Do MORE than Survive this Holiday season

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Before you start clicking away, I GET IT!

We haven’t quite gotten through Thanksgiving and Christmas is already on our doorstep.

The once enthusiastic excitement has given way to overwhelming stress resulting from deadlines, expectations and all those fun family quirks that make each family unique.

Our world is moving at a MUCH faster pace than ever before. We value busyness instead of human contact. We are always on to the next thing. We can barely keep up with technology and those expectations? They keep getting bigger.

Trust me, I know…..

But there are a few ways to actually THRIVE and take back the meaning of the holidays.

Ready to feel BETTER when the New Year hits???

Then let’s get going :)

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1. Have a strategy.

Failure to plan is planning to fail after all. So it is a good idea to make a strategy for your Holidays. Know what you (as a mere mortal) can actually take and accomplish. Know your calendar and make sure you have your priorities straight. I think most people endure undo stress during the season because their priorities are not aligned with their values. For example: my number 1 priority is my family. My family needs time with me. Although my job prefers I work more hours and sell more training, I know that would simply break me down and make me inefficient….at work AND at home. So, I honor my priorities and we all win.

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2. Say NO more often.

Often times during this season we can over commit ourselves because we find it harder to say NO. Saying no to things you truly cannot do, truly HATe, or do not have the time to do, can be the change you need in your routine to eliminate most of your stress. Trust me, the world will NOT stop spinning when you say no. People may get a little upset, but that is because they had already assumed you would say yes, and you know what happens when you assume…:) So, exercise your NO muscles this season. Take a look at your priority list and if something isn’t aligning, knock it off your to-do list by saying the simple word NO.

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3. Make some time to workout during the Holidays.

I’m going to give a little advice with this one: be flexible when it comes to your workout routine. If you normally hit the gym in the evening, maybe try getting a workout in early morning or during lunch. The holiday season is usually jam-packed with parties and festivities and NOBODY like a bah-humbug who complains about missing a workout for a function. Plan ahead and be flexible. Consider shorter workouts OR even combine body parts and shorten your rest periods to speed it up a bit. If you’re struggling to get to the gym as is, don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting too much. Check out my FREE WORKOUTS  that you can do in a faction of the time at home (to be posted on the site in the New YEAR, but click the link to get them now). If all else fails, grab a walk or jog. OR you can join me in a little self challenge I am having for the Holidays: I am committing to a little yoga everyday AND a minimum of 200 kettle bell swings a day. You can break it up however you like. And if you’re unfamiliar with the SWING, click the link to learn more.

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4. Do something GOOD.

There’s a lot that can be said about that feeling during the Holidays that just makes you want to DO GOOD. You can volunteer at a local soup kitchen, adopt an elderly neighbor for the Holidays, collect toys for a toy drive, OR join a local church for plenty of opportunities to DO GOOD. Check your calendar and availability and then find the right fit for you.

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5. Finally, be GRATEFUL.

I know it can be a bit cliché, but digging deep for the things that make you grateful is a great practice in stress relief. Take a moment each day to find ONE thing you are grateful for. It can be family and friends, your job, material blessings, health, or even the fact that your latter didn’t burn your mouth this morning. Gratefulness comes in ALL shapes and sizes, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box :)

In closing, I really do with you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas. I hope your hearts get filled with joy this season and I wish you all the best in the New Year.

If this is your first time to the site, feel free to browse around. There are all kinds of recipes and free workouts here to get you through whatever you may be facing. AND stay in touch because there will be some exciting happenings around here in 2018 :)

xoxo,

Michelle

 

Move-meant: Part 2

Welcome back to Monday people!!!!!!!

Hope you had a great weekend :)

Today is your lucky day!!!!

Why?

We’re tackling rest day in the second post on recovery and mindful movement!

I can almost feel your excitement……

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Rest days tend to be the most under utilized and misunderstood days in you program. They are also some of the most important…..

You know what time it is??????

SCIENCE!!!!!

science meme

Alright, don’t check out on me yet….this is good and I’ll be quick ;P

When you workout you are tearing up your muscle. That’s the only way that the muscle can release the ATP needed for energy AND it’s the only way the muscle can adapt to loads placed on it. This is true for both strength training and cardio, however strength training places a larger load on most muscles (don’t tell my calves that since they are more heavily loaded running). In order for the muscle to fuller adapt and be able to take on a heavier load the next training session, the muscle must be given adequate rest time to repair.

