Recently I began training to run a half marathon. Through the years, I have run many races but it's been about 4 years since I ran a half. In the process of training for this, I have come to realize how much I truly missed running and training for races. I find it so rewarding and fun to put together the puzzle pieces of a training program over time to get your body ready. It's amazing to experience your body and your mind adapt so you can accomplish a goal.
For many years running or power walking has been my primary source for stress relief. I choose to go for a run or power walk when I feel extreme emotions (especially the negative ones). It clears my mind, helps me calm down and reduces my anxiety. Study after study cites the benefits of running/power walking (especially outside) for mental health.
The runners high is real!
I have definitely experienced a "runner's high" and it feels amazing! After about 20-30 minutes, I start to feel more positive, grateful, relaxed, clear minded, more confident, strong and I just have a higher level of overall happiness. It feels really wonderful!
"After a nice long bout of aerobic exercise, some people experience what’s known as a “runner’s high”: a feeling of euphoria coupled with reduced anxiety and a lessened ability to feel pain. For decades, scientists have associated this phenomenon with an increased level in the blood of β-endorphins, opioid peptides thought to elevate mood. However more recently, researchers have shown the brain’s endocannabinoid system—the same one affected by marijuana’s Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—may also play a role in producing runner’s high, at least in mice" -American Scientific
If you want to feel good naturally without putting toxic substances in your body, go for a power walk or a run outside in the sunshine and ride the runners high!
improvements in sleep
Regular running or power walking has been shown to help you set a normal sleep schedule. Chemicals released during and after relax your body and encourage deep sleeping. Having a regular sleep schedule with an adequate amount of sleep is good for your brain and improves your mental health.
For me, getting outside and moving more brings a noticeable improvement in my sleep patterns, which in turn improves my general mental health and mood the next day after a good nights sleep.
reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety & boosting mood
Running or vigorous walking reduces anxiety and depression. When you run, blood circulation to the brain is increased and the part of your brain that responds to stress and improves your mood is affected. This causes a change that temporarily improves your reaction to stressful situations. There are many studies that have backed this claim.
I always say that getting outside and getting my heart rate up improves my mood and state of mind 100% of the time, it never fails me!
I can't even tell you the number of times going outside for a run or power walk has turned my whole day around into a more positive direction mentally. Running has served me through the stress of raising 3 boys, the loss of my mother, difficult life challenges and hard personal growth.
I highly recommend getting outside and getting your heart rate up to feel great naturally and effectively.
If your goal is to lose body fat or maintain your current weight, it can be challenging! Trust me, it's way easier to accomplish that if you don't feel hungry all day and you aren't having to fight off cravings!
Here are 5 ways for you to stay fuller longer and curb your cravings.
1. Increase your protein intake
Studies show that eating a diet rich in protein will help you stay fuller longer with less food/calories. This is partly because it reduces the level of your hunger hormone Ghrelin. This effect on appetite can be powerful! In one study a group of women increased protein intake from 15% to 30% of overall calorie intake and this resulted in a reduced calorie intake of more than 400 calories per day, without intentionally restricting in any way!
Protein digests at a slower pace than carbs alone and makes you feel fuller longer. It keeps your blood sugar stable which reduces cravings between meals and snacks.
Prioritizing foods that are protein rich like lean poultry, seafood, lean beef, lean pork, eggs and egg whites, low fat greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu and protein powder will help you reach your daily protein goal. It is recommended that if your goal is to lose body fat and build muscle, you need to eat 0.7 to 1.0 gram of protein for every pound of your goal body weight per day. I recommend that you shoot for at least 30-40 grams of protein for each meal and at least 20g at each snack.
Protein not only makes you feel fuller longer and keeps cravings at bay, but it also supports your strength training workouts and helps repair and build that precious and hard earned muscle.
Now, I am not saying that you should cut out carbohydrates or fat! I mean that you can swap some of the carbs and fat you eat with more protein to get the fullness benefits. Protein can be your secret weapon for changing your body composition.
