5 tips to stop feeling meh & finally get fit

Take a minute and listen to your body. How is it feeling today? Maybe it’s feeling energized. Maybe it’s feeling tingly, excited! Or, more likely, it may be feeling tired. Maybe it’s feeling sluggish. Maybe you & your body are just feeling meh.

I’m here to tell you that your one and only life is precious to me. I desire for you to be feeling like this (minus the sugar):

You work too hard, love too much and God has way too much planned for you to feel meh. It’s just not good enough. You & your body were meant for more.

But maybe you can’t remember the last time got dressed and felt confident. Maybe you’ve noticed every time you go up the stairs or chase after the kids you’re a bit out of breath.

I understand friend.

Let’s look together at 5 tips for you to stop feeling meh and finally get fit.

1. Get REAL clear.

Many times I’ll have clients who come in and “want to lose weight.” Or maybe they’re here to see me “because their doctor told them to.” Then again, sometimes it’s just about to be bathing suit season or they’ve got a wedding coming up.

Those are all okay goals, I guess. They’re a good way to get an inkling of motivation. But we need to get REALLY clear. We need to really see the vision of what you’re going to look like, feel like and be like when you’re the ideal version of yourself.

You see, there are two versions of you. The one you’re living as right now and the IDEAL version of you. This ideal version of you has a lot going on. She’s pretty incredible, actually. She doesn’t have time to be bogged down by unnecessary weight or bad nutrition. She’s got hopes, dreams, goals and plans. She’s living life to the fullest. You need to get really clear on what her life is like. You need to get so clear that you can taste it!

You see fitness is a gateway to good things. Through this gateway you finally admit to yourself that you want something. You finally set aside the time to get it. You finally get the discipline to do what you need to do. Because of that, you’re going to find those skills ready and available in other areas of your life. It’s going to be incredible.

BUT FIRST! Let’s taste it. Let’s look at all the whys, the desires, the goals, the dreams of what getting fit really means to you. Guess what? It’s way more deep than “losing a few inches.” It’s OKAY to have desire. It’s OKAY to dream. It’s OKAY to want to feel and look good. It’s more than okay. It’s freaking awesome. Our world is going to be SO MUCH better when you’re on fire.

2. Come up with a plan.

You may have “accidentally” gained a few pounds or gotten out of shape. But it’s not going to be an accident to lose them and get in shape. It’s going to be according to a plan. You need a plan for your nutrition and you need a plan for your fitness. The good news is we can make this plan according to YOU. It doesn’t have to be someone else’s running / keto plan. Unless you like running and don’t like carbs. No, we can come up with a REALISTIC plan that you’ll actually stick to and enjoy.

How to make a plan:

  1. Establish your current level of fitness & your weight / inches / body fat. Establish your realistic goals.
  2. Pick or let me help you design a workout plan that has you moving at least five times a week doing something you enjoy. We can start slow and small, but we need consistency at all costs!
  3. Figure out what you’re going to eat and when. We are going to stick 80% to food God made. Man made stuff like bread, soda, etc is not on our plan.
  4. Figure out how you’re going to stay accountable to your plan & track your progress.
  5. Reflect & redo the plan each week or month. Understand it’s a new habit that will take time to get good at and find your sweet spot.

3. Track, track, track.

There’s a quote out there:

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure. 

It’s true. Imagine your personal financial budget. You can’t manage your spending if you don’t track it. Think about your kids’ attendance in school. Think about how much coffee is left in the pot!

Seriously though, you’ll never know if your plan is working if you’re not measuring your progress. You need to measure how often and how effective your workouts are. That can be as simple as an x on a calendar and making sure every few weeks you can do more squats, add heavier weights, hold Warrior II longer or run a little faster. Track what you’re eating, whether you liked it, how it made you feel. Whatever it is, let’s measure it. Get a little obsessed with this. It will help you stay focused.

We’re also going to measure your body metrics. We need to measure your weight, your inches and your body fat percentage. Listen, measuring that many things helps you have lots of ways to win! That’s a good thing. I know some of you have a “bad relationship” with the scale. I understand that. I have enough experience to tell you it’s not the scales fault. Yes, sometimes the scale is a bit stubborn or late with math. But it’s just math. What I DO know is that if you’re NOT tracking we won’t know if your plan is working or not. Listen, if your plan has pizza and beer every Friday night and your scale says it’s working, we’re going to STICK TO THE PLAN. If your scale says the plan isn’t working then we need to adjust something. And we won’t know that if we aren’t tracking. Got it?

