The Motivation Monday Blues

Have you dealt with waning motivation?

If you said NO, then you may have a problem with lying and that is for another day ;)

Motivation is the key topic of many posts, pictures, plans, articles, Instagram accounts (yes, entire accounts) and even YouTube videos.

Why?

Because we all feel this NEED to be motivated.

The interesting thing is that we are not all motivated by the same thing, so the magic formula for motivation is non-existent.

Sometimes, we may truly need a break from the normal activities of daily life. Other times, we may be over worked or over stressed. Illness can douse our motivation as well.

There is a whole world of things that motivate us and an equally large world of things that can seemingly zap our motivation in the blink of an eye.

motivation

I will confess that my own personal motivation has been at a low 4 for a while now.

I’m dealing with a body that has seemingly betrayed me, so my go-to of sweating it out just won’t do right now.

Valentine’s Day was spent recovering from a stomach bug that was brought on by what appeared to be depression (I use exercise to combat depression and it’s been slow going for the last several weeks), and I spent the entire day doing NOTHING but binge watching Netflix and throwing in one movie (one of the Hobbits as my daughter has decided she is totally Team Kili…..ah, young love). Please note: sitting and doing NOTHING does not make for more motivation.

So, how do you bust through a period of low motivation?

Here are a few tried and true tips that have always worked for me, but rest assured I am also calling in an expert to post this week as well ;)

  1. Get outside. Now, I know some of you may be weathering the cold, but down here…well, I can get outside anytime at all. Research shows that even a short walk in the sunshine can help vitamin D production, which makes you a happier person to be around.
  2. Watch your diet. When I’m feeling down I tend to want to eat junk. Heavy foods or sugary fare become the norm and seem to perpetuate the sluggish state of mind. So, load up on fresh fruits and vegetables to give your cells a quick pick me up.
  3. Stop the deprivation. The term DIET above referred to your food intake in general. Now, if you are partaking in a deprivation or hard ruled diet right now, you are setting yourself up for motivational fatigue. Ditch the fad diets and eat for energy.
  4. Switch up your routine. Try something new. Go to a new fitness class at your gym OR try a different gym altogether. A fresh atmosphere can generate some newfound mojo.
  5. Check your basics. Are you getting enough water, calories, movement, sleep, social outings, etc? We need to make sure our basics are covered before we can shovel on the load of life. So take a step back and re-evaluate.
  6. Watch your drinking habits. I, as you know, love coffee and wine; however, these 2 things can cause a lag in hormone production which will in turn cause a lag in motivation. Try to cut back at least and maybe cut out at most (I’m going a month with zero wine to help reset everything) to give your hormones a fighting chance.
  7. Talk it out. If you have a therapist, go. If you don’t, then find a friend. Get the stuff in the basement taken care of so you can start looking at life with a fresh perspective.

Remember, motivation can be a fickle friend, so depend on creating HABIT to help you reach your goals.

To your good health,

Michelle

Mmmmm, the fresh smell of a new year! How to make this year totally rock :)

Picard new year

 

Happy New Year to you and yours!

There’s nothing quite like that FIRST Monday of a brand spanking new year right?

Full disclosure, I’m in my pj’s and seriously contemplating another cup of coffee……and it’s 2 in the afternoon.

I did workout already! Then I showered and put pj’s on, cause that’s how I roll.

In honor of a NEW YEAR, I have some goodies for you today :) Are you excited? Cause you really should be……

Goodie number ONE:

Resolutions! Are you a resolution maker? Or do you refer to them as goals, life plans, wishes, or dog gone it I will do it this year???? Whatever you want to call them, I have some tips on how to crush your life and come out winning.