What does this translate to?

  • Don’t train the same body part repeatedly on consecutive days.
  • Give the muscle 24-48 hours to repair before hitting it again.
  • Utilize some of the recovery options in the previous post.
  • Pay attention to your body! If the muscle is still tender, let it rest and don’t weight so much next session.

Failure to recover will impede optimum muscle growth. That’s science.

Back to rest days….

Rest-Day-meme

One of the most common misconceptions about rest days is that they are days of complete immobility. Not true.

Rest days should be days to help further recovery and mobility.

Here are some ways you can implement well thought out rest days:

  1. Sign up for a yoga class, BUT make sure it will stretch and flow….some yoga classes are another workout in and of themselves.
  2. Foam roll!
  3. Stretch it out while you Netflix.
  4. Take a slow walk. Change your music to some slower jams or go sans music and just look at the sites.
  5. Go for a nature walk or hike, especially if you don’t have leg day the next day.
  6. Remember, rest days are NOT cheat days.

How many rest days do I need?

rest day second

This is where paying attention to your body is the biggest payoff.

Most people just starting on a strength training program do well with a 2/1 working to rest split. Some people prefer to check in for workouts Monday through Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday. Some advanced athletes prefer an 8 day split, with a rest day every 8 days. Personally, I lift for total body 3 days a week with a cardio/mobility day between and I always take Sundays as my rest day (and sometimes I am totally immobile).

There is no one magic formula for everybody, so check for signs of needing rest.

Do you look forward to workouts?

Are you dreading every single workout?

Are you tired all day long?

Do you have trouble sleeping?

Is your appetite/cravings totally out of control?

Are you progressing in your workouts (i.e. upping the weight, reps, or taking the harder variations)?

Chances are, if you feel physically stuck, you need a good recovery day. So, book it, enjoy it, come back stronger.

Always moving,

Michelle

 

Move-Meant: the importance of recovery and meaningful movement

Happy Monday Morning!!!!!!

In my neck of the woods, we woke up to much cooler temperatures….which meant a much stiffer hip during rehab this morning :) But it was completed none the less.

quads on fire

Anyways…..

Today marks the first post in a short series about recovery. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do NOT get recovery right every single time…but I DO know the importance of recovery and how many body systems are involved in true recovery. So, let’s dive right in.

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Let’s get the layout and ground rules for recovery set up first:

  1. RECOVERY refers to recovering from a certain aspect of your lifestyle, preferably an active one. In other words, if you’re still on the couch about working out, skip to a different post :)
  2. You can utilize many things in RECOVERY, including foam rollers, bands, balls, yoga (the right kind) and even diet (oh yes!).
  3. RECOVERY involves more than just lazing about….I know, I am as shocked as you on this one. Most of my “recovery days” have always involved Netlfix binges…who knew????

The act of recovery is utilizing meaningful movement to de-stress and decompress the joints and soft tissue of the body. That’s a pretty broad explanation of true recovery. I like to take it a step further and implement mindful movement AND anti-inflammatory diet practices to rid the body, mind, and gut of the excess stress that can keep us feeling tight and pent up in our own bodies. Today, I’ll be listing some great forms of recovery, giving a comprehensive recovery schedule, and making sure you leave with some good resources.

TYPES OF RECOVERY:

