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……

rest-day-meme-200x225

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

 

Why Pulling These Two C’s Will Get You Your Best RESULTS

the dream and the hustle

Happy Tuesday People!

I’ve been MIA for a while, and though I’d like you to think it’s because I was doing super cool stuff, I was actually having a rather in depth surgery on my plagued hip. As with anything life gives us, we can learn, we can grow, and we can most certainly write about it.

Prior to surgery I went to get my physical therapy sessions set up and meet my therapist (Kim, in Baytown….she’s the bomb). She explained how the following week would progress and what to expect in the first few sessions of therapist. My surgeon (Dr. Harris, in Houston…the bomb.com) repeatedly reminded me that I would lose muscle and that I needed to be OK with all that. The day I went into surgery I was ready to be resilient. The week that followed was worse than childbirth, but I’ll spare you.

Around week 3 of therapy, a young lady came in for her therapy. She was half heartedly doing her lunges and barely putting effort into the sled pull….I was on the stationary bike clocking a whopping 2 miles in 20 minutes. Recovery is a slow process. My therapist reminded me that recovery would take longer if I veered off the path. This could not be more true.

Present day, I am 6 weeks post surgery. I am one-crutching short distances, and I’m doing a few baby squats. Yesterday, Kim congratulated me and said as soon as I’m off the crutches we can move on to more challenging things. Admittedly, almost everything is challenging at this stage, but I digress.

How does this story help you?

In my years of training, coaching, and attempted to help people with nutrition, I have noticed that everybody seems to lack the 2 C’s that breed results when brought together.

CONSISTENCY and COMPLIANCE

Consistency.

I have to remind clients all the time that this is not a sprint. We do not start a new program working out 2 hours a day 7 days a week. “But, what if I need to lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks?!?!?!” You should have noticed that a few months ago….

Most new clients are put onto a walking protocol, walking 20-45 minutes a day, depending on their current fitness level and their personal goal. Why walking? Well, walking is actually the most underrated fat burning exercise AND it can be done practically anywhere. You can walk around your neighborhood, at local parks, in the mall, around the grocery store (I have had clients who walk in Walmart), downtown, the treadmill, in your local fitness center, and the list goes on and on.

Walking is also something most people find they can be consistent with as well. You see, I want to jump ahead to what I see as the fun stuff in therapy, but you have to crawl before you can walk. Taking on too much at the beginning of your program can cause injury, leave you feeling less than capable, and end your short-lived attempt at fitness. Changing behaviors (those pesky things that got you wherever you may be) takes time and consistency. Stick with it.

Compliance.

The #1 reason I have fired clients (yes, it happens) is due to non-compliance. Let me clear, compliance doesn’t mean that you don’t ask why you are doing certain things, it means that you trust the process and trust your guide. Programs work because they are designed to work. If you get a good trainer or coach, they take everything about you into consideration as they map out your program. If you take on the personality of a squirrel and dart after every new diet and fitness trend and fad, then you will NEVER actually see results. By the way, any trainer worth their salt should welcome questions! Any opportunity I have to further educate clients is one I will not pass up.

So, get to work cultivating your 2 C’s that will equal big results!

Pinpoint any issues that keep you away from these things.

  • Does your trainer not listen to you?
  • Do you feel your not getting a personalized program?
  • Are you uncomfortable in your environment?
  • Do you get distracted by fads because maybe you read too many magazines?
  • Are you allowing those who are not fitness or nutrition professionals lead you?
  • Have you found the behaviors you need to change?

Now, It’s your turn to take matters into your own hands. Consistency and Compliance are things only YOU can cultivate. So, what will it be today?

In Person Training VS Online Training

well HELLLLOOOOO there!

It has been forever since I’ve shared a post with you, and I apologize, but I’ve been a little bit BUSY.

Once you’re all caught up on that, you’ll be happy to know that living the majority of my life in a gym has really helped to inspire what I hope will be incredibly helpful posts.

So let’s dig in to today’s post and hash out the benefits of different types of training.

One of the biggest issues facing training today is that it has been cheapened by its own. Trainers who deal under the table and use fitness facilities without expecting to pay has driven facility pricing up and the professionalism of training down. This is a pattern that professionals like myself are trying to fight.

So, how do you know if you’re getting a GOOD personal trainer?

Well, for starters I would recommend being a bit more picky when choosing your personal trainer.

Think of your personal trainer as a part of your medical team. Would you go to just any old doctor off the street? Your trainer should be chosen with care.

Once you have established how to pick a trainer, the question may then be if you should hire an in-house trainer at your local gym or an online trainer. And here is where it can be tricky….

Training is not regulated. Anybody can open an online training business and call themselves a personal trainer (or worse, a celebrity trainer).

fake personal trainer

One BIG upside to hiring an in-house trainer is that most gyms require a national certification and they make sure trainers keep up with continuing education credits.

So, when you looked in to that online trainer who charges over $100 a month, did you research their credentials? Do your homework and keep yourself protected.

Another issue with training is what I believe to be the BIGGEST thing an in-person trainer can help with: FORM.

A hands on trainer can help make minute adjustments that lead to better muscle recruitment which will in turn help you reach your goal faster. These adjustments need to be made in person, cause I don’t care how awesome you think you are, Skype won’t cut it when you need to truly make adjustments. Hands on adjustments make all the difference in the world AND help to prevent injury.

