6 amazing things that start happening when you stop doubting yourself.

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“Doubt is the rust of life. Doubt hold you landlocked in paralysis unable to move either way. The time you spend doubting is the time you are not alive. So rid yourself of the doubt, take that step one way or another, your heart knows what is best, but take it right now.” Author Unknown

In all transparency the time this quote rang true the most was I in the midst of trying to make my marriage work 4 years back (pre divorce). I was so broken and unsure about what to do and I desperately wanted a sign to point me in the right direction.  I was paralyzed by the possibility of each decision and what it would be bring and how I would be affected. The truth was either way I would be affected. Either way it would be hard.

I had an overwhelming feeling of what I “should” but I also had a gut wrenching instinct of what I wanted to do.

I think doubt floods in and out of our lives at different levels of intensity. Sometimes it is with big things like marriage, relocating, or switching jobs. Other times it is with little things like what to eat and what to wear that day (females know this).

No matter the experience it keeps us locked in a state of uncertainty feeding worries and anxieties about making the best decision possible. It leaves us wondering if we are worthy enough, if we are good enough. It requires us to take a stand on either who we are or what we believe and put that out to the world, without knowing how the world will respond back.

Yes sometimes we need time to think, to contemplate,  to make smart decisions by analyzing all the potential outcomes, but sometimes we also need the permission to just make a decision that we know is in line with what we need, want, or what best fits the situation so we can take that next step forward.

Self doubt is paralyzing and while we all want to make the best decisions to impact our lives, realize that we can only control the decisions we make and how we react to them, not the outcomes itself. There are no guarantees on outcomes.

It is scary to take the next step without knowing exactly how things will workout, but along the way you build the values of confidence, conviction and resiliency.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~Honore de Balzac

 

It becomes less scary and you learn to get comfy with newness, change, and discomfort and know that whatever life throws at you, you will be ok, one way or another.

Going through a divorce was one of the most life altering events I have ever experienced. It was the only time I had ever lived alone or supported myself in my life and here I was with the world saying, “Here you go Adele. Here is the freedom to figure it out and make it happen.”

But I did it, quite well I might add. It built my courage, bravery and confidence and make all the other unknowns a little less life shattering and that is why today I am talking about amazing things that happen when you stop doubting yourself and start trusting yourself.

You get less attached to the outcomes and more engaged in the process.

Getting attached to outcomes is like a game. You either win or lose and tie your emotion in that. The worry with self-doubt always remains, what if? What if things don’t workout? What if I struggle? What if I am not good enough? How will people react? 

All these are valid worries but none of these are solutions to any problem. Sure you can forecast and create a back up plan, lets say if you leave to a new job and it doesn’t work, but excessive worrying and contemplating drains mental energy that you could be applying to other pursuits. It doesn’t really do anything to help the outcome.

BUT when you can learn to put that energy into the process of figuring it out, doing the work, comfortable or not, you give yourself more power in the process. And like the quote above says, “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”

You have more confidence in yourself and what you believe in.

When you doubt less and find more conviction in your choices you build more confidence in your values, yourself and what you believe in and stand for.

Is it easy to describe what you stand for, or what you believe in? Or does it make you shy away and wonder what you really want out of life?

Can you freely share your opinion with others without worrying how they are going to react? Or do you hide it because you feel unsure? Do you doubt your opinions or do you back them?

The more you stand behind yourself the more comfy you get with what you think, feel, and value and feel less worry in sharing it with others. You learn and grow and build more confidence in the process.

I know for me, I have grown over the years and have done best to conform less and expand myself more. Sometimes you just have to show up to the world as you are and be ok if certain people aren’t on the same page as you.

You realize you don’t need to be perfect.

Author, Brene Brown says, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” and I just love this because so often I find we tend to think that if we can’t make the perfect decision we can’t make any at all.

The more you give yourself permission to just be good the more your choices will relinquish control over you. It doesn’t matter if your choice is the 100% prefect choice, it matters more that you learn to figure out whatever the choice gives to you.

I use to feel this way with eating and exercise. I just wasn’t sure what to eat or how to workout to the absolute best of my ability to get the best results. What if carbs were my problem? Maybe I should do Paleo? Should I be running more or lifting more? I don’t know. What are the perfect choices?

I’ve learned that trying to make the perfect choice often leads to no choices. Or a lot of mental anguish spent trying to figure it out.

I would collect more and more information, seeking the perfect plan without really implementing anything to see if it worked. I was constantly searching, constantly wondering, constantly doubting, unable to take action, unable to move forward.

But once I did. I built confidence, mistakes and all.  I made more choices,  built more confidence and the cycle now repeats itself.

You build resiliency.

I love the word resiliency as it embodies strength. Strength though hardship, strength through discomfort, strength through life. Falling and getting back up. I don’t want to crumble when life gets tough or hard because it is inevitable that it will.

Even if you feel you crumble in moments it is how you come out of it that matters. You learn to embrace the discomfort instead of constantly seeking safety.