  • Foam Rolling. When done correctly, foam rolling helps to manipulate soft tissue (aka, muscles and fascia) and alleviate pain, plus it’s cheaper than a massage. If you’re new to the roll, I suggest purchasing a soft roller and working your way up to the big boys. Here are videos for foam rolling the Upper Body, Lower Body, and an all over foam roll for active individuals. Consider foam rolling before and after activities OR in the evening when you are watching your favorite show.
  • Stretching. Stretching can help to elongate the soft tissues, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joints. The key is to not overstretch. So, pay attention to your body and go for a stretch in the belly of the muscle. I have an easy full body stretch here.
  • Yoga. Yoga is more than stretching and is requires ZERO flexibility to get started. Yoga puts your joint through their full range of motion and helps the skeletal system to realign for more efficient movement. If you have NEVER done yoga, I recommend seeking a qualified teacher/class to get you started. If you have a little knowledge, Morgan Day Cecil is my fave yoga girl of the moment.
  • Massage Therapy. Manual manipulation of soft tissues helps to decrease tension AND helps to force stress induced toxin build up out of the body. In order to keep massage more budget friendly, I suggest seeking a massage school close to you. New therapist need  hours and are often very attentive to your needs.
  • Ice baths and Epsom salt baths. Both of these help ease soreness. If joints or inflammation are your main concern, go for an ice bath (exactly what it sounds like). If soreness is your gig, a 20 minute soak in some warm (not too hot) water with about 1/4 cup Epsom salts should do the trick.
  • Diet. If you suffer from chronic soreness or inflammation, I would suggest checking your diet. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, feel free to contact me in the form below and get started with a diet profile review. Often times, many issues in the soft tissue and joints can be a reflection of what if going on in the gut (more on this in week 3).
  • Active Rest. respect active rest days by scheduling out actual active rest. You can take a walk, go for a light swim, enjoy some time at the beach, attend a yoga class, etc. Even if you’re sore, move with a mindfulness and the soreness will dissipate over time. The human body CRAVES motion.

I know it can be a lot to soak in, but recovery can be the missing link to fast tracking your results ;)

Weekly Recovery Schedules:

  1. Foam roll 1-2x per day, around workout.
  2. Stretch post workout for 5- 10 minutes, more in the evening if you are sore.
  3. Schedule a massage once a month.
  4. Use Epsom salt and ice baths as needed.
  5. Implement an anti-inflammatory diet for at least 3 weeks.
  6. Schedule at least 1 active rest day into each week.

Happy Recovery Trails!!!! And keep me posted on how you do these next 3 weeks.

How To Find Motivation When There Is No Finish Line

grumpy cat motivation

Eyes on the prize.

You wanted the extra TWO days of vacation more than you wanted the double fudge brownie. You needed to win the office Biggest Loser challenge more than you needed to go to happy hour with the girls. You baked extra chicken breasts on the weekend, walked on the treadmill while you caught up on Scandal and said no to your husband’s offer for dinner out on Valentine’s Day because SOMEONE (grrr) decided the office weigh-in should be February 15.

You persevered and you did it! You won!

With that extra time banked for a much need family camping trip this summer, you breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a salted caramel truffle from the heart shaped box your husband surprised you with. (He’s not very good at following instructions.)

Tuesday arrives and you drive right past the gym on the way home. You know you should keep up with your routine but you need to catch up on the laundry. When you get home the last of the chicken is gone, everyone is hungry and no one wants to cook. How about pizza?

The slippery post challenge slop has begun…

The thrill of a big goal is often a POWERFUL motivator but even the most determined competitor takes time off. How do you stay true to your healthy habits when the pressure is off and there isn’t a prize on the line?

Motivation is overrated. It’s all about staying COMMITTED.

That’s the real secret to a healthy and happy fit life.  Challenges, competitions and races can be a part of what keeps you committed as long as you go about it with three very important things in mind.

Connect to your big picture goal.

Whatever kind of competition you choose to participate in you have to connect it with something that lasts longer than 30 days (or however long the program lasts). Take a step back and figure out what the ultimate goal is. Create your Fitness Vision – a picture of your ideal self in five years. Paint a vivid picture of your life, what you’re doing and how you feel. Then make it concrete by writing it down, creating a vision board or drawing a picture.  Use your fitness vision as a guide to create healthier habits that you can sustain as well as help you hit the mark for the short-term goals you’ve set. If you see yourself running a marathon you need to make sure your training plan not only builds your base but also helps keep you running injury free long term.  Starving yourself to win a pot of money in a four-week weight loss challenge won’t help you keep muscle you might want to hike the Inca Trail.

It’s not always about winning.

