Tips for the New Year

Is it too soon for this????

Ok, hear me out. Right now my news feed is bombarded by well-meaning fitpros telling me how many jumping jacks I have to do to burn off that Reese’s peanut butter cup I just ate (totally joking! I never eat just one…) and how to stay lean during the holidays and so on and so forth. It’s enough to make me feel as though my accomplishments over the year just weren’t enough and now I have to be an overachiever through Christmas too. So, I thought about how helpful a look back can be to determine your next step forward.

resolution

All too often I see goals and resolutions based upon what people feel they didn’t accomplish in the past year. In my line of work, I lot of people resolve (yet again) to lose weight….without many specifics other than that. Sometimes we resolve to eat better, workout more or be more mindful with our finances. While none of these are actually BAD, they don’t give you a clear target where you can aim your focus and energy. PLUS, they can leave you feeling a bit like you failed in the process.

Unlike the weight room, this is not a place for failure.

What’s the solution? It’s pretty simple and only requires a few minutes of your time.

You’re going to make a gratitude list.

You’ll put pen to paper and write out the things you accomplished this year and are truly grateful for. See, the problem with resolutions (I honestly never set any) is that they don’t take into account the ebb and flow of life. Your life can vary widely from one day to the next right? Sometimes a wrench is thrown into even the best of plans and we have to alter some things. You can be the most consistent person on the planet, but I promise not every day goes your way. BUT there have been good moments right? I bet some have even been great or at least bordering greatness. Think outside the box a little bit and get personal. I’ll share a few of mine with you (don’t steal them!) to give you an example of what I mean.

In 2015 I…

  • Discovered my discipline was stronger than I thought by prepping for a figure show.
  • Overcame my absolute biggest fear (judgement) by walking onstage at a figure show…and I didn’t come in last :)
  • Made it to almost all of my kids functions (that’s big since I work evenings.
  • Grew in my daily quiet time and Bible reading.
  • Started writing a book I felt called to write over 3 years ago.
  • Was pretty consistent with date nights with Alan.
  • Tackled reverse dieting like a boss.
  • Learned to give my body a break….sometimes.

There’s more to it, but it spans pretty much everything in life. I’ve also kept up with coffee dates with my dad, which has had a tremendous effect on my own life.

How does this help with your goal setting?

Think of it this way, nothing good can come from a negative place. So, if you’re only looking at what you didn’t accomplish then you won’t start 2016 looking forward to anything. It will be the same grind all over again. By looking at what you have been able to do and what you have been blessed with, you can set more mindful intentions to your year.

Now, I do have a little suggestion about the weight loss/workout/eating goals: make them non-scale related . (I wrote a whole post about that HERE). Setting a physical goal or the goal to try different foods or cooking techniques will be far more rewarding in the end.

I encourage you to sit down and try this today. I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but now is the perfect time to look back and be grateful.

Merry Christmas,

Michelle

P.S. If having more fun with your workout sounds like a goal for you AND you are in my area (Houston, Baytown, La Porte, Deer Park, Pasadena, etc.) the 2016 boot camp is coming! Sign up for the newsletter to hear all the details :)

What’s in a number?

As I sit here trying to get my first meal of the day down (it’s 10 a.m. and was a long night) I am full of certain wonderings….

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and the fact that I have been forced to slow down has only made that worse. My health has taken a bit of a hit, but that’s not the point of this particular post.

What I have noticed is an extreme fascination with numbers. People who contact me are on a quest for a certain number. It is ALWAYS the scale…..and once I bring up the fact that the scale weight can actually be a bit subjective (you’d be hard pressed to find 2 scales that actually gave the same weight), most women will change the scale number to a clothing size number. Insert eye roll.

