Dead bugs are the new crunches

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It’s funny because when I train clients in Pilates I call this exercise single leg stretch but when I train clients in the weight room I call it dead bug.

Regardless it is the same exercise but I think my clients get a kick out of the name dead bug more. I have also gotten texts the day after training sessions. “Dead bug. Surprisingly effective.”

And yes it is when done correctly. So you are probably wondering what the heck dead bug is?!

Dead bugs are the new crunches. The new go-to in core training.  A supine plank you might say. A way to train the core while keeping the torso in a stable and safe position, even when moving the limbs.

In the 90’s it was cardio and crunches but, with research from people like Dr. Stuart McGill, over the past 15 years the way we train the core safely has changed.

Crunches and sit-ups can potentially put more pressure on the spine and leave discs in a vulnerable position when done repeatedly. And we all know people love their crunches as over the years they seem to be THE exercise! Maybe it was the bodybuilding era, maybe it is the “burn” people feel while doing them. Who knows?

From my professional opinion, I do incorporate a variety of movements that do sometimes include flexion of the spine, if appropriate. But I am also a fan of all the planks and love me some dead bugs.

How-to Dead bug: 

Lying on your back with a neutral spine bring the legs to a table top position (90 degrees) and reach the arms toward the ceiling with palms facing each other. Take a deep inhale and on your exhale extend the opposite arm, opposite leg away from the body, pause and return back to the starting position and alternate sides.

Brace through the core (like someone is punching you in the stomach) to prevent the back from arching.

Focus on form, control and your breath. It should feel quite challenging.

If you want to add an exercise ball (like the picture below) hold on to it with both hands, pressed against the knees and bring the legs to a table top position. Extend opposite arm, opposite leg and keep the other two limbs in contact with the ball. Alternate sides.

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Now go on and get your dead bug on!

 

Do you even know what you want? 3 steps to figuring it out.

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I have a really cool concept to share with you from the book The Four Hour Workweek, called Dreamlining. It is kinda of like goal setting except the idea is to write down whatever you want in life.

No judgements. No realistic expectations. No feeling bad if that is a fancy car or a daily massage therapist. Essentially dream as big as you can and then decide what’s most important to you right now and figure out how you are going to make it happen.

What was most surprising, and why I wan’t to share it with you, was this assignment was not as easy and effortless as I initially thought it would be. It provided me some great insight of  willing to prioritize in life and made me ask “Do I even know what I want in life?” And I think it will do the same for you.

It breaks down like this: what you want to DO, BE, and HAVE in life.

 

What do you want to be? A good dancer? An entrepreneur? Fluent in another language?

What do you want to do? Travel the world? Ride in a hot air balloon? Run a marathon? Do 5 pull-ups?

What do you want to have? A personal chef? A home overlooking the ocean? That new handbag?  A new pair of Nikes?

It can be as small or as big as you want but it is whatever you want to do, be, and have NOW. Not when you retire. Not when you have more money. Not when you have more time. Sure a home overlooking the ocean will take time and money to achieve but that doesn’t mean you can’t start working towards it or thinking about it now.

Traveling the world? That may be far fetched for some but he has the whole plan laid out if you want to be brave, take a leave from your job, on as little money as possible. The thing is, it IS possible but most of us have other priorities.

I always say I want to travel the world but when I really break it down do I want to quit my job and be on the road for 6 months when home is one of my favorite places to be?

What I encouraging you to do right now is write down what you want to  BE, DO, and HAVE. Do it right now. Stop reading and don’t pass go until you are done.

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My mini vacations over the course of the year keep my travel desires happy. No need for extravagant vacations.

 

I know you are still reading without doing the list because that is what I do when I read books that ask to stop and do assignments but after reading this I really do hope you set aside some time to do this assignment.

Some things I want I am already working toward (an online fitness business to help more people, travel internationally) and some things are more extravagant like owning a home or to be able to fly to as many fitness conferences as possible without worrying about work or money. Some things I can do this year like hike half dome and buy a new couch.

With slots for 5 things in each category I was feeling a little stuck and it made me realize a few things. One, much of what I think I want I already have. Two, things I thought I have always wanted I didn’t really care so much when it came down to it. Three, I did not automatically list as many material items as I though. I thought for sure I would list all the Micheal Kors bags and watches and Sam Edelman boots.

It took me awhile and I found myself saying over and over again, “For all the things I think I want  in life do I even know what I want?”

Do you even know what you want in life?

 

My personal spin on the assignment of course comes back to health and fitness.

If body change, health or strength is your goal, what could you be, do or have if your current condition were different? Maybe your current condition already give you everything you already need.

Would it be easier to move around?

Travel new places? Do new things?

