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Priorities – Is health and fitness high up on the list?

Let’s face it…There is only so much time in a day to get things done.

HOWEVER, there is enough time in a day to get WHAT YOU WANT, what you VALUE, done.

The question is, “What do you value the most?”

Because what you value, you are going to prioritize. And what you make a priority, you are going to get done regardless of how busy you are.

to do lists

Yea..housework doesn’t figure high on my list of priorities either….

The thing is…Most people don’t make health and fitness a priority.

That is really what it all comes down to when people say they just don’t have time.

They just don’t think it is a priority.

Personally of course, I think it is.

I mean…

Feeling great every day. Waking up with energy and being able to move well and take on any physical challenge. Feeling energized to get all my work done without needing caffeine or any other crutch. Feeling good about myself and the way my body performs. Not having injuries and being in great physical and mental health.

Those sound like good enough reasons to prioritize meal prep and workouts….Those sound like good reasons to spend a little time cooking and sweating even if you don’t enjoy those two specific things all that much.

But hey…It’s up to you.

And please don’t start trying to make excuses right now about how it is easier for me because I’m a trainer or I work in a gym or whatever.

It’s not.

While yes…I do love eating well. While yes…I do love working out. There are still days when I’m extremely busy and really don’t have the time to workout.

But I MAKE TIME even on those days.

That is the key right there…I MAKE TIME because I VALUE eating clean and working out.

I know there are all those fitspo posters about how a workout is 4% of your day or some crap like that.

But really what all of this comes down to isn’t the amount of time it truly takes, but what you would rather be doing with that time.

If you really want to reach your health and fitness goals, you need to make them a priority.

You need to decide that you are going to MAKE TIME to cook meals and prep. That you are going to MAKE TIME to workout even when there are 72 other things on your to-do list.

Shoot…you may even just find that by making health and fitness a priority in your day, you are less stressed and get even more done even on the busiest of days.

I can tell you that when my life is at its most chaotic (like right now with my wedding fast approaching and work busier than ever), I feel the best and most energized on days, weeks, months when I’ve kept my priorities straight and made sure to make time to eat well and workout.

So stop making excuses about why you can’t lose weight. Or rehab the injury. Or eat clean.

Decide to MAKE TIME and make it a priority.

It may sound selfish to make your own health and fitness a priority, but if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you truly be there to support anyone else?

Confidence – Victories Build Upon Victories

So you often hear New Years resolutions and people coming into the gym with a goal of losing weight, getting healthier, being more toned, feeling better.

But what is their REAL reason WHY?

Honestly, it really isn’t to look better. Or even to get healthier most of the time.

It is to be more CONFIDENT!

I mean why do you want to look better? Is it really just for the sake of looking better? Or is it because you want to FEEL better about yourself – be more CONFIDENT in how you look?

Do you really want to get healthier? Or do you want to be MORE CONFIDENT in you health – know that when you wake up you will have the energy to tackle the day and won’t constantly be falling ill?

Yup…Underlying just about every health and fitness goal is a person’s real WHY – CONFIDENCE.

And while I would say this is definitely the case for women, I think it is also true for men.

Even high level athletes train to have more confidence. Yes, they train to get stronger…But they really train because they want to be CONFIDENT that they can win.

A healthy lifestyle is all about confidence no matter what terms you actually use to describe your goal.

That is why having a measurable goal, which is broken down into SHORT-TERM goals, is so important.

A big part of confidence is seeing progress – seeing SUCCESS…no matter how small.

When we accomplish something, there is definitely a feeling of pride, a feeling of CONFIDENCE.

I know that is why I make a daily task list. I love the feeling of success and accomplishment that I get when I cross something off of my to-do list!

Even if it is something small. Honestly, I usually even start with the easiest and smallest task for the day because it is the least daunting and seems quick and painless. AND it gets the momentum going because once I’ve finished something and see the list start to get smaller, I feel even more motivated to continue.

Usually getting the momentum going is the hardest part, which is why it is so important to start with something small. Easy to accomplish tasks present a lower barrier to entry…aka they make it seem less intimidating to get started on a difficult task.

So while your long-term goal may be something that will take months or even years to accomplish (and may seem incredibly daunting at the moment), your short-term goals should be things you can accomplish daily or even weekly.