2. INCREASE MEAL/snack FREQUENCY
Eating smaller meals more often helps stave off hunger. If you eat every few hours you are less likely to snack. Perhaps eat 5-6 small meals a day, just make sure they are smaller portions and protein rich.
3. Eat slowly and mindfully
Giving time for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full is key. Slowing down, enjoying your food and being mindful about it will help you stay fuller longer and make it less likely you will go back for second servings. Eat with intention and enjoy every bite and think about the taste and texture as you eat. This will help you tune into your fullness cues enabling your body tell you when it's full.
4. eat more leafy greens and vegetables
Leafy greens and vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus and zucchini, are high in fiber and low in calories so you can increase your portion sizes of these types of foods to help you feel fuller. Focus on foods such as these that you can eat in high volume, are nutrient dense and low in calories.
5. GEt adequate sleep
If you are tired and sleep deprived, you are more likely to have cravings and eat more overall. Lack of sleep actually increases your hunger hormones! Studies show that there is a well documented relationship between lack of sleep and obesity.
A good nights sleep will help you feel less hungry during the day and give you a clear mind to make better choices. So hit the pillow earlier and reap the benefits!
Losing body fat takes time in a consistent calorie deficit. Using these tools to help make that an easier and more sustainable journey is important for overall success. You got this!
Is motivation this elusive thing that just shows up out of nowhere and makes you get going? Do you need to wait to feel motivated in order to take action? The answer to both of those questions is no. Action precedes motivation. One small action leads to another small action, which leads to a positive reward, which then leads to motivation to receive that positive reward again. This creates a cycle of action>result>motivation and so on. You don't need to feel good to get going, you need to get going to feel good!
The simplest definition of motivation is wanting (Baumeister, 2016). We want a change in behavior, thoughts, feelings, self-concept, environment and relationships.
Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within because it is naturally satisfying to you. Contrast this with extrinsic motivation, which involves engaging in a behavior in order to earn external rewards or avoid punishment.
Motivation and making a plan
How does making a plan for short term goals help with action and motivation? If you make a plan for small steps, you are more likely to follow through with the action. When you follow through with a small promise you make to yourself, you then feel accomplished and proud of yourself which feels really good. This creates a cycle of making a plan, keeping the promise, feeling good and doing it again.
Short term goals work better for uninteresting activities as they boost commitment by providing feedback on progress more often, which further reinforces the effort to persist (Reeve, 2015).
What I say to my clients is, "If you fail to plan, then plan to fail."
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar
Steps to get motivated
First, identify what your goal is specifically. Then make a promise to yourself that you will do one small thing related to your goal today. What and when you are going to do is important when making your plan. Then do the thing! You will feel so great and accomplished! Next, just repeat! Don't make it complicated, it's simple, small steps lead to larger ones. It also helps to have support and accountability from someone who wants to see you succeed and reach your goals.
Stop waiting for tomorrow and start now with a small step!
Most women I know struggle with body image around their lower belly pooch. Society teaches women that a flat stomach is necessary to be healthy, beautiful, sexy and desirable. It's fed to women that the lower belly pooch is something to be fixed or is a flaw. The truth is, a completely flat lower belly is an unrealistic expectation, unachievable goal and a myth!
“The craze for the past several years is that women need to have a flat stomach in order to be considered attractive. This belief is setting women up for failure because a woman’s stomach isn’t meant to be flat,” Ashley Wood, RN, BSN.
We must normalize what a normal female body looks like, learn to love and appreciate our bodies and stop with the lower belly obsession for our own mental health and well being.
Here are reasons why your pooch is totally normal and a necessary part of the female anatomy.
EATING, DRINKING AND MONTHLY CYCLES
Your lower belly will grow throughout the day which is completely normal. It's just physics. If you fill a bag up with something, it will expand. When you wake up your belly is smaller and flatter with an empty stomach, but by the end of the day it is larger and more prominent because you ate, drank and have some bloating. It also will vary in size with your menstrual cycles, also totally normal.
