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

 

 

 

 

Summertime News and all things healthy :)

Good Morning!

I hope this post finds you feeling healthier and if not, drink some water……chances are you are dehydrated :)
So, I get that blog posts have been sporadic and that is due to contest prep. I am now 11 days out from my FIGURE debut at the Musclemania Lone Star in Galveston, TX on May 16th. If you want to read up on contest prep and check out photos, go HERE.

 

Posts will resume more normalcy once the competition is wrapped and my new goals settle in for the long haul. Since this is the final post pre-contest, I wanted to use it to address a few things and let you in on some of my upcoming news.

GYM RULES (watch out for these things if you want to reach your goals):

I’m going to be overly blunt here, but I’m tired of everybody wandering around totally lost….so here we go.

  1. KNOW YOUR GOALS!!!!! If you do not have specific you-centered goals written down then you are flying blind…..and everybody knows it.
  2. Be careful what “advice” you take. Over the past 6 months I have heard more bad advice escape the mouths of gym goers than I could read off the internet in a lifetime. I hear it on the gym floor, in the locker room and ALWAYS in the sauna. My personal favorite is the group exercise instructor who told a group of older ladies they should ALWAYS do their cardio fasted…..because obviously group X instructors have a PhD in exercise and nutrition science and just teach for the heck of it (I can say that, I was one). Do you realize that training fasted has never been scientifically proven for greater fat loss? More so, do you think a spin instructor knows that if there is a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure (which is rampant) training fasted can actually be a terrible thing? Food for thought…..by picky about whose advice you take. It doesn’t matter if you think they look fitter than you. Do they have more education then Google University?
  3. Don’t camp out on the machinery. Those fancy machines were designed for a purpose: bodybuilders who could no longer utilize heavier loads without risking injury. The machines stabilize you and make it possible to lift heavier and tear down more muscle fibers to produce muscular gains. Get it right with free weight and body weight FIRST, then move on.
  4. Don’t just sit there. Many people think they are taking an appropriate rest between sets, but 2 minutes is far too long. If you need more than 90 seconds of rest, lighten your load a bit.
  5. Mind your mouth…or at least what you put in it. Post workout nutrition is key to a sleek physique. Your muscles need energy or they can’t recover and perform.

Whew! Those are really my top 5 tips for YOU to get where you want to be. It’s not always about the size, scale or mirror…..it’s about goals.

Strong Camp 04 Photo by Paul Buceta @Strongcamp

What’s new?

LOADS of new things are coming and I am experiencing a refresher this Summer. Out with the old and in with the new :) I dig change….in fact, I crave it. Due to that, we are doing a total overhaul. Here are a few things you can expect:

  • Weekly real-time training videos. These will be termed Tabata Tuesday and will cover awesome workouts in minimal time with minimal equipment. You can do these workouts ANYWHERE, even on vacation (I’m even shooting some on vacation).
  • Nutrition programs. You requested it and I am hard at work on beginner, intermediate and advanced nutrition programs you will be able to download based on current goals.
  • Goal setting webinars. You know I’m a stickler for goals and I’m setting up FREE webinars so people can get a handle on how to set goals so they can actually reach them.
  • Monthly recipes in the newsletter.
  • Form videos on some of the most popular strength training moves.
  • A whole lot more including hang outs, Q & A’s, guest trainers, success stories, pretty pictures, and maybe even some fit getaways.

So stick with me as I finish this goal and head on to the next!

In health and fitness,

Michelle

Why Am I NOT Seeing Results? ….a blog series to get you where you want to be

Hello Fit People!

This particular series will last 4 blogs (crazy right?) and will be posted weekly. So you get a month to learn what could be hold you back from your very best self.

If you are one of the MANY ( I have high hopes) who have continued on with those New Year’s goals long after that the groundhog came out of his hole, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

But here is the million dollar question: Are you where you thought you would be? Are you struggling with your goals already? Are you asking yourself, “Am I there yet?” Have no fear. I’ve been in this game long enough to know a thing or 2 about habits and hangups that could be holding you back from your goals. How do I know? Cause I have them too :) But if I stayed with them I would never be where I am today.

BTW, these are in NO particular order, so tackle what is relevant to you right now.

Strong Camp 90 Photo by Paul Buceta for Strong Magazine

1. You think the food will just work itself out.

Here’s the deal, you HAVE to be aware of what you are eating, period. Even the guy that ate Twinkies for the study was AWARE of how many Twinkies he was eating. In my opinion, that’s probably why that little experiment worked. Know what you’re eating and know how much. The only reason that person at the gym seems to have more definition than you is most likely because they know what they are eating and they track their food.

