Make it fun!

One of the first sounds of my day today was an excited screaming voice memo from a client who is now credit card debt free. I was as excited as she was and it made me pause and think…

Paying off debt isn’t fun for most people.

Yes. Paying off debt isn’t fun. Most people wouldn’t consider the run I went on this morning fun either.

But my rule is to make it fun! In my book, Put Your Big Girl Panties On, I specifically talk about this with your workout. The most important rule is that you enjoy it. If you don’t, you won’t stick to it and it can have negative effects for your fitness. I even talk about ways to make laundry fun. It’s just the way I think.

Deciding to have fun is a choice. It’s an action. You can make anything fun. Likewise, in your mind, you can decide you’re not going to have fun. And then you know what? You don’t have any fun.

If you can look at it through a different lens, you can purposefully turn up the fun. Many times we think that AFTER we finish something, that’s the time we can have fun. But you don’t have to wait. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’re debt free to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’ve lost weight to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL your home is in order to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL the semester is over to have fun.

What we want is a life where we have fun DURING THE JOURNEY. Everytime you pay off a little debt, do a little dance, make a little love and get down that night. Every workout, play your favorite music, dress in cute clothes and do an activity you love. Every meal you eat, have something that makes you smile for it’s natural goodness. Celebrate every shelf or drawer you organize and make pretty. Go to Starbucks or the beach to study, get pretty highlighters and notebooks. Do whatever you can do to make the JOURNEY fun.

It’s kind of like how I got a glass of wine on the airplane on the way to Las Vegas. This was going to be my first vacation with my husband alone since having kids. In fact, it was going to be my first vacation ever. And my first time in Vegas. I didn’t have to wait until I got there to have fun. NOPE. I settled in that seat, ordered the wine and had SO much fun for an hour.

It’s also the way I coach. We’re going to make this fun. Whatever it is, you’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to enjoy our time together and you’ll even enjoy the task at hand. Life is too short to not have fun!

So, here is your challenge:

I want you to think this thought & act out the answer today at least three times:

How can I make this more fun?

So, you’re doing laundry: How can I make this more fun?

You’re cooking dinner: How can I make this more fun?

You’re driving home from work: How can I make this more fun?

You’re doing taxes: How can I make this more fun?

I have a reminder set on my phone that asks this very question every morning at 10am. Here are some ways I make things more fun:

  • Friends
  • Sunshine
  • Get organized
  • Lists (I’m a nerd)
  • Racing/Challenging myself/others
  • Talk on the phone with a friend while __
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Countdown calendar/timer
  • Make it more beautiful
  • Dancing
  • Track progress
  • Celebrate success

How about you? What can you do to make things more fun today? Trust me, you deserve it!

Take Your Brain to the Mental Gym

Like any muscle in the body, your brain grows stronger as you use it. That’s the concept of the mental gym which suggests you treat a “brain workout” as seriously as you would a workout at the gym. That means employing the same intensity, discipline and the same process of stepping outside your comfort zone to get results. Two practical ways you can do this is to intentionally put good stuff in and to intentionally practice being quiet.

Click here to download my free mental gym workout planner!

Our brains are bombarded with information these days, constantly. More than ever before. Unfortunately, most of it is noise or it’s negative. You have to make the conscious decision to put in good stuff. On purpose. What kind of good stuff? Well, there’s all kinds of choices out there from good music to podcasts to audiobooks that you can get in while driving, working out or even folding laundry. 

I remember the first time I considered reading a personal development book “for fun.” I remember rolling my eyes thinking, I don’t even read for fun, let alone for “development.” Mom of three and running two part time businesses! No way Jose. So, I decided to listen to those books instead. I did that while driving the 11 hour drive to see my parents and I did it while setting up for workouts. I did it while doing dishes and I did it while folding laundry. As you might have guessed, I got pretty addicted. It was pretty incredible. It required me to think and question things I’d had on autopilot. It was a way better use of my time than many of the other things I’d been doing or listening to. It set me up to be a better mom, wife, coach and simply a better human. It certainly built the brain muscle.