Did you know that there is no longer a discernible sizing system? True story. My own closet is full of different sizes and none of them tell me a lick about who I am as a person. You see, the size of the garment depends on who the designer is selling to AND where the garment will be sold. So it’s not your body that determines the size, but rather the designer, store and ultimately consumer. Before you get down on designers, I beg you to put several of the same size women in a lineup…..no 2 will look the same. And that goes for weight as well.

women and weight

Now, I totally get it if you are hefting around 100 extra pounds and feel the NEED to drop some just to be healthy. I have been there! And you’ll get it, just don’t stop moving :)

No, this is more for those obsessed with taking off some poundage. I mean, I have met more women who voice concerns over weight than women who are concerned if they are raising their children to survive in the world….no lie. Women who think if they could just reach that goal weight that life will somehow be magically delicious, to quote a popular leprechaun. Women who are so busy bouncing to the next thing that they don’t realize what they are missing right now. This is a disease of the mind that has to stop.

If my weight can differ by 2-4 pounds on any given scale, then what is it anyway? Is there even a need for weight? Well, certainly. I was weighed yesterday and I’m glad they did. It makes prescribing medications much easier. PLUS. if there is a large spike OR drop in weight it can indicate an illness. On a side note: a sudden drop in weight is almost always worse in the health department. The saddest thing is I also know women who are actually envious of others who have dropped massive amounts of weight due to illness. A diseased mind knows no bounds….

Am I telling you to give up on reaching your elusive weight loss goals?

Well, yes….and no.

There is a better way to see progress. SO, if you can hang with me for just a moment more, I’m giving you the top tips to tracking progress :) and some freebies at the end (WOOHOO!)

  1. Set a physical goal that has nothing to do with numbers. Don’t say you want to lose 20 pounds because then every upscale will send you into a pit. Instead, set some physical goals that have nothing to do with numbers (including lifting!). Stuck doing “girlie” pushups all the time? Aim to do your pushups with great form on your toes, then reverse engineer your way to that goal. You can do the same thing with pull ups, running, squats, lunges, cardio training, etc. Maybe there is an advanced class at your gym you want to try, but realize you could get injured in your current state. Make a plan to increase strength and cardiovascular efficiency. The same can be done for mud runs and adventure races. The options for non-scale goals are truly endless, so pick one.
  2. Take pictures, not measurements. I stopped doing weight and body fat this year. I’m still weaning some clients off of it, but the 2 can both be very subjective to your stress levels as well as water and salt intake. So, I prefer to use tape for clients and I truly encourage everybody to take pictures. I know this can seem like a horrifying suggestion. Even I struggled during my contest prep and that was the leanest I had been in a while. I promise, you will start to see the changes before you even move the scale or have baggy clothes. I use a photo collage app on my phone to place pictures side by side so I can actually see changes…..and I love it! I do this with clients as well and send them the collage while pointing out what I see. It works! And pictures are more honest than a scale will ever be. Try to get your pic in the same place, same lighting, and same clothes each time. How often? Once per month should do it ;) Consider enlisting a trainer (I do this with ALL online clients since I don’t see them very often) to help you out and take a peek at your pics.
  3. Aim to change ONE thing about your nutrition per week. We tend to be all or nothing when trying to reach a goal. The problem with this approach is it is more shocking to our system than anything else. And systems don’t like to be shocked. So, instead of throwing everything out and dieting down the hard way, make one nutrition change per week. This has been shown to help you KEEP those changes for life. I usually have everybody start with water. Then, most of my girls are told to focus on getting protein in since we tend to dig the carbs. Then, we start a food journal and pay attention to what we’re eating. After that, we can start to eliminate what doesn’t serve us and make healthier choices more naturally.

See? All 3 of these things will help you get to your goal without ever having to step on a scale outside of the doctor’s office.

Now, here are a few of my PERSONAL tips for fat loss (especially during the holidays). Take what you like, leave the rest :)