  1. Make it positive. Instead of the bland “I’m going to eat less” (what the heck kind of goal is that anyways?!?!?!?!), try a more positive spin on it. Something like, “I’ll add vegetables to one meal a day” is both positive and doable AND it really does help change your health for the better. Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, put a positive spin on it by trying some new things you might enjoy. Think outside the box and see what happens. Just remember, keep it positive.
  2. Avoid overcommitment. We all tend to have commitment issues. Those issues seem to be blaringly loud at the start of a fresh year. On New Year’s Eve we vow to hit the gym 5-6 days per week, cut out any and ALL junk food, down our own body weight in water, forgo sugar in any form, and never drink alcohol again…..then we wind up killing ourselves at the gym, hating the fact that one is so easy to get to (cause there goes that excuse), choking down dressing-free salads and dry chicken breast, and forcing a restless sleep out of our bodies. By Friday evening we are crying into the warm arms of a hot pizza, sipping our second glass of wine and binge watching Netflix. We have a food hangover Saturday and simply want to crawl back into bed….SLOW DOWN NELLY! The problem isn’t the commitments, but the amount of them. Changing EVERYTHING overnight is a shock to all of your systems and you end up overcommitting and underdelivering. Then, you just feel poorly about yourself. The fix? Focus on ONE habit change per week and you’re SURE to see results.
  3. Pay the MOST attention to the small stuff. Did you know that there truly are only 4 things that matter when it comes to fat loss and physique goals???? No lie. They are simple things that can change EVERYTHING for you once you learn to pay attention to them and master them. So why aren’t people everywhere focusing on these things and seeing results? Because these things aren’t flashy and don’t come with free T-shirts. They seem way too easy, but I am here to tell you this is what counts! Want to know them? Of course you do! Simple….

1) Quality nutrition

2) Mindful movement that includes the foundations of strength training, cardio, and flexibility

3) Sleep

4) Stress reduction techniques

Four simple things that yield BIG results. It may seem too simple to work, but it’s in the simplest things that we create the most effective habits.

Confused where to start? I’ll be offering an online challenge group to help you master the basics and you can sign up for information at the end of the post.

Goodie number two:

I’ve been working out at home lately (forgoing the gym for the time being) due to some medical issues and just the fact that I’m a bit of a homebody.

So, here are a few of my very FAVORITE things happening right now to help you see your very best self :)

BEST website for all things weightlifting: bodybuilding.com

My favorite blog of the moment: Thrive Personal Fitness

Awesome workout STREAMS: Beachbody On Demand I like P90X2 and X3. They do NOT offer the newest releases of other workouts, but old favorites (I do a lot of TurboFire) are on there and the cost is better than most streams

My favorite YOGA channel: Yoga with Adriene

Supps I’m Into: ONNIT I like the alpha brain, Matcha tea and coconut oil

OK, that should keep you rolling for now!

Get this year off to a good start…..even if you’re lucky enough to be in your jammies ;)

Michelle

 

If you want to know when the next ONLINE challenge starts and what it’s all about, hit me up here….

 

The Road to Figure, becoming a bodybuilder, and why you should do what suits you best

Happy Monday people!!!!!

This particular conversation/post has been on my mind for months now (I have a very busy mind) and it will more than most likely make it to video…..for now, we’ll all read together :)

If you’re just looking to lose some pounds and have zero interest in lifting anything…..please read on! I promise you will get something out of it ;)

Bodybuilding and the Figure decision:

gym selfie 7jpg from fasted cardio, calorie restriction and circuits……

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose to competition.

I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over a dozen years now and I came from HATING sports and fitness of all kinds. I was never athletic and my start in fitness came in the form of yoga. So, after teaching yoga and a load of other aerobics classes, I began to develop an interest in weight. The weight training I did was not bodybuilding as it was mostly light weights with just enough reps to keep me small (there will be a WHOLE other post about our obsession with small-ness soon). It wasn’t until a year ago that I decided to get serious, start an actual bodybuilding program, stop trying different fads, and possibly even compete.

Years ago I thought I would compete in the bikini division and even began some prep. If you’re even thinking of playing around with competing, I encourage you to get to know the different levels of competition and the competitors within them. You see, bikini was going against everything I was…..I naturally love weight in all forms, meaning I can put on muscle and fat pretty easily…taking it off is a different struggle entirely. Training for the bikini division was making me physically ill because I was going against my natural body type. So, last year I decided on figure and started training the way my body responds best :hard and heavy.

In my quest for a figure physique I was able to make peace with foods I had long since left behind (because eating ENOUGH is paramount) and I embraced the discipline it took to put the muscle on and eventually strip the fat off. While contest prep was hard, it was far from brutal or undoable…..coaching is key here. In fact, after a lazy summer (spent with diagnosing some health problems that have been left to their own devices for far too long), I am gearing up to start a new competition season, hoping to bring my best to the stage each and every year.