Choose the style that works best for YOU. Macros rock my world, but close into my competition I prefer a pretty simple diet of eating similar foods every day. This is just because it is easier to be prepared. I’m not a fan of just counting calories as we can often fill those calorie requirements with foods that do not serve us very well. You know what I’m talking about ladies. How many of you eat MORE carbs (cause girls love carbs!) and run out of calories for your protein? The body works better in balance of all 3 macronutrients so give it a fighting chance. Track your food and know what works for you.

2.You really like your “cheat” meal……like REALLY.

Do you know why “cheat meals” were termed? Body builders would run out of stored glycogen (carbs get stored as glycogen in the muscle fibers and are used for energy during heavy lifting workouts) due to low carbohydrate diets. When glycogen is depleted, strength can fade. So, the bodybuilder began to implement refeeds (which are actually PLANNED days of eating more carbohydrates to refuel the glycogen stores) and some, cheat meals.

Here is the problem……90% of the gym population are not bodybuilders (not that we aren’t working hard, but really) and yet we try to eat like one. This can be particularly true with those just starting on a strength training program. We can get all geared up and hop on a deprivation diet which is followed by a cheat meal, which turns into a cheat weekend, which causes shame and we get back in line on Monday to start the cycle again. Sound familiar?

A treat is warranted if you have been withholding calories AND especially if you have been withholding macronutrients (I don’t believe EITHER should be very low, even in weight loss), but it should be contained to ONE small treat per week with the goal of refueling a system, not bingeing to good glory because you deserve it…….

NEXT WEEK we will tackle some common mistakes in the gym and figure out how to make your membership work better for you :)

Stay Strong!

Michelle

 

What’s Sabotaging Your Weightloss?

Weight loss is getting a bad rep as being a tricky thing. Between hormones, over-training myths and dieting dilemmas, we are quite confused about weight loss all together.

So, let’s break down what could be the very reason YOU aren’t seeing results.

1. You wear spandex or some form of stretchy clothing ALL THE TIME….

spandex

I can be VERY Guilty of this one, I admit. Spandex has give and can give the illusion we may be smaller or not gaining any weight. If our spandex does start to tighten up, we claim it’s muscle (stay tuned for that one). People who spend their hours on workout clothing run a serious risk of regular clothing not fitting when you need….like on the weekends :)

Pro Tip: Wear your jeans 3 days per week while running errands or working around the house.

2. We think it’s muscle….

fat vs muscle

While muscle gain may show on the scale, it’s not really showing in your clothing. The average female is LUCKY to gain 3-5 pounds of muscle in a year. If your jeans fit yesterday, but they’re tight today, it’s probably water retention.

Pro Tip: First, make sure you have a variety of styles (especially in jeans) and be honest about what it takes to gain muscle.

3. We are fudging on our foods.

food log

Whether we aren’t keeping an accurate record OR we aren’t weighing and measuring, most humans can underestimate the amount of foods they consume by 20%. That’s a large margin for error….

Pro Tip: Plan meals ahead of time and LOG IT ALL, even what you cook with

4. We binge eat and drink….we just call it a “cheat’, “treat” or “reefed”.

fatman-eating

You can tie any kind of ribbon around it that you want, but weight loss requires a sacrifice. While treats aren’t off the menu completely, many people will indulge in a treat once per day OR over indulge in a treat meal (that often extends into the day or weekend) and that will all add up to stored fat. Then, you’re back at it on Monday.

Pro Tip: Limit treats to 1 meal, once a week MAX in the beginning. If you’re weight isn’t dropping, try once every 2 weeks. If you’re struggling with weight fluctuations AND indulging in drinks….skip the alcohol altogether for 6 weeks and see what happens.

5. We translate a hard workout into calories burned.

p90x

On average, we overestimate the amount of calories we burn by about 30%. If we perceive a workout to be tough, we will consume extra calories to “make up for it”, but the body will only store those calories.

Pro Tip: Don’t think in terms of calories. Know how many macronutrients you need (a good macro calculator is at bodybuilding.com) and stay in that framework NO matter the workout.

6. We blame somebody else.

cookie monster

I get this time and time again and I cannot stress this enough: weight loss depends solely on the one carrying the weight. A trainer and/or nutritionist can give you a guideline to help speed things up and help you over the bumps in the road, but the changes necessary for weight loss to occur are yours to make. You spend every waking minute with yourself….nobody can change you but you.

Pro Tip: Suck it up. Check your foods, portions and workout effort to increase your own results.

 

Till next time,

Michelle

Safety Tips for Your Kids….especially if they walk to school

I know, school has probably already started and you are ALMOST used to your schedule….read anyways.

