Archive for Trainer Tip Tuesday

{Trainer Tip Tuesday} What’s your sign say?

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Today’s Tip: Look at your challenges as opportunities to grow rather than signs of failure.

 

 

When things get challenging it can be really easy to automatically think that it’s a sign something can’t be done, that it’s not ‘meant to be.’

 

 

Maybe it’s an eating habit you’re working on forming, maybe it’s an unhelpful behavior rearing its ugly head. Maybe it’s life circumstances, interfering ONCE AGAIN with your best laid plans. Maybe it’s a skill you’re working on that’s just, well, not working like you’d like it to. Maybe it’s a challenging personality somewhere in your life.

 

 

When these things happen, it’s so easy to want to just throw in the towel and call it good. “At least I tried,” we can say…although that one is too often followed by an internal “See, I knew it wouldn’t work” or “I know I just can’t (fill in the blank), I’m not (strong, smart, disciplined, etc.) enough.”

 

 

Here’s the thing: what if we look at those challenges as opportunities for us to learn and grow (however hard and uncomfortable they might be for us), rather than a sign that we’ve failed? What happens then?

 

 

I’ve gotten to revisit this one personally, more than a few times over the last 2 years in particular. There have been plenty of brick walls thrown up, personally and professionally, and there were plenty of times I just plain wanted to quit–usually those moments were accompanied by a “I’m just not good at ______.”

 

 

Except…except I found that I COULD be better at those things, IF I gave myself permission to totally f— up from time to time, and then learn from those mistakes. I could be better if I got over needing to be perfect, right out of the gate, or accomplished in a set amount of time.

 

 

This was totally reinforced by recently reading “Mindset: The Psychology of Success,” by Carol Dweck. It’s her belief, based on years of tests and studies, that we are capable of greater things IF we adopt a ‘growth mindset’ over a ‘fixed mindset.’

 

In a growth mindset, we are capable–and really, open to, change. We then see our frustrations as opportunities to learn and improve, rather than setbacks or signs of failure.

 

 

So when I really started to forgive myself for being imperfect, and accepted that I was human, like everyone else, *gasp* and had relative strengths and weaknesses THAT COULD BE CHANGED, my world expanded.

 

 

Here’s just a simple example: Yesterday, the conditioning portion of my workout included Double Unders (jump roping) in every other interval. In other words, in order to finish the workout, I had to complete 8 different intervals of 15 Double Unders to finish a timed workout. In a large group of people.

 

 

Have I mentioned I can barely string 3 in a row together??

 

 

It was frustrating. So frustrating.

 

 

It had the potential to be demoralizing–I finished dead freaking last, by 2 minutes, out of a group of 25 people.

 

 

I was so tempted to say, “I’m bad at these, I hate these, I suck” at different moments, but then had that gorgeous moment of clarity–I wasn’t good at them in that moment, but I COULD be.

 

 

Just like all those other skills I’ve worked on over the years–personal, athletic, professional–I could, with time and effort, improve.

 

 

Just that little flip of the mindset switch allowed me to see my (potentially demoralizing) performance as one step on the path to greater athleticism, rather than a sign that I was uncoordinated, or less worthy than or not as strong as all the other individuals there.

 

 

What a huge difference a little mindset shift can make!

 

–>  In the one case, we’ve failed or proven ourselves failures, or less worthy.

 

 

–>  In the other case, we’ve simply learned a lesson–one of many–that will add to our eventual success AS LONG AS we stay positive, open and persistent.

 

 

 

So if there’s something that’s got you down, frustrated, or feeling like throwing in the towel, I suggest you try looking at it through another lens.

 

 

 

Try looking at it as another opportunity to grow and stretch in your abilities; to see it as one more way you can become a fuller and greater version of yourself.

 

 

Is that challenge a brick wall set there to stop you, or a test to see how you get around/over/through it to accomplish even more?

 

 

Whatever it is, it’s what you choose it to be.

 

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#mindsetmatters
#BYBY2016

Trainer Tip: Make Your Breakfast Meet YOUR Needs.