In my quest for Figure, here are a few things I have learned about Bodybuilding:

  1. You have to be humble. True bodybuilders are not proud and they really do not belittle others. We all start somewhere in this sport and we all realize that in order to be our best self we must be accepting of flaws….in ourselves and others.
  2. It’s not about the HOW MUCH. I always thought it was simply about how much one could lift, but bodybuilding is about having a critical eye that can look for balance. When striving for a balanced physique we have to step back often and assess the situation. When in prep, my legs have to be run to balance out. They tend to hold more muscle than the rest of my body put together….so lifting lighter, added plyo and running are crucial to success.
  3. Embrace your whole body. You cannot HATE your body into submission. It just doesn’t work that way. I had to learn that my body really did work as one unit and if I wanted that unit to be successful I had to lead it as ONE….not belittling or ignoring the parts I felt weren’t up to par.

3 month front progress  3 month back progress Progress pics 3 months apart.

I also had to get comfortable with the changes in my body. That lean machine on the right is NOT the norm as that is the night before stage. The human body (some more than others) likes some body fat :)

So, embracing the changes during and after show prep can be challenging (and a whole other post), but mastering that part of the mind is empowering to say the least.

Now, it’s your turn…..

What if you have no desire to compete?

What can you possibly learn from a competitor?

The lifestyle of a competitor is not that far off from what ANYBODY needs to reach any goal. Check it out:

  1. Consistency. This is the #1 thing you need to reach any goal. Just like in the middle of prep I can’t decide to start eating ice cream for every meal or just do yoga for my workouts, the DAILY things you do can drive you towards or away from your goal. Develop consistent behaviors that propel you forward.
  2. Check in with your progress. No matter the goal, make sure you are checking your progress. I’m not a huge scale fan, but progress pics are the bomb! I could tell on a weekly basis what was changing and what was lagging behind. Develop a progressive system to see how close you are getting to your goals. Try monthly goal checks and to-do lists to start.
  3. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. I know you hear it a lot, but you really can’t change ANYTHING (weight, money earnings, level of respect, kids behavior, career, etc.) without getting uncomfortable. So stop lolly gagging around and step into the uncomfortable stuff so you can move through and move on!

Whether you’re looking to start your own business or step on stage, you can learn a lot from the perseverance and consistency of a competitor. A lifestyle of success is directly related to a lifestyle consistent with your convictions and goals. Step out of your own way, into the uncomfortable, and fight for what you are after in life.

Stay humble, but stay strong,

Michelle

 

Monday Motivation: Guest post from Sarah Vance that will redefine how you see yourself

Do you ever think that once you get your ideal body that you will finally be content in your own skin?

That once you fit in your desired jeans size- you will never have problems picking out clothes again- because you will love EVERYTHING you put on your body?

 Or maybe you think that once you hit a goal weight- your life will magically change and you will never wake up in disgust with what is looking at you back in the mirror?

I thought these things to- and it wasn’t until years later that I discovered I had it completely backwards.

Hi! My name is Sarah Vance. I am a former bikini competitor, fitness model, and chronic dieter. I spent years searching for the perfect meal plan that would lead me to the ideal body that I had instilled in my head. I spent copious amounts of time ‘fixing’ my body…and when I finally looked like the ideal body that was in my head… I was actually at my lowest point and least confident in my own skin. My fitness regimen and eating habits ruled my life.

Sarah_before

I don’t think my story is uncommon with women- and as a matter of fact it is becoming more common with young girls. We as women feel extreme pressure to look a certain way from society’s unrealistic standards.

I would say the majority of women start a fitness regimen to ‘fix’ their body. Their body becomes their project. The majority of women start their first diet in hopes to mold their body into what they envision in their head.

All this time we are searching to become MORE. More confident, healthier, radiant, happier with our bodies, and sometimes we are looking for more LOVE from ourselves or others.

It wasn’t until I challenged all my ideals, gave a middle finger to society’s idea of beauty, and created happiness in my life that I had all of these things.

I went from tearing myself down, to building myself up in more ways than one. I quit dieting cold turkey (and have never looked back) I stopped worrying about exercising, and focused on moving in a way that is a celebration of my body and what it can do(hello powerlifting).  I started to take charge of my life and spent all the time I spent on obsessing over how many calories were in a piece of pizza or how many calories I burned from a run and put into areas that needed work: My relationship, my job, my internal self, my relationship with food, and my health.

You see: what we all desire is achievable in any body we have, however we go about achieving it in a backwards state of mind.

