Category Archives: Mindset

Finding The Love

There are lots of reasons why people start working out and eating better, but there is only one reason why they will stick with a program in the long run – LOVE.

Sounds weird to say “love” though doesn’t it? But that is exactly what happens.

You either fall in love with the routine and how you FEEL. Or maybe both.

Because, if you don’t enjoy and love your new habits, they aren’t going to stick.

The motivation of a big event, a New Year’s Resolution or even a doctor’s visit saying you need to get your ducks in a row is only fleeting unfortunately. Amazing that it is, but that motivation doesn’t last.

So if you don’t love or enjoy what you are doing, you aren’t going to stick with a healthy lifestyle in the long run. And the long run is what matters.

People always ask, “How long do I have to eat this way for results? How long do I have to continue to workout?”

And the answer is, “In some form or fashion…FOREVER.”

You don’t just eat differently for a few months and then go back to old habits. Or if you do, you are bound to end up right back where you started even if you initial got results.

Plus eating well and working out don’t have to be miserable…actually the SHOULDN’T be miserable.

You should find a balance that you enjoy and include foods and workout routines that you enjoy.

Being healthy doesn’t mean giving up everything you love to eat lettuce and spend hours in the gym…heck I hate lettuce….now cauliflower on the other hand…

Anyway, I guess my point is that you have to do things because you enjoy doing them or find a way to fall in love with the lifestyle.

Because the motivation to look better for an event is fleeting. Plus, honestly, while it can get you started, it isn’t very good motivation because you aren’t addressing the real issues of FEELING BETTER about yourself and becoming more confident.

Falling in love with the program and setting other goals is what makes you stick with the healthy habits long-term – it is what makes the process fun.

If you don’t enjoy the journey, you aren’t going to stick with your program very long.

And, as I mentioned above, the long-term is what leads to true results and you not only looking, but also feeling, the way you want to feel.

So stop looking for a short-term solution and figure out something you love that makes you feel good. Because that is what eating clean and working out should do – they should make you FEEL BETTER and be more confident.

Shoot…They can also, and SHOULD also, be FUN!

So how do you strike a balance? How have you made the process of working toward your goals fun? How did you fall in love with the lifestyle!?!

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Are you ready to take a small step forward?

With a New Year, we start to consider all the things we would like to accomplish – all the drastic changes we would like to make.

We set these lofty goals and dream of all the things we can accomplish. Yet rarely do we actually breakdown our goals into achievable pieces and PLAN out how we are going to get there.

We seem to set New Year’s Resolutions with no actual plan to accomplish them.

And you may be thinking to yourself, “No…I always want to accomplish my New Years Resolutions.”

But stop and think about how often you actually consider HOW you are going to accomplish those goals. Usually you don’t. You just state or write down WHAT you want to accomplish and never really go any further than that.

Yes. You may be motivated and really want to reach your goals. But you aren’t setting yourself up to actually follow through if you don’t PLAN.

So on this first day of 2015 take time to not only write down your Resolutions, but also write down how you plan to accomplish them.

And break those plans down into bite-sized pieces. Give yourself SMALL STEPS you can take right away.

Don’t leave yourself with a huge goal that you don’t know how to start – that may even seem so daunting that you don’t know where to start so end up never moving forward.

Break it down and give yourself small manageable tasks to do that will add up to big results and help you get the momentum going.

Remember, even a small step forward is a step forward. And consistent progress in the right direction adds up!

So write down your New Year’s Resolutions and PLAN out how you will reach those goals.

Happy New Year and what small step forward are you planning to take in 2015 to achieve your Resolutions!?!

Do you ask yourself “Where do I feel this?”

I think one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves when doing exercises is – “Where do I feel this?”

Because even if we have perfect form, we may not be activating the correct muscles.

Activation requires us sometimes to actually concentrate on getting the muscles working.

So when you do glute bridges, don’t just go through the motions….Think about squeezing your glutes and make sure to concentrate extra hard on getting them to work.

This focus on the muscles working improves our mind-body connection and makes sure we get the most out of the movement and don’t just go through the motions.

And not only does asking ourselves, “Where do I feel this” get us to make sure the correct muscles are activating, but it also allows us to know if we are doing a movement correctly.

If you don’t have a mirror to check your form, but you feel the correct muscles working, you are most likely doing the movement correctly.

