times in the past couple years and I LOVE it! As a trainer I also get to see this from an outside perspective looking in, and let me tell you it is amazing! People who don’t even know each other cheering each other on in CrossFit WOD’s, people sharing their deepest fears in online groups and being met with love and acceptance and quick words of encouragement  from a fellow classmate to keep pushing in your workout. I personally love the mental strength I experience  myself and the support and encouragement from others.  Social support is crucial to our well being and to our workouts.

Ask yourself:

Do I enjoy working out alone?

Is it beneficial to me?

Is there a way I can join some sort of community to help create support, accountability and motivation, as that is half the battle isn’t it?

All in all creating resiliency in fitness can translate to helping us overcome adversity in life, and the adversity we face in life can strengthen our mindset, that when it comes to our bodies and health, anything is possible.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”― Nelson Mandela

How Fitness Makes You More Resilient in Life Part 1

As I was reading about cultivating a resilient spirit in life, in Brene Brown’s book, The Gift of Imperfection (which is a MUST READ I might add) I was fascinated about her research about some of the most common factors of resilient people. I started to reflect on the struggles that I see my clients, friends, family go through and the struggles that I myself go through and more importantly how we handle them.

How do we adapt to challenges, struggles and adversity? Why do some people handle it better than others? How and why do people handle it better than others? Regardless of the struggle, each individual suffers from pain and negative emotions, but how do some people rise above easier and some people suffer longer. It all has to do with our choices and how we balance our emotions and our ability to positively handle stressful times and situations.IMG_9446

With this in mind, I headed to the gym and to workout.  During my first exercise I was struggling with motivation. Mid set I put the weight down because it was “too heavy.” I paused and debated for a split second if this was a physical limit, that I literally and physically could not pull that weight any more, or was it a mental block that I just did not want to be uncomfortable (experience any physical discomfort). I picked the weight back up and for the remaining 8 repetitions, I questioned, physical or mental? As I let the weight down each rep I questioned my mental strength and as I pulled the weight up I would question my physical strength. I made it through the rest of the set and knew that the whole game was pushing through the physical discomfort, mentally.

I have always known that fitness has made me a better, stronger, more capable person. And this set was that re occurring “ah ha” moment of why fitness is such an important and meaningful part of my life and why I am beyond thrilled that my career allows me to share that with others.

It has shown me that I can get through the discomfort, not only from my workouts but in life. Life can be uncomfortable at times, life can be uncomfortable often. Feeling of shame, inadequacy, negativity, jealously, hurt, loneliness, anxiety and fear are emotions EVERYONE expierences. No one is exempt from these, though sometimes we feel like we are the only ones struggling with these emotions.

With that said *how* we handle these emotions and *how* we overcome them are what makes us resilient.  Do we give up on the workout? No. We push through. Do we give up on important relationships? No. We push through. Do we dwell in negativity and let  adversity bring us down. No. We find the bright spots and figure out how we are going to make the best of any given situation.

Instead of taking a situation and saying screw it, I take the situation and the problem at hand and ask how am I going to fix it, how am I going to make it work for me. I have learned to become a good problem solver. When I am not seeing progress with my body in the way I want it to, whether it in terms of how I look or my energy levels I re evaluate. What and I doing right? What could I be doing differently? Instead of just giving up and accepting what is, I figure out a way to adjust and adapt and give myself a bit of a break. I am doing the best I can.

No one is immune from struggles and hard times but they are necessary for us to grow. Just like our workouts, if we don’t put our bodies under a little stress, under a little discomfort they would not change.  Fitness is one way to help us learn to embrace challenges and become stronger and more resilient. If you do not feel challenges in your workouts, your body will not change and get better and if you do not face challenges in life you will not grow and get stronger as a person.

The good news is resiliency is not some magical ability that only some people have.  Resiliency is a practice that can be learned and developed. Here are a few take aways that you can apply to your workouts and life.

1. Question the discomfort. Is it physical or mental? How can I overcome this situation?

2. Become a good problem solver. Make a list of ways you can solve the problem at hand. Set small steps to conquer that problem and achieve your goal.

3. Resiliency is a learned practice that will take time to implement. YOU are highly capable of taking your struggles, learning from them and learning how they can make you grow.

Stay tuned for Part 2. Coming soon. 🙂

 

 

How We Self Sabotage Our Own Happiness

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1. We Make Assumptions

Most of our unhappiness stems from inner conversations we make up in our head. We assume someone is thinking a certain way, we assume by actions, we assume implications by the what people say, how they say it or how they act.  We then are misunderstood or misunderstand the situation. We think partners, friends and family know what we want even when we do not say what we want. That is not the case.

When we move away from assumptions, we are able to see things the way they are, because we are more informed.  When we do not know, we need to ask. When we WANT to know, we need to ask. In the book Loving What Is by Byron Katie she has you ask yourself “What would you be without these thoughts?” Now ask yourself what would you be without these assumptions. Without assuming that someone is mad at you, without assuming someone doesn’t love you, without assuming the worst. The best way to overcome this is to have the courage to ask. It sounds easy but if it was we would do it more often. Be brave.

2. We Play The IF, THEN game

We want more money, we want more free time, we want a different body, we want to be more confident and we want it NOW.  The trouble with the process of wanting is the emotion we associate with the desired goal. We fall victim to the “If, then” mindset. IF I lose weight, THEN I will be happy. IF I have more money, THEN I will be happy.  IF my life were more settled, THEN I will be happy. The IF, THEN mind game simply states that we are not good enough where we are right now.