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Today’s Trainer Tip: Make your breakfast match your needs.

 

I used to be an avid breakfast eater–I always had a hearty breakfast and was usually starving when I woke up. Of course, those hearty breakfasts needed to fuel me for a few hours of training clients before I did my own workout.

 

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These days, I wake up, get the kids to school and get my workout on early in the morning–and these workouts are most often pretty demanding ones. As a result, I’ve totally changed my breakfast regimen to meet my current needs.

 

 

Since I work out early in the day (and I have a sensitive stomach), I try to make my breakfasts on the smaller side and easily digestible–which means light on the protein and heavier on the carbs.

 

 

My workout breakfast go-to’s: apple pie steel cut oats, basic oatmeal, or banana breakfast cookies for the most part, WITH a cup (or two!) of coffee, of course 😉

 

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But on days when I’m not working out early (aka: weekends!), I aim to have more protein and maybe a bit less carbohydrate and throw in fruits or veggies as well. That means eating any assortment of scrambles, cottage cheese protein pancakes, not-quite-gluten-free banana pancakes, greek yogurts, etc, and even a salad with hard boiled eggs on occasion. Gotta get those greens!

 

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Bottom Line: There are no absolute hard and fast rules about what’s best to eat for breakfast. It’s just one of many meals you’ll get throughout the day.

 

 

–>If you hate eating first thing in the morning, don’t! Technically, anything you consume in the first 3 hours qualifies as ‘breakfast.’

 

 

–>Don’t like ‘breakfast foods’? Eat whatever you want! Leftovers from last night’s dinner, if you feel like it.

 

 

–>If you have a big morning ahead of you, it’s a good idea to eat slower-digesting foods that will keep your energy level for a few hours–protein and lower GI carbs and veggies.

 

 

–>If you have a big workout ahead of you, maybe you want to eat on the lighter and quicker to digest (and give you energy) side, like some of the options I listed above.

 

 

**Whatever you choose, make it work for you–for your current body, lifestyle, taste preference and scheduling needs!**

 

 

And if you’d like to get the recipes for ALL the breakfast foods I mentioned above, they’ll be going out to my inner circle peeps in Friday’s email newsletter along with the workout of the week.

 

Grab your copy by signing up here! http://forms.aweber.com/form/80/1451138380.htm

 

#practicalnutrition

#BYBY2016

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Commit to being Curious

It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s Tip: Commit to being Curious–permanently curious.

 

Simply accepting that our bodies will always be changing can be a huge source of relief.

 

 

I can’t tell you how many women I’ve worked with held onto an ideal based on their weight or size in high school or college—in their heads, they thought they had get back to that body in order to be okay.

 

 

I TOTALLY get that. I spent so many years trying to cram myself back into my 22 year-old, really slim and lean body…but even by the age of 23, that was impossible. By 23, I’d had a huge ovarian cyst removed, and my abdominal skin was never the same.

 

 

After raking myself over the coals for 9 years of 20 lb fluctuations and then one baby, I finally surrendered that former ‘perfect’ body concept.

 

4 weeks

 

I started by saying, “Well, let’s see what I can do with what I’ve got now.”

 

 

 

There was so much relief, freedom and empowerment in just allowing myself to ‘see what I can do’ with the body I have.

 

 

It’s a saying that has allowed me to grow through another pregnancy, changes in lifestyle, changes in diet and training plans, aging (yes, that!) and just generally ‘morphing,’ as us humans do over time.

 

 

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And the openness of the perspective of being curious about what’s possible versus trying to achieve a very specific or certain physical outcome that makes the journey a positive one that can be enjoyed, rather than a harsh struggle to ‘dominate’ ourselves and control the outcome of any dietary or exercise efforts.

 

 

Just saying, ‘That was my then; I’m making the best of my now,” can create a greater sense of flexibility; it’s permission to let go of rigid standards and do what works best now.

 

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Being curious gives us a chance to enjoy and explore and grow with our bodies rather than desperately seeking to contain and control them.