So by asking yourself where you feel the move, you are making sure your form is correct and that the correct muscles are working.

You may even find that sometimes, even though you have the correct form, the correct muscles AREN’T actually working.

For example, glute bridges…Bridge up off the ground extending your hips. This could look correct, but that doesn’t mean your butt is actually activating. It could look right, but you could actually be loading only your hamstrings or low back.

The question is what are you working? Where do you feel it? When is the last time you thought about it? Or do you just usually think about bridging up as high as you can?

Height doesn’t matter. Feeling it in your glutes and consciously squeezing them as hard as possible is what matters.

So right now, try the glute bridge. Where do you feel it? Are you actually working the correct muscles?

No? Maybe adjust where your feet are. Try not to bridge up as high. Concentrate on squeezing your glutes. FEEL the move in the correct muscles!

By asking yourself where you feel it, you will get more out of your workouts.

And all of you trainers out there…You need to not only ask yourself this question so you can better coach moves, but you also need to ask your clients where they feel movements.

It will improve their mind-body connection and allow them to know if they are doing moves correctly when you aren’t there. It will get them even better results and improve their coordination.

FEELING THE MOVES HELPS YOU GET MORE OUT OF YOUR WORKOUTS!

So stop going through the motions and concentrate on where you feel movements. It will improve your body awareness and make your stronger and more coordinated!

P.S. If you are doing the glute challenge, you may want to try these 20 Glute Bridge Variations!

glute-bridge-and-curl

What I hear when you say I CAN’T

I don’t mind complaining. I don’t mind whining….As long as you try!

But I can’t stand when someone says I can’t.

Because when you say “I CAN’T” all I hear is – I DON’T WANT TO TRY.

Or even I DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT MY GOALS.

Yup…”I can’t” really just means you don’t want to try.

And don’t start making excuses about how that isn’t the case…Because it is.

Most of the time we don’t say “I can’t” if we’ve worked really hard and given it all we’ve got and things just don’t work out. Then we say “I tried,” or “It doesn’t work.”

Not “I can’t.”

“I can’t” is just us giving up. It is us saying our goals really aren’t worth trying.

It is basically us making up an excuse to keep failing at reaching our goal.

It is you telling me that I am wasting my time helping you because you are never going to accomplish your goals because you don’t have the right mindset.

Harsh…Yea a little. But true.

You are also wasting your OWN time working toward something if every time you encounter a problem or hurdle you say “I can’t.”

So what advice can I give you? Decide if your goals are worth risking failure! Because results come when you put yourself in uncomfortable situations and do things you don’t normally do.

And honestly what is really the worst thing that can happen if you TRY? You fail? It doesn’t work and you’re still stuck at the same spot you’re in now?

Well, you definitely won’t move forward if you don’t give it a shot and instead just keep doing the same old things.

Because you can’t expect a different result doing the same old things.

So why not at least TRY!?!

Why say “I can’t” before you’ve even given it a shot? If you really want to reach your goals, you’ve got to be willing to TRY NEW THINGS THAT YOU AREN’T COMFORTABLE WITH!

So next time you think about saying “I can’t” consider what you really mean. Is it really that you “can’t” or is it more that you don’t want to or are scared to try and fail?

If you want it, you have to WORK

Despite being told hundreds of thousands of times, and our common sense yelling at us that there is no magic pill, we still hold out hope. We still believe that someone out there just doesn’t have to do anything and they look, feel and live the life of their dreams without ever having to suffer or sweat or work for it.

And I’m sorry but that’s just ridiculous.

At some time, in some way, everyone has had to work and sweat for their success. At some point they’ve had to sacrifice (even if they somewhat enjoy the sacrifice) and put long-term goals ahead of instant gratification and enjoyment.

Because the simple fact is that success means HARD WORK. It does mean some sacrifice. It does mean sometimes thinking long-term instead of simply living in the moment.

And it also means taking risks that could lead to failure. Failures that make you then reassess and adapt. That test your drive and dedication.

Failures that can make you better if you pick yourself back up and again…WORK HARD.

I know we’ve all seen the fitspo that say:

And honestly…It’s so true!

Often when we see people enjoying the fruits of their labors, we don’t think about all the work they had to put in to get there. We just see them enjoying their success and then assume it was easy for them.

