Category Archives: Fitness

How to train smarter, not harder + an at home workout for you

You don’t have to run yourself into ground to get an effective workout.

Being a former athlete I was conditioned to workout intensely, 6 days a week, hours on end with a don’t stop mentality. This is not to say that intense training does not have a place, because of course it does.

But going harder is not always smarter. Here are 4 quick tips on how you can adjust your training to benefit both your body and your mind.

Slow down your movement and work on form. This seems like a no brainer but next time you are at the gym or working out at home actually try to do this.  Pay attention to if you are compromising form and if you are choose a different exercise.

We tend to want to barrel our way through sloppy movements just to say we got it done but the body is amazing at overcompensating and if you constantly training a sad looking push up, you are going to get really good at a sad looking push up.

Take more days off. You get stronger while you are resting and recovering, not when you are working out. I love this perspective from Ryan Andrews at Precision Nutrition. “Gym time is simply a stimulus for change. This stimulus will only create results if we recover enough between workouts. The quicker and more efficiently we can recover, the sooner we can spur further progress.”

To get the most out of your workout be conscious of scheduling in rest days.

Find an appropriate recovery routine. Recovery is not just about taking a day off. Recovery includes your warm-up, your cool down, what you eat and how much you sleep. If you feel you are overtraining you are most likely under recovering. My personal recovery routine includes:

  • Mobility and core exercises pre-workout.
  • Plenty of rest in between sets (for my personal goals).
  • Stretching and foam rolling post workout.
  • Eating a good sized snack or meal with carbs and protein within an hour post workout. This is one of the best times to eat, so be sure not to skip it.
  • Plenty of rests days.
  • A massage once a month.
  • A weekly Pilates or yoga session if I see fit.
  • As much sleep as I can manage!

Can you tell this is a bit of a focus for me? 😉

Rest More

Prioritizing sleep is as much, if not more,  important than eating healthy and working out.  This article even says that exercise may reduce the risk of cancer but those benefits will slip away, it sleep is lacking. Yikes!

Sleep deprivation messes with your hormones which in turn can effect your hunger, energy and cravings. And for me personally, I know that if I am sleep deprived I feel hungrier, my energy is low so eating makes me feel better and my cravings are through the roof.

If you feel like you have hit a plateau but are doing everything right, check you sleep and stress levels.

If recovery is an concern for you try adding one of these focuses into your routine. It seems counter intuitive but sometimes doing less will give you more.

In the meantime I have include an at home strength workout routine for you! Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

 

At Home Full Body Blaster

10 Reverse Lunges right leg

10 Reverse Lunges left leg

10 Deadbugs

10 Push-ups

Repeat 3-5x through

 

The alternative to the “everyday squat/plank challenge”

I see a lot of squat challenges and AB challenges floating around the internet and it makes me cringe just a little bit, squatting and crunching every day with super high repetitions and planking for minutes on end.

While weight training, with increasing heavier load is the best way to develop tone and get stronger IMO, I won’t discount a well organized, body weight workout that you can do anywhere. Just please let the hundreds of squats and crunches go and focus on targeting the legs and glutes from different angeles, using different exercises.

I guess you could say I created my own 21 day “challenge” to target the core and lower body which you can access here, with exactly what to do on each day. The exercises are right here for you on this page.

Give this a shot for 21 days and let me know how it goes.

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Plank – You can use a kneeling plank as a modification. Brace the core, squeeze the glutes and pull the elbows toward you without moving them.

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Fire Hydrant ~ Start kneeling and with a bent knee open the leg out to the side, like shown. Pause for a 2 count and lower back down.

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Dead Bug ~ One at at time, extend one leg out keeping the back in neutral. Bring the leg back in and switch sides.

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Squat baby ~ You know the drill. Shoulder distance apart stance, neutral spine and keep the knees from collapsing inward.

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Elevated Glute Bridge ~ Lower and lift the hips, squeezing the glutes at the top. For a more challenging variation do one leg at a time.

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Side Lying Clam ~ Keep the feet connected and open and close the knees with a 2 count pause at the top.

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Split Squat ~ Keep the front heal down and lower so the back knee is hovered over the ground (or as low as feels ok for you). Keep the torso vertical.

 

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Donkey Kick ~ Keep the knee bent, spine in neutral and press the heal up towards the ceiling quickly, no pause.

4 strategies to stay consistent with the exercise you know you should be doing

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One thing I hear from women over and over who are not getting results in the gym is that they have trouble stay consistent, committed, and are really just craving enough energy and motivation to get to the gym.

Look, we all know we should be exercising, it’s no secret, but just owning a workout plan doesn’t ensure that we will actually do the work we are suppose too.

You see, there is a huge gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it. Many of us know what do and if we don’t know we can easily search for it online. Yet there are several factors we never take into account.