WOMEN HAVE PADDING TO PROTECT VITAL ORGANS
Why is the completely fat stomach a myth and unachievable? Whether you have given birth to children or not, it is part of the post adolescent female anatomy and part of most women's genetics to have a small amount of subcutaneous fat in the lower belly to protect your vital organs and reproductive organs. It is anatomically correct and totally normal for a woman (in a healthy weight range and with a healthy waist circumference) to have a lower belly pooch!
Many women, including myself, who have birthed children will have loose skin from pregnancy in the lower belly which enhances the pooch. This is normal! Why not embrace this and feel gratitude for the incredible gift our bodies gave us! We made humans!
Why do you see some women without the pooch? Some women are genetically predisposed to not have the pooch or they have chosen to have surgery to remove it. This is not the majority and is uncommon.
SOCIETY FEEDS THE MYTH
The fitness industry and media perpetuate this with ads like "flat belly diets" and "exercises to lose the lower belly pooch" and images that are altered where women's pooches are edited out. You cannot spot reduce body fat with targeted exercises. Body fat can only be reduced overall by eating in a calorie deficit. That being said, if you eat in a calorie deficit, you will lose body fat in whatever place your body wants based on genetics.
ACCEPT, LOVE, TRUST AND NORMALIZE
Accepting, loving and trusting our bodies is easier said than done. How do you do this?
If you are eating a balanced, healthy diet and getting lots of exercise and movement, focus on how you feel. Are you gaining strength? Are you more functional? How do you feel overall?
Lessen the "flat belly myth" noise. It's time to unfollow on social media the toxic images, advertisements and groups that promote this myth. Stop wasting time focusing on this false and toxic input.
Pay closer attention to your health. Is your bloodwork, like cholesterol screenings in a normal range? How is your heart rate variations and blood pressure? How is your sleep and energy throughout the day? Ask your doctor for a checkup on your general health to find out.
I love affirmations and recommend saying them to yourself daily. Say affirmations to yourself like; I am beautiful, healthy, sexy and desirable; I trust, love and accept my body; my pooch has a purpose and is part of my healthy and normal body.
As many women do, I admit to struggling with my complicated relationship with my pooch. However, I have come to realize that it is a necessary and beautiful pooch! Most days it's smaller in the morning, and larger at the end of the day after eating meals. I have a pooch because, I eat, digest food and drink water, I have internal organs, I have birthed 3 beautiful and healthy boys, my body goes through monthly menstrual cycles and I am 45 years old.
That being said, I am also grateful to my body because I have muscle that I've worked hard for and work hard to keep, I am strong, I crush my workouts, on average I sleep well, my body is fully functional, my diet is balanced and healthy, I am in a healthy weight range for my body, my blood work and vitals are normal and most of all, I feel great and I am so grateful to my body (and my pooch) for the beast that it is!
Women sometimes avoid lifting heavy weights for lots of reasons but the most common reason is that they mistakenly think it will make them look bulky or manly. Study after study has disproven the 'bulky" myth and proven the benefits of strength training for your overall health and for fat loss. Let's debunk 5 myths, shall we?
Myth #1 - strength training will create a bulky/manly look for women.
This is completely false and a very common myth. Women do not produce enough testosterone to create the bulk that a man can. Research shows that men and women build muscle very differently even on similar training programs. As a women, unless you are taking testosterone injections or eating in a large calorie surplus, you will not get big and bulky like man can. However, you can use strength training as a tool to build muscle to make your muscles look more defined and aid in fat loss which will reveal your beautiful muscles!
myth #2 - women can't lose weight through lifting
100% false! The truth is quite the opposite. The BEST tool for aiding in fat loss is strength training. Lift more, lose more! It is a common misconception that long, steady state cardio workouts is best for fat loss and calorie burn when in fact, you burn as many if not more with strength training. When you lift weights you create an "after burn" effect. This means that our body continues to burn calories after your workout is over during the recovery process for a longer period of time. When you stop doing steady state cardio, like jogging, biking or walking, you stop burning calories. I am not saying steady state cardio doesn't have a place in your workout routine but strength training and increasing your cardio intensity in bursts of shorter intervals should be your center focus for fat loss. Plus, research shows that your body uses more energy to maintain your muscle mass so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate!
myth #3 - training one area will target fat loss specifically to that area.