4. Deal with the emotion.

Part of the reason #3 is so hard is because of our emotion. Most of the time when we’ve gotten ourselves into and overweight our out of shape state, there are some underlying emotions we aren’t aware of or are trying to numb.

You’re bored, so you eat. We need to deal with why you’re bored more than we need to deal with the food.

You’re upset, so you drink. We need to deal with why you’re upset more than we need to deal with the alcohol.

The best part of your week is eating out at the restaurant. We need to create different best parts of the day.

Most of the time when we’re snacking or eating, it’s to literally NUMB some of the feelings we don’t want to face. It may or may not be a conscious decision.

Then we have the other emotions. The dread of failing at yet another goal. The shame of letting it go so far. The embarrassment that you need help. The feeling, deep down, that you don’t deserve to be happy. As you read those, I know you 1) understand them and 2) know they aren’t right. They’re not right in that you shouldn’t feel that way but they’re not right also in that THEY ARE UNHELPFUL. They are time wasters. However, if we don’t deal with them–and I mean REALLY deal with them, your getting fit journey won’t work or it won’t last.

We have to deal with the emotion. So, get a journal out or schedule a session with me.

5. Don’t half ass it.

If you want to get half-ass results, then go at this at about a 5 MPH pace. If you’re READY, then treat this like a second job. This is your new hobby. This is what you’re totally focused on right now and you’re going all in.

When I teach folks how to get out of debt, we tell them get SUPER INTENSELY focused. Like nothing else matters until the debt is gone! That’s what I need you to do with this little journey. The more you focus, the faster your wins will come and the faster you’ll see progress. This doesn’t mean you’re going to be a self-obsessed gym rat forever. This means until this new lifestyle becomes habit and automated, you’re going to give it your full ass. Got it?

Okay friends, those are 5 of my tips to stop feeling meh and finally get fit. To review they were:

  1. Get REAL clear.
  2. Come up with a plan.
  3. Track, track, track.
  4. Face the emotion.
  5. Don’t half-ass it.

Now you know I’m a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In fact, I’ve also got a specialty in nutrition. If you want help, you need to fill out the form below. It’s a fairly simple.

  1. You’ll talk. I’ll listen.
  2. We’ll come up with a plan that includes your dreams, your budget and your debt-payoff date.
  3. We’ll work the plan together until you’re ready to do it on your own.

I’m here to help. You’ve just got to fill that form out below.

Make muscles, not excuses.

There are all kinds of excuses we can come up with to not get fit or to not stay fit. Most are bogus. That’s some really tough love, isn’t it?

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Yet, I’ve trained with people who have serious, debilitating diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia to name a few.

I’ve worked with women going through a divorce or even mourning the loss of a loved one.

I’ve worked with women working hectic, crazy schedules.

I’ve worked with women when they’re sick, when they’re injured.

I’ve worked with women who were battling morbid obesity and women who were battling anorexia or bulimia.

I’ve worked with women who have newborn babies and a million kids playing a million sports. Those are all potential excuses, they just chose to push past them. And you can too.

What you have to do is turn your excuse into your reason to push, to get stronger.  If we don’t, we allow our excuses to become validation for why we don’t achieve our goals. Instead, let’s make them the motivation.

Putting your big girl panties on means overcoming your excuses to make some muscles. What are some of the excuses you find yourself making? How can you rewrite them into reasons?

When we lose our excuses, we find results.

 *The above is an excerpt from my upcoming book. To be notified when it’s released, simply put your name and email here.

*If you’d like help with fitness, fill out the contact form below.

The secret to maintaining a fitness routine

As a person who enjoys fitness and as a personal trainer, I think there are some important variables to a workout. Each variable can be scaled based on your personal circumstance.

First you must enjoy your workout.