 

 

 

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And I know choosing the route of peace has given me great relief the past few years. Funny enough, that’s when the best physical changes came about, too.

 

 

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Choosing curiosity over fear is making the journey so much more enjoyable.

 

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Trainer Tip Tuesday: Strategy trumps Willpower.

It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s Tip: Strategy trumps Willpower.

 

How many of us have started the day with great intentions of eating well/sticking to ‘the plan,’ and done a really good job…UNTIL.

 

Until late in the afternoon, or in the evening when we’re worn out from ‘adulting’–making decisions, responding to other people’s needs, taking care of business, commuting, dealing with homework, etc, etc, and then we could care less about the intention to ‘eat healthy’ or control our portions, or skip the glass of wine while we cook (true story).

 

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We are DONE. We used up all our ‘will’ on other decisions and actions all day long.

 

This, my friends, is where we need to bring in some strategy. And strategy involves some honest assessment of where our weak spots are, and coming up with plans for how to avoid the pitfalls that so often hang us up.

 

If the wheels fall off your best intentions around the same time of day consistently, or if there are certain days of the week that are extra busy or stressful, or there are particular occasions that challenge you–maybe a weekly meeting–we need to acknowledge it.

 

No guilt or shame or berating ourselves, just acknowledging that those are consistent pitfalls.

 

Next, we figure out what we could do differently to get around those pitfalls and feel more successful.

 

Ready to eat the paint off the walls when you get home? Find yourself cramming whatever isn’t nailed down into your mouth before you try and assemble dinner?

 

Maybe having a nutritious snack planned/ready to grab can help. Something like cut veggies and a hummus dip or guacamole that you can munch on that won’t throw you off course while you cook dinner.

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Or maybe eating a quality protein bar in the car on the drive home could help–I did that just last week. And it didn’t impact my overall food intake because I naturally adjusted my dinner portions to meet my needs.

 

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If you have a day of running the kids to practices and extra lessons, etc, and you find yourself feeling worn thin/frazzled by the time you get home, take 3-5 minutes to put your feet up the wall (yoga/stretch position) and practice belly breathing.

 

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Sometimes calming down relieves the urgency of needing to put something in our mouths to calm us…like that glass of wine while cooking (ahem).

 

When we have a plan, or backup plans, in place we don’t have to rely on our will.

 

We know our options, we make quick, stressless choices and follow through on the plan we made when we were rested and saw the big picture better.

 

If you’re finding yourself in a losing battle with willpower, especially at the end of the day, try a little quick analysis and creating a strategy for a change!

 

It just might be the simple solution you need to keep you eating nutritiously and feeling good–both inside and out.

 

#TheNourishedMind
#strategizeforthewin

Trainer Tip Tuesday: SMILE to perform better!

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Trainer Tip Tuesday

Today’s tip: SMILE when you’re working out–even if you don’t feel like it!

 

Smiling so that your cheeks are engaged ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking you’re having a good time.

This creates a bigger release of ‘happy hormones,’ like serotonin and endorphins, which relieve pain and make you ‘feel good.’

 

 

BUT, it needs to be a Duchenne smile to be effective:

“Duchenne smiles are the only type of smile that creates this positive effects. These smiles engage the muscles in the mouth, cheeks, and eyes and are considered to be genuine smiles.”

 

So the next time you’re in the middle of that wicked conditioning workout, HIIT workout, long run or heavy lift, remember to smile and make your workout AND your results even better!

 

Plus, smiling just feels a whole lot better than frowning during a workout or a rough day–I’ve given the ‘game face’/frowning thing plenty of testing in the past.

16kg clean and press July 2015

Case in point. Yes, I was suffering.

 

The smiling thing, and even laughing at myself, works out WAY better–in the moment AND the long run 🙂

 

But don’t take my word for it–try it out yourself! 🙂

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/isnt-what-i-expected/201207/try-some-smile-therapy

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201410/the-surprising-psychology-smiling

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/december-10/the-psychological-study-of-smiling.html

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Keep The Butt Tight–in BOTH directions

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It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s tip comes from a lesson I’ve recently had the opportunity to revisit as both a trainer and a ‘trainee’: Keep the tension in the butt in BOTH directions.