False. Sorry guys but you cannot spot reduce your body fat. You cannot burn fat in specific areas of your body with targeted exercise. You can gain strength and build muscle but your body will lose the fat wherever it wants, based mostly on your genetics, and only when you are in a consistent calorie deficit.
myth #4 - lifting light weights with high reps will give you a "toned" look.
The fitness industry created this word "toned" to sell more gym memberships and get more women into "toning" classes. Your muscles can get bigger or smaller but you cannot change the shape. You can however lose body fat and reveal your muscles but you cannot "elongate or tone" the look of them nor can you spot reduce your body fat. Lifting lighter weights with high reps will increase your muscle endurance but it's not as effective for building muscle, which is really what it means when you hear the word "toned."
Again, lifting heavy weights builds muscle and aids in fat loss so that you can reveal all the hard work you do lifting so to show off those strong muscles, feel empowered and stay functional in your life!
myth #5 - It's scary or intimidating to begin a strength training routine.
Learning anything new can be a little scary, however if you have a knowledgable coach that can walk you through proper form, teach correct strength training so to void injury and make the most out of your lifting time, you will be successful and feel strong and empowered! You should start with the basics, learn proper form first and then begin to increase the weight you lift over time as you gain proper knowledge and strength.
Strength training benefits are huge. It improves your overall health by aiding in fat loss, increasing your metabolism, building bone density and joint strength, decreases your risk for numerous diseases, it makes you feel confident and empowered, gives you more strength to go about your life functionally and without injury.
As an experienced, educated and knowledgable trainer, I am happy to help you with any questions you have about strength training and how it can improve your health and your life. Shoot me an email anytime.
As a trainer and nutrition coach, I teach my clients how to create new habits to reach their health and fitness goals. Most of my client's goals center around reducing body fat, gaining muscle and creating healthier habits. No matter what your goals are, changing your body composition is downright hard. Everyone struggles, but here are some hard truths that I share with my clients that can be eye opening and may just help nudge you in the right direction towards your goals.
1. It will take longer than you think
No matter what your goals are, it will take longer than you think. There is no shortcut, there is no quick fix. Building new habits that serve your health goals takes time and consistency. You will need to manage your timeline expectations.
2. no one can make the changes you need but you
You and only you are responsible for your own choices everyday. Whether it be a workout or food choices, it is all on you to make the choice that best serves your goals. This is a good thing because it also means that you are in total control!
3. the only road to fat loss is a calorie deficit
The science is clear, the only road to fat loss is a calorie deficit, the only road to maintaining your current weight is to eat at your maintenance calories and the only road to weight gain is to eat in a calorie surplus. Read that again.
It all comes down to calories in/calories out. You must burn more calories than you take in.
Most people underestimate how many calories they eat in a day and overestimate how many calories they burn in a day. It can be an easy trap to fall into. A great tool to assess how much you are eating for a period of time, is to keep an accurate and honest food journal.
4. you must be consistent
If you are not seeing the results you want, then you are not being as consistent as you need to be over time. Not being consistent will stall your progress. Building healthy habits that last and are consistent is key.
5. You cannot rush it
The more you try to speed up the process the more you are setting yourself back. Again, there are no shortcuts that are lasting. You must change your overall daily habits for long term success.
6. you must make sacrifices
Last but certainly not least, you will have to make sacrifices to see the changes that you want. You cannot keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. Changing your daily health habits must become a priority in your life. You don't have to make huge changes fast, but you can slowly make small changes that add up over time. Making sacrifices and changes are inevitable if you want to see the results you seek.
If you are interested in exploring your health and fitness goals with me, I am happy to chat with you for a free consultation about what you are seeking and my coaching process.
Some of my clients are in other cities and I coach them remotely, so you don't need to live near me. You can visit my client testimonial page and see before and after pics on my nutritional coaching page. Contact me at email@example.com or text or call 210-332-7253
Society teaches us that drinking is normal and just part of our culture, but many people don't realize or choose to ignore the heavy risk and damage it causes. Studies show that even one drink per day can cause long term brain damage and add huge roadblocks to your fitness goals.