 Entering a contest or challenge doesn’t always have to be about the big prize. It can be about getting inspired by a group of other women pursuing a common goal. If new workouts and meal plans or coaching support is being provided take it and learn all you can! Use these tools to examine what you’ve been doing and figure out what “healthy habits” might actually be holding you back.  For example, fruit is great but you can overeat anything.  A new plan might make you shift to more vegetables with less fruit. It’s a simple and sustainable change but one that can reap positive benefits on your physique and health numbers.

Don’t swing to far one way or the other.

If you are super competitive and the WIN is what gets you going, be careful not to set yourself up for future failure by going to the extreme. The boomerang effect is a powerful one. You may want to skip the wine after dinner a few weeks before the big finale but cutting out EVERYTHING that makes you happy will only make you crave it more. Pick one thing you love and have a bit of it without guilt. You can find many ways to get your chocolate/salt/pasta craving without going overboard. I love a good protein mug cake to get my chocolate fix without a sugar crash and burn. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally have piece of dark chocolate with my tea too. I don’t have it every night but I also have never made it completely off limits, even when I am trying to lean out for a photo shoot.

If these tips aren’t enough to help you stay committed, maybe you need a full time coach. Better yet, maybe you need the tools to help you become your own coach. I invite you to take a look at my new book, Motivation Is Made Not Found, to find more tips like these to help you make your own motivation whenever you need it. It’s a collection of my best essays on motivation and a blue print to help create your motivation daily and stay committed. It’s on sale till February 29 so don’t wait till the next office wellness challenge to check it out!

If you are ready for the next competition or challenge, I am pretty sure Michelle has an idea or two. ;)

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About Pamela:

Pamela and I met at Idea World many moons ago and connected view our shared introvert habits. She has been a blessing and joy to my life, adding value every time we speak. She keeps a wonderful blog: www.thrivepersonalfitness.com filled with up to the minute tips about real health and fitness. She has a passion to help other women realize their true potential and love their bodies by harnessing the power of fitness and nutrition.

You can find Pamela on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest  and  YouTube

 

 

 

 

TRAINERS: They could actually be the problem instead of the solution……

Warning…..this may get controversial.

So, before I go on, let me say that I DO honestly believe there are some great trainers and coaches in the world….but I do encourage you to shop carefully.

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“Over 300 reps and I won’t be able to walk tomorrow, but I’m sure it will be worth it”….these words greeted my newsfeed as I opened my Facebook page. I simultaneously cringed and gagged. Is this what we have become?

Is pain the only way to progress?

NO-PAIN-NO-ux201w

I’ve been a professional personal trainer for a decade now (I’m knocking on 40′s door) and currently hold 7 personal training certifications and specializations. I value knowledge and know beyond all doubt that I still have more to learn. I’ve personally lost over 100 pounds, but still need to learn about proper weight loss practices. I competed in a figure show, but will not call myself a competition coach. Doing doesn’t make anybody an expert….becoming an expert makes you an expert!

All over the internet I see the same thing spat out from fitness “professionals” time after time:

  • no pain, no gain
  • it’s supposed to hurt
  • train past the pain
  • you have to want it
  • go hard or go home
  • get up and train
  • train hard

It all reminds me of a TV persona (yes, that’s pretty much all I think she is) that crashed onto the gym floor with little more than a local cert many years ago…

JM meme Cause it’s THAT feeling that makes me want to continue working out…

Where did this overdoing it come from?

Well, there are a few theories.

First, when obesity hit new highs in the States, people usually saw one of 2 things: this was a scary epidemic, and it was also a great opportunity to make some money. So trainers and coaches came out in droves with little more than a single certification and a bad attitude…because that’s how we get things done. The Biggest Loser isn’t to blame, but you can read the latest about past contestants HERE.

As jobs in health and fitness rose, so did obesity. In other words, the demand was there and the workers showed up, but the crisis kept growing.

What gives?

I think it’s a bit more complicated than may meet the eye; however, if we can all attempt to turn to the same page, we might start getting somewhere.