You NEED to have easy to accomplish short-term goals, especially at the beginning because those quick and easy victories will get the momentum rolling.

And when you start seeing success, no matter how small, your confidence will build. And as your confidence builds, you will perform better, feel better, and even look better.

So if you want to accomplish all those more “superficial” goals like losing weight, getting more toned, being healthier, you first have to target the real reason you want all of those things – CONFIDENCE!

P.S. By superficial I don’t mean not important…your health is VERY important and does drive people to eat better or workout, but if you build your confidence, those other goals don’t seem near as intimidating or out of reach!

Taking that first step

Great cartoon!

How many times have you looked at a task and thought, “I can’t do that” or “That is going to be so killer and I won’t try it today”?

Probably too many times.

I don’t like being on a piece of cardio equipment for more than 2 seconds. Honestly, I could never step foot on a piece of cardio equipment and be more than happy.

But one of the basic tasks I have to complete is a quarter-mile on the VersaClimber.

Have I mentioned that the VersaClimber is one of the newest activities that I have a love/hate relationship with?

Well I do.

And since I first tried the VersaClimber and realized I had to spend more time on it than a minute, I sort of had started to tell myself I would never survive the quarter-mile.

I told myself, “I hate cardio.” “I can never zone out when I do stuff like that.” “I always am miserable doing that.” “I won’t be able to do very well.”

Finally I told myself to shut up.

Why was I having such negative thoughts? Why was I psyching myself out!?! I was making the whole thing worse by thinking so negatively.

I needed to JUST DO IT! If I couldn’t do it then I couldn’t do it, but I would never know until I actually TRIED.

And on Monday night, I did it. I didn’t set any expectations, I just did it. Whatever time I got, I was going to be proud that I took on the challenge instead of just saying “I can’t” and never trying.

I took the first step toward success – Actually TRYING the activity!

And I did a GREAT job. (Not to brag, but I’m pretty happy with how I did!). Here I’d thought I’d never survive, but instead I kept a pace that set me up to do a mile in under 40 minutes (which gets you up on our wall at our gym). Of course I’d need a some more training to do it, but I’d shown myself it was possible!

After I finished, I couldn’t believe just how negative I’d been beforehand. Why hadn’t I embraced the challenge? Why had I psyched myself out of even taking the first step?

What if I had let my negative mental attitude keep me from taking on the challenge?

Then I would never have known if I could do it. I would never have tested a new mental and physical limit.

Sometimes you need to cast aside all expectations and JUST DO IT. Don’t say “I CAN’T.” Just TRY IT!

Take that first step.

And this applies to everything in life. Any goal you have, if you don’t take that first step toward achieving it then of course you will never get there! If you want it, take that first step!

If you “fail,” get back up the next time and just go a bit further.

Trying but not succeeding isn’t a failure. It is a learning experience.

Never trying it….well that is a true failure.

Take the first step…Go for it!

Battling Ropes

Ingrid is the awesome woman in this photo who lead most of our course. So RAD! (Had to throw in some California slang!)

Yesterday I attended a Level 1 Battling Ropes Certification course.

It was AWESOME!

Honestly, it is one of  THE BEST THINGS that most people AREN’T INCLUDING in their program.

Who can do battling ropes?

That is the best part…EVERYONE!

It was one of the few workouts we can all do that really has no risk of injury AND doesn’t need a lot of practice to get the “form” correct.

When we are teaching someone to deadlift, it is a slow and long process. Their joints and connective tissues have to be ready to lift the weight before they can bump up the resistance. So even if they have the muscular strength to do a weight, their body might not truly be ready to handle it. AND form is an important part of the deadlift. You have to learn the form before you can increase the weight you are using.

But that isn’t the case with the Battling Ropes. With Battling Ropes, a beginner or a professional athletes can use the same 50ft, 1.5 inch rope and get a killer workout.

Everyone’s connective tissues can handle the weight of the ropes. AND everyone can DEVELOP correct form as they do the ropes more. At the beginning your body may compensate, but as you get tired your entire body has to work together correctly to produce the force necessary to make waves all the way down the rope. Imbalances will reveal themselves AND correct themselves as people do the ropes more and more.

All of the PROBLEMS that develop or can hinder progress with traditional weight lifting can be corrected using the ropes.

