Category Archives: Rants

Age is an Attitude

Stop telling me you can’t do something because you are “x” amount of years old.

We’ve all heard the saying that “Age is just a number.”

But age is more than that….It is an attitude.

Our bodies and minds can be “old” or “young” at any age. It just depends on our attitude toward life and our desire and drive to stay young and active.

Just think about all of the Olympic athletes competing, and even WINNING, when they are supposedly old for the sport.

While yes, as we age our body does go through changes, we never have to FEEL old. We never have to have pain and injury sideline us so that we can’t enjoy life as we once did.

push

 

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Trick but no treat….

On the radio today I heard a story about a woman who is refusing to give out candy to overweight children. She is instead giving these children notes to take home to their parents about how they need to lose weight.

These kids who may already feel self-conscious or be made fun of for their weight are going to be handed a note while their skinnier friends around them get candy….

Sounds like a great way to stop bullying and build children’s self-esteems!

NOT!

While teaching moderation is important it shouldn’t be done on Halloween OR in this way!

Ok I’m all for teaching our kids about healthy eating, but this simply is not the way.

Yes, childhood obesity is a problem. Yes, I would love to promote healthier eating to our kids. Yes, I kind of believe that drastic measures need to be taken and the community needs to become involved.

But NOT on a holiday based around eating candy until your belly hurts is not the time.

This is actually the attitude that irritates me more than anything else.

We vilify holidays and restaurants and even busy schedules as the reason why we or our children are overweight.

We focus on not eating “too badly” over Thanksgiving or Christmas.

But the real problem isn’t those few days during the year that we decide to indulge. It is the decisions we make those 300 some other days that really causes the problems.

Trick-or-treating on Halloween isn’t the cause of childhood obesity and a child shouldn’t be penalized on that day.

Instead we need to focus on teaching healthy habits on those other 300 some odd days that aren’t holidays.

So tomorrow indulge in those treats. Heck maybe even eat too many.

But then get right back on track the next day! The day after Halloween is the perfect time to instill the healthy habit of MODERATION with all that leftover candy (which half of it will finally be thrown away around New Years when all the yucky candy remains uneaten!).

Oh and one last thing….Embarrassing a kid isn’t going to change things. While teaching kids and telling kids the right way to behave is important, it is more important that we adults actually LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

So if this woman actually wanted to prevent childhood obesity, she would be working to get better food into the schools. Or help make healthier foods easier to obtain. Or even leading a class for parents about preparing healthy family meals on a budget.

But no…instead she is choosing to shame and bully a little kid….Great job fighting childhood obesity!

NOT!

Workouts should make you feel BETTER!

The other day I went to a health fair as one of the vendors and a woman from a massage and chiropractor office came over to me and started talking to me about training.

She told me one of her massage therapists was super into Crossfit and that they got a TON of business from there. She said to me, “Oh you know how it is with all that super intense exercise….So many people get injuries, but it is worth it.”

I’m honestly not sure what I said in response because all I could think was, “UHMMM…NO…Actually I don’t because people come to me feeling crappy with maybe some aches and pains and my intention is to make them feel BETTER not WORSE.”

And I’m not meaning to bash Crossfit here because, to be honest, there are a lot of idiots out there in the fitness industry in a lot of different capacities. Heck, stupid people training themselves injury themselves. But with the popularity of Crossfit increasing, there are going to be more and more idiot trainers flocking to it. It’s that way with anything that becomes popular.

Anyway….My point is that WORKOUTS SHOULDN’T MAKE YOU FEEL WORSE!

I’m not exactly sure when or why a good workout became defined as a workout that murders you. I’m not exactly sure when or why it became cool to be injured.

But let me assure you…It isn’t.

And five years down the road, when other injuries have popped up because you didn’t properly rehab your “cool” injury, you won’t be thinking that pushing through the pain was all that darn awesome.

Workouts can be GOOD and even hard without leading to injury or making you feel like death every time after you finish.

Every workout doesn’t have to feel like a slaughter.

Actually every workout SHOULDN’T feel that way if you are truly interested in getting results.

Just because someone else, who you think you should be lifting as much as, is lifting a certain weight doesn’t mean YOU are ready to lift it.

YOU CAN’T RUSH THINGS OR COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! Workouts are a BUILDING process. And that progress isn’t going to be a straight line up!

Heck the same is true about LIFE!

And if you don’t respect the process, you are going to get injured and workouts aren’t going to make you feel better like they should!!!

A couple of months ago, I had this new guy join my latest evening class.

One of the first exercises we did was a single leg deadlift. Because he hadn’t done the move before and hadn’t done much balance or core work recently, he had to use very light weights.

At the end of the workout, he comes up to me a little downtrodden and says, “I was doing way less weight than some of the people I know I should be doing more than.”

