A Few of My Favorite Things: the Birthday Edition

Happy Ground Hog Day!

Since tomorrow is my birthday (I’ll be turning 38), I thought I would give you a peak into what I’m digging right now…..some fitness, some not, so just enjoy :)

EDUCATION I’m digging: ONNIT Academy

OnnitAcademyInfoHeader

Onnit has a main facility located in Austin, Texas, so as a true Texas gal I had to check them out. Article development is on point and I’m all set to receive more trainer training from them this year.

SUPPLEMENTS I’m Digging: Onnit for the win!

Alpha Brain because it takes away the fuzzy feeling in my head and really does help me to focus.

Coconut Oil because I use it for EVERYTHING from skin care to coffee creamer to cooking agent.

Coffee Pack because coffee, duh. Seriously, I love coffee and if I can make my coffee work FOR me and help propel me to my goals, then I’m a happy gal! P.S. would also make a PERFECT birthday present…..just sayin ;)

Onnit coffee

NOTE: I don’t do butter, but I do enjoy the MCT oil. The use of oil in your coffee has been shown to help those on low carb or ketogenic (not a fan) diets lose more fat. So, if you’re not caring how many carbs you eat, stick with regular creamers for best results.

WORKOUTS I’m digging: KETTLEBELLS

If you haven’t heard, I am in rehab (um, for a torn labrum and some muscular issues people!) and I was afraid I would lose ALL THE GAINS due to the fact that I can’t left heavy. Guess what? I have lost weight (some muscle, some fat), but kettlebells have helped me in therapy and have enabled me to keep that hard earned muscle. WIN.

primal-bells Wanna follow my workouts? Check it out on INSTA as I post some of the bets on there.

RECIPE I’m digging: Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cake

It is my birthday and I do love chocolate. I have nothing against flour, but found I really dig the flourless cakes since it’s ALL THE CHOCOLATE!

MOVIE I’m sorta digging but mostly just in the mood to watch: Chicago

chicago-movie_650

I have no shame, I am highly entertained by both the stage and screen version of this masterpiece….classier times ;)

I hope you enjoy your day as much as I will, and remember that finding a sense of enjoyment in all you do makes all the difference.

 

 

Funny Thing Happened Today…..

Good morning!

Let’s all get caught up real quick, shall we?

I just started back at the iron yesterday after a 3+ week break (it was forced) due to some health issues (not caused by lifting).

So….I’ve had a few mixed emotions.

First, I am excited to get back to the gym….however, that feeling is followed by the quick second of not wanting to leave home made harder by being home bound for so long. Any introverts feeling me?

Getting up the last 2 mornings has been a mixture of those 2 emotions in some way….going to bed is the same as I seem to talk myself out of going by the time I close my eyes.

THEN, I remember how I FEEL when I go regularly***(see note at bottom)

Funny-memes-how-I-feel-after-the-gym Something like that :)

This morning was my first leg day in what felt like forever, and after yesterday’s eh back workout, I wasn’t too pumped. So, I put on my fave Converse (the BEST for leg days) and set out to train these sticks that have taken me through life so wonderfully.

The workout itself wasn’t epic at all (I don’t favor epic as I try to aim for consistent), but it felt great. I trained legs unilaterally (one at a time) to address the many imbalances in my lower half AND the weight pushed wasn’t too shabby for such a break.

Two very rewarding things happened because of my consistency:

  1. A guy came into the sauna and asked how long I had been lifting. This is sauna guy’s favorite question….and mine too :) . See, these past few weeks I’ve felt small and not in a good way (why do women always strive for small anyways????). My midsection felt fluffy and my arms look like little noodles, lacking the curves they had not too long ago. So this question came as a great source of motivation for me. You see, I’ve been working out for 10 years (12+ years of yoga) and lifting consistently for 4 years. The body goes through an ebb and flow, but my soul mate workout is still there when I’m ready to pick it back up. My muscles start to remember the grip of the bar and the press of standing. I train for something far bigger than a show…..I truly train for the flow of life itself. Other than my marriage, this lifestyle has been my biggest commitment.
  2. A lady in the locker room (who had a cute workout top on) asked, “Didn’t ya’ll have some kind of show this past weekend?” It took me a while to realize that the “ya’ll” meant competitors. I had been added to an elite group. Even if you competed once (or 20 times) and no longer do, it is still an elite group. The group isn’t about who came in the leanest…..it’s about being a finisher. Did you know that under 5% of people actually have what it takes to finish out the goal of competing???? True story. It’s strength of mind and character that gets us there and it’s that same strength that keeps us going when life gets tough. She ended the conversation with wishing me luck on this weekend’s comp. In my eye, I am nowhere near competition shape, but she sees me in a different light.

bursting pipes gym meme

That begs the question of why can’t we see ourselves in that light?