And on top of that, THEY AREN’T EASY!

I can bench press, do tons of push ups, deadlift and squat heavy weights, but one minute on the Battling Ropes and my body is says, “OUCH!”

I just love it!

Battling Ropes help increase your work capacity, teach you how to use your entire body to move EFFICIENTLY and increase your power and strength. They do everything basically AND everyone can do them.

You just start by making the waves go as far down the rope as you can. That may be two feet or all the way down. As your body learns how to move efficiently and becomes stronger, you will get the waves further and further down the ropes and increase the speed at which you can produce the waves.

Start with just a minute. Each time try to go longer! Right now I have two challenges that I want to take down. Five minutes straight of the alternating arm waves (after that I’ll try 10 minutes) and then the 1 mile rope pull. Wish me luck!

If you want to learn more about Battling Ropes and the exercises you can do with them (hopefully I will have some of my own videos soon!), check out these videos by John and his crew. John’s website also has some great info on it! Our gym also has some great videos that I will link to as soon as our site is back up!

Next we will discuss some more natural movements for our body, CRAWLING. Not only forwards, but also backwards. It is crazy how hard the backwards because we never train that movement pattern YET it should be something we train since we have to do it naturally!

P.S. I thought one of the most interesting things about using Battling Ropes is that you don’t get SORE from a workout with them. Because of the constant motion and the use of only concentric and isometric contractions, you don’t get sore the next day. Fatigued, yes, but sore, no.

Mental Toughness

Today one of my orientation task was to read an IR blog about Mental Toughness, which made me think about my hill sprints at “Big Red” yesterday.

Ouchie….That is all I can say.

Honestly, I wanted to give up halfway up my first hill sprint. My lungs were burning, my legs had gone straight past the burn into shaking and I wanted to just start walking.

My mind was convinced my body was saying, “I can’t do anymore. I need to walk.”

But my mind didn’t give in. My mind kept my body moving all the way to the top of the hill.

And then my mind made my body do that two more times even though my legs would have been happy had I sat down and not moved the rest of the day after the first sprint.

I didn’t let my mind give up so my body kept moving.

Mental toughness is what pushes your body past that initial pain and fatigue. Mental toughness is what makes you push through to the finish even when your muscles are screaming. Mental toughness is what makes you successful.

Clients will tell me all the time, “I can’t do anymore.”

But their arms won’t have collapsed. Heck most of the time, their arms won’t even be shaking one little bit.

Based on the physical signs, I KNOW they can do more.

But they feel the burn so their mind is telling them their body can’t do anymore when it actually CAN.

They aren’t mentally tough.

But mental toughness is something that needs to be trained as much as the physical does. You won’t reach your fitness or health goals if you don’t train your mind as well as your body.

And to become mentally tough, you don’t have to push your body to absolute failure. I’m not asking you to go and workout till you barf. Or take on a “Big Red” sprint when you still feel uncomfortable with sprints on a flat.

All I’m asking you to do is push a little further than you did last time.

If you thought you could only hold a wall sit for 30 seconds, next time don’t let yourself move until you’ve done 35 seconds even if your muscles are burning.

Once you’ve done 35 seconds, next time shoot to hold it longer. Even just one or two seconds longer.

Each time push a little further. Test your mental toughness just a little bit more.

Each time you push a little further, you expand your limits and help your mind to realize that you CAN do more.

Keep pushing and testing your limits. Your mind will become tougher and you will find that your goals are more easily within your reach!

Training as Therapy

This post today comes about because I started thinking about how much I will miss my clients when I moved. I’ve seen my clients grow and become more empowered. I’ve seen them become stronger, fitter, healthier individuals.

I’ve seen my clients fall in love with lifting and believe more in themselves!

We’ve shared personal stories, hopes and fears. We’ve shared our insecurities about our bodies. We’ve overcome set backs and celebrated victories.

We’ve SHARED and GROWN together.

But anyway, the relationships I’ve had with my clients here in Boston just made me think about how much training can be therapy.

….

Working out is a chance for you to take some time out of the day and do something for yourself.

It is a chance for you to solely focus on yourself and let go of all of the stresses and responsibilities of the day.

It is a chance to be selfish! In a good way!

And women, who have the hardest time dedicating that hour to something exclusively for them, need it more than anything!