I said to him, “Why should you be doing more than them?” I, of course, knew he meant he should be doing more than them because they were older than him and female and he thought as a younger man he should have more strength than them. And he is, in fact, “stronger” than them in that he probably has more natural brut strength.

But when he stated what I mentioned above I said, “But they have done this before AND they have BUILT UP TO IT! Their bodies are ready to handle the load while doing the movement.”

He then said to me, “Well if I held the weight this way or did a double leg move, I could do more.”

I then said, “But this move builds up all the small muscles so that you can lift even MORE when we progress to those bigger, heavier lifts. Plus just because you can lift it, doesn’t really mean your body is ready to.”

He didn’t seem completed convinced. But he has been putting in the work and remained patient.

And guess what? The workouts have been making him feel BETTER and STRONGER every single day.

He just had to stop worrying about what other people were doing or the weight his was doing.

He had to focus on HIS GOALS.

So if your workouts aren’t making you FEEL BETTER, are they really worth it?

Are you too caught up in doing gnarly workouts instead of staying focused on what truly matters?

Women, Fitspo and Putting Yourself First

The other day I posted an article critiquing the fitspo below to Facebook.

I was interested to hear what everyone else thought not only of the photo but also of the critique.

Personally, the fitspo doesn’t bother me. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the saying, which has been posted on a ton of different pictures, BUT I like what she stands for and what she shows is possible.

But it does sound like the fitspo bothers quiet a few women.

Which I can truly understand.

I am not a mother. I’ll be upfront about that. But I am a woman. And I am a woman with a great desire to empower every other woman I come in contact with.

Which is why many of the critiques of the photo really really struck a nerve and made me angry.

Ok yes…”What your excuse?” may not have been the best phrase. But that is really what we are focusing on? Ok she was PROUD of her body so decided to show it off. And we are condemning her for her body acceptance?

I’m sorry but the real issue isn’t the photo. It is the fact that most of the complaints about Maria Kang and the photo all seem to stem from the fact that most women feel obligated to take care of others FIRST.

It’s almost like women try to shame each other into NOT taking care of themselves instead of supporting those women who do make the decision to take care of themselves first.

Society, in my opinion, tells women to put their family first. To take care of others and make sure their needs are met before their own.

But being a good wife, good mother, good friend doesn’t have to mean putting others before yourself.

I think taking care of yourself FIRST actually makes you a better person and more able to support others.

If we aren’t healthy or happy how can we TRULY support others? I mean let’s face it….We are way better friends when we can truly listen and help – when we are self-possessed and happy and feeling good.

And all too often I feel like those women who put themselves first, who make sure they are healthy and happy so that they can support others, are condemned. They are told they aren’t good mothers. Or actually criticized for not putting their children first.

I even saw a comment saying that Maria Kang wasn’t a good role model.

A good role model?

Is the mother who is self-sacrificing really a good role model?!?! Is the mother who puts everyone before herself a good role model!?!

No! I’m sorry…She isn’t.

I would never want my daughter to think that she has to put everyone around her before herself. I would want her to know that her needs and wants and dreams and goals shouldn’t come SECOND.

That SHE IS IMPORTANT. That she doesn’t have to blindly follow traditional expectations. That she can be a wildly successful career woman and still be a great mom.

That she CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I can accept that people don’t like the slogan. But seriously all this negativity about a stupid picture makes me feel like we are burying a more important message.

Like we, women, are so focused on this “thin” vs. “fat” thing that we are almost holding each other back from overcoming more important things.

I will finish with this last statement….The other day I was reading about successful women who had become CEOs and business owners and how many of them, instead of mentoring another generation of women to become successful too, actually did very little to help other women because they felt their grasp on success wasn’t secure enough.

In many ways those successful women did more to hold other women back from gaining equal, or even greater, success.

And honestly, that is kind of what all the criticisms of this picture feel like to me. It feels like we are too scared to recognize her success and the fact that she broke with traditional values and PUT HERSELF FIRST so we criticize and tear down a freaking photo.

The end. That is all this non-mother, but girl who was raised by a strong mother, has to say.

When Healthy Living Becomes Obsession

In clients I deal with two very different issues almost every day –

1. The people who can’t get started and make excuses as to why they can’t create a healthy lifestyle.

OR

2. The people who become OBSESSED with eating well and working out every day to the point that they almost can’t take a day off.

And trust me, neither is really HEALTHY.

When I say OBSESSED, I’m talking about mentally and physically overtraining. I’m talking about never giving yourself a break and doing as much as you possibly can every single day with no break.

I’m talking about training way too often for way too long because you feel like you NEED to do a certain amount each day.

I’m talking about never letting yourself indulge in a treat and/or restricting your calories as low as possible to force weight loss.

I’m talking about the MORE IS MORE ATTITUDE when as I’ve stated numerous times recently MORE IS ACTUALLY LESS.