When I go to the gym I wear long tights and baggy tops (although sleeveless cause YEAH!) so it wasn’t my six-pack (which is in there somewhere) or my lines that made her think I was ready for comp…it’s my passion lived out in the gym.

I’m grateful for the passion that I have. The passion in the gym is a gift! I start every morning with quiet time and a thankful prayer. I dedicate my workouts to those who cannot move, even though they desperately want to. I think about what I could be doing each day to inspire women to become the best version of themselves….the version outside of the aesthetic. That’s the one thing I think of and strive to do whether health permits the gym or not. That is my calling and I work out to ensure I am fit for my calling….not my jeans.

Now it’s your turn.

What light do you see yourself in? Does it match the light others see? Are you practicing a life of passion?

I’d love to hear, and I am listening! Let me know how I can inspire you :)

And by the way, thanks for inspiring me….

Michelle

***NOTE: heavy-duty weights is MY soul mate workout and the one I love the most…..you find the freedom to try things and figure out yours. There is no one way.

Strong Camp 14 Photo by Paul Buceta taken at Strong Camp Houston 2014

 

Oh, that fluffy feeling……

I have issues…….I think you know that if you’ve read my stuff :) If this is your first visit, well then, I’m human and have issues. Welcome.

This has been an off week for me. It’s actually quite beautiful here in Southeast Texas, but I have been fighting with wicked allergies. I haven’t struggled with allergies like these since my childhood days! The severity of my cough which stemmed from a head full of snot (not the exact term the doc used), resulted in two allergy meds and an asthma med….with little relief as of yet. I was also told to rest…whatever that is ;) . I am perpetually not a rester. I like to DO things. Unless we’re watching a movie, then I just sit there like a stump on a log. Moving on…rest to me is yoga, Piyo (great program!), low impact circuits, etc. You know, rest :)

This forced rest and fuzzy head could be a great time to work on the devotional book I am writing, but I have been utilizing it to allow my head to enter into a dark space instead. My competition was a little over a month ago and I have put on about 7 pounds since then (give or take a pound). My coach is trying to reverse diet me to a lean, mean, lifting machine……I find myself in a panic. These days I feel much more mean than lean. I call it “fluffy.” You cannot feel fat. Well, you can if you stick your hand into a tub of Crisco, but that would be gross. Fat is a nutrient that we need, fluffy is when you just don’t feel as lean as a certain part of your brain thinks you should be.

During the competition itself I was excited for this time…..then I realized that this time is summer time and includes swimsuits (see previous post for a good laugh on that one). This past Sunday we spend time at my brother in laws pool for Father’s Day (thanks MIKE!) and I realized from the reflection in the window that my mind isn’t always right. Even at 7 pounds heavier, things are still healthy looking. I’m not sporting a six-pack (I’m also not a teenage boy….so there), but everything looks in shape. Body fat is there, but not nearly as noticeable as the muscle and I seem to be in good proportion. I promise I wasn’t standing in front of the mirror for hours checking myself out, this was just in passing.

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose First contest pic on the blog! Thanks to Alfonso Aguire :)

OK, so the above pic is not a realistic version of where my body can stay. That’s why we get pictures at competitions! Duh….. So, the logical part of my brain knows this, but the junior high girl who was made fun of for her weight (and yes, I remember all the comments and all the names…..issues) wants to stay there for special occasions. This part of post-comp is hardly ever talked about though.

So, why am I talking about it? Well, for the .01% of you who may compete, I like keeping it real. For the rest of you, there is something you keep comparing yourself to that holds you back from progress. Let that sink in.

See, my goal right now is NOT to look like I did during my comp (well, I wouldn’t mind that when I hang at the pool…). My goal right now is to add muscle, increase strength AND set aside quality time with my family. That means I can’t spend all day in the gym. Holding on to a past version of myself hinders any progress because my mind is not taking in the present and looking towards the future. I am allowing what was once a small thought to fester and become overwhelming.

Don’t get me started on the old videos and pics before I started to put on muscle.