Many women DON’T take time out of the day for themselves. They work all day and then go home and cater to their families at night.

There is no “me” time.

And if you want to truly feel good, you need to take some “me” time!

For many of my clients, our hour together is about more than just exercise. It is about doing something for themselves.

And having someone there to guide them and socialize with makes that hour into even better therapy.

I don’t often recommend working with a personal trainer BUT I do think there are instances and circumstances where it can be one of the best and most rewarding investments out there.

As a personal trainer, I’m there to push you to stay committed and reach your goals. I’m there to help you become a healthier, fitter person. I’m there to help you become a happier, more empowered person.

I’m there FOR YOU and you alone.

Yes, my goal for that hour is to give you a great workout.

But more importantly, I’m there to get you to focus on you.

So please stop thinking of working out, with or without a trainer, as some frivolous luxury.

It isn’t.

Training is for your health both mental and physical.

Yes, working out is something you need to do FOR YOU.

But only when you take time out for yourself and make yourself happy can you be there to support everyone else!

So women, you may be the rock of your family, but you can’t be a rock forever if you don’t take care of yourself!

Cali here we come!?!

So on July 18th, Ryan and I will be making a cross-country move from Boston to sunny Southern California.

It’s a big risk –  a big change.

And there have been lots of sad good-byes.

I’m a Midwest girl who came out to Boston for college and stayed. I’ve been out here for seven years and I’ve been at this gym for two of those years.

I have a solid life here. One that is hard to leave behind. One full of clients who I’ve helped become stronger, more empowered individuals and who’ve helped me grow as well.

One full of friends and comfortable places.

One really without much “risk.”

Stability.

How often do we sacrifice our dreams for stability?

Too often.

But I refuse to do that. And I think this change, this move, will force me to really take a risk and pursue my dreams.

Despite how hard it is to leave the stability, to leave all of my WONDERFUL/EXTRAORDINARY/BEAUTIFUL clients, I know this is a change that I need to help me grow as an individual – to allow me to further pursue my passion for health and fitness.

This change will be good…but I’m freaking nervous as hell. (Sorry for the curse word but well it’s true!)

I’m a planner.

And at this point…I really have no clear plan.

For probably the first time in my life, I have no clear direction. Just a passion that I’m planning to follow.

Could this turn out badly?

Yup.

But heck…at least I tried!

Why wait?

So Ryan had this guy say to him the other day, “I  always suggest to my students to follow their dreams. So that is what I’m doing at age 58.”

My question is, “Why not follow your dreams now?”

Why say, “I’ll start losing weight tomorrow?”

Why say, “I’ll go to the gym to get stronger tomorrow.”

Why say, “I’ll start my own business/go on trip/do something I’ve always dreamed of doing TOMORROW.”

Why wait till tomorrow?!?!

Do it now!

There is no time like the present. Plus wouldn’t you feel worse if you never risked anything to follow your dreams?

I mean I would feel way worse never risking anything to follow my dreams than I would failing 100 times trying to achieve them.

So my question now is, “What are you waiting for!?!”

GO DO IT!

Letting Go – Making a Change

I think the hardest thing to do is CHANGE.

Change is hard, but this quote is spot on!

It’s part of why it is hard for most women to start weight training. It is why it is hard for most people to ditch conventional wisdom and start eating Paleo/Primal.

It is why a lot of big life decisions are hard in general! To make big changes, to get big results, you can’t be afraid to let go of what you know, think or believe. You’ve got to be ready to take risks and suffer some consequences.

Below are the 10 most important “changes” you need to make to become a stronger, fitter, more empowered you. Of course this is my opinion…but then again, I’m always right, right!?! 😛

