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Don’t Give Up What You Want Most…

Yesterday I posted an article to Redefining Strength about life lessons you’ll learn from a healthy lifestyle.

I thought this was important to post because I see people every day learning more about themselves through exercise.

And the things they learn about themselves in the gym make them more confident and empowered in everyday life.

For the full article, click here.

Today, however, I just want to touch more on number 3:

“You learn to balance living in the moment with staying dedicated to long-term goals.”

You’ve probably all seen those fitspo that say:

While often the fitspos are being used to say not to cheat on your diet and eat out of stress, there is a good message underneath.

Sometimes you have to ignore immediate desires to achieve your long-term goals. Sometimes you can’t just indulge in every baked good people bring in to work. Sometimes you have to workout even when you are tired and stressed (and it will actually make you feel better in the long run!)

Sometimes you have to do a little work on your day off.

Sometimes you have to think long-term even when it is easy to be short-sighted.

HOWEVER, you can’t become so obsessed with your long-term goals that you don’t live life.

There has to be a balance between thinking long-term and getting to be spontaneous and indulge.

If you constantly restrict yourself and never get to be spontaneous, you probably won’t be able to stick to your program long enough to truly reach your long-term goals. Restriction and deprivation end up leading to binges (be them food binges or simply slacking on work and being a blob binges).

Too much long-term thinking and farsightedness can actually be a bad thing. Because you can’t put off immediate desires forever. And if you try to, most likely you will end up binging worse and falling off your program when a little indulgence could have kept you on track.

So cut yourself some slack every once in a while. Live in the moment.

You need little breaks from your goals – be them health and fitness goals or work goals.

Find a way to balance your goals with enjoying life!

Goal Setting and The 3 Words Project

Goal setting is essential to success.

But it’s boring.

And goals are easily forgotten in the heat of the moment.

So if goals are important, but easily forgotten, how do you make them something you can easily stay focused on day in and day out?

I thought this “3 words for 1 year” idea that I saw on Julia Ladewski’s blog was a great way to keep your goals easily in the forefront of your mind. (Here is her post and a post to the original 3 word project if you want to learn more.)

This 3 word project gives you an easy and quick reminder of what your goals are. It makes visualizing your goals on a weekly, daily basis easy and quick.

And I personal think it is super motivating.

What you do is basically pick 3 WORDS that represent your goals and will motivate you to keep working toward them even when the going gets rough. These 3 words can be a great VISUAL for you to even post somewhere. While no one wants to post long freaking sentences of SMART goals, posting a word or three really isn’t a big deal and is very easy to do (and a much prettier visual…not to mention quicker to read and refresh your memory and improve your mindset).

My three words are below.

I’ve picked words that will instantly remind me of my WHY, my reason for setting my goals in the first place. These words, for me, also instill the emotion I’m looking for when it comes to my goals. For example, the word pause makes me think to breathe deeply. It makes me think RELAX and that is a big part of the goal it is set to represent.

Anyway, give your goals some thought. What would your 3 words for this year be?

Pause – This word means a couple of different things to me this year, but they all boil down to RELAX. Pause and take a second to relax if stressed. Pause to take a second and step back and think. Paused to take a second to celebrate the small successes. Pause and enjoy life and don’t always get bogged down with moving right on to the next project. I like to keep going. I have trouble stopping at points…partly because I love what I do and partly just because I’m type A. But celebration, relaxation and shutting your brain off are super important components of not only a healthy lifestyle, but also of success. Take a second today and PAUSE!

Thought this was another great reminder!

Uncomfortable – It is strange to feel like I’m listing “uncomfortable” as a goal. But by using the word uncomfortable, I’m reminding myself that it is good to stretch my boundaries. That feeling “uncomfortable” is not only OK but GOOD. We’ve all see those motivational pictures and quotes stating that success happens outside your comfort zone, and it’s true. And while I find I’m good at tiptoeing around outside my comfort zone, I sometimes lack the will, the strength, to just throw myself in the deep end. So here is to throwing myself in the deep end and not fearing the unknown, the uncomfortable!

Love this quote.

STRONG – Strong is a super meaningful word to me. Each and every year I want to grow stronger, both physically and mentally. And while I don’t always want to get stronger in the same way, I do always want to be getting stronger, learning more, growing. And with that strength, I want to inspire others to find their strong. So to me strong means not only growing myself both inside and out of the gym, but also helping others to find their physical and mental strength – to become more empowered! This year is about remaining dedicated to becoming STRONGER.

RS Girl

What are your 3 words? And what do they mean to you? Share yours and inspire others!!!

When you see progress…PUSH HARDER

Often I see clients start to get on a roll, start seeing progress and then completely slack off.