This can happen to all of us. We get fixated on what we used to look like or what we think we should look like. I cannot tell you how many clients have said, “You should have seen me when…” Well, what’s so bad about now?

I don’t know about you, but right now I do not have any bikini photo shoots in the next 6 weeks. I do have a family vacation, but if your family can’t love you then who can? Most of the time we are harder on ourselves than anybody else. This drives us to a sort of obsession and can literally keep us from reaching our goals!

What can we do?

You know I love it when you ask that! I have a few action steps to get us ALL on the right track:

  1. Get real about your goals. For me personally, I had to realize that I could not want to add muscle and want the body of a svelte supermodel at the same time. That did not lead to consistency of any kind. Muscle is good for me cause let’s face it, I really like to eat.
  2. Enlist some help you trust. Pay for a coach (mine has been so helpful post comp) or join a challenge group. Having this accountability and knowledge is super helpful.
  3. Consistency above ALL. I have said it time and time again: consistency is king (small king, big King is God just to clarify). You must stay consistent to reach any goal you set. If your brain is all over the map, so will your goals follow.
  4. Get a power song! I have a lot of them and my playlist is full of NF, Lacrae, Andy Mineo, and even some AC/DC  :) I’ll share my song of the moment with you though.

There you have it. Four simple steps to a better you! Don’t let the world tell you who you should be or how you should look and don’t let past events dictate it either. Strive for a better you to give back each day and things will start to happen :)

mc-7159 I wanted to use this one for a while :) Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography (in the Baytown/Houston area)

NOW, let’s hear it! Leave your tips and suggestions for reaching goals and not heading into a negative mind space in the comments below :)

 

Summertime woes: A realistic look at swimsuit season

It’s June 16th here and if you live anywhere in southeast Texas, then you are probably hunkered down with your bottled water awaiting the ominous sounding Tropical Storm BILL….just the name inflicts fear. ;)

More fearful than any tropical storm is swimsuit season. I think I can speak for us all here right? There are just so many things that can go wrong…

I had my very own little run in with swimsuits a couple of weeks ago. You see, I can’t swim….I’m more of a sink or float kinda gal. Meaning when in a pool of water I usually end up close to the wall canoodling with my hubby :) totally acceptable behavior.

Anyways, I decided that this summer I should branch out. I mean, I just got onstage in the world’s tiniest bikini and was judged for goodness sake! I think I can learn to swim a few laps for sport. So, on we went to Academy to get a slightly larger and much more supportive suit….

Into the lion’s den:

It started off rather innocent enough. I walked in feeling full of confidence and eager to get this party started. I grabbed several suits in several sizes (cause you just don’t know with those things) and catwalked my way to the unisex dressing rooms…because we girls can have secrets no longer. I got the first suit on with a great struggle and looked in the mirror. Not good. Like, really not good. I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that I had just competed. I then promptly wondered what the heck I had been eating. It seemed like whatever wasn’t firmly encapsulated in the suit spilled elsewhere in the most unflattering fashion imaginable…..sort of like sausage which was busting out of its casing. With much effort, I removed the suit, though I did worry I might have to call in assistance. I picked up a larger size in bright red…side note: that’s a LOT of red no matter what your actual size. Though this one was a little easier to put on and the spillage seemed slightly more contained, I still began to question my training and nutrition. I didn’t bother with the third suit and I marched out to put those demons back in the cavern from whence they come, otherwise known as the swimsuit rack. I then perused the bikinis only to decide my fragile ego couldn’t handle that right now.

For the next couple of weeks (weeks, people) I struggled. It felt like my workout pants were tighter (um, they’re spandex). I got sick and had to go to the doctor where the nurse weighed me and I didn’t appreciate the number she wrote down (you’d think we gals could help each other out). I then had to go through old videos where all I could think about was how thin I was and that all my clothes fit then….

Here’s the catch: I work to empower women to forget the scale. I strive to have more women comfortable in their own skin. I love the variety of bodies on the beach and want others to focus on progress, not perfection. So what the heck????

There are many things that can go wrong while swimsuit shopping. Do any of these bring back horrid memories of yesteryear?