Yes, it can be good for periods to do MORE, but those periods should all have an expiration date and be used to KICKSTART your program or break a plateau.

You simply shouldn’t workout every day.

RECOVERY IS WHEN YOU REBUILD! Days off are KEY TO GETTING RESULTS.

When you don’t take days off, you are basically hindering yourself from getting the results that you should be getting from your workouts.

And two a days?!?!

While as I said, I can see using them for a few weeks to create big changes, they shouldn’t be used in the long run!

Exercise breaks down our body. We only regrow stronger with more muscle and lean body mass if our body has the change to RECOVER.

So while going hard for a few days, a few weeks, can be a great push in the right direction, YOU CAN’T MAINTAIN IT!

Going that hard leads ultimately to you falling off your program – either due to injury or due to the fact that you’ve created something that is truly unmanageable long-term.

Same goes for obsessing over eating cleanly.

I won’t go into a whole rant here, as I already have numerous times recently, but IF YOU RESTRICT YOUR CALORIES TOO MUCH YOU WILL COMPLETELY STALL YOUR WEIGHT LOSS!

Not to mention you will PREVENT LEAN MASS GAINS! Aka…all those workouts will be for nothing because you aren’t fueling them properly.

Plus, most people can’t eat 100% clean day in and day out without it eventually leading to a complete, uncontrolled binge, which in turn leads to them giving up on their healthy eating program all together. We just don’t have that much self-control especially with all the other life stressors we have to deal with each day.

Just think about how much self-control you are expending by trying to go so intense and PERFECT your diet and exercise program. Self-control isn’t infinite. And trying to control ever last detail is STRESSFUL!

Think about how much you STRESS over not missing a workout. Over eating cleanly even when there is no healthy food around.

STRESS can negatively impact our progress. It can negatively impact our healthy. Heck if you are trying to lose weight, STRESS can prevent you from getting the results you are working so hard for!

Geez…Cut yourself some slack, people!

I know many of you don’t want to believe it, but LESS IS MORE. Working out every day and eating 100% clean really aren’t going to get you greater results.

Actually they may get you WORSE RESULTS.

So stop obsessing.

Don’t stress over miss workouts.

Don’t stress over a treat.

STOP OBSESSING and try ENJOYING.

Seriously, stop bragging about how you workout EVERY DAY. Or do two-a-days. Stop bragging about how you don’t eat ANYTHING BAD EVER.

There is no pride in being stupid and wasting your time!

Trust me…I want people to get results and if I’m saying there is such a thing as too much…THERE IS!

Fitting Your Macros – QUALITY MATTERS

Often when I start someone on the road to a healthy diet, I give them macronutrient guidelines. Like keep your protein, carbs and fat at so and so a level.

I usually also discuss with them carb cycling and that they want to try to make the mainstays of their diet protein and vegetables.

I then let them go on their way.

I don’t want to create too many rules or develop too many restrictive guidelines because that just leads to people giving up (aka cheating and then not recording what they eat).

So I give them these very basic guidelines (hit these macronutrient intake numbers and focus on eating whole natural foods) and send them on their way for the first few weeks.

What I find most interesting is what many people have been coming back with…And not only what they come back with but also their surprise and frustration at WHY they aren’t losing weight.

It is very interesting to see that most people ignore the WHOLE NATURAL FOODS part and get super caught up in simply hitting the numbers.

Actually they use the numbers as an excuse to eat bad…”Well I’m still under calories for the day so I can have these Oreos.” Or “I’m under my carbs for the day so this burrito with this huge flour tortilla is fine.”

UHM…NO.

I know If It Fits Your Macros has become a very popular diet program, and while I think it is a great program with a ton of benefits, I do believe that QUALITY MATTERS when it comes to food.

If you ask a person right now if carbs from these two things are equal, they will say no. Yet then why do so many people excuse their crappy carbs because their calorie intake is low or their macronutrient numbers are good? QUALITY MATTERS!

I mean carbs from fruit and carbs from a flour tortilla might all add up under your macronutrients as CARBS, but their nutritional breakdown is far from the same.

Even ground beef has a very different nutritional breakdown if it is Grass-fed or grain-fed.

I mean just think about GMO vs. non-GMO corn! One is way better for you than the other!

And I firmly believe that the more chemicals, the more processed CRAP we put in our bodies, the less efficiently they run.

So while macros create great guidelines, and I firmly believe in keeping your daily basic intake of carbs to under 150 grams (and even under 100 grams if you are really trying to lose weight), I do believe that not all carbs are created equal. Not all fat, all protein is created equal.

As I’m saying this, I know many of you are also shaking your heads in agreement. You know there are bad fats. You know that sugars are bad for you.