 

 

 

 

What does THAT mean, you might ask??

 

 

 

It means that to make exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, push ups, planks, glute bridges and hip bridges (plus a mess of other exercises) MORE effective and even safer for our hips and backs, we need to keep our glutes/po-po’s/butts squeezed tight when we’re lifting AND lowering.

 

 

 

It’s super common, especially when we’re either just starting out OR when we’re tired and not fully focused on what we’re doing, to squeeze the glutes in one direction of the movement and totally let them go slack, or ‘on vacation’ as I say with clients, in the other direction.

 

 

Example: The glute bridging movement.

 

 

Usually, we think of squeezing the glutes to raise the hips off the floor, but then ‘drop’ the tension on the way back down, and pretty much just melt back into the floor before regrouping the squeeze in our butts for the next rep.

 

 

BUT, yes pun intended, what’s WAY more effective–and nicer to our spines–is to KEEP the squeeze in the butt on the lowering part of the exercise, so that when our pelvis meets the floor again it ‘kisses’ the floor rather than smushing back into it with basically no muscle control.

 

Another example: The squat.

 

 

We are totally used to having to use our glutes to stand up, but many of us forget to keep it tight on the way down. Know what pays when we ‘drop’ into a squat? Our low backs. And if you add a significant load to that (eg: heavy barbell), bad things can happen–beyond simple failure to move the weight.

 

 

 

BUT, yes pun intended again!, if you lower slowly with tons of squeezing (tension) in your glutes, you’re more likely to have a really nice and successful squat and much less likely to jack yourself up.

 

A third example: The push up.

 

 

What?? An ‘upper body’ exercise?? Yep. One of the best ways to stabilize your spine and execute a solid push up is to, you got it: squeeze the glutes. HARD–as in as tight as you can. It’ll spare your back and make your push ups that much easier. REALLY!

 

 

Try it all out for yourself! See how exercises/movements feel when you’re just going through the motions with muscles ‘hanging out on vacation’ (as in WAY too relaxed) vs. how it feels when you really put some focus on keeping the glutes tight in BOTH directions.

 

 

It’s a simple change that can make your workouts more effective, safer, and that much more interesting–because when you’re concentrating hard on how much you can feel you butt working, you don’t have time to be bored!

 

 

So remember to keep it TIGHT in both directions to get the most bang for your buck 🙂

Trainer Tip Tuesday: be YOUR best you–at any size

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It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday, and this one is both close to my heart and one of the core values of Real Life Fit by Kate:

Be YOUR best you.

 

 

There are so many ideas, thoughts and opinions about what our ‘best’ should be, and sometimes all that noise is hard to shut out!

 

But really, at the end of the day, WE have to define for ourselves what OUR best sounds, looks, moves and feels like.

 

I was so inspired and moved by my cousin Lisa’s words today, which demonstrate this belief in action so well:

 

“Today I am thankful that I am strong. I have an auto immune disease that is debilitating sometimes, but….I am strong. I have a job where I lift heavy patients who can’t move much sometimes, and I can do it easily. I can run! I am good at it! I’m not a super fast runner, but I can do it. I find a pace that I can maintain, and I can run forever. That’s my goal, not speed. I’m not stick-thin, I have muscles and am thankful for my dads genes. I am strong and grateful for it!”

 

 

We live in a culture where skinny and super lean are touted as ‘fit’ and the ideal version of the female form.

 

I call bullshit.

 

 

I say it’s up to each and every one of us to decide and define what OUR best version of ourselves is–in terms of skills, abilities, size, shape, strength, and our quality of character.

 

There is no wrong way to have a body

Which is why I say often, and hashtag even more frequently:  Be YOUR best you.

 

Spend time finding out what you want, what makes you tick, what you value most, and how YOU want to be in this world–then make your actions, your fitness, nutrition and personal choices align with that best version of you.