  1. Personal Trainer is a relative term to me now. ANYBODY can call themselves a trainer, just like your kids football coach probably doesn’t have more than an English degree and memories of glory days on the team.
  2. People are SUPER impatient. Those who seek out trainers want results and they want them yesterday. So, trainers try to make results faster by amping up the plan before they should.
  3. Trainers have a weird “Anything I can do I’ll force you to do” mentality. If your trainer did an awesome high rep workout yesterday, you may be subject to the same brutality even if you’ve only been training for a month.
  4. We equate PAIN with results. Constantly breaking the body down and not focusing on recovery will not only stall results, but could possibly make it IMPOSSIBLE to reach your results.
  5. Most don’t have a clue how to accomplish certain goals, so they employ a technique designed to continually change the routine and keep the body “confused” because that has become a cool term.

MOSTLY, this phenomenon derives from unrealistic expectations and overpromising from trainers.

muscle soreness

So, is there a way to get on track and get what you want?

YES!

And it’s not as complicated as you think.

Here are 3 quick tips to reach your goal, sans the pain (because , no , it is NOT supposed to hurt):

  1. Set realistic goals for both short term and long term. Loads of goal setting help is HERE.
  2. Consistency is KING!!!!! In order to reach any goal, you must be consistent. If you cannot walk, potty, drive or use a phone after a workout, something is dead wrong.
  3. Focus on proper warm ups and recovery. ALL trainers should make sure their clients know how to properly warm up and how to recover from exercise.

Very last I would like to give you some encouragement: if you are seeking a trainer, don’t be shy to ask for credentials AND have them explain their training philosophy. If you are a trainer, have some pride in your craft and invest in education that will enable you to specialize. Also, seek out other trainers who can help build you up and hold you accountable.

Remember, nobody is impressed by an injury. Instead of posting gut wrenching workouts that tear us up, try staying consistent in your work ethic and letting a pain-free body speak volumes for yourself and your client….I dare you :)

 

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….

 

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

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

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A Few of My Favorite Things: an updated version :)

Hello Lovelies!

It’s Friday in my world and I thought it would be nice share some of the things that keep me on track and going no matter what life may throw at me. Ready to do some shopping? :)

Let’s GO!

1. When I’m down and out and just can’t hit the gym.

This is a bad case scenario for a competitor BUT we all go through it (or maybe we just hate the gym). Lately, I’ve been enjoying a few different home based workouts that have kept me on track and even helped to even things out a bit.

Turbo_Fire TURBO FIRE: this high intensity training program is helping shed the fat and keep me going strong. You can check it out at www.turbosister.com

PIYO PIYO: this all-in-one powerhouse workout has been incorporated into my weekly schedule due to an influx of inflammation and issues in my lower back and hip. This program has allowed me to continue to see results without killing an already warped body. I HIGHLY recommend it to ALL fitness levels. You can grab yours here as well: www.turbosister.com NOTE: I am no longer a Beach Body Coach, but still love the programs :)

CRN Come Ready Nutrition Bars are great for nutrition on the go and for those needing some extra protein in their diets, but not wanting to pick it out of their teeth later during the day ;) . Come ready Nutrition has affordable bars (you can get them at Costco for less than $1 a bar) and they truly are an excellent nutrition profile. The company is also hard at work to get our youth moving. You can find out more about them AND place your order here: www.comeready.com

Lindi skin Lindi Skin Care. Oh my goodness! This skin care line is beyond fabulous! Lindi Skin is extremely gentle to all skin types and works phenomenally well. I was a little leery about it since I am prone to breakouts, but it has actually helped to clear my skin. Lindi Skin uses the magic of oils and only the highest quality natural ingredients. My favorite product and a MUST for all is the Eye Hydrator. I have always struggled with dark circles and lines around my eyes and with Lindi has all but erased my lines and softened those circles right up. So even if I don’t feel my best, it doesn’t show :) PLEASE check them out here: www.lindiskin.com OR run by your local CVS and see if they have it in stock yet!

SPECIAL ALERT!!!!!! You can use the code BLOG25  for FREE shipping and 25% off all purchases at www.lindiskin.com now through May 31st. AND they will also make a donation to the American Cancer Society Look Good, Feel Better campaign.

What are you waiting for? Go grab your beautiful skin and do a world of good in the process.

That will wrap up my favorites of the moment. I am off to walk my daughter to school then come home and get some PIYO in :)

Take care of yourself and pass it along to others….the caring, not yourself. ;) Be smart, stay active, be alive!

Michelle