Yet you are the ones that eat prepackaged burger patties or only eat pre-made meals from the grocery store and expect great results just because you are fitting your macros!

All those ingredients that you can’t pronounce on those labels are BAD FOR YOU! That prepackaged salad with that prepackaged balsamic and the ingredients to preserve it isn’t going to be the same as a homemade salad.

Yes it might be BETTER than going out and getting a burger and fries made in vegetable oil, but that doesn’t mean it’s GOOD.

Better doesn’t equal good. Yes, better is better, but just being better isn’t always enough.

It is like saying, “Well I did half my homework due for class today. That is better than last time when I only did a quarter of my homework for class.”

Yea doing half is BETTER but it still isn’t good! It still isn’t going to get you that great grade!

Anyway…That is my rant.

All of this, diet and exercise and reaching your fitness goals, all comes down to one thing – Whether or not we make excuses for ourselves.

I mean come on…We all KNOW basically what we have to do to lose weight and be healthy. We all KNOW we should eat whole natural foods.

Yet we all find ways to make excuses for why we can’t do that. Or why what we are doing should work even though we are skipping the most basic principle to healthy living.

We all make excuses for ourselves and it has got to stop if we want results.

QUALITY MATTERS.

Heck be it quality of food or quality of exercise, QUALITY MATTERS if we want to be healthy.

So stop making excuses. Stop making things more difficult on yourself.

If you want results, QUALITY MATTERS!

The Benefits of Walking

People often act like WALKING isn’t really that great. They act like it sort of doesn’t count.

benefits of walking

But walking is an important part of any healthy lifestyle.

Actually I think walking is often overlooked as an essential part of being healthy because of our belief that we have to do MORE to be healthy or lose weight.

But as I’ve repeated almost every day recently, “More isn’t always better. Sometimes LESS is actually MORE.”

In a society where we are constantly told to do MORE when it comes to a healthy lifestyle – diet more, workout more – could the push to do MORE actually be causing us to get worse results?

I think the answer is a big, “YES!”

I mean think about it. You are told to eat fewer calories. To cut out more foods. To DIET MORE.

But sometimes doing more, cutting out more, when it comes to diet can actually hinder your results.

Just this week I talked about the importance of fueling your activity level – about eating more and dieting when your body needs it. Restricting too much can hinder your results just as much as doing nothing can. Again…More isn’t always better.

Same goes for working out.

Overtraining isn’t some myth. It is actually easier to overtrain than you would even think. And more people than you would expect are actually training too much!

Exercise is meant to improve health, aid in fat and weight loss and reduce injury, aches and pain, and fatigue…Yet when you do too much, you do exactly the opposite!

So often you read about how you have to exercise more. Or you see your weight loss progress stall and instantly think you need to put in more hours at the gym. Or up your intensity.

TOO MUCH CAN HAVE NEGATIVE EFFECTS!

Often we find it easier to do more than to reassess and try something simpler. I find a lot of clients need to feel a certain way after their workout to feel like they “worked.” They need to be out of breath. Or feel like they are going to puke. Or have sweated a certain amount to feel like the did ENOUGH.

But that attitude is exactly what gets people into trouble. That attitude is what makes people ignore some of the best diet and exercise programs and activities out there for them!

That attitude is what causes people to end up struggling a lot more to become healthier, fitter, stronger, and leaner than they need to.

And one of those activities that is often overlooked as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle is WALKING!

Many people skip walking in favor of activities like running that burn more calories and help them FEEL like they’ve gotten a workout.

They skip walking because they don’t realize how much bang for their buck they really get with walking. All they consider is calories in vs. calories out or working out as hard or as much as they can.

But walking is a great exercise and an important part of a healthy lifestyle and even a weight loss program.

Instead of keeping it simple, people do two-hour workouts. They include 15 different exercises and do 100s of reps. They take themselves to the max every single workout.

But if you break your muscles down every day, you aren’t going to reap the benefits of your workouts! Workouts break your body down so you can become stronger. But doing MORE breaking down, if you don’t take enough time to rebuild, is really just wasted effort.

And rest is when you REBUILD.

Your body can’t go at 100% every single day. You can’t lift heavy or run hard every day. Your body needs workouts of varied intensities. Your body NEEDS easy days.

Walking can be a great lower intensity activity you can use as active recovery. It can be a great way to MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY recover!

And we’ve all heard that if we move more, we will be healthier.

This doesn’t mean going and doing longer workouts. And it doesn’t mean doing hours of intense cardio.

Guess what is a great way to move more though!?!

Walking! It allows us to move more without wearing our bodies down and overtraining!

Walking is one of those activities that we see as “less bang for our buck.” But it is truly one of those exercises where LESS IS MORE.