  • Swimsuit sizing if really weird! I think if I wear a medium in workout tights then I should wear a medium in swim bottoms. Is this too much to ask??!?!?!? When going through sizes, I always feel as though I have stumbled into the toddlers department and nobody was kind enough to point me to the correct place.
  • Lighting: really people? It seems as though the ONLY lighting available in these places is the large spotlight used for interrogations…..”Did you really log ALL of your food this week?” “Yes, I swear! I’m not guilty!!!!!” The higher end stores splurge on slightly softer lighting which makes me spend more money. I await a swimsuit dressing room lit in carefully placed tea lights and playing smooth jazz to mellow my fear.
  • You have to keep your underwear on while you try on swimsuits. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great rule, BUT it also added like 10 inches of fabric to my hips (OK< maybe not, but it feels like it).
  • Cellulite LOVES swimsuit shopping. You may not even see it in your shorts that morning, but by the time you pull on the plastic lined bottoms you can rest assured it will rear it’s dimpled head.
  • There seems to only be 2 (maybe 3) options when shopping: barely there skimpy OR old lady afraid of sunburn. The possible 3rd is the “fat displacing” ones that really do nothing other than squeeze body fat into even weirder places.

It’s a wonder any of us get out of the dressing room! The attendant smiles sweetly and asks “Did everything work out?” while I stand there with 23 different suits and tears in my eyes….I muster enough courage to smile back and say “Yes.” Like, duh, I like to keep at least 10 different sizes on hand!

To make matters worse, women are held to different standards than men. The men in my life don’t fret over whether or not their abs are flat in their long trunks….they really just want to make sure the trunks are big enough to allow movement and eating. Who eats in a swimsuit?!?!?!? If I ever get in it I certainly don’t want people to see me eating. That might make me relax my abs, which is one of the unforgivable sins. Guys swimwear sends a totally different message! It says “You’re cool man. Captain America trunks make the ladies believe that under that beer gut you actually look like Captain America”. Meanwhile, we slather on firming creams and practice rolling in and out of chairs so visible stomach flab won’t show :/

How do we make it better? Well, first off, we MUST adhere to the truth that we are all a work in progress. Progress denotes change….we are therefore, ever-changing. There is no such thing as the perfect body and I believe variety is a good thing. The second thing to remember is that body fat is normal and to be expected. Now, how much depends on lifestyle choices. There are a lot of lean people, but the only ones who are fat-free suffer from serious medical issues. So be thankful for your health.

I will be embarking upon a swimsuit shopping extravaganza soon and I have a plan that I think may just work. First, I am enlisting my besties to go with me. This sort of thing is better enjoyed in a group. Second, a good lunch with a couple of glasses of wine will be enjoyed beforehand as swimsuit shopping sober should be reserved for the youngsters who have yet to mature into their cellulite. Third, as women we must realize that we are far harder on ourselves than is necessary. We are defined by our character, not by any number.

So, I encourage you to go forth and shop heartily sisters! Show your daughters that we are comfortable with the changes and challenges of life. Be the best example to others of grace while in the dressing room…..and I pray every dressing room door will remain on its hinge during your adventure.

Be bold because you’re already beautiful,

Michelle

mc-7059 Photo by Kendra Harwell Photography

 

I’m so jealous…….

Do you suffer from jealousy? You can admit it, this is a safe place :)

Seriously, do you ever look at somebody else (their body, their life, their kids that always seem to get along, their immaculate house) and feel a twinge of jealousy?

 

Today I am raising my hands high and saying “YES! I am jealous.” Mostly I am jealous of Giada de Laurentiis.

Ok, wait….what?!?!?!?!
Let me back this train of thought up for to better facilitate understanding (see kids, college English does come in handy).

The other day I took my daughter to the local library to grab some summer reading. That’s our idea of a fun day. While there I always do 2 things:

  1. I browse the DIET section to see what I am up against as a nutritionist :)
  2. I head to the cook books because summer is one of the best times to try new recipes….provided they don’t take all day.

So, I happily skip to the cook book section and begin to browse all the books available that provide mouth watering eats and treats for myself and the fam. I ran across Giada’s book Giada at Home. Now, I have checked this book out before and I have even used some of the easy and yummy recipes, but today something hit me like an uppercut to the gut. As I held the book I had a complex thought process that involved the vision of a perfect life: a clean house, kids who are ALWAYS happy, Italian food for every meal (my version of Heaven), and the basics of seemingly having it all together. To put it simply: I was jealous.

You see, I just came off contest prep a few weeks ago and have slowly been trying to acclimate to a “normal” life. School has also ended and my visions of my teenagers uttering compliments to each other as they clean the house spotless have come to a grinding halt (because my expectations obviously exceed reality) and I have started a new job which is a monumental undertaking of physical, emotional and mental energy. Not to mention the fact that I have begun to stress about workouts and nutrition, probably because those are the 2 things I feel are totally under my control. Are you tired just reading that? Don’t we all have similar lives? Don’t leave me hanging here….