But trust me. They worked. And they may not remember all of the sacrifices, and they may even romanticize the journey now that it is done, but they freaking worked hard.

Because achieving your goals really does means working hard. There is no magic pill. There really is no short cut. There really is no one that is just so lucky to have everything come easily to them.

So stop spending a lot of time and energy looking for a short cut. Apply that time and energy toward something beneficial…Like actually WORKING toward your goals.

And can I also say…This goes hand in hand with MAKING TIME FOR YOUR GOALS.

Let’s face it…There is never enough time in the day. But if you want something bad enough, you will make time. You will make it a priority.

So stop making excuses and searching for something that doesn’t exist. Instead get started working toward your goals before the New Year. Why not go into this New Year already moving forward? Why not WORK HARD and MAKE TIME for what you want!?!

Because if you want to succeed, if you want to make this next year an even better one, you will have to find the time to work hard at your goals. No Ifs, Ands or Butts about it!

Ah! There’s Candy EVERYWHERE!

Around this time of year all our good intentions are forgotten and healthy eating is abandoned.

There is candy every where. Treats everywhere. Parties all the time.

This kind of freaked me out…

And goals are forgotten because it just doesn’t seem possible to eat well with all the temptations around.

But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Both reaching your goals and indulging can coexist.

You just have to find balance.

I tell people all the time PLAN AHEAD. And that is simply what you need to do around this time of year.

We all know that candy will be everywhere. That baked goods will be given to us on a daily basis.

But that doesn’t mean we have to indulge in every single thing. However, it also doesn’t mean we have to completely resist things that we love.

It is all about finding a balance and having a plan of action to know how and when to resist or indulge.

Maybe treating yourself after lunch to one of those pieces of candy you have to stare at all day every day, helps you stay on track. Or maybe you know that eating one will lead to an all out binge so you resist knowing you would rather have a piece of pumpkin pie later.

The point is that you need to plan, to think ahead so that you don’t completely destroy all the hard work you’ve put in for months yet you also don’t deprive yourself so much that either you can’t enjoy parties or you end up binging because you are so miserable.

There is no one right answer to find balance.

But it does really help to know how you are going to handle the situation. To plan. And to TRACK.

If you keep a food log, you know what you consume each day and can see how it all adds up. For many of my clients, they are following macro guidelines.

And knowing that they may be tempted by candies or cakes, they plan ahead to fit in a treat now and then.

Because eating clean doesn’t mean perfection.

I know I’ve said this a bazillion times but it needs to be repeated. Especially now when often people let one little treat turn into a full on binge, which turns into forgotten goals.

You don’t need to let trying to eat well around the holidays make you feel deprived or stressed. Just find a BALANCE and PLAN AHEAD!

Remember what is important and really decide if you want the candy or if it is just there. Also decide if you will enjoy the treat or just feel guilty.

Because if you are indulging make it count and ENJOY IT!

How hard is hard enough?

I’m often asked how you know if you are working hard enough…especially since I tell people who being sore or feeling destroyed after a workout isn’t the best indicator of whether or not you had a great workout.

My answer, “Well it depends on your goals and/or the purpose of the workout!”

Not every workout needs to make you sore for days or leave you feeling like you are going to barf or die.

Working “hard enough” truly means challenging yourself so you can move forward toward your goals.

But if your workouts have no purpose and your goals aren’t clearly outlined, you can never really know if you are working hard enough unless of course you destroy yourself each and every time.

However, destroying yourself doesn’t mean you will necessarily be moving forward toward your goals. Because moving forward means working out SMART.

 

Because working SMART and working HARD are not the same thing.

You can work hard and get nowhere….

So maybe we shouldn’t be worrying about working hard enough so much as working smart…Which as I said above means having a purpose for your workouts and clearly outlined goals.

It also means TRACKING what you are doing so you can see improvements and progress toward your goals.

For instance, if you want to strengthen your glutes you want to challenge yourself to lift more each and every time. However, if you constantly are doing different exercises, you don’t really know if you are lifting more because each move will require different loads.

And just because you are sore after each glute workout doesn’t mean you are getting stronger.

So in order to really see if you are getting stronger, you need to have a move you can compare – a move you can add a little more weight to each week.

Notice I said a LITTLE MORE. You don’t want to make drastic changes each week because you also need to do a workout that doesn’t make you so sore you can’t do the other workouts you have scheduled for the week.