As I walked my daughter to school this morning, I noticed a few key things about some of our fellow walkers (most of which I past on my way back). Not to get you all scared, but children are most at risk when walking to school…especially if they do so alone. The following tips will help your child feel safer AND they’re great for fending off bullies as well :)

  1. LOOK UP. OK, I know it took weeks to convince your mom to drop that major change on those pumped up kicks, but that’s no reason to stare at them all day. Walking with your head down sends one clear message to bullies and attackers: EASY TARGET.
  2. If you need to talk, make the call. If your kid has a phone, they should have their nose buried in it while walking. If they need to talk to Mom, tell them to call (who DOES that?!?!?!) instead of text. Not only does it send the message of an easy target, but now you have an easy target with a phone…SCORE!
  3. Make eye contact. You don’t have to feel like you have to smile ALL THE TIME, but do let people know you see them. As in “I can totally pick you out of a line up if needed”. In studies (who studies this stuff? The POLICE), attackers were found less likely to follow through on an attack if they thought they could be identified.
  4. If you can find some responsible buddies to walk to school with you, then do it.
  5. Go over alternate routes with your kids. They should have at least one other way of walking to school should the need arise.

Just a few quick tips to keep your kiddos safe. I know we don’t all have the luxury of holding their hand on walks to school (hey, some don’t want us to), but an effort in keeping them safe on the walk and in the halls will show that you care about them and boost their confidence.

Have a safe and healthy day,

Michelle

And yes, my kids have been taught all of this and more. You don’t travel to regions where trafficking is high without knowing how to protect yourself…

My Daughter and Me: Showing the Guns! :)

My Daughter and Me: Showing the Guns! :)

Kick in the Pants Monday: June 23, 2014

QOTD: Do you REALLY want help?

 

Essential ABS for ANYONE

This is my precious daughters very first fitness video!

This abs series can be modified to any fitness level, but it is meant to be tough.

Perform each movement for 30 seconds consecutively 5x through. Then bump the time to 45 seconds and eventually a minute, leading up to 5 minutes. Wowza! You’ll have flatter, more functional abs in no time.

Do this circuit on its own a couple of times during the day to help tighten and tone the abs, or add it to your workout.

Either way, put in the effort and you will be rewarded!

Michelle (and Deb)

It’s FUN FRIDAY! Answers to your questions covering food, diet and bras

Thirsty Thursday! Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies, My Fave Coffee Treat, and a Watermelon Chiller

Nutrition can be a whole mess of fun if you would just loosen the reigns a bit really. I hardly ever follow recipes, rather I just follow my taste buds. I encourage you to do the same!

Here are this weeks offerings for your palate. Play around and see what happens :)

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

I love living a life where I can have cookies for breakfast! And at 90 cals per serving (about 3 cookies), you’ll feel satisfied and still have room for a yummy coffee treat.

Dry Ingredients:

3 Cups oatmeal (whole, uncooked)

1 cup whole wheat flower

1 cup unbleached bread flour (this makes them chewy)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1.5 teaspoons apple pie spice

Mix together in large bowl.

Wet Ingredients:

2T unsalted butter (softened)

2 T EVOO

1 cup no sugar added apple sauce

1 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup all natural turbinado sugar

1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup dark molasses (all natural, unfiltered)

1/2 cup dates (optional)

1 cup raisins (optional)

Whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add butter, oil, egg and turbinado and mix on medium/high until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients (except dried fruit) and mix on low until combined. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Once combined, fold in dried fruits.

Place on cookie sheet (they will rise, but not spread) and into oven preheated at 450 degrees F.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until outer edges are very slightly brown.

This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies, so share! :)

My Fave Coffee Treat

This is a truly indulgent treat for me and I enjoy every sip. You will need to break out the old french press for this one.

In small sauce pan pour 1 cup no sugar, plain coconut/almond milk. Place whole cinnamon stick inside and heat on low (you don’t want to bring milk to a boil).

Do a coarse grind on quality coffee beans (I use Starbucks Sumatra) and place in press. Add 1-2 teaspoons turbinado sugar and a dash of nutmeg.

Once milk is warm pour into press and let stand for 3-5 minutes.

Press slowly and serve in your fave mug. Little bit og heaven :)

Watermelon Chiller

There is NOTHING better on a sweltering day than watermelon right? This is super easy and a great crown pleaser.

In blender combine:

3 cups seeded watermelon

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

juice of 1 lime

pinch of salt

Blend and serve chilled.

The almond milk provides a bit of protein, but doesn’t curdle since it’s not dairy (important on hot days!)

You can add other fruits to the mix for more flavor and even a little vodka, for adults only!

Until next time, hope you have a safe and happy Thursday!

Michelle