I don’t want to question my actions, my thoughts, and who I am on a regular basis worrying I don’t meet certain standards, wondering if I am good enough, or it my choices will equate to the perfect outcomes.

While tough times are uncomfortable and frustrating they build our strength for the next obstacle.

You get comfortable with discomfort.

One thing in life I know for sure is that is does not always feel easy and that we will experience challenges and struggles. When you put yourself out there in moments of discomfort you get better at dealing with them.

“The best way out is through.” Robert Frost

This can be as simple as doing something new each day, that is out of your comfort zone. This can be having the difficult conversation you don’t want to have instead of avoiding it. This can be as simple as making more decisions.

This can be as simple as facing a fear. Not something you are terrified to do but maybe something you have always really, really wanted to do that makes you a little fearful but a little excited as well.

The best part is with this is that you don’t let failures hold you back, you don’t avoid situations that can benefit you just because they are not so comfy, and sometimes, sometimes, you get over that big huge fear you have been hiding from.

You find clarity in your thoughts.

Self-doubt, either with who you are, or with your decisions, is mental clutter. It is an operating system that leaves you in a state of misery because nothing is ever good enough, nothing is ever certain.

Once you start to practice trusting yourself more, with your choices, and who you are, it frees up some mental space in your head. Decisions don’t feel quite so agonizing. The challenges have a light at the end of the tunnel. You find value in who you are and what you believe in,

You start to do more of the things you want to do in life.

You start to live your life intentionally each and everyday.

You start to embrace who you are and what you believe in.

And you give yourself and other permission to do the same.

I would love to hear your thoughts on self-doubt  in the comments on my Facebook page!

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How I did less cardio and got better results

Quick disclaimer:

I hesitated sharing these pictures because at the time I was really dissatisfied with my “before” picture but looking back I feel I looked just fine.

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Back in 2011 I received the best piece of fitness/health advice I could have only wished for in my earlier years and that was to do less cardio and lift more weights.

Now let me be clear. I am not trying to villanize cardio or imply that it is useless or has no benefits. It has many benefits for cardiovascular health, endurance and mood enhancement but if body change or weight loss is your goal I stand firmly behind the idea that there are more effective and efficient avenues that will lead to better results and stronger bodies.

You see, back in 2011 I was running 3-5 miles up to 5 times a week. Or trying to anyways. I was miserable with it to be quite honest. It hurt my back and my hip. It made me feel bloated and puffy. It shot my appetite and cravings through the roof and I didn’t enjoy it one bit.

BUT I had this irrational fear that if I didn’t run for that long and didn’t get my heart rate up for that long and if I didn’t burn 400-500 calories on a run I would gain 20 lbs and not fit into my jeans. At the same time I would come home and try to resist my out of control appetite only to eat more than I cared too and wake up the next day to run it all off. And so the cycle continued.

You know how they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? This was it.

So when I got this piece of advice to focus strictly on weight lifting I begged and pleaded for at least a day of swimming. Like somehow I needed permission, and that one day of cardio, to be able to move forward with this plan.

To me this whole scenario is ironic. We gets attached to notions of more is better, burn more calories, get better results. We fail to look at things like the health of our metabolisms, the effect hormones have on our body and if what we are doing is actually working. We get safe in our routines and comfort zones even when it may not be our best option.

At the time I was secretly terrified yet intrigued by this no cardio proposal. Without knowing, it was the beginning that changed everything for me with the way I currently think about eating and exercise. So instead of just telling you to choose more effective and efficient exercise or just telling you to do less cardio let’s break it down.

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Less cardio, more weights. I always pay attention to my nutrition, just to be clear, focusing on nutritious choices and portion control as often as possible. I also want to clarify that is though that the tan is real on the 1st two pictures. From swimming at the time. 🙂

What is effective, efficient exercise?

In my book effective essentially means the exercise you are doing is getting you the results you want. Efficient means you are getting that exercise done in what I sometimes refer to as the minimal effective dose.

You DO have to put in the work but not always in the amount of time you think. Some workouts claim you get results on 7 minutes a day or 5 minute bouts during the, and while I won’t argue that can benefit you in someway, you need at least a short time block to dedicate to your workout to challenge your body enough to get results.

If body composition or fat loss is your goal the more effective way to get results is through weight training. By creating this kinda of stimulus for your muscles you will impact your hormones and metabolism in a positive way, the kind of way that reshapes the body, and will build a strong, well-functioning body for years to come.

Your time is probably spread thin as it is so feel some relief in knowing that you don’t need hours a day to get results. A well-designed weight workout can be done in under 40 minutes and I know many people who have gotten results on close to 30 minutes a few times a week.

Super Simple Solution:

Ask yourself. Am I getting the results I am seeking?

Does it feel doable to fit into myself lifestyle on a regular basis?

If you answer no, start by adding 3, 30-40 minute weight sessions a week. Choose weight heavy enough that you feel challenged by 10-12 reps.

But I enjoy my cardio!!

If what you are doing is working for you, keep doing it.