Then there are these things that usually come in rectangular shapes and are stuffed with rectangular pieces of paper that have lines of ink printed across them. Books! I say that in a funny way because as adulting sets in, reading can be one of the first things to go. And yet, reading is by far one of the oldest and best ways to exercise your brain. After doing the mental work to improve myself and my brain, I suddenly found space in my life to read again. Which was great because while listening is good, reading has that awesome textile element. I like feeling the pages. It also forces you to indulge in some you time, and it probably has to be quiet. Which brings me to my next point.

Click here to download my free mental gym workout planner!

Make it a point to be quiet sometimes. Personally, I have to get up really early in the morning or go to the library to get that around here. I do that because getting quiet, specifically praying and meditating are habits both the most successful and the the most happy people have in common. If you consider Grammys to be a measure of success, then you’d consider Carrie Underwood a success.34 If you consider Superbowls to be a measure of success, then you’d consider Tom Brady successful.35 If you consider wealth to be a measure of success, then you’d consider Mark Zuckerberg to be successful.36 If you consider Oprah successful, then you’re human.37 They’ve all spoken about their daily habits of praying and/or meditating. It’s not a coincidence.

Scientists have an entire field called neurotheology that looks into the changes in our brains when we pray and meditate. And they’ve made a lot of cool findings like increased dopamine and serotonin levels (happy hormones!).38 BUT! They’ve also found that these can develop into permanent changes in your brain.39 Guys! That’s a mental workout, and those changes are the muscles you’re proud to show off now! Moreover, we know that prayer elicits the opposite of the stress response called the relaxation response.40 Most of us have way too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

Thinking it’s a good idea is one thing, doing it is another. Personally, I like to begin the day with time at the mental gym. I like to start the day with prayer and silence for as long as possible. That’s why I get up at 4:30 or 5 am sometimes! Beginning your day quiet, with gratitude and intention is a game changer. Likewise, meditation is simply taking the time to calm your mind and become inwardly focussed. That’s huge in today’s crazy, chaotic, rushed and zoned out world. To change the mindset, to truly change the way we think and believe and speak and see ourselves, we have to work for it. You have to work to get your mind right.

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.

KISS

Keep it simple stupid.
Honestly, it’s not my favorite phrase. I mean, first of all I’ve heard it too many times. Second of all, I don’t call myself stupid.
KISS does have a certain ring to it though. So, maybe keep it simple sexy? Keep it simple silly? Keep it simple Shana? I don’t know, do you have anything better? Which do you prefer?
Either way, I believe simplicity is ALWAYS better. In all the things. Food, workouts, routine, fashion, home decor. All of it.
An important thing I learned on my own fitness journey is that fitness and health are not as complicated as everyone wants to make it out to be. It’s simply a matter of moving your body and eating food that fuels your body. The more we overcomplicate it, the more people run away screaming.
My personal mission in life as a trainer is to get that message out. To show people it’s not as hard or as complicated as you might think. You CAN do this.
Next week my girls and I are starting a new program that MODELS this idea 100%.
  • 8 weeks.
    30 minutes a day.
  • 4 days a week.
    A relaxed nutrition plan.

Health & fitness isn’t that complicated You don’t have to put in HOURS AND HOURS.

Really, your workouts should enhance your life not keep you from it. Your workouts should help you have a body that can enjoy life.

Your nutrition should be the same. Most of the time we eat for fuel, sometimes we eat for joy. That simple.

Having a no-brainer program that is doable for any schedule? ✔️

Having a group of like-minded folks walking through it with you, supporting you and holding you accountable? ✔️

Why not you? Why not now? The best version of you can better serve and love those you love and the goals you seek.

If you want to join me, fill out the form below and check out this link too! We start Monday. You CAN do this.

 

You don’t have to be perfect to start, you just have to start.

❤ Shana

 

Morning Mojo

I accomplish a lot most days with a pretty good attitude.