If you are a regular drinker, it's time to take a look and rethink the habit. You will be surprised at how amazing you feel when you lay off drinking.
Here are six (very convincing) reasons to ditch the drinks for your health!
1. Brain function
I wanted to start with this one because it is the most recent research out on this topic and the results are eye opening! A recent study out of the UK found that just one alcoholic drink per day can literally shrink and age your brain. And as expected, the more you drink the worse the damage.
"On average, people at age 50 who drank a pint of beer or 6-ounce glass of wine (two alcohol units) a day in the last month had brains that appeared two years older than those who only drank a half of a beer (one unit). The brains of people that age who said they drank three alcohol units a day had reductions in both white and gray matter that looked as if they had added 3.5 years to the ages of their brains."
-CNN news report on the study
These findings show that even moderate regular drinking causes serious brain problems. Ultimately, keeping your brain healthy long term and alcohol don't mix.
2. Weight gain
Drinking alcohol will make you gain weight because it's high in calories, it makes you hungry and leads to poor food choices. The calories in alcohol are "empty calories", you are providing zero nutritional value to your body while consuming excess calories. Alcohol also increases your appetite, you are more likely to make food choices that do not serve your health and eat them in larger quantities than you would normally. Then add in a hangover, and it's a perfect storm for overeating and skipping your workout. Alcohol actually slows your metabolism, weakens your muscles and makes you feel fatigued. If you have fitness and health goals drinking alcohol will not help you reach those goals, in fact it will stall or reverse your progress.
3. athletic performance
"Alcohol use is directly linked to the rate of injury sustained in sport events and appears to evoke detrimental effects on exercise performance capacity." -Better health
Studies show that drinking alcohol reduces muscle strength and growth, negatively effects the cardiovascular system and increases risk for injury. It will hinder your fitness progress and hold you back from making the gains you are looking for. If you want to grow stronger, improve athletic performance, get faster and more functional, skip the booze.
4. Sleep disruption
Alcohol and getting a good nights sleep don't mix. Getting proper sleep is essential to muscle repair and recovery, keeping your appetite in check, mental health, alertness and energy. Studies show that even one drink before bed reduces the amount of the precious REM sleep that we all need. The more you drink the worse the REM disruptions gets. You may think having that drink will help you sleep, but that is a myth. You might fall asleep faster but the sleep that counts most (REM) sleep lessens which disrupts nearly all aspects of health.
5. Increase risk of deadly diseases
The Center for Disease Control states, "There is strong scientific evidence that drinking alcohol increases the risk for cancer, including cancers of the mouth and throat, liver, breast (in women), colon and rectum, and for some types of cancer, the risk increases even at low levels of alcohol consumption (less than 1 drink in a day). The evidence indicates that the more alcohol a person drinks, the higher his or her risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer." -CDC
Ditching the drinks will lower your risks for so many deadly diseases, it is just a cold hard fact.
6. worsens stress levels
I say this all the time, the one thing that never lets me down 100% of the time to relive my stress is a workout. It is proven to be the best form of stress relief. You might think that having that drink relieves your stress but that is another myth. In fact, it actually worsens your stress. Alcohol causes the release of hormones that cause stress like cortisol. It shifts your hormonal balance to increase stress. It might feel like it helps in the moment, but long term you are making your stress worse.
If you want to relieve your stress, skip the booze and get a workout. It can be any workout including walking, running, biking, yoga, a fitness class, or whatever you enjoy.
You can still be the life of the party and have fun without drinking. Don't let fear of missing out (FOMO) stop you from being healthy and achieving your fitness goals. Your long term health is more important than a short term buzz. When you are out, have a sparkling water with a lime and splash of cherry juice, or treat yourself to a "mocktail" so you still feel like you are part of the group but you will feel proud that you are the one crushing your health goals!
I propose that this Valentines Day we work on loving ourselves along with loving and appreciating our amazing bodies!