Now you can see why my feeling towards Ms. De Laurentiis were lit on fire……but can you also see where I am letting my crazy show a little?

yourcrazyisshowing At least I can admit it :)

You see, I know NOTHING about the life Giada leads, other than what is portrayed in books and on TV. That may not even be her kids! OK, maybe it is, but will they be on the show as teenagers? Highly doubtful…..

The real source of jealousy came over my own life choices and my current inability to be OK with them. It’s summer and I still wake up at the butt crack of dawn to workout. My life choices have led here. The funny thing is I could stop, but like a drug addict I won’t. Why? Because this is, quite literally, who I am. I don’t workout to get skinny (have you seen me?) I workout to be SANE. The other option isn’t pretty. So, even though I LOVE what I do and I realize not many will give up sleeping in late on the weekends to hit the local track, I can still experience those twinges of jealousy that can derail my whole day….not to mention the fact that it keeps me bogged down and ineffective.

So what’s a gal (or guy) to do when jealousy rears its ugly rear? Well, we have control over our choices and our actions, so here are my personal action steps to getting it back together:

  1. Ask yourself what this person has OR portrays that is making you feel this way.
  2. Make a mental or physical list of your lifestyle/appearance/house life/etc. that you LOVE (even if it’s love/hate because it’s a part of WHO you are).
  3. Ask yourself what you are willing to give up to get what this person has.
  4. Ask yourself WHY (this is a key step here.)
  5. Finally, is what is portrayed really REAL?

In today’s media age we can portray the life we WANT to live rather than the life we do live. Let me give you a couple of examples:

  • My house is always a wreck and I DO take pics with a messy background (it totally makes me relatable), BUT before I got cool with the fact that the house looks like people actually live here, I would box up stuff and throw it to the side so my house appeared to be spotless. It’s all an illusion. And don’t play like you don’t do that, that why all your kids pics are either in the same part of the house or on the front porch. Be OK with who you are ;) mess and all.
  • My ABS are only visible first thing in the morning or right after a killer tabata or HIIT workout. SO….that’s when you get ab shots (that’s pretty much across the board). I have yet to be so comfortable that I will post a shot post Buca di Beppo plate of spaghetti and meatballs…with pizza…and dessert. I show you the best, not the 2 trimester :)
  • This one’s free: I post pics of my kids NORMALLY one on one with me. They look content cause they totally think their mom rocks (cause she does!), and it looks like a cool little fam. I don not typically post the pics of my teenagers picking fights with each other over every little thing and my husband and I rolling our eyes and trying to referee……but just ending up making them pick up dog poop as punishment.

See? We can choose to filter life to the outside eye. It’s not because I try to be anything I’m not, it’s because you don’t want to let people into every nook and cranny of your life AND you don’t really want to heap the negative stuff out there.

Another important part is asking yourself what you’re willing to give up in order to get with others seemingly have.

A good example is physical: I have loads of people tell me it must be nice to have all the time I have to workout…..yet they don’t want to hit the gym at 4:30 a.m. like I so often do. Giving up time is an issue for all of us, but anything worth having will cost us something. When I was getting ready for my competition the one thing I kept being told is that competition prep is so hard only an estimated 5% of people actually complete it. I wanted to be included in that minority and that is what allowed me to give up some things in order to succeed.

So, maybe we all deal with the green eyed monster in some form. It can actually push us out of our comfort zones and to the next level, which is a great thing…..just don’t allow it to make you ineffective in your own life.

Keep living fit,

Michelle

Why am I not seeing results? Part 3

AND….we’re back!

If you need to catch up on why you may not be seeing results from all your hard work in the gym , check out part 1 and part 2 before you move on.