Consistency. Actually showing up.

How to implement or develop a routine.

Taking your own lifestyle into consideration.

Proper nutrition and health of your metabolism.

What to do when you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning, working out when your kid naps, or how to motivate yourself after a 10 hour day at work.

These are all important factors that somehow get overlooked. The idea that we simply need to “just workout more” is a level 1 way of thinking. In order to overcome this we need to level up and figure out what really gets in the way and how to address it.

Today I am talking 4 strategies to help you stay more consistent and implement what you already know you are suppose to do.

Prioritize what will have the most impact on your results.

Solid nutrition is first and foremost the most important, which I will go into further in this post, but when it comes to working out, if you only have 30 minutes to workout 3 times a week choose weight training.

Weight training is best way to create muscle and lose fat over any other program. Long duration cardio and burning more calories will not only bump up your hunger levels but can also strip your precious lean muscle mass which we so desperately need to hold on to.

Sprints or high intensity training can bump up your metabolism but don’t create strength and body change the same way weight training does.

You can also create a “cardio” like effect by the way you pair your exercises together, resting less, or adding more weight.

When you commit to shorter weight training sessions you are already one step ahead of the game. You are controlling your hunger better (ever notice too much exercise makes you hungrier and have more cravings), you are managing your time better, and you are prioritizing what needs to be done first when you have the time.

Play mind games with yourself. 

More often than not, starting the workout is the hardest part. It is like getting out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it just feels so brutal but once you are up, you are ready to go. Same thing with workouts.

The truth is you will not always feel motivated to workout, so stop relying on that. You will not always have the willpower to just be more disciplined, so stop relying on that. Sometimes you may just have to play mind games with yourself to get the work done.

For example when you don’t feel like starting commit to 5 minutes and once that passes commit to 5 more.  Commit again until the workout is done. If after 20 minutes you truly feel the workout is hurting more than helping cut it there.

During your sets. Focus on the exercise or set at a time.  I love the psychology of just focusing on the two exercises at the same time, with a superset which is alternating between two exercises. If I can just focus on the first pair for 2-3 rounds I can feel successful before moving on to the next pair.

Something about narrowing the focus on a couple exercises instead of an entire workout takes away the enormity and overwhelm of it all. Ask yourself how you can simply make that set the best set.

Commit to less to get more.

Commit to exercising 6 days a week for a hour and you will quickly learn that a schedule like that is hard to maintain. Family in town? Go on a vacation? Insanely busy week at work? Kid gets sick? You can’t control these factors so always commit to the minimal effective dose of exercise you need to get results.

What is the least amount you need to workout to see body change or maintenance.? You still have to put in the work, but not as often or in as much quantity as you think. Intensity will always trump duration so keep in mind that with shorter workouts, there always needs to be a greater demand on the body. 

More breathlessness, perhaps more weight added and/or less rest. You don’t need 6 days a week when you have these factors pooled together in a few great workouts.

Check in with how your workouts affect you hunger and craving levels.

I don’t know about you but the more exercise I do the hungrier I get. Why? I am demanding a lot of my body and need the support of my nutrition. When increasing exercise it is the worst time to cut calories. The body will have a compensatory effect and be more likely to overeat or crave more food.

When starting a new exercise program don’t automatically resort to cutting calories and eating stricter. I have my clients focus on the P and the N. Portions and nutrients.

Where can I fit more nutritious food into my day?

How can I do it in a way where I keep portions in check and feel satisfied?

The answer is not to get stricter. The answer is to learn how to find a balance between not being deprived and being satisfied so yes I am giving you the permission you need to include wine, chocolate and bread in life in moderate amounts.

Pay attention to how high stress and low sleep might be affecting your appetite as well. All these things are contributing factors so it is easy to see why it is incredibly important to simplify your workout and the time you do it in. You have a lot on your plate to begin with!

Remember that being consistent is not about being perfect. It is about focusing on the decisions and choices that will have the most impact on your results. Trying to do everything all at once will overload your physical and mental state. And your results depend on how likely you are to keep working out week in, week out and how likely you are to manage nutrition.

If I asked you if you could start by just getting to the gym 1 more day a week than you currently are, doesn’t that feel a lot more doable than asking you to get there 6?

Whatever your next step is the more confident you feel about doing it, the more likely you will do it. Once you build more confidence the cycle repeats itself. Take action, build competence, build confidence. Repeat until it becomes a habit.

why being a former athlete can get you caught in the fitness struggle

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I would never change my athletic experience for the world. Being an athlete taught me I could do hard things. It built my confidence. It taught me how to persevere and push myself when I thought I was at my limits. It gave me memories outside the gym like pushing each on shopping carts through Target on road trips, halloween college parties, and team bonding. It taught me about support and friendship.