We have ALL been trained by society to hate certain parts of our bodies, especially as we age, after childbirth or with weight gain. We all struggle and it is hard, but it negatively effects our self-esteem, mental health and motivation. Here are 10 things you can do to improve and create a more loving relationship with yourself and your body.
1. flip the script
For every negative thought in your head or negative word out of your mouth relating to your body, replace it with 3 positive ones. You can train yourself slowly over time to reframe your inner and outer dialog. Ask yourself, "Would I say these things to my child or my best friend?" If the answer is no, then stop and respond to yourself with 3 positive thoughts about your body. What you say to yourself is very powerful.
For example, if you hear yourself saying, "I hate my thighs" reframe it with something like this, "My thighs serve me well and are strong enough to get me where I want to go."
It's ok to to have fitness or weight loss goals to improve your health, however being unkind to yourself will only hinder that process by lessening your motivation and creating self-pity. This leads down the path of serving habits that don't serve your health. I'll say it again, what you say to yourself is very powerful!
2. Commit to it
Make a commitment to be kinder to yourself. Say it out loud, "I am making a commitment to say kind things to myself and say kind things about my body." Our bodies are amazing! They can create life, sustain life, walk, run, lift, grow, and so much more! Think about what your body has given you through your life and how it has served you well. Commit to being kind to it every day.
3. Ditch the "perfect body" equals happiness narrative
Stop saying to yourself, "When I get to this weight or this size I will finally be happy." That statement is false. Happiness does not come from a number on the scale or a tag on clothing! Human beings all have unique body types and genetic makeups. The "perfect body" does not exist and is unattainable. If you have goals for fitness and health trying to reach an unattainable goal only brings frustration and risk of failure. That is certainly not going to motivate you or help to build sustainable healthier habits.
Make realistic and smaller goals. For example, being able to perform a certain number of push-ups or pull-ups, reaching a daily step goal, eating one more serving of fruits and vegetables a day, attending a number of fitness classes per week or once a day 5 minutes of meditation. Focus on smaller more realistic goals such as those and your larger goals will come in time.
4. STOP judging and comparing yourself to other peoples bodies
Just stop it! We are all different, unique, come from different backgrounds, experiences and genetic make ups. Comparing yourself to someone else's body is like comparing apples to oranges or the ocean to the mountains. Both are beautiful, both are unique and wonderfully different things of this earth, but judging them against each other is a waste of time and energy. Comparing your body to someones else's body will not serve you or your goals. Think of your body as its own unique vessel that serves you, only you and no one else.
5. Cleanse your social media
If you see things in your social media feed that make you feel bad about your body, delete, unfollow, unlike, unfriend or whatever you must do to get it out of your sight. Don't fall into the trap of unrealistic expectations with photoshopped and video edited bodies that aren't real! Get it out of your feed and you will be glad you did.
6. positive affirmations
I don't care what anyone says, Stewart Smalley from SNL had it right! It might seem cheesy but who cares?!?! If something helps you, it doesn't matter what anyones else thinks!
Multiple times a day I get notifications on my watch and phone with a positive affirmation. I read it and sometimes say it out loud, it is wonderful and helps me tremendously. It is a powerful tool that provides verbiage to retrain thinking around certain things especially being kinder to yourself. There are lots of free apps for this, get one!
7. Thank your body for how it serves you everyday.
Practicing gratitude towards the amazing things your body has done, can do, and will do for you, is another powerful tool to repair your relationship with it. Think about all the great things your body has accomplished and thank it everyday.
Say to yourself, "Thank you body for giving my life so much, I am grateful."
8. Stop punishing yourself
If you beat yourself up for having a bowl of ice cream or look at your workouts as punishment for eating foods that don't serve your goals, STOP it! Thinking this way is harmful to your self-esteem and will only lead to repeating cycles of habits that don't work for you.
Everyone enjoys an indulgence and research shows making a habit of giving yourself a treat now and then is healthy. Depriving yourself and being too restrictive with your diet just leads to overindulgence and binge behavior. Look at having a treat as an act of love, treating your body to something it enjoys rather than being "bad." There is no "bad" or "good" foods. Food is food.