Through, I know several runners who love running but don’ t get results. I know several people who love dance class but are still unsatisfied with their bodies. Cardio itself is not the problem, it is the way it is used.

I like hiking and swimming but I don’t do it with a calorie tracker in hand and I don’t feel scared or anxious if I don’t do it like I use to. I don’t use it to burn off food or choose it over other valuable parts of my day.

Like I said above, cardiovascular training is great for the heart, lungs and can be a mood booster so by all means add it in but not with the expectations that it is going to be your magic bullet to weight loss.

The effects of the hormones produced when weight training are necessary to add muscle and burn fat. When we neglect weight training and overwork our bodies through excess cardio, not only can we be prone to more injuries and increased appetite, we can also raise cortisol levels (our stress hormones) which can affect our sleep, appetite, mood and well being.

Cortisol is not inherently bad as we need it to help break down our fats, proteins, and carbs, but when elevated for too long ( steady state cardio, over training, life stress) it can have detrimental effects.

Super Simple Solution:

Prioritize 3 weight training sessions a week and then if you have more time add enjoyable cardio and movement throughout the week.

Consider the effect of exercise on your appetite

Some research shows that moderate intensity exercise may have an increase on your appetite and hunger levels while shorter more intense exercise ( metabolic resistance/weight training, interval training) may decrease your appetite. Low intensity exercise like gentle yoga or walking seems to have a neutral effect.

While this is always different for everyone start to pay attention to whether this may be true for you. Did that marathon training boost your appetite?  Does a couple hours of cardio make you more hungry? Are you overcompensating with food after workouts and negating the effects of exercise all together?

I know I sure did! I would do my 4 miles of running, come home and eat my 400 calories back and more within an hour. Looking back I would have been better off not doing that miserable workout at all.

Super Simple Solution:

Pay attention to how you feel after different types of exercise. Start to experiment to see what workouts for you.

So what happened when I started to do less cardio?

I focused solely on weight training first at least 4 days a week. I did one day of swimming because I liked it. Over time I started to experiment with different types of workouts like CrossFit or similar metabolic conditioning workouts with weights, shorter more intense cardio sessions, and relinquishing the need to rely on cardio.

I had better control over my appetite, I enjoyed my workouts more, and I started to fit into my clothes better. I became less obsessed with the idea that I had to do more, just to get more. If find yourself caught in this cardio cycle give these super simple solutions a try and trust the process along the way.

Get my FREE Super Simple Cardio Guide to help you start to learn how to make your cardio sessions more effective and not take over your life with 12 of my go-to cardio workouts.  Shorter cardio, better results.

Resources here and here for additional information on topics discussed in today’s post.

Add Glute Burnouts to Your Routine

I first heard about the actual term glute burnouts from the glute master himself Bret Contreras but I have been adding these into my routine for quite some time.

Glute burnouts are a series or combo of a glute exercises preferably done at the end of a workout in high reps to add a  extra metabolic stress to the designated area.

This fits perfectly with what I have been adding into my clients, and my own, workouts recently. Some type of 5 minute finisher of some combo of exercises depending on the client, goals, preferences, or program.

If I am feeling the need to get some cardiovascular work in, I will do 5 minutes of sprints. If it is leg day I might add these glute burnouts. If I am feeling like getting a little arm pump I will superset bicep and tricep exercises just because.

I feel a well designed program is important but I also see the value in a little bit of freedom, fun and spontaneity in training.

So here are some glute burnouts for you to add in at the end of a workout, an off day or whenever you feel like it. The band makes it that much better but you can definitely do most without it.

Eleveted Glute Bridge

 

Monster Walks

SIde to Side – Forward and Back

Clam and Fire Hydrant

 

 

Two glute burnouts routines for you.

Routine A.

20 Monster Walks Forward and Back

20 Monster Walks Side to Side

20 Elevated Glute Bridges

Repeat 2x total

Routine B.

20 Side Lying Clam (each side)

20 Fire Hydrant (each side)

20 Elevated SINGLE LEG Glute Bridges ( not pictured, no band).

Repeat 2x total

Does how you eat and exercise really have an impact on your health?

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Well, yes, yes it does. Eat too much of the wrong foods in the wrong amounts at the wrong times and you will gain weight. Moderate your food with healthy choices and you should be golden.  Move more and exercise a few times a week. You know this right? The thing is, it is just not that easy.

I get questions all the time about what to eat at what times and when to workout for how  long. But I rarely get questions and messages like the following.

I am concerned that the lack of sleep I am getting is affecting my food choices throughout the day. Please help.

I noticed I have a bad habit at night and eat when I am bored. What strategies do you have that could potentially break this bad habit and implement a new one?

 I seem to be caught in this cycle of restricting my food and exercising simply to burn more and more calories. Can you help me address the emotional aspect of this cycle?

It’s funny because we never think to address what gets in the way. We just want to know the quick and easy what to do’s. Food and exercise itself is not the solution it is about what gets in the way of actually doing it.

It has to do with the ability to say no when you need to say no (don’t eat that extra cookie) and yes when you need to say yes (go workout instead of watching the Bachelor).