Would you really, truly have more confidence and happiness? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Repeat this assignment again in regards to your body. I think it is important because so often we strive for these huge goals, visions and dreams but in actuality do we even know what we want?

Do you even know what you want? Maybe you will realize you want everything you thought you did. Or maybe you will realize you have so much more than you thought you did.

Give it a try and report back. Can’t wait to hear your findings.

 

 

5 Meat Free Ways to Add Protein into Your Diet (& recipes)


I am totally guilty of recommending chicken, chicken and chicken to people as a way to get in more protein. It’s not wrong but I get that not every likes chicken or if you do, you probably get tired of it from time to time.

I am a meat eater but I go through this phase occasionally where I have what I call a chicken/meat aversion, where I can’t stand the thought of eating a bite. Then the next day I am back to my normal ways. With that in mind I decided to share with you 5  meat free foods you can eat to meet your protein needs.

But first lets break down protein.  Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids which our responsible for everything from muscle repair to a strong immune system. They also help keep you full, stabilize blood sugar levels and manage cravings.

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Foods highest in protein are usually animal based and include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese. These are usually referred to as essential protein sources because they contain all 9 amino acids, which the body can be  obtained through diet only, not created on their own. Their macronutrient count is highest in protein.

Secondary protein sources include foods like beans, seeds, quinoa, and nuts. It is important to note that the macronutrient count is usually higher in fat or carbs and less in protein for these foods.  For example, while nuts do have some protein they are considered a fat. And while beans are also a good source of protein they are considered a carb.

The best way to meet your needs to get a mix of both sources. If you follow more of a plant based diet your best bet is to include protein from a variety of sources like beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables and less processed foods like cereals, which have less amino acids and little nutrient value.

How much protein?

The recommended amount of protein is controversial but generally is .08g per kg of body weight. For example an 150 lb person would require about 55 grams of protein, minimum. Precision Nutrition notes that this requirement is to prevent protein deficiency and that for those who are more active may require 1.0 to 2.0g per pound kg of body weight and that, “we need a small amount of protein to survive, but we need a lot more to thrive.”

Here are a few ways to get a solid amount of protein in your diet without eat meat or chicken. I also tracked down some delicious recipes for you.

Greek Yogurt (1 cup).

Mix with berries. Add into oatmeal. Eat plain or add a drizzle of honey. This is a convenient, easy post workout snack.

Check out one of my favorite, unconventional ways to use greek yogurt here.

Beans (1/2-1 cup).

Make vegetarian tacos, bean salads, or use as a side to your meal.

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/no-cook-recipes/healthy-arugula-italian-tuna-white-bean-salad-recipes

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/best-taco-recipes/black-bean-tacos-recipe

Quinoa (1/2-1 cup).

Cook and dice up veggies to add variety and flavor.

2 large eggs.

Scramble, make an omelet, or shred a sweet potato, mix with egg and cook like a pancake. 

2 egg whites (or 1/2 cup of liquid egg whites).

Add to oatmeal and cook, use in scrambles and omelets in addition to whole eggs.

https://adele-jones.com/2015/11/the-breakfast-i-eat-almost-every-single-morning/

Fish (3-4 ounces Tuna, Salmon, Halibut).

Bake in the oven, make salmon cakes (my recipes will be posted soon), add to salads.

http://steamykitchen.com/96-tropical-island-salmon.html

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-salmon-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-204559

Veggies that contain higher protein.

Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Spinach and Peas 5-10 grams per half cup. Roast Brussel Sprouts and broccoli in the oven. Add spinach to omelets, smoothies, or sauté in garlic and olive oil and add to rice and quinoa mixtures.

https://adele-jones.com/2015/11/candied-brussel-sprouts/

https://adele-jones.com/2015/11/festive-spinach-salad/

Additional Reading:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein

how to deadlift when you are scared of the bar

When it comes to training clients I pretty much want to help teach your mom how to deadlift.

While I know there are plenty of go getters out there who walk right up to the bar, throw on some weight and get after it, I know there are plenty who will never set foot in the weight room, let alone walk up to that big scary platform and load up the bar. Nor does anyone have to do that to get some type of results from weight training.

While I am guilty of posting my deadlift max’s on Instagram and Facebook I still try to convey to others that you don’t have to train for maximal strength to get results.  You can find results, accomplishment, functionality, body change, and improved health in basic exercises.

Maybe you are reading todays post and feel intimated or overwhelmed walking into the weight room or maybe you know someone who feels this way and this article can help. I am going to teach you a basic deadlift variation you can use with a dumbbell as you build up enough confidence to make it to the bar. Because you will.