You see: You cannot hate your body into loving it. It simply doesn’t work that way. Take it from me- I tried that route, and I guarantee that you will not end up in a body that you love.

After I made a huge mind shift something magical happened: Everything I desired that my goal body promised started coming to me….

…confidence.

…love.

…health.

….freedom.

….happiness.

…empowerment.

…trust and faith in myself.

Sarah_after

Am I there? No. I don’t think there is ever a true ‘there’. I think it is human nature to have days where we want to go into an all out war with our body- but with this new found mindset and perspective I can come back to a place of love and respect for my body, and work through what is actually behind those feelings- because when we wake up saying: I am so <fat, gross, lumpy>, and I hate <my butt, cellulite, stretch marks, flabby arms> it usually isn’t about the body itself. Something is behind it, and only you can figure that out.

A question I want you to ask yourself is this: What does ‘there’ look like? What does this woman do, think, feel, act? How does she live her life?

Take a moment and reflect on that- then….see all those things. Now Go Do Them. Fearlessly. 

If you think your body is prohibiting you—sit with that and really break that mind barrier down.  I bet you that your body isn’t holding you back from anything, it is your mindset.

Do you really want to spend more time tearing yourself down when you can start building yourself up? Probably not, and how that has worked out for you this far. It probably hasn’t.

Why not try a new way of thinking and being? You never know- you may see the magic happen like I did, but you won’t know until you try.

Sarah_Vance

Sarah is a body positive fitness coach, nurse, lip gloss lover, barbell slinging, diet-ditching quirky chick. She specializes in helping radiant women learn to cultivate self love, nourishment, strength.  She is a former bikini champion and knows all to well the extremes of the fitness world. She is an ICU nurse who values health and living life to its fullest. Her favorite foods include a juicy burger, sushi, and a great steak. Her favorite hobbies include fishing, reading, watching good movies, and laughing until her stomach hurts.

Be sure to sign up for her FREE guide on how to start loving your body with five simple steps HERE. She will also send you ways to create a positive mindset, how to eat food effortlessly, love your fitness lifestyle, and own your body with confidence.

You can also follow Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

 

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

 

What Bodybuilding has taught me this past year

Hello people! Happy Monday :)

Take a moment today to remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as you go about your daily activities please.

OK….so as I was pounding away on the Arc cardio trainer today, I began to think about how life has changed for me this past year. Yeah, I know we are well into 2015, but my calendar of life doesn’t really heed to the regular years, so play along.

I have to be SUPER honest with you as I continue. I have been seriously bodybuilding for only about a year now…..though I’ve loved it forever and thought I was doing it for a while. As it turned out, that was just a thought LOL. In light of my brand new livin it lifestyle, I wanted to share what Bodybuilding has taught me over the past year and hopefully clear up some confusion in the process. Oh, and share some awesome pictures taken by Paul Bucetta at Strong Camp.

Strong Camp 78 Photo by Paul Buceta

1. EVERYBODY benefits from strength training, but bodybuilding is NOT for everybody.

Bodybuilding is a lifelong sport. It is like football, tennis, soccer, or triathalons….You train for life. Everybody should be doing strength training (which is what I was doing prior to opening my eyes) as we benefit greatly from it, BUT bodybuilding takes a physical and mental stamina that many are not willing to give. It doesn’t make you any less of an athlete, but bodybuilding is a chosen sport.

Strong Camp 24 Photo by Paul Buceta

2. Mom and Dad were right….I do use math every day.

Bodybuilding is also a science (go team science!) and therefore, it requires math. There is a science to reps, sets, weights and all of your dietary intake. This part is not for the passers-by or the faint of heart. You have to hold a commitment and tenacity to figure this stuff out :) And guess what? I love my math now because proper math gives me results.

Strong Camp 40 Photo by Paul Buceta

3. It really is a lifestyle…..not a 12 week program.

I started the way a lot of people do: with a short-term goal wanting long-term results! True bodybuilding requires a commitment to a consistent lifestyle that offers a front row seat to amazing things beyond all imagination…but I may be a bit biased.

Strong Camp 62 Photo by Paul Buceta

4. My faith increases as my humility increases.

Contrary to popular belief, bodybuilding is full of some of the most humble people I have ever met. You see, your body can knock you down at any time. Bodybuilders understand the science behind the fact that we are never 100% the same each time we walk into the gym. This is true if you really challenge yourself. You can have awesome strength gains one week and have to drop the weight the next. It doesn’t mean it’s not working, it simply means you’re human. Bodybuilding hasn’t made me to feel better than others, but rather reminded me that we are all created equal and each given the opportunity to thrive and live to the absolute fullest.

