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

Legs for DAYS workout write up PLUS upcoming challenges

Oh hey!!!!!!!

So, if you follow along on INSTA then you likely know that my regularly scheduled leg day was derailed a bit. I got to think outside the box and play around a bit :)

Before the workout, I feel it is best to explain WHY I do certain things…..you see, I got LEGS. I have big legs and have had them all my life. They gain easily and in order to keep them lean, I have to workout in a specific manner.

legs and glutes leg work Musclemania LEGS Insert leg song of choice here…….

This is the last year of leg changes. My quads are over excited little boogers, so I work the heck out of hammies and glutes, leaving quads alone for the most part. That’s just what works for me!

This workout is minimal equipment and was done in my garage. You can feel free to add a bit to it if you like. You will need a timer of some sort at the end (I prefer Tabata Pro App).

First, warming up is CRITICAL! I use a variety of moves to warm up my hips, hams, glutes, lower AND upper back as well as core work. This will make sure your work environment is safe.

Now, the fun part :) This workout contained 3 distinctive parts.

Round 1: loop or therapy band (a regular exercise band can work, or body weight is you have nothing).

Perform each move 30x with no rest between sets

Lateral walking

Banded squat

Monster Walk

Round 2: you need a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell, bench or raised surface and a band for upper thighs

Perform in a circuit, 4 sets of 15-20 reps each (I used kettlebells, 25-44 pounds)

Sumo squat (4×15)

KB Squat on bench (4×15, butt touches bench)

Banded hip thrust (4×20)

Round 3: the Cinnamon Bun Burner :) You can do this with NO weight, but I used a 25 lb KB

Set timer for 30 seconds of work and 5 seconds of rest, 6 cycles, 5 Tabatas (if you have the app; otherwise you are simply going through the whole thing 5x)

There is NO resting here.

Single leg hip thrust Right

Single leg hip thrust Left

Alternating side to side lunge (sometimes called a sliding lunge)

Single stiff leg dead lift Right

Single stiff leg dead lift Left

Reverse hyperextensions

Do this 30 seconds per move, 5x through for roasty-toasty buns :)

Make sure to refuel afterward (I chose a Len and Larry’s Cookie and some protein) and drink plenty of water.

CHALLENGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you’re tired of starting over all the time, try the Fall Eating Challenge HERE.

 

Also, follow me on INSTAGRAM and take part in a totally FREE fat loss challenge for the holidays.

I’ve been working tirelessly to pack on muscle and the holidays seem like a great time to lose fat right?????

Really, we all get tight on time during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season….soooooooo, I’ve decided to try something a little out of my box of comfort and see where it can take me. I’ll be experimenting with Intermittent Fasting (which I already do a form of) and HIIT training each day. This will cut my workout time down and allow me to focus on other fun things about the season, like making and eating cookies. Wait, that went south……but we all know I do it. So, you can follow me on INSTA to get my daily workouts, my eating philosophy, my cheater cheater pumpkin eater recipes, AND my world famous, not-spending-my-time-on-this-and-always-in-bad-lighting-PHOTOS!!!!!!

You’re sold right?

The cool thing is we’re all just along for the ride here. Wanna learn the HOW TO of succeeding? Try the eating challenge. Wanna see pics and follow HIITs? Do the INSTA challenge. Wanna be a bad A? Do both :)

Got it?

Let’s get it together!!!!!!!!!

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!

 

Funny Thing Happened Today…..

Good morning!

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

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

So….I’ve had a few mixed emotions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two very rewarding things happened because of my consistency:

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

bursting pipes gym meme

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

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

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

Now it’s your turn.

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

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

And by the way, thanks for inspiring me….

Michelle

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

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

 

Top Blogs I’m Digging Right NOW

Even though I am a blogger (and still finding my blogging path), I still enjoy blogs of other professionals to keep things fresh.

Point: our own perspective is not always the best :)

So, today I am sharing the top blogs I’m reading this summer.