For weight room newbies: After reading this article, at your next workout, walk straight to the dumbbell rack pick up a heavier than normal dumbbell and find a open space in the weight room to get your awesomeness on.

If you are performing it close to the dumbbell rack be sure you have adequate space around you and that you are far enough away from the rack so you don’t get in the way of other gym goers (little weight room etiquette for ya).

What it is: 

A deadlift is an exercise that builds strength in the lower body and back and mimics picking something up off of the floor most often used with a barbell. You can also use a kettle bell or dumbbell to focus on form, get comfortable with the movement or to add in to a routine when you want to do higher repetitions. 

Why should I even deadlift:  

Because you want to be strong at life. Think picking up boxes, children, groceries and heavy rocks. It works the glutes, core and backside of the body and is uber functional. Plus you feel like a badass and everyone needs a little bit of that in their life.

Using a dumbbell mimics a traditional deadlift without feeling so scary and intimidating with the platform, the bar, and those big weights.

Everyone starts somewhere with exercises and everyone needs to take a step back from time to time to work on form.

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Pull your shoulders down, hips back, and keep the chest lifted.

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Tighten everything in the body and lift the chest and butt at the same time by pushing the hips forward.

How-to get it right:

This exercise has tons of variations to choose from.  You can use this version with dumbbells or kettle bells and work your way to the bar when you feel comfortable.

  •  Choose a heavy dumbbell. If you are scared to ever grab the 30, 40, or 50 lb dumbbell, this is the exercise for it. Focus on form and don’t rush the movement.
  • Place the dumbbell vertical on the floor and stand over it, the DB slightly in front of you, with you feet approximately should distance apart.
  • Bend over with a slight bend in the knees, back flat, gripping the top part of the dumbbell like shown in the picture.
  • Pull your shoulders down, hips back and lift the chest so you can look at an imaginary superman logo on your chest at all times without straining the neck back.
  • Tighten everything in the body and lift the chest and butt at the same time by pushing the hips forward.
  • Control the movement back down and and repeat.

All this is fancy, detailed talk for pick up the dumbbell from the floor with good posture, keep the midsection tight.


Common Mistakes to look out for:

  • Squatting the DB. The torso is not as upright as a squat.
  • Butt lifting before the chest. Butt and chest lift at the same time
  • Not using your butt. Squeeze your butt at the top of the movement.
  • Rounding the back. Try to keep the back flat with a neutral spine (the natural curve of the low back).

Please share this article to timid gym goers everywhere to more help build more confident and skilled people in the weight room!

19 ways to create a badass health mindset in 2016


No doubt the health of your mind is as important as the health of your body so don’t be surprised that much of these badass tips are in regards to the way you think about things.

Knowing you should workout and eat well are all good and well but it doesn’t really matter unless you figure out what gets in the way of doing the work. Can you imagine living a life where food and fitness feels a little less stressful and you thrive off of it,  and not feel like you are just barely hanging on to survive feeling overwhelmed all the time. 

Here are 19 ways you can (and will) create a badass health and fitness mindset in 2016!

 

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This must be my badass mindset going on. Time outside? Yes please.

 

Take the first step. You don’t need to see the full path and know exactly what will happen. In fact you never can predict what happens for sure but instead of contemplating how to workout or what to eat, just do something already. We are so quick to talk ourselves out of why something might now work instead of just putting in the work to see what happens. The best way to build confidence? Just do something.

Surround yourself with people and things that keep your goals and intentions front and center. Quotes, notes, people, places, classes, hobbies. Surround yourself with healthy likeminded people who have similar visions an goals as you. You can’t get everyone on board around you but perhaps someone or something.

Create a theme. You don’t have to write a blog or be in the movies to declare your theme for the year. And the best part is, it can be whatever resonates with you. Edgy? Sensitive? Hardcore? The only requirement is that it inspires you to be better and do better.

Don’t tie your happiness to your body. Being happy when you reach a certain size, lift a certain weight or achieve a certain goal is all good and well but that momentarily excitement comes and goes just like everything else in life. Tie your happiness to the journey, the good and the bad, because that is where the reward lies.

Eat healthy foods because they are damn good for you. Don’t get caught in diet dogma like restriction, low carb, and low fat. Eat whole, fresh food as often as possible because it is full of nutrients and things your body needs and thrives off of. Don’t think you do it just because you are supposed to and it is boring and hard.

Limit your processed food intake because it sucks for your body and your mind when overdone. Basic guidelines: eat food in moderate portions and include veggies often. Don’t overthink it.

Ask yourself what you would be without that thought? I am totally going Byron Katie on you with one of her thought provoking pieces of advice. Ask yourself what you would be without being overwhelmed, unsure, frustrated, upset. You would just be. The power is in the thought and if we think it or not. Feel what you need to feel and move on quickly.