But it hasn’t always been that way. What has made it possible is my morning routine. They way you do your morning sets the tone for your entire day and it’s really important to be intentional, especially if you have goals and want to live the life you desire.

It’s no secret that the most successful people in the world have a morning routine. It’s part of the secret sauce in success. I want to be successful, so I emulate those who have gone before me. I pay attention to the clues they leave and try to put things that make sense into action in my life.

Without further ado, let me just tell you exactly how most of my mornings go:

  1. Wake up @ 5am.
  2. Pray.
  3. Get dressed & ready.
  4. Warm water w/ lemon.
  5. Bible/devo/journal.
  6. To do list.
  7. Eat the frog.

Now, let’s break that down a little more.

Wake up @ 5am.

No one wants to wake up at 5am at first. I get it. You can be a morning person if you want to be. It starts with going to bed on time. Getting to sleep and staying asleep can be tough. There are habits you can put in place to aid in that (exercise, eating healthy, journaling, reading, etc).

Getting up at 5am makes the difference between you owning your day and your day owning you. Getting up at 5am means you control the first bit of your day. Not your kids, not your job. You. For most of us, any later and we’re in a constant state just trying to get the next thing done, to answer the next demand, to meet the next deadline.

Getting up early puts you ahead of schedule. And it allows you a little breathing room to DO YOU before the chaos begins. It allows you to be intentional about your day instead of reacting to it.

Pray.

My pastor taught me to slide out of bed so the first thing that hits the floor is your knees. Even if you’re not a Jesus follower, you can benefit from this practice. Starting the day in a little silence, with gratitude, with intention and by putting your priorities in place increases the odds you’re going to have an awesome day.

Get dressed & ready.

I get dressed first thing. It increases the likelihood I’ll actually do what needs to be done. Having clothes and shoes on means I’m ready for whatever the day throws my way. I feel empowered. I also brush my hair and throw on some lipstick. Gurrrl, you’re ready to nail the day!

Warm water with lemon.

Warm water with lemon is the first thing I put in my body in the morning. It’s a nice, gentle wake up call for your digestive system. Lemon is also detoxifying and such. Did you know  you’re actually dehydrated after sleeping all night? So, I rehydrate and get your day started right!

Bible, devo & journal.

Every morning I read something that makes my brain and heart grow. I write about it and about the day before. It’s what works for me. You have to workout at the mental gym, y’all. The brain is the strongest muscle in your body! It also keeps me mentally clear and focussed when I do this.

To do list.

As I’m journaling and reading and such, I throw whatever comes to my head on my to do list. Now, realize you can only accomplish like 5 things a day, so don’t go crazy. I’m intentional about what I’m going to accomplish that day. I keep my to do list in my planner, which I take everywhere with me and check things off as I go. I even put givens on there sometimes to make me feel better. Brush teeth. Nailed it.

Eat the frog.

Currently, I’m writing a book so writing for 30 minutes first thing in the morning is the frog I need to eat. Eat the frog is a way of saying do the hardest and most necessary thing of the day first so that you get it over with and make progress on your goals. For someone else this might be working out, it might be a project around the house or it might be a sales pitch. Whatever it is, get it in as early as you can and then pat yourself on the back. You’ve already done the hardest thing of the day!

Build a butt

Happy Monday! Today I went for a fun 5k and then worked my booty. I used to add in booty workouts during other workouts. These days, I dedicate a day to them often. Why?

Because they die a little every time we sit (which is a lot).

Because they’re aesthetically pleasing (hello!).

And because the the gluteus Maximus is the most powerful muscle in the body!

Few things about working the 🍑.

1. Most of Instagram is fake. And yet, you CAN #buildabutt you can be proud of!

2. It’s harder to build than other muscles because we sit on ours all day. No really. Those glutes are dead or at least hard to find.

3. It’s not vain to build a butt. Your glutes are prime mover for MANY basic movement functions so when they are underdeveloped (as they are for most of us) that causes a lot of other problems including back pain.

Try some of the moves I’ve shown you here. 3×10 each. Or contact me and let’s work together!!

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)