Strong Camp 96 Photo by Paul Buceta

5. I am not definable by numbers.

Putting muscle ON the body (i.e. bodybuilding) requires numbers. It requires calories, reps, sets, pounds, rest, more calories, etc. The number on the scale, the number on my jeans (well, right now it’s tights), and even the number on the weight rack does not determine what I have to contribute to the world. Numbers are fleeting and ever-changing. That’s the great thing about science…we know that happens as fact. Bodybuilding has taught me the patience to get through the changing tide and the perseverance to keep going.

Strong Camp 66 Photo by Paul Buceta

So, maybe you feel like you want to be a bodybuilder…..it works for some. It takes heart, dedication, discipline, and a willingness to NOT listen to those around you who say you’re too crazy, committed, insane, busy, or over-dedicated. One thing I can tell you is that you will never meet a more humble group of people who have your back no matter what.

Strong Camp 119 Photo by Paul Buceta

P.S. There’s a lot more than 5, but I figured we would start there :)

Check out Strong Camp at www.strongfitnessmag.com

 

 

Gym Talk: Making the MOST of Your 2015 Goals

Good Monday Morning!

This morning as I entered the gym (around 6 a.m.) I noticed an electricity that had been dull the past couple of weeks. There were a few new faces there this morning and a little more body heat, for which I was grateful because it is COLD here. Seeing these fresh faces mixed with the old-faithful ones brought to mind some simple ways we can all help each other reach our gym-time goals and answer the question, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

new year res

There seems to be some underlying animosity between those who frequent the gym all year long and those who re-up their commitment (or begin anew) in the New Year. My hope for 2015 is that we can all truly get along and live happily in the iron and cardio den together.

In that light, I offer some tips for gym newbies AND those of us old hands….because we must never forget we were once newbies too ;)

For Our New/Returning Gym Goers:

Here are a few tips to help you reach your goals and not feel so left out at the rack.

  1. HAVE A PLAN. Don’t go in to the gym with a blank slate on your brain. The seasoned can see this and it can make you look vulnerable. Need a plan? Try the cheap route and check out bodybuilding.com for plans (you can follow my workouts there too). Write it down or download the app…whatever floats your boat.
  2. Learn your terminology. Don’t worry, I’m not talking sets and reps here…I’m talking basic gym etiquette. If you want to use a piece of equipment, but somebody is being a hog with it, simply ask “Are you still using this?”. If so, it is acceptable to ask if you can work in, especially if you’re doing circuits and will only need the equipment for 1 set.
  3. Be mindful of interruptions. You’ll find that most true blue body builders are SUPER nice….so long as you don’t interrupt their set :) . If you need to ask a question (like “Can you please get your nasty towel off that machine if you’re not using it?”), wait until the weights are down and they come up for air. We usually feel accomplished and are far more eager to help people then.
  4. Hold your head high. Repeat after me: “I belong here.” Don’t get intimidated by muscle or prowess. You belong in the gym just as much as anybody else. Don’t get discouraged, just remember that we really do all start somewhere.
  5. Swallow your pride. If you’re just embarking on the weight game, don’t get cocky. Ask for help (just not during a set) and don’t feel like you must have it perfect. Nobody is really watching you….but the awesome people will be more than happy to help you.

For the Seasoned:

Cut the newbies some slack and share the love.

Thos of us who have found our “happy place” in the gym are always going on and on about how everybody should do it….until they do. Then we get aggravated because not only are they on the equipment we need, but they’re using it totally wrong (I’m SOOOOOO guilty of this feeling, sorry). Here’s a few tips to keep you going strong and NOT being a deterrent to the progress of anybody else, including yourself.