Workout because you want to be strong. Let go of the aesthetic drive and work out because you want a capable, strong body. Set workout goals that have nothing to do with the way you look but the way your body moves and feels. Without realizing it your body will change, whether that is leaner, stronger, healthier, more capable. 

Stop investing all your efforts into believing you are not good enough. You are good enough in this very moment even if you feel you are not where you want to be. Quit feeling like you have to do everything perfect and that if it isn’t perfect it isn’t good enough. Be perfect by being the best you.

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“Everything we experience – no matter how unpleasant – comes into our lives to teach us something.” Isyanla Vanzant

Strive to be healthy because you love your body not because you hate it. Hating yourself to success is not the only way. What about appreciating, being grateful and loving your way to success. It is possible but it begins by changing the way you think.

Confidence/Competency Loop. Become more confident by taking action. By educating yourself about making healthy choices and actually doing it, you become more confident and less fearful in your actions. When we feel fear building we tend to resort to not doing anything.

BUT when we start to take action and realize, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. I CAN do it,” we build our confidence, become more aware of what we can achieve and the cycle repeat itself. Our competence builds and so does our confidence.

Pay attention to the way you speak to yourself. “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right,” said Henry Ford. If you keep telling yourself you are not motivated, you can’t do it, you always mess up, you don’t have time, your life will continue to play out that way. Give yourself a chance by owning all your choices as perfect or imperfect as they might feel.

Put yourself ON the hook. My business coach talks about this all the time. Put yourself on the hook. As in, not off the hook. Because when you are off the hook you are, in a sense, no longer obligated to put in the work and rid yourself of any responsibility. You get to wipe your hands clean and say “Nope, its not on me. I can’t do anything about it.” So in life, in relationships, with your job, with your health, put yourself ON the hook big time! Why? Because there is no better place to be that in your power.

Read new books. Some people think self-help, mindset, and motivational and inspiration books are simply a bunch of woo woo common sense advice and that the universe doesn’t give shit about what you do. While yes a lot of it is quite simple and seems far fetched to some, I can’t think of better way to keep my goals, thoughts, priorities and intentions in line than reading something everyday that keeps my mind in a positive, growing state.

I don’t even know where to begin with recommendations but lets start with The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

Get into your discomfort zone. You hear challenge? You say bring it! Change happens in your discomfort zone and if you are ready to look discomfort in the face and not shy away you are on step ahead of the game my friend. Discomfort can be unsettling but just know that on the other side is magic.

Act as if you are already where you want to be. In my latest read The As If Principal by Richard Wiseman it says emotion follows behavior. Do you need success to be happy? Or do you need to be happy to have success? Act “as if” you are already where you want to be and the rest will follow. Worst case scenario is you walk around feeling pretty badass! 😉

Say, “How fascinating!” I wish I could remember where I read this (I can’t take credit) but I once came across the perfect response for when daily difficulties, challenges and stress arise and that is simply to respond with “How fascinating.”

I take this as a statement of wonder and curiosity about how during this life and this moment, this is what you are presented with.  Sometimes if feels unfair and frustrating. It is up to you to decide how you will deal with all the good and the bad. What will you choose? Will you let it break you or make you?

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Just take action. Failure is not a sign of weakness. Only a lessoned learned.

Figure out what makes you feel alive and do more of that. Make a list of things you love to do. You don’t have to show any one and don’t judge yourself for a second. Write down things, moments and people that you truly cherish and enjoy. Things that add value and joy to your day.

It can be simple things like coffee in the morning, spending time outside, or spending time with a certain person. It could be bigger things like traveling, a day adventure or something you have never done before. For the simple thing add them in weekly. For the bigger things, add them in as often as possible.

Fall in love with your life and this moment.  Woo woo alert! But seriously, it is so easy to catch ourselves in states of searching for a certain moment, a certain experience or a person to make us feel certain way.

We spend time wishing we somewhere else, wishing we were someone else, waiting for someday down the road when we find happiness. But everything you are looking for are moments happening along the way. What you are searching for is right in front of you, it just depends what you make of it.

Don’t forget about 2015. We get so caught up in looking ahead to 2016 that we forget about everything that 2015 has already or can still teach us. What did not work well this past year is as much of a lesson as what did work well.

Before you even think about next year take a moment or two of reflection on how this past year played out for you and only then start to envision yourself in 2017. Yes 2017. What can you do in 2016 that will get you to where you want to be? What is your vision?

Don’t forget to check out my lifestyle membership group to help you learn how to apply what you know and beyond. Make this your year! New year, new you? Nah. New year, improved you. Details here.