Instead what they should really do when they see progress is PUSH HARDER.

They should let the progress motivate them to keep going.

But that never seems to be the way it works.

For some reason when we see progress, especially when we progress quicker than expected, we let ourselves slack off.

We think, “Oh I should celebrate!” Or “Oh I can take a day off now!” We think, “I deserve a piece of cake.” Or “I don’t need to workout since I was so good about it all week.”

The thing is, success doesn’t work that way. Reaching our goals doesn’t work that way. Consistency is key.

Progress, especially great progress, should motivate us to work harder. To be more committed because we know what we are doing is WORKING.

We need to learn how to see progress as motivation to continue NOT an excuse to slack off.

So here are some tips to motivate you and keep you moving forward on this wonderful Monday.

Get Results, Push Harder Tips:

  • Pick HEALTHY rewards that promote the changes you are trying to make. If you are trying to eat better and become more dedicated to your workouts, don’t pick rewards centered around food or cheating on your healthy lifestyle. Make something HEALTHY a reward. I’ve heard this comment before, “You are not a dog so don’t reward yourself with food.” And while I don’t like the statement, it does make a good point. Make your rewards HEALTHY. Make them something that celebrate and even further encourages the lifestyle changes you are trying to create!
  • Take time to celebrate victories! Sometimes I think we slack off or give up on our goals EVEN when we are progressing because we don’t truly take time to celebrate our victories. If you hit your goal for the week, take a second and appreciate the hard work you’ve put in. When you look back at all the HARD WORK it took to get there, slacking off may not seem worth it. I mean…do you really want all that hard work to be for nothing!?!
  • Be willing to adjust your goals. If you are progressing more quickly than expected, adjust your goals. Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off because slacking off will lead to you getting off track and eventually failing. If you wanted to lift 10 more pounds by the end of the month but hit that goal early, adjust it and up your goal for the end of the month. If you accomplish one goal early, don’t take “time off!” Move on to the next goal! Give yourself a reason to keep moving forward!
  • Don’t measure your progress every day. Don’t weigh every day. Don’t take circumference measurements every day. Don’t do physical testing every day. You won’t see true progress every day and measuring every day puts too much pressure on you! Measure once a week at most. Preferably measure once a month. Give yourself enough time to truly achieve results; HOWEVER, measure often enough that you can see progress to keep you motivated. While we can slack when we see results, we can also slack if we feel like we AREN’T achieving!
  • Remember it’s a lifestyle and lifestyles don’t have an end date! When we make healthy changes, diet and exercise changes, generally we aren’t just trying to hit a one-time goal. Most of the time we are trying to create a new lifestyle to last us years and years! So even if you’ve made great progress, even if you’ve hit that weight loss or exercise goal, that doesn’t mean you are done. Remind yourself that your actions every day add up to create a healthy lifestyle. While a healthy lifestyle isn’t about perfection, it is about committing and being consistent with new healthy habits.

So as this week goes on, appreciate all of your hard work. Appreciate your consistency and use your progress and results to further motivate you and keep you committed!

Get great results and let them motivate you to push HARDER toward your goal!

My way or the highway?!?

So I definitely have solid views on nutrition, but I actually don’t vocalize them as much as you would think considering I rant and rave all the time about them here.

If someone asks me my opinion, I will tell them what I personally think.

Like yesterday, the volleyball girls asked me about post-exercise nutrition.

My answer? Eat a lean protein source and a simple carb. Those will be quickly absorbed by your body and used as fuel.

When asked what counted as a lean protein source or simple carb, I answered…

Turkey, chicken, whey protein, rice, potatoes, fruit.

Notice I didn’t say no gluten. Notice I didn’t say no protein bars. (Heck notice I didn’t even say, “Well honestly, I don’t even worry about pre and post workout nutrition…That is something that really only a top few elite competitors/athletes/bodybuilders need to worry about…That the most important thing truly is to eat a whole, natural food diet throughout the day and make sure you are eating when you are hungry!)

I simply listed things I believed are good – things that I would eat.

When asked specifically about bread or gluten or processed foods, I usually say, “Well I don’t believe in eating those things, but there are other people who do x, y and z and it works for them.”

I will almost always present the other side. (Except of course for here where I get to rant about the other side! YESSSS!)

Because it isn’t up to me what you choose. I can provide you with information about my reasons for my decisions, but I can’t tell you what is right.

Because it is a gamble. There are literally thousands of studies and people on both sides of the fat/gluten/carb/vegetarian fence.

Which side you decide to pick is ultimately up to you.

I’ve picked a side and am constantly doing research to make sure that I know WHY I make the decisions that I do.

Anyway, the reason I thought about all of this is because I’m writing up a “10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips” for this Heart Healthy Expo Jeff and I are going to tomorrow.