As I am getting ready for a BIG trip to Disney World (accompanied by a couple hundred high school band members and parents), I wanted to hone in on one particular downfall to many gym patrons. You may hit the gym every day and work far harder than the guy checking his Facebook status every set (HUGE pet peeve), but you aren’t seeing results. I’m going to enlighten you with a bit of science on the subject of results :)

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You grab your gear and head for the gym, possibly after getting the kids to school OR after a long days work. You mentally prepare, grab a locker, hook in the old headphones and head for your favorite cardio to warm up…..where you spend the next 30-60 minutes hoofing it out on the hardest setting cause you came to work! Take that Facebook guy!!!! After this, you head towards the weight machines OR maybe even some free weights. About 6 minutes into lifting you are feeling beat down. That’s the sign it’s working right? So you trudge on. You may even throw some plyometrics and jogging in place right into your workout. You are killing it today! That magazine article inspired you to get after this workout hard, but you seem to be lacking a little in strength. No worries, we can pick up lighter weight. After a beating like that, you grab your stuff from the locker room and head home or to the office where you are beat down…..but that’s how it’s supposed to feel right? When it comes time to eat, you may indulge in a slightly larger portion or maybe something a bit sweet….cause that workout was KILLER! The next day you wake to do it again and again and again.

Question: If your workouts are so epic, why do you look exactly the same?

gym tread

There are 2 MAJOR things working against you here.

#1. You’re wasting your energy on cardio. Don’t roll your eyes cardio queen, pay attention. Your body is an energy store house. Energy comes from the calories you eat. Calories come from food. If you’re cranking away at the cardio for 30-60 minutes BEFORE you ever hit weights, you’ve doomed your actual body shaping. Cardio CAN help with weight loss, but not jiggle loss. Don’t like your thighs? Get off the treadmill and head to the squat rack. You need to lift heavy in order to create the tight body you covet. You need a LOT of energy to lift heavy….stop wasting it on the cardio pieces!

Am I saying cardio is bad? Of course not. We do need cardio as an integral part of training, but it shouldn’t be the proverbial cart before the horse. Strengthen your horse first. Want faster results? For a full MONTH try this:

  • Warm up on cardio equipment for 5 minutes at a light pace. It’s your warm up, not your workout.
  • Either place cardio at the end of your workout OR at a separate time. OR….
  • Perform cardio on alternating days from weight lifting.

This will enable you to utilize the proper muscles while lifting and strengthen the mind/muscle connection. Give it try. What do you have to lose?

cupcakes and women

#2. You’re not fueling post-workout.

I always find it odd that I’m the only one at the bar in the locker room mixing my shakes….while others are doing their hair :)

Your body needs nutrition post-workout because unless you were taking selfies, texting, or Facebooking between sets, then you worked through your fuel. Try for a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein and keep the fats out until about an hour or 2 post-workout. This has been shown to enhance recovery, slow down muscle loss and increase the loss of body fat. If you think eating post-workout will make you gain what you just lost……you really need to look up some scientific facts about how the body works. Fueling post-workout also keeps your immune system healthy so you can continue to workout regularly.

My preferred meal after a workout is a scoop of whey protein in water and an orange. This gives me the right ratio and a double whammy with vitamins and minerals from the orange. I usually eat a larger meal about an hour later to continue recovery.

What to try this month: pack some food with you! You can keep it in your car if needed. Have some fresh fruit ready to go at home. If you need protein, you can check out some of my faves HERE. If you prefer whole foods, opt for tuna or chicken breasts so the fat stays low (higher fat post-workout slows the assimilation and absorption of proteins).

Stay with it, try something new, and go get your results!

Why Am I NOT Seeing Results? ….a blog series to get you where you want to be

Hello Fit People!

This particular series will last 4 blogs (crazy right?) and will be posted weekly. So you get a month to learn what could be hold you back from your very best self.

If you are one of the MANY ( I have high hopes) who have continued on with those New Year’s goals long after that the groundhog came out of his hole, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

But here is the million dollar question: Are you where you thought you would be? Are you struggling with your goals already? Are you asking yourself, “Am I there yet?” Have no fear. I’ve been in this game long enough to know a thing or 2 about habits and hangups that could be holding you back from your goals. How do I know? Cause I have them too :) But if I stayed with them I would never be where I am today.

BTW, these are in NO particular order, so tackle what is relevant to you right now.

Strong Camp 90 Photo by Paul Buceta for Strong Magazine

1. You think the food will just work itself out.

Here’s the deal, you HAVE to be aware of what you are eating, period. Even the guy that ate Twinkies for the study was AWARE of how many Twinkies he was eating. In my opinion, that’s probably why that little experiment worked. Know what you’re eating and know how much. The only reason that person at the gym seems to have more definition than you is most likely because they know what they are eating and they track their food.