The problem is there are so many limiting factors competing against you making a simple concept extremely challenging and complex. 

We know what to do, we just don’t do it.

And the idea that restricting foods or working out more and more just to burn calories and put in the time is absurd. It brings us right back to where we started in this cycle of on again, off again.

It’s not really about eating the perfect combo of foods, detoxes, diets, cleanses or food lists, it is about everything behind that from self control, emotions, habits, and behavioral patterns we have developed.

We never think to work on that stuff because that is never what we have been taught. We go back to what foods to eat time and time again and focus on the wrong things.

Rely less on willpower and more on your changing your habits.

When willpower fails (which it will) our habits will take over, good or bad.

We think that willpower is the answer to our success but the more we use willpower (all our decision making through the day) the weaker it gets. Whether you are resisting candy at work or debating whether you should workout at 5 p.m., these decisions drain willpower.

No wonder we start off our days at our strongest and it slowly dwindles by the end of the day so we are snacking on jars of peanut butter  at night. Oh wait, thats me. 😉 Basically using more and more self control lead to losing more self control.

Us humans love habits so it is no surprise that our eating and exercise habits are on auto drive and therefore determining the outcomes with our body. While these habits can be very difficult to change, but they can be changed.

Super simple solution:

Find one thing that you can improve on. It does not even have to be a complete makeover of the habit. If you drink 2 sodas a day, cut back to one. Add veggies at one more meal a day. Do 10 push ups and 10 squats for every new episode you watch on Netflix. Don’t think I don’t know about those marathons?! 😉 The point is not a drastic overall but one simple improvement at a time. Work on it until it becomes so easy you don’t even think about it.

Practice consistency & patience.

Boring alert!  I know it is not nearly as exciting as doing a juice cleanse and seeing those first few pounds drop off the first day because you are putting your body in a state of restriction but consistency and patience is crucial to your physical and emotional well-being. The thing is when you do it right most people get frustrated because they do not see results right away and give up.

To do the work and keep going even when the it feels the results are invisible in the beginning.  It feels unfair. It feels like all your hard work is not paying off. You have been doing everything right and are still not seeing results.

Consider this. All your previous choices have gotten you to where you are today. You did not gain or lose weight, get stronger or more flexible by what you did last week, it is by the choices you have made and the habits you have developed over the past weeks, months and years.

If you can learn to exhibit patience as you consistently make good choices over time, not only will your body thank you but so will your brain.

Be Persistence.

I love consistency but I like persistency more, and you might learn to as well. Consistency is doing the work time and time again.

Persistency is doing the work even when it is difficult. It is sticking with it even when things are not going your way. It is continuing to endure the hard stuff and build positive habits over a long period of time. It is learning to get comfy with the process of doing the work on good days and bad days.

Could you learn to embrace challenges and difficult and learn how to overwork not having enough time in the day and be presented with your greatest temptation and overcome them?  Expect the challenges. Expect that things will not go right. Expect that this path will be tough and embrace it and learn from it when it is.

What you do today and tomorrow and the next day will determine where you will be months and years down the road. Just like anything else though, you have to actually do the work to create change. If you do the same old thing that doesn’t work, you will get the same old results that you are not happy with. To change something you have to change the way you are doing things.

“Please don’t ignore me.” – Thoracic Spine

Exercise is good for the heart and body but so is learning how to move well. If your typical routine includes skipping a warm-up or cool-down reconsider by adding a few simple exercises into your routine to potentially improve spinal mobility and reduce pain and stiffness throughout the body.

Today we are going to focus on thoracic mobility which is something that is often overlooked in our daily activities of sitting, slouching forwards, while we are driving, texting and/or at a computer.

The Thoracic spine is essentially the part of your spine from your neck to the lower back that consists of 12 vertebrae and plays an important role in posture and how well the upper body moves. The next time you feel like your shoulders or neck are tight reconsider simply stretching them and these exercises into your routine.

I can say that I perform each of these moves at least 4-7 times a week for one set of 30 seconds. Because I also own a car, text daily, and type away at my computer for blog posts like these I need someway to intentionally fight the forward movement of my spine to prevent conditions like kyphosis, less low back pain and promote healthier shoulders and reduce stiffness.

Here are three must have exercises to stay mobile and move well.

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Inhalations.

This exercise is great for thoracic mobility and spinal extension. Start by leaning against a foam roller at about your shoulder blades and place the hands behind the head. Extend back over the roller keeping the bottom touching the mat. DO NOT place the roller under the low back.

Pause and hold for an inhale and then come back to your starting position. You can adjust the roller an inch or two so it targets different areas that may be tight and stiff. Repeat 10x total.

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The Bretzal.

Start by lying on your right side placing something underneath your head for support. Pull your top knee up to about a 90 degree angle ( belly button height). Take the bottom arm and place it on that top knee. Bend your underneath leg back behind you and attempt to grab the ankle if your body allows. If not, you can always use a yoga strap or towel.

Take a deep breath in and on your exhale rotate your left shoulder toward the ground while pressing your right knee down. Hold for 30 seconds.