I was reading through a lot of the different heart-healthy tip things online and I couldn’t bring myself to provide people with recipes or tips that included canola oil and other such crap as healthy.

So below are the 10 Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips I came up with. I managed to make the tips stay pretty darn mainstream WITHOUT going against my beliefs. I didn’t say not to eat whole grains…I just most definitely didn’t say to do it!!!

  1. Eat whole, natural foods and cut back on processed, pre-packaged food items. Processed foods are loaded with sugars and bad fats that cause inflammation.
  2. Use healthy fats such as olive oils, coconut oils and naturally-raised animal fats INSTEAD OF canola and soybean oils, which cause inflammation because they are loaded with omega-6s.
  3. Cut back on sugar and consume more complex carbohydrates especially fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect our health.
  4. Cook more meals. No matter how healthy the restaurant meal supposedly is, it never measures up to a home-cooked meal. Even with our busy schedules and long workdays, we can fit in time to cook. It just takes some planning. Find meals, like casseroles and crockpot recipes, which allow you to make huge portions all at once so that you have leftovers for all those busy days when you don’t have time to cook!
  5. Plan in some “me time.” Too much stress can negatively impact our health.  It is important to take some time each day. This can mean going for a walk with friends, reading a book or anything that allows you to relax for even just 5 minutes at the end of your day.
  6. Get more sleep! Those who average five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a far higher incidence of “silent” heart disease. In a study done, 27% of those who slept five hours or less per night developed calcifications that can signal heart disease after five years, compared to just 6% of those who slept an average of seven hours or more.
  7. Do 30 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity (walking, hiking, swimming, chasing after your kids on the playground) 2-3 times per week. Low intensity aerobic activity helps to strengthen our heart and burn fat.
  8. “Sprint” once a week. To sprint means to do short, intense activity once a week where you get your heart rate up and then let it recover before you go again. The intensity of your sprint will be dependent on your fitness level. A sprint should be between 8-20 seconds of intense work followed by a long period of rest (2 to 5 times the amount work).
  9. Lift weights! Too often we ignore weight training when it comes to heart health, but strength training is important! Resistance training has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure while improving cholesterol levels and glucose metabolism. All of which result in a healthier heart! Add in weight training 2-3 times per week.
  10. Skip the two a days! More time in the gym doesn’t always equal better health. Overtraining can actually have negative effects on your health. Your workouts don’t need to be more than an hour especially if they are super intense. So don’t worry about how long you workout for – focus on your intensity!

NOTE: I am not ashamed of my beliefs, but I do believe that sometimes if you are too vocal upon first conversation with someone who you can actually get them to shut down and complete tune out all of the good stuff you are saying. Sometimes if you ease people into the unknown they are more accepting of the things you have to say!

Keep It Simple, Stupid

We seem to love to make dieting and exercising something super complicated.

But it’s not. And you’ll get the best results if you simply keep it simple!

If you follow the three most basic Man Bicep principles, I guarantee you will be lean, healthy and fit!

  1. Lift weights.
  2. Eat whole, natural foods when you’re hungry.
  3. Don’t waste your time!

Lift Weights:

Let’s just first clear the air…YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY IF YOU LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS!

That being said you will reap these benefits if you can move past that fear:

And to get these benefits, you don’t necessarily have to lift 200 lbs. You just need to lift weights that CHALLENGE you!

Eat Whole, Natural Foods:

Keep it simple! You don’t need to complicate your diet by counting calories or watching your micro-nutrient intake. You don’t need to take a bazillion supplements or eat any special bars. You don’t need to freak out about eating 5-6 small meals a day.

Your metabolism won’t shut off if you skip a meal and the more ingredients something has, no matter if it is low-fat or supposed to “zap fat in 1 week!”, the worse it is for you…period.

Don’t get fooled by stupid diet gimmicks that tell you that you can eat candy and lose weight. It doesn’t work.

Don’t make dieting something complicated! Just eat whole, natural foods like fresh fruit and vegetables and naturally raised, organic animal products. Eat when you are hungry…Heck you can even skip meals if you want and fast. Fasting even has proven health benefits!

If you need some help getting started with a clean eating program, check out these healthy lifestyle tips!

Don’t Waste Your Time:

What do I mean by this? Don’t waste your time half-assing a diet or fitness program. Don’t spend 1 hour in the gym when you could accomplish more in 20 minutes. Don’t work with a trainer to try to lose weight if you aren’t going to eat well outside of the gym.

Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. Try circuit training. Starting eating a diet of whole, natural foods so that your hard work in the gym pays off.

If you want to live a healthy lifestyle….then DO IT!

Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t half-ass it.

Don’t waste your time! DO IT!

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