Yep, I said that. So, when you’re just starting out, a 10 minute walk might be enjoyable. That’s what I want. I want you to get moving, feel excited, actually be able to accomplish the goal you set for yourself. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2016 confirmed that perceived competence, that is the sense of mastery or winning, is one of the biggest factors in enjoying a workout and, ultimately, sticking to a fitness routine. So, start where you’re at and slowly get better.

burpees

Personally, I don’t enjoy workouts that make me feel like I’m going to throw up. I enjoy running, but going too fast or too long is not something I’d enjoy. Ways to increase the enjoyment of your workout is to add music, friends or even scenery. Don’t do a workout you hate. Not only will you probably not stick to it, your mind will continue to grow against the very idea.

cardio

You should enjoy your workout. The Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that those who “think fun” while exercising ate less afterwards as opposed to those who focused on the end result of weight loss. Science has shown that folks who enjoy their workouts are more likely to maintain a regular routine. Focus on enjoying your workout and you’ll find more success.

squats

By the way, your workouts will scale as your fitness does, as will the enjoyment factor. I once went to a spinning class that was so slow I didn’t enjoy it. That was just because it was designed for a different level of fitness (and level of calm) than I wanted. If you find yourself less fit than you used to be, it might be wise to not try and jump back in to what you were doing then. Work your way back up, enjoy the journey and give yourself the gift of small victories.

That all being said, there really is just one secret for a perfect workout.

The perfect workout is the one you’ll do.

As I mentioned, there’s no one way to get fit. There’s no exact right way to do it. You just have to challenge your body. Consistently. The best way to do that is to find a workout that you actually enjoy and want to do. You don’t have to lift weights. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to do CrossFit. So give up on the notion that your fitness has to be on someone else’s terms. Find a few things you enjoy and challenge your body with them daily.

*The above is an excerpt from my upcoming book. To be notified when it’s released, simply put your name and email here.

*If you’d like help with fitness, fill out the contact form below.

Sweet sleep

This morning I woke up at 4:20 with a bit of a start. It was kind of like the start you have when you have that first sleep for more than 20 minutes with a new baby. “Wait, is the baby still alive?” is your first thought. In this case I thought, “Wait, did I really sleep all night?” “Wait, did I have a dream?”

That’s because quality sleep has long evaded me. Having dreams is so rare for me. Why? Because dreams require a certain level of quality sleep. I’ve battled getting to sleep, staying asleep, getting up a million times to pee and everything in between. Personally, I know my anxious mind has long been the culprit for my problems. Other factors include electronics, alcohol, lights, stress, inactivity, overactivity and diet.

Last night was the perfect cocktail for good sleep. I’ll tell you why:

  • I had a great workout
  • I was productive toward my goals that day
  • I ate really well
  • I didn’t have any screen time after 7
  • We read for an hour before bed
  • I had warm tea
  • No alcohol
  • No heavy late night meal
  • Journaled before bed

In his book Sleep Smarter, Shawn Stevenson lays out some amazing research and habits you can put into practice to get better sleep. I heard from him in a podcast that rounded up three amazing minds, two of which I listen to regularly. If you want to listen to that podcast, go here. Do that as a minimum. Read/listen to his book if you really want to learn and improve your life.

Let me also take a swing at it:

Maybe you need to be convinced of why sleep matters so much.

  • Just like a cranky toddler, you’re not a nice person without sleep. Maybe you think you are, but that’s probably because you can’t see it from an outsider perspective. Professor Talma Hender says we lose our neutrality when we don’t get enough sleep-the ability to determine what’s important and what isn’t. “The ability of the brain to tell what’s important is compromised. It’s as if suddenly everything is important,” Hender said. That’s why you’re yelling or snapping or otherwise being dramatic about things that you normally wouldn’t.
  • Decreased sleep is medically linked to depression, anxiety and even obesity! Your appetite increased but your ability to lose weight decreased without sleep! Your immune system also declines without sleep.

Maybe you think you already sleep well enough.

  • You’re supposed to get 7-9 hours. Yes you, the one who “can survive on 5 hours.” According to the CDC, 1/3 of Americans don’t get 7-9. Moreover, we’ve shaved off 1.5 hours of sleep in the last 100 years on average according to Boston Medical Center doctors.
  • But you also need QUALITY sleep. When you sleep, your brain solves problems! That’s why you wake up all refreshed or sometimes with a new perspective or idea about things. You need REM cycles to do that. REM is where the magic happens. If you’re hitting quantity and still not feeling rested or refreshed, it’s because you’re not hitting quality.

Maybe you could use some clues on how to get better sleep.