 

Anything else is just cheating yourself.

 

And you deserve to live a full and meaningful life.

 

#beyourbestyou

Trainer Tip Thursday: Which shoes do I wear when I lift??

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It’s the special Trainer Tip THURSDAY edition 🙂

This week, by request, the topic is how to choose which shoes for which athletic endeavors and fitness activities.

 

The question I got was:
“I’ve been realizing that shoe choices are not just important for running, but possibly for lifting as well. Could you do a Trainer Tip Tuesday in the future about how to figure out what to look for/what is important in the shoes you wear for lifting? So far I just wear cross trainers which has proven not the best choice but lifting shoes confuse me right now. “

 

Such a great question, and an important one, too! So, I’ll give a long answer and a short answer. If you’re interested in the ‘whys’ of the situation, keep reading; if you just want the shoe recommendations, skip to the bottom 🙂

 

Many of us do know that we need certain kinds of running shoes depending on our running gait, mileage, our weight, our age, the kind of surface we run on (trail vs. street), and whether we overpronate (foot rolls inward) or supinate (foot rolls outward).

 

I always recommend going to a running store for a video or at least visual assessment of your running gait so you are better able to choose the shoe that fits your needs best. I can’t even tell you how much pain I caused myself and money I wasted guessing which shoe would work before I started going to running stores to tap into their expertise. And runners LOVE to talk about running, so the salespeople are usually really passionate about helping you find the right shoe. Bonus: once you find the right shoe, you can order it online (maybe even for a discount) from then on!

 

But the weightlifting shoe issue isn’t one that’s as well known in general fitness circles. So here goes!

 

I lifted weights, and even did aerobics classes, in running shoes for YEARS.

 

It wasn’t until after I’d had my PT certification for about 9 months and really started to get into the mechanics of movement patterns that I realized my running shoes weren’t the best choice for lifting.

 

The trouble with running shoes is a) they usually have a larger heel lift, b) the soles are thick and often highly cushioned and c) don’t necessarily fit the foot snugly.

 

a) Having a heel lift, where the heel is significantly higher than the ball of the foot, changes the standing posture.

 

It unevenly distributes the weight on the foot to the front of the foot, and shifts the position (the tilt) of the pelvis forward. This can both lend to a more pronounced curve, or ‘sway’ in the low back, and it also puts more of the work of standing into the quads/front of the leg.

 

*Check it out: stand up without shoes and feel what muscles are active when your feet are flat on the floor. Now lift your heels up off the floor slightly: What did you feel change?*

 

b and c) For most ground-based exercises, being perched more on your toe is not a great way to perform these exercises. It puts a little too much work on the front half of the body, and takes some away from the back half–which is usually the half we need to train a little harder!

 

Lungeing is less stable, deadlifting is harder (on the spine), standing overhead exercises require greater knee and pelvis position changes to avoid adverse pressure on the low back, and the landing aspect of lateral movements and jumping activities is MUCH less stable.

 

The exception? Squatting. Squatting is one of those exercises where having a heel lift *sometimes* helps, or is advantageous. This is where those special ‘lifting’ shoes come in.

 

The mechanics of the squat require that there is flexion (bending) happening in three main joints: the ankle, knee and hip. When someone is really stiff in their ankles (often from very tight soleus or gastroc muscles/facsia), they are not able to bend enough in their ankles to allow the knees to travel forwards enough to allow their hip to then lower into a full squat position.

 

The lack of ankle mobility translates into having a harder time achieving optimal depth (parallel and below), which often translates into someone compensating for their inability to move the knee more forward/sink into the squat by rounding in their lower back to sink their hips lower….which is a story that will never end well, especially when higher weights are being used.

 

So many people, especially those who are more into lifting heavy or powerlifting, will opt to use lifting shoes to give them a heel lift while also giving them a flat sole with lots of ground contact.