  1. Stop snacking. I know this seems crazy BUT I am totally starting to notice that more and more people are struggling to lose weight (I mean, it’s hard, but it seems like it’s gotten harder). We can trace a lot of this back to the snacking sensation that started heavily in the early 80′s. Your metabolism does NOT burn hotter if you keep eating. Contrary to popular opinion, science doesn’t back this one up. So, set your meal times and enjoy them. Three per day with a post-workout snack has been shown to suffice AND you don’t feel deprived.
  2. Consider closing your eating window. I too am a reforming snack-a-holic (we meet around the clock by the chocolate) and I have had to retrain my brain and body about fuel. One thing that helps is a smaller eating window (referred to as intermittent fasting). I choose to eat for about 8 hours per day and pack my 3 meals into that time. The meals are larger and more satisfying than scrawny snack meals. It’s not for everybody, so check into it first.
  3. Make your workouts count. Don’t be an all or nothing, 2 hours a day in the gym person. This time of year that is just piling unrealistic expectations on yourself and you don’t need any more of those. Opt for circuit training and full body workouts that are about 30 minutes in length. If you were a part of the Slimmer Summer challenge, those circuits are PERFECT for the busy holidays! You can also try YouTube for some ideas or check out some of the streaming workouts offered by Beach Body and the Daily Burn.
  4. Get some sleep. Cortisol levels can get way out of whack this time of year, so commit to a bed time and aim for 7-9 hours per night.
  5. Plan down time. You need a hobby that doesn’t tear you down. Try a new yoga class, have coffee with the girls, check out a book store, take a walk, meander through the mall, etc. Whatever YOU find rejuvenating, plan it into this month.

Have a very Happy Holiday season and I’ll be seeing you with some Christmas cheer very soon!

Michelle

Holiday Fat Loss NOW!

A few weeks ago I stated that I would be losing a bit of fat on Instagram…..and it’s in full swing.

SO, I thought it would be helpful for you to see how I go about this and for me to drop some educational bombs on fat loss fundamentals.

Let’s get down to business……

fat-loss_2 She looks thrilled with her apple doesn’t she?

OK, fundamentals FIRST.

  • You MUST obtain a muscle base before fat loss can occur. Don’t try to fast forward this part ok? If you have not been strength training regularly, then earmark what I’m doing here and come back to it in a few months.
  • You still have to eat.
  • Your workouts MUST be intense….not long.
  • Train thoughtfully and recover well.

My own personal goals are pretty easy and pretty cheesy…….I want to fit into jeans :) that’s one of them. Plus, I want to side step the inflammation I deal with and I want to increase my mobility since I have lost quite a bit. The majority of my workouts are based in my home gym, but I’ll give you some workout recommendations at the end of the post. PLUS, I post one of my workouts each week too, so you’re golden.

rockin abs This was  couple of years ago when I was intermittent fasting regularly. I have since put on about 11 pounds of MUSCLE (cue flex) :)

Eating.

I love food. Not in an unhealthy way mind you, I simply love what can happen when you marry the food that works with you and the eating style that works with you.

DISCLAIMER: I am about to tell you the eating style I choose. This is because it has always worked in the past to help me shed unwanted fat (not to be confused with weight) and squashed my inflammation. This is NOT a way of saying everybody should eat this way. Always do your homework before you embark on dietary change. If you have any chronic medical conditions, consult with your physician.

I am a happy intermittent faster. I’ll post more about the ins and outs of that later, but for the purposes of THIS blog I am simply telling you what I do.

I prefer a 16/8 fast, meaning that I fast for 16 hours and feast for 8. Pretty simple. I break my fast at 10 a.m. which is usually when my workout ends, and I have my final meal about 6 p.m. This works really well with my client schedules and responsibilities as well.

What does it mean to fast and feast?

I still drink coffee in the morning with a splash of non-dairy creamer, but stay below 50 calories. I drink 10 grams of BCAA’s while taking Debbie to school and 10 more during my workout. My workout duration is MUCH shorter now, but also more intense. I am using MMA conditioning training to help address imbalances and really tighten up my body. My workout ends around 10 a.m. and I will break my fast with a post-workout meal. That is usually a scoop of whey protein, 1/2 scoop of casein protein, and a piece of fruit. Then I’ll have a larger meal about an hour or so later. Depending on the day, I may have 2-4 more meals varied in size. I am eating intuitively and making sure I am getting my micronutrients in as well as my macronutrients. A breakdown of most meals is on my INSTA account.

More details on all the surrounds IF will be talked about soon.