  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before bed. It really can mess with your sleep. I remember in 2015 I was eating really, really well for so long minus one meal: Tuesdays at Johnny Huston’s. Tuesdays at Johnny Huston’s was my one cheat meal. And it was glorious. I ate a hamburger, fries and had a beer. The second best part was kids ate free and I didn’t have to cook or do dishes. It took me MONTHS to realize I wasn’t sleeping well on Tuesday nights. I mean, months. The reason, I suppose, it took so long was because I wasn’t necessarily in pain. I was also not wide awake the entire time, it was just a general level of tossing and turning and sleeplessness. Nothing alarming. However, my typical dinner was early and consisted of protein and veggies. Everyday. I didn’t eat beef much, let alone carbs and such. So when I “treated” myself to that fun meal, my body went to work all night trying to manage the overload. I wish I could say this realization meant I cleaned up my act. Nope. I decided it was worth the sacrifice. What I know for sure, however, is most people don’t realize this because they aren’t eating as clean so they can’t notice the changes. But it’s there for you too. Your body also struggles with the heavy, processed meals and it does affect your sleep.
  • Cut the cord. I know you love Facebook and Netflix. Do those things if you do. But give this a try for one week: cut the electronics completely off 30 minute before bed and read. Read anything. A magazine, a nonfiction book, fiction, a biography! It allows your brain to disconnect kind of the same way it does when you’re playing Candy Crush or watching Grey’s Anatomy. But it’s not putting off that blue light that your brain likens to sunlight and actually produces cotrisol. Therefore, it will allow you to settle into a sleepy state.
  • Be active. I’m a personal trainer, so you know I was going to say this one! I think we need to recognize sometimes that we haven’t actually put our bodies through enough physically to make them tired. Our modern sedentary life is messing with our sleep! So, get some steps in. Get some exercise. Run the batteries out on your body and it will sleep better.
  • During sleep, there are breathing techniques you can use to help you sleep. I’ve always practiced the method where you breathe in for 7 seconds, hold for 4 and exhale for 8. Essentially you are putting your body in the relaxed state (physically and mentally) it should have naturally gone into to go to sleep. Shawn calls it a box in his book. My other friend visualized ocean waves as she breathes in and out. I’ve also used a couple tricks: 1) Visualizing my brain like a big red switch where I manually turn it off, 2) Telling my brain, “This is not planning time, this is sleeping time” and 3) Nowadays I really just pray to Jesus and sing a song lyric or verse over and over in my head.
  • My last tip is to journal before bed. My journaling consists of listing things I’m grateful for as well as what is planned for the next day. That way I’m not busy trying to plan the day while I am supposed to be asleep.

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Here’s an affiliate link for the book that has WAY more science and super cool information about sleeping smarter. I 100% recommend it.

 

 

ORIGINAL

This weekend at church we talked about how comparing ourselves to one another is just a no win situation. But one of my favorite parts was the Message translation of the verse from Galatians:

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. -Galatians 5:25-26 MSG

It inspired me to make a workout! So, here it is. I’m creative but I’m also super cliche-y and dorky. So, the inspiration just came from spelling out the word ORIGINAL. Doing the exercises listed below, we’re aiming for 5 sets, 26 reps each. You might not make it through 5 sets, that’s fine. Aim for at least 3!

O= One arm swings. Use a weight or kettle bell in a wide squat stance and swing it up no higher than your forehead. Switch arms at the top.

R= Reverse Flys. Stand with the weight in one leg, the other one behind you with the toe lightly touching. Bring weights up in a lateral motion. You’re targeting your back here.

I= Incline Push Ups. Use anything to get the incline. I did one arm inclined at a time, 13 each side.

G= Goblet Squat. Reduce your range of motion as needed. Feet are in a wide stance, knees/ankle/toes in alignment. Hold something like a goblet. =D

I= Ice Skaters. You’re hopping or stepping into a curtsey lunge. Keep your chest up, eyes forward.

N= Nose dive push-ups. Maybe also called skull crushers but that wouldn’t work with N, would it? Your hands are close together, your feet are wide apart. Your spine is in alignment all the way through your head. “Nose dive” down. It is a small movement but you’ll feel it after 26 reps.

A= Ab Wheel. If you don’t have an ab roller, use anything or use the Ab machine at the gym.

L= Lumberjack lunges. Keep your back straight, chest up/out and make sure your knees don’t go over your toes. You don’t need to go as far down as I do)