6 things I want every woman to know about health and fitness

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Let’s talk about you for a minute. Lets talk about your transformation. The one that takes you from not feeling like you are taking as good a care of your health as you could be, not feeling great in your own skin, and not living your best life to having the healthiest body you can and feeling strong, comfortable, happy, and confident in your own skin. Envision it. Feel it. Know it is possible. 

There is one big problem though. An umbrella of problems rather that come in the form of conventional wisdom and current advice encouraging women to shrink their bodies through low calorie, low fat, restrictive diets and excessive exercise.

The diet dogma, more is better, all or nothing, get smaller to be happier approaches, are the exact things that keep us struggling.

It seems that our brains like to think that just because exercise takes longer or is a diet is more restrictive it must be better for us, or better at getting results.

It sure kept me struggling for years. I thought that more exercise was better and stricter eating would get me the results I wanted. With much time, self trust, and a little bit of guidance I slowly started to cut back on exercise and loosen my rigid diet guidelines.

A funny thing happened when I started to cut back on exercise. I got a little bit happier first and then leaner second. I was happier in a sense that I wasn’t putting so much pressure on myself to workout, was able to relax around my food choices, slowly practicing more positive self talk and body acceptance.

I started focusing on exercise that helped me create a strong foundation with body and help support a healthy metabolism and eating foods I enjoy without deeming things as off limit.

How could I get leaner by doing less exercise and being less strict with my eating? It blew my mind and everything I always thought I knew about working out and eating.

So I started to mix up the conversation with myself and clients. Instead of turning to what I *should* do with eating and exercise I started to turn towards more mindset work behind why I do what I do and started to learn to create my own way of doing things.

With that in mind I put together a list of things that I hope women (and any one for that matter) will start to consider when it comes to a healthy and happy lifestyle.

More is not better when it comes to exercise and less is not better when it comes to food.

More time and burning more calories is what we have been taught when it comes to working out. Eat less calories and restrict more food is what we have been taught when it comes to eating.

That is simply not the case. Just because you spend a lot of time exercising or restricting food does not mean you will get better results. You may temporary get results and believe me I know that feels enticing, but the quicker it comes off the quicker it will go back on.

Sustainability and consistently trump any specific way of eating and exercise. In can be daunting to commit to the process for life rather than any type of 21-day, 30 day, 60 day program, but the more you get comfortable with the idea, the more you will be likely to implement it.

You don’t have to change everything all at once.

I want to discuss Pareto’s principal which I am sure you have heard of before as the 80/20 rule. I always hear it in this phrase. You wear 20% of your closet 80% of the time.

When applied to eating and exercise think about it this way. Eighty percent of your results come from 20% of your effort. In other words most of your results are coming from a series or set of large habits not all the nitty gritty details.  This is actually great news because it takes away the need to try to change everything all at once.

The 20% are what I refer to as the difference makers. The things that make a difference. Healthy meals, proper sleep, consistent exercise. Not whether or not berries are the best fruit choice or if squash has too many carbs.

Nutrition is different for everyone and diets are not the answer.

I know this is tough in the beginning because we want answers. We want to be told exactly what to do and have a plan laid out for us. It feels safe, it feels controlled, it feels like we are doing more and harder we try, the better results we will get.

The reality is these types of plans work against us. They keep us in a powerless cycle of never relying on our own body, thoughts, and desires and keep us fearing certain foods, fearing social events with excessive food and temptation and things that are not on plan. They keep us in a dependent state only supporting our belief that we can’t do it without a plan, diet, or quick fix cleanse. But we can.

If we can learn to trust our instincts, trust ourselves and learn how to make food and exercise work for us, not against us, we will realize that it doesn’t have to be so damn difficult, strict or tiresome. It can feels simple and easy with time.

Wanting to change is not enough. You have to put in the work.

In the beginning it feels tough and like everything is working against you. You put out a ton of effort and investment into change and it feels like your results are lagging behind. It feels unfair. It feels hard. It feels like it is not worth it.

It is tempting to want to give in at the first signs of struggle or self perceived failure. But through your struggle is where your success lies and there is no way around it. Change will come, you just have to stay with it, learn and move forward.

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Happiness is in the journey not just the outcome.

We like to think that once we reach our body goals that we will have a flood of happiness and confidence that we because we finally made it we can either stop putting out the effort or will find this great burst of happiness and satisfaction.

Happiness and joy is often found in the process. In overcoming challenges. In experimenting to see what works best for your body. In conquering new exercise and trying new recipes. In little accomplishments along the way.

Refrain from putting all your worth and happiness in that end goal and practice it now. Otherwise before you know it, everything will have passed you by and you will be left searching, new body or not.