Yea…maybe you don’t get the same calorie burn as an hour of intense exercise. But walking means less stress. It means better sleep. It can enhance your move. It can help you fight against disease. It allows your body to recover and rebuild. It can mean a lot of great health benefits not only because of the activity, but also because you can be relaxed and social with it while even soaking up some sun!

And all of these things lead to better health. All of these things mean that you will get MORE out of the time you do spend doing higher intensity workouts.

Walking is often overlooked as EXERCISE but trust me, it is the one exercise that EVERYONE needs to be doing no matter their age or fitness level.

Right now too many people suffer from the attitude that MORE IS BETTER – more restriction, more intense, longer workouts.

But if you want great results, LESS IS MORE.

Do you go for walks? Maybe you should go out this weekend and soak up some sun!

Monday Motivation – All you need is a Monday?

I’ve seen lots of Instagram photos with “You don’t need a New Year to make a change. All you need is a Monday.”

all you need is a monday

Monday means a new week.

A fresh start.

A chance to change right from the BEGINNING of something.

But why do you really need to WAIT till Monday?

I hear it all the time, “I’ll start Monday.”

But seriously….Why wait?  Why not start TODAY! Why is Wednesday not as good as Monday?

Because Monday is the “BEGINNING” of the week and that means you have all week to make changes?

HAH! You really think Monday you are instantly going to be more motivated? Do you really think starting at the beginning of a new week is going to make you more successful?

I mean maybe you will be more motivated after eating crappy all weekend and not working out for even longer…

But maybe you won’t be….Maybe you will have lost the motivation you had on Wednesday – maybe whatever inspired you on Wednesday will have worn off after four more days.

When the desire hits to make a healthy lifestyle change, START RIGHT THEN AND THERE!

You don’t need a Monday OR a New Year.

Start while the you are motivated!

The more we can capitalize on our initial motivation the more likely we are to succeed. But that initial passion to succeed at our goals doesn’t last long.

That initial drive is fleeting. What keeps you on course is HABITS.

Healthy habits and values you’ve instilled because you’ve had to time create them because of your initial motivation.

But habits take a while to create. And they are most easily developed when we have the willpower, drive and determination to turn down temptations and old bad habits.

It is hard to say, “No” to bad habits when new habits aren’t yet in place and your initial passion is waning.

Heck it is hard to get started when you don’t feel that burning desire that you felt the Wednesday before.

It leads to a lot of failures early on and more statements of “Oh…I’ll get back at it Monday.”

STOP THE SICK CYCLE!

START WHEN THE MOTIVATION STRIKES!

Freaking start at 12 am on Tuesday night when you are motivated by something you saw on Instagram or TV or read in a book!

Oh but what can you do on a Tuesday at 12 am when you are just about to fall asleep?!?

The crazy part is actually a lot.

You can make lists of things you need to get started with tomorrow to help you realize your goal. You can write your goal down in black and white. You can really quickly print or write out or even draw whatever thing you read or saw that motivated you and place it some where that you’ll see it right when you wake up.

You can take little baby steps to start getting the momentum moving in the right direction.

It isn’t about starting when you can have a completely perfect year, or month, or week or even day.

It is about getting started right then and there and GETTING THE MOMENTUM GOING.

Momentum builds upon itself.

You’ve just got to get it rolling in the right direction.

So when the motivation strikes, get the momentum going.

Results will follow.

You don’t have to wait till Monday.

Of course since today is Monday and you are now hopefully motivated, you really have no excuse not to get the momentum going….RIGHT!?!

Happy Monday! Let’s not waste another moment wishing, waiting or wanting.

DO IT NOW!

Motivation creates Momentum. Momentum creates Habits. Habits create Results.

In case you needed a little Monday Motivation haha

A Rant About Runners – Proper Running Form

 

Saw this on Fit and Feminist’s post about loving your running pictures, which you should all check out.

Recently I’ve had to do way more running than I would ever have liked to have done in my lifetime.

I don’t regret a second of it though because I’m running with Jodie and she is one strong and amazing woman. (And her half marathon is August 18th! GO JODIE!)

HOWEVER, I have noticed one thing…Everyone thinks they can run.

And honestly….

MOST PEOPLE HAVE THE WORST RUNNING FORM EVER!

People who have never worked out before in their life often turn to running as their first exercise option.

But what people don’t realize is that RUNNING ISN’T EASY!

Yes, running SHOULD BE a natural movement pattern.

But it isn’t for most adults anymore because we sit hunched over a computer screen for 8 hours a day.

And that sitting over the computer causes postural distortions that then hinder us from properly executing movements that should be natural…aka RUNNING.

I don’t know if Jodie has ever noticed this when we are running, but occasionally I will have like sensory overload where there are just too many runners with incorrect form ahead of us and I have to pass them or I will go insane. I speed up and run around even if I had to step off the path because I just can’t handle it.

And when I say all of this, I’m not trying to be mean or judgmental. I think it is great that people are getting out and being active and doing SOMETHING.