  1. Ditch the disbelievers. This one is first because I think this is probably the hardest thing for me. I hold onto people even when they are holding me back. If you want success though, sometimes you have to go it alone. Don’t give in and cheat on your diet just because your friends are trying to get you to eat badly. Don’t be afraid to lift those heavy weights even though your friends tell you that you will bulk up. Don’t be afraid to ditch the disbelievers and go it on your own! You can do it! You are strong enough!
  2. Try something outside your comfort zone. If you really want to find out what you are made of, try something new. I know it’s scary, but the only way to find out what you are truly capable of is to try something you either haven’t done or aren’t comfortable with doing!
  3. Keep an open mind about EVERYTHING. Be willing to try new things! Experiment! There is always new information coming out about everything. Research everything. Read different points of view or  find out works by trying it on yourself! If you weren’t somewhat open-minded already, you probably wouldn’t be reading this site! 🙂
  4. Have confidence in yourself and try something just beyond what you KNOW you can do. While it’s nice to stick with what we know we can do, you will never find out just how truly strong you are if you don’t push beyond what you’ve already proven you can do! This doesn’t mean just lifting a heavier weight in the gym. It also means tackling an activity that you’ve maybe never done before or are unsure if you can do!
  5. Admit to yourself that you don’t, and can’t, ever know anything for certain. Deep huh? This one actually kind of sucks, but it’s true. I like to believe I know everything, but deep down I know I don’t. Nothing is ever set in stone. Everything can change. We are constantly learning or at least we should be. If you think you know everything, you are wrong. Be willing to change and adapt your beliefs as you learn and you will grow as a person.
  6. Accept that you will be wrong and enjoy your failures. This one is hard. No one ever enjoys failing. I most definitely hate it. I don’t like failing or being wrong. BUT I know that I will be at times. I know that I will fail, BUT I know that each time I get back up and try again, I become stronger. As cheesy as it sounds, look at each failure not so much as a failure, but as a learning experience. If you want to accomplish something persistence is key!
  7. Learn. Learn every moment of every day. Learn by doing research, experimenting, failing and achieving success. And the thing is, by doing all this learning, you will learn more about yourself. Through all of my “learning” I’ve developed a stronger identity. It may always be a slightly shifting and growing identity, but the more I learn, the clearer it becomes!
  8. Forget, but never forget. Learn to let go of the negative emotions surrounding a failure. Forget the emotions so that they don’t hold you back. You can’t change what happened. You can only move forward. But even though you need to release the emotions, NEVER forget how hard you worked. Never forget what the goal meant to you. KEEP PUSHING ONWARD! Change your game-plan but never give up!
  9. Accept your fears. This is another one that can be hard. This is a random story BUT…I’m afraid of snakes. I hate them. I have no idea why, but I really really really (I could go on with the reallys) hate them. I almost didn’t go on a hike in Red Rock Canyon because it was prime snake season. But I did go despite the fact that I was sure I was going to be bitten and die in Las Vegas. Most people fear dying in Vegas for a ton of other reasons…but not me…I was sure a snake would get me. And if I hadn’t gone on that hike…I would have missed out on one of the best memories I have during my life!
  10. Build a network. These 10 changes come full circle. As you develop the “new” stronger, fitter, more empowered you, you have to build a new network of people who support and push you to grow further. The “push” part of that equation is very important. You always want people around you that challenge you and motivate you to achieve your goals not just stand still! An example of a network that has helped me grow is my lifting classes. Those ladies, and my two Man Bicep Males!, have helped me grow so much. I also pride myself on believing that I’ve helped them also grow into stronger, fitter and more confident individuals!

So what changes have you made toward becoming a stronger, fitter, more empowered individual?

Strength grows from vulnerability

Sometimes it is hard for me to want to do things that I know I’m bad at.

I don’t like failing.

But if I don’t make myself vulnerable to failure, if I don’t attempt the things I’m bad at, I will never grow stronger.

It sucks, but it is the hard truth.

And I want to be strong. AND you are only as strong as your weakest point.

So I work on my weak points. Sometimes I want to cry or puke. Sometimes I just want to give up.

But every time I push through, I get stronger.

Not only do I get stronger physically, but I also get stronger mentally. I become more empowered every time I make myself vulnerable and overcome an obstacle.

I actually think sometimes we focus too much on the physical obstacle without realizing how much pushing ourselves to do something will make us grow and become empowered as a person.

And honestly, isn’t growing stronger as a person really the most important part? I mean who really cares if you lift 45lbs or 300lbs?

No one.

The point is to OVERCOME something CHALLENGING to you. The numbers don’t matter. The exercise doesn’t matter.

All the matters is that you take on the challenge and make yourself vulnerable.

That in and of itself is success.

And sometimes that success is very hard-won and comes about in a form in which you didn’t necessarily intend. But that success is strength.

You made yourself vulnerable.

You took the risk.

You got stronger.

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