Do MORE than Survive this Holiday season

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Before you start clicking away, I GET IT!

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

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

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

Trust me, I know…..

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

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

Then let’s get going :)

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1. Have a strategy.

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

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2. Say NO more often.

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

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3. Make some time to workout during the Holidays.

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

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4. Do something GOOD.

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

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5. Finally, be GRATEFUL.

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

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

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

xoxo,

Michelle

 

Move-meant: Part 2

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

Hope you had a great weekend :)

Today is your lucky day!!!!

Why?

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

I can almost feel your excitement……

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

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

SCIENCE!!!!!

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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….

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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?

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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

 

Workouts to get in TOP shape for summer

Hello there!

The warm breezes have already started and our air conditioner is getting zero breaks right now…..the countdown to SUMMER is here!

We have less than 6 weeks to summer and I am pumped!

I get excited at the prospect of a fun summer every year, but this summer will prove to be particularly memorable.

How about you? Are you entering into warmer weather ready to take on the season? OR do you perhaps feel as though you wish you had a few more weeks to prepare?

Have no fear!

Today I have some workouts for YOU to implement over the next 6 weeks that will help to tighten your muscle and shed excess fat. All you need is consistency and a bit of a tweaked nutrition plan (see more below).

ENJOY! Oh, and cut your body some slack……it’s been there for you all along. So learn to work WITH it, not against it.

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THE PLAN.

Here’s the deal; you HAVE to lift some weights in order to get that tight and “toned” look you say you want. So, that’s what you’ll be doing.

Three days a week, you’ll be hitting the iron. Monday and Friday will be lower body days, while Wednesday will etch in the upper body.

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will be cardio days, adapted to get the most results in the minimum effective dose.

The CARDIO.

Your cardio will be performed in a 2-1 ratio of work to rest. If you are not quite ready for this intensity, try a 1-1 ratio and build up. IF you stay consistent, you’ll feel better in no time.

The minimum effective dose is 20-40 minutes of this type of cardio. If you have a lot of fat to lose, opt for 40 minutes. If you’re just starting out, try 20 and move forward as you can.

Some examples are as follows:

  • Treadmill climb. Warm up for 5 minutes, then set the incline at a level 3 and speed between 3.5-4.5. Walk this for 1 minute. Lower the speed to 3.0-3.5 and take the incline between 12-15. Walk this for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration of your workout, finishing with a cool down walk for 5 minutes.
  • Step mill. Start with a 3-5 minute easy warm up at a level 3. Take it to a level 6-8 for 1 minute and then a level 8-10 for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration and end with a 5 minute cool down.
  • Tread Jog. Warm up 3-5 minutes. Take the speed to a fast paced walk for 1 minute, then jack it up to a jog for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration and end with a cool down walk.

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THE WORKOUTS

Lower body days you will focus on ALL the muscles of your lower body PLUS a little bit of abdominal work. Warm up for 5-7 minutes beforehand.

SQUATS. 1 set of 20 reps to warm up, then 3 sets of 10-15 as heavy as you can.

LEG PRESS. 3 sets of 10-15 reps

DEADLIFTS (bar OR dumbbells). 2 sets of 10-12 reps

LEG EXTENSIONS. 3 sets of 10-15 reps

LEG CURLS (seated or lying) 3 sets of 10-15 reps

CALF RAISES. 2 sets of 15 reps

BACK EXTENSIONS. 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps (no weight added)

PLANK 60-90 second hold, 2-3 sets

Make sure you foam roll, stretch, and cool down before you leave.

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Upper Body Day will give you a well rounded physique and bring balance to your entire body. With tank top season right around the corner, this workout will build muscle and confidence.

Warm up for 5-7 minutes. I recommend foam rolling beforehand.

BENCH PRESS (or dumbbell chest press) 1 set of 15 reps, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

SEATED DB OVERHEAD PRESS 3 sets of 8-10 reps

DB ROW 3 sets of 10 reps

LAT PULLDOWN 3 sets of 10 reps

DB CURLS 2 sets of 10 reps

TRICEP PUSHDOWN (or seated dip) 3 sets of 10 reps

CAPTAIN’S CHAIR (or hanging) LEG RAISES 3 sets of 10-30 reps

Make sure to foam roll, stretch and cool down.

mc-7059 Need help with the weight? Check out THIS POST on how heavy you should go.