Wrap a bow on it:

  • Fat loss requires a muscle base and I have spent the last 2 years piling muscle on.
  • I am EATING using intermittent fasting 16/8 protocol and choosing healthy foods even while some treats sneak in.
  • My workouts are shorter and more intense, really focusing on core.
  • I am also recovering smarter, utilizing nutrients as well as foam rolling, trigger point therapy and daily doses of yoga.

Hang with me and watch things change :)

Michelle

OH, side note: I have also ditched dairy and alcohol (during the holidays!!!!) due to the fact that they have been causing slight allergic issues. How can you tell? Pay attention to your food and how you feel!

 

HOW TO bounce back from an overindulgence

So, I’ve noticed something at the gym this week: PEOPLE.

People everywhere……

The gym has expanded in number for 2x what it was when I left Saturday morning, AKA: Halloween.

Gyms and fitness centers see a spike in attendance between Halloween and Thanksgiving, only to be followed by a severe drop until the New Year.

It’s an interesting turn of events usually brought on by one common thread: overindulgence. :)

Guilt by food is fascinating to me because I can now look at from a different vantage point. I too was riddled with guilt following every Reese’s peanut butter cup and loaded cheeseburger, but things have changed as I see things for how they are. Want to join me? Read on for some tips on how to bounce back from any overindulgence.

  1. Realize that 1 meal, or 1 day, or even 1 weekend will not completely derail ALL progress. If you are CONSISTENT with your workouts, you’ll be OK. Treats can even help the fat burning process along if you are in a fat loss stage that requires lower calories (I try to stay away from those personally…).
  2. The more you think about it, the worse it gets. We rarely give the mind credit for how powerful it really is. If all we focus on is a “misstep” in the nutrition game of life, then our body will remain focused on that instead of the all-consuming task of building muscle or burning fat. So, take a deep breath and, like a favorite Disney character….let it go.
  3. Use your overindulgence to your advantage. You have some extra energy stored up now, so use it. Take this opportunity to ramp up your strength training, try out that new class, or test out your endurance. Food is fuel and even treats can be useful when you’re working on your fitness.
  4. If you are like me and follow carefully calculated macros (cause nerds like us dig that), you can usually factor your treats into your macros and move on with life.
  5. Be prepared. Don’t be a statistic of the holidays due to being ill-prepared. Keep foods on hand that give you energy and either limit yourself to a certain number of treats per week OR sprinkle them into your macros throughout the week.

The way I want you to see it is this: health and fitness is a large scale project and any slip up is just a blip on the radar. Dust yourself on and move forward, no tedious cardio sessions required.

If you find that you do have some serious issues with food and feel as though you LOSE CONTROL, consider signing up for the Fall Challenge and learn to live and eat in balance.

 

 

2015 Holiday Eating Challenge!!!!!!!! Sign up here

I’m so pumped about this particular challenge ya’ll!

We all know that no matter the health/fitness goal, nutrition is 80% of our results. So why aren’t we ALL seeing results when there is loads of nutrition info????

Because, eating.

Our viewpoint of food and eating in general is askew and I am here to help YOU get your eating mojo back. Fact: you CAN make food work for you instead of you always working for your food.

Check out the video to see BO ;) and some lady talking about the challenge….

 

OK, now that you’ve seen that, let’s recap.

Who needs this challenge?

Check out the following and if you answer YES to any, sign up pronto:

  • You jump on new diets all the time
  • You want to know what friends are eating (or not eating) to see results
  • You’ve tried diets before and always feel like you fail
  • You feel like you NEED somebody to tell you what to eat (or not eat)
  • You can stay focused for a while, but will binge eventually
  • You seriously feel as though you are always working out just to earn food or burn off food
  • You are always away from your goal
  • You consider yourself an emotional eater (eating when happy, sad, bored, depressed, anxious, etc.).
  • You have a “GOOD” foods and “BAD” foods list
  • You feel guilty when you eat an indulgent food
  • You eat differently based on who you are around OR the time of year…..or both
  • You feel as though you have NO clue when it comes to feeding your body and fueling your goals
  • You are a frequent dieter
  • You feel as though you have to take away food in order to see results
  • You sometimes binge eat and feel you cannot control yourself around certain foods
  • You struggle with cravings

Did I miss anybody? :)

I get it, because I’ve been there…….

before1

New mom to a baby and toddler. I was 23 and felt 80. I had recently taken on vegetarianism because the vegetarians I read about were skinny and all I wanted to do was SHRINK. I was sick all the time, tired all the time and severely depressed…….and I ate far less then than I do now.