  1. Have a backup plan. Any seasoned lifter SHOULD be able to find a way around somebody using “their” equipment. Ham curl machine backed up for half an hour? Try stiff-legged deads or a ham curl on the exercise ball. YOU have been at this for a while and should be more apt to make adjustments as needed.
  2. Download new tunes. Music makes you happy. Grab some new tunes to set your mood a little lighter while dealing with the increased traffic.
  3. Be willing to be bothered. You want others to feel as great as you do right? So be willing to answer questions or help out if needed. Offer a spot on the bench, help somebody unrack the bar if needed, and if you see somebody about to sustain a major injury…..step up.
  4. Switch up your routine and/or your time. There are certain pieces of equipment that are a draw to gym newbies. If you’re a slave to the smith machine try the squat rack. If you’re always doing pec flys on the pec deck, try free weights. Your muscles will respond favorably to the change and you’ll see better results…..plus you won’t be super stressed.
  5. Give the newbies some space. Don’t bring 5 towels to the gym to mark your territory people. True lifters will find a way to get their workout in, no matter what…and they won’t do it at the expense of others.
  6. Lastly, take your workout outdoors. If the gym is just too crowded for you or there are no treadmills left, take it outside! Your muscles will thank you and you’ll enjoy the fresh air.

My final piece of advise to all: don’t do bicep curls in the squat rack…….seriously

Now, go out and get it! Happy 2015 and may THIS be the year you reach your goals!

Michelle

Kick in the Pants Monday: A Softer Approach

Welcome to THAT DAY…..yes, Monday is upon us :) All you have to do to change your perspective is to change your mind. I think Monday’s have a bad rep because most people set the start date for things they dread on Mondays….food for thought.

Today’s post will cover a myriad of different subjects that can stand in the way of progress, but first…..

profile rolling

Let me take a selfie….

I got that out of my system and we can move on now :)

Normally Monday would be reserved for kicking your butt into gear and getting you (and me) refocused on the goal that may be close at hand, but today I want to start just a little different.

The question: Why am I so passionate?

I’m going to share something very private with you right now: I think about quitting 20+ times a day. I mean, sometimes it get really bad. Why am I so passionate about trying to get the word out about health? Why am I so rocked about YOU realizing your own potential? Why do I bury myself in research and what others may consider boring just so I can condense and share the information with you when it would be far easier to just keep it to myself and smile politely when people tell me they cannot reach their goals? WHY, oh why, do I consider it a privilege to share that diets truly do not work in any capacity? Well, I may just be crazy :) OR….it could be because when I was on my journey to lose over 100 pounds NOBODY ever came along beside me to help point the way, ever. I was like a blind woman trying to navigate the mine field of metabolism-destroying diets without so much as a guide dog to show me the way. And maybe, just maybe, I don’t want that for anybody who comes across this blog….Or the crazy thing, we may never know.

So, this is why I continue on, even when pushed against. People may not like what I have to say because they think what they are doing WILL work…this time (although if they’re still running to it, it has failed…cough, cough, Atkins), BUT I will press on because I believe LIVES can be spared with this information. And that, my friend, is why you should stick around.

What’s on the menu today?

  • A SERIOUS TIME WASTER that keeps you from reaching your goals.
  • IS IT METABOLIC DAMAGE? Um, no.
  • Backing off to get further.

The #1 thing you need to stop RIGHT NOW in order to reach your goals:

Get. Off. FACEBOOK. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! I’m not saying you have to delete your account, but put a limit on how often you check it. If it’s on your phone, consider taking it off. I lost you there didn’t I? COME BACK! Here’s the real deal with good old FB: it serves no real purpose and if somebody is having an emergency I would hope that they call 911 instead of posting to your wall. So, in the reality of that, checking FB to see who comments on what is sorta…..narcissistic of us. And if you’re just checking up on friends, that’s called stalking and it’s weird. For the minutes that turn to hours on FB during the course of a day, we actually could be working toward our goal. I had to realize this after taking a business course offered by the beautiful Chalene Johnson. She doesn’t hang out on FB and she’s a multi-millionaire……yeah, I’ll have what she’s having. So, I deleted it off my phone this weekend and felt quite free.

Social media such as Facebook and Instagram can also wreak havoc on our psyche. I know I can start comparing my garage lit selfie workout pics to those of super ripped physiques and immediately want to hit up Ben and Jerry’s. There are even medical diagnosis that revolve around the psychological disorders associated with FB (called Facebook depression). Some people are just better at making life look grand. Plus, both of these are great time suckers, even for those who use them as platforms (like me). We can all get lost on pretty pictures or social drama simply because it takes our minds off of what we are dealing with at the time. If I’m struggling with weight loss, I don’t feel so bad after reading about the current circumstances of others (flat tires, misbehaving kids, etc.). That alone is not healthy.