Being able to do something long term is your golden ticket.

Not quick fixes, detoxes or cleanses. As much as you want them to work they just don’t plain and simple. You body is its own amazing detoxification system.

Creating your own process and your own unique rules in regards to exercise and eating is what matters if you want sustainable change.  The journey does not require an ounce of perfection. In fact it requires you to get comfortable with failure, set backs and discomfort and requires you to have the mindset to just keep going.

In the beginning it may take weeks, months or even years to find your formula but what is that amount of time if it is something you can do forever. Start to question the traditional rules and pay more attention to how you feel. Listen to your body. Like the way you live. Be in it for the long haul!

But I’m just not motivated!!!  (And 4 awesome workouts for you)

Today I want to talk about creating motivation.  But first quick ANNOUNCEMENT! I am have been putting all my time and effort in the opening of my Fit With Adele Lifestyle Membership group that starts this January 4th!

This is an exclusive food, fitness and mindset solution to help YOU figure out a way you can eat and exercise forever!  Because I hate quick fixes. They keep us struggling and unable to fend for ourselves.  And the best thing about this membership is that it is ongoing so you can finally get serious about consistency! This is an education on yourself and there is not better way to spend your time and energy! Be sure to check out the details here: Fit With Adele Lifestyle Membership

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We all have different degrees of motivation and different levels of being ready to change but one thing most of us all have in common is that we don’t always feel motivation to do everything 100% of the time. And feeling like we *should* be motivated all the time, only keeps us working against ourselves.

The other day I set a timer for 20 minutes and had a list of exercises to repeat over and over until the time was up. Except for some reason I just wasn’t motivated. My thoughts were all over the place.

I didn’t want to do it. It didn’t seem worth it. I could do it later. I was kind of hungry. Would it even matter or make a difference?

I was frustrated with myself as to why couldn’t I just use my free 20 minutes to just keep going. Even if it was not my best effort. Even if it wasn’t my best workout.

I finally told myself you either do it or not and accept the decision either way. I reluctantly proceeded to workout. I didn’t force myself to use make it my best workout of all time. I just focused on completing exercise after exercise for 20 minutes. I let myself rest. I let myself use lighter weight. But I did it.

Whether it seems like it or not, this has been a huge mindset shift in the way I perceive working out and exercise. Because 20 minutes use to not be worth it, not be long enough, and if I wasn’t giving 110% it just didn’t feel worth it. If my heart wasn’t pumping at 90% of my max effort I didn’t think it would make a difference.

The alternative used to be just not doing it.

This is ironic considering that more and more exercise use to be my go to method in fear that I would gain weight or fall off track because I wasn’t being disciplined and putting in the time I thought was necessary. But 20 minutes? Nah, it wasn’t worth it.

So where does motivation come from anyways? Motivation is not something you have, it is something you create.

I will repeat that again.

Motivation is not something you have it is something you create.

Each and every day. I wish I had some inspiring method to share where you feel 100% motivated day in, day out. Some days you will not be motivated to exercise and somedays you will find you are able to do it with more ease. The key is to find ways to create motivation. Here’s how.

Quit the “I’m just not motivated” thought process.

Telling yourself how unmotivated you are is a great way to keep NOT feeling motivated to exercise. The things you think and tell yourself typically unfold as thoughts are incredibly powerful whether they seem like they are or not. Instead of telling yourself how unmotivated you are simply tell yourself that you are making the choice either to exercise or not to exercise, to eat healthy or not eat healthy. Regardless of your choices, take ownership for them.

Upgrade your environment.

Surround yourself with people and things that keep your focus where you want it to be.

Daily quotes, blogs, like minded people, support groups, leaving your yoga mat and tennis shoes out, what ever it might be. Find ways to keep your health and fitness vision front and center. It is easy to feel motivated when you read something inspiring or check yourself about the importance of health but it is all too easy to let those thoughts hide away.

Do the things you don’t want to do.

You will find success when you do the things you need to do whether you want to or not. You hear a lot lately about ONLY doing movement you enjoy and ONLY doing exercises you want to and I understand the intention with those thoughts and I encourage it to a degree but it doesn’t replace doing the work. You want change? You have to change something you do daily. It is not always easy and it does not alway feel fun but it it is the reality of what needs to be done.

What you do, you become better at. Create Positive Habits.

With habits, if you want them to be a sustainable part of your life you can’t spend too much time or energy thinking about them. Because the more you think about them the more you have to fight willpower and self control.

The more you just show up at your workouts when motivation is average, the better you get at conquering it. The more you skip over it, the better you get at it too. This comes with practice and the more you practice it the better you get at it.