With all the amazing experiences that come with being a former athlete, I think it unintentionally sets up some of us for struggle in adulthood in regards to health and fitness. We learn how to train, but only for competition. We are good at practicing but best with a coach and others by our side. We know how to push ourselves but think that is the only way.

When I transitioned my fitness routine into adulthood, a workout was not deemed worthy, in my opinion, unless I was gasping for air. I turned to running because that was the only thing that would work my lungs as hard as practice and games. Running was not fun for me though and it actually made my cravings and hunger levels shoot through the roof. I wasn’t motivated, my workouts were half assed and I was not getting the results I was seeking.

When I finally found CrossFit I was thrilled. It was fun and I could lift heavy weights, do my olympic lifts and climb ropes and it kind of felt like play, plus I could hardly breathe during my workouts so it felt like the perfect fit. Except some of the workouts were only 7 minutes. Or sometimes the workouts were so intense I could not recover.

I would be on for two weeks off for one and repeat it over and over again. I had a couple mental blocks that had to do with time spent and intensity of a workout.

Here is what I now know.

You don’t have to go hard or go home or spend hours in the gym.

I know that is what your coach use to tell you. I know that is how you use to train. I get it. I did it to. It took me years but ultimately what I had to learn was self trust. That running myself into the ground was not the only way to get results and the only way I could prove it to myself was to stop doing the very workouts that were keeping me struggling.

That were keeping me not recovering, not motivated, and not feeling my best. More is not better and I know that inner athlete may be screaming against you but you are no longer training to have to sustain your endurance for game time. Your game time is in a sense, life. While I totally get wanting to push yourself, you can still find that challenge in your workouts and it does not have to come in full exhaustion mode.

Plus you don’t have two hours a day to train any more anyways. That was your job back then and if you keep trying to mimic a workout that you did when you had more time, energy and focus you will feel defeated. That was then. This is now.

Find workouts that build a strong foundation, with some type of resistance training, and choose exercise and movement that you enjoy and make you feel good.

Find a coach, workout buddy, or someway to keep you accountable.

You may feel a little lonely, lost and without a plan. I get it. I did too. It is tough to go from having support and motivation from teammates to having to not only decide what you are going to do in your workout, but actually do it, with a little intensity to top it off. I didn’t know what it was like to workout alone. I had “workout partners” my whole life. Playing sport was never really exercise anyways. It was practice. It was training. It was environment in which I was guided and supported by someone else.

In lifelong fitness you don’t always have that so find something or someone to be accountable too. Find a personal trainer, a supportive community, an online trainer, a friend or workout partner and then create a plan.

Actually write down what you will do in advance. I take this for granted because this is what I do for a living on a daily basis. I write workout programs for people so they can show up and not have to think about it. If you are looking for a way to conserve your will power and increase the likelihood of actually doing a workout, write it down, go the gym, and follow it. You will expend less mental energy thinking about it and be able to save that energy to put it into action.

Check your nutrition.

Every summer I would go home overdo the food intake a little bit but not be so worried because I knew after “hell week” I would be right back in my usual shape. I was also 20. While I have always been conscience of my food choices, I was hungry! I needed fuel. Whether that was pizza, sandwiches, endless Gatorade, power bars or bananas, fuel was my friend. I was more concerned with energy and performance than the extra carbs  I might be consuming.

Things are different now.  Life feels stressful, our days are full, and often energy is low. We are moving less and exercising less ( can’t really compare to 3 hour practices) so we don’t need as much to support our expenditures. We simply cannot continue to eat the same way and expect that our body will not gain weight/fat. It is true, when you workout more, you need to eat more. When you workout less, you need to eat less.

Cut yourself some slack for not measuring up to your younger years but keep the following in mind.

Eat to match your actual activity levels, not what you wish they were.

Workout for what your schedule allows, not what you think it should be.

Move in a way that feels good, not in a way that brings you down. 

Treat yourself like the athlete you currently are, not the athlete you use to be.

It is not the same but you will always have that inner athlete within you.

I have just a couple spots left for 1-1 online coaching so if you are looking to fall in love with exercise and yourself again and get strong from the inside out, be sure to fill out this form and we can about what the best path for you is.

8-minute AB workout you can do at home

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No time, no problem. You don’t need hours on end simply to make yourself better.

I put together a 8 minute AB routine you can do at home without any equipment. This is no promise for flat abs or a sculpted waist, but if you complete this workout a couple times a week for a month you will definitely notice your strength improve, and that is a major bonus for back health, posture, and your daily living. You will perhaps notice some abdominal tone as well.

Use these on days you don’t workout or as a warm-up to your typical workout.

Beginner:

Use these two exercises: Dead bugs and the side plank with leg lift.

Set a timer for 8 minute and perform 10 deadbugs (each movement counts as one) and 10 side plank leg lifts on each side. Repeat for 8 minutes.