 

BUT not everyone who lifts heavy NEEDS to have them! Some people do, some people like wearing ‘the right gear,’ and some people think it gives them an advantage. **BTW, I made sure to double-check my assertions with a local powerlifting champion and trainer, Rob Powell of CrossFit Ansbach, because while I understand the mechanics, I’m not a powerlifter and it’s always best to ask a seasoned pro when you need specific and expert advice**

 

Bottom line on the lifting shoes recommendations:

 

*Try to get shoes that have a flatter sole and less cushion. Many people who are hardcore lifters wear low-top Converse 🙂

*Make sure the shoe has enough arch support, if you have super high arches, but not too much extra padding inside.

*Try to get shoes that are ‘zero drop’ or only have a small drop, like 4mm. (Drop refers to the amount of height change between the heel and ball of foot)

*Make sure the width of the shoe is a good fit for your foot. Too wide means sliding around and can cause further foot discomfort/issues–trust me on this one!

*If you’re lifting and doing HIIT or Metabolic Conditioning in the same workouts, make sure the soles have enough flexibility and just enough cushion to make movements such as sprinting, jump squats, box hops and any other impact activities comfortable.

 

 

My preference (so far) are the New Balance Minimus shoes. They come in multiple widths, aren’t outrageously expensive, have just enough cushion and either 4mm or zero mm drop.

 

They’ve been a fantastic shoe for heavy lifting and for conditioning workouts of all kinds, AND my last pair lasted me two years (no cushion means not needing to replace them as often as running shoes!).
http://www.newbalance.com/womens-running/shoes/

 

Other people who train at CrossFit Ansbach wear INOV8 and love them, some the Reebok line of ‘CrossFit’ or lifting shoes (trendy or a great fit? No answer there), as well as just the classic Converse, or just lift barefoot.

 

http://www.inov-8.com/New/Global/Product-View-Footwear-Fitness-BareXF-210-W-Green-Blue-Yellow.asp?L=26&A=&GFemale

 

http://www.reebok.com/us/reebok-crossfit-sprint-2.0-sbl/V66191.html

 

Merrell also makes some great minimalist shoes that might fit the bill, too.

 

http://www.merrell.com/US/en/bare-access-arc-3/16983W.html?dwvar_16983W_color=J06302#cgid=women-footwear-shoes&prefn1=bestFor&prefv1=Running&start=1

 

And my very last recommendations:

 

–>Go a try a bunch of them on. Walk around in them, so squats in them, do side lunges in them. See how they move and feel!

 

–>Look for people who are built and train like you at the gym, and ask them about their shoes (I did that when I wanted to know more about the Inov 8 shoes!).

 

–>Make sure that whatever you choose meets YOUR particular training wants and physical needs.

 

And, PLEASE, don’t do deadlifts in running shoes or shoes with big heel lifts–that means you, soldiers at lunchtime wearing your uniform boots!!!

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Make your warm up work for YOU.

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It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

 

This week’s tip: make your warm ups work for YOU.

 

Once upon a time, my warm ups consisted of a few minutes walking on a treadmill or pedaling on an elliptical–and that’s what I recommended my clients did for their warm-ups, too!

Then I learned better and started doing better.

A warm up isn’t just for the purpose of ‘warming up’ and elevating the heart rate to prepare the body for some extra exertion.

  • The purpose of a warm up is also to prepare the joints that are going to be moving more, and get them releasing more synovial fluid to ‘grease’ the joint and make all that extra movement more comfortable.
  • The purpose of a warm up is also to prep the muscles, tendons and ligaments involved that will be involved in your workout, to get them a little more ‘bendy and flexy’ as I like to put it.
  • But one of the purposes that gets overlooked sometimes is the prepping of the brain that is super important to the quality of one’s workout. It’s two-fold: first, you’re prepping your neuromuscular system to react and respond better AND you’re also setting your conscious intent for your workout–taking a moment to set goals, envision your success and become more present in your body.

 

 

Mindless walking on the treadmill doesn’t effectively accomplish these things!

What does is a series of movements that mimic the movements you’ll be engaging in during your workout–often called a dynamic movement warm up.