My personal goal is to check FB (oh Instagram…..you will be next) only once every 24-48 hours. Those whom I love know how to reach me :) AND I have a full website and email that is open 24/7. There is no need to make a HUGE FB announcement (I hate those) as you needn’t cause more drama on the net…it has plenty. My challenge to you: try to go 12 hours without a single check, even when you’re bored. Turn the notifications to your phone OFF. Let your closest loved ones know where they can reach you in case of emergency ;)

“I think I have metabolic damage!” No you don’t.

Now, you may or may not know what metabolic damage is (my guess is you don’t know because it has NOT been accepted as a diagnosis) so I’ll give you the shorthand. Metabolic damage is the term given to those who have literally dieted themselves out of a metabolism. The few people who have actually suffered from this are extreme fitness competitors (who rely on various crash diets and crazy dry outs to be stage ready) and extreme athletes. Metabolic damage DOES involve a complete stall in fat loss, but there is more to it. It encompasses a myriad of psychological, physical, and emotional issues as well. The stall in fat loss is usually accompanied by severe depression, trouble recovering from workouts, and possibly prolonged inflammation or even inflammatory diseases. I say all this to say this: if you aren’t losing fat and you aren’t an avid competitive athlete or competitor…you don’t have metabolic syndrome. You have the I-don’t-track-my-food-and-I-overestimate-my-calorie-burn-and-underestimate- my-caloric-intake-itis…it’s totally real and 95% of exercisers suffer from it. I might even work to start a support group.

I know what you’re thinking: “SMARTY pants…”, but then you’re totally wondering how to recovery from this dreaded disease and reach your goals! I can help with just a few steps.

  • Keep a BITE IT AND WRITE IT journal. If it goes in your mouth, WRITE IT DOWN.
  • Weight and measure your foods. Don’t guess. 1/4 cup of rice gets REALLY big when we’re not measuring.
  • EAT REAL FOODS. Omit processed foods for at least a week. Sometimes fat loss will stall due to the fact that we’re eating processed foods (even health foods can be processed).
  • Change up your workouts. If you’ve been going to the same gym class long enough to attend the instructors wedding AND baby shower…..then it’s time for a change.

The most counterintuitive thing for some: Backing off to go further.

My one-on-one clients are sometimes shocked at the way I do things. I’m NOT a television trainer. I’m a trainer that wants you to SUCCEED in all areas of life…not just in my gym. So, there are many times when we have to back off some training to get further. Overtraining (if you look that up, you’ll probably see my face) can destroy fat loss as well as your body in the long run. So, if you’re starting to hate your workouts (or moving at all), sleeping very restless, lacking in appetite, turning to comfort foods more and more, craving sweets even though you’re not hungry, sore all the time, etc. you may be experiencing overtraining.

NOTE: You must actually be working out to experience overtraining….just sayin.

If you find yourself in this category there are some things you can do to help yourself:

  • Check your nutrition and make sure your body is getting what it needs, i.e. whole foods
  • Make sure you’re allowing time for recovery. I’ve been a 2-a-day girl for YEARS and it has torn my body up.
  • Change your regimen. If you’re lifting weights all the time, try swimming, yoga, Pilates, etc. for a week to give the body an active rest.
  • If you’re a cardio junky or avid runner, take a little time off (and enlist some help) to figure out a good cross training regimen for YOU. Remember, cross training should ALWAYS make your chosen sport BETTER, not worse.
  • Take a little more time off if needed. You can take a month off and not gain a ton of weight…so long as you’re not crying to Ben and Jerry all the time.
  • Book a massage.
  • See a chiro about an adjustment.
  • Don’t neglect yearly physicals!
  • Foam roll: it fixes EVERYTHING :)

After a little time to heal, your body will reward you by performing better and busting through those plateaus.

Till next time,

Michelle

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Don’t forget!!!! Your ticket to freedom from diets and deprivation is coming! Check out the Fitness Haus and make sure you’re on the email list to get first shot at signing up for 2 free weeks.

 

Kick in the Pants Monday: June 23, 2014

QOTD: Do you REALLY want help?

 

Real Confessions of a Fitness PRO

Hello Lovelies!

I sit here in my makeshift office fighting the urge to feel super sorry for myself since I seem to have been doomed to bed rest due to a little cyst….I feel like Emily when she gets hit by the car and is painfully explaining to Andi that she doesn’t deserve to go to Paris because she “eats carbs”. Watch The Devil Wears Prada if you’re confused….