When you get better at it, you slowly create a new set of healthy habits. And habits are one the best things for us, IF they serve us. Because unhealthy habits can easily be one of the most detrimental things for us. The brain likes easy and if skipping workouts feels easy, it will gravitate toward that.

Commit yourself to a realistic schedule that fits your life.

Over committing sets you up for failure. We have all done it before. Committed to working out 6 days a week, and this will be THE time that we are finally motivated to get back on track. But if you commit yourself to a schedule in which requires you to give more energy than you have, you will find yourself struggling to keep up and revert back to your old ways. Start small and build. Five minutes a day is better than no minutes. Two workouts a week is better than none. Once you find yourself completing these small bouts of exercise slowly build your motivational toolbox.

Now that you have some perspective here are 4 awesome workouts to give a try!

 

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Your version of sprinting.

When I talk about sprinting it doesn’t always have to be what we typically envision: printing like a track star in the Olympics. Sprinting like that is hard on the body and not for everyone. Not for most people actually. So when you sprint (which can be done running, on a bike, in the pool, using stairs) go at a faster than normal intensity that causes you to be at a non conversational pace. For me this feels more like a fast jog. Start with 20 seconds at a fast pace and then rest until you feel ready to go again. Repeat 5 times total to start.

Get after it with leg day!

Deadlifts 5,3,1

Then:

15 Goblet Squats

15 Walking Lunges

15 Elevated Glute Bridges

Repeat 4x

Bodyweight Workout

60Jumping Jacks

50 Bicycle Crunches

40 Bodyweight Squats

30 Glute Bridges

20 Push ups

10 Jump Squats

Metabolic Circuit

Pair together a few exercises that focus mostly on one muscle group and using dumbbells perform each exercise for the number of reps.

10 DB Thrusters

10 Push Presses

10 Push ups

10 Bent Over Rows

Again, don’t forget to grab your spot in the lifestyle group. Registration closes this Saturday. More details here.

Train your core, train your lats?

Many people will focus on core training with a strict routine of crunches of all kinds, hanging ab raises and if they are lucky throw in a plank variation.

But what about other muscles of the torso? They are so often ignored just because they are not the “showy” muscles of the abdomen or because there is this idea that directly training the abs is the best way to reduce them. This is not the case.

Back in the day, this use to be me too.

One my major shifts in core training arrived about 10 years ago when I became a Pilates instructor and started to increase my focus on muscles such as back extensors, deeper abdominal muscle like the transverses abdominus and ALL the glute muscles. It helped increase my awareness and the  importance of training muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis.

More recently when I attended physical therapy from back issues created by mild but ever so present condition of Scoliosis I had a therapist refer to all the muscles that stabilize the scapula (shoulder blades) as the second core. Not only did I plank it out during those sessions, I worked my glutes like crazy and retracted and depressed those shoulder blades like crazy. Shoulders back and down, back and down.

Our everyday posture IS a problem!

 

It makes sense if you think about our posture epidemic from sitting, texting and typing and everything forward that we do. We lose strength in our core and upper back and create tightness in our hip flexor and quads and develop gluteal amnesia, a term coined by Dr. Stu McGill, pretty much saying our glutes are not activating properly. That’s a whole other issue for a completely different post.

I started to not only read more about core training and apply everything I learned and have continue to learn through books, workshops, conferences and my own experience.

It has brought so much awareness to my training now that I have considered so many additional muscles to my core than strictly training the abdominals.

And yes even my lats.

Lats are short for Latissimus Dorsi which is the muscle of your back that starts by attaching to the lower part of the spine and top or your pelvis and sweeps as the way up to the upper arm. It is worked in exercise like pull ups and pulldowns but has a important roll in stability of the torso.

In the book The New Rules of Lifting , Supercharged the lats are referred to a the “Kevin Bacon of musculoskeletal anatomy: a star in some movements (the pulling exercises), and a crucial supporting player in deadlifts and squats, in which they help safeguard your lower back.” The lats work in a pulling motion, anytime you take your arms down by your side. In the gym think rowing, pull ups, lat pulldowns etc.

Be sure to add these exercises into your routine.

 

When possible I like to perform my pulldowns (and other pulling movements like rows) from a standing position versus a seated position. This requires me to stabilize my core while working my back muscles rather than being confined to a seat. Here are a few exercises to get you started.

Assisted Pull-up machine.

Pull ups with bands, assistance or unassisted.

Standing Lat Pulldowns (single arm variations also).

Standing Rows (single arms variations also).

Planks with row or pulldown (shown in video below)

 

 

 

Is 6 meals a day good advice for fat loss?

Establishing parameters feels good when it comes to eating because it gives us guidelines in attempts to simplify the chaos we have made of food.