But can you imagine how you would feel if you accepted yourself right now in this very moment. Again I am asking you to ask yourself what you would be without those thoughts. I will ask for you.

Without the thought…

I need more money.  Could you just be happy with the love of friends and family, while working to better your career?

Without the thought…

I need a different body. Could you just be happy with the body you have, while striving to improve?

Without the thought…

I need to be more settled. Could you just find and appreciate the positives in your life on its journey?

Ask yourself…What would you be without that thought.

3. We Forget To Practice Gratitude

The key word here is practice. We all know what we are grateful for and I am sure we all appreciate food in our homes, roofs over our heads and jobs that provide income. But often times we  tend to associate happiness and joy with our circumstances outside of these basic needs. We also think gratitude is a place of achievement when actually it is a process that we must implement and remind oursleves day in, day out. We are not going to reach a place and say “I am finally grateful and I do not have to work at it anymore.”

Well how do we practice gratitude you might ask?  Share it! Let people know you are grateful for them. When you have thoughts of I am not enough, change it to I am enough. Quit chasing this amazing expectation of happiness and joy in your head and don’t miss out on all the little day to day things that fill your heart. Instead of looking at your huge house, look at your daughter sleeping soundly. Instead of looking at your best physical feature, look at your beating heart and beautiful spirit.  Instead of waiting to be happy until that dream vacation be happy with that day you sat outside soaking up the sun.

Change takes time but give the following a try: do not make assumptions, play the I am good enough right now game and practice gratitude. If you can begin to implement one or more of these things, slowly but surely your mindset will change. 🙂

The Most Annoying Answers To Your Food Questions

There is SO much conflicting information out there regarding nutrition and I want you to start asking yourself QUESTIONS to ANSWER your QUESTIONS. We are told what foods we should or shouldn’t eat, what diet we should or shouldn’t do and what food rules we should or shouldn’t follow.

Here are a few real life questions from friends or clients I have gotten this week and a few real life “annoying” questions (not answers) I have given them.

Question:  What should I eat for breakfast?

Response: What do you like to eat for breakfast?

 

Question:  Can I eat past 8 p.m. ?

Response: Are you starving past 8 p.m.? What have did you eat that day?

 

Question: Should I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day or should I eat 6-8 small meals?

Response: What does your schedule allow? Do you like smaller meals or are you able to control your hunger better with 3 large meals?

 

Question: Should I eat gluten or dairy?

Response: Have you been diagnosed with a intolerance?  Have you noticed reactive symptoms to either or these?

 

Question: Do I have to give up wine if I want to see results?

Response: What are your goals? How much wine to you currently consume?

 

Do you see a pattern here? We want black and white answers. We want someone to tell us yes or no. We want someone to tell us foods are good and bad. We research online, ask our trainer, and ask our friends for advice. Then we get that advice and do nothing with it. We are information collectors rather them information applicators. The truth is food, nutrition and intake are highly dependent on each individual, their lifestyle, their preferences and their goals.

Ultimately if you really feel you need guidance on food choices, by all means ask. But before you do, ask yourself how much you know and if you have applied what you know. If you find yourself seeking information I want you to turn to the best possible source for the answer first, yourself.

1. Ask yourself the why. Why do I want to know what to eat for breakfast? Am I feeling hungry mid morning?  Am I not seeing results?

2. Ask yourself the how. How can I make this change to best suit my lifestyle? What do I like to eat for breakfast? Bacon? Oatmeal? Fruit?

3. Ask yourself what do you already know. Should I eat 2 pastries and a grande white chocolate mocha for breakfast? Would this make me feel energized and healthy? Will this help me reach my goals? Have I been feeling healthy and productive in my eating and workouts and this is just something I want to enjoy right now? (Hint, the last one is not a trick.)

Self intuition, self reflection and common sense can be just as valuable as the science behind the food. Choose foods that make you feel good, choose foods that make you truly happy and choose foods that help you maintain your physique or reach your goals.

 

 

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4 Must Have Glute Activation Exercises

Whether you want to build a better butt or help strengthen your back and prevent pain, activating your gluteal muscles (maximus, medius and minimus) is essential.  While excessive sitting can develop ‘gluteal amnesia’ so can not focusing on activation of the glutes during your workouts.

Do you actually take the time to think of your glutes engaging during squats or deadlifts.  Actually do we ever think of our glutes engaged just coming from a sitting to standing position? Give it a try next time and think of squeezing your butt at the top of the lift. A ever so simple but easy way to be aware of activation of the glutes. In the meantime, before your workouts or if you have some time at home, give these four exercises a try.

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Prone Hip Opener – Laying on your stomach pull one knee up and out to the side like shown in the picture. Return back to your starting position and alternate sides.

 

 

 

 

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Clam – Laying one your side, keep feet touching and lift your top knee up like show in the picture. Feet stay touching. Hold for a 3 count and then lower back down. Repeat 8x total and switch sides.

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Kneeling ABduction – Start on all fours and open one leg out to the side keeping the knee bent and the hips square to the ground. Pause for a three count and lower back down. Repeat 8x and switch sides.

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Donkey Kick – Start on all fours and lift one bent knee off the mat, pressing the heel toward the ceiling (be careful not to overarch the back). Squeeze the butt and then lower the knee down to a hover over the ground and repeat 15x total and then switch sides.