100_0432

OK….so I get some of you may think this is OK, and so did I. But I’m going to get real. I fought EXTREMELY hard for this body. I would avoid eating out at all costs for fear of overeating and I would NEVER indulge in birthday cake or ice cream. I did a couple hours of cardio a day and tried to “tone” anything that looked off to me. I was weak and tired. I had a long list of foods I couldn’t eat and became upset if my family brought them into the house. I would often binge and then rely on laxatives and unhealthy hours of heavy duty cardio to “work it off”. I achieved getting smaller at a large price. My joints still suffer from the deprivation and impact, but more importantly it nearly destroyed my family.

Strong Camp 78

ABS checkin Disney

Musclemania 2015 Front Side Pose

mc-7059

These are the very beginning of eating to fuel and overcoming eating disorders and disordered and emotional eating, followed by the “meaty” part of contest prep (before we started to beat the fat off), to competition day and what is really more normal look (sans makeup though!).

This is strong. I eat when I am hungry and I eat what my body REQUIRES. I expect a lot from my body and deal with the injuries I inflicted by being a bit kinder in turn. I have birthday cake, chocolate, wine, ice cream and gummy bears (YAY!) in my diet and stay strong. I eat for goals, not for size (except muscle is a goal of mine).

The point is, I have been on both ends of the spectrum and I know not only what it’s like, but what it takes.

Make this Christmas the one you give your healthiest self to others. Unwrap the ties that bind and step up to a new food world where you are in control.

Remember! The limit to class is 10-12 MAX (no exceptions). This is due to the fact that I’m trying to keep it small enough to be personal.

Cost is $100 and covers everything you need to succeed.

Professional trainers welcome and encouraged as well :)

SIGN ME UP!

 

 

 

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

 

The pros and cons of a home gym vs. a big daddy gym

Good morning and welcome to a new week!

This is back to school week for us, but I realize some of you have already gotten into the school flow.

Did you know that back-to-school season is the second busiest season of the year? It’s second to the new year as back-to-school comes with a new schedule and new challenges as well as fresh goals (or refreshing the old ones).

So, today we are tackling a question that I am asked very often: Should I get a gym membership or can I get fit at home?

The answer can be a bit complicated since it really lies in your personal goals and what you have available to you to propel you toward that physical goal.

I have personally been working out at home since I was a teenager and first learned all about what working out can do for your body, mind and spirit. Here is MY take on the pros and cons of both home gyms and big gyms…….I like to make you laugh, so lighten up and enjoy.

morpheus-home gym

Pros and cons of a home gym.

Now, just as a disclosure I feel I need to tell you that I have an actual gym at home. We renovated the garage into a gym and I have quite a bit of space to move around. Over the years I have gathered weights, bars, suspension trainers, ropes, trampolines, kettle bells, etc. so I’m not hurting for equipment. Keep in mind, you really can get fit in a small space with limited equipment (even just your body) if you have the right guidance :) Click HERE for necessary guidance (shameless plug).