I’m just trying to get across the point that there is proper FORM to running and that if you don’t have decent form you are probably going to get injured.

And injury hinders us from really reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, which are to FEEL BETTER and MOVE BETTER.

So what is proper running form? (And note here I’m talking about longer distance running and not sprinting although many of these things apply to both.)

Well I can tell you it isn’t the knock-kneed running you see so often occurring on the trails. Boy does that annoy me.

And many of those people wonder why they have knee, hip or low back pain!

AH!

Anyway, proper running form and common problems….

First off, your upper body should be RELAXED.

Your head shouldn’t be flexed or extended, but should be in line with your spine. This means your eyes should be focused slightly ahead and/or slightly downcast.

Your shoulders shouldn’t be up by your ears. I call this the “turtle” position. No hiding your head in your shell! You don’t want to hold tension anywhere that isn’t necessary. Your shoulders being elevated may have to do with sitting at the desk all day and tension in your upper traps. Try a scapular hold to help you activate your lower traps and roll out your upper traps to alleviate this problem.

scapular hold

Your shoulders may also be elevated because you are forcing too much arm movement. Your arms should be relaxed and swing loosely. If you even notice many long distance runners don’t have much arm movement at all. Their upper bodies are simply relaxed. (This doesn’t mean your arms should just hang by your sides. Your elbows should be bent to about 90.)

Your hands and wrists should be neutral. No weird flexion or extension. AND you shouldn’t be holding your hands in a death grip. RELAX!

You also need to be conscious of how much you rotate. Too much rotation is bad. While running does work your abs, you shouldn’t be doing russian twists while you are running. If your hands are crossing the midline of your body then you are rotating too much. (This could mean you have a little lack of coordination or poor hip flexion aka the movement when you bring your knee to your chest.)

Also, do not have excessive lean or rounding forward. While sprinters will lean forward during the acceleration phase, once they hit maximal speed (or when you are jogging) you should be near perpendicular to the ground.

Now your lower body…

Your low back shouldn’t be arched and you should not waddle (aka have excessive hip sway from side to side)! This means weak core and glute muscles as well as tight hip flexors that need to be taken care of before you just pound away the miles. (If you have lots of rotation this can also mean your hamstrings and adductors are tight as well.)

I’ve also noticed that there are a number of people with a slight hip hike when they run (one hip is higher than the other). This means different problems are occurring on each half of our body, which guess what? LEADS TO INJURY! Roll out your entire hip complex if this is occurring and search for tight spots on each side. You are also going to need to work on adductor and glute medius (your side butt) strength on the side opposite the hip tilt up.

You should also have a good range of motion around your hip and be able to produce force with each ground push off. I see it all the time…Runners bobbing up and down. Don’t waste your energy going up and down! PUSH FORWARD. While you shouldn’t consciously have to think about going forward, each time you push off you should propel forward NOT UP. If you don’t move forward fluidly but do bob up and down, you need to work on your ankle mobility, hip flexibility and posterior chain strength (aka glute, hamstring…whole back of your body….).

Your knees…THEY SHOULDN’T COLLAPSE IN! I see this so often when I’m out running with Jodie. If your knees collapse in, you need to work on your ankle mobility….great thing I have all a lot of the info you need RIGHT HERE. You also need to roll out your inner thighs, hamstrings and strengthen the outside of your leg and glutes. Some single leg balancing would also be a great way to help correct this problem. Also, just a slight side note…But if your IT Bands are always tight and hurt, you may want to have someone see if your knees are collapsing in!

Your feet may also be part of the problem. Take a look at your shoes. Do you run on the inside of your foot or the outside. Many people I’ve seen run on the inside, which makes sense since many of those same people run with their knees collapsing in. All of it is connected and can lead to shin splints, knee problems, plantar fasciitis and even low back pain! If you run on the inside of your feet roll out your lower leg and not just your calf. You will actually want to do a number of the exercises I outline in a post about how to get rid of shin splints and plantar fasciitis!

If your feet turn out that is also a problem to address. It can mean spots in your calves and hamstrings are tight while your glutes and even muscles in your hips are weak.

And last but not least…Don’t overstride. Don’t try to reach with the leg. Let the legs SWING. It all goes back to relaxing and being mobile, which is hard when you sit for 8 hours a day!

Sorry if this is a bit more technical than the usual post, but I want people to start thinking about how they run since so many people turn to running as their exercise of choice.

The whole point of working out is to feel better, to move better. To feel stronger and fitter.

And honestly, bad movement patterns do the exact opposite even if you don’t feel the negative effects yet.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up running.

It just means you should do some strengthening and mobility work so that you can do the thing you love without injury. And you may find you even do it better if you do some of the mobility and strengthening required to have proper running form!