Intermediate:

Use all three exercises.

Set a timer for 8 minutes and complete 10 reps of each exercise until the time is up.

Advanced:

Complete each exercise for a minute for 2 rounds.

1 minute plank row

1 minute side plank with leg lift side 1

1 minute side plank with leg lift side 2

Deadbug

Repeat.

Video links below.

** For women in late pregnancy or early postpartum skip the plank row as it is not an optimal choice.

 

Set yourself up in a push up position with hands underneath the shoulders or slightly forward. The more narrow your feet are, the more challenging it will be. The wider your feet are the more support you will have. Squeeze your glutes for support.

Alternate bending one arm off the ground, pulling your elbow back by your waist, trying to keep the hips stable. Lower back down and alternate sides.

 

Start in a side plank as show with the elbow underneath the shoulder. Stack the hips and extend the top leg out. Lift the leg as high as you can maintain the side plank, pause, lower back down. This is surprisingly challenging.

 

Laying on your back with the arms reaching up and legs in table top find the neutral position of the spine, the natural curve of the low back. Extend your opposite arm, opposite leg (maintaining neutral) and then return to the starting position and alternate sides. This seems simple but should feel very challenging.

Keep all movements slow and controlled.

8 musings I apply to my workouts to stay consistent

 

My exercise philosophy has evolved and changed over the years and I think that is important for all of us to recognize where and how fitness plays a role depending on the season of our lives.

Lets face it. Health is important. Movement is important. Fitness is important. We all know this but many of us fail to prioritize it consistently.

I spent my childhood playing in the backyard, hiking in the mountains during the summer, and watching my parents play sports year round. It was carefree and natural.

That transitioned into sports of my own including volleyball, basketball, soccer, and softball which led to volleyball in my college years. Physical activity never was really thought about as something “I had to do” I just did it.

My 4 years of college volleyball were more structured with practice, track workouts, weight lifting sessions, and games. It was intense. It was competitive. I was pushed to my limits.

In all these years I have two amazing take aways. I enjoy moving and being active. I am capable and strong more than I sometimes believe, mentally and physically.

While this belief has stayed the same, I have had several different shifts over the years in the way I think about working out and exercise.

I spent my post college years gym going, doing yoga, and going for long runs, working out almost every day of the week and my days revolved around eating healthy and all things fitness.

I became Pilates Instructor and enjoyed the benefits of a new method of exercise. I added that into my routine. I became a personal trainer and shared my love of weight lifting with others.

I spent a year doing a Masters swim program to improve my swimming technique.

I joined a CrossFit gym and loved doing fun things like rope climbs and getting back to Olympic lifts.

I pushed and pushed my body physically, loved it at times, hated it at times, and then it (my body)  broke down on me in 2013 when I was going through a stressful time in my life.

I spent a year with daily back pain and had to scale back on my workouts and everything I loved doing. This is where some of my major mindset shifts started to happen around exercise, fitness, and working out.

I always had a “more is better” philosophy with exercise. After all, as an athlete, you workout all day everyday, you push your body to extremes, you train more, you do more. This is all good and well in competition years but doesn’t transition so well in everyday life.

The good news is you can still train hard, get results, and a take a less is more approach if you apply it correctly. So with that, here are some lessons I have learned and mindset shifts I have had that have allowed me to fit exercise seamlessly into my life without zapping my energy or taking up my time.

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2013 self, I am so proud of you. Your mind was so much stronger than your body and that is what got you through.

 

You don’t have to run yourself into the ground to get a good workout.

All this go hard or go home, no excuses, no rest days, must leave a workout collapsed on the ground nonsense is actually a huge set back for many. The idea that a workout is only effective if you are gasping for air or can’t move after is a huge limiting factor in our overworked, exhausted, can’t find time lives.

Sure you can train hard but an effective workout for me now a days is more about getting it done than intensity or length. I find that too much of either doesn’t mesh well with the demands being busy and tired.

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

If motivation was my sole drive in working out, I would not work out half as much. I can’t say I am always super motivated and inspired to workout. In fact on most days I am not.

Motivation is usually inspired by action and action is simply starting and completing the workout. I feel more motivated and inspired towards the end and after a workout than before or starting. It is not always about being motivated it is about just doing the work whether you want to or not.

I can do hard stuff.

Being strong is being capable. Emotionally and physically. I can get through hard stuff in my workout and in life.  Physically. Can I finish this 17 mile hike? Can I get this serve over the net at game point in a championship match? Can I deadlift 220 off the ground. Can I do a pull up? Yes, yes I can.

Emotionally. Can I speak in front of this big group of people? Can I survive a divorce? Am I cut out to be a mom? Yes, yes I can, and yes I am.

Fitness is not linear and neither is life.