Choose the style that works best for YOU. Macros rock my world, but close into my competition I prefer a pretty simple diet of eating similar foods every day. This is just because it is easier to be prepared. I’m not a fan of just counting calories as we can often fill those calorie requirements with foods that do not serve us very well. You know what I’m talking about ladies. How many of you eat MORE carbs (cause girls love carbs!) and run out of calories for your protein? The body works better in balance of all 3 macronutrients so give it a fighting chance. Track your food and know what works for you.

2.You really like your “cheat” meal……like REALLY.

Do you know why “cheat meals” were termed? Body builders would run out of stored glycogen (carbs get stored as glycogen in the muscle fibers and are used for energy during heavy lifting workouts) due to low carbohydrate diets. When glycogen is depleted, strength can fade. So, the bodybuilder began to implement refeeds (which are actually PLANNED days of eating more carbohydrates to refuel the glycogen stores) and some, cheat meals.

Here is the problem……90% of the gym population are not bodybuilders (not that we aren’t working hard, but really) and yet we try to eat like one. This can be particularly true with those just starting on a strength training program. We can get all geared up and hop on a deprivation diet which is followed by a cheat meal, which turns into a cheat weekend, which causes shame and we get back in line on Monday to start the cycle again. Sound familiar?

A treat is warranted if you have been withholding calories AND especially if you have been withholding macronutrients (I don’t believe EITHER should be very low, even in weight loss), but it should be contained to ONE small treat per week with the goal of refueling a system, not bingeing to good glory because you deserve it…….

NEXT WEEK we will tackle some common mistakes in the gym and figure out how to make your membership work better for you :)

Stay Strong!

Michelle

 

IMPORTANT READ: Habits that hold you back from your goals.

Happy Thursday to you Fit peeps!

Today’s post has been burning me up for a while, as I find that MANY of us (self included) set totally attainable goals but struggle with reaching them due to ingrained habits that hold us back.

SOOOOO, today I’m going to point out your faults…… JOKING! I’m going to go over some of the most common habits we don’t even realize we have that are holding us back. Did that make sense? Either way, let’s move on…

GOALS:

I can’t overstate this (though you may think I do); YOU MUST get laser focused about your goals. Phrases like “I want to tone up” are akin to saying “I would like to not jiggle when I walk BUT I’m not in the right frame of mind to sacrifice anything to that end”. In today’s age, we have a lack of true goal setters in our midst. We mostly have those who think it would be awesome…..so long as they don’t have to get uncomfortable and life doesn’t have to change. Be a GOAL REACHER, by pinpointing your EXACT goal and taking the necessary steps DAILY to reach it.

GOAL

Your goal should be PERSONAL to you.

TREAT MEALS:

It is my honest opinion that there is far too much opinion out there (see what I did there????). So, I’m going to try to cut through the opinion cycle with a little science.

“Treat” meals are actually supposed to be well-planned re-feeds for those who are possible losing weight too quickly, placing their precious muscle in danger. Today however, anybody who sets foot on a treadmill will use the term “treat meal’ to justify ANY call to succumb to their wavering taste buds. Now, I’m not saying you need to live a life of deprivation in any way at all….you need a life of moderation. Too many treat meals will take you further from your goal, not propel you to it. Allow yourself small treats (which you track) and you will see results without the deprivation effect….or the backlash binge eating and weight gain effect.

cheat meal cats

NO MEAL TRACKING:

Imagine this….you’re driving down the road headed to the most fabulous weekend getaway you can think of when your car stalls out in the middle of the highway. You cannot remember the last time you put fuel in your gas tank OR what grade fuel you even used….You took the useless gauge out of the dash because it had a tendency to remind you of something you had to do, and you are just SO over that. So now, you have no ride, no way of getting to your destination and when a stranger pulls over to help you tell them of your wisest idea NOT to track when you put gas in your car and they leave you on the side of the road just to protect the gene pool. You see what I’m saying here? Don’t tell me you don’t have time or just don’t want to track your food. If you WANT results, you will suck it up and get it done.