Research shows that exercise is a gift to your body, builds precious muscle, keeps your heart and lungs healthy, improves your mood, improves your quality of life and extends your life. It should not be looked at as punishment for what you ate. You cannot out exercise poor diet, period. So looking at it as punishment is pointless if you think it will ex out foods you ate. That kind of thinking will cause associating workouts with dread and increase the likelihood of giving up.
Say to yourself, "This workout is going to make me feel amazing and give my body what it needs to be healthy and strong."
9. feed your body healthy foods full of nutrients it needs
In addition to that treat now and then, feeding your body proper nutrition will make you feel good about yourself. Eating all the colors of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and lots of water will give your body what it needs to be the best it can be. Healthy foods are also a gift to your body and improves many aspects of your life including mood, digestion, sleep and fueling your workouts. Loving your body enough to create healthy eating habits most of the time, will improve your relationship with your body and you will feel great!
10. move your body everyday
It is proven that being sedentary shortens your life, contributes to obesity and increases your risk for chronic and deadly diseases. Movement helps you appreciate your body and gives you confidence when you see the health benefits and experience how good it makes you feel. Any and all regular movement throughout your day is awesome!
I hope these suggestions help you love yourself more, even when it's hard. Choose to love yourself this Valentines Day!
Keeping your workout routine new and exciting by mixing up different workouts into your routine has enormous benefits to your fitness goals and overall physical and mental health. Here are 5 reasons to mix it up and some ideas for different workouts to keep it fresh.
5 REASONS TO MIX UP YOUR WORKOUTS
1. Injury Prevention
Overuse injuries are very common when people do the same repetitive movement over and over. These injuries can occur anywhere on the body and can be chronic. Mixing up the workout styles you do throughout your week gives your muscle groups, joints and ligaments time to heal and recover, while still working other muscle groups.
2. Pushing Past Plateaus
Whether your goal is to lose weight, complete a 5K, grow muscle, or all of the above, it is common to reach a plateau and feel stuck. Mixing up your workouts keeps your body from acclimating to one style of movement. Your body becomes more and more efficient over time and will burn less calories at one particular movement like running, swimming etc. If you confuse your muscle groups with cross-training you will make the gains and strides you are seeking.
3. Beat workout Boredom
If you find yourself counting down the minutes until your workout is over, you need a mix up. Boredom will not serve you well and you will be less likely to stick to it. You should leave your workout feeling invigorated and happy. It is exciting to try new things and seek out new ways to have fun with workouts. Being open to new experiences will not only serve your physical goals but it will also serve your mental health.
4. Build New Muscles
Building new muscles physically and mentally benefits your over-all health. There is study after study citing overwhelming evidence that having more muscle can help prevent numerous deadly diseases, increase your metabolism and prevent injury. Mixing up your workout activates muscle groups you many not use often and will work to build that precious muscle you need. It also activates your mind requiring your mental muscle, coordination and mind-body connection to flex by moving your body in different ways.
5. Make New Friends
The social aspect of joining into group fitness is huge for accountability, consistency and mental health. Making new friends is fun, exciting, and helps you look forward to the next workout together whether in person or virtually. Bonding over how the workout makes you feel and how fun or challenging it is, keeps you motivated. Of course making friends might seem easier in person, but you will be surprised at how quickly a virtual group becomes a community by taking a few minutes before or after class to get to know each other and talk about how the workout felt with like minded friends. It's great to mix both in person and virtual classes throughout your week, that way you meet people locally and from all over. It may also give you more options for class formats and time slots from home.
SOLUTIONS TO KEEP IT FRESH
Don't let the title or name of a class intimidate you. You will be surprised at how most classes will offer modifications and various levels of intensity to accommodate all fitness levels. Be open to trying new things, what is the worst thing that can happen? Maybe you get into it and realize it's not for you, so what. OR maybe you get into it and realize you love it and now have a new option to benefit your goals! It's worth a try.