Basically you need to workout SMART.

It isn’t about pushing your limits every time. It is about creating CHANGE. Because destruction doesn’t guarantee results…Smart progress and change does!

Don’t just throw together workouts that make you work hard! PLAN OUT workouts that make you PROGRESS.

One of my favorite workouts to prove that feeling destroyed at the end isn’t the only measure of how hard you worked is the POWER WORKOUT.

The point of the power workout is to make you more explosive and improve your mind-body connection. Workouts like this make you stronger and help you recruit more muscle fibers faster and more efficiently.

A Power Workout leaves you feeling like you could do more at the end. You work for like 8-12 seconds and then you rest for about 5 times the length of time you worked.

When you rest, you should feel completely ready to go again. And you may even feel ready to go before you start. But you need the rest so you can be just as explosive each round as you were the first time.

Because a Power Workout isn’t about going to failure. It is about being super explosive each and every time. Which means you need to REST.

At the end of the workout, you shouldn’t feel destroyed. But doing this type of workout will create change and help you progress toward your goals.

Because working “hard enough” with a power workout doesn’t mean making yourself barf. It means being as explosive and powerful as you can for the short burst and then completely recovering.

Because working “hard enough” doesn’t really matter in the end if you aren’t moving toward your goals.

Focus on working out SMART.

Focus on creating a PLAN that leads to progress and RESULTS.

So stop asking if you are working out hard enough and focus on working toward your goals!

It all boils down to MINDSET

I often roll my eyes when I see quotes like this:

But today it got me to thinking about how much your success is completely and utterly dependent on your MINDSET.

Because if you want something enough, you will find a way…which is what, today, I interpreted the above fitspo to mean.

We make time for things that matter. We make time for things we want.

We prioritize things even when we are busy.

When you say you don’t have time to exercise, time to eat well, you are basically just saying those things aren’t a priority to you.

And honestly, that is your choice. They don’t have to be.

But if you want to make changes, if you want a different result than the one you are currently getting, you need to change your priorities and your mindset.

As Einstein says:

Seems to obvious yet, for some reason, most people do expect different results without changing their behaviors.

And maybe that is because often our diet and exercise programs merely focuses on new behaviors and not changing the mentally and mindset behind our current behaviors.

I’ve said it numerous times before, but I think that exercise can be empowering. I think it can change our mental attitude and make us into stronger, more confident people inside and outside of the gym.

But it isn’t as simple as just lifting weights and BAM! we are more confident.

It is about the positive self-talk we learn to do so that we can lift heavier.

It is about the strength we find because we learn how to mentally push ourselves further.

It is because in the gym we can learn a new mentality IF we take the time and don’t just go through the motions of exercising.

Because it isn’t enough to simply DO something. Mindless action isn’t enough.

You need to be intentional.

And I’m not even talking right now about designing workouts or eating according to your goals.

I’m talking about thinking through things and changing your mindset.

If you haven’t been getting results, you probably really haven’t changed anything. And if you haven’t changed anything it is because mentally nothing has changed.

You probably still have the same mindset.

The thing is, mindset is way harder to change than actions, but to truly change your behaviors in the long run, you need to change your mindset.

That is why you need to take a good look at yourself any time you want to start creating a program to work toward new goals.

Assess what has hindered you getting results before. Was it really the program or the fact that you made excuses?

Honestly….It was probably excuses.

And if it was excuses, what were your common excuses? Stress? Lack of time? Didn’t enjoy it? It was too hard?

Consider those excuses.

Now think of how you are going to OVERCOME them.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Plain and simple.

Did you lack motivation when you got stressed?

Could you then think of something to keep you extra motivated during times of stress?

Maybe a visual would help? Or getting friends involved. Or maybe simply having to log public would hold you accountable.

Or maybe simply it was creating something you could mentally prioritize. Like instead of going to the gym when you are stressed, you can put going for a walk ahead of simply going home and watching TV.

Or maybe you could make 15 minutes of working out at home a priority even if you can’t go to the gym.

The crazy thing is…All of these things will change your behaviors and your mindset.

They will get you moving in the right direction while changing how you prioritize and see things. They will create ways for you to mentally overcome the excuses and change your mindset.