I use to think if I did a,b, and c, I would get x,y, and z. The pursuit of health and fitness (and life)  is not always this straight, predictable line. It comes with obstacles, setbacks, and challenges. More so it is about how you deal with obstacles and if you let them break you, or if you let them make you.

Let good enough be good enough.

The unsatisfied mind feels like a gift and a curse to me at the same time. It keeps me striving for more, motivating me to do better and make progress and improve.

Yet it leaves me feeling that good enough is just not good enough and that I need to do more, that I need to be more. I have learned that it is ok to be content but not satisfied. That I give my best, let that be good enough, while striving to improve and not get caught up in the relentless, unachievable pursuit of perfection.

Skipping rest and recovery reverses my progress.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that if I just let myself recover, I will come back stronger. AND I will stay more consistent. I would rather take more rest days off regularly than going hard for weeks and going home for weeks. Rest and recovery is now something I prioritize  as much as anything else.

Use comparison for inspiration not competition.

There will always be someone considered stronger, smarter, leaner, prettier and more successful. Instead of letting feelings of envy, shame or frustration get you down turn to what others are doing to be inspired and then go back to be the best at what you are doing.

Pretty much a “You girl girl,” of sorts and then back to focusing on yourself.

I am more than a body. I am more than my workouts.

Working out takes up a good focus of my life. It is a daily habit that I enjoy in one sense or another. But it is not all of me. The way my body looks is not all of me.  And just like I learned when I was out of commission, in so much back pain, there is more to life than working out.

BUT you better believe I will make it a part of my life as much as I can, as long as I can, because the benefits go beyond aesthetics and how much weight you can lift or how far you can run. They are lessons and tools we can use forever.

5 reasons fitness is more than just about how you look

Fitness walks a fine line between exercising for health and exercising for appearance. And that is fine, as I don’t feel either one is either wrong or right. In fact, I exercise for both!

But I know sometimes it doesn’t always feel so balanced. Sometimes I think we feel a deep need to use exercise as a control mechanism because we feel if we look a certain way it will validate our worthiness to be accepted by others.

We feel as if we just control what we eat, how we workout, and follow a rigid schedule we will be ok. Every time we start fresh, we feel *this* is the time it will be different. If we reach a certain look then we will be more confident/accepted/worthy.

From my personal experience I found that the more I exercised the less things changed.

Well a few things changed.

I got hungrier and more cravings.

I felt exhausted and stressed all the time.

I felt exhausted, frustrated, and the validation I had in myself lessened.

I wondered why everyone else seemed to have it together and here I was silently and miserably stressing over every minute of exercise and every bite of food.

I needed to be smaller. I needed to be fitter. I needed to have more definition in my muscles.

It is an interesting concept to consider though, the more we focus on fitness, exercise, and working out as a way strictly to get smaller, leaner, more toned, or more accepted, the less successful we will be.

Behind every aesthetic goal, there is a reasoning that goes much deeper and has greater meaning.

The reason behind the goal is more than just about how you look.

 

Success comes in so many different shapes and forms and can mean one thing to one person and something to something else. Behind every goal there is a “why.”  There is a reason we want to fit into our jeans better, have a flatter stomach, lose weight and get stronger.

There is a reason we want to add another plate to the squat rack, run that marathon, or learn that new skill.  When you reach one of your goals it is not because you reached it, it is because of what it represents. It is not so much you reach the goal itself but the feeling of accomplishment. Emotion drives action.

Even if your goal is to get in the best shape of your life, note the “why” behind it.

If you want to lose 30 lbs just because you think you should to be healthier, you may not be as motivated as you would if you define the why in it entirety.  I want to lose 30 lbs to be able to keep up with my kids when we play and to be able to move better on a day to day basis.

I want to lift heavier weight because when I am stronger I feel more confident and what I am more confident I am more productive/successful in life.

When you achieve something you never have before, you open the door to so many other things.

 Testing our physical capabilities is highly underrated in terms of motivation. And accomplishing a physical challenge fuels the need for one of greatest needs outside survival. Growth. Progress. The need to improve in some area of our lives.

The first time I did a full pull up, I was in shock. I never had done one before and I really did not ever think I would. I would hang on the bar and try to pull and barely get half way up.

But after months of practice I was able to do one. I took a chin up grip on the bar, still not convinced in my head, and just started pulling. And I kept pulling all the way over the bar.

I couldn’t believe I just did a pull up! If I just did one, could I do 2? If I can do pull ups, what else can I do in life?

 Being strong and moving well are crucial to our everyday function.

I am a huge advocate of weight lifting and strength training, but I get that not everyone shares that enthusiasm.  While other forms of activity can help you get healthier increase muscle there is no better complete method than lifting weights, IMO.

Being strong and moving well are critical to our everyday functioning. Whether you are gardening in your backyard, picking your child up, carrying in groceries, you want to be strong, able and independent.