  1. You don’t have to have fancy gym clothes. You don’t have to match. Heck, you can work out naked if you want, but I wouldn’t advise that cause eeeewwwww. With a home gym you can literally workout in your pajamas. Some people may say this is a con……but we all know it’s a total pro!
  2. You don’t have to wear shoes. I was having a bunch of foot problems a few months ago and then I started lifting barefoot (you pay closer attention and use good form!) which enables the body to distribute weight more evenly in the feet instead of our fancy shoes overcompensating for imbalances.
  3. You can get stuff done in sweaty workout clothes…….OK, this falls into both the pro and con. As I type I have JUST finished a sweet back workout and I haven’t showered. I did change though! The con of sweaty gym clothes is that’s gross.
  4. Working out at home increases compliance. Most people find excuses to skip the gym. Who wants to throw on tights when they are super bloated? Who wants to dead lift when they have gas? Who wants to drive to the gym at 4 in the morning?!?!?!!? Being able to walk from kitchen to gym without running into anybody looking at your bloated belly is a big pro and increases compliance to any workout program :)
  5. I tend to work harder at home. I can feel free to yell, grunt, spit, cry…whatever it takes. I don’t have to reel in my inner beast lady to make others feel comfortable. Extra bonus: I don’t catch glimpses of my awful facial expressions :/
  6. You don’t have to wait for equipment. Seriously dude, if you need to return a text or brag about your warm up set on Facebook, do it by the water fountain! Working out at home eliminates the stress other gym goers may cause.
  7. If something breaks you can either fix it or replace it (or pretend you never had it) instead of having to tell the front desk, who tells maintenance, who has to wait for the OK, and then it’s fixed 2 years after you cancel your gym membership.
  8. Your gym stays open in just about any weather….BONUS: you don’t have to drive in nasty weather to get there.
  9. Your dog is totally welcome…..that may just be me.
  10. Perhaps most important: you have your pick of post-workout food just steps away :)

Now, a few cons:

  1. You may need specialized equipment that your family is unwilling to give up precious living room space to hold (focus on the cause people!).
  2. You still need to schedule your workouts. Simply having a gym within walking distance is not enough to get your booty there.
  3. If you’re a social butterfly (or feel you need to be seen in order for your workouts to count), home gyms won’t work for you.

gym creep

Big daddy gyms….and boxes, warehouse gyms, etc.

First, boxes and warehouse gyms have actually gained in popularity because they offer a better “feel” than big chain gyms. The premise is almost the same though, you pay for some type of membership to use space and equipment.

  1. Con: creepers. These are the people who just watch you workout. They have no other goal than to watch others. Not all creepers are nasty, some are just watchers. Either way, creeping is not cool.
  2. These places do have equipment in a space and your family doesn’t complain that they can’t see the TV around your squat rack.
  3. These places also have trainers and floor staff. Now, some (a rare few) are good. MOST are untrained or brand spanking new and want to tell you how to workout without knowing your current level of fitness or your goal.  They also can’t answer questions like, “How do I adjust the leg press?”…..these people should be avoided.
  4. You’re on show whether you want to be or not. You can give the speech that your crew is too cool to watch others, but we’re all human…..you’re being watched and ultimately compared by others. So, embrace that.
  5. If you dig working out around others then  gym is a safe bet to get results. If you like a “team” feel, a box would be better suited to your needs. If you’re a hermit…..stay home cause you won’t like either.
  6. Biggest con: it’s a hot bed of bad form. One person performing a move with bad form and confidence will result in many more doing the same thing (see #4). So, get the right guidance and you’ll be golden.

No matter how you choose to get fit, your biggest limitation may just be the voice between your own 2 ears. Figure out your goals, set up a plan of attack…..and make like Nike and just do it!

Stay safe and healthy,

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!

 

Finding my voice in Fitness

I had a major turning point this past week…..I remembered something I had forgotten: my voice.

Oddly enough, I was inspired by fellow blondie, Elle Woods :)

Have you ever had an instance where you forgot your voice?

I have been working and blogging in the fitness industry for over a dozen years, and when you are here for a while you can start to get a muddled voice. You forget what you know and sometimes your beliefs can take a back seat to current trends or stronger personalities.

Sharing your unique voice is what helps others most in the journey of life. I took some time to figure out what my voice truly says and I found out some pretty interesting things along the way…..