YOGA- All styles of yoga are good for you. Whether you try a power flow vinyasa, restorative, yogalates (Yoga/Pilates mix) or balance/meditative, you will find that one or more benefit your strength, mobility, muscle recovery and mental health.
HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training may sound intimidating but it's not as crazy as you think. This class consists of cardio, strength and core moves in various time intervals of work and rest. There are modifications and levels of intensity/low and high impact for every move so all levels of fitness can participate. The science behind the benefits of HIIT are huge, giving your body a great mix up, working your whole body, varying muscle groups and improving your cardiovascular fitness. It is proven to be a very effective and efficient way to get a total body workout and burn lots of calories.
STRENGTH TRAINING- As I mentioned before, the list of science proving the great benefits of strength training is endless. Whether you train with body weight or with weights, your body is getting stronger, faster and more functional. Form is key to preventing injury, get with an instructor who can guide you through proper form in a class or one on one so that you can get stronger safely.
CARDIO- Taking a dance class like Zumba or hiphop, or mixing up your cardio with cycle or a cardio focused class keeps your heart and lungs healthy. Fluctuating your heart rate and also keeping it at an elevated steady state for various periods of time, burns calories and gives you the cardiovascular benefits you need.
As a trainer, I highly encourage and recommend that my clients be open to various formats and mix up their workout routine. Give your routine an overhaul and you will love the results!
Amy Francis is a certified and experienced group fitness trainer, personal trainer and nutritional coach based in Colorado. 15 years in the fitness industry with many happy clients, Amy offers in person and virtual classes. Try some classes for free!
Sticking to a workout routine or building any new habit can be a challenging task. However, using a few simple tools to slowly build up habits 1% at a time, can bring a successful outcome.
I drew ideas for this post from a book called "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. This book has an interesting story about an event in the author's life and how it led him to become a writer focusing on habit building and the science and psychology behind it. His approach is all about small changes building to bigger ones.
1. Change Your Mindset
Self-talk is a powerful way to change your mindset Rerouting your inner by dialog changing the things you say to yourself from "I have to workout" to "I want to workout" or "If I don't workout, I won't be healthy" to "I am going to feel so good after this workout." Shift the way you perceive the activity through positive self talk. Just identify the negative thought and shift it to a positive one.
2. Take It Easy
I bet you haven't heard someone tell you to "take it easy" when talking about workout routines! If you go too hard too fast you are at high risk for burnout and injury. Starting small gives you the opportunity to be successful, build confidence while gaining strength slowly. For example, If you want to be able to run a 5K, you don't just go out and run 5K after not running for years. You take it easy, start with 1/2 to 1 mile walk and work up slowly over time to a 1/2 to 1 mile run and so on. Take your levels of intensity slow and steady and work up to it as you grow stronger over time. Start with small goals that are easy to attain, and then build upon that.
3. Affirm Out loud
Affirming to yourself out loud is a powerful tool to stay on track. When you feel unmotivated to workout say to yourself out loud "I am feeling unmotivated to do my workout today but I know that after I finish I will feel great and proud of myself. I also know that if I don't do this workout, I will feel guilty for not doing what I said I would do." Laying out the positive and negative reinforcements you will face post workout and saying it out loud helps you see what is clearly the better choice.
4. Get An Accountability Buddy
Finding support is key to sticking to a new routine. An accountability partner is someone who will cheer you on and help keep you accountable. This person can be supportive verbally as your cheerleader or they can be someone that you workout with which gives you someone else to "show up" for. You can be accountable to each other if you have similar goals. This person can be a friend, parent, sibling, health coach or anyone who will be an uplifting voice of support. If you don't have someone like this in your life there are tons of Facebook groups or other online support groups that can help you find a buddy to stay accountable to.
I hope these tips help you stick to your workout routine. I highly suggest you read the book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear if you want a deeper dive into this topic that can apply to any area of your life for building new positive habits and change.
Amy has spent her career helping others reach their health and fitness goals. "I hope sharing my knowledge and experience with others can help someone to live a healthier and more joyous life."