I know this sounds boring, unexciting and not nearly as sexy as other aesthetic benefits but when you focus on your own why and what your body is capable of you will find your own sense of power and self-worth that goes beyond having what is deemed as the perfect body.

Weight training can also improve mobility, endurance, and boost our metabolism all in one session. If you are limited on time, choose weight training.

Competency builds confidence.

 

Sometimes it is tough to get started. Even as a trainer, if I go try a workout at a new gym, I get intimidated. It is a new space, with new people. What if I don’t know their protocols or how to use a new machine?  

But you know what? Learning new things only builds confidence.

And the great thing is, the cycle will repeat itself. When you try new things or make progress on something, that confidence boost allows encourages you to take on your next sets of challenges  and learning  (competency) that goes with it.

 I don’t care if it is trying a new workout class, wearing an outfit your normally wouldn’t or striking up a conversation with a stranger. Try something new.

It becomes part of your life and tribe.

Have you ever heard the quote that you are the most like the 5 people you spend the most time with? Think about the people you surround yourself with and if they embody and encourage the kind of values, priorities, and kind of life you want to live.

Find people who are interested in taking care of themselves and prioritize health.  This type of accountability and encouragement is essential.

Your tribe holds you accountable. Your tribe keeps things important to you in the forefront of your mind. Your tribe essentially resembles and reflects you. I feel way more powerful, enthusiastic and engaged in life when I am surround by people like this.

The bottom line is that life is so much more about the way we look. Fitness and health IS crucial and important to our emotional and physical well-being but it’s outcomes do not define who we are or if we are worthy.

It is never too late to start your journey or redirect it to the path you desire.

Is “Just Eat Mindfully” really helpful advice?


If I am guessing correctly the following advice may cause you to roll your eyes or maybe just feel very annoying.

Just eat mindfully.

Eat intuitively.

Take a deep breath before you meal.

Chew your food bites 15 times before swallowing.

I get it though. In between chasing kids around the house, at your desk for lunch during a stressful day at work, or on the go grabbing food wherever you can, this advice just doesn’t cut it.

Though this advice is not made up out of thin air and often IS given with good intention.

Improving mindfulness in general has shown to have a positive impact on helping control impulse, improve willpower, and is beneficial in trying to make positive habit change.

The book The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal says, “Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to mediate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control and self awareness.”

Expert nutrition company Precision Nutrition sites the benefits of slow eating.

“The benefits of slow eating include better digestion, better hydration, easier weight loss or maintenance, and greater satisfaction with our meals. Meanwhile, eating quickly leads to poor digestion, increased weight gain, and lower satisfaction. The message is clear: Slow down your eating and enjoy improved health and well-being.

When you eat slowly, you digest better. You lose or maintain weight more easily. Yet you also feel more satisfied with each meal.”

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All these methods have merit, and I don’t doubt that they are effective, but the more important question is:

How can you make it work for you, given your circumstances.

Just yesterday I inhaled a bowl of pasta the second I put my newborn down for a nap. So much for mindful eating.

So instead of going to extremes and stressing yourself out with counting bites of food or thinking about it just a little too hard, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • If you have to eat fast, wait before going back for seconds or eating more. It might not be ideal but giving yourself some time after a meal is the next best alternative to eating slower.
  • Practice when you can. If you do find an opportunity to eat slow, practice. Take a bite and wait a few minutes. Whether you are eating a banana, a protein bar, or a cookie, or dinner see how slow you can consume the food.
  • Simply be aware of how fast you eat without forcing yourself to change. Awareness is a huge step and often underrated when it comes to creating new habits. Note how fast you eat and when. Note how it makes you feel. Don’t try to change it all at once. Once you identify a pattern it will be in the forefront of your mind and then you can decide how important the change is to you.
  • Start small. Try to eat the first few bites of your meal slowly. Then the next time try to eat half your meal slowly. So what if you devour the rest of your meal, you are making small improvements and they will add up.

I hope you feel this is practical advice you can implement into your life. Advice only works if you can apply it and often implementing is most of the battle.

To think that we can overhaul our whole life and deeply ingrained habits in one sitting is unrealistic and often takes us one step forward and then three steps back. Take well intended advice and break it down into ways that work for you and don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

How to motivate yourself to workout when you are not motivated

Today I am going to talk about motivation and how it plays a part in your workouts.

I use to use “being motivated” as the prime means to getting my workouts done. If I could just set a goal, have a workout partner, or have an event to work towards then I would get my workouts in more consistently and be super motivated.

Motivation would usually come full force the first couple weeks but inevitably dwindle as days passed. It was almost like I was more motivated to start the plan than actually follow through.

Then the guilt would follow.

 Why couldn’t I just have the discipline to stay on track?

Why couldn’t I just workout 6 days a week like I promised myself?