Low fat. High fat. Low Carb. Vegan. Paleo. The Zone.

Don’t eat after 8. No carbs at night. Eat 6 meals a day.

I am going to talk specifically about the latter today but ultimately know that no specific way of eating will conquer bad habits, overindulging regularly or restricting food for lengths of time.

Eating 6 meals a day is a modern way of eating. Back in the day (even 50 years ago) we never were given the advice to pack our Tupperware for the the day and time out our mid morning and afternoon snack whether we were hungry or not.

We are told to eat more often because it speeds up our metabolism and if you can speed up your metabolism you can turn yourself into a fat burning machine and get the results you are seeking.

If you eat every few hours it will control your hunger.

If you eat every few hours it will boost your energy.

Don’t feel bad if you have believed this or tried this. I sure have. I have done the extremes of the tupperware packing to simply making sure I eat every couple hours. I remember one day stressing out about how I was going to eat my mid morning chicken and vegetables during my 5 minute break between clients. I wasn’t even hungry!

The thing with the body is it adapts and if you train yourself to eat 6 meals a day it starts to expect to eat 6 meals a day. Hungry or not.

Is this wrong?

No. If you are hungry, eat. At the same time learn to find balance with hunger. Not giving into it the second you feel like it but not letting it drag on too long in hopes it will give you better results.

Here are a couple concepts to consider about hunger and eating 6 meals a day.

Don’t be scared to be hungry.

The thought for many of us is that if we just eat 6 meals a day we won’t have to worry about being hungry because we are eating every few hours. This is standard advice. But what is wrong with temporary hunger?

In part 1 of my blog post The Hunger Games, I discuss this mindset dilemma in which some people think being starving all the time equates to success. Hunger for sure does not indicate victory but it is not something to fear either.

I often have clients tell me, “But if I eat breakfast I am hungry for the rest of the day.” I respond, “Good. Your body is meant to be hungry.” 

Hunger is not the issue, self control is. Learning to adapt to the discomfort of hunger from time to time and how to control eating when hungry are good practices to adopt.

Eating more often gives you more opportunity to overeat.

When our willpower is shot and our self control is limited (which it is these days) why would we so often give ourselves more and more chances to eat (and overeat) throughout the day? More and more chances to have to make decisions!

In the book The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal, it discusses how we make, on average, about 200 food choices a day and our self control is highest in the morning and decreases throughout the day. 

So let’s not  force ourselves into more decision making with food. Start by planning your 3 bigger meals for the day and 2 snack ideas. Then go about your day and try to eat in accordance to true hunger, not what the clock says.

Eating every few hours keeps your body in a chronic state of digestion. 

When we eat every few hours our bodies are constantly digesting and never really get a time to rest. This can leave people feeling bloated, feeling like they constantly need to have food in their system and not really paying attention to what their body is saying. Hungry or not.

Like I said above, this is a modern way of eating that we have trained ourselves.

Eating every few hours doesn’t take into account if you are hungry, need or want food.

In a world of high access and overabundance of food, we are used to eating just to eat. Just because the food is there. Just because we have a craving. Just because we feel like it. We are told to eat things to curb our cravings, to ward off hunger, to keep us full.

But we are talking temporary hunger people. We are talking a couple hours of hunger. It is ok to be hungry. Now if you are skipping food all day, every day to lose weight, trying to be productive at work, and get your workout in at 5 p.m. before you settle down for your one meal of the day lets talk. That is not smart or sustainable.

Is there a place for eating more often throughout the day? Sure. When schedules are odd  or training for certain goals like bodybuilding, an athletic event, certain physique goals. There is a time and place for eating more often throughout the day.

Blindly following common advice is something we need to start thinking about in depth before we actually apply it. Just because we are told to do it doesn’t mean it always works.

Some reading this article may be committed to their small meals throughout the day and love it. Some may have dabbled in it a bit and some may eat one meal a day. The key is, is it working for you?

Ask yourself that question and proceed as necessary. Tell me, has eating small meals throughout the day helped you?

White Turkey Chili

 

Simple and easy is the name of my game when it comes to food and cooking. Enjoy! 🙂

 

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1/2 TSP Italian Seasoning ( or any you prefer)
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1 can white beans
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 package of lean ground turkey meat
  • 1 cup or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup of favorite salsa
  • Toppings of choice: Cilantro, greek yogurt, shredded cheese

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Saute onion in oil and add and cook turkey meat thoroughly in a large pot.
  2. Add seasonings, salt and pepper.
  3. Rinse canned beans and add.
  4. Add salsa,  stock and spinach.
  5. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat to simmer until thickened (about 5 minutes).
  6. Turn off heat, let cook, dish into bowls, add garnishes and enjoy.