Repeat on the other side.

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Hip flexor stretch with rotation.

Start in a half kneeling position with your right leg forward. Shift the weight forward slightly and squeeze your glutes. Take your left hand down to the ground and reach your right arm vertical toward the ceiling. Think of pressing into the left hand to gently increase the rotation, hold for an inhale and then take that right hand underneath the left arm like shown in the picture and repeat. Repeat 5 times on each side.

health hacks (you need to know) that have nothing to do with eating and exercise



It took me a really long time to find a balance with food and exercise and I now know that I was focusing on the wrong things all along. What to eat. How long to workout.

I was completely ignoring the most important piece to the puzzle – mindset. Before you roll her eyes and stop reading think about people you know and how successful losing and maintaining weight they have been on a diet.

With all the talk about what to eat and how to workout I find myself asking, does body change and weight loss have even have anything to do with food and exercise?

Well, yes, yes it does. Eat too much of the wrong foods in the wrong amounts at the wrong times and you will gain weight. Moderate your food with healthy choices and you should be golden.  Move more and exercise a few times a week. You know this right?

The thing is, it is just not that easy because we are ignoring the missing puzzle piece.

Food and exercise are important but it in itself is not the solution. You find the solutions to your problems when you start to look at what gets in the way of these things.

It has to do with the ability to say no when you need to say no (don’t eat that extra cookie) and yes when you need to say yes (go workout instead of watching the Bachelor).

The problem is there are so many limiting factors competing against you making a simple concept extremely challenging and complex. 

You know what to do, you just don’t do it.

Or you think you have to restrict foods and workout all the time and inevitably end up right back where you started like discussed in part one.

It’s not really about eating the perfect combo of foods, detoxes, diets, cleanses or food lists, it is about everything behind that from self control, emotions, habits behavioral patterns you have developed.

You never think to work on that stuff because that is never what you have been taught.  I know I didn’t. For years I thought it all was about food and working out, food and working out. But it was a vicious cycle that kept me with tunnel vision unable to focus on anything else. In todays third and final post I decided to breakdown what matters besides eating and exercise.

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Sleep & Stress Management.

We need to make good decisions more often and high stress and low sleep inhibit that.

Have you ever felt really sick one day from not sleeping enough the night before only to get a full night sleep and feel amazing? Point proven.

Have you ever had 2, too many martinis only to end up at Jack in the Box with a burger and fries? Lack of sleep shows similar effects on the brain as mild intoxication?

Have you ever had a hard day at work and walked straight to the fridge and snacked non stop from until bedtime? Stress could be the culprit.

If you can learn to focus on these two components alone you will be amazed at how much easier it is to make good choices when your heart is not racing and you are well rested.

Super simple solution:

A quick tip to help with high stress or falling asleep is this. Take 3 deep breaths. Inhale for a 4 count and exhale for a 4 count. These counts are not scientific as I made them up all on my own because the recommend inhale for 7, hold for some marathon of a time and exhale for 8, was just too much too soon. The point is to help slow your breathing to get into reaction mode.

Rely less on willpower and more on your changing your habits.

When willpower fails (which it will) your habits will take over, good or bad.

We think that willpower is the answer to our success and the more we use willpower (all our decision making through the day) the weaker it gets. Whether you are resisting candy at work or debating whether you should workout at 5 p.m., these decisions drain willpower.

No wonder we start off our days at our strongest and it slowly dwindles by the end of the day so we are snacking on jars of peanut butter  at night. Oh wait, thats me. 😉

Basically using more and more self control lead to losing more self control.

Us humans love habits so it is no surprise that our eating and exercise habits are on auto drive and therefore determining the outcomes with our body. While these habits can be very difficult to break, they can be changed.

Super simple solution:

Find one thing that you can improve on. It does not even have to be a complete makeover of the habit. If you drink 2 sodas a day, cut back to one. Add veggies at one more meal a day. Do 10 push ups and 10 squats for every new episode you watch on Netflix. Don’t think I don’t know about those marathons?! 😉 The point is not a drastic overall but one simple improvement at a time. Work on it until it becomes so easy you don’t even think about it.

Consistency & Patience.

Boring alert!  I know it is not nearly as exciting as doing a juice cleanse and seeing those first few pounds drop off the first day because you are putting your body in a state of restriction but consistency and patience is crucial to your physical and emotional well-being. The thing is when you do it right most people get frustrated because they do not see results right away and give up.

To do the work and keep going even when the it feels the results are invisible in the beginning.  It feels unfair. It feels like all your hard work is not paying off. You have been doing everything right and are still not seeing results.

All your previous choices have gotten you to where you are today. You did not gain or lose weight, get stronger or more flexible by what you did last week, it is by the choices you have made and the habits you have developed over the past weeks, months and years.

If you can learn to exhibit patience as you consistently make good choices over time, not only will your body thank you but so will your brain.

Persistence, Persistence, Persistence.