Why isn’t this time different?

And eating is a whole other issue. Why couldn’t I say no to that cookie or just be strict with my diet like I intended?

I would then respond by trying to up my game by restricting even more and being even more disciplined. Eventually the motivation would fall off yet again.

The thing with motivation is it comes full circle and ebbs and flows hindering our best efforts to stay consistent and put in the work long enough to actually get results.

It begs the question: Does the answer then lie in being motivated all the time?

Not so much. Successful people put in the work whether they feel like it or not, whether it is convenient or not.  What if we didn’t feel motivated to take care of our children or go to work? 

The reality is we will not always feel motivated to workout or make healthy choices. We will be faced with times we are tired, unmotivated, and just not care. Sometimes it is ok to take a step back and miss a workout or two, or a week or two, but in the big picture having motivation is not going to be a reliable source to stick with it.

I can give you some tips to lay out your clothes the night before or keep your end goal in mind but really it is a mindset shift.

Here are a few things to consider to curb the “I’m just not motivated” way of thinking.

IMG_3217

Not motivated? Don’t believe everything you think and do the work anyways.

You do not have to commit to perfection but you do have to commit to hard work.

 

Working out and getting healthier/fitter/stronger is not about perfection. And it can feel quite overwhelming to feel like you have to do everything right and nothing wrong just to make improvements.

That is simply not the case.

Trying to follow rigid diets and workout plans create a false sense of security that if we do everything right we will get the desired outcomes, but that is not always how it works.

Instead of seeking perfection cultivate a relentless commitment to yourself, to your desire to improve and change. It is not about doing everything perfect, it is about doing something consistent. 

Don’t believe everything you think.

 

Giving up, telling yourself you just don’t have what it takes to be healthier, or saying that you have tried before and it just doesn’t work is interesting from a psychological standpoint in a sense that it provides comfort.

When you a have a fixed view of what you think you are able to do, you convince yourself you don’t really have to try because you tell yourself it just doesn’t work. And you believe it.

I get this because it feels painful. It doesn’t feel good to try, try, and try again and feel like nothing ever works. It feels good to blame age, stress, other people, time schedules and even lack of motivation, as to why we are unable to reach our goals.

Believing that you have the abilities, desire and want to make change, is just as important as taking action itself. I never met a successful person in any area of life who said that they just kinda wanted something and it all worked out. Have passion, have desire and have an unwavering belief that you will be successful.

Change your habits because of the love you have for your body, not the hate you have for it.

 

You do not have to hate your way to success. You hear me say this ALL the time but often do you really practice this idea.

Even if you are dissatisfied with your current habits or body, you can still accept yourself without accepting the situation. You can still be content without being satisfied.

Challenges and struggles never feel easy. Changing habits does not feel easy. But that is how we grow. That is how we learn. That is how we change.

A strong, successful mindset grows in the process, learning and improving, not just in the ultimate outcome.  Have an active part in your life and your success.

My FREE workout challenge, 16 to 16 starts November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving, with the idea to commit 16 workouts to yourself between turkey day and the end of 2016.

You don’t need the new year to be motivated when you can start now. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/16to16fitcamp

All the details arrive in the first email and workouts arrive in your inbox the Wednesday the night before Thanksgiving or you can do your own workouts. Join the fun here!

Why Your Exercise Routine Isn’t Working For You (+ What To Do Instead) – Fit Pros Reveal Their Solutions

Not all exercise programs are created equal and with the loads of conflicting information out there it can be difficult to sort through which ones deliver the best results WHILE keeping our sanity (because yes that is important too).

With so many women continuing to struggle, falling in and out of different programs, or staying stuck in ones that just don’t deliver what they are looking for, I decided to turn to fellow fit pros for their solutions.

With the combined experience of training hundreds of clients first hand I asked them to share the most common exercise mistakes they see women make, and what to do instead.

Not just in the short term, but in the long run, in creating an exercise routine that gets results and is enjoyable enough to sustain.

Jill Coleman, Owner at JillFit Physiques

www.jillfit.com 

img_0400So many women feel chained to cardio machines or feel like they need to be at the gym for a minimum of an hour to see results. And when they don’t see results within weeks of exercising regularly, they immediately think the answer is to do more.

For body change, intensity is the tool, not duration. So if your goal is to gain muscle and/or lose fat, time at the gym isn’t as important as intensity. And by nature, intense workouts need to be shorter to reduce the “pacing” effect.

Cardio is great for general mood enhancement and burning some calories, but will have little effect on the *look* of the body. For women who want to look more fit, doing a whole bunch of cardio is a huge mistake. It’s a waste of time.

A weight-training centric routine, short, intense and using heavier weights than feel comfortable is the goal. That, and oh, just be consistent for the next year 😉 A body isn’t made in days, weeks or even months!