Blog Concept

1. Thrive Personal Fitness. Pamela is a personal friend of mine (and has even blessed us with a contribution HERE) and I really love her fresh, real-life take on fitness. Check her out and sign up for updates.

2. Nutrition Stripped. I JUST came across this via good old Instagram. With the fresh recipes and easy to follow guides, it’s a win for any thoughtful foodie.

3. Do You Yoga. This is a go-to for all things yoga in life, and they manage to keep it upbeat, current and inspirational.

4. One Degree Ministries. I met Tracy through a writers/speaker conference and have loved watching her blog grow and take shape. A great blog for every need in life.

5. Shameless plug. OK, so this is technically my blog :) but it is also the beginnings of a movement to empower women to step into who they were created to be and leave all fear behind. Join us :)

Those should keep you busy for a bit.

Read them on your laptop outside for extra credit and stay tuned for some big changes!

 

When you just can’t even…….

So, as discussed in the past, I have issues :-)

The first step is admitting it you know……

It used to be that I had a severe issue with the word “can’t”. I thought of it as an excuse, a cop out, the grown up version of the dog eating your homework, etc. I am since coming to realize that if we don’t respect our bodies we actually CAN get to a point where we just can’t even….(insert Starbuck’s toting basic white girl here).

***NOTE*** This post is not saying you can get away with not believing in yourself, so don’ t go there.

that-awkward-moment-when-you-are-wearing-nike-and-just-can-t-do-it-genvieve-nnaji-quote-instagram-SOSnation_com_

Recently, I got sick. And by sick I mean multiple trips to the doctor and bed rest sick. I discovered a few key factors to myself that those closest know all too well, however I denied them for too long.

  1. I have a severely obsessive personality. For example: often when I immerse myself in yoga CE courses I will find myself veering towards becoming a yoga hippy on the run from modern society. In contrast, when preparing for my show I became OBSESSED with macros, food logging and rep counting.
  2. The above mentioned personality trait creates an environment for imbalance, thus making me feel off balanced every day.
  3. This lack of balance in life translates to lack of balance in health.

Last night I was talking to Alan (the man who should get an award for putting up with my particular brand of crazy) and told him that after brainstorming what I wanted life to look like one of my biggest physical goals was to just be HEALTHY. That is my main goal right now: radiant health.

It seems odd because to look at me you would think I am healthy right? Wrong. When the mind and body are in a chronic unbalanced state, something will give. In my case, my current ill-health seems to be a direct result of an unbalanced life.

So, what can you do to avoid this?

Honestly, we are never 100% in balance at any time, BUT we can walk towards balance in a few key steps:

  1. Brainstorm your GOALS. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and take TIME to think about what you want your life to look like. This is the starting point to creating a life with purpose….you need a roadmap.
  2. Take your eyes off the physical for a bit. For me personally, this means doing more low-impact work at home and allowing my body to heal.
  3. Decide what health means to you. Is it a great physical? Is it feeling good in your own skin? Is it waking with energy?
  4. Determine the steps needed to reach your goal. Once you find even 1 goal worth the effort, determine the necessary steps. If you really NEED to lose weight, then you will need to set aside the time to workout each day and become more educated in nutrition. If your goal is to have a healthier digestive system (a great goal for anybody), commit to keeping a record of your food and maybe even hiring a nutritionist to help. Whatever the goal, there are daily steps that will help you reach it.

Staying balanced shouldn’t be something that will upheave your whole life. It should actually make it better. Think about one word that will help you stay focused. My word of the moment is SIMPLIFY. I want to live a simpler, less complicated lifestyle. This means workout routines that are easily accomplished in my home, fewer supplements, a bit more yoga and a streamlined diet that focuses on nutrients.

Now it’s your turn. What changes will you make to achieve balance?

I’m listening :)

Michelle

I’m so jealous…….

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yourcrazyisshowing At least I can admit it :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep living fit,

Michelle

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