I love consistency but I like persistency more, and you might learn to as well. Consistency is doing the work. Persistency is doing the work even when it is difficult. It is sticking with it even when things are not going your way. It is continuing to endure the hard stuff and build positive habits over a long period of time. It is learning to get comfy with the process of doing the work on good days and bad days.

Could you learn to embrace challenges and difficult and learn how to overwork not having enough time in the day and be presented with your greatest temptation and overcome them?  Expect the challenges. Expect that things will not go right. Expect that this path will be tough and embrace it and learn from it when it is.

There is no super simple tool for persistence. What you do today and tomorrow and the next day will determine where you will be months and years down the road. Just like anything else though, you have to actually do the work to create change. You can and you will.

4 exercise strategies to implement today

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Our exercise world today is filled with buzz words like toning, long and lean, not getting bulky, and fat burning.  All these catch on like fire because they sound so ideal to what women want to achieve.

In a way it makes perfect sense. Burn calories and you will lose weight. Do longer cardio sessions and you will be in fat burning mode. Pulse your leg 100 times and it will create long and lean muscles like a dancer.

The reality is it is much more complicated that simply burning calories. You are not really burning chunks of fat off your body on long runs you are utilizing its energy stores and there is no way that you can change the origin and insertion of your muscle to actually lengthen your muscle to create the long and lean look.

I get it though. That is what people what people want and it is what sounds ideal.

So let’s take real and ideal and blend them together in a way that actually works.

It is so much more about simply burning calories.

In one of my favorite books series The New Rules of Lifting for Life rule number 14 says this. “Exercise burns calories. Sometimes that is a problem.”

Research on many studies show that exercise doesn’t always have the same impact on weight loss from person to person especially when put on a low calorie diet. It also shows that exercise alone is not the solution to weight loss. However many of the studies that report these findings define exercise as steady state cardio.

This can explain why people who go on marathon training programs in hopes to lose weight end up gaining fat. Steady state cardio can make people feel hungrier and crave more which ends up in overeating and erasing any calories burned during exercise.

Steady state cardio can also raise cortisol level and strip the oh so wonderful metabolically active muscle tissue we so desperately need to preserve.

Your body is also great at adapting, which sounds ok at first glance.

The problem with endurance exercise or steady state cardio is that your body becomes more efficient at it (running, elliptical, cycling). So the more you do it the better you get, which seems like a good thing at first but think about it like this. You are just starting out running 3 miles and burn 300 hundred calories. After months of training you now burn 250 because your body is more efficient so you are getting less out of the time spent.

So what do you need to do to get results? You need to do more exercise. At some point you will run out of time to keep up with these adaptions.

In addition your metabolic rate slows its response to both the foods you eat and the exercise you do so you are more likely  to regain any weight you loss.

Eek! This is not a good situation because at some point you will not be able to eat less or add more hours to the day.

Weight training is your golden ticket.

Not only are you building lean muscle mass and setting a strong foundation for your body you are creating different kind of demand on your body that allows you to increase challenge and energy production, not by adding time but by adding challenge with weights or intensity.

Even if you are chasing aesthetic results you be will surprised at how much you will gain in terms of strength, mobility, flexibility, independence, functionality, feeling more powerful, having more energy, building more confidence, accomplishing what you thought you could not, improving your health, and body change is just an added bonus.

Most people are far more capable than they realize they just don’t push themselves in the gym to their maximum potential.

Choose intervals that suit you best.


Intervals don’t always have to be running. They can done on any piece of cardio equipment or with exercise like kettlebell swings, jump rope, a series of air squat and push-up, whatever gets your heart rate up. The idea is that you work hard for a short period of time to the point where you are questioning if you can keep going and then recover and go again.

Most people don’t know or think about the body having energy systems that use both carbs and fats. When you go really hard for a 10 second sprint you are using carbs but when your body slows into recovery mode, you are using fats.

This can be the same with lifting weight to the point that it makes you breathless and you are unable to do the next rep. Work hard enough during you intervals and your body will stay in fat burning mode after your workouts as well.

In the end if what you are doing is working for you and you love it, are consistent with it and it makes you feel good, keep doing it. But if you feel like you are in a constant struggle or off and on, gain or regain, taking one step forward and two steps back, start to rethink your approach.

Is liking yourself a rebellious act?

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In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” Caroline Caldwell

I’m a rebel. A rebel in training that is.

I hope that you will join me as one too.

You see, I am a rebel in self-love. Not against self-love itself but against the idea that change is the only avenue to liking yourself. Against the idea that women’s bodies should look a certain way. Against the idea the outcome of what we do matters more than how we got there.

We are blasted with information on a daily basis about what exercises keep the thigh gap, what routine gets flat abs and how to lose 5 lbs by the weekend.

We live in a world that plays on women’s insecurities, self doubts and fears and profits off of it in fact, by the millions, only to keep at it coming at us with no end in sight. But does me pointing this help really even help the matter?

A couple years back a colleague of mine posted a question on Facebook about what viewers thought of the way bodies were portrayed on covers of magazines, in movies and in the media. I commented that I didn’t like it and it was a false portrayal of what women’s bodies look like in really life. She then challenged me in a friendly way, “But does it matter if you are secure with yourself?” Bam! No it doesn’t.