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BUT I have decided to make the most of this downtime. I haven’t picked up a weight in 2 weeks and cardio is off limits right now as well. I can still fidget and I can still write! I can also read and boy oh boy am I excited! I’m reading up on bioneurological studies on eating, weight gain over the years and the effect of dopamine….OK, it may sound boring but I find it fascinating and I’ll be able to use it to help YOU. But for now…..

Have you ever wondered what it’s really like for a fitness pro? I mean REALLY…. Fit Pros are all smiles, strutting around in spandex most of our days, full of energy and vitality. But do we really show the real side of fitness and health? I decided to look back at my decade plus as a fitness pro and give you a little insight into this world. Let me give you a bit of a background first though.

As many of you know, I started out teaching aerobics a bit overweight (196 pounds to be exact). I had actually been teaching yoga at over 200 pounds, then I got suckered into other classes :) Anyways, I was able to obtain a bird’s eye view of the fitness industry because I really didn’t belong anywhere….

The majority of the other fitness instructors where thin by either nature or lifestyle. This meaning that most of the girls (and one odd guy) that I worked with had been living a fit lifestyle all their lives. Some had children and some were single. The one weird guy? He taught a spin class and thought of himself as God’s gift to the cycling seat… What most had in common was that they enjoyed being in front of people. Me? I liked recruiting those who didn’t really dig the spotlight. Why? Well, they work harder FOR the people taking the class. The golden rule of being an awesome instructor is this: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Unfortunately, not many fitness instructors feel that way as they consider themselves the shining star at the end of your crazy and hectic day.

That said, working in a group environment isn’t easy. As an instructor, you do have to be ON. Your personality must shine like a beacon of hope to the lost…even if your dog died earlier. Paint on a smile and use the choreography you can do in your sleep! This job requires somebody who doesn’t mind having stalkers and people who hang their own self-worth on the instructor. If you happen to be one of those people, honey, you’re fine without the 8-count seller I promise :)

When I went to work for a popular, national chain, they quickly noticed I could pack a class. It was this fact that made them repeatedly try to talk me into becoming a personal trainer. Eventually, I did give in and honestly, I’m glad. Training suits me now that I’m private. Again though, my coworkers didn’t feel the need to encourage those who were struggling with weight as most of my coworkers came from active backgrounds. I began to feel as though gym trainers and instructors were raised on a farm somewhere and I had somehow managed to sneak in…..

At any rate, the former fat gal (that’s me) had a wait list from just a few weeks into training. Although I think my weight battle had something to do with it, there were other things that helped a lot:

  • I actually count reps, not just say “2 more” when clients ask…
  • I stay on my clients level. Meaning, if I have a client on the floor I don’t stand over them, peering down judgementally.
  • I understand weight loss is more mental and emotional then just physical
  • I do not always assume my client is simply lying about food intake
  • I try not to allow my clients to compare themselves to me. It’s my JOB to be fit….that really does make it easier for me to make time for exercise

These same traits are constant even now, when I am a bit picky about clients and who gets my time. This is a luxury I appreciate greatly! So, there are a few things that can help you navigate the gym system to get the most out of your membership. Check it out:

  1. If you LOVE an instructor, tell them why. Maybe it’s the fact that they treat everybody like people.
  2. If you LOATH an instructor, say something. I once had an instructor work for me who spoke down to the class all the time, but people were scared to say anything! Group instructing is a service job.
  3. Just because a trainer has a few letter behind their name, it doesn’t mean they know everything. Ask your prospective trainer how they plan to help you reach YOUR goals. If they are putting everybody through the exact same workout, as why. Ask them what the study for CE’s and how many CE’s they strive for each year. All of this information will help you to make a good choice when it comes to the person whom you have placed the most valuable asset you own: you health.
  4. Ask for references.
  5. Try something new. Never traveled to the hot yoga part of the gym (Lifetime Fitness has these and they are fab!)? Give it a try. Try out a barre class at a local studio OR check out a trainer for free. Most gyms will offer a free training session a few times a year to bring in more clientel, so take advantage.

Remember, your health is not a luxury. Health is an investment.

Want me to help you reach your goals? Keep an eye out for an amazing new program designed to do just that: fitnesshaus.co

See you soon!

Michelle