NOTE: I did not discuss heel strike. Interesting read about foot strike.

It’s Easier For You – 10 Ways to Break Bad Habits

It’s funny, whenever someone has success in terms of changing their lifestyle around to be healthier, people who haven’t made the change will tell them…

“Well it is easier for you.”

Can I just say right now…”HOW COULD IT BE EASIER!?!?!”

Any time you break a habit, any time you make a lifestyle change it isn’t going to be easier.

I mean think about all the changes you’ve had to make to your habits over the years. Where any of them really EASY?

I can tell you your parents didn’t think potty training you was easy. Or getting you to stop carrying around the blanket EVERYWHERE you went was easy.

I can tell you my Mom didn’t have an easy time of breaking me of my thumb-sucking habit. She had to coax and reward and take it step by step. And sometimes I had good days and sometimes I had bad days. But slowly the good days won out and I stopped (My desire for the present at the end became greater than my desire to suck my thumb!).

But even something as simple as breaking the habit of sucking my thumb wasn’t easy.

No lifestyle changes are ever easy for anyone.

Habits are hard to break.

There is no magic pill – no key to instant success.

No one is really more gifted when it comes to making a change.

It is all hard work and determination. It is determination that supersedes any other immediate desires.

Changing to a healthy lifestyle isn’t ever easy, especially when you are making the actual CHANGE.

In fact most people will tell you about all the sacrifices they had to make and all the times they wanted to give up BEFORE the change became habit.

So let’s face it. Change is never easy. There is no secret out there or gifted person that didn’t struggle when breaking bad habits.

Honestly, I think that people say “It was easier for you” to let themselves off the hook and to try to make you feel a little less proud of your accomplishment.

It isn’t really that they thought it was easier for you….They are just excusing their own failures.

Sorry, but really, if you think about it, you know this is true.

Because we all know change isn’t easy.

The key is just setting your mind to the change and  deciding that nothing is going to derail you.

I write a lot about having a powerful WHY when it comes to creating change.

That powerful reason WHY is what makes your change seem so seamless, so “easy,” to other people.

When you want something bad enough, you are going to make it happen.

Every day won’t be perfect. There will be “slip ups” and missed workouts and cheat meals, but perfection isn’t necessary.

Small forward progress over the days, weeks, months is what will add up. Staying focused on your end goal is what will matter.

Having a powerful WHY, knowing a really motivational, emotional reason why you want to accomplish something, is what will keep you motivated, but it is only a small part of success.

Here is what I tell my clients that helps them succeed even when the going gets tough.

1. Write down your WHY – Write down a powerful, emotional reason why you want something. Just saying “I want to lose 10lbs” or “I want to look good in my bikini this summer” probably isn’t going to be enough. Tap into your emotions. Dig for something important that will not only motivate you to get started, but will keep you motivated when things get hard (which they probably will).

Living seems like decent motivation….

2. Write down a WHEN – Set a deadline. Set multiple deadlines in fact. Set short-term goals with dates when they have to be completed. Deadlines are motivating. And when they are written down they are more solid and we are way more likely to want to achieve them because we can’t weasel out of them. Make the deadline important. Don’t just choose an arbitrary date. Yes, if you are making a lifestyle change, you want it to be FOREVER, but you have to have specific dates when certain things will be accomplished. Because trust me….people do better with END DATES.

3. PLAN, PLAN and oh yea….PLAN – You don’t have to write out exactly what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it. You don’t have to map out your workouts and the weights you are going to use for the next year, but PLAN AHEAD. We each have triggers that set off old bad habits. Know those triggers and lay out a plan with how you are going to deal with them. For instance, ladies…many of us crave crap around our periods. Plan out how you are going to deal with that. Do you have “cleaner” treats available? Do you plan in a couple cheats then? What is your plan of action? Know what sets you off and plan for it. (Sorry dudes reading this). Developing new habits is about breaking the old ones and a big part of that is PLANNING AHEAD so when the moment arises we know how we are going to change our old patterns. Because trust me, trying to fight against old desires in the moment when you have no plan of attack isn’t easy.

4. Know yourself – Take a look at your current habits. Take a look at what has made you fail in the past. Now take a look at what you’ve enjoyed and haven’t enjoyed with other failed experiments, other times you’ve tried to make a lifestyle change. If you don’t like running, don’t force yourself to run every day. If you don’t like lifting weights, don’t force yourself to lift every day. Find things you enjoy to be active and then on occasion add in those things you “know you should be doing.” If you know that you just can’t go to bed without dessert, figure out a healthy treat that satisfies you. If you know that having that “all or nothing” attitude will lead to you failing, DON’T DO IT! Make small changes over time. You know yourself. You know what you like and what you don’t like. Account for those things and then do number 3 and PLAN FOR THEM!