Could it be that the answer lies in a little bit of rebellion of actually liking yourself?

 

Of being more focused on the daily process of improving then the end result of getting more lean or shredded?

Could it be building self care into your daily habits?

Could it be spending time with people you love, exercising because you love your body not because you hate it, or eating healthier to support the thing you want to do in life.

Could it be empowering each other to self love and acceptance instead of supporting the attention of a society that  “profits on our self doubt.”

Listen, I really wish I could say I love everything about myself 100% of the time no matter what is going around me but that’s just not the case or the point really. I don’t always love my body. I don’t always love my choices. I don’t always love the way I look.  But I strive to be ok with me. I put up the fight to be ok with being myself.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”  e.e. Cummings

 

This is not a cop out. It is ok to accept yourself without accepting your current condition. You can still practice self-love, acceptance and enjoy the people and world around you. You don’t have to sit on the sidelines of your own life and wait until that one day when you will finally have the ideal body or life and finally be happy.

Have the courage to show up wholeheartedly and unapologetically without letting others take away all the unique qualities about who you are and what you have to offer. When you can embrace who you are and let go of who you think you are suppose to be you can truly begin to lead an authentic life.

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen

 

Most of us just want to live our true authentic life. We want to step outside each day as we are and be real. We don’t want to play the games of trying to fit a mold and scramble desperately like we have it all together all the time.

We don’t want to reveal our self perceived weaknesses, inadequacies and failures because we don’t feel like it earns the acceptance and approval we are striving for.

It’s taken many years but you could say I don’t let trying to be perfect run my life. I don’t let society try to run myself and dictate what mold I should fit or what is beautiful or sexy.  Trying to be perfect at all costs is not really about trying to be your best and do your best, it is about associating those things with worth and well-being. It is about trying to do everything right so we can avoid struggle and judgement.

Your health is insanely important but the way your body looks as a outcome is not so much. I get it though. We all want to feel good in our skin, feel confident, like getting dressed because we feel proud of the way we look but learn to get addicted to and excited about the process of it all, not the outcomes.

So what is the antidote to trying to obtain perfection all the time. Self compassion. Self-acceptance. Self-love.

Perfectionist talk comes out in phrases like I can never do anything right, I am so fat, look at these belly rolls and cellulite, I am embarrassed and ashamed of how I look, I am not worthy, I will be worthy when I am different.

The opposite comes out in phrases like I am striving to be healthier, I can do this for myself, my body is important but the way it looks does not define me, I can love and embrace myself even while I am working toward change.

When it comes down to it you are doing the best you can. It is not an excuse but damn life gets crazy sometimes and you are just trying to do your best to navigate your way through it all.

Take care of your body but you are more than a body. 

If you have been looking for permission for self-love consider this permission granted.

I have the privilege of working with some amazing women in the fitness industry who focus on, encourage, and support this insanely, crazy idea of actually liking yourself. We are rebelling big time and hope you will join in with the #selfloverebellion.

Starting this week we are posting on all social media outlets on ways we are showing self love for ourselves which just may be against what society wants us to do. They want us to be doubtful and fearful, and yes make a profit.

We know better and won’t give into their schemes. We will rebel by embracing ourselves (different for everyone) and show the world what we each uniquely have to offer. Show us your quotes, quirks, exercise and foods you love, and why you have no reason to be doubtful or fearful. #selfloverebellion

diet advice to drop (+ what to do instead)

Without even realizing it we have been fed an overload of information throughout the years that has created mental constructs with the way we think about food and eating.

We have been taught that carbs are bad. Fats are bad. Eating at night is bad. Food is something to fear. Calories are something to fear. To eat less, to restrict.

All these concepts blend together and create a whole spectrum of emotions around food that influence our choices and habits. Yet many are still struggling.

Today I am talking about reworking thoughts that we have been fed (pun intended) over the years and how we can use these concepts to enhance our relationship with food and eating, not takes away from it.

We have been taught to fear food.

We avoid egg yolks red meat in fear that fat and high calories are the enemy.

We skimp on carbohydrates because they are “bad” and wonder why results don’t last.

We take out of the fat from our yogurt, label it fat free and add tons of sugar.

We replace sugar with artificial sugar and butter with margarine.

We fear potatoes and bananas as having too many carbs.

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You can have it all, but not in the amounts you want.

I fell into this trap years ago thinking that if I could just do more exercise and just eat less food that I would find success. I avoided butter at all costs. I turned to artificial sweeteners to give me my sweet fix. I thought carbs were bad. By the end of the day after my dreaded miserable 3-4 mile run I would eat everything in sight and go to bed and wake up in a state of guilt and shame.

There was no better option in my head to start the same way as I did the day before. Restriction was my golden ticket.

It did not make sense to wake up after a night of overeating and eat a moderate breakfast that make me feel happy and satisfied. I thought I didn’t deserve it. It didn’t make sense not to workout extra hard to try to burn off extra calories in fear of gaining weight.