ALCOHOL:

This is a biggie. Alcohol is filtered through your liver. Did you know that your liver is one of the largest organs involved in losing fat? True story. Your liver is where fat cells go to be processed and transported through the burning process, but your liver is now to overwhelmed to think about your fat because it will be trying to burn through your “I had such a rough week at work I NEED a little mini-vacay!” binge. It can take your liver up to 3 full days to work through 2 glasses of wine. Beer and hard liquor take even longer. That’s DAYS where your body is all but unable to burn fat. Want results? Give up the alcohol for 6 weeks and see what happens. If you can’t fathom that…..perhaps now is the time to reach out for help :)

ONLY WORKING OUT:

Your results lie in your movement all around…and so does your health. It’s easy to get caught up in simply working out for an hour or so, then spending the rest of the day sitting. Even if you have a desk job, fit in regular bouts of movement. Stand and stretch every 30-45 minutes, WALK to talk to a coworker instead of emailing, walk to the printer, take a walk at lunch or take a work time lunch class, park farther away, think outside the box and get the body moving.

GIVING UP BEFORE YOU REALLY GOT STARTED:

Why do other people deserve to reach their goals, but you don’t think you do? YOU CAN DO THIS! It takes time, it takes effort, it takes energy, and you will get uncomfortable…..BUT you are worth the time, energy and effort so dig your heels in and make things happen. One last piece of advice…don’t rely on Dr. Google. Stick with real professionals and get the help you need.

Now, go be awesome!

Michelle

Gym Time

Your Life Still Counts Book Launch TODAY!

 

Tracie - God did not turn His back on me.  He was

A little over a year ago, I was fortunate enough to be working a booth at the She Speaks conference. I was approached by Tracie Miles that weekend and asked if I would consider sharing my story in her new book. Honestly, I thought nothing would come of it….but I was so wrong.

 

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The part of my story that I was asked to share is one that always held great shame for me. I kept it hidden for years because it was the darkest of darkest secrets. I allowed myself to be rendered practically useless, existing from day-to-day rather than truly living. I was broken, beaten, bruised and in my eyes, worthless.

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I am living, breathing proof that hurt can be used for glory and that beauty can come from the ashes. God found me in the deepest depths of my wallowing pit and raised me up as He had always intended me to be. You see, my failures did not come as a shock, nor did they derail His plan. He is ready, willing and able to work us over to be the lively and passionate people we were made to be at ANY time….so long as we accept Him.

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I kept this part of my story a secret from those dearest to me for over a decade. The amazing thing is that life itself began to open up the moment I did. My life is forever changed.

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If my story can affect just one person, then it was worth the pain. You do matter! The voices that tell you otherwise are liars. Call them into the light, confront them with the truth and the TRUTH will set you free.

Tracie’s book, Your Life Still Counts, launches today. You can find information on loads of prizes and freebies HERE. Check it out, but a few copies for your friends, read through the stories of women JUST LIKE YOU, and become empowered in your life.

I offer my heartfelt thanks to Tracie for choosing my story, to my husband for ALWAYS being there for me, and to my dad for teaching me to be an adult :)

Michelle x0x0x0x0

Safety Tips for Your Kids….especially if they walk to school

I know, school has probably already started and you are ALMOST used to your schedule….read anyways.

As I walked my daughter to school this morning, I noticed a few key things about some of our fellow walkers (most of which I past on my way back). Not to get you all scared, but children are most at risk when walking to school…especially if they do so alone. The following tips will help your child feel safer AND they’re great for fending off bullies as well :)

  1. LOOK UP. OK, I know it took weeks to convince your mom to drop that major change on those pumped up kicks, but that’s no reason to stare at them all day. Walking with your head down sends one clear message to bullies and attackers: EASY TARGET.
  2. If you need to talk, make the call. If your kid has a phone, they should have their nose buried in it while walking. If they need to talk to Mom, tell them to call (who DOES that?!?!?!) instead of text. Not only does it send the message of an easy target, but now you have an easy target with a phone…SCORE!
  3. Make eye contact. You don’t have to feel like you have to smile ALL THE TIME, but do let people know you see them. As in “I can totally pick you out of a line up if needed”. In studies (who studies this stuff? The POLICE), attackers were found less likely to follow through on an attack if they thought they could be identified.
  4. If you can find some responsible buddies to walk to school with you, then do it.
  5. Go over alternate routes with your kids. They should have at least one other way of walking to school should the need arise.

Just a few quick tips to keep your kiddos safe. I know we don’t all have the luxury of holding their hand on walks to school (hey, some don’t want us to), but an effort in keeping them safe on the walk and in the halls will show that you care about them and boost their confidence.

Have a safe and healthy day,

Michelle

And yes, my kids have been taught all of this and more. You don’t travel to regions where trafficking is high without knowing how to protect yourself…

My Daughter and Me: Showing the Guns! :)

My Daughter and Me: Showing the Guns! :)