5. Celebrate small success – Lose half a pound? Avoid eating that brownie at work even though you really really wanted it but you knew it would just throw off the rest of your week? CELEBRATE IT! Give yourself recognition for changing. Give yourself credit for breaking a bad habit or moving even just the teensiest bit closer to your goal. Too often people get so focused on their long-term goal that they don’t recognize all the great things that they are doing day in and day out. And that focus on the long-term goal, and them not being there yet, can lead to them getting discouraged and feeling like they are failing. When they aren’t! Because those small things that they are doing day in and day out will add up to one very large success. They just have to be patient! You have to get rid of that NOW NOW NOW attitude and celebrate your small victories!

motivational quotes about success

6. Don’t seek perfection – Sorry none of us are perfect. And life and achieving our goals, isn’t about perfection. It is about small forward progress over the weeks, months and even years. It is about NOT being hard on yourself when you slip up. It is about NOT expecting yourself to be perfect. Because when we expect perfection, when we come down on ourselves for one little mistake, that is when we derail all the progress we have made. If you have a cookie or miss a workout, don’t tell yourself your day is ruined. Don’t just give up. Accept that you may just have needed that little deviation and then get right back on track. It isn’t the slip ups that matter, it is how we handle them that has lasting results. One slip up won’t add up but letting that turn into a downward spiral will. Give yourself some room to make mistake and to have “life get in the way.” Because guess what? IT WILL! I even recommend that clients account for plateaus and backslides in their goals. Set a deadline that allows you to not be perfect day in and day out because it just won’t happen. That doesn’t mean you give yourself double the time to accomplish something, but it does mean that you don’t expect yourself to never deviate from the plan.

7. Include others – Many people are embarrassed about being on a diet or a specific workout program. They are afraid to admit their goals to others for fear of being judged. They are also afraid to admit their goals because what if they fail? Stop being afraid of failure AND stop worry about being judged. Find some supportive friends and family and tell them what you want to accomplish. Having other people know your goals makes you a bazillion times less likely to fail especially if you choose people who are supportive. They will hold you accountable and that fear of embarrassment if you fail will be a strong motivator (sorry but its true…may as well use it to our advantage!). Plus if you get others involved, they may just end up working out with you, which could be fun! Or they may help you find new ways to commit to your goals that you didn’t even think of. We all bring something different to the table and being able to talk to other people can really help. They may have experienced some of the same problems and have great ways to get through!

8. Don’t  isolate yourself – Many people on a “diet” feel like they can’t go hang out with friends and be social. But that just isn’t true. You can plan in days to go out and have those be cheat days. Or you can PLAN AHEAD (#3!) and take a look at the restaurant you are going to and know the healthy options. You can even suggest places to go that won’t tempt you to break your diet. AND not every social gathering has to revolve around food! I love going bowling with friends. Or what about hiking or a movie or a dance class? There are lots of fun active things you can do to be social. You don’t have to be a hermit when you are making a lifestyle change. And actually if you force yourself to be one when you aren’t one, you are most likely going to fail. It’s as simple as that.

9. Don’t worry about what others are doing or thinking – Too often we get caught up in what other people are doing or thinking. And honestly, you just can’t worry about that. We can’t compare our progress to our friend’s. Just because their diet is working for them doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can’t get down on yourself just because your progress is slower. Progress is progress PERIOD. And on top of that you can’t care about the people who will put you down because you are making progress when they aren’t. Who cares if someone thinks you are psycho because you have to go to your workout class every day and you love bragging about how hard the workout was? Seriously who cares what they think if you are happy with your new habits? Ever occur to you that most of the negative crap that comes out of people’s mouths is because they are JEALOUS? Don’t worry about your friend’s diet or what they think of yours. If you feel good, if you are moving forward, focus on YOURSELF.

10. Track your progress – This links back to celebrating the small success and having deadlines. Actually this one really ties everything together. There is nothing more motivating than progress. There is nothing like progress to keep us on track. So figure out ways to track how you are doing. Goals don’t only have to revolve around weight loss or even how much you lifted. Weeks where you just stuck to your program should be measured and tracked and treated as progress. Set up a few different goals to measure and track them weekly, monthly and yearly. And then celebrate those successes. And while tracking our progress can help us see how far we’ve come, it can also tell us when we need a change. If you track your workouts, you will be able to clearly see if you’ve hit a plateau and need a change. If we aren’t moving forward, we may need to change something. If we haven’t tracked what we are doing, how will we know if we need a change! Tracking can help keep us moving forward!

Now thinking about all this, I still stand firm in the fact that change isn’t really “easier” for any one person.

But you know what….let people go ahead and think that! Be proud of your success and don’t let anyone take away from it! Know that all of your hard work paid off!

NOTE: Thank you Shannon. This post was inspired by your emails. You are an amazing, strong woman and an inspiration to us all!

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