After years of staying in this cycle I want to help others simply by helping break down where health and fitness went wrong.

Entire books are written on these topics but today I am sharing some perspective on where we went wrong with food. 

We turn to artificial sweeteners, fat free, and non fat.

This is the downfall of the diet world at its finest. Artificial sweetness can mess with our bodies and brains in a number of ways. They can trick us into feeling full, they can make us crave certain foods later on, and pretty much offer nothing nutritional for our bodies. Usually fat free and non fat take out the fat and add sugar.  Now check this out.

The book The Willpower Instinct address a subtle way that artificial sweeteners  contribute to overeating and weight gain. “The sweet taste tricks the body into taking up glucose from the bloodstream in anticipation of a blood sugar spike. You’re left with less energy and less self-control, while your body and brain wonder what happened tot the sugar rush they were promised. This may be why recent studies how that diet soda consumption is associated with weight gain, not weight loss.”

Aka: your diet soda and fat free food habit is not helping you.

We choose the wrong carbs in the wrong amounts at the wrong times.

We get caught up in removing all carbs, good and bad, because they get lumped together as sugar. Yes essentially veggies are a sugar when broken down to its simplest form as a bagel is broken down into sugar but the difference is that vegetables contain many nutrients for our body and often are higher in fiber and water. This has less of an impact on blood sugar levels. That’s a good thing.

But all of a sudden carbs are the enemy. It is not the carb itself, it is that we are choosing the wrong carbs in the wrong amounts. We fear healthy foods like potatoes and bananas, restrict carbs of all kinds and eventually end up indulging more than we want because our bodies are crying out for a little bit of love and attention.  I had a client avoid bread all day only to eat a pizza at night. Regardless of your thoughts on bread, doesn’t it make sense to eat a sandwich with two whole pieces of bread for lunch if that will help prevent you from overeating at night?

When it comes down to it, this is what you need to know about carbs.

Choose the right carbs (less processed varieties), in smaller amounts (the size of your hand when you make a fist), at the right times. Really there is no wrong time to choose a moderate portion of carbs, unless you know from your own experience that you do better rationing carbs at certain times. 

We fear fats and proteins.

I still hear people say that they are afraid that fat will make them fat and protein will make them bulky. The truth is too much fat will make you fat and too much protein combined with an intense 6 day body building split designed to maximize muscle growth with a surplus of calories may create more muscle on your body that some refer to as bulk.

Protein plays a huge role in helping with satiety. Helping us feel full. When the body processes protein it takes more energy than protein or fats. Plus when you eat more protein you need less carbs and fats.

As for fats simply start to choose healthier ones like eggs, meats, nuts, avocado and less of the ones found in prepared foods. Because of the high calorie content, yes you do want to limit them but not eliminate them.

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Before you resort to extremes simply try to be better.

We restrict foods.

Restriction is our go to method. That is what we have been taught especially when we overindulge. When we restrict food, we restrict nutrients. And when we restrict nutrients we restrict good nutrition for our bodies.

We don’t need to just eat less. We need to eat smarter. We need more good food and less junk food. Is there a place for pizza, cookies, and wine? Sure. But if you make those choices more often than not, in too high quantities you will gain fat, you will feel like you have less energy, and you will be offering your body less nutrients.

Learn to balance your caloric intake without going into starvation mode. And that starts with allowing a little more flexibility in your diet. When you decide to eat better, do just that. Don’t cut out foods that you know you will add back in some day. Find ways to stay satisfied so you are able to stick with your diet and not give in because you feel bored and deprived. Keep it fun, keep it yummy, and trust the process by exhibiting patience and persistence.

The thing is, what you do this week or month, whether that is overeat or not workout, shows up down the road. This can work for us or against us. Eat well and exercise and in months you will see results. Eating poorly and skip workouts and in months you will see those results as well.

It is tough to make change when results are invisible.  But if you want to make change you have to change something you do daily, even if the results are invisible at first.  Replace what you want now for what you want long term.

Mayo Free Egg Salad (what’s the secret ingredient?)

I am on a mission to help re work where eating and exercise went wrong. Because it did go wrong. We thought restriction with food and exercising all day to burn calories was the answer. It’s not.

I want to make it simple for you because it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as we have made it out to be. So let’s start today with a simple recipe that includes lots of healthy fats. Eggs and avocado.

We don’t need to shun fats altogether, just replace them with healthier choices in moderate portions. If you want to remember anything about food remember that. Healthier choices in moderate portions.

Think less potato chips and nacho cheese and more eggs, avocados, fresh meats and fish, and dairy.

Ok onto this delicious avocado, egg salad recipe.

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Ingredients:

(single serving)

  •  2 hard boiled eggs (which I did the day before)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • tsp lemon juice
  • tsp red wine vinegar
  • sprinkle of salt and chili flakes
  • tbsp of diced onions

Directions:

  1. Peel hard boiled eggs and mash all ingredients together.
  2. Top on toast.

 

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