 

There are about a million different variations you can do, because the movements you choose are specific to your needs!

 

BUT it’s always a great idea to include exercises that take you through the major movement patterns (push, pull, rotate, hip hinge, squat) and get all the major joints of the body moving, too–ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists.

 

During these dynamic movement warm ups, you’ll have the opportunity to start noticing how the different parts of your body feel and start dialing in your mindfulness and turning off all the other busy thoughts of the day.

 

It’s also a great time to quietly review the elements of your coming workout in your mind, and set your intention for how hard you’ll be working, how smooth your movements will be and how you’ll achieve the success you seek by the end of your workout.

 

And who doesn’t want to walk away from their workout feeling satisfied and successful?!

 

One of my new favorite and TIME-SAVING dynamic movement warm ups is a combination of 5 elements that turns into a ‘flow’ warm up:

-Inchworms
-Spiderman Lunges
-Hip Flexor activations
-Hamstring ‘stretches’
-Thoracic twists

 

Perform the sequence 3 to 5 times each side while dialing in your body awareness and setting your workout intention, and you have a super winning, effective and time-saving warm up.

 

Bottom line: Skip the treadmill/elliptical/bike warm up and up your workout mojo with a dynamic movement warm up! It’s win-win-win.

Trainer Tip Tuesday: The ‘Just-One-Rep’ Plan

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It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s tip is a little mindset shift that can go a LONG ways for your confidence and strength development: take on your workout ONE REP at a time.

 

You’re probably saying ‘Duh, lady, heard that before and I have the t-shirt,’ but I mean it a little differently 🙂

 

I’m going to make a little confession here before I illustrate my point: many of the exercises I do these days in my Kettlebell-CrossFit training are really challenging for me, and in all truthfulness, they kind of scare the crap out of me. Not because what I’m doing is inherently dangerous, but because I still work to quiet that little voice of doubt in my head that says ‘I don’t know if I can do this/can handle this.’

 

That doubt has overwhelmed me on many occasions, and threatens to from time to time still.

 

It has shut me down and caused me to say ‘I can’t’ before I’ve even tried.

 

There’s nothing quite as disappointing as going home thinking you really didn’t try your hardest/give it your all.

 

Eventually, I got sick of selling myself short all the time out of fear and doubt. But I still needed a thought process, a mantra, to help me think my way out of my fear and doubt.

 

I made a deal with myself: I would simply tackle each workout one rep at a time.

 

Instead of letting the workout as a whole overwhelm me, I would make myself fully present in and only aware of each repetition, and when I’d executed that rep, I’d allow myself to take on the next one.

 

And it worked.

I would be so focused in the execution of one rep at a time that three things would happen: a) I’d produce some really high-quality, full-effort reps, b) my fear would disappear, and c) my confidence in my own abilities skyrocketed. I was definitely on to something here.

12minsinglebell

 

If you’re someone who gets overwhelmed or intimidated by a workout or by certain exercises, try giving the ‘only one rep’ perspective a try.

 

Imagine that heinous exercise that seems to be your nemesis or just intimidates you.

 

Maybe it’s burpees, or back squats, or push ups, or pull ups, or barbell cleans or kettlebell snatches.

 

Imagine you’re supposed to do 5 or 10 or 15 or even 30 reps of that exercise. How do you feel when you hear you have to do THAT many of the exercise that torments or scares you?

 

Now imagine you only have to do one rep. One fantastically focused and gorgeous rep. How do you feel now?

 

I’m betting, if you’re anything like me, the second scenario was welcoming and relaxing, while the first scenario was more like having a large brick wall thrown in your path.

 

So if you’ve been intimidated by trying a new exercise, completing a tough workout, increasing the amount of weight you’ve been using for a particular exercise, or just plain testing yourself to see how many reps you can do (like with pull ups!), I suggest trying the ‘one rep mindset’ trick.

 

Buy fully into that one rep, show yourself you can do it, and keep buying in to each next rep until you’re hitting–then surpassing–your goals.

 

Think yourself stronger, action yourself forward.

You got this!

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