NUTRITION

All the workouts in the world will not help if you aren’t fueling properly.

Instead of focusing on taking away, try to focus on upgrading your nutrition. Make pre and post workout meals your top priority for the first week. Your macros surrounding your workouts should have higher carbs and fewer fibers and fats. My go-to of the moment is cream of rice mixed with a scoop of whey protein. I eat it cold pre and post workout and it tastes like pudding :) Other options include whey protein shakes (some, Like LABRADA offer the perfect ratio of carbs, fats and proteins ready to drink), raisins, rice cakes, toast, lean lunch meat, etc. A pre-workout should be taken in 30-45 minutes prior to hitting the workout. Post workout protein uptake usually happens within 30 minutes, BUT research has shown that the body is susceptible to greater protein uptake up to 2 hours post workout. In other words, don’t let that be a stressor.

Protein intake does NOT need to exceed your need. In order to create a lean physique you do need an adequate amount of protein. Try eating protein at every meal to ensure an adequate intake. Vary your protein for maximum satiety. You can try chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meats, game, whey, casein, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. Take the time to explore and see what works best for you.

Drink PLENTY of water throughout your fat loss phase. I suggest aiming for a gallon a day for most (your tea and coffee intake can count towards this), but start where you are and add daily.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Remember, the body needs TIME to change. You can expect GREAT improvement with this workout plan in just 6 weeks, but ONLY If you are vigilant and consistent. If you have a lot of fat to lose, know that these 6 weeks will give you a large jumpstart, so don’t get discouraged. Be kind to your body and it will return the favor.

See you soon!

Michelle

 

 

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.

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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

 

 

Meal Planning and Prep Made SUPER Easy

Most busy moms lead the kind of life that makes us want to use the NO TIME excuse when it comes to the kitchen.

While I do support family involvement when it comes to meal planning and prepping, you can become the Wonder Woman of your domain AND reach your goals by learning a few simple tips.

Wonder Woman Approves

  1. Be prepared. For starters, if you haven’t planned and prepped before, don’t expect a fail-free start from the blocks. This is the kind of skill that can go on a resume!
  2. Have a list. I so have you covered on this one with a video shared with my Healthy Holidays challenge group HERE.
  3. Don’t go to the store starving. Seriously, I speak from experience and cleaning out all of the Valentine candy on 80% off.
  4. If possible, wash and chop veggies when you get home. You and I both know you don’t want to do that later! It’s a chore, so invest in good containers and wash and chop it all when you get home.
  5. If the weather is still a bit cool (or you’re weird like me) throw your anti-inflammatory soup on to cook. Then, put your chickens in the roaster with some onions, carrots, potatoes and various spices (set roaster for 375 degrees and cook 90 minutes for PERFECTLY roasted chickens). You can then turn your chickens into various meals throughout the week.
  6. If you are like me and pack your kids lunches, have them get involved by prepping and bagging the veggies (if they help, they are far more likely to eat it).
  7. If you’re just starting out, set a timer for yourself and please don’t turn the TV on! It will distract you and before you know it, the movie is over and you’re feeling spent. Set your timer for an hour and see how much you can accomplish.
  8. Remember the goal: it’s not to cook and package every single meal. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of reheated meals. The goal here is to prep as much as possible ahead of time. Most nights I can throw dinner together in 15-20 minutes with the food I have prepped. The entire meals I cook beforehand are usually spaghetti and chili since they get better with age :)
  9. Take a look at some of the BLOG POSTS I have about meal prep and the art of mastering your kitchen HERE.
  10. If you need more info on mastering NUTRITION, I have you covered HERE.

In good health,

Michelle

How To Find Motivation When There Is No Finish Line

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Eyes on the prize.

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

You persevered and you did it! You won!

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

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

The slippery post challenge slop has begun…

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

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

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

Connect to your big picture goal.

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

It’s not always about winning.

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

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

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

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

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

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About Pamela:

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

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

 

 

 

 

The Motivation Monday Blues

Have you dealt with waning motivation?

If you said NO, then you may have a problem with lying and that is for another day ;)

Motivation is the key topic of many posts, pictures, plans, articles, Instagram accounts (yes, entire accounts) and even YouTube videos.

Why?

Because we all feel this NEED to be motivated.

The interesting thing is that we are not all motivated by the same thing, so the magic formula for motivation is non-existent.