Srtong Camp 32 Photo taken at Strong Camp Houston by Paul Buceta

  1. A tight physique isn’t everything. It is my belief that working out for the sake of aesthetics won’t keep you motivated or get you very far. Since trying my hand at competing, this personal belief began to take a back burner. The more I focused on my looks, the worse I felt about myself. I went to the beach for almost a week and never donned a bikini……because I didn’t think I could.
  2. Listening to your body helps….to an extent. I have admittedly become a happy couch potato this summer. We love to watch movies and I have indulged with my family more than I ever have. But you know what? It’s OK. I’m not suffering from heart issues because a small season involved more rest than usual. Do I feel tight and lean? Not in the least…..but I have spent countless hours sitting with my kids talking, movie watching, playing and even planning for the future. I can get abs again, but talking freely with 2 teenagers is a rare treat.
  3. Sometimes, more is just more. I was working out nearly 3 hours a day when summer started. Half of that was heavy-duty lifts, the other half was cardio and yoga. Now, I still do yoga several times per week (at this stage in my life it is a must) but my workouts are home based and a bit shorter. I can get just as much done in a much shorter time frame. Why? Because metabolic conditioning is where I excel…..I just forgot that over this past year because I though I HAD to follow the rules. My workouts now are 25-45 minutes in the gym and consist mostly of kettlebells. The swelling has gone way down in my arms and legs and I’m starting to see definition I thought was lost until I decided to do another competition. This is my voice.
  4. True fitness can fit into any lifestyle. I really don’t believe you have to quit living just to be fit. I still eat chocolate and drink wine. I workout with my daughter by doing NTC workouts OR playing on the Kinect. True fitness isn’t all or nothing, it’s balance.

So, not that I have rediscovered my voice I plan on doing things with it. I plan to help others find their voices and find a fitness program that works with life, not against it.

So, what is your voice? You have something powerful to offer the world……you’re just hiding it :)

Until next time,

Michelle

P.S. Be sure to sign up for the email list ——–>>>>>>>>>>> to get exclusive workouts and recipes, plus check out our store for new offerings.

 

I’m BaaaAAaaaack!

Hey stranger!

In case you were wondering, I went on a fabulous family vacation and unplugged ALMOST completely (darn you Instagram!!!!). I highly recommend this. The simple act of removing myself from the constant borage of other’s lives (as social media works now) helped to rekindle some long lost passions and get me ready to tackle some new goals :)

My question for YOU:

How has your summer been? Better yet, how have you kept it healthy? Even better, what challenges are you finding to staying healthy during the summer?

OK, so that was actually 3 questions……answer below in the comments section along with HOW I can help you stay focused and healthy as the summer comes to a close.

What’s cooking now?

Some awesome new content is on the way for the website and social media channels. It’s all about making health, fitness and nutrition more readily available to everyone seeking a healthy lifestyle. You’ll also see the site get a bit of a face lift AND some brand new services will be added as well.

Please, tell me more!

Gladly :)

For starters, I will be experimenting with home gym workouts as opposed to the big gym workouts. Why? Because just about everybody can work out at home in some capacity. I’ll also be filming videos on building your home gym with the focus on the tiny and the large spaces. We’ll also discuss equipment as in what to spend on, what to save on, what to pass up and how to find good equipment on the cheap.

NEW VIDEOS!

My YouTube page will receive a face lift as well and you’ll see weekly videos now. I’m filming Tabata style workouts, warm ups, cool downs, foam rolling, yoga, abs/core, and lifestyle videos. This translates into some free content to help you get moving and reaching your goals.

NEWSLETTER!

You’ll receive a new newsletter each Wednesday which will contain a workout exclusive to subscribers, plus a run down of what I am eating, drinking and just plain loving at the moment. If you aren’t signed up, put your email into the box to the right —–>>>>>>>>>

NUTRITION!

The blog will focus a bit more on the most challenging aspect of health: your food. We will discover new ways of cooking, prepping and eating that will make things easier. If you’re local, I will also have some pretty cool happenings coming soon ;)

EBOOKS!

I am working on new meal plans, grocery lists, mindset books, workout sequences AND a very special book focused directly to a question I get asked all the time (it deals with skin and weight loss, so get ready).

WHEW!

So, if you’re excited then make sure you sign up for ALL the updates ————>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I promise, no spam :) as that is processed and unhealthy…..

I’ll see you soon with all the new content,

Michelle

Strong camp 110 Waiting for something to happen…… :) Photo by Paul Bucetta

 

gym selfie 7jpgHome gym……WORKS!