In house trainers can also help you to track progress more effectively. PLUS, if you struggle with getting workouts in, an in-house trainer is a great way to set up that habit. My clients are given homework to complete each week and I ask them to check in with me at the gym, even if they don’t have an appointment that day. This ramps up the accountability factor we all need.

Are all trainers created equal?

Absolutely not!

I am blessed with a staff of trainers who are willing to continue to learn. A lot of trainers are only willing to go as far as the money. A good trainer will give you more than you paid for. A great trainer will depend on science to blow theory out of the water and help you reach your goals faster than you thought possible.

ron b science

So, how do you pick a trainer?

Do your research.

If a trainer is dealing underhanded and unwilling to pay a gym to train there, they won’t be fully committed to you either. An online trainer should be researched just as carefully and make sure you’re not simply looking at pictures……you can get those anywhere.

Seek out referrals for a good trainer in your area OR check out ideafit.com for a listing.

Is training cheap?

I wouldn’t trust it if it were. Good training will encompass the entire lifestyle, so it should take a chunk of time out of the trainers schedule. Consider this when looking at trainers. Also consider the fact that the better and more experienced the trainer, the more expensive they will be.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty for training, you are paying for far more than that 1 hour session. If you’re lucky enough to get a trainer/nutritionist combo, then you should be getting plenty of nutrition education along with strength training, exercise sequencing, cardio workouts, flexibility training and core work (every day with me is core work). This is why training should be considered an investment. If your trainer doesn’t take your investment seriously, find another trainer.

no free training

Training is a great way to get results, stay injury free and develop a love for fitness…..IF you find the right fit.

Keep on moving,

Michelle

 

 

Your Complete Guide to Rest Days….and a peek into the importance of rest

REST.

I think that proper rest is one of the most misunderstood facets of a great health and fitness program.

Why do I think that?

Well, I myself struggle with rest :) which is why I decided to dig into the importance of rest when trying to reach your goals.

rest-day-meme-200x225

Two of the most important things to know about rest deal with your metabolism. First, you repair and grow more lean muscle tissue during rest. Whenever you are working out, you are actually creating small tears in the muscle fiber which is translated as a trauma. During rest, your body springs into action and begins to repair those tears, preparing the body for another bout with the weights so as to make the muscles stronger and more efficient. The body truly is a wonderful creation!

Second, you utilize more stored fat during rest (the “fat burning zone” myth is for another day) than during workouts. This is because is it not metabolically efficient for your body to dig into stored fat for energy during exercise or stress. In fact, your body finds it far easier to burn through muscle once the carb fuel sources run out. So, rest becomes an important factor in fat loss.

restday

So, how much rest do you need AND what is the best way to go about rest?

If your NUTRITION is on point and your WORKOUTS are designed to expend maximum calories while building lean muscle, then you’re probably two-thirds of the way towards your goal. If you’ve noticed that your workouts are beginning to suffer and your cravings are beginning to conquer……you need to work in some scheduled rest. That may sound like a no-brainer, but simply taking 1 day a week to loaf around the house won’t bring you results…..it could actually be derailing your progress if it has become a habit. Here are a few quick tips about rest periods that help you reach your goals.

  1. Know your threshold. This applies to workouts as well as stress. When your body is under stress it really doesn’t differentiate between physical workouts and unattainable deadlines. Chemically, it’s all processed the same. So, make sure that the fitness you have chosen helps to lighten the stress load and not add to it.
  2. Know your limit with exercise. I made this mistake many months ago: after my last competition, I decided to build out my back a bit more. So, I added a second heavy back day and a heavy deadlift day. I still focused on HIGH volume workouts 6 days per week (side note: I would shriek if a client did this). My rest was minimal and over time I paid the price. My hormones were out of whack and I’m still struggling to get back to my previous state of fitness. The point? Too much is too much…..even of a good thing.
  3. Figure it out. Each type of workout needs a specific period of rest. Powerlifting usually requires more rest than bodybuilding, which requires more rest than circuit training or say yoga or Pilates. To make it easier; the heavier the lift, the more rest you need.
  4. Make your food work for you. I’m a fan of MACROS, but I always lean in more towards nutrients. Why on earth would I cause my body to work HARDER just to process some food? It can cause inflammation over time and even wreak havoc on the backside with cellulite. So, focus on 80% of your diet being whole foods (I’m not what I call a CLEAN eater because people get all confused with that) that either come straight from the ground or have a mamma. I make this happen by prepping ahead of time, knowing what I’m going eat, and keeping plenty of fruits and veggies on hand at all times.

Now, I’m working on healing my body with nutrition and rest. I still have off weeks (this being one of them) due mostly to non-workout related stress, but I’m finding my ground.

Keep in mind that this body is the only one you truly get, even if you have replacement parts. So treat it right, respect boundaries, rest up and workout to feel like the awesome rock star you are :)

Till next time,

Michelle

OH, and check out this GREAT post about NAPPING from my good friend Pamela.

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. ;)

MotivationIsMade720

 

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

 

 

 

 

A Few of My Favorite Things: the Birthday Edition

Happy Ground Hog Day!

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

EDUCATION I’m digging: ONNIT Academy

OnnitAcademyInfoHeader

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

SUPPLEMENTS I’m Digging: Onnit for the win!

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

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

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

Onnit coffee

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

WORKOUTS I’m digging: KETTLEBELLS

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

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

RECIPE I’m digging: Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cake

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

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

chicago-movie_650

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

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

 

 

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.

personal-trainer

 

“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