Crista Jordan, Women’s Strength and Conditioning Coach at Elevate Athletics. 

http://www.elevatebendathletics.com

img_0397One of the things I see  women struggle with the most is expecting instant results and not getting them. We have to remember our bodies take time to change. You might have a 4 week plateau where NOTHING happens. What!? Why is the scale not changing? Why are my glutes not growing!? We live in such  a quick fix society, instant satisfaction or else! Women need to give themselves grace, have patience, and know that these things will come, and it’s not always going to be easy.

Sometimes we put in all our effort and don’t always constantly succeed. Bodies change in months, and they also change in years. But what is this really about? Is it really about the end goal? On the surface it may be about finally reaching that goal weight or having those “perfect” legs but ultimately it is about the journey.

I guess you could say this is a lesson in shifting your mindset. This is about changing life long habits, this is about taking care of you. This is about creating healthy, consistent habits that last a lifetime. Because I guarantee if you have some picture in your head of what you want to look like or some “perfect” weight to obtain and you reach it, that won’t promise you happiness with yourself and who you are.

You won’t get there in a month, or even a year. Love the process, no quick fixes, do it for more than the end goal. THIS is so much more than that!

Michelle Rycroft , Owner at Ripped By Rycroft

http://rippedbyrycroft.com

img_0399It’s interesting when you talk to women about their exercise routine and what they feel they have to do in order to reach their goals.  Two things that repeatedly come up in conversation is that they feel like they have to be in the gym for hours and do nothing but cardio in order to “lose weight”.  Thankfully there is a better way to accomplish their goals.

For women, the best way to approach exercise is to find an exercise routine that provides the most bang for their buck in the least amount of time.  My solution to this is to use full body strength training routines 3-4 times per week.  These routines can be designed as quick 20 minute or less metabolic circuits or traditional strength training programs. 

The benefit of strength training over cardio is that it increases our metabolism naturally and allows our bodies to be more efficient at reducing body fat in less time.  So if you’re looking for that hourglass figure, you need to hit the heavy weights ladies.

Blaire Rummel, Co-Owner at NWB

http://www.northwestbod.com/img_0398

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Everyone would be sporting a magazine cover worthy body, no one would need a personal trainer, and there would be no need for diets or specialized nutrition plans.

Each body is different and responds to various techniques; another body type might reap the benefits of a methodology that doesn’t quite work for you. It’s frustrating at times because there isn’t one “size that fits all” when it comes to making changes to your body.

Fortunately it’s a lot more productive when we can learn about the common training mistakes we might be making in the gym versus what approach to take in order to necessitate change. 

One of the main set backs I see is obsessing and overtraining.

Believe it or not, it’s an actual destructive training mistake you might be making if you are doing too much training. Getting carried away with too much cardio and training sessions can wreak havoc on your musculature and break down your body instead of building lean muscle. Focus on quality over quantity for optimal changes.

Another mistake I see is, falling for fads.

With the barrage of social media images of various athletes and gym-goers using the “latest and greatest” equipment to work out with, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and follow along without question. Unfortunately not all these fads turn into trends and most are about as temporary as a New Year’s resolution.  Always do your research and question if a certain piece of equipment or training methodology is right for you.

Adele Jones (that’s me), Owner of The Fit Life

www.adele-jones.com

img_0401The most common mistakes I see women make are:

Overdoing the cardio and exercise in general.

It is very logical to think that the more exercise you do, the better results you will get. I see women working out for hours on end (usually with cardio), trying to burn more calories thinking that is the answer to their solution. It almost feels like an exercise badge of honor, the more I do the more successful and worthy  I will be.

This typically does not work for two reasons. One, women ignore strength training and strip their precious muscle tissue. When you do hours of cardio your body will adapt and become less efficient at doing the same thing.  Lean muscle from weight training helps your body burn calories more efficiently throughout the day and improves your quality of life by keeping you strong and functional.

Two, how realistic is it to try to sustain a routine that requires you to workout hours a day. I always encourage women to find a program that fits their lifestyle, that delivers the best results in the least amount of time.

A great way to go about this is using a priority method. If you only have two, 30-40 minute slots to workout a week, choose a weight based training session that uses heavy enough weight to challenge your muscles to fatigue by the end of that set.  Going back and forth between exercises with a challenging weight can often have the effect of short cardio like bursts.

If you have an additional 30 minute time slot add training session. If you have another had a short 20 minute interval circuit. If you have another do whatever you damn well please. Dance, yoga, hike, swim. For specific results, it is about prioritizing the most effective type of exercise, not just doing more.

Thank you to all my contributors for their insight and expertise. Be sure to check out their sites to learn more about these fabulous ladies and soak up all the great knowledge they have to share. I will share their Instagram accounts on my feed so be sure to check it out here.