Sometimes, we may truly need a break from the normal activities of daily life. Other times, we may be over worked or over stressed. Illness can douse our motivation as well.

There is a whole world of things that motivate us and an equally large world of things that can seemingly zap our motivation in the blink of an eye.

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I will confess that my own personal motivation has been at a low 4 for a while now.

I’m dealing with a body that has seemingly betrayed me, so my go-to of sweating it out just won’t do right now.

Valentine’s Day was spent recovering from a stomach bug that was brought on by what appeared to be depression (I use exercise to combat depression and it’s been slow going for the last several weeks), and I spent the entire day doing NOTHING but binge watching Netflix and throwing in one movie (one of the Hobbits as my daughter has decided she is totally Team Kili…..ah, young love). Please note: sitting and doing NOTHING does not make for more motivation.

So, how do you bust through a period of low motivation?

Here are a few tried and true tips that have always worked for me, but rest assured I am also calling in an expert to post this week as well ;)

  1. Get outside. Now, I know some of you may be weathering the cold, but down here…well, I can get outside anytime at all. Research shows that even a short walk in the sunshine can help vitamin D production, which makes you a happier person to be around.
  2. Watch your diet. When I’m feeling down I tend to want to eat junk. Heavy foods or sugary fare become the norm and seem to perpetuate the sluggish state of mind. So, load up on fresh fruits and vegetables to give your cells a quick pick me up.
  3. Stop the deprivation. The term DIET above referred to your food intake in general. Now, if you are partaking in a deprivation or hard ruled diet right now, you are setting yourself up for motivational fatigue. Ditch the fad diets and eat for energy.
  4. Switch up your routine. Try something new. Go to a new fitness class at your gym OR try a different gym altogether. A fresh atmosphere can generate some newfound mojo.
  5. Check your basics. Are you getting enough water, calories, movement, sleep, social outings, etc? We need to make sure our basics are covered before we can shovel on the load of life. So take a step back and re-evaluate.
  6. Watch your drinking habits. I, as you know, love coffee and wine; however, these 2 things can cause a lag in hormone production which will in turn cause a lag in motivation. Try to cut back at least and maybe cut out at most (I’m going a month with zero wine to help reset everything) to give your hormones a fighting chance.
  7. Talk it out. If you have a therapist, go. If you don’t, then find a friend. Get the stuff in the basement taken care of so you can start looking at life with a fresh perspective.

Remember, motivation can be a fickle friend, so depend on creating HABIT to help you reach your goals.

To your good health,

Michelle

Post Superbowl (or any indulgence) Survival Guide

First off, CONGRATS to the Broncos for the win!

And second…….how are you feeling?

I’m not talking about whether or not your team won. I’m talking about some of the morning/day after indulgence issues that can creep up on you.

Maybe you stayed up late celebrating or lamenting last night. Perhaps you drank a little too much party punch, OR maybe you enjoyed a few too many of the delicious foods associated with Super Bowl.

Any way you slice it, we can sometimes have a bit of a rough time the day after.

So what do you do?

Here are a few short and sweet ways to get over it :) whatever IT may be.

still full snoopy

  1. Forgive and forget. Don’t berate yourself for poor food choices, excessive consumption, or lack of sleep. What’s done is done and making like a certain Disney character and letting it go will serve you far better than feeling poorly about yourself.
  2. Hydrate. While it is best to enter into temptation hydrated, most of us don’t make those preparations. Make sure you get a minimum of 1/2 your body weight in ounces of pure water today to combat dehydration. Remind yourself that signs of dehydration can include trouble focusing and headaches.
  3. Try mindful movement. Instead of beating yourself up on the elliptical or weights, consider putting those excess calories to good use through some mindful movement. What is that? Well, it’s anything that makes your body feel GOOD. For me, it was a nice session with my kettle bells. It can be a long walk, a dance break, a yoga class, a tennis game with a friend, or anything that gets your body moving and blood pumping (woohoo).
  4. Don’t practice deprivation. Drastically cutting calories or refusing to eat can have a backlash effect on your metabolism and result in lack of energy and even worse overall health.
  5. Focus on NUTRIENT density instead of calories. Turn your focus to real foods today and I promise your body will thank you in the end.

Five simple steps that can get you back on track and feeling more like yourself by tomorrow. Take it easy, stay hydrated, get some movement and celebrate a victory for everybody.

Stay healthy,

Michelle

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

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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

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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?

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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 :)