Because success boils down to MINDSET.

switch-mindset

You could have the best laid plans, the perfect program out there, and it won’t work if you don’t have the right mindset and really get yourself to truly adhere to it and give it your all.

So if you want to achieve results this week, how are you going to change your mindset?

What keeps you motivated and has helped you prioritize working toward your goals?

Two Simply Rules For Better Health

I get asked diet and exercise questions all day, every day…And I love it.

And what I’ve seen with these questions is that we love to overcomplicate things and focus on the details when the overall picture is still fuzzy and incomplete.

It is almost easier for us to hone in on one piece of the puzzle instead of first outlining all the basics.

We skip starting with the two most important rules and jump right into micromanaging a few very specific things.

I think we do this because it is EASY.

It is easier to focus on a few little details than it is to get the big picture in order.

For some reason it is easier to make dieting and exercising overly complicated than it is to focus on the basics.

Why this is the case?

Honestly I have no idea. It baffles me.

Because the truth of the matter is – being healthy is pretty simple.

But most likely we get stuck on the details because we want a quick fix. A simply fix. Or maybe it is because we want something to blame when we lose motivation and fail to reach our goals.

No matter what the reasoning is…We need to stop doing it.

Because really there are only two things out there you need to do to be healthy:

1. Eat whole natural foods.

2. BE ACTIVE.

Yup…two things. And really two very easy things.

You don’t need to starve yourself or deprive yourself. And you don’t need to spend hours in the gym.

You just need to eat whole natural foods and move around!

You don’t need to worry about macros, or types of protein or meal timing if your basic diet isn’t even in line.

Start with a focus on whole natural foods and then hash out the details.

Seriously….you aren’t going to draw a face starting with detailing out the nostril before you even know where the nostril fits on the face are you!?! I mean…I’m not artist but that just seems ridiculous!

Same goes for exercise. People claim all they don’t have time to workout, but what they are really saying is  “I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym like it seems I need to do to get into shape.”

And maybe that is simply their excuse to not workout because they don’t want to.

Because it is simply not the case.

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym or even go to a gym to be healthy.

You just need to be active!

Heck if you even get up and stretch and move around for 5 minutes every hour or so you are off to a good start! (Try these 10 Desk Exercises!)

If you even take your puppy for a walk in the mornings and afternoons, you are being more active than most.

Just first get moving than improve your activity so that it is helping you to reach your specific goals.

Don’t feel you have to jump right into an hour-long workout 6 days a week if you aren’t even currently moving for at least 15 minutes every day!

STOP OVERCOMPLICATING THINGS AND MAKING EXCUSES!

Start with the basics…Create an outline, a solid foundation and then, once that becomes habit, start working on the details.

Take Responsibility And Want It For Yourself

I’ve had to deal with this a lot as a trainer…I’ve had to deal with seeing the potential in someone, in investing a ton of time and energy into helping them succeed, only to see them fail because they didn’t truly want it for themselves.

Because no matter how hard I encourage, how many of the tools I give them, success boils down to one thing – How bad do YOU want it for YOURSELF?

Are you ready to take responsibility for your actions and make things happen?

Because no one else can want it for you. No one else can get you there.

No one else can help you stay on track or cause you to fall off.

You are completely in control whether or not you believe it…whether or not you want to take responsibility for the fact that only you can want and achieve your goals.

Taking responsibility is knowing that whether you succeed or fail is ALL UP TO YOU.

But it is hard to take responsibility because that means it is your fault if you fail.

It is way easier to blame external factors and make up excuses than it is to take responsibility and work hard for results.

It is way easier not to hold yourself accountable and to believe that things weren’t within your control.

The simple truth though is – YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR FATE.

Yea…Shit happens…But if you want something, you will find a way. If you fail, you will hold yourself accountable, take a look at your actions and make changes.

Because even though you can’t control everything or even plan for half of the stuff that happens, you can take responsibility for your actions and your reactions to life.

You can hold yourself responsible for how you handle situations and pick yourself up after you fall.

Success isn’t about perfection. It is about learning and growing and constantly improving. But to learn, grow and improve, you must believe you are in control. You must hold yourself accountable for the actions you take and the results, both good and bad, that occur.

Only you can truly make things happen for yourself.

It isn’t luck that makes people successful…It is freaking hard work and taking responsibility for their lives that makes them successful.

As they say….

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